Monday, August 27, 2007


Oh my gosh, is this what's to come when I hit menopause!

All you women out there who are going through menopause, may this video clip maek your day!

Absolutely HYSTERICAL!!!!!

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Pachelbel Bedtime

My good friend Jenny Conway with just shared this video clip with me a few days ago.

After the "heck" I went through while shopping at Target, Walmart and Publix with my two young kids arguing, fighting, not listening to me, and asking for me to buy them a toy every 5 minutes this song really made my day!!!!!

What parent can't relate to this song.

This song will truly make you laugh hard and yet you will find yourself crying at the same time.

For all you parents who feel like you can't take it anymore, you've got to listen to this song.

Raising our kids is truly a joy.

Saturday, August 11, 2007

Which Photographer do I Choose?

As a bride I know it's very hard to organize and plan your "perfect" wedding day. So much time, thought, creativity and research is involved when planning a wedding...and lets be honest, MONEY too! The average wedding now costs $32K according to an article I recently read in the Knot magazine. So where should you put your money and time when planning this special day?

I have put together an "article" for many of your brides who are just ready to pull out your hair with frustration because of the many choices and differences in wedding packages when it comes to selecting your photographer.

So, when it comes down to booking your wedding photographer how do you know who to pick? Selecting the photographer is one of the most difficult and nerve wrecking decisions a bride can make, so I am told. All brides and grooms want to have great photos of their once-in-a-lifetime event. They want creativity, quality, detail, artisitc photos, fantastic albums, and excellent customer service.

All brides want their photographer to be there for them not only at the wedding day but after as well. They want to get along with them and have a great relationship with them...and rightfully so! They want their photos to look their best which usually means retouching, digital enhancement work, editing and etc. They also want A LOT of images and 100% access to them.

Before and After Sample of how we turn your ordinary photo into an extraordinary photo using our Digital Enhancement Work Line.

The problem is that brides are mislead often when they come across a wedding package for under $2500. It's so often I hear of "nightmare" stories at my consultation meetings where the bride brought her matron of honor and she would tell the bride and me about her horrible experience with her photographer. Her images didn't come out right, were too dark, or too light, blury or overall they just looked like an amateur took them. Many photographers are "popping up" left and right ever since digital cameras came out.

Photography is a skill. It takes a lot of understanding, knowledge, and great attention to detail. Taking photos... anyone can do; however, composing, contrasting, framing, lighting and figuring out how to best flatter your subjects and where to place them according to each situation given at the time is a whole other level of photography.

Before and After Sample of how we create an artistic colorful side to the original photo. You can see that we have removed vents and other distractions in the photo too.



Here we darkened the image and softened it with a special ighting effect to set a mood in this particular photo.



Here's the original photo taken...

We cooled down the photo to create the blue hues and color.

I am often asked the same questions at my consultation meetings that I thought I'd share with everyone here. Maybe you are still contemplating which photographer to go with. I hope this "article" will shed some light on what separates us from all the "thousands" of photographers out there.

Frequently Asked Questions:
Q. Do you have second shooters?
A. YES! Having a second shooter is vital in capturing the full event while providing you with images from different angles and points of view without drawing attention to ourselves since I don't have to run around to get the different angles and points of view in the images. The second photographer can capture a moment in time while I might be loading up a new flash card or vice versa. The chances of us missing a moment are very slim. Having another shooter also gives you more coverage without having to increase your photographic coverage. I capture the bride and the gals getting ready while the other photographer is with the groom documenting their "beer time" - ha ha. There always seems to be beer around with the guys..cold beer yum.

We have a team, a GREAT team I must say. We are all committed to our clients. We have a new assistant, Michelle, who is so intuned to what is going on catching onto fulfilling a need before the bride even knows there's a need! Welcome Michelle to the Darice Michelle Team.

I love this photo of Michelle desperately trying to duck from the camera!

Q. What kind of retouching do you do?
A. This is a REALLY important question and what truly separates us from many other photographers. The work we do on retouching will blow your mind. ALL of our packages include retouching. We do not surprise you with an extra "touch up" fee after your wedding. It is very common that after you receive your photos and notice unwanted facial blemishes and after you call your photographer to have him/her fix them, they will charge you a fee ranging anywhere from $60 - $150 an hour. You will not have to worry about that happening when we are taking care of your photos. Our retouching covers anything from wrinkles, acne, bags under the eyes, red eyes (forbid it if you can't sleep the night before because you're too excited or nervous...not. No worries with us, we will take care of it all). Retouching also includes whitening teeth, removing minor tan lines, moles and the like. Please understand that such extensive retouching work takes hours and hours and hours of work. If you don't believe me, ask my husband! He will be happy to tell you how he rarely sees me anymore due to the fact that the computer has possessed me now...ha ha. Actually that's not true. I'm very big on prioritizing my marriage. Noel and I get our time together, it usually doesn't happen until 12am to about 2am just about every night! I also don't book every weekend in order to be sure that I can provide my clients with awesome images. If I booked every weekend I would not be able to provide the amount of hours it takes to retouch and enhance your images. I would much prefer to give you TOP NOTCH photos over making a lot of money that I could make if I booked every weekend.

Q. Your package includes Digital Enhancement Work, what is that?
A. I LOVE art, just about any kind of art actually especially if it's VIBRANTLY RADIATING with COLORS. ALL our packages include digital enhancement work which means basically that we make your photos look REALLY RAD! We use our "colorful digital palette" to incorporate certain colors in order to further the mood that was already presently there. Warm and cool colors are incorporated in our photos according to the context and setting of the image. Much time and thought are put into EACH photo and the final results are what makes our brides RAVE about our work and make other brides jealous of their photos.



Digital Enhancement Work also includes "fixing" images that we unavoidable at the time we shot the photo. For instance, we took this photo at the Alltel Stadium (by the way now renamed to Jacksonville Municipal Stadium) of the wedding party in the stands. At the time of photo it was SUPER bright outside. The sun was high in the sky casting harsh shadows and overexposing the details of the background. Lighting is everything when taking a photo. Taking photos during the "hot sun" lighting is every photographers nightmare! You either have to chose to accurately expose the subjects thus compromising the background or get great detail in the background but losing detail with the subjects. I don't like to compromise at all. So I used natural light (which I prefer) on my subjects and lost the detail in the sky at the time I shot the image. I then took another image and using natural light captured the background and later on combined the images together to include both background and foreground. In moments like these where I am not in control of the sun's position and light, I still work hard to obtain the best results still.

Original Photo

New Result...wah la!

Digital Enhancement Work also includes doing what I call "MIRACLES". Recently one of our brides lost a lot of her makeup work while we were taking her photos. Due to a lack of time it just wasn't worth having her putting on more make up otherwise we'd lose our shooting time, which means less photos for her. Although it would be in MY best interest to have her put on her make up so I didn't have to spend more hours on the computer after; however, I am very big on doing what's best for the BRIDE not me. So we continued to shoot and later on I went back and literally "gave" her make up since she had none on. I gave her eye shadow, eye liner, mascara and lipstick. Below you will see a before and after example of this. Retouching was also applied to smooth out facial blemishes. What bride doesn't love looking like this!

(click on photo to enlarge to see in greater detail)



You can rest assure that we work VERY HARD not just at your wedding but AFTER the wedding processing your images. Another thing that really sets us apart from other photographers is the large amount of photos you will walk away with after your wedding. Our typical 6 hour wedding day coverage gives you around 1200 images that have been edited, processed, enhanced and touched up!!! Did you get that... 1200 IMAGES!!! Compare that to the average 450 photos for a 6 hour coverage! That's more than double the images and remember that we don't charge EXTRA for all that cool and rad stuff we do to your images!!!

Our album process is also unique. We don't charge extra for each photo you want in your album. Our albums consist on average 40 pages which gives you around 100 images or more depending upon actual size of album (8x10, 10x10 or 9.5x13). You can increase your pages for an additional fee but it's based on pages not IMAGES so you save a TON of money this way!

We go above and beyond for you because that's what I believe you deserve. Your photographs are an investment that should last for a VERY LONG TIME. You should be proud to show them to your family and friends and one day, your future children. They say, "you get what you pay for", I couldn't have said it any better than that.

So, should you spend $4000- $6000 for your photographer? If you want HIGH quality, artistic and skillfully created images, excellent customer service, a loyal and dedicated photographer before, during and AFTER the wedding and a team that works well together in order to produce the best results possible then YES YES YES it is worth it!

Your flowers will die within hours after your wedding (but don't worry we capture that too - ha ha), your food won't remain, the party favors usually get thrown away, the decorations won't go home with you; however, your photographs will! Your photographs will remain, will tell your story over and over again for MANY years. You can't replace them once they are done.

Many people wonder why photography is so expensive. You are paying for a skill, the actual person (which can make or break your day from what I have heard from other previous brides), art, quality, product and the time it takes after your wedding to do fun wonders to your images.

Vibrant colors just grab my heart and eye. I love using radiant colors in my images...what fun!

Enjoy browing through our website for more fun viewing images we capture and hold dear to our hearts! We love what we do but moreso love the reactions from our brides and grooms after they have recieved their wedding photos!!! There's no better job than this!!

Wednesday, August 01, 2007

Cockatoo for Sale

2 year old Umbrella Cockatoo for sale. This bird really TALKS! So far we can pick up a few words that she says, "pretty bird" "hello" "bye bye" and "yes". I once heard her say "I want to talk, do you?" But somehow I get the feeling that this bird knows a ton of words because she literally has a full fledge conversation just sitting up on top of her cage. Her head bounces with her crown in the air just yapping something away.

These birds live to be around 120 years old! Amazing huh! From what I am learning, they are extrememly intelligent. They are like radars, constantly listening to you, picking up sounds and words. When my friend Paulo was here, Diamond went nuts making all sorts of noise every time Paulo spoke. When he stopped, she stopped. We couldn't figure out why this was. Maybe it had to do with his deep voice or something. Oh, I have to tell you this, Diamond LAUGHS!!!! She laughs and sounds exactly like a human. When she hears you laugh, she will start laughing which gets you to laugh even harder because you just can't believe your ears. So as you laugh harder then Diamond laughs harder too and it's this cycle that repeats and repeats to where you can't feel your abs anymore from all the laughing. It's hysterical! I was almost in tears from laughing so hard when Paulo was here and the three of us couldn't stop laughing because of Diamond's laugh.

Our kids enjoy Diamond although sometimes Jaden tells her "be quiet". She does get loud when she wants attention. Titan is pretty good with her, but it's Diamond that we have to keep an eye on. She really tries to beak him. Diamond can't be trusted with Titan. We're working on the two of them finding harmony together. Good luck on that one, right!! At the same time, it makes sense. She feels threatened by him simply because Titan is so big!

If you are interested in getting a parrot like Diamond, please contact me at We are selling her, the cage, toys, food and bedding for only $857. Cockatoo's alone average $1200 - $1800. Please know that we will only sell her to someone that will really take care of her. Diamond has been moved around twice within the last 2 months and therefore she is stressed, scared and insecure. Diamond has been plucking because of stress. Once she finds a home that can provide a stressfree environment and her new owners are home to love up on her, then we would be very happy to place her in your home.

Here are some photos of Diamond...

oh boy, you can see here that Titan is defensive! Diamond trys to beak him even when Titan is just sitting there.

This photo was just taken yesterday. Diamond has been here for 4 days now and is getting better with Titan. Titan is much more comfortable with her. Diamond still is working on being nice to him. (click photo to enlarge)