TUTORIAL | Freelensing featuring Forever Whimsy Photography



Check out REDEFINE | Freelensing featuring My Three Sons Images

I spent the better part of 2014 trying, failing, trying again, failing again, reading more, trying again — to understand freelensing. Everything I came across basically said, “take your lens off your camera and hold it in front of where it should be, tilting it until you get the effect that you want.” So, I would take my lens off, hold it in front of my camera, tilting away — then look at my pictures. DARK! SO DARK! I was getting so frustrated. I would increase my ISO, decrease my shutter speed, etcetera – couldn’t actually do anything with my aperture (so I thought) because it wasn’t connected to my camera!

Please keep in mind, this is a Nikon D5100 and Nikon Lenses. I understand that with Canon cameras and lenses– this step isn’t needed. You simply take your lens off, and the aperture is automatically wide open!

Finally, I looked at my lens. Why, oh, why – was it stuck at f16? Put it on my camera, it was definitely going down to f1.4. It was driving me crazy trying to figure out how to get my aperture to change on my 50mm 1.4G lens, since I could not do it manually – like older lenses. So, I googled “lens stuck at f16” – I found a link that was saying take a screwdriver and move the internal blades and I was screaming, “NOOOO!!”

I knew I could figure it out. I looked in my camera. I looked at my lens. I realized there was a little “thingamagig” on the inside of my camera, and also on my lens, that matched up. That is when I had my ‘aha moment’ :)

*the lens cap is still on in this image*


I realized that the “thingamagig” was movable, and when I moved it, IT WAS WIDE OPEN! So, now, I had to think of how to keep the “thingamagig” open – or else I’d have to manually keep it open, while holding the lens in front of my camera and pressing the shutter with my other hand.

I grabbed a tiny piece of paper, folding it up a few times, then made one end pointy and stuck it in! *Make sure your piece of paper is big enough to easily remove, you don’t want it getting stuck in there – that would cause a problem when you would put the lens back on your camera!*


The first image is what the lens looks like when you take it off of the camera (and take off the lens cap.. haha) and the second image, you can see my folded up paper to open the “thingamagig” – and lots of light!

The next step is to hold your lens in front of the camera, right where the lens would be if it were locked in. There is a necessary balance you need to do, as you are holding the lens and the camera with one hand; using your other hand to hold the rest of the camera and press the shutter.


It can be tricky here – you have to manually focus at this point, since your lens is not connected to the camera. You need to focus for one point, and then move the lens – ever so slightly – to achieve the focus in one spot. You may have to manually focus a number of times for the focus to be correct. If the lens is slightly to the right, then the left will be OOF (out of focus) and vice versa. If the lens is slightly up, then the bottom of your image will be OOF (and vice versa!)

Things to consider as well: when your lens isn’t attached, dust and dirt can enter your camera and or lens. Pay particular attention to ensuring dust and dirt are not on the sensor or on the back of the lens that connects to the camera. If there is dust or dirt on your sensor or the back of the lens, when you reattach and look through your viewfinder, you will see them (it happened to me the other day). I recommend having a “Lens Pen,” (if you don’t already!) which you can purchase anywhere – this link will send you to Amazon.com :)

Freelensing really makes some amazing, interesting images with beautiful soft focus!!


This was my first ever freelensed photo once I figured it out. It is not as focused as I would like on my daughter’s eyelashes, but it is still beautiful in my eyes (as are my first images when I first started teaching myself photography, blown out and not properly focused!)


6 copy


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TUTORIAL | DIY FABRIC WALL featuring Snaps + Sprouts Photography



I am going to show you a tutorial on how to create a fabric wall. I am currently leasing my studio so while we have had free reign over most things, there are a few things we have not been able to change.  I started with this simple DIY project.

A blank wall.


It has good bounce for the light, but um – helloooooo – it’s BORING!  It needs a touch of something but not too much.  I still want to keep the light flowing in the room and have some fun too. {Do you love my couch by the way? Total Craigslist score!  Chevron pillows made by my amazing sister, and the funky gold number, thrift find as was that crazy little number snuggled in next to it. Be sure to pay attention to that table as well, it makes an appearance with a facelift!}

So, I thought I wanted to go with a yellow print, then worried it would set a tone to the room that I was not going for.  I set off to Hobby Lobby with a dear friend in tow to find something that was juuuuuuuuuuust right.  And find we did!

So I carted this beautiful fabric home – that is keeping with my organic theme – and set myself to work.

Step 1:  Calculate how much fabric you will need for your space.  I over calculated and I am going to have a bunch of nice pillows to match my fancy fabric wall. {Tip – There are 9sq ft in 1 sq yard}

Step 2: After you realize that you have purchased way to much fabric, get your ladder, tacks and solution together.

For this project, I was using a cornstarch and water mix:

¼ cup cornstarch + ½ cup cold water then heat 2 cups of water and add it to the mix.

Step 3: Start hanging fabric and painting on the starch mixture.

**Warning – it is VERY runny and messy.  I thought I could roll it on just like paint, not so much. It dripped everywhere including onto my newly laid floor.  I changed tactics and switched to painting it on with a brush.  It worked much better, still slightly dripping, but I definitely had more control on the amount that went on.**


Step 4: Take a step back and look at your hard work.  You’re doing great!  This is where I decided to let it dry/cure for a couple of days.  Okay – so it was supposed to be one day but the holidays and my procrastination led me to last minute holiday shopping; however, two is better than one.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!


Step 5: Trimming – I used a rotary cutter that is used by quilters and cried when the fabric started pulling away from the wall.  It was definitely sticking in some places, and in others, not so much, such as around the door frame, light switch and window.

What’s a girl to do? I could not let all this hard work fly out the window!  I had my beautiful fabric wall with my so perfectly picked out print that matched everything. So what is a girl to do?? Call her mama to the rescue – that’s what!!

Step 6: Thank your Mama profusely for making the run to the hardware store and allow her to help you while you dry your tears.

Step 7:  Apply Sure Grip to those pesky places that did not want to stick with the cornstarch solution alone.

Step 9:  Let dry… Again…

Step 10: Final trim, then – sit back and enjoy all that hard work, sweat, and those tears! You rocked it and now have a fabulous beautiful wall to look at.


The total cost of this project was roughly $40.

Look for fabrics on sale or clearance at your local fabric store – a lot of prints can go as low as $1 per yard! You could also look around online (make sure to check for coupon codes and free shipping!)

Are you a hobbyist or in the business of photography?

I started as a hobbyist and continued that way for approximately a year, which snowballed into a business about 4 years ago.

When did your love affair with photography begin?

I’ve always loved pictures, but after the birth of my daughter (we also have 2 older boys ages 16 & 11) I could NOT stop taking pictures with our point and shoot. When she was about 3 months we purchased a “fancier” point and shoot then around the time she was turning a year my brother in law lent me a DSLR that he was no longer using. It was love at first click. My hubby has been crazy supportive and surprised me with my own roughly 6 months after that. Friends started asking if I could do their child/family photos, which led to strangers asking, which led to me saying WOAH, I can do what I love and get paid??!! It’s been happily ever after since, yes, even with those bumps that come from trial and error. They shape who we are as people, business owners, and artists, and I wouldn’t trade those bumps for a smooth ride any day*.

What gear do you have in your bag?

I’m a Canon girl rocking a Cheeky Lime bag. I have a 28-105, 18-55, and a 55-200. Dr. Suess alphabet cards to entertain the littles, a tabletop tripod, remote, cold weather camera bag, business cards, lens cleaner, q-tips, bobby pins, my absolute favorite lens – my nifty 50. Currently missing – extra SDs, three lens caps, and Kleenex.

What is your absolute best thrifted photography find?

So hard to say! I find probably 95% of my props and set items by thrifting. If I have to choose I am currently in love with a barn door that I rescued it from the burn pile of a local farm. SCORE! It has gorgeous texture and color and is one of those items that just has me super excited to use in a session. Plus, it’s a gorgeous addition to look at in the studio. Some other favorites include afghans, quilts, and old chairs. I am addicted to chairs.

Have you learned anything in your journey that you think would be beneficial to other photographers?

There is so much. Primarily, have confidence in yourself. So many of us compare, compare, compare. The only person you should compare
yourself too is yourself.
About the photographer:
I am a mamarazzi. A wife, a sister, and a daughter. I am an avid reader who likes a little bit of coffee with her sweetener. I am married to my favorite geek and best friend.  We speak Star Wars, Transformers, and Marvel fluently in our household. I can forget to live in the now, always waiting for the right light and the right shot at the right moment. I’m working on that. I am not Superwoman, but sometimes I forget to give myself a break. My 5yo argues at bedtime, my 11yo is a social butterfly, and my 16yo is growing up way too fast for my liking. I am just me, I can be funny and at times, creative.  I am horribly sensitive and when I get really mad, I cry.  I greatly dislike scary movies and tofu.  I’m just a girl with a camera who is doing the best she can.
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TUTORIAL | DIY Floral Crown featuring Rose Amelia Photos



Sometimes things can get expensive for a photographer and you can’t always buy the fancy-nancy props that you wish you had. Well, a lot of times you can make simple, affordable, and unique props yourself! Today, I want to show you how to create a flower crown in this short video with the following tools:

DIY Floral Crown

1. Floral Wire
2. About 15-20 flowers (of your choice, depending on size)
3. Scissors
4. Pruners (to trim the stems)
5. *Optional* Floral tape
6. Small wire cutters (or junky scissors that are on hand)

You can make these using flowers from your garden or you can purchase a small bouquet of flowers. For a more longer lasting floral crown, purchase faux flowers! If you are looking to purchase the items needed to make this, check out your local dollar store, unless you already have them on hand.

Click the link to be redirected

to the video at Pearls & Roses

Are you a hobbyist or in the business of photography?
Actually, I am neither. I say this because not only do I enjoy and have fun photographing things, but it is my passion. I feel that it is my ‘job’ to try my best to put smiles on faces and brighten their days with my images. But I will start a business in the future when the time is right!

When did your love affair with photography begin?
I first had a spark for photography when I was six years old, but it really became a part of me at the age of eight. I actually would look at something and ‘click’ my eyes as if I were capturing the moment! I wanted to keep the beauty of everything close to me in some way! Then my dream came true, I received my first digital point and shoot on my eighth birthday, right then, I knew as I held it, that this was what I wanted to do in life, and loved and cherished photography ever since. It’s hard to explain really. I feel my love for it is indescribable a lot of times. :-)

What gear do you have in your bag?
My lovley Canon 7D, 85mm 1.4 and Canon 50mm 1.8. I usually prefer the 50mm over the 85. Although I do not have much to work with I try to be creative in the way I use them.

What is your absolute best thrifted photography find?
My Minolta X-370s film camera!I found this little bud hanging on the wall in a case behind an old dresser at an antique mall. It was my intention to find a film camera that day, and I had to scavenge through the same aisles multiple times before I found it. I love older cameras especially if they work! ;-) Collecting them is a favorite of mine. I have always loved film. It has a special place in my heart even though I just started shooting it. I have shot a few rolls, and have a blast with it. So in love with it and very happy to finally have a film camera!
Have you learned anything in your journey that you think would be beneficial to other photographers?

Never doubt yourself or your talent, and never try to imitate another photographers style. I learned that this never got anyone anywhere. You have your own talent and your own style, no one can be you! Although you may not like the way your photos look now you’ll discover your true style through tons of mistakes and heartache, but you will discover that special talent you have!

Remember: A great photographer is not in the camera nor in the equipment you buy; it’s in you, and the way your heart and eyes see the world.

Also, learn all you can about photography, we can never learn enough! Blogs, books, tutorials, videos, photography groups, help from fellow photographers, and even workshops are a great way to learn tons of things.

About the photographer: 

I’m a 15 year old girl living in the foothills of the Virginia Blue Ridge Mountains. I’m a photographer, graphic designer, and blogger. As a child, I always loved creating things. The love for photography was first discovered when I was about eight years old.. years later, it eventually turned into what it is now, a passion. It is something I love to do with all my heart. And it has opened a way for me to do what I’ve always loved to do, create with my heart, share my work for the good of others by inspiring and encouraging them and being closer to God than I ever was before. It has been an amazing journey and I am excited to continue with my passion for years to come.

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