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  • You found me! I’m so glad…

    A little about my biz, so you can start stalking ahead of the game:

    It's called BDphotography not only because it rhymes (tho' i am a Suess fan) or because those are my initials, but because they are also the initials of my husband, our two daughters and our son. without them, i'm nothing. they are the reason i do things the way i do. i LOVE photography and everything that comes with it. if i had the leisure i think i might just do it for free. in my head, that's just what i do. you don't pay for my service, you pay for the time i spend away from my family: planning, traveling, shooting, editing...

    But welcome to the {B}log! stop by often and you can keep up with my most recent adventures in photography, meet my amazing clients, and occasionally take a glimpse into my personal life, because what proud mama can resist a little bragging? i'm sure your family is just as fabulous as mine and the ones you will see here. i bet you actually prefer them to us, but you are biased :) either way, i can't wait to meet them! for now...kick off your shoes, have some more brownies, browse around, and make some silly faces. no one can see, but it's great practice for when i get my lens on you.

    { Bridgette Davis }

{DIY tutorials} huge modern canvas alternative {{cincinnati dayton photographer}}

if there is one thing i love as much as creating images with my camera, it’s creating something by hand.  i love to DIY.  i love to see something gorgeous and think, “how can i do that on my own”?  i love how happy a completed project, a completed PIN, makes me.  it’s great to fill your home or wardrobe with things you love, or give a gift or decorate a party, but when it is with things you made yourself, you have extra affection for them.

i’ve been on a roll, getting stuff done in between sessions, and i always think i want to share them with you guys because, if i can do it, YOU CAN do it… it’s just finding the time to post about them.  no more excuses, i’ve got to catch you up on a few things that you should definitely move to the top of your DIY on a rainy day pinterest board.  that’s what mine is titled anyway:)  gone are the days of spending my rainy days just pinning more stuff!

so i think i’ll start with the one that you guys will be most excited about, since, if you are here, you probably have some pictures you are in love with and still need to get off of your cd:)

a sweet client of mine left me an excited voicemail telling me to check out a site i was sure to love.

i loved the look, but immediately thought, i can do that on my own.  then i looked at their prices and thought, i have to do that on my own.  immediately.

now, to be fair, a company has to maintain a website, advertising, employees, materials, all sorts of overhead and still turn a profit.  i’m not saying their prices are astronomical unfair, companies charge what they do because they have to, to stay in business.  trust me, i learned this the hard way as a small business owner!  i’m just saying if you neeeeed to have this fabulousness in your home, you TOTALLY can do it on your own if you don’t want to wait on ordering/shipping.  you can have this hanging on your wall tonight!  instant gratification and saving tons of money to put toward your next photo session?  i’m a fan of both.

ok now how?

you need:

a superfavorite image that makes you smile

a big bottle of modge podge

measurements of your space (BIGGER is always better with images. please stop hanging wimpy 8×10 s.  you now have no excuse.  this is a 20×30)

a piece of thin smooth board from lowe’s or the like

a wallpaper roller from there is also handy

and a nice paintbrush if you don’t have one

a “poster print” ordered thru’, ready in 1hour (yay!) at meijer or your fav local pickup (no shipping $!)

SO. i’m writing this tutorial from here on out, based on a 20×30.  sounds big, but it’s just right if you like the look above.  modern, bold, gorgeous, frameless, edge to edge eye candy.  once you get the hang of it, you can easily do it with other sizes too.  i’m probably going to do some small ones in a collage, like the gorgeous ones designed by pros at canvasondemand.  check out their genius ideas for arranging your own.  a canvas is always in style, but photo to wood is the hot new direction that look is going.  just remember as you go big you need professional high resolution files, not something pulled from your facebook mobile uploads.

i had never gone that big because at $150+ a pop for canvas or wood-mount, it was just too much commitment.  i decided to take my chances with a “poster print” 20×30 because it was less than $20, and i could have it in my hands by the time i got dressed and had the baby loaded into the car etc.  i thought it was risky because we all know posters are wrinkled and creased to death by the time you get them home (i’m looking at you Bieber and “hang in there” kitty falling down a toilet). i decided it was worth a shot and i would handle it with extreme care.  i was THRILLED THRILLED THRILLED when i got to the store and it was a giant photo on real true thick photo paper.  i practically skipped over to lowe’s with it, found the thinnest, smoothest, cheapest board i could find (4footx8foot smooth plywood underlayment, 1/4 inch thick for $12!).  the super friendly guys there cut it for me, to my exact specs for free.  measure your print to make sure it’s a true 20×30. you don’t want over hang, if your scissor skills are like mine.  i had them cut two and have plenty leftover for future projects but if you know how many you need and what dimensions ahead of time, it would be smart to have it all cut at once.  i grabbed a handy smooth hard foam roller from the wallpaper section while i was there.  you could probably use a rolling pin or something if you don’t want to spring for it, but it was worth it to me.

back home, i gave the board a quick spray of white paint, just around the edges.  at 1/4 inch, not much is going to show but here is where you can customize to match your decor.  think spraypaint, acrylic paint or even stain. then i layed out the board, layed the photo on top exactly where i wanted it, had my daughter hold one end in place (had my other daughter grab the baby who was screaming and tugging my pants off me), lifted my end of the photo and poured modge podge onto the wood.  i spread it into a thin but not stingy layer and carefully lowered my end of the photo back down onto it.  still having her hold it in place just in case, i rolled and smoothed out any teeny air bubbles that may have been trapped.  at this point the pic should be secure and in place.  i continued rolling and smoothing probably more than i need to because at this point i could tell i was in love with the look and i wanted this puppy to last, not peel and bubble in a few weeks.  we switched sides and repeated this same process to secure the other half of the photo.  me oh my i am excited!

next- i did a step that turns out to be optional.  i thought i needed to seal the photo with modge podge on top.  this is a VERY scary step because pouring a puddle of white glue on the front of a photo you adore feels so wrong, even when you KNOW it will dry clear.  but trust me. it does dry clear.  promise.  i poured it on and brushed it into a thin coat again.  i used diagonal strokes all in one direction {/}, but you could do cross-hatched for a more canvas effect{#}.  just know that this step will leave your print with a subtle texture.  turned out my guy wasn’t a fan of the texture and so the second time i did this project i tried it without sealing it on the front.  i’m happy to tell you either way works, so you have options people!  just make sure you carefully seal the edges and corners either way with your finger and some modge podge.  also smooth out any drips here while it is still wet.

the images below show the subtle difference.  the first one, modge podge sealed, has a texture that is noticeable from certain angles.  the second one, unsealed, feels and looks like a normal photo. {always choose matte over glossy when you have the choice in photo development!!}  for the record, i love both.  just remember, the beauty of DIY is, it doesn’t need to be perfect.  it’s custom and made with love, so give yourself and break and embrace any imperfections.  with this project, if you aim for the unsealed but get a little messy with the modge podge by mistake, go ahead and seal it after all. no worries, roll with the punches.

now you are to the hardest part- patience.  i noticed my board was a little bowed so i finally made use of the U.S. weekly subscription that magically showed up to my house this year.  {thank you whoever sent that! i love it, just can’t find the time to sit and read them}.  a stack of mags on the center weighed it down flat while it dried. DO NOT DO THIS IF YOU HAVE MODGE PODGE ON THE FRONT! the glue will stick to anything it touches, which is why i lined my work space with junk mail instead of accidentally gluing my project to the table.

if you can let it dry overnight, great.  if not, just wait as long as you can stand it.  finally, hang it in the perfect spot and smile every time you walk by.  i wanted a flush mount so i tried the 3m command poster strips for the first time and they were great!  they are basically non-permanent velcro, come with easy instruction and left no holes in my freshly painted wall.  i can even pop the pics on and off easily if i want to move them around or rotate other images with them:) photobarn has other ideas on how to hang them if you want more options.

the final step is to share the love!  repin or share it on FB.  get your pics off the cd!  help your bestie get her pics off her cd!  no one is more guilty than me.  i hadn’t put up pics of my family for years, since i starting shooting professionally.  brooklynne said to me in march, “mom, spring pictures are tomorrow, can we buy them this time?”  slightly offended i said, “but mommy does your pictures.”  and dead serious she asked, “yeah, but can you actually print those?”  she honestly thought they had to stay in the computer, and look, it only took me 6 months from that slap in the face to get some of my own family pictures done and on the wall.  like i said before, if i did it, you can do it!  happy modge podging!!

{special thanks to sarah babcock of mugshotstudios for doing our family session this year.  i am more in love with these images everyday, which is the whole point of investing in fine photography.  memories are more valuable as time goes on and nothing will ever be the same as it is today}

start crafting, refresh your space, make some gifts, get your hands dirty and contact me if you need need some new pics, or help with a step, or someone to hold your hand or pat you on the back.  i want to see what you do with this!

xo {BD}

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Ashley Embleton - I like so many things about this tutorial. It’s doable, well-explained, AND budget friendly.  Wood IS in. I just may have to get my {BD} images off that disk *this* weekend and do some DIY’ing…maybe the hubs will help?! 

Also, BD, has anyone told you–beside being a phenomenally-creative photographer, you can write, lady! Love that you are able to share your creativity through blogs and tutorials. Not all photographers can do that; trust me, as a fellow Word Girl {and teacher}, some people cannot, should not blog. However, your creativity is enhanced through the art of word. Awesome sauce all around. Thx for sharing. 

Megan M - I love this! I did something like this with plaques. I painted them the colors I wanted then modge podged the photos right on top. They are hanging in Parker’s room. I love the idea of making a BIG canvas-like one. I’ll be trying this! Thanks for sharing!

Bridgette - modge podge is the best!!

Chuck Meadors - Love this. Can’t wait to see them. I want one for Christmas or my birthday:-).

BTW, this is my daughter. So proud.

keylocks, live and in color {{ cincinnati dayton hamilton middletown family photographer }}

less is more when you blog. trust me, i know it.  and i swear i really do try.  i sit on sessions for days, weeks or months so i’m less biased and can narrow them down to the top dogs.  and i tried this time too.  it just didn’t work out.  we had TOOOOO much fun.  even at only 1/5 of the final images, the blog still comes to 50 images.  so once again, here i go, overindulging.  buckle in and, as my Brooklynne would say,  feast your eyes!
color and texture were the order of the day.  we ended up at a satellite location last minute.  all’s well that ends well.  even better when it’s unplanned and comes together perfectly.georgie porgie, not to give you a big head, but you are hilarious;)mum tried to steal some quick affection from dad.  evie was having none of it!if i ever make a coffee table book, this. will. be it’s cover ↑

william begging for kisses.  silly boy, she used her charm and irresistibility to steal your hat.  lesson #7 about pretty girls. they are all doing the perfect thing if you ask me! i LOVE THIS ↑okay this ↓ is my second choice  for which image to print and send back home to any aunts you have in england. my first choice would be the one just like this where finn has a whole bunch of tough finn attitude on his face.same age difference as my Briella and Bronx, just flip the boy/girl scenario.  so sweet to watch them together.  he is just as nurturing, protective and in love as Briella ismake it rain mum and dad!!!waiting patiently for their treats… not that she is rubbing it in…oh two can play the “deceive-you-with-sweet-charming-snuggles” game eh?wildman william. how cool is he?!
not in your hair little finney finn finn!
what else can i say? you guys are a blast.  thanks for the honor. xoxo

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a surprise for meadow {{ gender reveal balloon photographer dayton cincinnati }}

i’m not sure if anyone takes up as much space on my hard drive as little miss meadow:) in fact, i even named my signature edit after her because i developed it one day working on her session.  she is one of my longest and most loyal clients.  i’m a bad blogger so you probably haven’t seen tons of her images, but i’ve been her photographer since she was days old, which means i’ve had the inside scoop on all the cool stuff going on in her world.  today was no different.  sarah wanted to do a surprise balloon reveal to let everyone know whether meadow would be a big sister to a boy or girl, which of course meant pictures, which of course meant i got top-secret first access info.  being a photographer has it’s perks you know?!


yep! girl!  Meadow and i knew it all along, didn’t we Meds?  and Olive too, but she ain’t talkin  :)

   i had a some fun tonite looking back thru all her pics…watching her grown from a newborn to a little lady in just a few hundred clicks.

  i really can’t imagine a better sidekick for Meadow than a curly haired little Iris, or freckle faced Daisy, or can we have maybe a shy little Willow or Fern?

i’m excited for you big sister.  your new baby has some big sparkly shoes to fill  :)  i know you will teach her well.


oh and a little note, meadow let us keep the box in case anyone else wants to have a little fun.  just add balloons:)

who’s next?

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what’s in a name {{ cincinnati dayton newborn adoption photographer }}

not sure what to say, except i’ve come to the realization that one of the greatest joys of this career is working with clients over and over for a few years.  i learn so much from watching your stories unfold.  it’s why i don’t do “new client only” discounts, but discounts for return sessions instead.  i never felt great being a member of a gym, or patron of a spa, and being excluded from specials because i was already a loyal client.  what???!  that’s like the opposite of appreciation.  anyway, just want you all to know, i appreciate you so much!  you support me, you teach me, and you bless me.  same goes for this little story…

meet topper
he has such a cool story.  there once was a girl named bridget who came into my life.  it was such a scary chapter in her story, and yet, i had an unusual bold confidence and calm about it.  i just mean, i am a worrier by nature.  it’s one of the most frustrating things i deal with (you know, aside from my disorganized A.D.D. tendencies).  and i was SUPER worried when i starting researching stage 2 breast cancer and tried to put myself in 26 year old bridget’s shoes.  but the funny thing is, once i was there, i was kind of infected by her strength and positivity and my prayers for her became very calm.  devoid of desperation or fear, and completely full of hope and anticipation.  i actually said, “i really don’t see this being more than a hiccup in your story”.  that’s hard to believe coming from me, but not hard to believe knowing her.  do you follow?  ok, well i also said in that first blog, “i’m really just curious to see how this cancer thing will be used in her life and the lives of those around her.”

WOW.  how faith-building and incredible it has been to watch.

 it’s a long story, but in short, Bridget fought thru’ chemo, a double mastectomy, recovered, got her hair back, decided not to give cancer a chance to be passed down to the next generation in her family, bravely chose adoption as the next step , was matched with “the best birth mom ever”,  stood in an operating room to watch her son be born, spent a few “lifetime movie without the drama” perfect days in the hospital with said birth mom and hubby and baby T, and is now the most excited and proud  soccer mom this side of the mississippi.

i wish i could tell you all the funny little details about how things worked together to get them to this place in the story, the things that Bridget just smiles and explains as, “It’s all God”, but there are just too many, and I know I wouldn’t do it justice.  maybe if you are lucky enough, one day she will tell you herself.  but here’s one of my favorites.

bridget and i have a thing with names.  it’s kind of what brought us together.  see, my girls are briella and brooklynne, which blew her away when she met them (as their art teacher Mrs. Beatty) because for years she and her husband had those exact two names chosen if they ever had daughters.  imagine both our surprise when we met each other. “Hi I’m Bridgette.”  ”Oh hi, I’m Bridget!” (nevermind that she spells her’s wrong).  then, remember in the last post when i said their little girl would have a B name or their little boy would have a T name?  well ends up, the amazing woman who carried topper already had two boys and both their names start with T.  does anyone else appreciate these “coincidences”??  and then at the hospital when topper was born, there was a little girl born that was named briella.:)i’m so thrilled for you, Bridget.  so blessed to have been able to support you and watch you thru’ all of it.  to witness your pinterest boards go from inspirational quotes on cancer to practical, fun, and encouraging tips for mamas raising boys.  can’t wait to bring our little men up together, and i’m so excited to have a crazy creative friend like you to share the experience with.

to all the {BD}families brought together by adoption, or in the process of adoption now, thanks for teaching me about a love i never experienced before.  cheers.

“adoption is when a child grows in it’s mama’s heart instead of her tummy”

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megan - Such a beautiful story!!

beth - ok, i am crying. …this is beautiful….it is a small world… God’s great plan ……The Beatty’s are GOOD friends of my nephew Matt Greider…..

Beth Greider

{ONE}derful year {{ cincinnati dayton first birthday cake smash photography }}

to my baby boy:

birthdays are a big deal around here.  at least for me.  i usually celebrate my birthday week.  this year i dragged it out, went to vegas, had a birthday month for my 30th.  but actually my girls from high school and i decided that you can’t over-celebrate your 30th so we are enjoying our birthday year with a new adventure together every few weeks as the “flirty30″ crew { bellydancing, painting class, silks, trapeze, rock climbing…}

your dada?  he’s that handsome quiet type who likes to say, “my birthday is just another day”… which for me sucks all the fun out it  {speaking of- tonight we all giggled like crazy sucking the helium from your giant balloon and making funny voices at you, even though you won’t remember}.  i still try tho, like the time i wrote a singing telegram and had a friend show up in spandex to deliver it in front of his entire office.  that was a good one:) last year i delivered the present myself {a week late}…it was YOU!

and for your sisters?!  i’m not the best at remembering all the new traditions i try to start, but i sure do hope some stick.  we paint their yearly canvas together, i love to throw a great party, and make your sisters feel like i’ve forgotten the word “no” for a few days surrounding their big days.  they will tell you i don’t take it easy on them the rest of the year; i make them work for everything, they get lectured about values and money and decisions and responsibility… if you don’t see this for yourself, they will warn you.  but all that goes out the window for a week of their birthday.  i was so happy to read back thru the blog tonight and see your sisters’ birthday shoots, see how much they have grown… read about what stood out about them at those ages, funny little things i have forgotten too quickly.  i hope i can continue this for you.

my sweet prince.  i don’t know where a year has gone.  as i lay here typing with you asleep on my chest, i swear it has been no time at all since you were born in the water and i pulled you to the same spot with my own hands.  your smallest big sister cut the cord and you have been unstoppable since.  dada and i knew good and well this time how it all goes too fast.  we actually decided we should try to keep you a newborn,  but our plan did not work out as you can tell.   the days of velvety soft peach fuzz skin and stiff jerky movements and simple little grunts and signature new life wails quickly gave way to a boy in every sense of the word.
before you could sit up, you laughed at the rumbles in your diaper.  who does that??  a boy.  before we knew it, your blue eyes from dada turned to hazel eyes from mama.  you crawled in record time.  for your 8 month birthday you cut your first tooth at 40,000 feet flying home from las vegas.  before your 9 month, you were walking all by yourself.  this didn’t come without consequence.  as i type, your injury count is at 7 bloody lips and one mean facial bruise.  countless fevers too, i’m guessing from all the dirt and germs that come with snips and snails and puppy dog tails.
you’re a man’s man, always reaching for the guy in the crowd, hanging out with the boys, willing to go with a stranger if he has facial hair.  but you are no two-timer.  i am undeniably your favorite woman on the planet, and i will wear that badge as long as i possibly melt our hearts with your sweet little hugs around our necks,  your dimpled tan little hand patting us.  you give noggin bonks and mimic all sorts of gestures and habits we have.  you grin at us with that gap toothed spongebob excited as we get watching you do something new, it’s just as cool to watch the girls be impressed and thrilled by every little thing you discover and master- from saying new words to even going on the potty each morning!you are a tough wiry little thing.  usually takes two of us to strap you into your car seat, which you dramatically protest have a precocious sense of humor, seeming to understand our joking and teasing you about things, and certainly repeating anything that gets a laugh until it is funny no more.  you are fake sneezes, and the borey game and pee-boo and forced phony laughs to fit in when the rest of us crack up at a joke on tv.for a long time now you much prefer to be flipped and swung and held upside down to being cradled like a baby.  we think you might join cirque du soleil when you are grown.  if so, will you pleeeease take me with you?
it seems like we have spent this entire fleeting year whining about how our baby is not enough like a baby.  you are this tiny little ball of energy we can’t keep boxed in.  the single thing you have not delved head first into is food.  you still nurse for 98% of your nutrition and i could not cherish it more.  it’s the only part of your day that you are still and snugly and have not a need in the world.  our hazel eyes lock and for probably the only time in your life you actually love me as much as i love you which is incredible.  i know that with each passing day, we will foster your independence…society will harden you, make you “dust it off”, “take it like a man”…and eventually you will find some other woman more beautiful and enchanting than me who will steal all your attention and affection.  it’s ultimately my hope for you, but that doesn’t change the fact that i’m crying just thinking about it.  i didn’t even cry when you were born, but hearing you laugh out for the first time loud made me smile and sob, and here i sit now, the same emotion…tears coming out because i’m so filled with love for you that they just won’t fit inside.  i promise to do my best to raise you right and make her the luckiest girl in the world.  please choose her wisely, because like they say, she will be the gate-keeper for me spending time with you and my grandchildren when this whole crazy cycle starts all over again.
we celebrated you tonite.  nana and the girls made this sweet cake for you, and if there is one thing you will give a fair chance, it is sweets.  ”mmmmmm!” your enthusiastic little voice hummed.
and THIS face right here is why we are having a red bouncy ball birthday party for you.


you say it with an audible exclamation point every time.  it was your favorite part of the cake, it’s your favorite game, your favorite lovey, your favorite toy.  you already throw and catch and shoot hoops and your dada could not be more proud.funny bubby.  you make your sisters literally double over with laughter.  they adore you.dada tried to introduce you to his love of chocolate but you were clearly not convinced.
you stuck with the icing- smacking your lips, rubbing your belly like we had scripted it that way, and of course clutching your beloved ball.  happy birthday sweet angel babycakes bubba boo.  you are loved more than you will ever know.  thank you for changing the BD4 into the BD5.  we will never be the same, and are so grateful for the joy you bring us.



{*for cleanup you had your first bath in the sink.  your biggest sister briella insisted. “please! like a real baby before he is not a baby anymore”}

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Kelly - Happy Birthday Bronx! You have turned into quite the handsome little man :)

Natalie Gerlack - So, so cute! Great, creative pictures and such a little stud and I love his outfit and crown. Great post!

Keara - Adorable little guy! Sitting here with tears streaming down my face reading this post….

Look at me now! » Beautiful Beginnings Birth Photography - [...] To see more adorable pictures of this beautiful blonde boy, go read his birthday post over his mama’s blog. And if you missed his birth slides show last year, you can view it [...]

Melanie - How adorable!!!