Photography Cheat 3.

I love a good Bokeh! Bokeh? It’s the background BLUR that you have been dying to have in your photos!! When I first started out in photography, I desperately wanted to achieve this. It wasn’t easy for me because I lacked in photography knowledge. But as time went on I was able to get what I wanted. Now I spend my time perfecting my bokeh affect. Are you ready to blur the background and smile ear-to-ear with your new photos?

Thanks again to Pretty Presets & Gayle Vehar of Mom & Camera.

Bokeh Pretty Presets PDF Here.

Happy Birthday {My Firstborn is Growing Up}.

Yesterday my son turned 8. EIGHT. Where has the time gone? If you follow me on here or on Twitter (and Facebook too) then you know he is the one I am planning on homeschooling. We start in November actually. Okay, back to birthdays! I love my son. I love him more than to the moon and back. He is my first born. There is something about your first born child. Our children do not come with manuals or we would have this parenting thing perfected. He is my trial and error child. He is spoiled more than my girls. He receives practically everything he wants (and yes I am paying for that, literally and figuratively). He still sleeps in my bed, which is sadly only a queen. Wait, stop! He sleeps in your bed still? Yes he does. I look at it like this: they are only going to be children for so long and one day I will no longer be “cool”. I can’t slow down how fast time is going for his childhood, however I hope I can still stay “cool” (insert big grin here). I love my children. I love my son. He is sweet, caring, handsome, genuine, smart, loving, growing in God, awesome, oh my the list goes on. When he was little we use to snuggle on the couch for hours on end. He didn’t care either as long as he was with me. Some days he still wants to do just that. He knows how to melt my heart and make me long for more time in the day. That is another reason why homeschooling is for us. I barely spend time with him because he is gone from 8am-5pm, Monday thru Friday. It’s too much. I just want my son with me 24/7. It may seem crazy to you but my family is my life. My children are my everything. God gave them to me to grow them for Him and I just want to do the best job possible. Homeschooling will give me the opportunity to spend time with him. I love watching him grow and learn and it will be a great experience (hard and trying on days, but a great experience). Happy Birthday to my Sweet Son. May I raise you to be a loving, caring, and devoted husband, father, and child of God.

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Homeschool. Acting. Childhood.

Today is October 19th. One more day and my handsome son will be 8. EIGHT! It’s hard to believe that on this day 8 years ago, I was walking laps around our apartment complex to induce labor. I think it helped since I went into labor 12 hours later. Fast forward to today! My cool almost 8 year old is on the set of a movie that is being filmed here. I don’t know what the movie is about and it probably won’t be anything major but it was cool for him to be an extra. So I am one proud momma. Who would have thought that my son would be in something like this?! Although I never thought Marty would have been featured on the Discovery Channel either. Like Father, like Son, I guess. The girls and I are anxiously waiting for the boys to get back from the set. I can’t wait to hear about his day. Not everyone would allow their child to miss school for filming or for camping but that is another reason we are about to start homeschooling. Okay, let me rephrase that. We are homeschooling for many reasons, but being able to be a child and also experience various opportunities in life is another. We are so involved in life and extracurricular activities that he should be good in the social aspect of life. I thought I would mention that since many people think that homeschooled children are strange and lack in social abilities. I honestly think the opposite of that. So as I sit here scrolling through Twitter and multiple blogs, I just wanted to share a bit of our Friday with you all. Also on the to do list was turn a small section of our formal dining room (that we never use) into a bright, open space for our homeschool “classroom”. I can’t wait for the boys to see what we’ve been up to this afternoon.

Are you a homeschool family?
Do you have a separate space for a “classroom”?
If so, please share with me! I’d love to feature you on my blog!!!

Can you believe that the desk here was my sisters, then mine, now my son’s!

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Tybee Island Marine Science Center.

Yesterday (Friday, the 12th), we went on my son’s first and last field trip of 2nd Grade with his Public School. It was actually quite an awesome trip. It was paid for with grant money (the things you learn when you find yourself chatting with others about your infant). The idea of the trip was to learn about the life cycle of an animal that lived in the ocean. The animal we learned about were Jelly Fish. It was really fun and the kids enjoyed it. After that, the kids went on a Sand Sifting Tour. Sand Sifting?

I am thankful that the school as well as the Tybee Island Marine Science Center for allowing the rest of our family (myself, Marty, and our two daughters) to learn along with our son. I have lived near the coast all my life and realized I am not as in tune with Ocean life as I thought I was. I have to admit, I love field trips and this was a great one. I can’t wait to homeschool him and create and plan our own field trips. Savannah is amazing for all the beauty, history, and education that can come out of it.

Homeschool. Do You?

We have crossed over to the “other side”. Mr. M and I want to Homeschool. He was completely for it and encouraged me to look into it. We did our research together. Over a month ago we started thinking about it. I think I probably thought more since I will be the “teacher” on most days. The whole idea seems overwhelming and completely awesome at the same time. I truly cannot wait for the year’s curriculum to arrive next week. We decided to go with Abeka Books because of their Christian curriculum. It suited our lifestyle, our views, and our budget. Everyday I find new families that homeschool. Do you? Please message me if you do. I’d love to hear from you about what works, what doesn’t, and your life since you started.

This piece below is from a blog I follow. It was actually retweeted (follow me @threebusybees) by Bright Ideas Press (@BrightIdeasTeam) from Hip Homeschool Moms. To see the post on their site please Click Here.

“Considering Homeschooling? Consider These Things!

Homeschooling is a tough job! It’s very rewarding and has many benefits, but it’s just not an easy thing to do. I’ve been thinking lately about what makes some families successful at it while others give up or think it’s just “not for them.” While my list is absolutely not comprehensive, here are a few things that I’ve found to be particularly helpful to me personally as I homeschool my children. (These are not in any particular order. I think all of these things are very important.)
Support from my husband.
Curriculum that fits my children’s learning styles and my teaching style.
The knowledge that it is God’s plan for my family to homeschool.
Flexibility!
I think it is very important to have the support of your husband. If your husband does not support you in homeschooling the children, it will create so much stress and conflict that your homeschool probably won’t be effective or enjoyable. If your husband agrees to let you give it a try even though he doesn’t wholeheartedly agree with the idea, that’s ok. Go ahead and give it a try! He’ll probably become a supporter. However, if he is absolutely against the idea, I believe it’s better not to homeschool. I would definitely pray that, if it’s God’s will for you to homeschool, He would change your husband’s heart about it. In the mean time, though, I would suggest waiting to homeschool until you have his support or at least his “ok” to give it a try.
One of my very favorite things about homeschooling is that I can choose curriculum based on my children’s learning styles and my teaching style. If you are just starting out, it may take you a year or two (or three!) to find the curriculum that you and your children like best. It took me at least 3 years when I first began homeschooling 15 years ago to find companies that I particularly liked for each subject. I still change curriculum every now and then. I don’t think it’s a good idea to change curriculum every year for 10 years, but now and then it’s ok.
To me, the most important reason to homeschool is because I honestly believe it’s God’s plan for my family. There are secular families who choose to homeschool, and I certainly believe they should homeschool if that’s what they want to do. Personally, though, I feel like it’s necessary that homeschooling be in God’s will for my family or I don’t believe it will be successful. If God has a different plan for my family, then I want to follow His will!
One of the things that I’ve learned during my years of homeschooling is that we need to be willing to be flexible if we want to avoid being frustrated as we homeschool! This was the biggest surprise to me during my first few years of homeschooling. I really had not considered that homeschooling would necessitate flexibility on my part. For that reason, I learned the hard way! There will be interruptions to your schedule. Things will come up that you hadn’t planned on. You must learn to go with it, do the best you can, and not stress out over it. In fact, I’ve come to believe that we are actually doing our children a great service when we show them that it’s ok to change your schedule–especially when it’s because someone needs our help. We must also set a good example by making sure the missed work gets done as soon as possible too. We don’t want our children to learn that getting interrupted is an excuse for not getting their work done.
There are, of course, many other factors related to the success of your homeschool. These 4 things have proven very important in my own life as a homeschooling mom, and I think they are factors that should be considered by anyone who is considering homeschooling.
What about you? Were you surprised by any particular factor when you began homeschooling? Do you have anything that you would put on your own list of important things to be considered when a family is deciding whether or not to homeschool? We would love to hear from you and read your thoughts and ideas!”

Photography Cheat # Two.

I have made you wait long enough it seems for another feature on Photography Cheats! Did you enjoy Photography Cheat # One? I hope so. Today’s Photography Cheat is on Exposure. Exposure is a vital part of photography and making your images awesome. An over or underexposed photo can ruin what you are trying to capture.

Photography Cheat # Two is about finding the perfect Exposure from Gayle Vehar of Mom & Camera.

PDF version: Exposure Pretty Presets

Happy Shooting!! :)

Natural Window Lighting. My Photography Cheat # One.

Earlier today my post was showcasing a Photography Cheat! That cheat was Natural Window Lighting. If you missed the post, simply scroll down or Click Here. After I opened up about myself and then vented a little, I sat down on my couch and tried to relax. That didn’t happen like I thought it would. I kept feeling compelled to add a photo of one of my favorite Natural Window Lighting images. Here goes! This was actually two and a half years ago. This is Miss Rea when she was only 5 months old. My oh my, look at that sweet face. I just love her.

Let me know how your Natural Window Lighting photos are going and please share them!!!

Photography Cheat.

In 2006 I started my own photography business. What was I thinking? I was horrible. Okay, maybe not horrible but it wasn’t pretty. Truthfully speaking here (or typing), I would have not hired myself in the beginning. Over time and torture to my children, I grew. There is more to learn about photography than just buying a “fancy” DSLR at Best Buy. Do you even know what DSLR stands for? Well if you didn’t, it means Digital Single Lens Reflex. Whoa. Big words that mean nothing to me. Right? Wrong. In the beginning I had no idea how this camera even worked. It was on Auto – ALL THE TIME. That is the worst mistake for any photographer, whether you are an amateur or intermediate. Then I went to the P mode. That P stands for Program not Professional. I thought I was amazing and I was actually making money. People paid me to take their photos. What are they thinking? I didn’t charge that much and I am sure that is exactly why I had so many “clients”. When you book, hold, and then edit a session for less than $100, you are CHEAP. You get what you pay for I guess.

Time went on and I slowly grew as a photographer. I took classes here and there and enjoyed where I was headed, or where I thought I was headed. It wasn’t until about a year (almost two) that I fully grasped the concept of ISO, Aperture, Exposure, and even Composure. The past two years have been a nightmare of learning but a blossoming of life on my walls. I value my time behind the camera and computer. My kids have grown too in front of my lens and they look amazing doing so. Our family moments are priceless with irreplaceable photos to document my life and adventures. This is where I want to be.

At the end of 2011, I closed the doors to SMP (Stacy Martinez Photography). I still update the blog and FB page from time to time, but I have left the building. There are days when I want to open back up in full force but that would be pointless. While we always say there are plenty of people to photograph in the world, the majority are on very “limited budgets”. I have 3 children now and finding someone to take care of them while I am off for an hour to two hours isn’t always that easy. Then there is the time I spend away from them on my computer or the sleep I lose while trying to stay up late to wrap up a session. Why pointless you ask? Well I can no longer charge less than $100 per session to make it even worth leaving my house for. When the $100 is broken down to where every dollar is used, there are more expenses than there is income. I am actually paying my “client” to take their photo on paper. When I decided to restructure my business I was hit head on with the reality of today’s economy and the digital age. If it isn’t for free or dirt cheap, then I am looked over for the next person.

I have been passed over many times for another photographer, and that is okay. Things like that truly do not bother me because it is God stepping in and controlling my situation. At that point, it is what it is. However I do get bummed out when I see the quality (or lack there of) they received and it is saddening. I guess I can’t hate on them or the photographer. I was once there. I will admit something to you. There have been times where I couldn’t afford my professional photographer and I made it work. I sold junk around my house or I bartered. My memories will fade one day. It is true. You can sit there and read this and think to yourself that you will not forget. YOU WILL. I come from a family of Alzheimer’s and currently Dementia. Life sucks sometimes. Your health will fade and those memories will too.

Don’t skip out on those memories. I am not saying you have to pay thousands of dollars but realize that a couple hundred isn’t that much in the long run. Life will pass you by in an instant. Just writing this has made me miss out on a few moments with my 2 month old and my almost 3-year-old. Life is too short to worry about a few dollars. You could find the money to buy that new iPhone 5 or that Coach or Dooney & Burke hand bag. Those probably each cost more than what a legitimate and awesome professional photographer will actually cost.

But for those who are starting out in the fulfilling photography world, here are a few PHOTOGRAPHY CHEATS. If you don’t follow blogs and websites then you are out of touch in this area. I received this in an email early this morning and it made me think of writing a Photography Cheat post. Pretty Presets – Lightroom Presets & Workshops is a great site and awesome tool for photographers on any level. Learn your camera. Learn your editing software. Learn the law and licenses involved with owning a business. Learn about yourself!

PHOTOGRAPHY CHEAT # One that I am showcasing on 3 Busy Bees is about finding the best Natural Window Lighting from Gayle Vehar of Mom & Camera.

PDF version: Click Here!