Posts Tagged ‘Exercise’

The final countdown of 2009 is here.  What an intense year it’s been–full of high-highs and low-lows.  And yet somehow, we have not only endured but found moments to celebrate, believe in the impossible, keep loving when we felt empty, and wake with a sense of hope for the new day.  The resilience of the human spirit is breath taking.  The resilience of your spirit is amazing.  And if nothing else, you are worth celebrating tonight!

To celebrate, I have artist exercises…I know, it’s a crazy Type A thing to offer today.  :)   These exercises are like rituals that help me bring closure to the year as I prepare for the next.  They are exercises that feed my artist within.   Some are random in nature.  Some are thoughtful.  Some are easy, and some…I consider super, heavy lifting.  I thought I’d share a handful with you.

Take 15 minutes, or if you can 60 minutes, to yourself today or tomorrow.  Pick one, two, or more exercises below .and let your artist child run free.  There is something powerful about starting a New Year with the innocence and possibilities that children possess.

10 New Year’s Exercises for the Artists Within!

1. If you had to pick a color or colors, what colors would you use to describe 2009?  What colors do you want to begin 2010 with?

2.  Take a 15 minute photo walk.  Look for something that catches your eye.  Something that reflects, represents, symbolizes 2009.  As you walk home, be on the lookout for an image that represents your hopes for 2010.  Share the photos with someone you love and trust.

3.  Grab a handful of magazines and cut out any image that makes you smile.  Don’t over think this one, if you smile, rip it out.  Then walk away from all your cut outs for a few hours.  After time has passed, return to your cut outs and write down the consistencies you find. What are the common threads?  What are these common threads saying about your heart’s desires?  How can the recognition of these common threads help you build dreams for 2010?

4.  One of my favorites from the Artist Way; write an encouraging letter to yourself.  Write the letter from a place of Great Love for yourself.  What do you need to hear as you step in to 2010?  How do you need to be encouraged?  You know your heart’s needs better than anyone.  What words of life can you give to yourself in this letter?  When your done writing, mail the letter to yourself.  What a wonderful gift to start the New Year with!

5.  What was your favorite recipe in 2009, and why?  What is the recipe you were scared to try?  Any thoughts on why?

6.  Dreaming Big:  If you could wave a magic wand, what three dreams would come true?  Dream BIG for this exercise.  Don’t do necessity dreaming—like paying the bills.  But really push yourself to dream beyond your most urgent needs.

7.  For those of you who are feeling overwhelmed, find a way to go and see a movie by yourself.  (This is one of the toughest things for me to do, but when I’ve done it—it has made all the difference.)

8. This one is from my wise business coaches, Karen and Fay: As you look back, what motivated you to change and to move toward your heart’s desires and your goals?  Inner desires or intentions?  Outward events or people?  Necessities?

9.  Your Heart’s Garden:  With your journal, take inventory of your heart’s garden.  What is blooming?  What is dying?  What needs to be pruned back?  Are there any unexpected empty plots?  What is thriving in the garden of your heart?  Something you didn’t expect to survive the storm?  What does it feel like to lock yourself in the bathroom, turn the fan on, close your eyes for 60 seconds and picture yourself in that garden?  What sounds do you hear in your garden?  What scents?  Are you at rest in your own garden?   If not, what are things you could do to find rest?

10.  My favorite exercise with the family:  Take some time to sit together.  Each family member gets their own turn.  Set the timer for 60 seconds and be still together, waiting on God, opening your heart to any word or picture of encouragement for that family member.  When the 60 seconds is over, share your impressions one at a time, and have someone write them down.  Maybe even start a Family Prayer Journal for 2010.  This is one of our most treasured books.

Happy New Year Friends!  With great excitement, we picture you on our left and right as we enter 2010 together—supporting each other.

All our love,

Me Ra, Brian, Pascaline and Blaze

p.s. Over the next few days, feel free to share your exercise results on today’s blog post!

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While we keep working on the SOAR! entries, I thought I’d pull a fun post from our blog archives.  It’s all about photo tips for shooting in the snow! 


Remember this one?  It’s from January 08! 



If you are snowed in (and I’m so jealous that you are!), click the link below to try a fun photo exercise!


Click Below!

Ski Lessons for Kids and Photo Tips for Parents!



Me Ra

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This is a big day.  It is the last Friday before the SOAR! Scholarship Deadline.   I know a lot of you have yet to turn in your video.  You and I know that this weekend, tomorrow and Sunday, are your days to get it done—maybe Monday but that is SERIOUSLY pushing it.

Have the voices become louder as you’ve come closer to the deadline?  The voices that say, “You aren’t worth of this scholarship.  You don’t deserve it.”  Or maybe they say, “Look at all those Video Entries so far.  What makes you think you are that creative.  What makes you think you can do this?”  Don’t you hate those voices?

I must confess that even though I’m not an applicant, I have had my own voices to battle.  The SOAR! Scholarship is my own leap of faith.  ‘Can we pull something this big together?  Will it grow into what I envision?  Will women respond?  Will they hear my heart?’  They are all the doubts that you run through, just a different scenario.  And yes, they have become more and more loud as this deadline has approached.  Yesterday morning I got up extra early to get a head start on my day.  I did my workout and before leaving the gym, I decided to sit upstairs and write my morning pages.

I heard someone behind me messing with one of the elliptical machines.  I turned around and saw this man standing there, he was looking at me, and so I turned around and kept writing—choosing to ignore him.  In that split second I had a weird feeling, but I was at the gym of all places.  And then I heard the sound of someone urinating.  I turned around, and he had opened up his pants, exposing everything to me, and was looking right at me as he peed all over the equipment.  Insane, right?  Disgusting…violating.

I went downstairs, told the front desk.  They confronted the man.  He didn’t act senile or overly medicated.  He wasn’t a homeless guy who had wandered in.  Instead, he was a member.  And he was angry and offended by what he was being accused of.  They came back to me and said that there wasn’t much they could do but have me fill out a report for their records.  Since a staff member had not witnessed the incident, it was my word against his.  He was allowed to keep exercising.  …I had been here before.  This felt to familiar.  How was I not supposed to feel like they believed him since they were letting him stay?

I’ve been through the sexual assault court system enough to know that if nothing else, we can report the incident to the police so there is a record.  The staff called the police, and I waited in the office for over an hour.  There are these big glass windows in the office where you can look out on the basketball courts and upper level.  The track is on the upper level.  There he was–walking the track.  Doing his exercise instead of being asked to leave.  I had been here before.

In that next hour, I went through a myriad of flashbacks.  Almost twenty years ago, I was raped by a student on campus.  I had reported it to the police, but lack of evidence kicked the case out of court.  He was allowed to enroll back into classes.  As he stalked me for nine months, the college continued to say, “There were no other witnesses.  There is nothing we can do.”

As I was waiting for the police, one of the gym employees came in at his defense.  She told me that this man had been a gym member for years.  She had never seen or heard of him being inappropriate.  His medication, if he was taking any, was probably getting the better of him.  She walked away without asking me once how I was.

I had been here before.  This felt to familiar.

The man left when he was done working out.  The gym said they didn’t know if they could discontinue his membership.  Hard to prove what happened—even though there was urine all over the equipment.  The police finally showed up.  The officer talked to me outside.  I told him what happened, and he looked at me and said, “I believe you.”  Those three words almost undid me.  I told them I would testify.  They took my information, and I left.

I left the scene, but I had not left that familiar place.  That place where all my power seems to disappear.  Brian met me.  I looked at him and said, “Why did I sit upstairs by myself?  I should have known better.”  With passion in his eyes, he said, “No Me Ra.  That is not the voice of truth.  You’ve spent to many years battling that voice to let it have a say now.  This was not your fault.  You didn’t invite this.”

He was right.  That voice of unworthiness had crept right in and was now speaking for me.  How fast it happens.

I came home, laid down on the bed, and Blaze came and snuggled with me.  I had all these great plans for the day.  Plans to help promote SOAR! even more—with a dozen different ideas.  I felt like yesterday was our biggest viral day to promote SOAR! before Monday.  And now the day was lost to something like this.

The house was quiet.  The kids were at rock climbing club.  I lit a candle.  It was a red candle that my business coaches gave me last Spring.  They  told me to light it when I needed to remind myself of the light in the darkness—the power of that single light that is gentle, but ever present—that single light that is in me.  The power of Feminine Wisdom.

I felt like I had lost the day.  But in the quiet of this moment, as I write to you, I know that this isn’t true.  There is a light inside of me that cannot be put out.  I know this because of all the trauma I have had to endure, the light still shines.  I still love at the end of the day.  I still laugh.  And I still believe that we are all worth more than we could ever know.

I get to write to all of you that are struggling with the voices, the old, familiar, ugly voices.  And I get to say, you and I are worth more than what life has thrown at us.  You and I are worth more than we could ever imagine.  We are capable of more than we ever imagined.  We are meant for MORE than we have dared to dream. I believe this with all my heart.

But here is another truth I have found.  As I stretch my wings.  As I get into position to fly—to take my next leap—a little higher, a little scarier.  The voices come alive and things start to happen around me—things that make me scared to jump—to not fly—to never soar.  When those things start to happen, when the voices seem to be screaming at me from every direction, when I feel like I have been here before–that this place is all to familiar—I know that I am on the cusp of flying.   A shift is about to happen.  And all the powers that have come against me know they are powerless.  All I need to do is leap.

You can try to close out the voices—just block them out, but I have found that they are still audible until after the leap has happened.  I can’t wait for those voices to shut up—or I’ll never leap.  I guarantee that if you wait for those voices to shut up, you will NEVER make your video entry for SOAR!  And we both don’t want that.

So close your eyes. Picture me standing with you on the ledge.  Picture me surrounded by all my familiar places and horrible voices, and I’ll picture you surrounded by all your familiar places and horrible voices.  Together, we know how hard this is.  How much courage this jump takes.  And together, we will leap.

With full confidence in you and myself, I send you all my love and faith this weekend.  And I will be looking for your SOAR! Video Entry.


Me Ra

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My dear friend, Kari, has started her own blog.  And I am LOVING it!  It’s called Mamabloo.  Some of you may recognize Kari from her funny comments on my blog posts, and then there was that incident where Oprah rebuilt her HOUSE!  (no, I’m not joking.)

Kari has a down to earth style of writing that nine out of ten times makes me smile.  When I post Photo Tips or Exercises, Kari will bust out her camera and give it her best go.  She’s not a professional photographer.  She is a full, and I mean FULL TIME mama, with FIVE kids in tow.  She doesn’t know all the camera jargon, but that doesn’t stop her from capturing her family stories.  What is so great is that she’ll often email me the stories behind what happened and her fun results.  Some of her stories have me rolling…and that got me thinking…why don’t I ask Kari if I can share some of her stories with you!  So for experiment sake, we’ve got our first Mamabloo Photo Tale.


I love Christmas trees.  Every year I load the family up in the mini van – all 7 of us – the Saturday after Thanksgiving and head out to someplace to get a tree. What happens next is predictable and consistent from year to year. My husband, Dave, and I get in a fight.

We are in complete and utter disagreement over everything regarding the tree. What size it should be, how much we should spend, and, of course, where it should go in the house. The truth of the matter is, I always win. And Dave always sulks. This year, he took a different approach and just said “I’ll do whatever you want” over and over – sorta like a mantra — and the whole day was much better. Ahhhh…Merry Christmas. So it is not a coincidence that this year I think we have the best tree ever. Ever. So, it is finally time to take a picture of it.

Me Ra tells us that taking a good Christmas Tree photo requires 8 simple steps. Gee, only 8. Off I go to try the first step.

Step One says to set the shutter speed at a VERY slow speed. Check: 1/5

And to set the camera to TV mode (I didn’t even know it had a TV mode, but, hey, I watch a lot of TV, so it should be fine) Check.

And put the ISO up high. Check: 1600

Here is my first crappy picture.


The next steps actually involved the timer on my camera!  I actually had to Google it to find out where the stinkin’ timer was on this thing.  I spent the next few nights in short bursts of time shooting my favorite parts of the tree using Me Ra’s advice.

So……I wasn’t able to completely adhere to all the steps – anything called “RAW” scares the ba-jeebers outta me.  The imagery that word, RAW, conjures up is just wrong.  And I am glad I have had some ballet and yoga in my past because I needed to contort myself to see through the viewfinder. But, I was able to fiddle around with her 8 steps and come up with something to forever document the best tree ever. Even Dave agrees.

To try Me Ra’s 8 steps for photographing a Christmas tree, CLICK HERE!

If you are hungry for even more Christmas Tree Photo Tips, check out THIS POST where Carey Schumacher of Barefoot Memories chimes in!

Mamabloo and I would love to know what you think of Mamabloo’s first Photo Tale.  Should we share another one with you!  Post a comment and let us know.  (and post one fast b/c you know we are both going to be refreshing all day!  :))


xoxo, Me Ra


p.s.  Oh!  Wait!  I just got word as I was preparing this post that we have TWO NEW CONFIDENCE Workshops to announce for the Spring!  We are coming to Jersey City, NJ for all our East Coast ladies and also Huntington Beach, CA for our West Coast ladies!  It’s going to be a GREAT Spring!  If a CONFIDENCE Wkshp was on your Christmas Wish List, stay tuned this week for Registration Details—either Wed, Thursday or Friday :)!

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Christmas lights went up this weekend in our neighborhood. We even got our first Christmas card! Eeks! I’m still finishing off our pumpkin pie! I’m not ready for the holidays to be official! Are you? You know what, I don’t think it matters if we’re ready. I think the holidays are here whether we’re prepared or not. So let’s form a circle! Gather in! :) We must support each other! I’ll support you tossing the leftover pumpkin pie as I make room for the eggnog. I’ll support you buying your own stocking stuffers b/c let’s face it, Santa doesn’t stuff our stockings the way mom did. So here we go ladies and gents; this is my Top Ten Stocking Stuffers for the Photo Enthusiast whether you are a beginner or pro!

I admit, you need a BIG stocking for #1. But it’s so worth it! The moment we’ve been waiting for is finally here!

#1 Me Ra’s Sexy Copper Brown, Sony a330 DSLR Camera and Lens!

Price: $549.99 BUY HERE!

Family Circle magazine highlighted this Copper Brown DSLR in their Favorite Holiday Electronic Picks! Check it out on the newsstands this month! And remember, the secret Sony trip we made this summer? We were filming a revised DVD for them called Kids in Focus. I’ll blog about that amazing experience more later. But here is the coolest news, when you purchase your new Sony Alpha DSLR, Sony will include a copy of our newly released Kids in Focus DVD! Exclusively available at Sony Style stores and! If you get it, you must PROMISE to send me a photo of yourself with your sexy, new camera!

#2 The Buttery, Background 50mm f/1.8 lens.

Price: $149, BUY HERE!

I love this lens b/c it gives you the low fstop ability to create buttery, blurry backgrounds! FYI, all the images, shot live, for the Kids in Focus DVD were captured with the Sony a330 DSLR and 50mm lens! And believe me, I pushed the camera and lens abilities to the limits, and they both blew my expectations out of the water!

#3 NEW Refuse to Say Cheese Organic Cotton Baby Onesies w/ FOUR Colors to Choose from!

Price $24 Holiday Special $19.20 till 12/4!

Coupon: stockingstuffer BUY HERE!

Style 1

Style 2

Photography Printed Onsies for Babies

I’ve been wanting to make Refuse to Say Cheese onesies forever! Aren’t they sweet! They are by far one of my favorite Stocking Stuffers! We even have two styles to choose from for the little ones. Sizes range from 6-18 months. And the boys versions are green onesies with the brown camera!

#4 Can’t forget about Mom! NEW Refuse to Say Cheese Women’s American Apparel T-shirts!

Price $29.99 Holiday Special $ till 12/4!

Coupon: stockingstuffer BUY HERE!

Style 1

Photography Printed Tshirts for Women

Style 2

Photography Printed Tshirts for Women

You asked for them, and we got them just in time for the holidays! Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!!!

#5 Our Award Winning Instructional DVD Set.

Price $ 49.99 Holiday Special $39.99 till 12/4!

Coupon: stockingstuffer BUY HERE!

Instructional Photography DVDs w/Me Ra Koh

Fox News recommended the DVD set on TV as a top Holiday pick! NAPPA gave the DVD set their prestigious Gold Award! Sony’s new Kids in Focus DVD was inspired from this DVD set. And thousands of customers have emailed us their praise for Refuse to Say Cheese and Beyond the Green Box! What are you waiting for!

#6 The Sony External Flash for a price that’s hard to BEAT!

Price $129.99 BUY HERE!

I love this little flash because it solves the red eye and black cave problem in seconds. With this flash, you can point it toward the ceiling and bounce the light. Bouncing the light gets rid of all the red eye, and your kids don’t look like they are climbing out of black caves. It’s light weight, easy to snap on, and the price is pretty amazing!

#7 The BEST Photo Editing Software EVER: Adobe’s Lightroom 2.

Price $169.99 BUY HERE!

We do ALL our photo editing with Adobe’s Lightroom. I could sing Lightroom praises for hours. This software has made photo editing ten times faster. When you have little ones running around, fast post process is a BIG deal. Lightroom is super intuitive and Dynamic with a capital D! Ask other users, they will confirm what I’m saying.

#8 Stop Reinventing the Wheel with our Popular 101 Kits!

Price: $99, Holiday Price $79.20 till 12/4!

Coupon: stockingstuffer BUY HERE!

Essential Nuts and Bolts for Photography Business

Do you want to stay up all night trying to reinvent the wheel on starting a photography business? Or, do you wish that someone did the research for you and just shared it all with you? I SHARE IT ALL in our popular 101 Kits. You’ll receive photo release waivers, marketing tips, package pricing, and much more. Just read the reviews when you click to buy now! We’ve received hundreds of HAPPY emails from customers! And when you buy two 101 Kits, you get an even better deal. Our Portrait 101 and Wedding 101 Kits are the most popular!

#9 Chic jill-e Camera Bags that will make Her Giddy!

Price: $24.99 to $384.99 BUY HERE!

extraordinary Pro camera bags by jill-e designs deliver function and fashion

My girlfriend Carey bought me a Jill-e Camera Bag for my birthday a couple years ago. Love it! Love it! You can’t beat the classiness of these camera bags for women (and they’ve got some pretty hip ones for men too–Brian approves! :))

#10! Me Ra’s best resource for Artistic Inspiration: The Artist’s Way: A Spiritual Path to Higher Creativity-10th Anniversary Edition.

Price: $26.40 BUY HERE!

If your creativity needs to be inspired, this book is for you. There are endless exercises that jog your creativity, whether it’s tackling fears, beliefs we have regarding our worthiness to create, you name it, this book tackles it! It is my Bible when it comes to creative inspiration. You’ve heard me quote it several times, why not treat yourself or someone you love to their own copy!


You have it friends! Our Top Ten Stocking Stuffers for the Photo Enthusiast! If your purchasing a product from our store (tshirts, onsies, DVDs, 101 kits) remember to use the Coupon: stockingstuffers. This Coupon will give you 20% off until this Friday, December 4th!

Happy Holidays!


Me Ra

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Want a fun photo exercise idea for the weekend? The gold and red leaves won’t be here much longer. When the sun breaks this weekend, grab your camera, make a pile of leaves and let the kids go for it!

Photo Tips for Taking Fall Leave Photos! Me Ra Koh Photography

I love to get kids involved with photo shoots. I had these two build me the BIGGEST pile of leaves. I told them to grab two handfuls and on the count of 3, throw the leaves in the air as high as they can. But kids will do exactly what you tell them and sometimes nothing more or less. So that just means they need even more photocoaching. I told these two to keep their arms stretched high to the sky and smile as the leaves fall down all around them (and I demonstrated what I meant with exaggeration). We practiced a couple times (I shot each run through–just in case). When the three of us knew we were all on the same page, we yelled our countdown “ONE, TWO, THREE! THROW THE LEAVES!”

For all my Photo Recipe Lovers: Aperture/ftsop was a 2.8 to give me a blurry background. ISO was down to 200 for maximum color saturation. With all that sunlight, the Shutter Speed was cooking at 640th of a second or 1/640–plenty fast to freeze their action and smiles.

Have a wonderful weekend friends! Brian and I get to spend the weekend with the beautiful November Seattle CONFIDENCE Workshop ladies, starting with a fun Meet and Greet at our house tonight. We are so excited. And next week, oh my goodness I can hardly wait, our new website/blog goes live with special announcements and goodies for the holidays!

Love you all!

Me Ra

p.s. If you emailed us about your baby being in my new book, we will be in touch by Monday! The photo shoots will happen on Saturday, November 21st, starting at 9am. If your baby fits what we are looking for, we are going to email you time slots so you can sign up. All the details (location, what to wear, how long the session will be, etc) are coming soon so watch your Inbox for an email from me or Genie! xoxo


TWO NEW Photo Contests, TWO WAYS to WIN! Deadline is December 1st! To enter and WIN, read the details HERE!

Our Refuse to Say Cheese DVD series are now AWARD WINNING! Read the press release HERE ! The DVDs were also recently featured on FOX News as a TOP GIFT recommendation for the holidays! Refuse to Say Cheese and , click either title!

Thinking of starting your dream Photography Business?! You can totally do it with our popular 101 Kits! Inspired from the 100’s of emails that Me Ra Koh receives each week, asking the how to’s of having a Photography Business, Me Ra has compiled all her answers into her popular 101 Kits! For more info, click on the titles of your choice, read the reviews and make your dream a reality! And don’t forget to send your success stories to Me Ra at [email protected]!

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Are you ready for a new photo contest, OR WHAT!! We had this up for a couple hours today, but the blog crashed along with everything else, so here we go again! :)

Let’s get this Photo Contest Party started! It’s an all NEW Photo Contest! There is going to be TWO WAYS to win this time! And the theme is going to be great for EVERYONE! I’m so excited!

Jeramy, I have to hand it to you. You are the man. I read over everyone’s Photo Contest ideas, and I kept coming back to your suggestion. COMFORT it is! The official Photo Contest Theme is COMFORT. I was thinking of doing the theme of Fall, but I love how one of our readers commented on
the fact that not everyone has fall leaves and colors right now. But Fall often means COMFORT to everyone, no matter where you live. So
COMFORT it is!

Little Twist though…this is where it gets even more fun!

I want to do TWO CONTESTS at the same time! I think this would be a great exercise! Both Photo Contests will have the THEME of COMFORT,
but they will have a different focus on the skills used. You can enter both, or you can choose one! It’s up to you!

Photo Contest #1 will focus on close, tighter frames with buttery, blurry backgrounds using lower Fstops. You’ll be putting our Depth of Field conversation from yesterday into practice with a COMFORT theme.

What do I mean by “Depth of Field”? Don’t stress. You can do this. (I KNOW you can not only do it but do a beautiful job at it!) All we’re talking about is showing depth in our images-making our one dimensional images have more of a three dimensional feel. So if you have a lens with the low fstops, you can get your depth by blurring the background, using those low fstops. But if you don’t have a lens with a low fstop, you can show depth and dimension in other creative ways-like lining your family up along the curbside with ice cream cones in hand. Focus on the kid in front, get down low so you can shoot from the hip and give the sense of a never ending line of ice cream eaters. I had to use this image again b/c Ice Cream, specifically Slow Churned Jamoca Almond Fudge with whip cream and chopped almonds, is a little bit of a COMFORT to me.

Me Ra Koh Photo Contest

Photo Contest #2 will focus on BACKGROUNDS that enhance your story! You’ll be shooting COMFORT theme images with a BACKGROUND, but the background has to enhance your story. The background is another character in your story. The background adds depth to your overall

This is one of my favorite COMFORT images that Brian took this summer. It has a background with purpose and depth.

Since the theme for both Photo Contests is COMFORT, you can submit images that have to do with people comforting each other, your kids
bundled up in scarves on a Fall day, the big pot of comfort soup your cooking. The ideas are endless!


(PLEASE use these SIX STEPS as a checklist, SO YOUR IMAGE IS NOT

1. SIZE: Size your image(s) so the longest edge is 600 pixels. (Don’t stress. If you don’t know how to resize
your image, send us what you’ve got anyways. But if you do know how, that would be super helpful.)

2. NAME: Title your Images with your Name and a Number (example: KOH1; KOH2; KOH3, ect.)

3. SUBJECT: Here is the MOST important part so we don’t lose your image! In the Subject Title of
your email, type “BLUR” or “BACKGROUND”. This will let us know which contest your submitting your images too.

4. LOCATION: In the email, include your name and the state you live.

5. BUZZ: Please include any website or blog so that if your image is picked as a Top Five Finalist, I can send great
traffic to YOU! Also, feel free to tell me anything you’d like about the image, but you don’t have too.

6. SUBMIT: Send your submissions to [email protected] before December 1st 2009!

In the past, people have forgotten to give us all their info and thus, we weren’t able to enter their images. Please make sure
you’ve completed ALL Six Submission Steps!

Have at it friends! I can’t wait to see what you all submit!!

DEADLINE for both COMFORT Photo Contest is December 1st! Both winners will be announced before Christmas!

Wait! We didn’t talk about prizes! Don’t worry, we’re cooking up some SERIOUS prizes. Think “big, bundle of goodies showing up at your front door”! I mean Christmas is around the corner right? You need UPS to bring you something too! :) More details to come!


Our DVD series are now AWARD WINNING! Read the press release HERE ! If you haven’t ordered your own copy yet, check out our popular Instructional DVDs Refuse to Say Cheese and , and our 101 Kits for starting or expanding a in , click on the titles of your choice!

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Last week a number of you posted some great questions regarding the Unexpected Image. The biggest theme I noticed in the main questions from Kelly, Carrie and Alejandra was understanding Depth of Field. In essence, many of you asked, “How could I use a 1.7 fstop and have the dog in focus and the couple so sharp?” Let’s give you a few good Photo Tips to make this yours!

Photo Shoot in Virginia w/Me Ra Koh Photography, Inc

There are all kinds of scientific explanations around Depth of Field, but if you know me, you know I don’t enjoy the scientific route as much. Instead I like to use my pointer finger! :) Here we go! It’s a kinesthetic exercise in Depth of Field. Ready!

1. Hold your pointer finger in front of your nose so that it’s close to your nose but you’re not going cross eyed.

2. As you look at your pointer, notice how all your vision around your pointer naturally blurs. Your eyes have focused on the pointer and that’s the only thing that’s in sharp focus.

3. Now slowly move your pointer finger away from you, and you’ll notice how your surrounding vision starts to become less and less blurred. e

This is Depth of Field!

Our eyes are constantly readjusting our Depth of Field based on how close an object is to us. Our cameras simulate the same practice. When we take our 50mm lens and get super close to our subject, like a baby’s eyes, our lens often makes one eye sharp and the other one soft. This will never work for a client. But why is this happening? Isn’t that the purpose of having a low fstop lens?

Has anyone ever had this happen?

The answer to the problem is that you’re too close to the subject. The more you back up, the more you can put into focus. Just like your finger, the farther you move your finger from your eyes, the more in focus you have surrounding your finger.

The closer you get to your subject with a low fstop, the less depth of field you have to work with. Think of the word depth. Closer you get, less depth. The farther you are from your subject, the more depth you have. It’s like the depth stretches–widens. And this is why I can shoot Shachar and Jason walking toward me, both in focus, at a low 1.4 fstop.

Aperture blur blog on Shachar and Jason at the Sagamore

If you love the close up images, and you can’t frame your image tight enough to get both eyes in focus, you may want to consider investing in a Macro Lens. Photographers often use Macro Lenses for filling the frame with baby feet, hands, eyes, etc.

Some of you asked if I cropped the image in Post Process. We NEVER crop anything. I learned early on that cropping after a shoot was killing way to much time. With thousands of images from a wedding, I didn’t have time to crop half of them. So Brian and I work extra hard to frame an image the way we want it. Frame it, crop it, in the moment of shooting it.

I hope this helps Depth of Field seem a little more accessible and less scientific. Bottom line, when using a low fstop, the closer you get to your subject the less you can have in focus. The farther you get, the more you can have in focus.

Tell me your thoughts. Questions? Is it making sense? Is this helpful? Let me know b/c I want you to see that you CAN DO THIS!

xoxo, Me Ra


Our DVD series are now AWARD WINNING! Read the press release HERE ! If you haven’t ordered your own copy yet, check out our popular Instructional DVDs Refuse to Say Cheese and , and our 101 Kits for starting or expanding a in , click on the titles of your choice!

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I woke up in the dark this morning. The house was quiet. I felt the water calling me–calling me to untwist, stretch and glide. I went in faith. The cold pool was almost baptismal in how it shocked me into waking. As I swam, the smallest and deepest of knots undid themselves. My mind started to wash clean, and I felt like I could breathe. It’s funny how I remembered how to breathe underwater this morning. Now it was time to write.

I wanted to share this piece below with you. I thought it might be fun. In the morning, I try to write 3 pages (some mornings I miss it, but the mornings I make it are ever worth it). I come to the paper and pen with a desire to clear my slate. I’m always amazed with how much is on my mind first thing in the morning. Did I realize I was going to bed with so many thoughts?

My morning pages often become exercises where I dump all the things that are weighing heavy on me–so I can get to the writing and creative work I love most. But this time, I decided to try something different. I decided to write whatever images came to mind, as fast as they came to mind, and see where the trail of my subconscious would lead. It was my own exercise in loosing the holds that tie me down. This is what came out. (little note: This was a free write–Writing as fast as I could without editing along the way–always a bit scary to share. ;))


Write your love and voice and feel it come up through your throat, a throaty spew of words that come from a place below your bowels. Write like that and feel all this madness untangle and drift in front of you before heading down river. Write and watch the words explode like popcorn, fuller and livelier, consumable. Write and feel yourself wake up, that back room of your brain that the editor keeps padlocked.

The lock is undone, the back door is open. You are wondering how to get out, but your already out–running as fast as the starlings soar. Write and feel your pen run across the tops of your words–leaping, flying and then landing only for a fraction of a second to gain momentum to leap again. Write and feel your insides calm.

Feel your left brain start to fall asleep and your right brain flip the switch to the carnival lights. Go round the carousel as many times as you want, as many times as you can before you get sick. Jump. Leap. Free fall before you let the sickness catch you. Then run again through a long wherehouse of ribbons, ribbons of every color, rolled out, suspended, stretched, hanging like noodles over your head. Run through the colors and feel their textures, feel their vibrance, feel their movement, feel their darkness. Take a smudge of the dark and define the light’s shape to find a doorway from the wherehouse of ribbons to the jungles of Thailand.

Swing with the monkeys, call out before sunrise with the Gibbons. Call louder the 2nd and 3rd time, awakening the jungle inside you–your creative mind. Remember the padlock to the back door is gone, and your creative is already free.

Time to find her. Hide and seek never felt so necessary. Seeking her out in the night, surrounded by the tall evergreens, unable to hear her footsteps because the river’s song keeps washing the sound away. But keep looking. Look in the obscure places to find her in the obvious place–by the campfire, warming herself, dethawing, and hoping to spend the next few hours drawing horses with the stars shapes. Hoping to do it with you.

There she is by the fire. You sit for the first time, unable to catch a deep breath, but time is moving still and she takes your hand and asks you to stretch the imagination–stretch as far as you can–sweat begins to bead on your forehead. You are straining to stretch, the padlock is coming back. The more you strain, the louder the lock clangs against the cement floor.

Up she takes you. Up into the stars. Up where the sky is endless. The stars are moving, burning and inviting as you find yourself transfixed by their light. There are no limits that you can fathom or understand here. A big laugh starts to gurgle inside you and falls out of you, throwing you here and there like a balloon losing its air.

And you find yourself deflated on the cold concrete. Smaller in size than you ever knew. And just as you begin to fear the newfound truth, you here your creative giggle. She is here. Waving to you. Inviting you to run with her again. To fill yourself up again. To fall in love with the filling and emptying and soaring and deflating and filling all over again. Run. Catch her. This is the most alive you know how to be!


Thanks for reading along–for being a safe community to share free writes with. Free writes are scary to share, if ever shared.

I hope you catch your creative self today, if only for minutes. And whether you feel full, empty, soaring or deflated–you would take comfort in the fact that you are alive in the process–the creative process.


Me Ra


What about putting CONFIDENCE on your Christmas Wish List this year!!! We’ve only got FOUR spots left in the January Seattle CONFIDENCE Workshop! The November Seattle CONFIDENCE Workshop is already sold out! CLICK HERE to get one of the last spots!

Our Refuse to Say Cheese DVD series are now AWARD WINNING! Read the press release HERE ! If you haven’t ordered your own copy yet, check out our popular Instructional DVDs Refuse to Say Cheese and , and our 101 Kits for starting or expanding a business in photography, click on the titles of your choice!

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Wow ladies! Are you ready to kick off the FIRST CONFIDENCE workshop for 2010?! Brian and I are excited to open the Early Bird Registration for the Seattle CONFIDENCE Photography Workshop for Women, coming to you on January 16th and 17th! If you know your ready to sign up, CLICK HERE to register!

Seattle CONFIDENCE Photography Workshop for Women w/ Me Ra Koh

Commit to a New Year’s Resolution today! Why not?! If you are in need of a weekend with women, full of laughs, and creative inspiration with your camera, the Seattle CONFIDENCE Photography Workshop is for you! It’s just in time to give you CONFIDENCE with your camera and prepped for a new year of photographing your family for the holidays, vacations, playing in the snow, inside on those horrible, rainy days with all the low lighting, (if your from the Pacific Northwest, you KNOW what I mean!). And don’t forget about those pets! We’re going to cover it all!

Ladies, we are going to be READY for an awesome 2010 of photography! All levels are welcome! Topic details are below! But first, to give you a window into what our workshops look like, check out the trailer here by clicking the PLAY arrow button!


FAQ: (if we don’t answer your specific question here, email Genie direct at [email protected] )

Question: What is the Early Bird Registration?

Answer: If you register between today and October 1st (that’s two weeks), you get to pay the Early Bird fee of $799 instead of $999! Pretty great savings for all of you who jump on board fast! After October 1st, the registration goes back up to the normal price of $999. But we must warn you to not wait until October 1st. The last CONFIDENCE Workshop was sold out by the end of the first day for Early Bird! To take advantage of the Early Bird Registration, REGISTER HERE!!!

WHEN? January 16th and 17th 2010, All Day Saturday and Sunday

TIME? An optional Continental Breakfast is served at 9:15am, and then we jump into the workshop by 9:30am. Each day will finish around 6pm. (But we have been known to get excited and not stop on time. So see if you can stay late if that happens again. :))

WHERE? The BEAUTIFUL Gallery space at Hotel Murano . We are going to use this incredible gallery as our creative space to learn, grow, be inspired, and create!


FRIDAY MEET AND GREET: One of the things I LOVE most about doing the Seattle CONFIDENCE Workshop is that we get to host the Meet and Greet at our home. Brian and I would like to invite you and your spouse into the privacy of our home for our special Meet and Greet. We’re going to have wine and appetizers, and a lot of laughs. The Meet and Greet will be from 7-9pm. Our purpose is to give you a chance to connect with other women attendees and begin to feel welcome, safe and inspired. We have our work all over the walls, so it will be fun to share with you some of our personal photography.

BREAKFAST: A continental breakfast of fresh fruit, yogurt and pastries will be served both mornings at the Gallery. So feel free to show up at 9am to grab a plate of yummies before we start the day. We’ll also have coffee and tea waiting for you.

LUNCHES: Both lunches on Saturday and Sunday will also be catered for us. If you are a vegetarian or have any food allergies, be sure to email us so we can accommodate you. No problems, we are happy too! No one can be more work than our Gluten-Free, Dairy Free diets. Brother!

SATURDAY DINNER: This dinner is optional for our attendees, but we would love to have you join us! You are invited to a group dinner at a local restaurant within walking distance of the hotel. Details to follow upon registration.

WHERE TO STAY: The Hotel Murano has been highlighted and raved about in Fortune, Conde Nast, Sunset and USA Today. Every floor features a glass sculpturist and their work. There is beautiful glass art at every turn. You can’t help but be inspired by the environment. And, the greatest thing is they are WONDERFUL to work with. Our contact there, told us to have our attendees email her direct for a discounted room rate (around $149). Once you’ve registered, Genie will email you all the contact details to get your room set up. FYI, you are also within walking distance to several restaurants, art galleries and the famous Chihuly Museum of Glass. Plus, the Hotel Murano has a pillow menu! You can choose from six different types of pillows. Can you beat that? :)


True to this workshop, time tested (and approved :)), we are excited to start the day with understanding the mechanics of your camera and learning about indoor lighting so you can capture shots of your loved ones in difficult lighting. The second half of the day will be hands on CONFIDENCE building as we process a FULL morning.


Day Two will pick up where we left off. We’re going to continue to demystify tough lighting and camera settings. We’ll also walk you through our Post Process steps as we demonstrate lightroom, turning images to black and white, editing, what’s the difference between a JPG and RAW image, etc. Depending on the groups interest, we’ll talk about the in’s and out’s of starting your own side business too. (But this depends on the needs of the group.) We’re also going to cover the question of what to do with your images? Are stock photography options available to you, what is the bottom line of blogging, and where should you have your work printed and why?

The BEST part that everyone always loves the most is the models! We’ll also have models join us (both adults and kids), so you can practice EVERY THING we’ve been teaching you. And true to our workshops, we’ll sprinkle our time with creative exercises and inspiration that make our weekend so special.

By the end of our weekend, you will be filled with CONFIDENCE, refreshed, inspired, and possibly shooting in Manuel like it’s nobody’s business. (I promise, shooting in Manuel is way easier than people make it sound, but one step at a time.)


1. You can pay the whole balance at once. If you are taking advantage of the Early Bird Registration, you must pay the whole $799 at once before 10/1/09.

2. You can make a retainer (non-refundable fee) of $650 to reserve your seat. The remaining balance of $350 (total is $999) must be paid in full 14 days before the workshop date. You can pay by check or credit card at our e-store (the fastest way to ensure a reserved seat for yourself!). If you’d like to pay the Retainer of $650 to reserve your seat, you’ll need to use the word RESERVE as your coupon code when registering. Call us if you have any questions at 253-468-8913.


If you need help coming up with ways to convince your hubby, check out Brian and Jeramy’s Top 12 Reasons for a Husband to Send His Wife to a CONFIDENCE Photography Workshop. You and your husband will crack up, and comments from other husbands are even FUNNIER! CLICK HERE!


Our policy is to not accept refunds. Due to the costs of holding a workshop, we must pay many of our workshop expenses months ahead of time. If you must cancel due to unforeseen problems, depending on your reason for canceling, your tuition may be considered as a credit for a future workshop. Thank you for understanding!

WHAT DO PAST ATTENDEES SAY ABOUT THIS WORKSHOP? To read what the last Seattle Workshop Attendees said, CLICK HERE!

Jen from Seattle, WA wrote; I know how these workshops can change your life…it did mine! MeRa and Brian were my inspiration…Thank you … you all are doing such greatness in this world!

Jeramy (husband of a wife who attended twice) from CA wrote; if you are reading this post and are on the fence about going to this workshop…or wondering if it’s really worth it….let me just tell you about my experience. my beautiful bride went to the Sonoma workshop last year with me ra and brian…and it changed her life. like so many women, she struggles with self-doubt and insecurities…coupled with strong passions and desire to create things of great worth. the magic of this workshop will help you see that YOU ARE special and can do anything it is that you want to do, if you just set your mind to it. there is limitless potential in you all…and if you have ever wondered how to get it out….sign up for this workshop and you’ll see. you will never be the same again.

Marianne from Seattle, WA wrote;
This was the BEST day I’ve had in a long time…it was so nice to wade through and be challenged, laugh along the way, conquer a fear, and leave wanting more. What a day! I can’t thank you enough!

Kari from Seattle wrote; Me Ra takes the camera apart and puts it back together in a way that actually makes sense! Prepare to laugh, learn, and walk away inspired!

Julie from Seattle, WA wrote; As a past workshop attendee…It WILL change your life and how you see yourself.

Allison from Virginia wrote; I can tell you with total honesty that this will be a life changing time for you all. Just soak it all in and throw yourselves in wholeheartedly and you will come away with SO MUCH!!


This workshop is for women only. It is a workshop that is meant to inspire women, and at the same time help them understand their cameras. Coming from a Masters degree in teaching, Me Ra and Brian bring a number of teaching strategies to the workshop so every woman walks away with CONFIDENCE in using her camera. But this workshop is more than a photography workshop. True to their reputation and the testimonies you’ve read, Brian and Me Ra have a heart to bring inspiration, encouragement and vision to women. They will make you laugh so hard your side will be aching. And then be prepared because their stories may bring tears too. Me Ra and Brian have a goal to refresh women, build their CONFIDENCE and help them capture the photos they want. But not only help women shoot better photos, but also, having the understanding behind HOW they got their favorite photos so they can replicate the lighting again and again.


We promise to have lots and lots of stories, laughs and possibly a few tears at this workshop-all signature elements to a Me Ra Koh Workshop!

Can’t wait to see you all for another awesome CONFIDENCE workshop!


Feel free to email Genie ( [email protected]) for any and all questions. Genie keeps me up to date on all questions as we travel for wedding season. She is truly my “little Genie”! If you need help with booking your hotel, understanding the area, flights, payment options, shoot her an email!

WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR? CLICK HERE to register today and make her Christmas and New Year AMAZING!!

BIO for Me Ra Koh Photography, Inc.:

Me Ra and Brian are a husband/wife photography team. Their business is diversified into several powerful ways. They travel worldwide shooting high end weddings together. They teach photography workshops for women across the country. Their workshops often sell out, and attendees describe them as “inspiring, life changing” weekends. In 2008, Me Ra and Brian scripted and produced a DVD series called, Refuse to Say Cheese and Beyond the Green Box. This homegrown DVD series has caught the eye of large corporations, and in March 2009, the series won the prestigious NAPPA GOLD award for the Best New DVD for Parents! Their DVDS are accompanied by other award winning photography products to help budding businesses get off the ground (see In 2008, Me Ra was asked to represent women photographers in the iconic role for Sony as an Artisan of Imagery. This accepted invitation is a huge honor. The high end magazine, Wedding Style by Grace Ormonde, has called Me Ra and Brian a Master of Their Craft. Their work has been published in several nationwide magazines. They have also been spotlighted on VH1, Martha Stewart and Oprah! Me Ra, having a published writing background, dedicates two hours a day to writing her daily blog so women can find photography tips, inspiration and confidence. To follow her blog, along with thousands of other readers, visit


Want to learn more about REFUSE TO SAY CHEESE? Check out our Award Winning DVD set, Refuse to Say Cheese and ,or discover our popular 101 Kits for starting or expanding a business in photography, click on the titles of your choice!

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