Monthly Archives: May 2015

How to Do a Free Beach Photo Shoot

How to Do a Free Beach Photo Shoot

So, you are here for one week or a new local – well, there is always time to throw on some white shirts and do a Free Beach Photo Shoot!  Here’s how I do it.

1). Invest in a good camera. (QUICK CAMERA PRODUCT REVIEW!) I bought this exact one about 5 years ago – for twice this price!! I found it on sale right now where you can buy it here from amazon with all the accessories. This is an AMAZING deal!! I have had this camera 5 years and it still is in perfect condition. This sale even comes with the tripod to do your own family photos- you can purchase it from my affiliate link right here:

2). For beach settings the best time to do your shoot is at the beginning or ending of the day. Do not shoot directly into the sun.

3). Get free ideas and inspiration! I have a Photography Pinterest Board and I am always adding new photo shoot ideas. There are tons of great free resources for lighting and how to take a great family photo online. I make a point to learn one new tip for my camera every 6 months. It is fun and saves a lot of money!

Here are some examples of an Easy Beach Photo Shoot that I did for my daughter’s first birthday:


1) Tip: For a Bold Headshot:  Focus on the subject and keep beautiful natural colored background out of focus.



2) TIP: Capture the beauty of the age- and write it in the sand. She is showing me her favorite beach rocks which captures what she loves at this age- so she is actively engaged with the camera (something hard to get a toddler to authentically do!) I could never get a photo like this in a traditional studio, so to me this photo is priceless! 

Costco prints are from 13 cents to a few dollars and their large wall canvases are beautiful and economy priced as well. BARGAIN!

Family beach photo shoots can be taken in just a few minutes while on vacation using the automatic tri-pod setting (included in the camera deal above) or a friendly local will be glad to take your photo. Either way, you will capture a memory that lasts!

See you at the beach~ Joy

beach feet



After that gorgeous photo shoot, enjoy a local Fish Taco here.



6 Ways Shoes are Like Marriage

6 Ways Shoes are Like Marriage

6 ways shoes are like marriage

We had a wedding to go to. Not just a wedding. But a wedding after having 3 kids, one recently. My feet had not returned to pre-child size (add that to the list of things they don’t tell you will happen to your body). So, to my horror as I stepped into my high heel and realized it fit as well as the step-sister in the glass slipper, I realized we had to make an emergency shoe run on the way to the wedding.

Enter DSW Shoe Store.

I don’t think about shoes much. In fact, I have about three pairs of shoes that I regularly wear and that’s about it. Except, of course, my cowgirl boots. Those are exceptional and I do not even consider those shoes, they are like a dear friend. Moving on…

I was running down each aisle trying to find a pair of shoes for this wedding. I would not have given a deep thought to a shoe…. and then I saw it.

7 ways shoes are like marriage photo

I could not stop looking at this shoe! I picked it up, held it in my hands, turned it over and over. “What do I like about this shoe?” I asked myself. I am not a collector of shoes and I really only buy a shoe if I need it…..why did I like this shoe? So many thoughts ran across my mind. Does it even match? What would I ever wear it with? Could the maker not make up their mind? Did it represent the best of both options? I had no idea. I put the shoe back down and kept looking.

After heading to the next aisle, I realized why I liked the shoe. It reminded me of my marriage!!

Enter DSW Shoe Store Selfie:

shoe store selfie

 I showed my husband and we had a good laugh. I found inspiration, but not a great pair of shoes to wear for the wedding. I settled on another pair of high heels that I have not worn again. Can you relate?!

ANYWAYS, that got me thinking…most people can relate to shoes – I mean, we all have feet right?! So, how are shoes like marriage? I laughed about it with my husband and here’s what we came up with. 

6 Ways Shoes are Like Marriage:

1. Know the occasion you are buying for. (Too many people buy for convenience, cheap sale, spur of the moment. Wait for a lifelong commitment.)

2. One size does not fit all. (I am an odd, emotional, unique being. Newsflash: So are you. There’s really no reason to believe that one relationship will be exactly the same as that other couple you compare yourself to. Let go of trying to fit someone else’s style on your marriage. Be yourself and let your spouse be who they are. Marriages are custom made and that is beautiful.)

3. Shoes are going to get scuffed. (Life = Forgiveness. I would rather learn how to clean and repair my shoes then to walk around afraid to live in them. We all make mistakes. Our spouses are going to make mistakes. Keep walking together.)

4. They can turn an ordinary day into SPARKLE!!!! (Even though I am not a “shoe person,” I still know how it feels when I find just the right shoe for an event, race, or last year’s Military Ball. It feels FANTASTIC!!!! That’s also how it feels when a marriage is working as a team. Instead of looking to step on the other’s toes- we can look how to encourage the other to shine.)

5. They can stink!! (HA HA, but it’s true!! If anyone says their marriage is perfect I would say let me smell your shoes. We all have things God is helping us overcome. Yet, we don’t need to keep our nose in the odor – we can always rise above it.)

6. They are dependable. (A great pair of shoes are like a best friend. I have a pair of running shoes I bought for long shifts on the hospital trauma floor and I needed to be dependable yet comfortable. Those shoes are 8 years old and I STILL HAVE THEM! They are reliable, comfortable, and I will keep them because I have made so many great memories wearing them. I want to be someone my spouse can depend on. Even on the long shifts and the late nights. I want us to work hard for each other and for the dreams we have yet to run towards together. I want us to keep each other. Even when we are too worn out to be of much use, then I want to, in stillness, walk through good memories in our hearts- together.)

I don’t really think a marriage can ever be defined as something so small as a shoe. But when I think about how hard life can be; the ups, the downs, the twists, the turns- there are always new adventures to face and new hurdles to jump over. I did not actually buy that high heel that I rushed over to. Turns out it was really uncomfortable, I wasn’t sure if it actually matched, and it was overpriced. But the DSW  “shoe and selfie” laughter my husband and I shared that day made me think seriously for a few weeks about shoes and marriage. So, here’s what I decided. I offered myself a shoe deal.

What if every time I stepped into my high heal, slipped on my flip flop, or laced up my running shoes – I asked myself this question,

“What can I do today, to take 1 step closer to my spouse?”

I put on shoes every single day. I think that if I took that question to heart, and took a step of action as my answer, then the road of marriage would be that much more fulfilling. I decided that even if my feet stink, I can still use them to make a positive step in my marriage, no matter what color or style of shoe I am wearing today.


Update: Since writing this post I thought of a 7th way that shoes are like marriage! BONUS! 

7. Sometimes a great shoe steps in a bad pile of poo. (BUT That does not mean You are Poo. 🙂 So keep on walking! Learning how to laugh through the rough spots and just keep moving forward is great for marriage – and great for life.)

Keep Smiling ~ Joy

I would LOVE to see “shoe and selfie” pictures that remind you of your marriage, life, or an unexpected moment that made you laugh 🙂 Email them or post them to my facebook page. 

More Reading: Have you read Guidelines for Biracial Families?