May: One Roll, One Kid | Minneapolis Family and Newborn Photographer

For May’s submission to the One Roll, One Kid Project I convinced my eldest (my most camera-adverse) to step into my “studio” (read: basement with a backdrop and strobe light) and I was in shock when he actually cooperated. I think all it took was bribing him with a granola bar so I can tell he’s maturing.

Lately he’s been into all the dance moves and if you have an elementary schooler, you’ll know all current dance moves come from Fortnite whether or not your child is allowed to play the game. I found out my eldest told his friends he plays it because they all said they play it; his teacher confirmed she hears him and his friends chatting about Fortnite and it’s clear none of them actually know what they’re talking about 😂

I was convinced this month’s submission would primarily be shot outdoors because May is typically a glorious month in Minnesota but it’s been cold and rainy. One of the coldest Mays on record, so we’re all just trying to survive. I shot this roll on HP5+ on my Nikon F100, rated it at 400 and pushed a stop. I definitely overexposed, so you can see it’s relatively flat and has increased grain. You win some, you lose some.

Here’s hoping for a nicer June and some outside photos!



January: One Roll, One Kid | Minneapolis Senior and Family Photographer

About a month ago a friend of mine brought up the idea of doing one roll of film each month, focusing on one kid in front of the lens. I loved this idea because it’s hard to get the motivation to force one of my unwilling children to get in front of my camera but I always LOVE the results. It’s a time that lets their personalities shine without the distraction of someone else next to them harassing them.

January can be sort of a depressing month but I got excited about setting up my portrait “studio” in my basement and going to town. (Don’t get me wrong, winter light is 🔥 but asking my kids to get in front of my camera AND do it out in the cold is mighty ambitious.).

For my portable studio set-up I use:

+ Savage Seamless Paper (I used Studio Gray but am trying to acquire ALL the colors)

+ Backdrop Stand

+ AlienBee 800 Strobe Light (I found mine used on Facebook but you can find them here too.)

+ Diffuser Umbrella

+ Yongnuo Triggers

I also use the strobe/umbrella set-up for in-home sessions when I don’t have enough natural light. I will say that strobe and film were made for each other. I used this same basement studio set-up once with digital to test it out and it was crap. I asked one of my strobe guru friends and she said that for digital and strobe to shine you need as much ambient light as possible. Well the shots in this post had ZERO ambient light. They were taken when it was dark outside, in a basement, with only my strobe illuminating the shot.

For this first month of the project I over-achieved and did portraits of all of my boys. I can tell you right now this won’t happen (m)any other month(s). But I’ll take it when I can, and somehow I was able to convince them all to sit solo and get their photos taken.

All of the photos were taken on my Nikon F100. The photos of Kyle were on Kodak Color Plus 200 and the photos of Peter and Gregory were on Fuji Superia XTRA 400. All self-developed and scanned on a Noritsu LS-600. Click here If you want to learn more about developing your own C-41!

There’s a whole crew of us taking on the One Roll, One Kid project! Be sure to check out Dena’s dreamy take on the January challenge!









Keeping Your Memories Safe With A 321 Backup | Twin Cities Family + Senior Photographer

We all know technology is the best and the worst all at the same time, and I was hit with that reality in December of 2011 when I lost that entire month’s worth of photos. Yes, it’s sad, but no, it’s not the end of the world. What made this month a little sadder than losing photos from other months is that it was the one in which my eldest experienced his first Christmas and was baptized. Those photos are most definitely gone forever. I even had a backup system in place and I talked to multiple tech people to try to recover the files to no avail. My husband and I took that experience to truly learn what a backup system looks like.

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The gold standard is the 321 backup rule: keep 3 copies of your data, store 2 copies on different storage/media, and keep 1 copy offsite.

Since photos take up so much space on my hard drive, I have a different system for those than for regular documents. To back up my photos I keep one copy on an external hard drive and send one copy to Flickr. The problem is those take action on my part; I have to hook up my external hard drive or I have to upload to Flickr, which doesn’t always happen right away. The two backups that excite me most (if you can be excited about backups, and yes, I do think you can) are my automatic backup to a cloud system called Blackblaze and my photo’s negatives. (If you’ve been keeping track, this is 4 copies. I’m okay with a little overachieving.)

First, let me sing Blackblaze’s praises. I love them! They back up my entire computer AND any hard drive I connect to my computer automatically. My favorite part is that I can restore my entire computer or I can just go into the system and search for a one-off photo or file. The layout of the interface is exactly like the one on my computer so it’s incredibly easy to find something stored on their server. I was using a similar service for years when all of a sudden they decided to shut down their site to personal users (yes, super wack). This unnamed site recommended an alternative that was expensive and I was nervous I’d never find a replacement. Enter Blackblaze. It’s cheaper than the other site I was using, has unlimited storage, and I like the interface better. If you’re looking for an automatic backup to a cloud-based service, I highly recommend trying them out.

You can get a month free by clicking here: https://secure.backblaze.com/r/02kr47

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But my very favorite backup for photos are my photo’s negatives.

They’re a physical copy that has spanned the test of time. Their archival quality means they will last for generations and throughout the years, from enlargers to scanners, technology has consistently been created to be able to read the information on negatives.

I’ve been creating photo books lately to catch up on archiving my family’s pictures (more on that in another post) when I ran across 5 photos that my computer couldn’t place. I looked on my external hard drive (absent), I looked on Flickr (absent), I looked on Blackblaze (absent because I didn’t properly migrate over to them when my former site shut down. Oops.) So you know what I did? I just located the negatives of those photos and rescanned them. If not for those negatives the photos would’ve been gone forever.

I realize using film isn’t feasible or desirable for everyone, but I do think negatives are an advantage people don’t always consider. I’ve met more people scared about the fallibility of negatives than the fallibility of a memory card. But I hear waaaay more often of corrupt memory cards or disappearing files on memory cards than a disaster happening with negatives. So please, don’t let negatives scare you away from having a film photographer document you. And film photographers, think twice before tossing those old negatives in the garbage. Yes, they take up room but they’re an amazing tool for backing up those precious memories.

Ask yourself if you have 3 copies of your photos on at least 2 different media and 1 of which is stored offsite. If not, what’s stopping you? Because trust me, technology can and will fail you so be sure you take actions today so you keep your memories safe tomorrow.

One of the images lost in the shuffle that I was able to rescan.

One of the images lost in the shuffle that I was able to rescan.