here we go!

1. Do you calibrate your monitor???? If so, what do you use? Um, sort of. I’ve actually never calibrated my desktop monitor with a calibration device because my prints come out EXACTLY how they look on my screen. Not sure how that happened without calibrating but I love it and I’m afraid to mess with a good thing. Back in CO I did mess with the brightnesssettings on my screen once because my prints were coming back a bit darker than I anticipated but ever since then it’s been perfection. I do all my editing on my desktop so when it dies I’m not really sure what I’ll do! I do calibrate my laptop regularly though using the Huey Pantone system. I can’t really say I’d recommend it since my laptop colors still look wonky but I just chalk that up to it being a laptop and move on. I use my laptop to show proofs to clients but I also show hard copies so I don’t worry too much about correct calibration.

2. get that husband of yours to film a “what’s in Erin’s bag”… ooooh…I like! Cool video, Kristen, thanks for sharing. I’ll definitely save this and try to work on it in the next few weeks. Feel free to remind me when I inevitably forget. 🙂

3. What kinds of things did you feed Sarah when she was oh about 1 1/2? Sarah was that age when we moved here last summer and I remember her eating a ton of noodles for about a 4 month period. Egg noodles with a tiny bit of butter and fresh parmesan cheese. That would have been her choice for lunch and dinner everyday if I let her! I would usually (and still do) let her choose what she wanted for lunch and then whatever we’re having for dinner as a family is the only thing available in the evening. I learned from J.J. that toddlers tend to balance out their food consumption over a week period so I never really stressed about what/how much she ate during any given day. I just figured that if I always offered healthy things it would all even out. Back to your question: noodles, omelets (a good way to mix in mashed veggies), cheese tortillas, scrambled eggs, any fruits, grilled cheese sandwiches – gosh, we ate a lot of cheese! Still do I guess. 🙂

4. You mentioned that you make your own clenaing supplies. Any directions or tips? I just started doing this so it’s still really new but so far I really like it. I googled “homemade cleaning supplies” and came up with lots of things. I scanned a few sites, got the gist of what most people were doing and then put some cleaners together on my own. I really liked the recipes on this site in particular. I found the colored spray bottles at the dollar tree. I accidentally got the sudsy ammonia which most recipes say specifically not to get because it can be hard to clean off. I haven’t had a problem so far but next time I’m at the store I’ll probably pick up the non-sudsing kind to try that out too.

(check me out kicking it Pioneer Woman style!)
5. I’d love to know what camera/lenses you use and which one(s) are your favorites. These days I find myself shooting with my 50mm/1.4 about 90% of the time. I still love my 85mm/1.8 but for some reason it’s been sitting in my bag a bunch lately. I’d really, really like to try some new lenses but I’m undecided as to what I want. A macro lens is definitely on the list though. And I always shoot with the 5d with the Rebel in my bag as a back-up.
6. Did you consider any other cameras besides the 5D when you bought it? Ever consider any Nikons? What sealed the deal on the 5D? I pretty much knew I wanted the 5d. I’ve always loved and felt comfortable with Canons so I didn’t even consider a Nikon. My main reason for wanting and going with the 5D was for the rave reviews it got for handling noise. And, oh my goodness, it doesn’t disappoint!
7. Is there anything at all about the 5D you would change or you don’t like as much? How’s the LCD? ISO? Not having pop up flash? Um, the price?! =) Seriously, that’s it. LCD – great, nice and big. ISO – see above. Pop-up what? =) Nope, don’t miss it.
8. what is your advice for getting SHARP pictures (especially considering our subjects are constantly moving (i.e. a 6 month old!)? Did you find that when you went from the Rebel to the 5D your pictures got sharper/better? Oh gosh, this is a BIG question. In the interest of time I’ll just say three things 1) Make sure your shutter speed is fast enough – never drop below 1/125 when shooting little ones. And that should be even faster if you’re using a longer lens. 2) Learn to toggle your focus points if you’re not already and try to adjust only slightly after you lock in focus – better to not move at all! 3) Complete the shot as soon as possible after locking in your focus. If you hesitate even the slightest bit the little ones are going to move out of your focal plane. As for the Rebel/5D question a new camera isn’t going to make your photos sharper automatically. Sharpen your skills with lots of practice and trial and error and that will make your photos sharper. The 5D definitely has amazing capability – especially for handling high iso’s in well-exposed images – but the camera in and of itself isn’t going to change your photography. It will be a great tool though for YOU to up your game with.
9. When did Ephraim start sitting up unassisted? Uh, maybe tomorrow? No, seriously, he started sitting up for very, very short periods on his own a little over a week ago. He still is not a totally balanced sitter-upper but he’s getting better. I wouldn’t walk away from him yet when he’s sitting but we’re getting there.
10. My question is about transitioning to a big girl (boy) bed. What approach did you use and how did it go? Would it be cheating if I put this question off until next Monday? Sounds like a perfect MM topic to me! 🙂
11. I have asked on another blog post but how do you get your kids’ eyes to look so vibrant and beautiful in photos? I have tried many different things and my kids’ eyes never look so good. Is it a photoshop trick? I would love to know! Honestly, it’s all about the light. Make sure you have good light in their eyes and the God-created beauty will shine! If you’re shooting indoors make sure their eyes are facing toward a window. And the closer they are to the window, the bigger the catchlights will be. Now, having said that, there are a few things you can do in PS to enhance the prettiness you’ve already captured but please make sure you get good catchlights first. Otherwise anything else you do will look cheesy and fake. You can dodge the catchlights with your dodge tool set to a very low opacity (like 8%). Try the highlights first for just one pass or maybe two and then maybe the midtones for like one pass. Always do this on a duplicate layer so you click it on and off and see if you like it or even reduce the opacity if you need to. Another thing you can do is a high-pass sharpen to the eyes. Use your lasso tool to select the iris of one eye and then hold down the shift key as you lasso the second eye. Be sure to only select the iris and not the whites of the eye. Then right click and choose “layer via copy”. Then go up to your toolbar and choose filter-other-highpass. Set the pixels to 8. Then in your layers palette change the layer mode to “soft light” and adjust opacity to taste. (by the way, that last tutorial was passed along to me by the amazingly talented Anna Jones)
12. How do you get such amazing catchlights? Is your house full of windows?! The post below of Ephraim, did you use a reflector? What’s your secret? And how often do you use reflectors? No, my house isn’t full of windows but I wish it was! I do have a great window in my family room that I use a lot and Sarah’s room also has two great windows but other than that I don’t have anything great. And I only have one north/south window (which yields the best light) and we keep that one closed all the time because otherwise we have a few of our neighbor’s trampoline. The key is making sure that wherever you’re shooting you have your subject angled toward the window and close, if possible. And there are definitely times that I just don’t take a shot because I know I won’t have catchlights or there is too much shadowing going on. In those shots of Ephraim in the hat I had him laying on my couch facing the ceiling. Our large family room window is directly to his right which floods the room with light. The catchlights you’re seeing in his eyes are coming from the light reflecting off of the white celing and a little bit from the window itself. I didn’t use a reflector here but for this shot I did – and I used the same big window, just behind him.
13. Do you CWB? I never have luck doing that, so most of the time I stick with AWB. Just curious if you have any advice on this. For snapshots, no. For client work or actual shoots of my own kids, always. You can adjust the color in photoshop but you’ll never, ever get it to look as sparkly and true as if you just did a custom white balance in the first place. THIS IS ESPECIALLY IMPORTANT FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO USE PHOTOSHOP ELEMENTS. Elements doesn’t have a color balance tool so you really need to make sure you’re getting perfect color sooc. I use a grey divider from the inside of my old camera bag to take my cwb shot – and sometimes I just use a white piece of cardstock. Either are fine. Check with your camera manual for more info on how to do this with your own camera. It’s important.
14. If you could only have one lens for portraits what would it be? Well, the 50mm/1.4 but only because that’s what I know. I’m sure if you put an L lens in my hands for a period of time I’d be singing a different tune. Anyone have an L lens they want to put in my hands? 🙂 HA!
15. Ever thought about mentoring? Yes, I have. And I will. I know it seems like I keep putting it off but I just feel like I’ll know when the time is right. Wendy was so amazing to me and I want to be able to put that kind of time and energy into someone else’s journey. Bear with me, I promise I’ll do it one day.
16. Ever consider coming to Canada for a visit? Oh gosh, I’m totally flattered! I can’t foresee a time that I would travel to shoot in Canada (although I’d love to visit someday!). Hmmmm…I’ll guess I’ll have to think on that!
17. I want to know what’s on the wall behind little E’s head 🙂 Looks interesting. It’s a wall collage of 9 5×7’s in 8×10 frames. They’re of our family, our siblings, and our best friends. I could stare at it all day. I love those people. You can see it a little better here.
18. Do you plan on having any more kids? How many and how soon? Who knows. Who knows and who knows. How’s that. =) No seriously, who knows!?
19. Also, why do some people call you Erin and others call you DeeDee? My given name is Erin and all of my friends call me that. My nickname is DeeDee because my sister (who is 18 months older than me) couldn’t say “Erin” when I was born so she tried to say “sissy” and it came out “DeeDee”. My entire family calls me DeeDee as well as my husband. Technically he calls me Deed.
20. How did you meet your husband? At church when I was 11 and he was 15. I remember the first time I saw him…and I had a mega-crush on him from then on out. We didn’t start dating until I was in college at Auburn and he was at the Air Force Academy. It was pretty clear within the first few months though that we would be getting married. Oh man do I love him.
21. Is it weird to you that so many people you don’t know come to this site religously? Maybe it should weird me out but it really doesn’t. I guess because I visit so many blogs of other creative/interesting people that I don’t know I just realize that that’s how it is sometimes. I’m glad you guys come and I hope you find whatever it is that you’re looking for.
22. How do you get that wonderful back lighting? Baclighting can really be tricky but when you learn to do it well it’s so fun! The most important thing is to make sure that you have a light source in front of your subject, even when the main light source is coming from behind. This could mean an additional window…like in this shot, or a reflector of some sort (believe it or not, tinfoil is my reflector of choice)…seen here, or even something outdoors like sidewalk or a white wall.
23. Hey, if anyone wants a REAL answer about Miss Erin, ask me. About her, not the photography, obviously. 🙂 She tends to forgot the truth sometimes. Okay, this isn’t a question but it does illustrate how obnoxious my dear Samantha can be (aka ssclark01). Hmm…maybe we need an “Ask Samantha” post.
24. I have often wondered if you would consider mentoring or having some type of photography workshop…I guess now would be a good time to ask!! (see 15) As for the workshop thing I doubt that’s in the cards. I really like sharing things here with you guys for free so I’ll just stick with that for now! If you’re looking for an excellent workshop though I can’t say enough about Wendy Schulz and what she’s doing now. Check her out here.
25. Also, do you ever use an external flash if you don’t have enough light…if so, which one do you have? I do, but rarely on a shoot…just around my own house where I’m comfortable with it. I have the 420ex although technically it belongs to my Aunt Lori and has been on loan for going on two years now! 🙂
26. What is your family’s favorite meal to cook at home? I have no idea. My husband always says that I never cook things enough times for us to have favorites…I like to try new things! If you ask Pi’bears she’s say spaghetti and meatballs, Brent says anything on the grill, and I vote for black bean and goat cheese quesadillas which I only make if a girlfriend is over for lunch since Brent can’t stand goat cheese. So since that’s not technically a family meal I’ll vote for pizza with homemade crust…I love making pizza dough! And the fam loves eating pizza!
27. How many posts do you think should be archived before making a blurb book? Any other tips regarding a book? I liked doing mine by year…it just seemed to fit well that way. I guess though it would depend on how often you blog. I probably had about 200 posts in mine and it was a nice size. If you blogged daily for a year the book might be a little tight. Can’t think of any other tips…sorry!
28. What cleaning supplies do you make and what are the recipes? We seem to be using vinegar for everything. Check out #4 way up there.
29. Have you heard of the new BPA/ Born free bottles? If so are you using them? Yep, I’m a little freaked out too. I looked into BPA free bottles but it seemed to me like the choices were glass (which didn’t really bother me so much but the nipples looked so narrow…wasn’t sure how that would go over) and Born Free which apparently come with all the piece and parts like Dr. Brown’s do. I wash our bottles by hand and I didn’t want to be messing with all of that. We compromised by not dishwashing our bottles and not microwaving them. The dishwashing thing was no problem since I’ve always done them by hand but the microwaving thing threw me for a bit of a loop. What we do now is microwave the water in a glass pyrex measuring cup and then mix the formula in the bottle. My understanding is that the chemical leakage happens when the plastic is heated so I feel a little safer this way. If I’m mistaken, don’t tell me. I’ll just cover my ears and sing “la la la”…I can only handle so much gloom and doom and overly cautious mothering. 🙂
30. My question is where did you start learning about photography. I am not sure wher to start. I read stuff online and in books but not sure what I should be learning about first when it comes to photography. Check out my version of photography faq’s here and here. I’m pretty sure I went into that in one of those but I’m not sure which one! Those links are also in the sidebar for future reference. Happy reading!
31. How do you get your cloth diapers clean enough so that they don’t smell? Rachel, I’m so sorry you’re having trouble with this! I’ve never had this problem so I’m not sure what to tell you. We just do a simple cold water rinse, one hot water wash and then dry them and they come out fine. One thing I’ve read is to decrease the amount of detergent you’re using to half or less….detergent can actually make the smell linger in diapers…go figure! Try that and see what happens.
32. I have the same question as Bree. I love taking piictures of my daughter. I have a Rebel XTi, but usually just shoot on the green square. I want to learn how to take better pics of my daughter, but feel so overwhelmed with all the info out there. Where should I start learning the basics? Start with the faq’s (see #30) – they have good links in them!
33. Would love to hear some lunch ideas. I feel like I’m in such a lunch time rut. Good question…mind if I add it to the Mama Monday list? For now let me just say applesauce with wheat germ sprinkled on the top is one of Sarah’s latest faves. It doesn’t constitute a whole meal but it’s a rockin’ healthy side. I buy the natural applesauce with no added sugar and the wheat germ adds an almost sweet crunch. She calls it “crunchy sprinkles”. I love it too!
34. Can you give us some photography tips? Your pictures are always so sharp! Info on aperture, f-stops, ISO, etc. What setting do you usually have your camera set at? Whatever you are willing to share! Also, how do you interact with your photo subjects? Any tricks? See #30!
35. What’s that cool photo display I see behind Ephraim’s head in today’s picture? Do share!! Check out #17.
36. It’s evident that you have such an amazing connection with your hubby and best friend, Samantha. So, I’d like to know how you met them. How long have you known them? Samantha, feel free to answer if you’re feeling left out. I love this question and I’m so happy to end on it! I answered a bit about meeting Brent previously but perhaps someday I’ll expound on it. There’s so much to our story and it makes me smile inside just thinking about it. It makes me think about something our pastor preached on a few weeks back: “divine appointments”. That’s what I think about when I think about meeting Brent. As for Samantha, our husbands actually went to the Air Force Academy together and were in the same squadron in 98 and 99. We were both dating our husbands at the time but never met. They moved to Dayton in 2001 right after we moved there and we had them over for dinner one night. It actually wasn’t an instant bond even though we had a nice time. Through a series of coincidences we ended up interviewing for the same job a couple of weeks later which probably delayed our friendship for a few months. That was in July of 2001…by January of 2002 we were inseparable. In June of 2004 both couples moved to Colorado Springs within 10 days of each other where we met up with Rich and Amy a few months later. The 6 of us all lived within 2 block of each other for three years…ah, the good ol’ days…
37. You just seem to do it all! How/When do you find the time to do everything you do? Do you have any time management/organizational tips that you live by? Yep…”good enough”! It drives my husband crazy but I like to do things FAST which means that lots of times things get done “good enough”. I’m by no means a perfectionist and I don’t waste time on little things that I don’t think will matter in the grand scheme of things. I pretty much spend all of my kids nap time on the computer working on business stuff, proofing photos, blogging, etc. I actually really enjoy it – even the work stuff – so it’s a nice break for me. I clean and do other chores when they’re awake and we spend time doing that stuff together. Then again in the evening I do computer work and what not.
(I have no desire to proofread this…if you notice anything funky just ignore)

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