PHOTO ASSIGNMENTS ET AL

It’s amazing that someone like myself that doesn’t have a ‘real’ job and that lives in the middle of nowhere is so gosh darn busy! I am getting really excited about the start of our Food + Foto class and will be going into town today to the Durham Farmer’s Market for some last minute provisions to work on some shots. I don’t know about all you other photo enthusiasts out there but I LOVE having a photo assignment; it helps me focus and I end up getting a more creative shot, in fact most of my fave images are the ones I shot while in the Souvenir Foto School classes. It also helps that we always have a great community and there is some serious talent to inspire the most photo blocked amongst us. Even though I love photography, I admit that I find it hard to self-motivate myself to go out there and shoot for fun. I shoot almost every day for the shop but it’s not the same. Speaking of the shop, shooting food is a lot like shooting products, you can learn a ton of tips + tricks from studying what food photographers do, except at the end of a session in food photography you can scarf down your subject–nice. 
P.S. I made this with one of the Photoshop actions that comes with the class, it’s one of my ‘paint with light’ actions and allows me to come in and ‘paint’ my photo in areas that I’d like darker or lighter. It’s pretty awesome, ( if I should say so myself).

PINTEREST CURATOR::GINNY BRANCH STELLING

We have already established my addiction to Pinterest and like most junkies it’s no fun partaking in the high without a co-conspirator so I am going to try to get you hooked too (if you aren’t already).  I have grand plans of introducing you to some of my fave Pinterest curators and have already mentioned Michelle P.  I am currently having a moment with one Ginny Branch Stelling, I am trying hard not to re-pin her every pin as I am not sure if that is proper ‘netiquette’. Ginny has such great taste (and so varied) that I find myself sitting on my pinning fingers so I don’t come off as a Pin stalker. Ms. Branch Stelling is a bon vivant of sorts, from her business card it seems she does a bit of everything awesome, but she is most well known for her eye, just the one, I jest, she’s an event + editorial stylist and she is the person responsible for making the photographers job a breeze and is instrumental in creating the end image (that we’ll covet + pin!).  Back to Pinterest, Ginny’s boards are filled with eye candy, lot’s of details, textures, colors and themes. If you can’t find inspiration in them I don’t know where you can. I chose some of my favorite more ‘romantic’ images above, I think they do highlight her eye for texture which to me always adds interest to an image.  If you can’t get enough of Ginny’s Pinterest boards you can visit her at her blog, delightfully dubbed
P.S. It’s not too late to sign-up for the Food + Foto class, so we hope to see you there!

P.P.S. That ‘G’ is from my hand-lettering practice.  I think ‘G’s’ are currently my favorite letter to create.

SOUVENIR FOTO SCHOOL::FOOD + FOTO STARTING!

You are cordially invited to join in on our next Souvenir Foto School Session | Food + Foto edition. This session we will be bringing you a supremely photogenic virtual dinner party! Fortify your photography skills as we plan & shoot a most beautiful and sumptuous supper. Our four course menu is full of simple stunners (don’t fret if you aren’t up for cooking, store bought is A-Ok). We have limited space at the dinner ‘table’ so please R.S.V.P. here and get all the details! The classes sell out fast!

P.S. As always we have reserved two spots for scholarships, individuals that want to take the class  but it doesn’t fit into their finances right now. To qualify just re-pin this pin and leave a note in the comments why you would like to take the class and why we should choose you.  Scholarships are open worldwide!

101 THINGS IN 1001 DAYS + A THANK YOU

Today is my birthday and I considered not writing a post, take a day off, celebrate sort of thing when I realized there was no better place I’d like to be than here with you! Okay, Paris or a tropical paradise might be a nice runner-up… I am not coming in here today to brag that I’m a year older, sheesh, no one likes a braggart, but to share a little tradition and maybe you might want to take it up as well. On my birthday I like to write out a list of things I would like to accomplish for the year ahead, it’s kind of like a new years resolution but I don’t have to give anything up. One year I wrote out 101 things I’d like to accomplish in 1001 days. I only wrote 65 of my 101 things, but I actually accomplished quite a few of my ‘goals’. Some of the items I can cross off my list were get married to my Fancy-check! Move out of our apartment and out of Los Angeles-check! Drive cross country- check! Take a calligraphy class-check! Re-read the classics-check! Teach a photo class-check! Sell some of my photographs-check! Have some of my photographs published in a major magazine-check! Leave my horrible job-check! Have Besotted Brand be my job-check!!! Move to the country-check! Have a baby (working on it). Re-design my blog (one day!) There’s some others that are coming into fruition as I write this, but I promise to divulge them when they have become a reality.  I have not been coy about admitting my propensity to procrastinate so to be able to see everything I have been able to accomplish in such a relatively short amount of time has been very inspiring. It’s so easy to focus on what we haven’t attained, instead of what we have. I think part of that problem is not having the ‘documentation’ to look back on. If I hadn’t made this list I might have forgotten half (or more) of the things I wanted to accomplish and then when I did do them I wouldn’t have remembered that I wanted to, then I wouldn’t have the incredible satisfaction of taking pen to paper and crossing off my list.  I am writing a new list today and pinning it to my wall, I want to be able to see it everyday and review where I am at, I like to make myself accountable (someone has to do it). 
I want to thank you all for sharing my journey with me here, those that stuck by me when I had a horrible job and had my pay cut in half and there were no new jobs in sight, thank you for letting me share my fear, frustration and your hope. Those that encouraged my photography and gave me the confidence that I needed to be able to pursue my hobby with great gusto, thank you! All of you that made my transition from decision to moving cross country (into the country) and cheering me on, gosh, thank you! Everyone that has shopped at Besotted Brand, worldwide y’all; that just blows my mind and makes me 21 kinds of happy (and grateful), thank you! Those of you that stop by here, my tiny portion of the interwebs,  I just feel so lucky all the time like I’ve won some secret lottery of life, thank you, thank you, thank you!

P.S. Monday we are opening up registration for our world famous Souvenir Foto School! We are doing a Food + Foto edition and it looks  like it is wrapping up to be quite the class!!!

LIAM STEVENS + CYNTHIA WARREN

I was having the hardest time deciding which artist I should showcase today on my designated lettering Thursday, so I decided to showcase two of my faves in the hand-lettered serif department. Both of these artist could easily warrant their own posts, they are both prolific and have talent in spades and maybe one day I will, but for today I am hoping together they will inspire a deep appreciation for their craft. I can’t get enough of these specimens and it’s hard to wrap my mind around how difficult these projects were but they made them look so effortless. Granted, the above by Liam Stevens has a bit more cheek thrown in (those illustrations are to die) and Cynthia Warren’s menu (on the bottom) is near flawless, no that is not a font folks, that is all hand done and is as beautiful as the day is long (to me at least). I love that it was created in 2003, but is still relevant, hip + classic. Yes, I would love a font like that (look at the ‘lowercase’ ‘O’s, and the lowercase ‘E’s so, so good!
I looked and looked and couldn’t find a single resource for you if you wanted to explore this style of lettering, quite disappointing.  The only thing I can suggest is to create an alphabet specimen chart from a serif font you admire in your program of choice (Word, PS, Illustrator, etc), print it out and then start tracing it. I suggest tracing so you can get familiar with the letterforms before you take it on yourself and start free handing it eventually creating your own unique hand. For the Ex Libris bookplate  that was in a printed hand versus a script I used a few tools–a #2 pencil to draw lines on my sketch pad, a Micron 005 pen (this is SUPER fine) to create the basic shape and to create a ‘hollow’/outline for me to make heavier lines and a Pitt artist brush in cold grey to fill in the ‘hollow’ creating that thick downward stroke.  It’s a lot of steps indeed. It took me longer to do that one bookplate than it took me to make the entire download! If you have any suggestions for this please let me know, because I have had many test runs and very few moments where I thought I was getting anywhere with this style. If you have no desire to try this yourself you can download a pretty cool serif font called Bodoni at Home here (love the ‘W’s’) and (no I don’t work for her, but I have mentioned her a lot lately) but Magpie Paperworks has the really awesome (and affordable) Saltpetre font that I am pretty goners for.P.S. Total segue here but Cesar Milan re-pinned one of my pins today and now I feel like it totally legitimizes all the time I spend over on Pinterest pinning cute pup photos….