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Win Your Spot in a Photography E-Course

I’m so, so, so excited to announce that Kara is giving away a spot in her photography e-course, the M, here on Show + Tell! I love Kara’s work and creativity so much that I asked her to judge my April photo challenge. If you’re someone that wants to really learn how to use their DSLR, I would highly recommend entering into this giveaway (or just paying to take this 2 week e-course) so that you can use the camera and all its potential. Using my cameras correctly really transformed my life. Whether you’re using it to document your life, change the look of your blog, or want to do this professionally someday…it’s for you! Hear what Kara has to say about it:

I’ve heard from too many people how they’re scared to slide their camera’s setting from Auto or Shutter/Aperture Priority over to the the big M. I was too! My settings didn’t move out of Auto until a year after I got a DSLR. But, one day I decided to learn Manual and I haven’t switched it back since!

If you’re a blogger who wants to bring your blog to the next level with its own unique photographs or an Etsy shop owner tired of low quality photography representing your amazing product, The M will be a fantastic resource for you! Or if you just want to take better photos of your family, self, and life!

This class is for anyone who wants to learn the technical aspects of digital photography in an easy to understand and unintimidating setting. The class starts at the very basics– camera and lens recommendations, exposure, composition, lighting, and Photoshop corrections. It ends with basic tips from everything from landscape to portrait photography and includes free Photoshop actions, film photography tips, challenges, critiques, and inspiration. Most of the focus is on portraiture, but other subject matter is covered.

The class material covers two week’s of thorough, daily lessons, tips, and ideas.

In order to enter this giveaway, you must comment below and tell me why you want it! Why do you want to become better? Why do you love taking photographs? What confuses you? A random winner will be chosen and announced Friday. You have until Thursday at 11:59pm EST to enter.

This class is normally $45.00 and is a self-paced e-course that can be purchased and accessed at any time. You don’t need to start the class tomorrow (it’s just available starting tomorrow). You’ll be able to log into a private blog where the e-classes will take place! It’s amazing! Find out more info by visiting Kara’s post about the M or bypass this giveaway and purchase your spot instantly! Good luck!

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Desh Has A Twin!

So I “met” Erinn of Bare Intimates last year through Twitter and we instantly became e-pals. I feel like we have a lot in common but it still SHOCKED me when I finally saw a photo of her adorable dog, Toby, about 3 months ago. I remember thinking, “OMG! TOBY LOOKS JUST LIKE DESH!” I’m pretty sure I commented on her Instagram photo. Oh wait…I’m a stalker and actually found the photo with the comments:

I am ridiculous. Anyways, since then Erinn and I always refer to Desh & Toby as twins or BFFs. Naturally. I secretly dream of the day when we can actually meet and the pups can finally see each other after being separated at birth (again, I am ridiculous). While Desh is a cockapoo (bred from two cockapoos), Toby is a top secret combination. He’s considered a daisy dog and the breeder doesn’t share exactly what that means! Kind of fun, huh? Desh and Toby weigh about the same. Toby is 17.5 pounds and Desh is 19 pounds. They both are small for their breed. I loved finding out what else they have in common. It seems that they both can sleep in until after noon (I love that Desh doesn’t wake me up early), their favorite toys are both squirrels, and they both have middle names! Toby’s full name is Toby Baloney Brown (formal name is Tobias). Desh’s full name is Desh James Lehman (formal name Deshua). By the way, this is the most hilarious paragraph I’ve ever written. I’m cracking up.

The rest of this post will pretty much be photos so you can see how awesome this comparison really is. Enjoy!

And last but not least…the best comparison photos ever. The best part about the photos below is that they were taken over the past few years and not planned. The ones of Desh are from 2009 and 2010!

And that, my friends, is the best effing blog post I’ve ever written. Happy weekend!

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Follow Me Into The Night

Okay, maybe not into the night…but maybe on Bloglovin! In order to “claim” my blog, I have to create a post with this link: Follow my blog with Bloglovin. So if you’re on there, follow me and I’ll follow back (is that how that works?) I’m new to Bloglovin but I did write a post about why I thought Google Reader was better about a year ago. If you would rather follow my blog on Google Reader, click here.

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CITY GUIDE: Milwaukee

Today’s CITY GUIDE is brought to you by Amy Sahl of Milwaukee! Enjoy!

Two years ago, I moved from Minnesota to be closer to a boy, and while that didn’t work, I quickly found a new love: Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Milwaukee has a deeply rooted history, but it’s much more than a blue-collar city that drinks a lot of beer and loves cheese (although our micro breweries are some of the best in the country and cheese, well, it’s delicious). Over the past decade, Milwaukee has taken great developmental strides to recreate “a great city on a great lake.”

Here are some of my favorite faces, places, and spaces:

Start out your day at Downtown Books – Bought and Sold, one of the best, used bookstores I’ve ever visited. The supply and variety are endless and $20 will easily get you three or four of your favorites. After grabbing a book or two, I usually head to one of the many unique coffee shops in the area: Alterra at the Lake, Rochambo (my favorite- no lie, the coffee is always perfect temperature and you’ll definitely want to try the Milky Way), or Hi Fi. If you prefer brunch to coffee, stop by Café Centraal and get some of their house-made sugar donuts- so yummy.

Milwaukee-ans tend to hibernate in the winter, but come summer and the city literally erupts with things to do. There is a festival celebrating cultural heritages every weekend, outdoor music and movies nearly every evening, and plenty of other opportunities to get out and about (not to mention, many of the events are complimentary): rent bikes along the lakefront, or join a volleyball game at Bradford Beach, explore the unique architecture downtown or visit the Bronze Fonze on the River Walk.

From clothing to paper goods, the Third Ward neighborhood is the best for unique, boutique shopping. I never have a problem spending a good chunk of change at: Broadway Paper (check out their collection of post cards), Five Hearts, and the Home Market.

End your day eating dinner at Hinterland or grabbing a drink at the Garage (don’t be surprised by the canopy of tree branches). You also can’t visit Milwaukee and not catch a flick at the Oriental Theater or grabbing some frozen custard (yes, it’s so much better than ice cream). The Oriental Theater plays both indie and mainstream shows, but has kept intact it’s 1920’s ambiance with red carpets and piano man whom plays before the show. For frozen custard, try Gilles or Kopps.

Huge thanks to Amy Sahl for writing this lovely city guide for her city Milwaukee! Be sure to read her blog and follow her on Twitter! And contact me if you want to share a guide for YOUR city!

Featured image by tracktwentynine.

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Here We Go: Blogging on a Budget Pt. 1

I often get emails from beginner bloggers and their desire to have an awesome blog always seems to be hindered by the upfront cost. I wanted to dedicate a post (and hopefully more in the future) to free or cheaper blogging resources because they ARE out there! Whether you’re looking for themes, software, fonts, or tutorials…I’ve hopefully compiled a pretty great collection of resources. Below you’ll find them broken down by category and I’m hoping that the comments section can become another great place for suggestions or tips!

Free, Beautiful WordPress Themes:

  • Pure II: Navigation on left, categories displayed on top, single post layout
  • Bueno: Very feminine, top navigation, right sidebar
  • Dessign Free Themes: Very modern & focused on clean portfolios
  • Melville: No widgets, no sidebars, focused on writing
  • BonPress: Left sidebar with dropdown menus, great footer
  • Big Square (pictured above): Very clean, photo focused, no sidebar
  • Minimal Xpert: Small slider, previews blog posts, right sidebar
  • Expositio: An awesome theme to display work, horizontal scrolling
Please note: I personally (as a designer) haven’t worked with any of these themes. I was so glad that Angie pointed out this article about why you should never search for free WordPress themes in Google or anywhere else. Malicious code or malware can be hidden in code and footers. If you see any of that in the themes mentioned above…let me know! I often use Theme Forest and can get themes for as cheap as $17! Sometimes paying for better quality is worth it.

Editing Software:

1. Gimp is a free and open source software raster graphics editor. I was glad that I was able to connect with Fiona because she uses Gimps. Here she shares the pros and cons:

What I love most about Gimp is that it’s free and desktop based – I’m a complete amateur, but I don’t want that to be fully reflected in my blog, so having access to free software is essential. Technically, I like that I can manipulate/enhance images without losing quality and I’ve got access to my entire font library. I can optimise the image size for use on my blog and create diptychs nice and simply. Finally, it’s similar enough to Photoshop that you can read tips from a designer and adapt them yourself.

On the downside, the combination of being a rookie and the relative lack of blog posts on using the software can mean you feel like you’re on your own! I’m still not the biggest fan of most of the brushes it contains, and, I’ve not yet managed to bring in shapes effectively (I move to my tablet software for that). -Fiona of The Corner of the Internet I Call Home

2. Pixlr is a free online photo editor. Edit, adjust and filter your images. My husband, Adam, uses Pixlr even though I use Photoshop exclusively. Here’s what he has to say about it:

Pixlr makes simple photo-editing a breeze. I really enjoy how easy it is to do some basic cropping, retouching or “photoshop-esque” actions. Also, the more savvy user will be able to utilize layers and brushes to pull off some more sophisticated work. My #1 favorite feature of Pixlr is the price tag … $0.00. Free. A more seasoned designer is going to get frustrated as Pixlr lacks the customization and depth of functionality that one would find in Photoshop. – Adam Lehman

3. Pixelmator is the next step up. For a small price, this software can be downloaded to your Mac (sorry PC folks) from the app store or their website. It’s beautifully designed and easy-to-use. My friend Jess uses Pixlemator. Read her thoughts:

I use Pixelmator personally and Adobe Photoshop professionally, and I have to say that by far Pixelmator is a better option.

I love that Pixelmator is lighter and faster than Photoshop. It has all the same basic functions as Photoshop, it works seamlessly with Mac OS, it’s simple to use, and its magic wand recognition is superior. With such a huge price differential ($29.99 versus $699!), the casual blogger has an incredibly powerful yet less bloated editing program.

I do think that Pixelmator has some limitations. There’s the obvious limitation of requiring Mac OS to use this program. Anyone who is a designer by trade will find it not as versatile, and things like brushes, filters, and tutorials can’t be as easily applied or replicated in Pixelmator. My biggest complaint is line spacing for text isn’t a built-in feature, so I have to manually tinker with the text. – Jess of Curating Style

We’ll cover Photoshop and Photoshop Elements next time. If you use software to create graphics for your blog that isn’t listed here, let me know! I’d love to feature more next time.

Free Fonts:

Using a variety of fonts in my blog posts really creates visual variety. There is a world outside of Curlz (ugh) or Times New Roman! I do feel that the general public needs more exposure to fonts other than the ones that come pre-loaded on their PC. I’ve created a list of some of my favorite resources for free fonts. I’m not saying that they’re all amazing but that’s why experimenting is fun! Here are some tutorials on loading new fonts to your Mac or PC. I try to buy a few fonts per month and donate when I am able.

  1. The League of Moveable Type
  2. My Fonts
  3. Font Fabric
  4. Lost Type Co-Op
  5. Web Design Ledger
  6. Miss Design
  7. Free* Typography
  8. Behance Network

For now, this concludes this Blogging on a Budget post. Sometime mid-April I’ll be continuing this specific topic by sharing some blog graphics that you might find helpful, .PSD files for those that use Photoshop, why you might want to just buy Photoshop Elements (vs Photoshop) and some tutorials. If there are any other topics or resources that you’d like to see covered in this series, please let me know!

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Now Accepting April Sponsors

April starts this weekend! How did that happen so fast? If you’re interested in sponsoring Show + Tell in April, please let me know and we can talk details. I’m now offering a larger spot (200px by 110px) for $25 and includes a feature and/or giveaway. I’m also offering the smaller spot for swap. You are eligible for a sponsor swap if you currently have a blog and love interacting with your readers! If I feel like it’s a good fit, we can swap sponsor badges. If you don’t have your own badge, I can design you one for a small flat fee. If any of this interests you, please contact me!

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Film Portrait: Matt Martindale

Last weekend I was able to get over to German Village and shoot a film portrait session with Matt Martindale. I used my Minolta SRT-201 again (and Kodak Ektar 100). I did some slight color correction in Photoshop but other than that…no actions, filters, or blurring. Cloudy, overcast days treat me well. After doing a few shoots with the Minolta, I’m looking to use my Canon A-1/Pentax K1000 again with the same film and see the differences. I’m still learning and I love all of these portrait sessions as I’m figuring out exactly where I want this to go. See the rest of the photos here. If you’re interested in booking a shoot, feel free to send me a message!

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Sponsor Spotlight: I Just Might Explode

I’ve been reading Kara’s blog for awhile now and she’s one of my favorite people on the Internet! While she blogs over at I Just Might Explode, she’s also going to school, hosting my photo challenge next month AND teaching a photography e-course (sign up here). When I asked her what her favorite part of March is she responded, “The small glimpses of a new season and Spring Break!” Check out some of her favorite things below:

  1. Andrew Bird
  2. Crappy Starbucks Iced Coffee
  3. Her Art Theory Class
  4. Homemade Falafel (recipe here)
  5. Daffodils

You can connect with Kara by reading her blog (leave her a comment!) and by following her on Twitter! If you’re interested in sponsoring Show + Tell next month, send me a message! I’m accepting new sponsors or sponsor ad swaps until this weekend.

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April Photo Challenge Announcement

I can’t believe it’s time for another photo challenge already! Can you see a common theme? April’s challenge is ALL ABOUT PEOPLE. It was inspired by this quote:

You don’t have a soul. You are a soul. You have a body. -C.S. Lewis

Lately I’ve been so tired of shooting things. One can only take so many Instagram photos of their food until they realize it’s…well…sort of lame. Don’t get me wrong, I love taking photos of my brunch and my ice cream but I also like to be intentional. I’ve been shooting a lot of film portraits lately and I love it. My heart is so happy when I capture souls. (Okay that sounded creepy.) I just feel like the photographs that capture peoples’ personalities, smiles, quirks and insecurities really shine through. Now I’m challenging you to do the same.

The challenge starts Sunday, April 1st but you won’t be sending me your first photo until Sunday, April 8th! Here is the schedule and the themes:

Like my last challenges, you are able to shoot for Week 1 starting April 1st until April 8th. You cannot shoot for Week 2 until April 8th and so on. I plan on shooting film for this challenge so I will probably try to shoot throughout the week and then develop my roll over the weekend. We’ll see how that goes but as of now…that’s my plan. This challenge is open to ALL AND ANY CAMERAS. I obviously would love to see all you talented people using a DSLR or SLR but I really do love seeing how creative people get with point & shoots/iPhones. As usual, I’ll post my submission button on my sidebar next Sunday. It will take you to a page with all of the challenge details and a submission form. Below are the guidelines:

  • Make sure your photos are at least 700 px wide and be a .JPG
  • Please save the photos under the following format: FIRSTNAME_WEEK#.jpg
  • In the comment section of the submission form include (if applicable) your website, the type of camera/lens/film, & your city.
  • No nudity or weird crap. Sorry, my mom reads my blog…I think.
  • All camera types are accepted.
  • You must shoot within the week prior to the due date. That means starting Sunday, April 1 you can start shooting for Week #1.
  • The photo must be submitted Sunday by 8pm EST.
  • Feel free to use the hashtag #snapaphoto for this and all future photo challenges!
  • You MUST submit all 4 weeks in order to win the prize.

Last but not least, here is the prize and your beloved judge:

The lovely Kara Haupt (check out her blog I Just Might Explode) will be your judge this challenge! I adore Kara’s photography/portraits and was excited to see that she’s hosting an e-course about photography in April. (Psst, spots for the class go on sale today!) Your prize is a gorgeous postcard set by Debbie Carlos (another one of my favorite photographers).

If you have any questions or need any explanation, please comment below! I’ll respond and clarify in a comment and then probably add any needed information to the post.