Wednesday, February 29, 2012

{Guest Post} Jessica Velarde Photography

A true friend is someone who sticks by your when you are down and celebrates with you when you are up. It's someone you trust. It is someone who understands you, knows the real you and appreciates the person you are. That is what Jess is to me. I'm honored to have her as a guest today.

Hello all! I'm so happy to be here guest blogging for Laura today. Her and her amazing family have been some of our dearest and most encouraging friends (or more accurately, family) to my husband and I over the years that we've known them. So it's an honor to be able to share a little bit of what I do with you  today! I work as a portrait and wedding photographer in Lancaster, PA. and I love what I do! I've been doing photography professionally for about four years now. When Laura asked me to guest post for you, I thought sharing a few photo tips would be the perfect way to start. So here are a few ideas that you can implement in your photo taking no matter what type of camera you have! Whether you're using a DSLR or just pro at using instagram, these are some easy ways to make your images look their best.

#1. It's all about the light, dear.  Lighting is everything in photography. And when photographing people, soft, flattering light is best! The broader the light source, the softer and more flattering the light will be on your subject. This is why studio photographers use “soft boxes”, why big windows are awesome, and why cloudy days are actually great for lighting! Soft light means no harsh, unflattering shadows. Here are a few examples...
#2. Be composed.
The way you compose an image makes a big difference! Try things like placing your subject off center, using something to frame your image, or allowing blank or "negative" space to make your photo more dynamic. Good composition will make a more focused image which draws your eye naturally to the main point of interest.
# 3. The way you see things. 
Try a new perspective! Seeing things from an different angle is often what makes a photo interesting to look at. Get down on the ground, up in a tree, or tilt your camera a new direction. 
Now, take your camera (or your iphone!) and have a ton of fun with it! 
Thanks so much for having me! If you'd like to keep in touch, you can find my husband and me blogging about life here and see more about what I do for a living here
Happy picture taking, 
~ Jess

“Perhaps it is our imperfections that make us so perfect for one another!” 

Thank you Jess for taking time out of your crazy schedule to share some of your amazingness with us!

Here's where you can find Jess:
Blog  |  Photography  |  Facebook  |   Twitter

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Next party, I'm making these....

In our house we love to bake {and that's an understatement}! Sometimes we use baking as art, more than a reason to eat. Seriously. So I've put together a few of my "must try" ideas. Aren't these just too cute!
Source Pinterest

This would be a perfect  "theme" for a future Tuesday 10. What do you think?
Guess I'm showing my social media and Starbucks addiction a little too much...{haha never}



Monday, February 27, 2012

Photo Challenge Winners | Broken

This weeks photo challenge had a very profound meaning. Broken can mean so many things, and each of this weeks entrants captured it perfectly in his/her own way. Each photo seem to have a deep background. A story in itself. 

Thanks to each and everyone of you who joined in for our very first weekly photo challenge, and many more to come! We made this a family project. Each of us voted our top 3 and why, and this was the results:

1st Place: The Velarde's
We all immediately fell in love with this portrait. The depth, emotion and amazing setting left up breathless. 

2nd Place: Cori from Life Captured
We are a family that is very passionate for music. This photo captures so much history. If I close my eyes, I can hear it play.

3rd Place: Arishav - Click here to view.
I love how this photo captures two forms of brokenness. The obvious window, and the subtle woman crumbling in the background. Very beautiful work.

If your photo was in the top three, congratulations! This was an amazing first link up. Please email me your shipping information to, so I can mail you your prize.

This week our photo challenge is Photos of People Taking Pictures
Put those thinking caps on and get creative!

Read here to see how it works to be considered a winner....
Link up opens this Friday morning so be ready! A little secret, those first to link their photos get major hits.

Our Reflection

Sunday, February 26, 2012

3 Bloggers and a Bridal Show

So what happens when you get 3 bloggers together for a bridal show? Absolute hilariousness! Why? None of us are either engaged or planning a wedding. {I'm already married!} We went for research! 

Colleen | Wedding Blogger at Soundtrack To I Do
Melisah | Blogger at Overcome by His Grace
Laura {me} | Blogging for my photography page Laura Hernandez Photography
Laura  |  Melisah  |  Colleen

So let me set the seen. I'm an inspiring photographer so I wanted to go undercover and check out other photographers in the area {character: maid of honor}. Colleen is a wedding blogger so this was right up her alley {character: bridesmaid / wedding planner}. So naturally, Melisah had to play our bride. 
Not quite sure if she was happy with our decision. The second we walked in the doors she got stickered as "Bride" and everyone congratulating her. We prepped before we got there. She had a wedding date, size of her bridal party, budget, and she even borrowed her mothers ring. 
Poor thing was terrified but we couldn't stop laughing. We spent the next few hours walking the floor from booth to booth. By the end of the show, Melisah was a pro! 

One of the best moments of the day was the Photo Booth, hands down. 
We're already planning our next bridal show road trip to San Francisco. Fun times with friends. Memories I'll never forget. Now I can't wait to help plan their actual real weddings!

Happy blogging my friends.

Simple DIY Easter Egg Wreath

With a 6 year old little girl, I'm always looking for easy DIY crafts that we can do together. I must confess, this was a project we bough and prepared to do in February and was going to be a conversation heart wreath. Well life happened and we didn't get to it. Here's what the original "plan" would have looked like. 
Cute right? Well, Valentine's came and went, we ate the candy hearts and decided that Easter was the next best holiday wreath worthy.

Simple. Quick. Easy. Here's what you need:

  • Foam Wreath {you choice of size}
  • Hot Glue Gun
  • Ribbon
  • Seasonal Candy {I used Robin Eggs}

Sorry for the messy table photo. We had bird house painting going on at the same time.

The final result, super cuteness right?

I hope you liked this craft idea! Let me know if its something you try. 
Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Bloglovin   |   Pinterest   |   Photography

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Friday, February 24, 2012

{Guest Post} Colleen @ Soundtrack To I Do

I can't believe it. Someone pinch me! I have Colleen from Soundtrack to I Do guest posting on my blog today. I'm so excited I could do a cartwheel. Really!

What girl doesn't dream about her wedding from the time she's dancing while standing on her daddy's shoes? And even after your married, {with Pinterest}, you can create your dream wedding even if its only on your pin boards. Colleen has this elegant blog that specializes in music. She can explain it much better. Take it away Colleen....

Hello there! I'm Colleen, I'm a friend of Laura's, and I write a wedding blog called Soundtrack To I Do. We focus on helping brides (and grooms!) choose the music for their wedding day, and also provide general wedding inspiration. I'm so happy to be here with you all today!

As a wedding blogger, one of my favorite things to do is make inspiration boards. I'm very excited that Spring is almost here! (I may be jumping the gun a little, but here in California the weather is already warming up!) So I created some inspiration boards representing the things I love best about spring. They are: spring weddings (well that was just a given, considering my blog), pastel colors, (so pretty!), Easter (Jesus rose from the dead, which is the best news ever... literally. Plus candy and treats!!), and... wait for it... baby animals! Because who doesn't love them?

I hope you guys enjoy these boards, and that they make you as excited as I am that Spring is just around the corner! Thanks for having me Laura!!

Spring wedding board: Top left: Style Me Pretty Top Right: Style Me Pretty Middle: Martha Stewart Weddings Bottom Left: Hey Gorgeous Events Bottom Right: Jodi Miller Photography

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She is so creative!

I was even blessed with the opportunity to be featured on her blog TWICE for my photography. One as a spotlight on my new photography business which you can read by clicking here. The other was my first engagement session. Check it out here.

Soundtrack To I Do
Blog   |   Facebook   |   Twitter   |   Pinterest

Colleen please come back and post anytime. You're fabulous!

Blog Swap with Allison @ Whatever The Circumstances

Happy Friday Everyone!
I have a special guest today, Allison from Whatever The Circumstances. I just adore reading her blog. Her and I have a lot in common especially when it come to our Faith. She blogs about life, parenting, DIY, sewing, and running. OK we were about on the same page except for the running part. I just can't run. I get a visual just thinking about it. LOL Make sure you visit her blog today where you'll find me guest posting here.

Hi! I'm Allison and I blog over at Whatever The Circumstances. I am so happy to be here with you guys today. I am honored that Laura asked me to swap blogs for the day and am so amazed by how quickly Laura has taken to this whole blogging thing and I feel like I can learn so much from her, even though she has only been doing it for about 2 months! Sometimes I wonder how she does it all.

But anyways. I guess I am here to talk a little bit about me...
I am a wife, full time biology teacher, friend, follower of Christ and blogger. I love sharing pieces of my life with friends, family and new visitors through my blog. My blog is really just a place for me to share my adventures in crafting, running, faith, marriage and daily life.

I am an adventurer at heart but am thrilled to be finally settled down near my family (we actually currently in the process of trying to buy our first house). The hubs and I lived out in Indiana for 3 years so he could attend Law School and this summer after he walked across that stage, we packed up and moved back East because of new jobs. The best thing about the move, my sisters (one who is married one who is soon to be married-hopefully) and my parents now only live 5 minutes from me.

So today, I thought I would share a little bit about my adventures in learning to be creative. First I should say, I am not creative at heart. I studied Biology in college and love all things logical and scientific. If you were to tell my 17 year old self that one day I would enjoy sewing and crafting I would probably laugh at you and then show you my failed attempts at art that my mom so proudly displayed around our childhood home (my parents have since moved out of that house and destroyed all evidence of my un-crafty youth).
But now, I sew, decorate, make cards, craft and knit (well sort of, I'm still not that good at the last one). I am constantly looking for new projects to tackle and trying to learn new skills on my sewing machine. Don't get the wrong idea, I am still no Susie Homemaker, but I am learning new things, and realizing that it isn't impossible to do a lot of the crafty stuff I see other people doing all the time. So how did I turn the corner from science nerd to crafter?

Honestly, I started blogging and reading other peoples blogs. Then I started thinking "I could probably follow those directions" and eventually it turned into "I could probably figure out how to make that just looking at that picture." 

And you know what else did it for me? I started accruing these amazing pins on my pin board and thinking "someday I will do all of these projects."  But after It started filling up with beautiful things that I wanted to one-day make, I started to feel discouraged and overwhelmed. And one-day I thought, "Why can't today be someday?" And so my friends and I met up and made skirts.

The next thing I know I am making stockings for our Mantel at Christmas, giving people hand made gifts instead of store bought ones and redecorating my mantel using my own creativity. And I found that I really enjoyed making things and learning new things.

The important thing is to not lose yourself in your crafting attempts but to find yourself. If becomes cumbersome or overwhelming, put the sewing machine  or knitting needles away for a while and forget about all of those projects you want to tackle. Some months I sew almost every day, and some months (like this one) I barely touch the sewing machine. But it isn't because I am afraid of it, it is because I am busy living my life in other ways. 

See isn't she just amazing! Here's ways to follow Allison. Make sure you reach out and say hello and that you saw her post here.

Blog   |   Twitter   |   Bloglovin   |    Pinterest

Thank you Allison for for visiting today.

New Project: Pass It Forward

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Most of us have seen the movie or heard the figure of speech, "Pay It Forward". The expression "pay it forward" is used to describe the concept of asking that a good deed be repaid by having it done to others instead. Keeping that in mind, together with The Shine Project, we're launching:

Pass It Forward
You're probably asking what is it and how does it work, right? Let me explain. Pass It Forward was designed to get people to do little things, everyday, that makes an impact on the community around them. Pass it Forward is designed around a card (see sample below). Each card is given a unique ID number. Lets say we're at McDonalds, and I decide to pay for the person behind me in the drive through. I'd give the cashier the card, and tell them to pass it along to the next car when the give them the food that has been paid for. I then go home and log into the website that was on the card, and find my unique ID number. I log into it, and add my information... My first name, city, and a description of what I did.... Let's say the person behind me was you, you would pass it forward to someone else, and then would go home and do the same thing. 

From the very beginning, you will be able to track where your card goes, and how many people you affect just by doing one simple act of kindness. {

I AM SO EXCITED. This project had the potential of working small miracles in the lives of those we pass, and we will then be able to see how far one simple act can go. 

If you would like to help spread this new project, please share with your 
friends on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest...whatever.

We're changing the world, let's do it big.

To read all the details, order cards & grab a button, visit The Shine Project here.


Thursday, February 23, 2012

Weekly Photo Challenge: BROKEN

Today is the most exciting day for me as a blogger. Hands down. I'm getting the chance to link my love of blogging and my passion of photography. I've had this imaged in my mind for so long, to see it come to life is incredible.

For this weeks theme I hope you challenged yourself. Looked at things from a different perspective. Your view on something can change dramatically but simply working backwards, turning it upside down, or asking a child what they see or think. Everyone is invited to participate! There are some amazing prizes to win today as well. Yes, I went way overboard this time, but its the launch. I couldn't help myself! 

This will be a weekly link up so if you want to get involved as a sponsor or a photographer who like to guest post, we would love to have you! Email me at

Here are the prizes you can win:

1st Place PRIZE
Built 13" MacBook Neoprene Laptop Case
Retail Value: $50

TUMI Mobile Power Pack
High-tech battery charger
Perfect for traveling
Retail Value: $135 

Cross Signature Pen
Retail Value: $45
2nd Place PRIZE
Swiss Army Swisschamp Multi-Tool
Retail Value: $150

Leather Bound Journal
Retail Value: $30

3rd Place PRIZE
Swiss Army Muli-Tool
Retail Value: $28

22oz Aluminum H2go Sports Bottle
Retail Value: $16

Here are the details on entering:

1. Create a post on your blog and include ONE photo submission for this challenge.

2. Include the Our Reflections Photo Challenge Button and type somewhere in your post. DO NOT include the http://

3. You can also link your entry from Facebook pages, Flickr, Pinterest, etc. Just be sure to include the link within your post.

4. Submit the link to your post using the InLinkz button below. You must submit the actual photo link {permalink}, not just your website URL. NOTE: do not include http:// in your link.

5. You can submit your photo at any time during the challenge. The deadline for this weeks submission is Saturday, February 26th, 2012 at 11:59pm (PST).

6. Winners will be announced Monday, February 27th, 2012.

Grab a button and link up!

Our Reflection Weekly Photo Challenge
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Our Reflection Weekly Photo Challenge"><img src="" alt="Our Reflection Weekly Photo Challenge" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

Sponsored by:
Laura Hernandez Photography
<div align="center"><a href="" title="Laura Hernandez Photography"><img src="" alt="Laura Hernandez Photography" style="border:none;" /></a></div>

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