One of my favorite times to pull out my camera is when rain falls on a sunny day. It makes me all giddy inside. Last week we had just pulled into our driveway after a long day and it began to rain while the sun was still pouring down. I asked if anyone would let me take a few pictures of them outside because I am much more a people photographer than a landscape photographer. My eldest daughter volunteered, as she always does.

We each grabbed an umbrella and rain boots. She led the way, I followed behind clicking my camera with a big smile on my face.

Photo tip: When I am photographing falling snow or rain, I look for a dark background. The dark background makes the rain/snow pop out. If you use a light background, the rain/snow will just blend in since it is so light (clear). As you look at the photos below, make a mental note of how the rain shows up against the light and dark backgrounds. Each of the photos below were shot using my Canon 85mm lens and these settings: ISO 100, 1/1250, f/2.8.

8-16rain-018-16rain-028-16rain-038-16rain-048-16rain-058-16rain-06If you are interested in learning more about your camera, how to use the Manual settings, tips for phone photography or general photography lessons, check out my SnapShop website. It is a subscription based photography website with anchor courses and new lessons added each month. SnapShop is for the person looking to capture the beauty of their days through photography.

I am so excited to announce a new addition to SnapShops. Starting today guest photographers will be contributing their own lessons based on their expertise. The very first contributor lesson is by my friend Ann Bennett. Ann is a Tulsa area photographer specializing in newborn, baby, and maternity studio photography, as well as, outdoor, natural light high school senior portraits. Ann’s style is simple, clean and timeless. In her lesson, she is teaching basic tips and tricks for newborn photography.

newbornphotographyYou can find Ann in the following places:

Website | Instagram | Facebook

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  • Ethel White - Love the way you compose your pictures and your family make such awesome models ( subjects)

  • Brandi - These are awesome! Sounds like how things go around here, I always find it more interesting with someone in the picture, and luckily, I usually have willing volunteers. I love a little rain (or soon snow for us, too) in the photograph. Now I find myself wishing for it. Especially for my son’s cross country because the sun has been so bright for his meets I can’t seem to find the right way to photograph it. Perhaps I need a snapshots course in my future.

  • Beth - Thanks for the great tip! Do you have any tips for keeping your camera dry in the process? Weather always provides such a great backdrop for photos, but I’m always worried that I’m going to damage my equipment with the moisture.

  • Kimberly Oyler - these are absolute magic.

When our neighbor asked her if she wanted an old piece of wood flooring, she jumped on the offer. I asked her what she planned to do with the heavy wood and she told me it would make the perfect stage. She’s loved a good stage since she could walk.

A little porch paint and DecoArt Outdoor Living paint in hand, she worked diligently on her stage.

9.16HerSong-1Her brother was itching to help her, so she conceded and let him paint a little bit.9.16HerSong-29.16HerSong-39.16HerSong-4In between painting her stage, she rehearsed a song to sing at her Great Grandpa’s 90th birthday party. Every day she went outside to her stage and practiced. She asked her dad to play along on his guitar. Her brother typed out the song for her so she could read the words over and over again.

The day of the party came and guests began filling our backyard. When nearly all the guests had arrived she whispered in my ear, “Mommy, I don’t think I can do it. There are too many people here.” I talked with her for a bit and did my best to encourage her, but I could tell she was not convinced she could do it. A while later I was talking to my friend Rachel. Rachel has been in my life since 6th grade. Unlike me, Rachel loves a stage and shines when she is in front of a crowd. Knowing Rachel probably gets nervous too, I asked her to talk to my daughter.

I’m not sure what all was said, but I know the result of that conversation.9.16HerSong-69.16HerSong-79.16HerSong-9“Mom, when I was done I loved it! Just like Rachel said I would.”

Thank you Rachel….for being her encourager and mine.

9.16HerSong-10*song was adapted from one we found online, her brother typed it πŸ˜‰

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  • Southern Gal - That picture of her hugging him nearly brought me to tears. I’m so glad she took the plunge and put her fears behind her. Yay for encouraging friends!

  • Christi {Jealous Hands} - How precious!

  • Callie - Teary over here! This is beautiful! It takes a village and this is such a tender representation of that in so many ways.

  • Diana - She did a great job on the painting! How precious and special that she wanted to perform for her great-grandparents and had the guts to do it!

  • Amy - That is so special! What a sweet memory for all of you!

  • cindy - so very special! brought me to tears!

  • Michelle - wow! A little teary- eyed over here. so beautiful.
    I know you always mention that your photos mostly highlight the good days of parenting…and boy do they look GOOD!
    God bless your family.
    p.s. non related but worth mentioning, I have been sponsoring a child via Compassion since your advocacy posts earlier this year, and I just received an updated photo of our little guy! Best feeling ever to know he is doing well, growing healthy and being the best he can be.
    Thank you for having this little space here so we can learn and grow from each other.

  • Leiann - Add me to the mix of people who go tears reading this. How sweet is this?! What a great memory and a great friend. I’m sure your little girl will remember this forever.

  • Emily - Crying in Boston and remembering my own great grandpa and the time I had with him. This is, simply, beautiful. Thank you for sharing these glimpses of your life.

  • Lindsey - Made me cry, but I love this!! So sweet, and I love the picture of her smiling at Chris as he plays the guitar for her! :)

  • Laurie P - I’ll bet that was the BEST Birthday gift he has ever gotten in all of his 90 years.

  • Debbie C - Oh, I’m melting here, how sweet she is! What a wonderful gift for Grandpa, better than anything she could buy. Love this!

  • Jessica P - I love every bit of this! What a sweet moment!

  • Elizabeth - I am a homeschool mom too. I love that your daughter did this. For the most part we are unschoolers. It AMAZES me what my kids will do when I let them run with their own ideas. Fantastic post.

  • Katie Thomassen - Oh my gosh! That totally made me tear up!!

  • kaitlyn - Oh my goodness, this post has me all teary eyed! That picture of her hugging him is so sweet and then the song. This is definitely the good stuff in life right here. xoxo

  • Emily Bartnikowski - Oh, I just love everything about this!

  • Byron - Late to this post (catching up a bit) but wanted to say it is quite wonderful!

Over the weekend we celebrated my grandpa’s 90th birthday. In a lot of ways it was a family reunion too. I think it has been about 30 years since most of us have all been together. We were missing one of my cousins and his family, but the rest of us all gathered out under the sycamore in my backyard.

9.16Party-19.16Party-29.16Party-39.16Party-5I might have taken the most pictures of my nephew. Can you blame me?9.16Party-6Boys. BBQ. Boys.9.16Party-7My sister and I told our mom that Grandpa had to have a cake with 90 candles. She, for obvious reasons, was concerned about all the helpers that would be blowing out those candles too. As a solution, she frosted a cardboard box. Grandpa didn’t know until he cut into it.9.16Party-89.16Party-9If I turn 90, I want a bunch of great grandkids to help me blow out my candles too.9.16Party-109.16Party-119.16Party-12We took a lot of family pictures, but I am not so sure everyone wants to be featured on the internets. This is my immediate family – my grandparents, parents, sister and her crew.9.16Party-13My grandparents with almost all of their great grandkids (a few were not able to join us). I would like to point out the preferred methods of posing for pictures by my girls.9.16Party-14I was given the extraordinary gift of growing up close to all four of my grandparents. I miss my dad’s parents tremendously, but I am so grateful for all the years I spent with them. My mom’s parents, well, they are two of the most incredible grandparents and examples a granddaughter could hope for. They have set the bar high and weekly show me the type of wife, grandparent and great grandparent I hope to be.9.16Party-15After I took the picture above, Grandpa kissed Grandma. He told me not to post those. There was a lot of cheering. A lot of laughing. And a lot of gratitude for a couple that shows us what to aim for in regards to a life well lived.

Happy Birthday Grandpa. I love you both.

**I got the “90” balloons from North Star Balloons

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  • Beth - Ashley,
    What an awesome legacy! I have to admit I got 3/4 of the way through your post before I became selfish and jealous. Oh to have just a few more years with MY grandparents! And THEN I started thinking about if I could stick around long enough to see my great grandkids. I loved getting a peek into your celebration. Thanks to you and your family for sharing it with us!

  • Beth - P.S. Your grandparents are super cute! They make a great looking couple.

  • rachelzana - Oh my goodness! Those candle blowing pictures . . . they might be my favorite pictures in the whole wide world ever. I feel like I was right there, even though I don’t know any of you!

  • Beth - I might have teared up a bit looking at this- so much love in one place! I was incredibly fortunate to grow up in the same town as 3 of my grandparents (unfortunately, my dad’s mother died pretty young and I never met her). All three are still alive, but I moved halfway around the world three months ago, and I miss them so much! The pastor at the church I attended when I was away at college often says that she thinks that the love of grandparents is the closest thing to heaven on Earth. I’ve always loved that.

  • Lacey Meyers - Goodness, it doesn’t get any better than this… 90 and surrounded by so many people who obviously adore and admire him in equal amounts. <3 Happy Birthday to your grandpa, Ashley!

  • Debbie H - This celebration has been fun to watch all weekend, but it just occurred to me that the chalk board background was the old chalk board from the living room! lol Does that mean it is gone forever? Things change. . . . I’ll always love the Linger Longer and the humingbird post. Your kids are truly blessed by living with these multi-generational folks!

  • Crystal - AHHHHH! I love this post, you got me crying into my morning coffee and a big smile on my face. Family is everything and you showcase it in the most beautiful way.

  • Diana - I absolutely love this!! How special to have these grandparents around and involved in your life and your kids’ lives. Truly a special thing! Hard to ask for much more than being surrounded by loved ones at 90!

  • Jenn - looks like a fun party and one he will for sure not forget. what a way to celebrate

  • Kari - LOVE!! Happy 90th to Grandpa!

  • Tammy - Pretty sure my heart just melted into a puddle!

  • Southern Gal - All the hearts.