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Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Baby Braylon is 1 Month I am a little behind in my baby posts! (And all posts in general)  Having three kids is tough!

Braylon Maverick turned one month on July 13th.  

He is such a joy.  At one month old he sleeps most of the time.   He poops ALOT and has peed on me twice.  

He has brought so much love into our home.  The kids cannot wait to see him in the morning and take turns "babysitting" him in his bouncy while I take a quick shower or throw a load of laundry in the washer.   

One Month Stats-
Weight: 9'13

Height: 22.5"

 In the meantime, Big Brother and Big Sister are enjoying their summer outside as much as possible!

Thursday, August 21, 2014

"Moments that Matter" Book Giveaway

Yesterday we had the privilege of having Farrah Branniff guest post and share her tips for capturing emotion, action, location and details in our photos. Today we are excited to give away a signed copy one of her books- "Moments that Matter".

As a Mom, photographer and obsessor of all things photos I can NOT say enough good things about her book. This book is great for any parent that wants to improve their picture taking skills. Her tips apply to anyone with any camera- from an iPhone to a point and shoot to a fancy DSLR. I should also mention that her tips don't just apply to parents but since we are a Mommy blog, that's what we'll focus on. :)

I think my favorite part of her book is that she gets juuuuuust technical enough to explain DSLR basics (think shutter speed, ISO, aperture, white balance and lenses) without excluding those without a camera with those capabilities. In other words, she explains those functions in a way that even someone without the ability to alter those setting on their camera can change elements of their situation (think positioning, lighting, posing...etc).

I also love that Farrah offers "good" and "bad" examples of the techniques she teaches.  For example, in her chapter "Capturing Motion" she lays out what motion looks like at certain shutter speeds. And her sections on shooting indoors and outdoors are super helpful for those who just can't figure out WHY their outside pictures are too bright and inside pictures are too dark.

As a photographer I get friends that ask me a lot about cameras, how to take pictures in certain lighting situations and just how to take photos that "feel" more professional. Farrah answers all of these in her book in a way that anyone can understand. I literally have NO idea how she did it but I can assure you that every friend I get questions from gets an answer from me that makes their eyes cross and then I point them to Farrah's book and leave them in her hands. Ha!

So is this book for you? If you are interested in taking better composed pictures of your kids/family, want to understand the functions of your DSLR, would like tips on how to change your perspective and for better composition- you NEED this book. Of course, you are in luck because we have one to give away! Enter below for your chance to win!

And if you just can't wait to win your own copy, make sure to visit Farrah's website at and/or follow her on Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram and Pinterest. She's generously offered our readers 15% off everything in her shop (including her book and some super cute t-shirts). Just remember to use the discount code STORY when checking out. Our code is good through 9/5/2014.

FYI- here are the boooooorning, but necessary, terms and conditions for this giveaway-
Prizing & samples courtesy of Farrah Braniff. 
Giveaway ends at 12 AM on August, 28 2014. Open to Residents of the US  & Canada only. Prizes cannot be shipped to PO Boxes. Winner will be selected by random and be notified by email. Winner have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is selected. Please note that Naptime Tales is not responsible for sponsors that do not fulfill their prizes. I have represented each sponsor with the expectation they will fulfill their prize and in a timely manner. I will contact the sponsor regarding your prize(s). The sponsors, in most cases, are shipping their items to you directly. I will make every effort to assist you obtaining your prize. If there is an issue with a sponsor, please notify the blog you won a prize from within 30 days for assistance, after that we may be unable to assist you. The product provided for the review was free of charge from the company. The product offered for the giveaway is free of charge, no purchase necessary. My opinions are my own and were not influenced by any form of compensation. Facebook, Twitter and Google+ are in no way associated with this giveaway. By providing your information in this form, you are providing your information to me and me alone. I do not share or sell information and will use any information only for the purpose of contacting the winner.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Guest Post by Farrah Braniff {Photographer and Story Teller}

We are SUPER excited to share this guest post with you today. We had the opportunity to meet Farrah at the Mom 2.0 Summit we attended in May. As a photographer I was super excited to put a face to so many Pinterest images I've repinned as inspiration to MY work. How cool is that?! 

We attended a break out session that Farrah was giving on the topic of telling your story. Farrah has written an amazing book, "Moments that Matter" that highlights tips and tricks for capturing every day life. You do not have to have a super fancy camera, a ton of props or even a background in photography to document your family life. Her book is a great tool for parents that are looking to start taking better photos of their kids. But more on her book tomorrow- I'll be reviewing it AND we will be starting a giveaway for a signed copy!

Today Farrah has been so kind to be a guest poster and share some tips great for telling your story:

Telling Your Story

Does this sound familiar? “OK, everyone, come over here, get closer, look here, no here, look at me, say cheese!”. It’s the photo that we’re programmed to take. We want everyone looking and smiling, right? Today, I’m hoping that I can encourage you in a new direction. I want to teach you how to tell a story with your photographs.

Time is flying by and our days blend one into the other. We’re doing our best to be in the moment and to chase down the memories with our cameras. My question for you is, when you go through your photographs, which ones are your favorites? I’m going to guess that it isn’t the ones where everyone is sitting, looking and smiling in front of the restaurant. I imagine it’s a much more personal image and, when you look at it, it tells you a story. It’s the image that instantly transports you back to the moment when it was taken.

What makes up a story, and how do you go about telling one in pictures? I believe that the story is made up of a few distinct elements: the emotion, the action, the location and the details.

Let’s start with my favorite part, the emotion. This is the expression, the laughter, the twinkle in their eyes and the connection between people. It’s the part of the image that makes you feel it. 

The next part of the story is the action. What’s happening? Is it a game or a recital? Is someone dancing, singing, jumping, rolling? Do you need to make sure and freeze the motion to show the action?

What about your location? Are you standing in front of the Grand Canyon, the biggest ball of string or in front of the Eiffel Tower? If the location is part of the story then we want to include it. If it’s not, there are ways to minimize it to allow the more important parts of the story to shine through (for instance, getting closer and cropping out the unnecessary background).

Don’t forget to include the details! These are the small elements that add to your story. These could be close-ups of the parts of a face, tiny fingers and toes or the swirl of a newborn’s hair. The details could also be part of the location- like a ticket stub or an architectural element. Maybe it’s the long drips streaming down your toddler’s arms as she eats her ice cream cone or the way your high schooler doodles all over his class notebook.

Emotion: What are you feeling? How can you make the image show the viewer how you felt? Can you photograph the scene in a way that helps us feel it too?

Location: Are you somewhere special? Do you need to back up or zoom out to show the scene? When you do this, be careful and keep your background free of clutter, extra people and distracting elements if possible.

Action: What is happening in your photo? Is it something that requires you to freeze the motion by freezing it? To freeze motion, you need to control your shutter speed.

Details: What small details can you capture? These little thing add extra dimension to your story. They might be a tiny part of your location, a physical detail (like wrinkled toes from hours spent in the pool) or something quirky that speaks volumes about the subject or the day.

Now it’s your turn to go practice being mindful about the anatomy of the story you are trying to tell. Don’t worry so much about everyone always looking or smiling. Life doesn’t look like that anyway! Instead, see if you can catch images that show a slice of life and tell the story of those that you love. When you’re 80 years old and you look back, those are the images you’ll treasure most!

Thank you for these tips Farrah! Please visit her website at and/or follow her on Twitter, FaceBook, Instagram and Pinterest. She's also generously offered our readers 15% off everything in her shop (including her book and some super cute t-shirts). Just remember to use the discount code STORY when checking out. Our code is good through 9/5/2014.

Stay tuned for my review of Farrah's book and a chance to win a signed copy tomorrow! 

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