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Posts in “Photography”

Hello Spring + behind-the-scenes of creative photography

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

Hello Spring + behind-the-scenes of creative photography (9)

 

Hello, first day of spring! Can you tell in this picture how happy I am for this season?! Let’s say goodbye to thick clothes, and say hello to more fun, lightweight outfits. 😉 I love spring because it gives our family a reason to go out and enjoy the weather.  Whether we go to the beach, park, or other fun places, spring makes it all more enjoyable. Also, this season is when I will be celebrating my birthday with my youngest son for the first time! Today on Hello Island Mama, I also wanted to share how I created this spring themed photo with my chill baby. :) Scroll down for some fun!

Hello Spring + behind-the-scenes of creative photography (2)

First, I googled an image of a bike, so I could sketch it and tweak some areas to fit my idea for this shoot. The more simple the sketch, the better, since I imported this illustration into Photoshop and added more details there.

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I did the cleaning in Photoshop by removing the background and decided to make the bike white in color by using “Color Overlay”.

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I know, I look silly here… Haha! But anyway, I used a counter stool for me to sit down on and pose in the position that I liked for the riding on a bike concept. Take note that you should check your clothes, like your top, to make sure it’s in the right flow. This also helps to add a more realistic look to the image when you’ve removed the background.

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Here’s the close up shot in my Photoshop workspace.

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Since I used a biking concept, I thought it was better to add a wind blown hair effect. I used my hair dryer (on the cold setting of course) to do the trick. I selected the hair to manipulate in the main image.

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I’m wearing a flowy pink top from Pink Blush, with pretty lace details. I also paird it with white jeans and a pair of slide sandals (similar to these).

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Of course, my little man wanted to join in on the fun too! His big brothers didn’t make it in the photo since they are too heavy to ride on the imaginary bike. 😉 However, it might be possible in real life to ride with 3 kids with something similar to this. That photo was taken in the Philippines. Haha!

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I hope you enjoyed today’s creative post! What are you looking forward to in this new season?

“As surely as the sun rises, he will appear; he will come to us like the winter rains, like the spring rains that water the earth.” – Hosea 6:3

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A sign you need a MOMCATION (+ photo editing tips)

Monday, February 26, 2018

sign you need a momcation helloislandmama

Do you ever take a vacation all by yourself, leaving the house and mom duty for a few days? As much as I love my kids, I sometimes wish that I could take a few days away from the noise, refresh my mind, and spend time alone. Maybe I could have a spa appointment, go to the beach, stay in a hotel, and eat my favorite treats without hiding from my kids? Yeah, it’s all just daydreaming right now. 😉

Here in Galveston Island, we’ve been getting lots of tourists these past few days, since the weather dropped down to the 70s. Brent and I brought the kids to the beach over the weekend too. As I was walking with my baby by the shore, someone stopped me to ask if I had 3 boys. I replied that I did. They are a couple from Canada who have 3 boys too, but are all grown up. They were on vacation here in Galveston Island. How wonderful it will be when you reach the age when your kids are all grown up! I’ll be able to travel with my husband like that couple! Brent and I are looking forward to that. Today, I want to also share photo tips and a behind the scenes look at this creative shot! I thought it’d be fun to share what goes on behind my creative shots. It’s fun to look at, especially if you have an interest in photo editing and photography in general!

sign you need a momcation photo editing (6)

I took a picture of myself wearing this pretty ivory floral wrap dress. It can be used during pregnancy and nursing as well.

 

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I used a chair for my toddler’s table set, so I could take a picture of my baby, pretending he was on top of the suitcase.

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As for the floral wallpaper, I laid my dress down on a flat surface and took a photo of it to transfer on Photoshop. I then edited it for use on the wall. I adjusted the levels and used the “Multiply” tool to make the photo look realistic on the wall.

Again, I used my Nikon DSLR (an oldie, but it still takes good images), a tripod, and my remote (like this one)  to make the shoot easier.

sign you need a momcation photo editing (4) sign you need a momcation photo editing (7)

This is an image I took in Austin, TX while Brent and I were on our honeymoon. I thought the image was beautiful, so I decided to use it for what was outside of the window. sign you need a momcation photo editing (8)

Hope you enjoyed today’s behind the scenes topic!

Where do you want to go and what do you want to do for your “momcation”? Give me some ideas!

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Cultural Differences (When Filipina meets Kano)

Friday, February 2, 2018
cupids valentines day hello island mama family adventure photoshop

“Cupids”… I hired cupids to make sure this man will celebrate Valentine’s Day!

It’s February everyone! Girls, are you excited for Valentine’s Day and receiving flowers? Or perhaps, you don’t have a date? Well, that’s totally fine! Nobody even gave me flowers or Valentine’s cards until I met Brent after college. It’s so funny, yet amazing to look back at those times when Brent and I started to date. Our relationship was mostly long distance since he was in Thailand teaching kids, while I was in the Philippines working. That time in our relationship was difficult, but God used it to build trust between us and strengthen our relationship. Now, we are married!

I never really thought of dating a man who was from a different cultural background than mine, or even dreamt of living in America (which I talked about from this post about my American citizenship). Yet, here we are! We had so many adjustments to make learning about each other’s cultural beliefs and habits, personalities, and even our own families. What I love about Brent is that he is open-minded about diversity and is really friendly with Asian people. He had been traveling and working in China and Thailand for a few years, before he went to graduate school for Psychology here in America. We have both seen our cultural differences in everyday life, especially when we entered marriage. As we are bound to honor each other in marriage, we learned to compromise, even when it is difficult. I wanted to share a few Filipino cultural habits that Brent has seen and experienced, after marrying a Filipina like me. 😉

Balikbayan Box

Have you heard of this? Well, this is a large moving box that you put different items inside, to send to your family in the Philippines. Whether it is secondhand clothes, toys, canned goods, pretty much anything. My husband is always confused about why I’m sending dishwashing soap inside the box. Why not?? 😀

Normal voice

My family and I may sometimes talk loud as if we are in different rooms, even if we’re together in the same place. Sometimes, my husband wondered if my mom and I were fighting, but we were actually just using our normal voices.

We like to eat

I know all people love to eat, but Filipinos really love to eat all the time! If we have birthday parties, holiday parties, weddings, you name it, we love to make or buy different meals to share with everyone. We can’t do something like only celery and carrots for snacks… I mean those veggies are healthy, but really, we Filipinos love big meals!

Close family

Brent used to ask me, “How many aunties and uncles do you have?” In my culture, we like to call older women and men, Tita or Tito, as a sign of respect. Even if someone may be a more distant relative, we try to call them aunt and uncle. We also love to hangout with second cousins, third cousins, and so many other relatives!

Rice forever

Americans eat certain foods for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Filipinos on the other hand,we can eat our leftover dinner for breakfast, rice for breakfast, and rice for the next meal. We always eat rice! Ahh, I love rice, especially the fried rice that I make! But like I said, marriage is compromise, so I try to cook other meals that don’t need rice.

Mall Marathon

The first time I went with Brent and his family to the mall, they only stayed for 30 minutes or so. We Filipinos do differently. I’ll use my mom as an example. She can stay at the mall for more than 2 hours or until closing time. Who wants to hang out at the mall with my mom? Not me, I have kids!

Are you dating or married to someone from a different culture? What’s the biggest adjustment you and your man experienced?

hello island mama cultural differences filipina and american

Seriously, this was our real conversation here…

Me: Can we have a photo together?

Brent: What for?

Me: For a Valentine’s Day post!

Brent: What do you want me to do?

Me: Just smile, or maybe try to hold my face like you are about to kiss me?

Brent: Nope. I definitely won’t do that!

Ahh I love my husband!

Have a Happy Heart’s Day month!

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3 helpful tips for maternity shoot

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

houston maternity photographer newborn lesley lastufka pearland alvin friendswood galveston john o'quinn nature preserve-10a

A good friend of mine,Caroline, had her first baby girl (she is adorable!). I had a chance to do her makeup for her maternity shoot, here in Galveston Island. I also had the chance to work with one of the photographers in Houston, Lesley. Today, she wants to share three tips for those who are expecting and how to be ready for memorable images that you can share with your child, family, and friends.

houston maternity photographer newborn lesley lastufka pearland alvin friendswood galveston john o'quinn nature preserve-9a

Schedule Your Session Early

Maternity portraits are captured ideally between 6-9 months of pregnancy. Your photographer will be able to help you determine the best time based on your weight gain, previous pregnancies, and if you are having a high-risk pregnancy. Start searching for a photographer early to ensure a spot and have adequate time to plan. Once your baby is almost here, you will have so many other things to think about!

houston maternity photographer newborn lesley lastufka pearland alvin friendswood galveston john o'quinn nature preserve-8a

Find Your Style

Indoor or outdoor? Your home or a studio? Spontaneous or guided? What kind of images do you enjoy looking at and envision on your wall? Lesley is proud to offer portraits that she design together from the beginning, bringing your vision to life. Starting a Pinterest board is a great way to help select elements that you love.

houston maternity photographer newborn lesley lastufka pearland alvin friendswood galveston john o'quinn nature preserve-12a

Make It Last

Portraits of timeless moments are meant for so much more than ‘likes’ on Facebook. Let your children know you’ve loved them from the very beginning. Consider asking your photographer for a photo album, wall art, or other printed portraits that you can show off or easily access. She is pleased to offer both maternity and newborn photography sessions. You can book both sessions together for a bundle savings, and select photos from both sessions for one lovely photo album!

houston maternity photographer newborn lesley lastufka pearland alvin friendswood galveston john o'quinn nature preserve-14a

Lesley specializes in customized portraits both outdoors and in-studio. She also does newborn photoshoots and is trained in newborn safety by industry leaders.

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This is behind the scene for our makeup session.

What’s your favorite tip for having a maternity shoot?

 

 

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Finding your daily “me-time”

Friday, January 26, 2018

finding your daily me-time helloislandmama adventure captain america photoshop

As a parent, we all have different struggles with how to find time for ourselves. Before I had my third son, I tried to wake up a few minutes before my two eldest, so I could start my day quietly. But now, since our 5 month old still wakes up a few times at night, I’d rather wait for our human alarm clocks (our two older boys) to wake us up. I thought to share a few ways that help me recharge as a full-time mom with my three boys.

GIVE YOUR TIME FIRST

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House messes and to-do lists such as laundry can be overwhelming to think of and can easily distract me as a stay-at-home mom. But my husband Brent, always reminds me to give our kids time to bond, whether it is a few minutes playing with their Legos or sword fighting… I can really notice afterwards that they are more independent and happy when I give them my time to play and bond.

CIRCULATE TOYS

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Like I have mentioned in my post about “Mom life with 3 boys under 3”. Brent and I learned to circulate the kids’ toys so they will be excited when they see the toys they haven’t seen for weeks. This keeps them occupied and gives them some time to play on their own. I kept the big toys in their playroom, but I made 4 boxes and separated different toys into each box. I thought to put different colors to make it more exciting to the kids’ eyes. I find this simple way of circulating toys makes the house less chaotic from mess too. Plus, I believe that kids can concentrate on playing when there are no huge mountains of toys on the floor.

SCHEDULE NAPTIME

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Since my 5 month baby is getting into a naptime schedule (Twice a day! Hallelujah!). I tried to put my eldest boys on the same nap time as him in the afternoon. This is such a big “me time” solution to get 100% silence and get things done, such as cleaning, chopping ingredients for dinner, blogging, or shooting for a product, etc. I feel thankful that my boys continue to sleep for at least 2 to 2.5 hours! (Knock on wood!)

READ BOOKS WITH NARRATOR

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I grew up in a family that had the TV on throughout the day. My husband Brent who studied child psychology opened my eyes to the fact that TV can be very addicting and not healthy for a child’s brain, especially for young ages like our boys. We try to use screen time on Fridays (as a reward or for popcorn night) or weekends. They love Daniel Tiger and Animal Planet. During normal weekdays, letting them watch is my last resort if I’m totally overwhelmed and I need some space. If I I do, I let them watch a quick Youtube video with my supervision (I often show them videos about how to learn Tagalog words, I like to use this Youtube channel). Another effective way is when I let them browse through books like “The Grounch Lady Bug by Eric Carle” and use this Youtube video of the book to let them hear a narrator reading the story for them. All the while, they listen and browse the book. You can simply open a new tab, so they can’t see the Youtube screen.

Any other tips or effective ways to have few minutes of your own time?

 

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Dreaming of tropical weather (+ photo editing tips)

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

dreaming of tropical weather hello island mama adventure 1

How’s your weather, my friend? How’s mine, you ask? Cold. That’s why I was inspired to create this image of my boys. This time of the month last year, we brought our two eldest sons to the Philippines for the first time. Even though it was the longest and most tiring trip I ever had (and to think I was pregnant at the time), the 20+ hour trip was worth it. We enjoyed the tropical weather and the fresh food and fruits that my mom and my brother prepared for us. I really miss the beach and how relaxing it is to stay on the island of Marinduque.

I wanted to share today a few behind-the-scenes images at how I created this fun and tropical style image of my boys. Scroll down for some photo editing tips!
dreaming of tropical weather hello island mama adventure 4

Use the same location if you are using natural light for the shoot dreaming of tropical weather hello island mama adventure 5

Use a tripod and remote to make the shoot easier, especially if you need to assist your kids. I also like to plan beforehand what position they will be in for the photo idea. For my baby, I want him to look like he is climbing a tree, so I carried him to get the angle and positioning of his body that I needed. I used clone in Photoshop to remove my hand.

dreaming of tropical weather hello island mama adventure 6 dreaming of tropical weather hello island mama adventure 7

For the legos, I still try to take photos of them in the same location, so I can avoid doing lots of adjustments for the lighting. I love to use the pen tool to remove the background and transfer the lego onto the the main background.

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I try not to show the whole faces of my children here on my blog and Instagram, since my accounts are public.  I love to use props like this toy camera my eldest is holding to cover parts of their face.

dreaming of tropical weather hello island mama adventure 2

Hope you enjoyed this post for today! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and subscribe to my blog. :)

 

Baby’s Pajamas / Toddler Blue Short Sleeve (similar) / Toddler Blue Short (similar) / Toddler Khaki short

Safari Duplo Legos / Toddler table and chairs

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Merry Christmas from my family to yours!

Friday, December 22, 2017

Merry Christmas Hello Island Mama Photo Card DIY hello island mama Christmas family photo 2017 a

Merry Christmas everyone! I can’t believe there only 2 days to go before Christmas. I hope everyone finds peace and embraces the season with loved ones, even if it’s one of the busiest time of the year. Since I rarely post my whole family’s faces on my blog and Instagram to set some boundaries, here are my beautiful boys who always make my day so alive (starting at 6:30 AM or earlier…) and my man. Having family and kids makes my Christmas more meaningful and exciting! One of the other reasons I love Christmas now is that we can have a family photo session, even though it is quick (like I shared some editing tips in my previous blog post). Obviously, our baby was photoshopped since he sleeps unpredictably. 😉

Thank you for continuing to stop by my little blog. I hope everyone has a safe trip if you are traveling for Christmas.

Have a wonderful Christmas time with your family and loved ones!

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Baby’s First Christmas Shoot + Photo Editing Tips

Saturday, December 16, 2017

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Our baby will be celebrating his first Christmas in the next few days!! Since our baby arrived last summer, he has given us so much joy, especially for his older brothers. Having another baby taught Brent and me to be more mature, though it is really hard most of the time. However, we can’t wait for all of them to play together next year!! It will be awesome… And loud! 😉

We had our Christmas family photoshoot last week and it was the quickest shoot ever (less than 15 minutes). I wanted to share with you all a DIY Christmas box that we used as a prop with the boys. My friend Sabine suggested wrapping a box to use as a prop, for a family shoot. It was a great idea for the toddlers to make sure they stayed in the same place. Since I love doing fun and creative photo manipulation, I thought to apply some editing for our baby’s photos. I thought it was cute!

Here is a simple and quick DIY gift box to try for your Christmas family shoot.

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Materials:

Kraft Paper

Ribbon

Scissor

Hot Glue

Tape

I used a medium sized box in which ideally, my baby would fit inside. I did not put him inside though and I don’t recommend that you actually put your baby inside either. :) Wrap up the box with kraft paper or any Christmas wrapper of your choice. I wrapped the box on the inside as well just in case the camera can see the inside of the box. I used thick ribbon and hot glue to make sure everything was set for the shoot. That’s it!

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If you ever use Photoshop or are planning to learn about this software for your Holiday card, here are some tips from yours truly:

  1. Take a lot of shots of you and your props from different angles. I also use a tripod and remote to make sure everything is in the same frame and to make the shoot fast and easy (before the boys wake up!).
  2. Take photo of you and your baby in the same location to get the same lighting.
  3. I like to use a vector mask so it’s easy to remove the background or to undo it. Sometimes, I also use the pen tool.
  4. I consider the shadow of my baby as well to make it more realistic, when I overlap him onto the main image.

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P.S. I also love to style myself, wear a pretty sweatshirt from Pink Blush, and put some makeup on (I love this brand! 100% natural that works! ). Santa hats are also cute to add for the shoot! :)

I hope my little man brightened your day today! Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram.

God bless, friends!

 

 

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Hello Island Mama is a makeup, DIY, design, and lifestyle blog by Em Smith. She is the mother of three boys and a wife, who loves to inspire and encourage others through her works and stories. Originally from the Philippines.

"I can do all things through him who strengthens me." Philippians 4:13

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