Sing Sweetly Dress and Pittsburgh SkylineModclothBeltEiffel Tower NecklaceAnthropologie Dress and Seychelles SandalsSeychelles SandalsPittsburgh from Emerald View Park

One of the advantages of being perpetually early to everything is that I have some alone time to take photos of myself, just in case something happens that I cannot later. Such was the case at a beautiful park overlooking Pittsburgh where I met up with a few other bloggers one Saturday afternoon. With all of us driving from all over, we had only one person at the picnic from Pittsburgh, Jackie from Jade and Oak, so getting lost was nearly inevitable. But, once we all made it, we had a bit of time to take some photos before shopping in Shadyside and dinner at Verde.

Blog Days of Summer bloggers 2Blogger Jump ShotPittsburgh Blogger MeetupSara Swing the Day Away Katherine Of Corgis and Cocktails

I was really excited to meet Sara from Swing the Day Away - we've been talking about meeting somewhere in Pennsylvania for awhile now, so it was really exciting. I also was lucky to meet Katie from Beautifully Pure, Hannah of Shedding Glitter, Laura from Thrifting Through Life, Jackie (from above), and Julie of Orchid Grey. Also photographed is Sara's friend Nadia, who may be an alternate version of myself - we both talk a lot, are designers, and have pixie cuts.

Blog Days of Summer bloggersBlogger Dress PrintsBird Print Dress at PittsburghKatherine PittsburghGrandview Park Pittsburgh outfit Photo
sing sweetly dress :: anthropologie remixed
belt :: modcloth remixed
ring :: kate spade remixed
necklace :: crewcuts remixed
sandals :: seychelles remixed
sunnies :: ray ban remixed
Lighting is really difficult in photography. I'm not someone who personally uses a lot (or really any) flash or exterior lighting in my photos - both due to personal preference and because most of my situations do not call for it. I feel like natural light can be a tricky thing to deal with, but also can give you the most amazing light source if you play with it well. What's even harder is when you don't have time to wait for golden hour (aka the first and last hour of sunlight with great lighting) and you have a great place to take photos, but harsh lighting. Here are my suggestions on how to deal.

Dots on Dots
Backlit, small lens flare. Works because the building behind me is blocking some of the sun out.

...let the wookie win
Backlit (kinda from the side though) and not working for me. I'm too dark and in really harsh shadows. 

Backlight with Caution
Backlighting can be AMAZING or downright awful. Be careful! Having the subject in front of a very lit area when they are slightly shaded usually turns out worse. You'll also need to check the exposure as often, it will darken your subject or blow out background.

it was a long day

'Open' Shade
One of the keys to really great direct sunlight is finding shady areas that still allow for a lot of light. Parks and yards can have a lot of this - under a large tree or area of trees usually have a lot of this 'open' shade I'm talking about. This would also be under an umbrella outside, an overhang, or somewhere else blocking the direct rays. Basically, think about the lighting you get standing in a tropical forest, like the photo of Jason above in Hawaii. This will give you less shadows and distribute the light more evenly.

we headed for the skies Get Really Close, Okay?
It's time for your close up! Detail shots can work really well close up because you/your camera are covering up some of the light!

China Pavillion Stand Against a Building
Let the building block some light as you and act as a reflector! Perhaps it can provide you some open shade too :D

Birds Not of a Feather Use a High Shutter Speed
I like to use the highest shutter speed and lowest aperture to try and freeze any movement, like fountains or jumping.

Abandoned Mine Fire Take It All In
Alternately, using a high aperture can also have a great effect when you really want to capture the background in daylight. Here, I was able to let the sunlight capture all the detail on a much higher aperture than I ever set my camera at. If you are shooting with a landscape and no shade, this is definitely the way to go.

Play with Shadows
If you have interesting patterns with your shadows, embrace it! Look for fun patterns in the shadows and see what you can come up with. Railings and trees are wonderful for this.

At the castle
Just Do It
Disney photos are often blown out for me.  I've got some harsh shadows a lot because it's open sun in Florida. Take your photos on a high shutter speed and make sure to focus on your subject. Then rely on editing to take care of some of it for you. Here are some little editing tips for direct sunlight.

-Take down the highlights/whites.
-Take the shadows up.
-Adjust your exposure.
-Play with curves and levels.

Cardstore Friendship CardTheres No Substiture For You

Cards are difficult for me. As someone who spends a lot of their day designing invites and cards, I'm pretty picky when it comes to picking them out. And no, I really don't want to spend hours designing one after work most of the time. I love design, but there is a line of how much time I should spend in Adobe products before I go nuts. Anyhow, I loved that I could add photos and personalize cards, so I agreed to a review since Becki's bridal shower was quickly approaching, and I hadn't even managed to find a gift yet. Instead of a bridal shower one, I chose a card in the 'friendship' section since the sentiment I wanted to share was more about that.

Cardstore Card cardstoreCardstore Custom Friendship Card

The card I chose came quickly (thank goodness!) and arrived in plenty of time for me to carry it in my purse for about a week, planning what to write. Held up pretty well for a week in my purse, right! Well, needless to say, Becki loved the card. It definitely felt like more of a gift than a throw-away card because it was custom and not something I picked up on a whim. I rarely buy cards anymore, and when I do, I prefer them to have photos anyway. I enjoyed the print quality of these so much, I'll be sure to order again.

Katherine and BeckiKatherine and Becki at Newport on the LeveeSugarhill Boutique Ice Cream Print Dress

After the bridal shower, Becki and I ran a few errands, found a veil (!!!), and ate at Hofbrauhaus. In the smallest amount of light possible, we shot a few outfit photos on the purple people bridge down in Newport. It was a great day, full of good girl time I've been needing desperately lately.

Katherine at HofbrauhausBecki at HofbrauhausSugarhill Boutique Ice Cream Print DressKatherine and Becki being sillyKatherine and Becki and the purple people bridge 

dress :: sugarhill boutique via modcloth remixed
scarf :: forever 21 remixed
belt :: target remixed
heels :: seychelles remixed
bracelet :: kate spade remixed
bag :: marc by marc jacobs remixed

Last week I had the honor of being a cooking superstar over at Cut Out & Keep. I made a bunch of Kentucky / Cincinnati themed recipes to share, since I've started to really miss food from back home, a lot. You can head over to Cut Out & Keep and read the interview with me as well as see links to all the yummy.

I am so excited to show you our bedroom because it has lights! This probably doesn't sound exciting, but we have had two 7 watt light bulbs lighting this room on a stick (basically a very old, very broken IKEA lamp) since we moved in. At night, there was no light, so now, having light has been amazing! I'm in love with our new lights, all the critter related things, and red and gold. Red and gold was never a color combo I expected to use in my home - it wasn't present at all back in Cincinnati - but now I can't imagine my room any other way.
BedroomMomiji DollDoll jasonBedroomWindowmalm BedJewelryKatherine Bedroom CornerBedroom DecorGold Manekinekomanekineko SolarFox and Squirrel StatueIkea BedroomIkea Gyllen Lamps

A lot of our souvenirs from travels are in our room also. From our little statues from the tourist shops (I'm sorry, I mean the Walmart, haha) in Hawaii to random little gifts from friends and family, I realized I have no idea where most of this stuff is from. The TV and xbox were my main TV and xbox from when I lived alone that we now use as an extra TV upstairs.

ikea gyllen lamps // ikea malm bed & dresses // expedit bookshelf
target bird cage // momji dolls
west elm sheets // macy's comforter // pier 1 statues