Gift Guide: Beauty the Wishlist Edition

beauty wishlist gift guide via besottedblog

I am a self professed beauty junkie, truly.  I don’t buy as many beauty products as I used to (not even close) but I still covet many. When Michelle and I were working in L.A. a couple months back, we were lucky to meet with the esteemed doyenne of beauty Jean Godfrey-June  formerly Lucky mag fame and now the beauty director of Goop. It was a thrill to be able to ask Jean what her current fave beauty products were, which of course many made on to this gift guide, others are products we would love to add to our beauty arsenal if Santa was feeling generous.


01. Byredo – Gypsy Water Hand Cream, 30ml

02. Vintner’s Daughter Active Botanical Serum (the world has gone bonkers for this supposed miracle worker)

03. Herbivore Coconut Set

04. Rodin Lip Balm

05. Juice Beauty Phyto-Pigments Ultra-Natural Mascara (Jean swears this is the best mascara ever!)

06. Grown Alchemist Deep Cleansing Facial Masque: Wheat Germ, Ginkgo & Cranberry

More honorable mentions…

Le Labo Discovery Set
Foreo Luna(TM) Mini Compact Facial Cleansing Device

Flash Rinse 1 Minute Facial

May Lindstrom The Youth Dew Hydrating Facial Serum

Aesop Concord Set

Butter London ‘Patent Shine 10X’ Nail Lacquer – Steady On

Goop Beauty Products

Gift Guide :: Toddler Picture Book Edition

picturebook gift guide via besottedblog

Honestly this picture book gift guide could have been pages longer, but I thought that these books are a great start because they will please both the child and the design inclined parent. They all have wonderful illustrations and charming stories and you will be happy if you have to be the one reading them over and over again. The way it works in my house is that we check books out from the library first, if they get requested to be checked out more than a few times I end up buying them and adding to my daughter’s library.

The Little People, Big Dreams series is focused on women that accomplished great things overcoming obstacles (Amelia Earhart, Maya Angelou, Coco Chanel, Frida Kahlo…), it’s so important to have strong role models and I suggest this series for both girls and boys. The Fan Brothers are wildly talented in the illustration vein of Edward Gorey, if Gorey was light-hearted and optimistic. I love, love, love all Kyo Maclear’s books, Julia, Child is another fave. The Day I became a Bird is excruciatingly charming both the story and the illustrations. K.G. Campbell’s Mermaid and the Shoe shuns the traditional mermaid stories and is about self discovery and building confidence. Sara O’Leary is a fave, she usually works with illustrator Julie Morstad and together they create new classics, hipster parents around the world will rejoice. Speaking of hipster any Oliver Jeffers book would be welcome on our shelf, you can’t go wrong! Our great friend Sanae Ishida is on her second book and it’s even better than the first (which seems impossible) so make sure to take a peak!




01. Isabel Sanchez: Little People, Big Dreams

02. The Fan Brothers : The Night Gardener

03.Kyo Maclear : Virginia Wolf

04. Ingrid Chabbert : The Day I became a Bird

05. K.G. Campbell : The Mermaid and the Shoe

06. Sara O’Leary : This is Sadie

not shown but we recommend-

Sanae Ishida : Chibi Samarai wants a Pet

Emily Winfield Martin : Dream Animals

Benjamin Chaud : The Bear’s Song

Philip Simon : I Don’t Know What to Call my Cat

Mike Curato : Little Elliot in the Big City

Peter Brown : Mr. Tiger goes Wild

Sara O’Leary : When you Were Small

Jane Yolen : Dinosaur book series

Gift Guide : Coffee Table Photo Books

photobook gift guide via besottedblog i

It’s that time of year to do some gift guiding!  I am a gift guide junkie, seriously, I love checking out what people have rounded up and speaking of round-ups I should put together a fave gift guide round-up, my faves always being ones that have seamlessly mixed hi + lo.  Today we are sharing our favorite photo coffee table books by some masters. My good friend Suzonne has a collection of coffee table worthy photo books all of them featuring black and white photography. I am not big on collecting usually but I thought this was right up my alley. Why not start a collection for your fave photofile? Feel free to make any suggestions!


01. Herb Ritts : L.A. Style

02. Irving Penn : Centennial

03. John Malouf : Vivian Maier

04. Rodney Smith : Rodney Smith Photographs

05. Elliott Erwitt : Personal Best

06. Hiroshi Sugimoto : Seascapes

not shown but we recommend-

Diane Arbus : An Aperture Monograph

Richard Avedon : Woman in the Mirror

Linda McCartney : Life in Photographs

Keith Carter : Fireflies

Saul Leiter : Early Black and Whites

Slim Aarons : Women

Mega list of documentary family photography resources

documentary family photographyI wanted to do a round-up of documentary family photography resources in case this subject has peaked your interest. I know how hard it can be to find good information on a subject and how convenient it is to have it all in one easy to reference place, so I collected the following documentary family photography resources for you!  Even if you don’t have children, I think that if you are interested in documentary photography for friends and family that these are great starting points. I have loved researching this genre, Michelle and I even have a beta set of black and white documentary style presets we’ve been working on in the Foto Rx lab that we will be releasing next year, from rich and sharp to dramatic and gloriously grainy, sure to make editing your sessions a breeze.  We want you to have images that are print worthy!



Kirsten Lewis Real Family Photography-The class is long, but Kirsten is one of the top photographers in this field and it’s chock full of information, I can highly recommend.

Felicia Chang the Unapologetic Life-I wrote a review here.

Point of View Documentary photography

The Documentary Approach

Composition Clinic for Documentarians with Zalmy Berkowitz

Documentary photography with Ami Vitale

Tutorials, Interviews + Inspiration

Jennifer Tonnetti Spellman shares many of hers here.

Kirsten Lewis on family photojournalism

Sham of the perfect-I devoured all of their artist interviews in one night. Such incredible insight and inspo.

Community for documentary photographers

Photographer and father of 6 Alain Laboile offers endless inspiration a must visit!

The difference between lifestyle and documentary photography


Your iphone would work for personal work, but if you are thinking o taking on clients here’s some of the equipment the pros recommend-

Full frame camera (we have a Canon 6D in the studio)- Nikon 750 (what Felicia Chang uses)

Sigma Art 35mm (this lens kept coming up over and over again)-For Canon | For Nikon

24mm lens for wide angle shots

50mm lens

Photomechanic for culling images

$10/mo Adobe Creative Cloud plan

Foto Rx Black and White documentary style presets (coming soon!)

photo by alain laboile

Documentary Family Photography

felicia_chang_documentary_family_photograher_viabesottedblogWhen Michelle and I were working on choosing a focus for our business one of the questions we asked is ‘what would we regret if we didn’t do?’ I knew that I would regret not documenting my daughter’s life and I don’t mean documenting it in that polished way for Instagram (you know what I mean), but truly documenting moments and time. We both decided we wanted to have a photo-centric business, but not in the usual capacity, (because well, we don’t do anything the usual way). From the day we made our decision I have spent countless hours studying and refining my eye and craft, not always hands on with the camera, but really exploring the medium. I have read books (many I plan to share one day soon) and taken classes from photographers I admire and I don’t plan on stopping my education anytime soon.

I recently had the pleasure to take a class from Felicia Chang, a Canadian documentary family photographer. I highly recommend her class for anyone that has an interest in this style of photography. Even though I love a clean and polished image, with beautiful light and all the stars aligned, etc. the reality is I have more moments on the daily of a 4 year old that believes clothing is optional and my dining room often has markers and Legos 10 inches deep. These are memories I want to remember as well, these are memories that I don’t share on social media but I don’t want to forget. The good, the bad and the ugly, it’s what makes life beautiful and authentic. I prefer the candid photographs and honestly I think my heart would break a wee bit if she started to say ‘cheese’. Of course sometimes I get lucky and get a great candid and I do think in documentary photography luck plays a big role, but I also wanted to know what I needed to set myself up for so I could have some more ‘luck’. The class is brief, there’s an in depth PDF that you can refer to that goes over all the concepts in the videos, it even has a great list of equipment Felicia uses and books she recommends. The class is hosted at Click Photo School, which is part of the forum Clickin Mom’s, the name is a misnomer, you don’t need to be a mom to be in the forum (I was a member for years before I had a child) and you don’t need to be in the forum to take the class BUT if you are in the forum, you can ask questions of the teachers and also the students, it’s a great way to really get as much out of the classes as possible. My most favorite part of their photography classes (and Felicia’s class is no exception) is the way they are taught, they feel very much as if a friend that knows a little more than you is giving you a one on one lesson, they are able to break down hard concepts into ways that are extremely easy to digest without ever dumbing anything down. I always walk away inspired and ready to try a new technique or concept. Felicia’s class ‘The Unapologetic Life’ is currently $25USD but should easily be 3 times that amount! If you have an interest in family documentary style photography this is an easy intro class and if you have been shooting this style for a while, it’s always great to hear another perspective from someone else successful in the field!


Photographer Felica Chang

The Unapologetic Life (class)

Incredible photography forum