How to take better Photos with your Cell phone

I get it you aren’t always going to have a pro around documenting your day. In fact you probably won’t even have a camera, and that’s okay. I was looking through my pictures the other day and guess what I even like those blurry cell phone shots I take of my kid as he rushes through doing the cutest thing ever. Cause well it’s about the memory and even if it’s a crapy photo it still brings back the feels for me. However there are a few tricks you can use to get those pics not so blurry. You may still get some that well honestly only a mama can love because well sometimes you only have two seconds to pull out your camera and try to capture the low light high action moment. But for the other times here are a few tips.

1. Avoid low light high action moments- I know you don’t always have control but when you do at least turn the lights on. Ideally you’ll want to go outside or have lots of natural light from a window. So if your kid is super adorable at popping bubbles then get your wand and head outdoors. Inside no matter how bright it seems will almost always be darker than outside even on a cloudy day. If the light is super harsh like in the afternoon then find a shady spot to avoid under eye shadows but get outside and enjoy the light. The light makes your phone have a higher shutter speed which freezes the moment instead of blurring it.

2. If you have to shoot indoors in low light then stabilize your camera/cell phone. Either find something to rest the bottom of the phone on or hold it really close to your body to help stabilize it. It’s the same thing you do with a big dslr camera when you shoot low light receptions. In order to let the light in to capture the image you have to have a slower shutter speed which means any movement from you ei. breathing will mean a slight shift of the camera which leads to blur.

3. Get on their level- I know sometimes you just don’t feel like moving. As a pregnant mama I get it it’s so much easier to take a picture from your eye level but it tells a better story if you are willing to get low. The world for your kid is at their eye level not yours so instead of trying to capture your world try capturing theirs. There’s so much more magic hidden in their world and you’ll be surprise at the images you get.


Newborn Photography: Family Love

Hello friend,
One of the things I love most about being a photographer is I get to see/capture so many precious moments.  Getting a new member of the family can be quite an adjustment but it also is full of beautiful touching and awe inspiring moments.  These girls were so sweet with their new sister and have such a strong bond between them. 
I love capturing their awe over this little infant.  I loved watching their eyes brim with love at the simple acknowledgement given by their new sister, and how softly they touched her.  You can tell in these images how much they love her already and what a good friendship they will build.  It brings me back to my own family and the two sisters I have.  Hopefully I was as soft and tender with mine as they are with theirs. 
Either way I know they will have fun times together like I did with my sisters playing dress ups and dolls and laughing until everything hurts.  Such an amazing time of life. And those moments and experiences soon become memories in a photo album.  Oh how I love how photos can transport you through time.  

Why Prints Matter

I know everyone wants the digital I get it I promise I want them too. But here’s the truth of the matter. The digitals often stay just digitals, even for me. On my wall is a picture of my son and guess what he’s six months old in the photo, and he’s turning two in a few months and I have a ton of great photos of him that I just haven’t printed. It’s embarassing but true.

You may be one of those few people that are really good at getting your photos printed…but statistically speaking those people are in the strong minority. 53% of people haven’t printed a single image in 12 months and 70% of people no longer have photo albums. I don’t know exactly what the statistics are but a few of the sites I’ve looked at says as much as 30% of pc users will loose all their data based on no fault of their own. Yep that means all your photos have a 30% chance of disappearing unless they are printed. Luckily there’s backups and your facebook album 🙂 but honestly even those are vulnerable to data coruption and vanishing without a trace.

What I like about print is there’s few things that can actually destroy a photo. Floods can wet it and fade it and cake it with dirt but with a little patience and some skill you can scan it and restore it and get it pretty close to back to it’s original glory. Fire is a little more difficult but the chances of the whole image going up in a puff of smoke is small. Sunlight can fade the image, kids can color on it, it can be folded and smudged and start to peal but it’s very rarely beyond at least some sort of saving. When you loose a digital file it’s often times just gone without a trace and there’s not much you can do.

As a photographer I don’t just take photos. I capture memories and stages of life that are not going to last forever. I do not want you to ever loose those moments. That is why I don’t just offer you a bunch of digital images instead I offer something more permanent images and albums. Something that isn’t going to disappear if you child gets ahold of your computer and pushes delete. I also want them to be something you see everyday instead of once a year when you click of the file folder on accident. Trust me I’ve been there you think your going to love and cherish them and then you forget. It’s okay your human. That is why I offer something different. Need a few more reasons to print your photos. Here’s ten:

  1. Prints are harder to destroy
  2. You don’t need to be tech savy to enjoy a printed photo
  3. Sometimes you stumble upon them by accident and take you one trip down memory lane.
  4. Put them somewhere you see them daily to remind you of feelings, memories and people
  5. They are tactile- there’s something powerful about touch
  6. They don’t vanish when you push delete
  7. kids can enjoy them
  8. harder to destroy- you can save them even when they’ve had water on them, been crumpled, worn, etc you can always restore them
  9. technology to view printed photos will never become outdated
  10. You can view them even when your battery dies

My Photography Style

Every photographer you meet is trying to find that sweet spot we call our style. Honestly it’s not as easy as it sounds and for me it’s been a tough journey cause well I like everything and I tend to compare myself to others. Yep instagram and facebook are the devil. But I’m not telling you anything you don’t already know cause everyone does it we all compare and critique and end up confusing ourselves and getting lost in the shuffle of pretty things. But anyhow I’ve figured out a few things about myself and what my style is. So you ready for it.

  1. I like my images simple. Simple color scheme, simple background, and simple setup. I don’t like lots of props, patterns, or crazy camera angles I just like to focus on the subject. I like headshot type images of people, kids, babies. I don’t like to have it clutterd up with props.
  2. I love dark colors. Okay I don’t have a problem shooting pastels and if that’s your thing totally wear them but I love dark colors. I love blues, dark reds, golden yellows, browns, grey, dark purple, black and white.
  3. Screaming with personality. I like laughing photos, grumpy photos, goofing off photos and real smiles. The smile can be small and quiet or big and contagious but if it’s real it shows.
  4. I edit true to life. I don’t do trendy instagram filter type presets. My editing style changes slightly depending on the current trend for example over the years it’s gotten slightly warmer and a touch less bold but the image you see when you are standing there in real life is the image I deliver. The colors are going to look the same, the skin tones are going to look the same. I may edit out distractions, and add a little pop. But it’s not going to look dated in a few years and it’s not going to look foreign to you. I also edit my images by hand I don’t batch edit and be done. I look at each individual image and do what’s best for that image specifically.
  5. Let kids be kids. Kids don’t alway cooperate and you know what that’s okay. Even when it comes to newborns I don’t force them to do anything they don’t want to do. Some kids hate being wrapped and that’s okay. In fact that was my babies. Well at least the first one and I’m guessing the second one will be too cause it doesn’t even hold still in my tummy for more than ten minutes. I constantly feel hands, feet, elbows and knees and I’m okay with that. My oldest hated to have his arms wrapped and not free and kicked off his blankets like no ones business. That’s just how my babies roll. So I embrace it. let them squirm and wiggle rather than force them to sleep in a taco pose. No one remembers their baby curled up in taco pose anyhow and definitely not sitting up in a froggy pose. Babies just don’t go like that. I also let kids crawl, climb and run. I get better pictures if they aren’t forced to do something they don’t want to do. And if it means we take a break for a family session we take a break. But usually that doesn’t happen because kids break down more when they feel forced.

Car sick and Lessons

I dated a guy that was a really good friend and at the end of our relationship he asked me what my favorite date was. I can’t remember my response by I will always remember his. His favorite date was when we went off roading and a fog rolled in and I got car sick. This was definitely not on my list of favorites. I made them pull over and I puked in front of everyone on the side of the road and right in front of him because he got out too to make sure I was okay. I was embarassed, mortified, and just wanted to crawl into a hole. I also felt like puking again so I just suffered through the rest of the trip.

And yes this was his favorite date. He said it was because he got to take care of me and that I handled the situation well. So the date I wanted to clear from my memory he cherished. So what’s the lesson, sometimes things turn out the best when they don’t go as planned and when things aren’t perfect.

So many times in life we compare ourselves to others, or to how we want it to be. Maybe it’s how we want to be, or how we want our house to look, or the skills, or job that we want to have. We want everything to be perfect. We want a instagram worthy feed in every aspect of our life. The perfect family, always matching, a testimony in God, nothing ever wavering, the perfect house, everything clean and coordinated, the perfect wardrobe, no hair out of place, doing the perfect family trips, because your job pays you mega bucks and only asks for a few hours a week, just to name a few.

Luckily life isn’t like that for anyone. Because then that person would never have friends. We all have aspects of our life that isn’t perfect that other people can help us with and take care of us. Things that make us human, relatable, and lovable. Instead of wanting to crawl in a hole because of them we should embrace them and own them and know that those around us with the perfect instagram feed pictures have them to. We may not see them but they are always there it’s just part of the human experience.

Photo by Helena Lopes on

Frame what makes you Smile

So I’ve had the website but I was using the name Carter Photography. I’ve decided it’s time to focus more on the frameasmile that I thought was so clever when I first started out in 2012. Because framing a smile is really what it is all about. I want to give my client photos that make them smile that they can frame and hang on their wall.

And let me guess you are thinking in your mind of all the photos you have that make you smile that are not on your wall. Photographers that gave you digitals and they are sitting happily on your hard drive. Yep they need to be hung up so they can make you smile.

I think of very few things as a need in my life and photos on my wall are one of them, specifically photos that make you smile. In my bedroom, I have hung up one of my favorite engagement pictures and I can’t tell you how many times I have had my attitude changed by that photo. My husband is practically perfect in every way but since I’m not sometimes I can get annoyed or frustrated by something or another and well I walk into my room and am reminded about just how in love we are and just how much he loves me in particular and you know what I’m not nearly as annoyed. I see him with those rose colored honeymoon glasses and I fall in love all over again. It doesn’t fix everything every time but it definitely reminds me to cut him some slack and see all the good things he does for me.

Are those simple pictures saving our marriage? No, but they are a reminder of why we got married to start with. Don’t get me wrong our marriage is fantastic and I wouldn’t want to ever be separated from him ever. So it’s not like it’s hanging by a thread and these photos are keeping it together but they do remind me what’s important and reminds us of how much we love each other and remember that every day is enough I believe to save even the most fragile of marriages. Because if we put the other person first who knows the changes that can take place.

The same goes for family photos or photos of anything else that reminds you of what is really important in your life. I could go on and on about the topic. Because well I just feel very strongly about printing photos and the power they have to influence and remind us and eventually change us.

Try to show kindness in all that you do

As women I think there’s a lot of pressure to be some sort of bad A in your face no nonsense kind of person. Which I’d much rather have that than the look pretty and keep your mouth shut pressure of the 1900’s but still neither one of them is really a good balanced human. Yes I know I might get some flax for saying it. But honestly we just need to be kind, understanding and decent human beings.

I was singing a song to my son the other day. It was a Christian children’s song and it talked about trying to show kindness in all that you do. Show kindness in deed and in thought. And since by that time he was asleep in my arms i had time to really think and ponder about what that meant and the implications that had on my life. I definitely have some room for improvement.

I try to be kind but it doesn’t always happen as naturally as I’d like. For example I have a toddler at home. Cutest kid you’ll ever meet, but when he does stuff I don’t like my response it usually far from kind. As a teacher, when my students pushed my buttons…far from kind. Dealing with solicitors on the phone or the customer help desk…far from kind. So many areas of my life where I have forgotten to be kind. So this weeks goal is to focus more on kindness. Where’s the areas you want to improve?

Why I wait so long to announce my pregnancies

Guess what I’m pregnant. If you’ve seen me you’d know it. if you haven’t you wouldn’t cause we just announced it this week. I know most people announce just as soon as they pee on a stick but being an older mama I’m a little hesitant.

I know I know I should relax but seriously there’s so many things that can go wrong. The whole childbirth thing is 100% a miracle there’s no other way around it.

And I may have had an experience with it not turning out like I had planned. our first positive test we jumped the gun a bit. we were super excited our first baby and a week after taking the test we told my family. Which means they had to go through the trauma with us when I miscarried. my mother’s response was don’t put us through that again. I felt the same way but it was kinda nice not to have to suffer in silence. instead we shared the burden of the loss. And the next time we waited longer…but were still excited so we shared early again and guess what this one worked out.

But it’s still made me a little skittish about the whole public announcement thing. plus being an older momma I have a lot of friends who have struggled with infertility and so I try to not over post about my miraculous pregnancy, because I know that it’s not something I’m doing right to get pregnant it just happens for me thankfully because as i watched my internal clock tick on by my fear of infertility grew and grew.

Now that I know I can have kids there are other fears. Honestly, there’s no other way to describe birth but a miracle, I’m not talking about a nonreligious expression of the word miracle but a 100% act of God type miracle. I feel that way about any birth human or animal. You take two cells mix them together and the next thing you know there’s a moving, breathing, thinking creature who emerges from the body of another creature. Yes I know it sounds like a sci-fi horror movie. And if you’ve seen a birth you’ll still feel that way, but you’d also see what a miracle it is. One of the greatest and scariest experiences of my life.

The Power of the Everyday

So one of the things that make me smile is everyday life. You know those small moments that are just well normal. Yes the big moments are great too but I definitely believe in the power of the everyday moments and that those are truly the ones that change our lives.

And I love capturing them on film, or in this case digital files. Ha ha But really pull out your phone and document a bit of normal life, not the trips, the birthdays just the little moments. Because they are probably the ones you are going to miss the most.

Isn’t my son adorable when he’s sleeping. Seriously though these are the moments I know I am going to miss and the times I treasure. He’s growing up so fast that it’s hard to keep up. I remember when he used to fit comfortable in my arms now he’s all legs and arms and doesn’t fit nearly as snug. But luckily he still sometimes naps curled up all small like he did as a baby and I get flashbacks of his little self. Other times he’s awake like in the photos below and it’s quite clear that my little snuggle bug has grown up. He’s so full of personality and life. Everything makes him smile. If I could hang a picture of everything that made him smile it would be mostly food and his Daddy. But it would also hold treasures like mounds of old snow on the side of the road, being able to throw his own diaper away, washing dishes and small bugs. Stuff that as adults we forget to smile about.

I love how he reminds me to smile about those little things in life. And you know what I have found I’m smiling a lot more often since he’s come around. So My challenge for you is to TAKE TIME TO SMILE AT THE EVERYDAY MOMENTS OF LIFE.

Read to me Mama milestone photos

Oh how I love milestone photos. Babies grow up so fast and they learn so much and well you just forget how cool everything is. This little guy is sitting, we do it all the time so it may not seem so remarkable and as time passes you forget just how remarkable it was. But for this little guy sitting has opened up a whole new world. He is no longer forced to sit there staring at the ceiling. He can see what is going on in the world around him and he loves it, as you can clearly see. His life will never be the same. That is why I love capturing these moments because for the child these milestones are a life changer…and they often are for the parents as well. Cause crawling, walking, climbing, running and jumping is next and then in a blink of an eye they are in kindergarten learning to read then off to college. Okay maybe not that fast but someday’s it definitely feels like it. Oh where has the time gone. (801) 831-1778

Our move to Idaho

So most of you already know this but we moved to Idaho. Rexburg, Idaho to be exact. We had a little baby, my husband was working full time and going to school and we decided enough was enough. Rexburg has cheap housing and Byui has cheap tuition so my husband quit his job and we packed up our little family and headed off on an adventure.

Idea conception to move in date was a month. By some miracle they approved his application as soon as they got back from Christmas break, we purchased someone’s housing contract without seeing the place and moved in the day after school started. My husband just couch surfed for a couple days so he could start class on time. It was a whirl wind of a ride but everything worked out.

Our apartment was perfect and my son didn’t learn to crawl until three days after we moved in. Which at the time I didn’t think was a big deal but unpacking with a helper was hard enough I couldn’t imagine trying to pack with one. Crawlers can be a handful. Adorably cute but still a handful.

So that’s how we went from the chaotic shuffle of city life balancing work and school and family life to actually getting to see each other in the daylight hours, penny pinching like crazy, and loving every minute if it.


So have you ever had one of those days where you’re trying to do everything right and well it just doesn’t work out. Yep I have I was trying to clean up my blog and delete unused photos from the server and guess what they all went, every single one of them. Needless to say my cute little son had to spend some time in his room while Mommy lost it.

Big alligator tears were on the menu and ain’t no kid need to see that. So it ended up he was crying in his room and I was crying in mine and well after five minutes we had both had enough. I put on my big girl pants dried my eyes and decided that was all the time I had to morn years and years worth of images and blog posts. I shut down my program rescued my screaming child and apologized profusely for my break down and went on with life. Not touching it until now like six months later. Sorry it was holiday time and I just couldn’t face the music.

But I am back! I would say as good as ever but that is yet to be decided.

Engagement Session at a Park

So this couple is quite amazing. He was a survivor or the earthquake in Haiti and trapped in a collapses school for days.  He’s created a non profit to raise funds to help his homeland as well as running his own business.  She’s a talented educator and has worked in elementary education as well as being a private tutor.  She also plays the Ukelela and offers lessson.  She has so many talents it’s incredible.  Anyhow it was such a treat taking photos of them.  They wanted to do a few that represented the melding of their two nations so we took some flag images.  I think they turned out quite nicely and they loved howm they were both able to represent their country.

Kid Backyard Portraits Natural Light

This kid doesn’t like to get his pictures taken, unless he can do something silly like stick his finger up his nose or scream or jump. But the good news is amidst all the silliness you get these adorable little smiles perfect for a wall portrait.  But you have to be super fast with the lens and click at just the right moment or you’ve missed them and your stuck with a monster face, sometimes you get a cute one but most of the time it just looks like I snapped the photo in the middle of a sneeze, Yep he’s that good.  He thrives on it and always wants to see the back of the camera and he’s so disappointed when I’ve got a good one instead of a monstrous creation. But as you can see even with his best effort his adorable cuteness pours out of him and finds it’s way to knock his portrait session out of the park.

carterphotofouryearoldportraits--2 carterphotofouryearoldportraits--3 carterphotofouryearoldportraits--4 carterphotofouryearoldportraits--9 carterphotofouryearoldportraits--8 carterphotofouryearoldportraits--7 carterphotofouryearoldportraits--6 carterphotofouryearoldportraits--5 carterphotofouryearoldportraits--10 carterphotofouryearoldportraits--11 carterphotofouryearoldportraits--12 carterphotofouryearoldportraits--13 carterphotofouryearoldportraits--14 carterphotofouryearoldportraits--15 carterphotofouryearoldportraits--16

Little Girl Outdoor Portrait Session

This little girl is my niece these are old photos she’s in kindergarten now but her sassy attitude has continued she’s one of my favorite little girls to take photos of because you never know what you are going to get but you can guarantee she’s going to be over the moon excited about something. You can also almost guarantee that she won’t do anything you want her to do and she will only do something that she wants. For example, she loved her zebra jacket, and once the photos were over she wanted to finish her puzzle. 🙂 Oh well as least we got some good portraits of this little girl.  carterphototwoyearoldportraits--2carterphototwoyearoldportraits- carterphototwoyearoldportraits--6 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--7 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--9 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--10 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--11 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--12 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--13 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--14 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--19 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--18 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--20 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--21 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--22 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--23 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--24 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--25 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--27 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--28 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--29 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--30 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--31 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--32 carterphototwoyearoldportraits--33

Frame what makes you SMILE

%d bloggers like this: