Wedding details are just yummy to look at!  My cousin, Gina Sook, is the master at details!  Not only was she the most beautiful bride,

MeRa Koh Elegant Farm Wedding Details, Sony Artisan of Imagery

but her wedding was full of elegant farm wedding details!  Brian and I weren’t the wedding photographers for her wedding, but like I said on Facebook “old habits die hard”!  There was no way this wedding was going down without us taking a “few” photos!  LOL!

This was the setting!  Luke, Gina’s hubby, was raised on this property.  Dreamy, right?!

Me Ra Koh, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

Our family came from all across the country to help set up and celebrate this special occasion!  The setting up the day before was the BEST!  From this little pumpkin, the youngest family member

Me Ra Koh, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

to those of us who haven’t seen each other in years!  Working together, catching up with cousins, aunts, and uncles.  I soaked it in!

0005-MeRaKoh_GinaSookWedding

Gina thought of EVERY thing possible for her elegant farm wedding details!

Instead of a guest book, her friends helped create three rows of name cards.

Me Ra Koh, Farm Wedding Detail Photos

You find your name, the table you are sitting at,

Me Ra Koh, Farm Wedding Detail Photos

and then you replace your name card with a Polaroid of you!

Me Ra Koh, Farm Wedding Details Photos

Her new hubby is AWE-mazing with creating anything Gina dreams up!  He took an old farm door and made it into the whiskey table!  Check out that stuffed coyote underneath!

Me Ra Koh, Whiskey Bar, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

And don’t miss the cigar ashtray of a bear’s foot that his dad shot years ago.

Me Ra Koh, Whiskey Bar, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

Gina also canned 150 jars of homeade jam as a gift to every guest!

Me Ra Koh, homeade jam, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

And little L&G (Luke and Gina) name tags.  DARLING!

Me Ra Koh, Guest Favors, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

Here is the whole section of name cards and jars of jam with the quintessential cowboy and dog!  (What is an elegant farm wedding without a man wearing a cowboy hat and boots?!)

Me Ra Koh, Guest Favors, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

Luke built a few of these signs from scratch!

Me Ra Koh, wedding details, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

He also built THIS bar out of discarded wood pallets!

Me Ra Koh, Guest Favors, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

Flowers…BEAUTIFUL!

Me Ra Koh, bouqets, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

But the bride?  My baby cousin?  She was GORGEOUS!!!

Me Ra Koh, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

I didn’t want to be in the photographer’s way, and the smaller camera body on the Sony a7R helps with that!  I shot with my favorite, workhorse lens, the Sony 24-70mm, f/2.8 ZA.  Look at how GORGEOUS the color is with this camera!  L-O-V-E!  My family especially loved the WiFi feature because I was able to shoot, upload and share photos instantly with them!

Here’s a handful of more favorites!  (Gina and Luke, these are for you to enjoy while you both honeymoon!!!!  LOVE YOU!!!!)

Getting ready with her beautiful mama.

0013-MeRaKoh_GinaSookWedding

Mother of the groom is just a beautiful gem that shines inside and out!  Luke and his mama.

Me Ra Koh, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

I used to always love staying back with the bride and father-of-the-bride because that is when the energy and excitement is at it’s peak!  (my sweet cousin and her dad–most amazing uncle ever!)

Me Ra Koh Wedding photography

My favorite moment of the ceremony!  Love her expression, and the darling flower girl!!!

Me Ra Koh, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

Brian’s favorite moment, when they gave each other a high-five after they said their vows.

0032-MeRaKoh_GinaWedding

We can’t forget the adorable ring bearer!  One of our youngest family members!

Me Ra Koh, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

The bridal party!

Me Ra Koh, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

My favorite photo of these two with their friends!  (I promise.  I was trying to stay out of the photographer’s way.  Just had to sneak one in here and there.  Like this ONE!  ADORABLE!  :))

Me Ra Koh, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

His spontaneous dance for her.

Me Ra Koh, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

Her utter joy.

Me Ra Koh, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

Just the two of them.

Me Ra Koh, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

Just her.  Take your breath away.

Me Ra Koh, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

If I had to pick one…

Me Ra Koh, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

Or two…

Me Ra Koh, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

Can I pick three?  I have to pick three…

Me Ra Koh, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

Low light at reception?  No problem with sensor in #Sonya7R!

Me Ra Koh, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

Fun first dance.  :)

0035-MeRaKoh_GinaWedding

And the COUSINS!!!!!  Love you guys!!!!  So excited we have more cousin weddings around the corner!

Me Ra Koh, Elegant Farm Wedding Details Photos

Congratulations to Luke and Gina!  Your wedding was just breath taking!  Brian and I LOVE you both!  And we absolutely LOVED being guests and getting “a few” wedding photos for you both!  Best of both worlds, shoot our favorite moments and then dance all night long with you!  :)  LOVE YOU!!!!

Be on the lookout for their talented wedding photographer, Seattle’s Matthew Sumi, to share their wedding photos!  He has a really great style, fashion background, and I LOVE how this plays into his work.  This is one of my faves from the engagement photos he did!  (Thanks for letting me tag along Matt!)

Matthew Sumi engagement photos

xoxoxo,

m

_________________

Check out Me Ra’s latest book and last in her best selling series, Your Family in Pictures!  All three books continue to stay on Amazon’s Top 10 Bestseller List!!

You can find Your Family in Pictures at your local bookstore or online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

Your Family in Pictures, Me Ra Koh, Best Selling Series

We are The Adventure Family! We’ve put our sweet home on the market, our belongings in storage, and left the familiar behind to build a dream: a family travel show that takes you abroad and off the beaten path! Follow our journey!

(posts in chronological order)

Dream Linking: Time Share Our Next Chapter of Adventure

My Family’s Dream is Finally Coming True, But I’m Still Grieving for Our Old Life

One Way Tickets to New Zealand: Determined to Move Mountains!

The SHORTEST Kickstarter Campaign that Helped Us Launch Our Dream (with video)

17 Reasons to Campervan New Zealand with the Family

15 Must Do Family Activities in New Zealand

When a Boy Turns Ten: Birthday Photo Essay to Blaze

Overcoming Your Greatest Challenge in Dream Building

When Following Your Dreams Means Letting Go of Your Back-Up Plans

Favorite Family Portrait with Important Photo Tip

See Extra Sneak Peaks on Instagram! Click @merakoh and see #AdventureFamily!

 

 

I am thrilled to announce that I will be speaking at Click Away Conference September 11-13th in Salt Lake City, Utah!  But not just me, Pascaline is going to be speaking with me!  Check out our talk description below!  Huge thank you to SONY for sponsoring me to speak at this event! The line up of speakers is AWE-mazing, including a keynote from Elizabeth Gilbert (author of Eat, Pray, Love).

If you want to join me for three days of complete creative inspiration, register here!  The Clickin Moms team gave me a special discount code for all my blog and social media followers (love this community!).  Enter MERACLICK in the PROMO CODE box on this registration page!  You’ll get $60 off registration!

Click-Away-photography-conference-in-Salt-Lake-City-2014_thumb[1]

I’ll be doing four different sessions!  The main session is the one that Pascaline is going to do with me in the Hub’s Theatre!  This is our first “official” speaking engagement together, and we are so excited!

4+3=7 Keys to Successful Dream Building, 9/13th, 9-10am
4 Essentials for Artist Parents on Dream Building and 3 Realities Your Kids Experience (from Me Ra Koh’s daughter Pascaline)

Parents carry thousands of worries when they consider building their dream.  The last thing any parent wants is to be selfish and ruin their kids’ lives.  Me Ra Koh and her thirteen-year-old daughter, Pascaline, are coming to Click Away to share candidly about what it means to be a family that works, creates, and takes risks together.   Me Ra will share the four essentials to successful dream building that every artist parent needs to know, and Pascaline will share three realities you can expect your kids to experience.  Dream building impacts the whole family, and there are 7 Keys to Success that their family has discovered over the last ten years of taking leap after leap.  Me Ra is a sought after, inspirational keynote speaker who brings empowerment, humor and tears to all her audiences.  She is proud to be a Sony Artisan of Imagery, and hosts Disney Junior’s “Capture Your Story”.

______

Pascaline did such an amazing job with hosting parts of our travel show that I thought it would be great for her to join me.  As parents, we create a lot of unnecessary stress from all the “worst fears” swimming in our heads.  Pascaline is going to share three realities you can expect your kids to experience when your parents decide to build a dream (She is hoping you have questions for her too!  But believe me, she has a lot to say!  LOL!)

Me Ra Koh speaking at Click Away with my daughter

I’m also going to lead a Hands-On Shooting Session!

Let’s Look for Challenges (and Overcome Them!), 9/12, 11:30-12:30pm, meeting in Outdoor Bay

This will be a “traveling” group with Me Ra Koh, meaning she will hunt out challenging shooting scenarios, especially with lighting, and help you overcome them.  Whether its finding ease at working with window light and shadows to enhance emotion or overcoming harsh light outdoors, this group will leave you feeling more confident in your abilities!  Me Ra often shares that every location is like a puzzle to solve, be prepared to fall in love with puzzle solving as the challenging situations dissipate!

I’m honored to join a wonderful panel of women photographers for a discussion on standing out.

Children and Family:  Standing Out in a Crowded Market(Discussion Panel with Joy Prouty, Lisa Tichane, Shalonda Chaddock, Melissa Stottmann and Me Ra Koh)

Fri, 9/12, 1:45-3:15pm

And I’ll be signing copies of my books, especially the newest one during…

Meet Me Ra (meet the speaker)

Sat, 9/13, 11:15-11:45am

Location: CA HUB

 

Quick Glance at Me Ra’s Speaking Schedule (chronological order)

#1 Let’s Look for Challenges (and Overcome Them!)

Hands-On Shooting (You must pre-register.  Limited Space)

Friday, September 12th, 11:30-12:30pm

Outdoor Bay

#2 Children and Family:  Standing out in a Crowded Market Discussion Panel

Friday, September 12th, 1:45-3:15pm

#3 Inspirational Talk with Pascaline

Saturday, September 13th, 9-10am

#4 Meet Me Ra (meet the speaker)

Saturday, September 13th, 11:15-11:45am

CA HUB

_______

For a while, I wasn’t sure if our family would be home in time to make this conference.  WOO HOO that we are!  I’m so excited!!

Will Pascaline and I see you there?!

xo,

m

Dive into three days of complete creative inspiration, register here!  The Clickin Moms team gave me a special discount code for all my blog and social media followers (love this community!).  Enter MERACLICK in the PROMO CODE box on this registration page!  You’ll get $60 off registration!

 

Your Family in Pictures RELEASES Today!  WOO HOO!!!

Your Family in Pictures, Me Ra Koh, Best Selling Series

Five years ago, I sat with my long-time business mentor Jeff Jochum.  I told him about my photo recipe idea, and how I wanted to write an instructional photography book for moms that mirrored the successful layouts of cookbooks.  I LOVE it when a cookbook gives me the recipe, step-by-step, while showing me a beautiful photo of what I’m going to create.  Jeff, being who he always is, saw more in me than just one book.  He saw a series of photo recipe books.  The rest is history!

For the last five days, you can find ALL THREE BOOKS on AMAZON’S BESTSELLER’S TOP 10 LIST!

#3 Your Baby in Pictures

#7 Your Child in Pictures

and now…

#4 Your Family in Pictures!!!!

 

Me Ra Koh best selling photo books on Amazon

A book’s success, especially a series, is in large part because of the community that helps inspire it.  Not only do my clients, CONFIDENCE Teachers and workshop attendees, family and all of you play a big role in each of my books–but I have to give special credit to Jeff Jochum for the idea of a series that we hoped would one day be bestselling!  (Jeff, we need to celebrate!)

What you will find in Your Family in Pictures: The Parents’ Guide to Photographing Holidays, Family Portraits and Everyday Life;

MORE PHOTOS to inspire you than we printed in the first two books!

40 NEW Photo Recipes that share all the “camera” ingredients so you can create the same family photos!

Me Ra Koh, Your Family in Pictures, Behind-the-Scenes

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

MORE TIPS and TRICKS than the last two books!  Here are a few examples;

 -10 Steps to Set Up Your Photos for Success

- 9 Ideas for Getting Your Family in the Mood

Sisters, Me Ra Koh, Portraits

 

-My Top 10 Times to Take Family Candid Photos

 -9 Cues for When to Shoot or Convert to Black-and-White

 -8 Ways to Discover Color, Line, Shape and Texture

 AND A WHOLE LOT MORE!

Plus, there is a special section dedicated to capturing tweens and teens!  (Shout out to all the Tweens  and Teens (and their parents) who want to be photographed in a way that feels respectful but fun and creative too!)

More than 25 Contributors You Know!

Keep a look out from other mom contributors; a combination of beautiful blog readers, Restart and Magical Light online students, workshop attendees and CONFIDENCE Teachers.  My mission is to instill confidence in moms, and what better way than giving other moms an opportunity to have their beautiful photos published!  Their wonderful work and insights are a gift to this book!  I can’t wait for you to learn from them too!  You may see some you know!  In fact, if you are one of those moms feel free to identify yourself and chime in!

Where to Purchase YFIP?

You can find Your Family in Pictures at your local bookstore or online at Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and IndieBound.

Your Family in Pictures, Me Ra Koh, Best Selling Series

*First 20 Readers Will Receive an Autographed Copy!

To celebrate today, I’ve got a fun treat!!  We did this with both Your Baby in Pictures and Your Child in Pictures, and I think we should keep the tradition going!  The first 20 people to purchase AND post an awesome review on Amazon for Your Family in Pictures will receive a SECOND autographed copy from me!  You can either keep the autographed copy, or you can save it for your next baby shower gift to go with book one and two!

Once you post your review, email us your review at [email protected] with your mailing address!  MWAH!  A big, heart, THANK YOU!!!!

I can’t wait to hear what you all think!

xo,

m

We are The Adventure Family! We’ve put our sweet home on the market, our belongings in storage, and left the familiar behind to build a dream: a family travel show that takes you abroad and off the beaten path! Follow our journey!

(posts in chronological order)

Dream Linking: Time Share Our Next Chapter of Adventure

My Family’s Dream is Finally Coming True, But I’m Still Grieving for Our Old Life

One Way Tickets to New Zealand: Determined to Move Mountains!

The SHORTEST Kickstarter Campaign that Helped Us Launch Our Dream (with video)

17 Reasons to Campervan New Zealand with the Family

15 Must Do Family Activities in New Zealand

When a Boy Turns Ten: Birthday Photo Essay to Blaze

Overcoming Your Greatest Challenge in Dream Building

When Following Your Dreams Means Letting Go of Your Back-Up Plans

Favorite Family Portrait with Important Photo Tip

See Extra Sneak Peaks on Instagram! Click @merakoh and see #AdventureFamily!

 

 

TOMORROW is the BIG DAY when my newest book, Your Family in Pictures, will hit bookstores across the nation!

Shutterbug Book Review, Get an Autographed Copy of Your Family in Pictures

 

Shutterbug has already done a wonderful book review!  They wrote

“…Your Family in Pictures: The Parents Guide to Photographing Holidays, Family Portraits and Everyday Life by Me Ra Koh is the ideal guide for you. Koh, who is a photography expert and TV show host, offers a wonderful selection of tips, tricks and techniques on how to capture those precious family moments like a seasoned professional. She covers everything from finding the best lighting in your own home to getting your family in the mood for the photo shoot and exploring the use color or black and white for a fresh look. ”

Read the whole book review here.

 

Here is how you can get an autographed copy of Your Family in Pictures!

We would LOVE your book reviews too!!!

*First 20 Amazon Reviewers Will Receive an Autographed Copy!

To celebrate my latest book release, I’ve got a fun treat!!  We did this with both Your Baby in Pictures and Your Child in Pictures, and I think we should keep the tradition going!  The first 20 people to purchase AND post an awesome review on Amazon for Your Family in Pictures will receive a SECOND autographed copy from me!  You can either keep the autographed copy, or you can save it for your next baby shower gift to go with book one and two!

Once you post your review, email us your review at [email protected] with your mailing address! If you’d like me to personalize the book to someone special, let me know in your email.  I’d be delighted!

MWAH!  A big, heart, THANK YOU!!!!

I can’t wait to hear what you all think!

xo,

We are The Adventure Family! We’ve put our sweet home on the market, our belongings in storage, and left the familiar behind to build a dream: a family travel show that takes you abroad and off the beaten path! Follow our journey!

(posts in chronological order)

Dream Linking: Time Share Our Next Chapter of Adventure

My Family’s Dream is Finally Coming True, But I’m Still Grieving for Our Old Life

One Way Tickets to New Zealand: Determined to Move Mountains!

The SHORTEST Kickstarter Campaign that Helped Us Launch Our Dream (with video)

17 Reasons to Campervan New Zealand with the Family

15 Must Do Family Activities in New Zealand

When a Boy Turns Ten: Birthday Photo Essay to Blaze

Overcoming Your Greatest Challenge in Dream Building

When Following Your Dreams Means Letting Go of Your Back-Up Plans

Favorite Family Portrait with Important Photo Tip

See Extra Sneak Peaks on Instagram! Click @merakoh and see #AdventureFamily!

Photographing multiple siblings is no walk in the park.  In this case, it was a walk down the romantic roads of Vicenza–a small town in northern Italy!

Photographing Multiple Siblings, Me Ra Koh, Family Shoot in Italy

I had the honor of doing a few family photo shoots while we were in Italy.  I’m so excited to share them with you!

These five sisters are a great place to start!  Five different dresses.  Five different smiles.  Five different personalities.  5 Tips to Photographing Multiple Siblings!

Let’s start with the facts!  The one who kept me on my toes was the youngest!  I knew that we had to keep this photo shoot moving, or I would lose her quickly.

Tip 1: Conspire with the Older Siblings

So I conspired with the four older sisters.  I told them to walk towards me, laughing, talking, and sharing secrets.  If we looked like we were having fun, maybe we could entice the youngest to join us.  At the time, she was wrapped around mama’s legs and not interested.

To my delight, our little plan worked beautifully!  She ran to join us without us having to beg and plead.

Me Ra Koh, Sony Artisan, Italy family photoshoot

I especially LOVE this next one!

Me Ra Koh, Sony Artisan, Italy family photoshoot 2

Tip 2: Keep Eye Contact While Shooting

As you can see from the first photo, I’m not using the camera’s view finder.  I’m shooting with the SONY a7R, the world’s smallest and lightest interchangeable lens full-frame camera, and I’m using the LiveView so the youngest and I can stay engaged and even keep eye contact.  LiveView and the speed of Sony’s mirrorless technology makes these action shots happen with success!  Imagine my face hiding behind a camera body?  That would never fly with this little one.  She’s to smart for it!  I love how the middle one, in the green dress, is ever looking up to her two older sisters.  Darling.

THIS NEXT ONE IS MY FAVORITE PHOTO!!!!!

Tip 3:  Incorporate Defining Details

To best prepare myself and my clients for an upcoming photo shoot, I love to ask mom what the kids are into.  Incorporating Defining Details helps tell the story of each unique family.  You’ve heard me talk about Defining Details for years, but it never grows old when you see the different expression it brings to every family!  It just happens to be that these sisters LOVE reading!  They are proud, beautiful bookworms.  Their love for reading was the inspiration for the portrait.

Me Ra Koh, Sony Artisan, Italy family photoshoot 3

You want to especially allow yourself space to try different combinations, different set ups, where they should stand, etc.  We took some time getting the right set up for this portrait.  It was important for me to allow each sister to not only engage with her book but do it in such a way that is true to her personality.  The different poses each one is doing is subtle but also speaks to who they are.

Tip 4: Allow Space for Each Personality to Shine

Notice how Mary is standing off to the side.  She is the middle sister and has her own sweet disposition.  I LOVE this portrait because I think it captures how unique she is, especially being “smack in the middle” of all the sisters, as her mom said.  Group photos with everyone looking at the camera are important and good, but watch for the candid ones that allow for individuals to shine.

Me Ra Koh, Sony Artisan, Italy family photoshoot 4

Notice how different the energy is for each sister…

The Oldest

Me Ra Koh, Sony Artisan, Italy family photoshoot 5

Next Oldest

Me Ra Koh, Sony Artisan, Italy family photoshoot 6

You saw Mary’s photo above.  Meet the fiery, DARLING, strong willed fourth sister!

Photographing Multiple Siblings, Me Ra Koh

And the youngest who steals the show!

Tips to Photographing Multiple Siblings, Me Ra Koh

Tip 5: Capture Special Bonds Between Sets of Siblings

When capturing your family in pictures, you definitely want the great group shots from everyone looking at the camera to a creative portrait with their books.  You also want individual portraits that show off everyone’s personality.  But remember to take time photographing the bonds between sets of siblings.  The two oldest sisters have their own bond that I wanted to do something special for.

We found a beautiful wall (because beautiful walls are EVERYWHERE in ITALY!  sigh…I miss Italy:)).  I asked one of them to share a secret with the other.  And even though we were losing light from the sunset, I LOVE the colors and tones of how this moment turned out!

Tips to Photographing Multiple Siblings, Me Ra Koh

The three younger sisters have their own dynamic of playfulness with each other!

Photographing Multiple Siblings, Me Ra Koh, Italy

I want to thank this beautiful family for the honor of photographing them in Italy!  The girls all know that I’m SUPER JEALOUS of them living in Italy!  This family was so special, and I hope to see them again soon!  Brian and I seriously think we should do a CONFIDENCE Workshop in Vicenza, Italy this Spring!  We’d be a 40 min. train ride from Venice.  A day trip to Florence.  Just saying… :)

In case you missed the announcement this weekend on Instagram (@merakoh), my newest book, Your Family in Pictures, releases August 12th!!  Your Family in Pictures is available for pre-order on Amazon!  It’s the third book in the best selling series that started with Your Baby in Pictures almost four years ago!

Packed with more photos than the first two, 40 NEW photo recipes, and a special focus on photographing holidays, family portraits (just in time for Fall photo shoots!), everyday life, vacations and travel, and a super sweet section dedicated to Tweens and Teens!  I’m so excited!!!

Pre-order your copy today!!

Your Family in Pictures, Me Ra Koh, Best Selling Series

It’s great to be back everyone.  Our adventures have not stopped by any means!  We are still living out of our suitcases, preparing ALL our footage for editing, and visiting family before we make our big move to Dallas, TX!  But wow, it’s great to be back in the USA!

xoxo

m

We are The Adventure Family! We’ve put our sweet home on the market, our belongings in storage, and left the familiar behind to build a dream: a family travel show that takes you abroad and off the beaten path! Follow our journey!

(posts in chronological order)

Dream Linking: Time Share Our Next Chapter of Adventure

My Family’s Dream is Finally Coming True, But I’m Still Grieving for Our Old Life

One Way Tickets to New Zealand: Determined to Move Mountains!

The SHORTEST Kickstarter Campaign that Helped Us Launch Our Dream (with video)

17 Reasons to Campervan New Zealand with the Family

15 Must Do Family Activities in New Zealand

When a Boy Turns Ten: Birthday Photo Essay to Blaze

Overcoming Your Greatest Challenge in Dream Building

When Following Your Dreams Means Letting Go of Your Back-Up Plans

Favorite Family Portrait with Important Photo Tip

See Extra Sneak Peaks on Instagram! Click @merakoh and see #AdventureFamily!

 

 

 

 

 

Do you love to watch the clouds?

clouds in motion, Lake Takepo, New Zealand, Brian Tausend and Me Ra Koh

If yes, we want to make sure you didn’t miss this!  Babble had web issues when we posted this, so if you didn’t see the post there, watch 1080 photos in 45 seconds of clouds in motion.  Make sure your volume is on!  Triple Scoop Music helped us match the PERFECT song for this video!


The time lapse is a combination of three different locations we explored in our campervan during our three weeks of filming in New Zealand.  The locations are Lake Tekapo, River Valley Ranch in Taihape, and Milford Sound.  The credit goes solely to Brian, a true lover of clouds in motion, because he gets up at 3am to beat the sunrise for some these time lapse videos!  I love clouds too, but I tend to like sleep more.  Yet, I LOVE time lapses!  (We make a great time, don’t you think?!  :))

Time Lapse Photo Tip: asdas

Camera Body: SONY a99 Full-Frame DSLR

Lenses: SONY 16mm f/2.8 Fisheye, 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss, 70-400 mm f/4-5.6 G

See Time Lapse of the Sunrise in Egypt shot with SONY Action Cam

We are The Adventure Family! We’ve put our sweet home on the market, our belongings in storage, and left the familiar behind to build a dream: a family travel show that takes you abroad and off the beaten path! Follow our journey!

(posts in chronological order)

Dream Linking: Time Share Our Next Chapter of Adventure

My Family’s Dream is Finally Coming True, But I’m Still Grieving for Our Old Life

One Way Tickets to New Zealand: Determined to Move Mountains!

The SHORTEST Kickstarter Campaign that Helped Us Launch Our Dream (with video)

17 Reasons to Campervan New Zealand with the Family

15 Must Do Family Activities in New Zealand

When a Boy Turns Ten: Birthday Photo Essay to Blaze

Overcoming Your Greatest Challenge in Dream Building

When Following Your Dreams Means Letting Go of Your Back-Up Plans

Favorite Family Portrait with Important Photo Tip

See Extra Sneak Peaks on Instagram! Click @merakoh and see #AdventureFamily!

 

 

This has to be one of my all time favorite family portraits!  The Adventure Family riding a bamboo raft into the deep jungles of Thailand!  LOVE IT!

favorite family portrait

Photo Tip: For an engaging, favorite family portrait you want to not only stagger each family member so we can see everyone, but you also want to have each person do something different with their hands.   If the family isn’t going to look at the camera and be purposefully facing another direction, this is especially important for story telling.  Hands communicate so much and can accentuate your story even more!  Notice how Blaze is pointing, I’m blocking the sun from my eyes, Pascaline is simple in her stance, and dad is holding a stick and hand on hip.  Even though Pascaline is doing a simple stance it works because the rest of us are doing something different with our hands.  I’d love to say this photo naturally happened, but nope!  I set it up!  If I didn’t set it up, Blaze would have been slouching, Pascaline may have been biting her nails, and I’m not even going to say what Brian would have been doing! :)

Camera Settings:  ISO 250, Aperture was f/9 (You want a higher f-stop if you want family members in the background in focus too.  If we used a low f-stop like f/2.8 or f/3.5, we would have risked Blaze and I being to blurred versus all of us in tact.)  Shutter Speed was 1/160th of a sec.

Camera Body: SONY a7R   The a7R is one of SONY’s new, innovative camera bodies, and I’m loving how rich the photos are!  Look at the sky.  See all the detail in cloud texture and colors?  It’s easy to blow the sky out when it’s noon and the sun is overpowering.  But instead of anything being blown out, there is depth.  More photo examples to come!

Lens: SONY 24-70mm f/2.8 Carl Zeiss My all time favorite, work-horse lens!

Do you have a family portrait you’d like to share with me?  If so, I’d love to see!  Post it on my Facebook page today, and I’ll comment on them when I wake (since you and I are on different time zones :))

xo,

m

We are The Adventure Family! We’ve put our sweet home on the market, our belongings in storage, and left the familiar behind to build a dream: a family travel show that takes you abroad and off the beaten path! Follow our journey!

(posts in chronological order)

Dream Linking: Time Share Our Next Chapter of Adventure

My Family’s Dream is Finally Coming True, But I’m Still Grieving for Our Old Life

One Way Tickets to New Zealand: Determined to Move Mountains!

The SHORTEST Kickstarter Campaign that Helped Us Launch Our Dream (with video)

17 Reasons to Campervan New Zealand with the Family

15 Must Do Family Activities in New Zealand

When a Boy Turns Ten: Birthday Photo Essay to Blaze

Overcoming Your Greatest Challenge in Dream Building

When Following Your Dreams Means Letting Go of Your Back-Up Plans

See Extra Sneak Peaks on Instagram! Click @merakoh and see #AdventureFamily!

Overcoming your greatest challenge is essential to dream building.  But what is the greatest challenge?  To build your vision is to engage in a process of many steps.  Are there steps that are harder than others?  Absolutely.  It’s a long one today but can you expect less after spending two weeks in the deep jungle of Thailand?

dream building Family Travel Show, Thailand, Me Ra Koh

Dream building can feel ominous like an approaching storm.  (shot with SONY a7r)

Dream building is a process filled with unending challenges.  At times, it can feel ominous like an approaching storm.

The process begins like new life in a mother’s womb and once the baby is born a whole new season of challenges begin.  There is great reward weaved throughout the whole experience, but most new parents look at you with sheer exhaustion in their eyes and freely admit to having never been so overwhelmed. With dream building (or dream birthing), Brian and I have come face to face with possibly the greatest challenge so far.

To stick with the parent/child analogy, the greatest challenge is not what you would think.  It’s not becoming pregnant with a dream.  It isn’t the hard work of bringing that dream into the world.  It’s the moment a parent listens to the dark voice that says someone else is more qualified to raise their child.  At first glance, you may read that sentence and think you’ve never thought something so horrible.  But I encourage you to take some time to reflect on this because it will make ALL the difference in your own dream building.

Here are some of the ways that dark voice creeps in.  How many times have you watched another mother on a playground interact magically with their kids and then put yourself down because y0u don’t have her same kind of energy or charisma with your own child?  How many times have you compared the home, car, or vacations of your family with a family that seems to have so much more?  Have you ever felt like their children were better off than yours?  How many hours have you spent on Pinterest looking at bedroom designs, kitchen remodels, beautiful meals to cook, and walked away feeling like you were less significant, less organized, less talented than all the people who created those beautiful worlds?  How many nights have you spent surfing the web, looking at dozens of photography websites, only to go to bed with a sinking feeling that your photography dream is better executed by someone more qualified.

Do any of those scenarios ring a bell with your spirit?

You may not have realized that you were coming face to face with the overcoming your greatest challenge in dream building.  It is the single moment that the dream parent believes that someone else is more qualified to raise their dream child, and thus, they abandon their dream.  They may not abandon it physically, but emotionally or spiritually they have left.

Abandoning your dream is the greatest challenge for a number of reasons.  We can do it in such a way that makes ourselves look good to others (i.e. by being a distorted martyr who confesses that our own desires and vision for the dream must die for the dream to live).  We can also abandon our dream without anyone really noticing?  (i.e. Our friend says “Are you still doing photography?”  You answer “No, it was just a fun hobby that I was playing with.”  When inside you carried ocean sized visions of what you dreamed could happen with your passion for photography.  But since you never proclaimed it, chose to risk, kept at it, no one thinks twice about you abandoning it.)  Or we carry the dream all the way through the pregnancy season, even birth it, but then feel as if we are being childish or selfish to not hand it off to someone with more years of experience and qualifications (because if we really cared for the dream wouldn’t we find more qualified hands to shape it?)

Is any of this resonating with anyone?

We were filming in the Thailand jungle, and Brian was feeling a growing sense of angst.  On the outside, everything with our filming was going smooth.  But his spirit didn’t feel right.  He kept it to himself for as long as he could, and then one day he had to let it all out.  With his permission, I want share what he went through because we both feel like it will show you that you are not alone.

Brian felt like our dream was a ship that had set sail, but for some reason he was left standing at the pier. He was beginning to feel insignificant to the process.  And he felt super vulnerable for even expressing that much because he wasn’t looking to be stroked or built up, he just knew his dream was slipping away from him.

We talked about how our creative process had evolved since we started building Adventure Family.  While still in the America, Brian had spent almost a year overseeing pre production for us to leave.  He worked endlessly on film permits, visas, filming schedules, and budgets while I continued to pitch the show’s concept.  Brian loves the background work, but he is also one of the most creative people I know.  He sees the world in a light that makes my spirit exhale.

Me Ra Koh Family Photography in Thailand

Captured by the clouds ahead, Brian inspires Pascaline to get her NEX6 out too!

Brian Tausend Landscape Photoraphy, Thailand

This is what he saw.  Doesn’t it make you want to exhale?  Shot with SONY a99 DSLR and 16-35mm lens.

What makes his spirit come alive most is filming and directing.  But when we left for New Zealand, we had two cameraman with us, and our family was super overwhelmed with having left everything familiar.  We needed Brian, as husband and dad, more than anything else.  The filming was covered by the two cameraman, and when I was hosting someone had to keep an eye on the kids.  Without us knowing it, we created a rhythm of Brian being in the background with the kids, while mom talked on camera.

When we got to Thailand, we went down to one cameraman.  But we also had key friends come alongside us to help with the kids and logistics.  There was room for Brian to do more directing and filming, but from the outside it looked as if it wasn’t needed.  He wasn’t sure if his desire to do more filming and directing was disruptive to our existing flow, even selfish.  This was the decisive moment where he had to believe he was worth listening too and worth disrupting the flow.  This is overcoming your greatest challenge.

I took what Brian shared and sat on it for the rest of the night.  One of my pain places can be a fear that I’m not doing a good enough job.  I had to sort through all those voices because Brian wasn’t criticizing the job I was doing.  It actually had nothing to do with me.  It had everything to do with the one who had birthed the dream.

The next morning I got up and started writing.  Brian has been the visionary for Adventure Family from day one.  For almost twenty years, I have often been the one who had a vision, and then Brian helped me birth it.  But Adventure Family, this was and is all Brian.  Adventure Family is much bolder than anything I have allowed myself to dream.  But two years ago, I could feel God beginning to gently and slowly cut my securities with the familiar so I could step into the unknown with Brian in a way we had never done.  As I wrote, I realized that if anyone knows what this dream needs, it’s Brian.  He “gets it” on an unintuitive level that a parent knows what their child needs.  If something is off in his spirit, we need to pause.  Otherwise what is the dream building unto?  If the dream finds success but the family doesn’t feel in sync, is there really success in the end?

Brian and I sat down with our cameraman and told him that we were going to try shifting things.  This creative process was an experiment.  He would film in partnership with Brian, and they would take advantage of their different filming strengths.  We were nervous to bring this up because our cameraman had been doing incredible work.  But to our relief, he was welcome to sharing the load and soon became inspired by the content Brian was capturing.

We also shared our process with the kids.  To our surprise again, they spoke up in wanting to play more of an active role in hosting.  I distinctly remember Pascaline saying “When did we decide only mom would host?  Isn’t this Adventure FAMILY?”  (big smile)  Brian and I had just assumed not to put pressure on the kids to talk into the camera.  Little did we know they were wanting to try it and had a lot to say!  That is why this photo means so much to me.  It took a lot of courage for Brian to risk disrupting our family’s rhythm with filming, but his risk opened up voice for the kids!

Filming floating bamboo huts in Thailand, Me Ra Koh

This gave way for Brian saying that he wanted to get better at being in front of the camera.  He and our cameraman went to work on creative ways to show him as dad filming but then jumping into the action too.

dream building, Filming Family Travel Show in Thailand, Me Ra Koh

No one brings out our energy for the camera like dad!  Brian in his element!  To capture rich tones around us, there are times he purposely films with SONY a7r for Adventure Family!

Instead of everyone feeling disheartened, we ALL felt invigorated!  We had renewed creativity!  We started collaborating with our cameraman and the kids like never before.  Without being conscious of it, we could see how it had been easy to default to me being on camera and everyone else in b-roll.  That is what we had always done before.  And yet, that wasn’t Brian’s vision for Adventure Family.  What is easiest or makes the most sense isn’t always the healthiest diet for building a strong dream.

The day Brian came to me with all his angst was over two weeks ago.  Since then we have created, collaborated, and produced content as a family that is more magical than I could have ever imagined.  The New Zealand footage is still awesome and fun, but as a family, we are growing with every risk we take.  Overcoming your greatest challenge has a lot to do with you believing you are worth the dreams you carry.  You are worthy of those dreams.  And you are worthy of not only birthing but parenting them.  The key is often speaking up when something feels off.

We may not even have words for it, but if we don’t speak up for our dream, push the pause button, reassess what doesn’t feel right, who will?

If we don’t champion our dream, how can we expect others too?

If we abandon our dream, how can we expect others to see it’s value?

xo,

m

p.s. This post is in the Amazing Mom category on the home page, because it’s the closest thing to the category it deserves “Amazing Dad”.

We are The Adventure Family! We’ve put our sweet home on the market, our belongings in storage, and left the familiar behind to build a dream: a family travel show that takes you abroad and off the beaten path! Follow our journey!

(posts in chronological order)

Dream Linking: Time Share Our Next Chapter of Adventure

My Family’s Dream is Finally Coming True, But I’m Still Grieving for Our Old Life

One Way Tickets to New Zealand: Determined to Move Mountains!

The SHORTEST Kickstarter Campaign that Helped Us Launch Our Dream (with video)

17 Reasons to Campervan New Zealand with the Family

15 Must Do Family Activities in New Zealand

When a Boy Turns Ten: Birthday Photo Essay to Blaze

See Extra Sneak Peaks on Instagram! Click @merakoh and see #AdventureFamily!

Neyssa here sharing the secrets for photographing toddlers at the playground. With summer approaching and nicer days ahead, the playground is regular adventure for the kids and I. It’s the perfect escape from the house and it wears down the kids so they go to bed at a regular time. What I truly love about adventures at the playground is that they are just that for my kids – adventures. I see the little human beings they are becoming as they venture out into the “world.” You can see them interact (or not) with the other kids, trying something new, pretending to be pirates or race car drivers,. But mostly, you see them just being kids.

1. Look for Shapes and Textures.

The playground is full of great shapes and textures to help toddlers explore and learn. However, I see the shapes and textures as helping me take better photos! You can use the textures to add interest to your photo, or use the shapes to frame your image, like I’ve done here. Milo was climbing the ladder and I loved how I could get above him and use the octagon to pull focus even more on him. Notice the bars acting as leading lines too?!  (Bonus Tip: Be sure to enlist a helper.  Having another adult spot your toddler is a must if they are as active as mine!)

8 Secrets for Photographing Toddlers at the Playground

2. Photograph when the Sun is Low (BEFORE & AFTER). My favorite time to go to the park is after dinner. My family eats early so that when we go to the park most people are eating dinner which means we have the playground to ourselves. Most importantly, however, is that the sun is lower in the sky. I think this is the most important of all of the secrets. When the sun is high, you get harsh shadows and awful color casts on your kids. Notice the first photo below. Although Sawyer is obviously adorable as she is about to go down the slide, the lighting is poor. Her skin looks red from the sunlight bouncing off of the slide, and she has unflattering shadows. Now notice the light in the next photo. The sun is low and only skims the tops of their heads. The faces are more evenly lit and the harsh color casts are gone. By photographing when the sun is low, I am able to capture moments without worrying about harsh shadows or awful color casts!

8 Secrets for Photographing Toddlers at the Playground   8 Secrets for Photographing Toddlers at the Playground

3. Resist Deleting as You Go. Let’s be honest, not every image you take is going to be a keeper. I know that I miss shots as my toddlers are quick and unpredictable. However, I don’t delete in camera. The tiny screen on the back of your camera does not give you the full picture. You may be surprised by how much you love an image you were going to delete. When I saw this image on the back of my camera I was disappointed on the “miss.” I knew the image was out of focus. But when I loaded it I squealed with delight! I love this image!! Sure, Sawyer isn’t in sharp focus, but this is who she is to me – a busy, slightly blurry, always moving toddler. Keep in mind that if an image isn’t as good as you would’ve liked, you can also use it to become a better photographer. What is it about the photo that you don’t like? Take note of your settings and make adjustments next time.

8 Secrets for Photographing Toddlers at the Playground

 4. Increase Your Shutter Speed. Toddlers are fast. It always amazes me how adding a playground makes them even faster! If you want to freeze their action, increase your shutter speed! When choosing my settings I always make sure that I’m allowing my shutter speed to be 300 or higher. Any slower and I risk motion blur or missing the action all together!

8 Secrets for Photographing Toddlers at the Playground 

5. Play with the Sunlight.  My favorite part about photographing in the evening is the ability to play with the amount of sunlight I allow into my lens. Try filling the frame while still capturing a moment. You’ll be surprised by how the extra light adds drama and impact to your image. 

8 Secrets for Photographing Toddlers at the Playground

6. Capture the Funny Things They Do (even if they are not supposed to be doing it).  I love how a playground is so much more than a ladder and slide to kids. It becomes a place of their own, a place where they make the rules. Honestly, I’m okay with giving them a little leeway here. (Pick your battles, right?!). When other kids are around, the rule is that you go down the slide and up the stairs. Yet there is something about that slide that every kid wants to climb up the slide. Sawyer is no exception. Even though I told her that we go down the slide, she vigorously shook her head no and started climbing up the slide (notice she is trying to walk straight up it without holding on). I decided to go with the flow, let it slide – pardon the pun – and capture her defiance.

8 Secrets for Photographing Toddlers at the Playground 

7. Capture the Conflict. The playground is a place of obstacles, especially for toddlers. There is always something a little too big for my kids, yet they want to try it. By capturing the conflict, you’re capturing the struggle and the determination as they try to tackle something new.  Again, it helps to have enlisted a helper so someone is there for support and safety. Often times, capturing conflict can lead to capturing triumphs. Milo wanted to try going down this pole. He was so excited, yet hesitant. Though not this time, there will be a time when Milo can go down the fireman’s pole on his own. And I can show him how far he’s come.

8 Secrets for Photographing Toddlers at the Playground

As on any adventure, knowing how to use my camera is the most important tip I can recommend. With the speed of toddlers, there isn’t time to be messing with settings. And shooting by shooting on auto you’re leaving fate of your image in your camera’s hands. Join me at my May 31st Growing CONFIDENCE Workshop (its the last one until next fall!), and learn how to use your camera and capture your own family adventures.

Cheers to Toddler Craziness!

Neyssa

Bio_Photo_MRK_Neyssa_Lee_Photography-1 Neyssa Lee is a family and infant photographer based in Washington State, passionate about capturing the details of each child’s life to tell their story. She is known for the way she works with children and families to capture their true personalities. She also loves empowering moms with their cameras as a certified Me Ra Koh CONFIDENCE Teacher.

Knowing how to use your camera will make capturing everyday moments and adventures with your family that much easier. Instead of thinking about the settings of your camera, you can focus on what is unfolding in front of you. Follow Neyssa’s blog for more fun photo tips and be the first to hear of her next workshop in Snoqualmie, WA!

 

Did Mother’s Day sneak up on you?  Not to late!  Here are 5 Last Minute Gifts for Photo Loving Moms!

photos of moms all over the world, Me Ra Koh

(sneak peak image from a photo shoot of one of the most beautiful moms in all of Thailand)

After all, is there anything comparable to a mama’s love?

(fyi, they 5 gifts appear in order of urgency, depending on how “last minute” you are when you read this!  We’ve got you covered!)

1. Refuse to Say Cheese and Beyond the Green Box, download TODAY!

Instructional Photography DVD series, Me Ra Koh

If you are reading this the morning of Mother’s Day, and you know you are in deep trouble, you can still win!  Purchase our downloadable, award winning DVDs, Refuse to Say Cheese and Beyond the Green Box.  Or save money when you purchase the complete set!  She’ll be inspired before nightfall, and you will remain her hero!

2. Gift of Confidence, Photography Workshop for Women (see below for a list of all our May/June workshops!)

Cathy Mores Photography workshops for womenIf you want to BLOW HER SOCKS OFF, sign her up for a CONFIDENCE Workshop!  Our teachers are not only amazing photographers but trained, passionate teachers.  Their photo tips and beautiful photography has been published in magazines, appeared on TV and more!  See why 200 women have come through our teachers’ workshops in only the first 18 months!

This great, behind-the-scenes photo was taken by Cathy Mores, our KS teacher.  See below for a list of all our teachers and upcoming May/June Workshops!

3.  Your Baby in Pictures

Your Baby in Pictures by Me Ra Koh

If you know a mom who is in the throws of her baby’s first year, check out my first book in the series, Your Baby in Pictures.  See why 80 readers have given it a 5 star review on Amazon!  And if you have Amazon Prime, your book will be to you within a couple days!

 

 

 

 

4. Your Child in Pictures

Your child in pictures by Me Ra Koh

If you know a mom who has a child between one and ten years old, Your Child in Pictures, is just for her!  This is my latest book in the series, and it already has forty star reviews!  Get her the set of both books, and who knows how many points you’ll earn with her!
5. Breakthrough Photo Critique Session with Me Ra

Photo Critiques with Me Ra Koh

Do you know a mom who loves taking photos but is incredibly critical of what she shoots?  She is her worst critic, picking apart every photo.  If yes, give her the gift of a Breakthrough Photo Critique Session with me!  I take three critiques a month, and I would love the honor of helping her find breakthrough in her creativity, in defeating the self critic, and more!  We can start her photo critique when I’m back from the jungle and able to get online again!  Plan on me contacting her around May 20th!  Keep reading for all the details;

Each month, Me Ra gives a limited number of photo critique sessions.  These are private, one-on-one sessions that empower you to breakthrough the creative and technical barriers your photography can’t seem to get past.

Your critique session will include feedback in four different categories:

1. Counsel on Technical Skills, Camera Settings and Specific Troubleshooting
2. Direction for Improvement on Capturing Magical Lighting
3. Feedback on Creative Composition
4. Action Steps for Stronger Story Telling

All you have to do is submit 3-5 photos to Me Ra Koh. Include any comments or questions with your photos. Me Ra will then give you a full critique that is either written or audio/video, covering the four categories above.

Private critique sessions with Me Ra are $300.
To learn more about the critique sessions her teachers offer at $150-$250, click here.  Each teacher offering critiques has completed forty hours of specified Critique Training with Me Ra.

What Me Ra’s Critique Students say:

I never knew how people got pictures like this but I have always loved the drama. I was excited to give this picture a try and saw an opportunity in my daughter’s room when she was sneaking a peek at the neighbor boys when she was supposed to be napping. I am really loving this class! Can you tell?!  Sorry I submitted 5 photos but they are all using things that I have learned, and I was excited to share!   -Emily

Wow! Thank you so much for all the wonderful information. I am blown away! Thank you, thank you, thank you. Now I just need to read it 100 more times!! These are exactly the things I think I had in my head but no idea how to get them out. -Kerri

This has been amazing and refreshingly positive!   Jennelle

My vision for this picture was the unbreakable bond the sisters have and how the older is always protecting her younger sister. The shadows really added so much depth to the story. Thank you for opening my eyes to using shadows!   -Colleen

UPCOMING MAY/JUNE PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOPS FOR WOMEN!

GROWING CONFIDENCE (Full Day Workshop)

May 10th with Nicole in Bismark, North Dakota

May 17th with Jill Ann in Dallas, Texas

May 17th with Allison in Leesburg, Virginia

May 17th with Nikki in Seattle, WA

May 24th with Janna in Dallas, Texas

May 31st with Laura in Christiansburg, Virginia

May 31st with Amy in Las Vegas, Nevada

May 31st with Neyssa on Eastside of Seattle, Washington

May 31st with Janna in Dallas, Texas

June 14th with Cathy in Topeka, Kansas

June 21st with Tina in Milwaukee, Wisconsin

June 21st with Summie in Edmond, Oklahoma

BUDDING CONFIDENCE (Half Day Workshop)

June 1st with Neyssa on Eastside of Seattle, Washington

June 21st with Cathy in Topeka, Kansas

Confidence with Your Camera Gives a Lifetime of Reward!

xo,

m