{guest post} meet our guest, Jill Jarvis!

I’m so excited for today’s post.  It’s our very first guest poster!  I was so excited when Jill Jarvis agreed to share on the blog!  I’ve had the pleasure of working with Jill on several fun projects…including having her take photos of our family while we were visiting South Carolina a few summers ago.  best. photos. ever.  I love them.  She even got the kiddos to hold hands…briefly!  You can see her work on website and keep up with her on her Facebook fan page (head over and let her know we appreciate her sharing with us!).  I’ll let her have the post now…


Capturing moments with our cameras is one major way to record our lives. We document everyday moments, major life events and places we visit. Having your best camera in your hand when each of these moments occures doesn’t always happen. However you may be more likely to have your phone with you. If that is the case, and your phone has a camera…you are in luck! Below you will find a few tips on ways to get the most out the camera on your phone.


{disclaimer…this is written with information on using the iPhone camera. If your phone varies some adjustments may be necessary.}

Get close and on the level of your subject! Below are three examples of my son, Jace. The first was taken from the location that I was at when I first launched the camera app on my phone. Jace was in the center of theframe but he gets lost in the surroundings. I stepped closer to fill more of the frame with him. The focus is definitly on him and what he is doing at the moment. I still felt like the piece I wanted to remember most about this moment was how happy he was to ‘work’ in the yard. I knelt down and was able to capture his happy face…for me, this was the best way to capture this moment.

Another tip involves forcing your camera to focus where you want. Within the frame the iPhone camera is designed to take into account the entire scene. I was at a play with my son, Jameson. The auditorium was quite dark, with the excepection of the stage. To force the focus onto the lit stage, I had to trick the camera. The first image is an example of how the camera would default to photograph this scene. Since 75% of what was within the frame is not the stage, the camera will use the settings for these area, instead of the stage. The scene on the stage is what I’m hoping to document.  The second example is one where I tapped on the screen to force the focal point to be on the stage. When you do this you will see a box appear on the screen of the iPhone. The camera will then adjust its settings to meter off of this 25% of the frame and photograph the stage so it looks best. This feature can be used not only in poorly light situations but also when you taking a close up photo of a person.

Taking your phone camera to the next level is possible with add on lenses…no longer do you need to invest in an SLR camera to play with lenses! I recently purchased a set of three from PhotoJoJo.com. I selected the fisheye, zoom and wide angle lenses. There are many options on the market to add to your phone camera. One thing that made me choose these particular lenses was that they didn’t require a special case to attach to the iPhone. Below are a couple examples of images that I captured using these lenses. The first was captured with the fisheye. I so enjoy the distortion that puts the main focus on Jameson’s plane. The second image was captured with the zoom lense. I was so excited to be able to capture Jameson mouth as he was making the zoom noise of his plane. Since I had the zoom lense on, I was able to capture this moment without being quite so close to him.


Another fun way to play with the images you capture with your camera phone involve using photography apps. There are apps that can make collages of your images. This is how I created this 3 in one image. This was done using the app called diptic. This particular app has a wide variety of layout choices as well as the option to brighten individual pictures. There are many other apps to choose from to play with the images you capture!


Overall I hope that with these tips you are able to capture more of the moments of your life – not only the ones that happen when you have digital camera with you.  Using the camera that is in your hand to document these moments is always going to be better then not having the memories captured at all.

{my real life} Sharing Instagrams

I am in love with Instagram.  It’s making my Project Life a breeze…that and another little app called Photo365.  I just thought I’d share a few of my favorites of late…



{365} day 2

This was yesterday’s photo.  Since we got the new glass door on the front, Rosie just sit and watches all day…geese, deer, squirrels.

{memory keeping} I have a story to tell…

…lots of them actually.  Everyone does.  But I haven’t been very good at getting them down.  I once was.  About ten years ago, when my first baby was born, I was a scrapbooking maniac.  Pretty paper, stickers, decorative-edge scissors and all!  I cut the heck out of all those photos.  He has two whole books.  Twenty or so months later, I had little girl.  I did good for a while…bless her heart, she almost has a whole book.  Then it got busy around here.  I lost steam.  Our house seemed to shrink and there were always little fingers that wanted to ‘help’ with the pages.  I soon discovered digital scrapbooking.  I love it.  I recommend it.  But I got so wrapped up in making the pages pretty that I lost a little priority.  Then I was obsessed with making my own little elements and papers, because I couldn’t find just the right ones for my pages.  I still enjoy that, don’t get me wrong.  That’s how all these little printables really started.  But it still left me (and my family) without something to look at, show my grandchildren, to live on after we’re gone.

So I’m changing my attitude this year.  I will get some books made this year.  Books that can be browsed through, loved, and shared.

Let me share a personal story.  My husband’s mother passed away the summer after he graduated from high school.  It was very sudden.  I never knew her…but have gotten to know a little bit about her through the pictures she had kept for her boys.  Each album (there are several), had pictures, in chronological order, of birthdays, Christmases, trips, and sports.  Each had a hand written note on the back of dates, places, and sometimes even a quote from one of the boys.  They have been a way for my husband to share his Mom with me and the kids.

We are an Army family.  We move around a lot.  We get to see and experience places that we would not have under other circumstances.  I realized recently (just the other day) that my children do not remember as much as I thought they would about where we have lived, the people we have met, and the places we’ve seen.  It was startling.  I didn’t realize that all those memories I was storing would not necessarily stick in a 4-, 5-, 6-year old brain.  Just another reason I’ve got to do this.

Because of these, and more, I’ve decided I’m going to be joining in on Project Life by Becky Higgins.

cultivate a good life by Becky Higgins

It’s really a simple way to document your year.  I’m not calling it scrapbooking.  It really isn’t.  It’s taking everyday photos of your life, jotting down a bit or two about it, and sticking it in a book.  Take a look at Becky’s video…

I will be using some of Becky’s products like this and these, but I’m also going to be using things I already have, the digital version of Project Life over at Jessica Sprague, and some printables that I’m working on now {wink!}.  I’m even planning on integrating this approach to the piles of school work of the kids’ that I’ve been keeping.  I’m a little late in getting my supplies, they should arrive this week from Amazon, but I have been taking pictures.  And I’ve decided that my kids are plenty old enough in helping me take some pictures (they are always taking pics on my phone anyway!).  I decided to use Instagram in conjunction with my phone, since it’s pretty much always with me.  You can follow my Instagrams by finding me…domesticatedlady.

Here are some posts to get you all revved up…

on Becky Higgin’s blog

and Mari Koegelenberg from My Digital Art Studio…love her take on it.

Will you do it with me?  It doesn’t have to be fancy.  Heck, it can be whatever you want it to be.

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