On this day, the first day of spring, my Pascaline turns thirteen.

She is a writer, weaving a magical story in a land far away–typing as fast as she can to keep up with her thoughts for almost an hour a day.

And her sense of fashion…it astounds me.  It’s not from me! No, she has always had a deep confidence that is bold, never making excuse or apology for who she is and how she dresses.

She inspires me.

0011-MeRa Koh_Turning 13

She is an artist with not only words but drawings.

Sometimes she spends two hours working on a single idea for a new dress or finessing the shading to show a figure’s movement.

Me Ra Koh Photography

She is a lover of books, losing herself in Greek mythology, Egyptian mythology and magical fantasy.

She is sunshine.

Me Ra Koh_essay on daughter who turns thirteen

She is a dancer.

When no one is paying close attention she still skips, turns, and twirls in the sun.

MeRa Koh_Photo Essay on Daughter Turns Thirteen

And it’s impossible not to wonder where all the years have gone,

to recall the precious moments from years past when I’ve caught her dancing in the morning light,

to a rhythm that has always been her own.

0020-MeRa Koh_Turning 13

She is fierce, kind, fiery, determined, and loving.

She walks in a natural confidence I’ve spent my whole life to find.

She speaks her mind freely.

She is quick with wit and sometimes leaves you feeling dizzy.

She is all these things and so many more.

I’ve never known a more beautiful girl that turned thirteen.  I simply couldn’t be more proud.

 0008-MeRa Koh_Turning 13

She is my Pascaline.

She is thirteen.

(happy birthday sweetie, mama)

Brian and I have been talking about it all week.  He and I both in utter shock.  I think we’ve had our head down, working on whatever it takes to get this dream off the ground.  When you have your head down, you find yourself in shock as you lift your chin and see the vision begin to actualize.  Seeing you help us raise over $10K in the first four days, I’m speechless!  We are one third of the way there!

unrealized dreams, Me Ra Koh

Brian shared something that made me want to cry.  I had to share it with you because it shows me that unrealized dreams don’t disappear but almost wait for us, wait for the perfect timing.

He remembers us being engaged eighteen years ago.  He had graduated from the University of Washington’s International School of Business.  His dream was to travel abroad for work.  But when we got engaged, he soon heard about how much my own dad was gone from being an international businessman.  He started to reconsider and decided that being at baseball games, birthday parties, and all the rest was what he wanted more.  Brian had a passion for international travel, but he wanted a family more.  And so he gave it up without any expectation that his unrealized dream would come back to him.

Brian looked at me the other night.  He struggled to find the words.  He said “It’s like my dream is being given back to me, Me Ra.  Almost twenty years later, I’m going to live my dream.  And not only is it going to look far better and different than I could have ever imagined, but my family will be by my side.”

Family Travel Show is a Go! Me Ra Koh Media

Dreams take seed in us at the most unexpected moments.  They often seem impossible to achieve.  That alone is what makes them dreams.

I had to share what Brian said with you because I know he isn’t the only dad or parent that carries unrealized dreams.   Brian assumed he was giving up his dream forever.  That is what made his sacrifice so real and true.  And yet all along, in his future, his dream–now our dream–was waiting with a steadfastness.  And all the work he did, all the diligence and sacrifice, all the times he encouraged his family, how he poured his heart into my dreams and visions, every moment prepared and brought him to this day.

Family Travel Show is a Go! Me Ra Koh Media

It’s easy to assume that unrealized dreams simply disappear, but what if it’s all a matter of timing.  What if everything you are doing now is preparing you for your dream.  Keep on the look out for when it’s time to take the leap.  I have a feeling you will see it around the bend sooner than later.  I have a feeling that all our fears of unrealized dreams dying was only that–just a fear–and they still live and breathe and wait for us.



I increased the number of “Headband It” packages because we sold out!  If you want one my awesome headbands (LOL!) grab your reward and help us launch Adventure Family at the same time!

Be sure to check out our CONFIDENCE Teacher Spring Workshop Calendar–scroll to bottom and see calendar box!  They are filling up and going to renew your love of photography!

If you weren’t on Facebook over the weekend, a LOT has gone down and this family is DETERMINED TO MOVE MOUNTAINSWE LEAVE Tuesday, MARCH 25th!!

Move Mountains, Kickstarter campaign for Adventure Family

The countdown is on!  There is something SUPER REAL about having the tickets purchased!

But what happened over the weekend?  Glad you asked!  Watch it right now or keep reading!

In the last ten days, we were told that a part of our budget was not going to be there due to issues that have nothing to do with our project but effect it just the same.  That “part of our budget” is about $30K.  Chunk of change and big enough for our launch to feel the hit.

Brian and I got this news and started hustling.  We are DETERMINED to get on that plane March 25th!  We have COME SO FAR!!!  There is no way we are going backwards now!

This may be the SHORTEST Kickstarter Campaign ever done, but we decided last week to focus our attention on creating one.  When you are almost out of time, it’s so hard to know where to focus your attention.  You feel the stakes rise because if the option you choose doesn’t work out, you may not have time to try something else.  Like I said, this may be the shortest Kickstart Campaign, but this is what we are going for.

Friday night, I hit the launch button for our campaign.  We need to raise $30K in TWO WEEKS!  I want to cry and laugh as I type that because it is can feel impossible.  But nothing is to impossible!

After only two-and-a-half days, supporters have pledged over $7K!!!  We are speechless!!!  And this is the first blog post I’ve even written about it since I just launched it Friday night!

I’m SUPER excited for you to watch the sizzle of Adventure Family when you go to the campaign page!  A sizzle is a short production of what you envision your show looking like.  We filmed this in Egypt fourteen months ago.  Brian knocked it out of the PARK!  He did it all on his own; the directing, filming, audio, and more.  He is so excited to have our awesome film crew when we set off for New Zealand, but wait till you see what he accomplished in the middle of Egypt!

Will you help us spread the word about our Adventure Family Kickstarter Campaign to friends and family?  It’s a huge amount to raise in such a short amount of time.  But I know we can move this mountain with your help.  There are also super fun rewards that we came up for every backer we get!   The most popular package is the “Headband It!”  LOL!

Thank you so much!!

No Mountain is Impossible To Move!!




I am so excited to share our latest news!  Our spring photography workshops have made TV!  WOO HOO!!!

Our CONFIDENCE Teachers are doing so well!  Not only have they scheduled their spring dates for all of you, but they are out their making waves!

Check out this TV interview from Nicole Elliott, our North Dakota teacher, who did her first morning show appearance!   She did AWESOME!!!

spring photography workshops, Me Ra Koh Teachers

WPPI, the huge tradeshow in Las Vegas for wedding and portrait photographers, is happening this week.  Tina Erdman, our Wisconsin teacher, was one of the speakers!  WOOT WOOT!!!!  Amy Rhodes, our Las Vegas teacher, was in the front row to support her and grabbed this quick snapshot for us all!!!  So proud of you TINA!!  This awesome lady is also leading the Confidence Cruise!

spring photography workshops, Me Ra Koh and teacher Tina Erdman

Laura Swift, our teacher in Christiansburg, VA had an Art Opening for her beautiful birth photography exhibit!  She was a delivery nurse for over 30 years, and now she captures the birth experience like no one else.  Can you a imagine a more qualified woman?  Photographer and Nurse!!

spring photography workshops, Me Ra Koh with Laura Swift

Spring is going to be awesome this year!  Our teachers are making waves and ready to empower you with your camera!

Meet the Teacher Nearest You!

Below are their photos and bio, you will find their spring photography workshop dates.  They are happening in the following cities and states!

Bismark, North Dakota w/ Nicole

Seattle (Eastside), Washington w/Neyssa

Seattle (South Sound) Washington w/Nikki

Salt Lake City, Utah w/Nikki

Las Vegas, Nevada w/Amy

Manhattan, Kansas w/Cathy

Christiansburg, Virginia w/Laura

Leesburg, VA w/Allison

Dallas, Texas w/ Jill Ann

Dallas, Texas w/ Janna

San Antonio, Texas w/ Summie

Milwaukee, Wisconsin w/Tina

Bahamas Cruise w/ Tina

If the weather is getting you down, if your creative spirit needs some tending, if you need a serious break from the kids, if you are tired of photos that are “happy accidents” and ready to learn how to use your DSLR, if you want Mother’s Day this year to be monumental, check out our line up of spring photography workshops!

*These workshops are kept small (6-8 women) for a more intimate experience.  To learn more about a teacher and workshop, click on the state nearest you!

Huge congrats to Nicole for making her first (of many to come) TV appearances!!  And big congrats to Tina for her first time speaking at WPPI (it’s only the beginning girl!).



Is your child a reluctant writer?  If yes, I would love to encourage you today with five of my favorite ways for how to cultivate the writer in your child!  Before I was a photographer, speaker, taking “big gulp” kind of leaps, I was a middle school and high school English teacher.  I taught in the classroom for almost seven years while I finished my first book.  My time in the classroom with tweens and teens prepared me for the toughest of audiences.  But that’s a whole different story for another day.  Today is about empowering the writer in your little one.

How to Cultivate the Writer in Your Child, Me Ra Koh Media

Writing is one of the most vulnerable, creative acts, I have ever done.  To share my ideas, write them down, risk others rejecting them, is no small thing.  Being a storyteller takes a measure of courage.  It’s no wonder our kids are reluctant to write.  After all, I know as  many parents as kids who feel the same way when faced with a blank page.  ‘Where on earth do I start?’ we think.  But there is a writer in all of us, and sometimes we just need a little help with feeling safe, comfortable, and room to explore as we attempt to be creative.  (The most worthy of attempts!)

Check out my latest Babble post; 5 Ways to Engage Reluctant Writers for Kids of All Ages.  Whether your little one is three years old or thirteen years old, these five tips will spark a light in the heart of your child.  They’ve all been kid tested and approved by not only my students from way back when, but my own kids.  And seriously, if you have a passion for writing but don’t know where to start…I would TOTALLY try one of these five ways!

(And this is only Part 1!  More to come!)  Read the Babble post here!



More Related Posts on Parenting and Creating with Kids!

7 Ways to Empower Kids with Money

My Self-Portrait with My Twelve Year Old Daughter

Letter to My Pascaline: Turning Ten Years Old with a Sway in Your Hip

13 Ways to Engage the Photographer in Your Kids (from Me Ra and her two kids!)

The Risks and Rewards of Committing Yourself to Your Art


Hi! I’m CONFIDENCE teacher Cathy Mores, with my favorite 8 photo tips for photographing kids in the snow this winter! It seems like we have all had our share of snow lately, haven’t we? For some of our kiddos, this winter is truly a once-in-a-lifetime experience! Seeing their reactions to those first snowy footsteps and the feeling of sledding downhill are moments they’ll remember forever. Here are eight quick photo tips to make the most of those memories!

1. Look for ways to create contrast. This time of year can be so gray and dreary. Using a pop of color, or the contrast of shadows, can create depth and texture to your pictures. In the following image, my son’s red jacket stands out against the crisp white snow and peeks of fresh blue sky. If it’s just too gray and overcast, use trees or other elements of your surroundings to show the difference between the earth and the sky. This can help bring dimension and depth to your image, too.

photographing kids in the snow


2. Overexpose a little for the snow so it looks crisp and white. This is where photographing in manual can really work to your advantage (and if you don’t know how, learn from one of our CONFIDENCE teachers!) Photographing in AV or aperture-priority mode can make the snow appear too dark because the camera only “sees” the white from the snow. Using manual exposure, and overexposing by slowing down your shutter speed by just one stop or opening up your aperture a little bit more, will make the snow appear sparkly and bright. (Point and shoot users, consider the beach/snow shooting mode. This automatically compensates for the brightness of your surroundings.)

me ra koh photographing kids in the snow


3. Don’t be afraid to wear rain boots in the snow. This comes with a little bit of caution — of course, if it’s ridiculously cold outside, make sure your children are properly dressed for the weather! Or, if they’re two years old and asserting their independence, let them wear the rain boots as they take those first steps outside and explore the world for themselves. It will make for a great memory and story when they’re older.

me ra koh photographing kids in the snow


4. Slow your shutter speed to catch all the action. This one takes practice, but with some patience (and a willing subject) you can use your manual settings to literally show how fast they’re going down the hill! This is fun for any kind of forward-moving activity—think bike riding in the summer, or running on the sidewalk. Set your aperture really high so that your shutter speed can slow way down, and as your subject is moving, pan your camera as the subject is moving to get that cool motion blur.
(bonus tip: set your shooting mode to be in continuous shooting for even more stop-frame action!)

me ra koh photographing kids in the snow


5. Use snow for reflected light in open shade. In our CONFIDENCE workshops we’re always talking about looking for open shade. The snow acts like a giant white reflector, instead of green grass or a neutral surface (like a parking lot or playground). This reflects that solid sheet of brightness back up onto our subject, which is like holding a piece of paper underneath your chin and taking a photograph. (try it, it’s fun!) With the reflected light from the snow, our subject is illuminated softly and evenly without harsh shadows and squinted eyes.

me ra koh photographing kids in the snow


6. Use the Rule of Thirds to enhance your story. Among the basic rules of composition for success with your photography, one of the most widely-used is the rule of thirds. Using this principle, place the subject outside of the frame’s center, the viewer can roam with the subject, engage longer with the image, and tell more of the story. It’s created by drawing two horizontal and vertical lines into your frame, breaking up the composition into nine sections. (You may also be able to turn this grid on in most cameras or smartphones!) In the following image, you can see my son as he’s sledding out of the frame. Placing him on the right instead of in the center of the frame adds to the sense of adventure and movement.

me ra koh photographing kids in the snow


7. Use the shadows to add texture and definition. Especially in the stark contrasts of winter, the shadows can define more about the image than the light does. Use the shadows, especially early in the mornings and late in the afternoons, to provide more impact for photographing kids in the snow.

me ra koh photographing kids in the snow


8. Show them having fun! At our house, snow is all about snowballs, tunnel forts in the snow piles and snow angels. This is such a magical time of year, and your child’s experiences of the snow will be vastly different next year from where they are at right now. Take this opportunity to show the wonder and excitement of snow days, hot chocolate, and catching snowflakes on their tongues!

me ra koh photographing kids in the snow

I hope these tips and ideas help inspire your adventures this winter! Our CONFIDENCE workshops have so many more ways to spark your creativity and empower you with your camera — I hope you’ll join me or another teacher near you this spring for a day of learning and friendship.



Cathy Mores
Cathy Mores specializes in family portraits and weddings, and is a Me Ra Koh CONFIDENCE teacher, based in Manhattan, Kansas. In between photographing, she’s often training with her husband for half-marathons, and cheering for her seven-year-old son on the soccer field. See a Behind-the-Scenes look at one of Cathy’s CONFIDENCE Workshops and learn about Cathy’s Spring CONFIDENCE Workshop Dates for the Perfect Mother’s Day Treat!

Taking the Leap Requires…

As we near the last month, getting closer and closer to our goal date of setting off for the adventure of our lives (while still praying and praying that logistics come together in time), I’ve learned that taking the leap requires something unexpected.  That unexpected something has a lot to do with leaving the comfortable, familiar and predictable and stepping into uncharted grounds whether your leap is big or small.

taking the leap requires, Me Ra Koh Media

I say unexpected, but I think I knew it all along and just didn’t want to face it.  Maybe you know what I’m referring to.  I’ve come to wonder if this is the single requirement that causes many of us to walk away from the leap, feeling unsure as we step back from the edge.

What am I referring too?  Disney’s Babble team asked me if I had anything to share about “taking the leap”, and I had to smile.  Do I have anything to share on the subject?  Holy smokes.  What is this mystery that taking the leap requires?   Read this special Babble post I wrote this week, My Family’s Dream if Finally Coming True, but I’m Still Grieving for Our Old Life.

Heat up a cup of coffee or tea, find a quiet moment in your day and read along.  You’ll have to tell me if you guessed what that single requirement was.  Or maybe you’ve found that taking the leap requires other things…I would love to hear what those are too.

Go to my Babble post.  (enjoy!)



This month’s blog circle with our beautiful CONFIDENCE Teachers is all about the meaning of the color red.

When we first thought of this idea, I LOVED it.  After all, February is the month of sweethearts, being in love and celebrating Valentine’s Day.  How hard can it be to capture the meaning of the color red?  Then February rolled around, and I started looking in my home, through my clothes, at my favorite trinkets, and nothing was red!  NOTHING!  Can you believe that I don’t even own one piece of clothing that is red?  I had no idea!  (that’s a reason all in itself to go shopping, right?!)

This unexpected challenge made the blog circle photo exercise that much more challenging and fun.  I knew I needed get out of the box, and that is when I decided to walk.

So let me ask you this…Do you ever feel like your mind is running wild with confusion, fears, doubts, unending questions and you can’t see straight?  That is what I’ve been fighting off these last few weeks.  It’s as if all the chaos in my mind wants to crawl across my brain, take up all my creative space, and cloud all my judgement.

Anyone relate?  If yes, this is what I found on my walk for the meaning of the color red!

the meaning of the color red, Me Ra Koh, SONY NEX-7Shot with SONY a7R

This perspective felt so empowering.  My heart leaped inside.  I need to stand up and yell STOP! to the chaotic growth of confusion in my brain.  All those wintry, bare branches are like spider webs trying to crawl across my every thought, robbing my peace of mind.  I’m saying STOP!  I know it’s a lot easier said than done, but when I looked up at this stop sign and saw the tangled, twisted branches–holy cow, I saw my brain.  And that red stop sign, that is the meaning of the color red for me this month!  That red stop sign is CLEAR, BOLD, SIMPLE, and STANDING TALL.  These are all attributes I can focus on versus all the confusion.

Between the family all being sick for over two weeks, not sleeping well from coughing or throwing up, to all the rain, snow and rain, to all the change in our business, to trying to process how to pack this home and start saying goodbyes, to getting a million logistics together for leaving in March, to not having any answers to a million more questions, to all the fears that accompany stepping into the unknown , to finding out a few days ago that I’m flying to FL tomorrow for a morning show…holy smokes friends…I am officially overwhelmed.  I feel like I’m pregnant all over again and about to give birth.  But here is the truth.  I was two weeks late with Pascaline, and I went a little cuckoo during that two weeks.  I started feeling like I was going to be the only woman who would never give birth but be eternally pregnant instead.  That’s how I’m feeling with trying to push out this family travel show vision with Brian.

I need to plant my STOP! sign in my brain and heart.  I need to ring my YES bell again, and ring it LOUD.  It’s not enough to ring the YES bell once, sometimes we have to ring it again and again until all those cobwebby fears and doubts stop growing.  What’s a YES bell?  Check out my Babble post to see the unexpected YES bell I found in a forest recently.  Powerful.  We all need a YES bell.

We all need a red STOP! sign, not just in our neighborhood but captured and posted to our wall.

Thanks for listening everyone!  I’m sure that our CONFIDENCE Teachers will have way more to share both in words and visually on the meaning of the color red.  They are always so inspiring!

Follow the blog circle by going to Neyssa’s blog next!  You are going to love her use of RED with Square Templates!

Cheers to embracing the STOP! in our brains!




Not sure if you all saw it, but our CONFIDENCE Cruise was included in the Top 50 Photo Workshops in the World!

We are CRAZY EXCITED and super proud of Tina!!

Top 50 Photo Workshops in the World

Tina Erdman, one of our wonderful CONFIDENCE Teachers, is based in Wisconsin.  She has a passion for combining travel and photography (my kind of gal!).  Almost nine months ago, she came to me and Brian with a vision to take the CONFIDENCE Workshop on a cruise.  Well, look out your window at the snow, slush, wind and never-ending rain and try to tell me that this isn’t the BEST, WARMEST, most YUMMY IDEA EVER!

Top 50 Photo Workshops in the World with Me Ra Koh Confidence

Not only did Tina find a wonderful cruise line to partner with, but she also went abroad to Africa for several weeks and came home even MORE EXCITED to empower women!  You can see Tina’s Travel Photo Tips from Africa here.

So here is the deal!  This Spring (the BEST Mother’s Day idea ever), Tina is leading a group of twenty (super lucky) women in her Confidence Cruise Workshop.  Yep, this workshop is limited to twenty women.  While you sail around the Bahamas, you also gain confidence with your camera, get tons of hands-on experience, go on unforgettable photo excursions to only end your day with a nap in the sun and a yummy drink to wake up to.  Sounds dreamy, right?!  Check out the fun itinerary here!

She has a few spots left, especially after getting named as one of the Top 50 Photo Workshops in the World (so proud of you Tina!!).

Did I also mention how ridiculously AWESOME the price of all this is?  Check it out!

If you are interested, check out Tina’s blog out for more cruising details.  You can also check out her Confidence Cruise on our store.  Or shoot Tina an email or give her a ring with any specific questions.



With Valentine’s Day fast approaching, we must talk about how to capture the love affair between kids and loveys.  Below is a new, fun Photo Recipe on how to capture this adorable bond!

What’s a lovey? 

A lovey is that special, well-loved object your child can’t live without.  Some loveys will come and go as they get older, and some loveys will never grow old.

Whether your baby’s lovey is currently your TV’s remote control (see that hilarious photo recipe in my book, Your Baby in Pictures) or a family of stuffed squirrels (you can’t make this stuff up), you MUST capture kids and loveys.

how to capture the love affair between kids and loveys, Me Ra Koh


You may be asking ‘What’s the story with the family of squirrels?’  After all, many kids find teddy bears to be their loveys.  But squirrels can work too, yes?

I would always see these two squirrels playing in our backyard, running up and down our large evergreen tree.  One day I made a comment to Brian about it.  I told him how amazed I was by all the energy those two squirrels had.  They never stopped playing!  He paused and looked at me a little funny.  He said “You know that those aren’t probably the same two squirrels you see every time.  For all we know, there could be a dozen squirrels in the yard.  But they all look the same.”  I don’t know how else to explain my reaction other than I felt like someone had CRUSHED my imagination!  More than two squirrels?!  What?!

Well, I redeemed the situation the only way I know how.  Storytelling.  The kids were still sharing the same room in bunk beds, so every night I would tell them a story about the two adventurous squirrels named Flopsy and Mopsy who lived in our backyard.  Flopsy was the more mature squirrel that was always having to bail Mopsy out of trouble. Their adventures started with our backyard as the setting, but as we traveled, Flopsy and Mopsy traveled too.  Whenever we’d see two squirrels run up the evergreen tree, we’d stop homeschool and cheer Flopsy and Mospy on.

A year ago, I spotted these stuffed squirrels in the window of a teddy bear shop.  I realized I had been telling the kids Flopsy and Mospy stories for years.  I had to get the squirrels for Blaze because he loves stuffed animals like nobody’s business.  Ever since then they have become his loveys through and through. He calls them “his family of squirrels”.  How can I NOT capture it?!

Here is how to capture the love affair between kids and lovey, the Photo Recipe for Kids and Loveys!  Plus, our CONFIDENCE Teachers shared their favorite lovey photos and photo tips on Babble!  Check it out and you’ll be inspired!  (Wait till you see Pascaline’s lovey, super sweet for a twelve year old.)


WHEN:  Early afternoon, when kids are rested and still feeling full from breakfast, and in the mood to snuggle with lovyes.

PREP:  Have your children gather their favorite lovey.  Be prepared for them to bring a whole bunch, but this will make it more like a fun activity that you get to together.  Enjoy!

FOR P&S USERS:  Turn off your camera flash, and set your camera to Portrait mode.  This will help you capture the beautiful window light and natural colors.  Portrait mode will either be the capital P on your camera or the little head icon.  This mode will tell the camera to soften the background but keep your subject in focus.

FOR DSLR USERS:  Turn off your flash (that thing is always evil!).  Set your camera to Aperture Priority mode, and set your aperture to f/2.8 for the most blur in your background (and most light).  If your photos are still coming out to dark, try bumping up your ISO.  My DSLR settings for this photo were f/2.8, shutter speed 1/80th of a second, and ISO 800.  I shot this with the SONY NEX-6 and 50mm lens.

COMPOSE: How you compose this photo depends on two things; what your child’s lovey is and what emotion are wanting to evoke.  Pascaline’s lovey portrait had to be a horizontal composition.  It will make total sense when you see what it is on the Babble post.  But this portrait of family squirrels with Blaze seemed to be tight and intimate if I framed it vertically.  Have fun playing around!

CAPTURE:  I love the idea of not focusing on the child’s eyes for this photo but focusing on the Lovey(s) instead.  Focus on

Okay, now I am SERIOUS!  I want to see your lovey photos!! Lovie photos are one of my favorite things to photograph.  Every child has their own lovey, and I would LOVE to see yours!  So don’t be shy and share them with us on my FB page!

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone!  May you all feel loved and cherished!



See 8 Ways to Capture Kids and Loveys this Valentine’s Day on Babble!

And 14 Photo Tips for Capturing YOUR Love this Valentine’s Day on Babble!