Hi, friends. It’s been awhile.  Big things have been happening over here, and I can’t wait to share with you!

For as long as I can remember, anytime an adult would ask me what I wanted to be when I grew up, my answer was always the same.

“Just a mom.”

My favorite game as a child was “House”, where I would carry around my baby dolls (who each had names) and fully stocked diaper bag, and spent my days cooking for my imaginary husband, dreaming of the real version of that life someday.

Well, God answered the prayers of my heart back in 2011 when I married the wonderful man I get to walk through life with.  In 2013 we were blessed with our first miracle baby, and in 2015 after the most terrifying 10 months of my life, we welcomed our second miracle into our hearts.

 

Due to the extreme complications that occurred during my last pregnancy, Thomas and I thought we were done having babies, despite the intense longing we both had for more children.  We were deep in our grief, unable to process the mountain of changes that occurred in only a few months.  Most nights were filed with either silence or tears…we hadn’t yet reached the acceptance stage of grieving, and I wasn’t sure we ever would.

But God had other plans.

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In September we learned that we were expecting baby #3…a complete surprise!! Thomas was immediately thrilled beyond belief.  I was immediate terrified about what this meant for my health, and our future.

As the weeks moved forward and we continued to have positive appointments both with the OB and my neurologist, I could feel my heart beginning to heal.  It wasn’t until our 20 week anatomy scan this week (where we learned we are having a boy!) that I really felt as though I could hope…to feel joy…to be brave once again.

I am thrilled that despite my history, I have been well enough to stay home and out of the hospital so far during this pregnancy!  I am so grateful for these months at home with my family, and the ability to truly enjoy most of this pregnancy.  I’m also thrilled to be gaining weight this time around…something I didn’t experience (and had many complications as a result) during my previous pregnancy. Still, with my autoimmune disease, it is possible that I could relapse at any time either during the pregnancy, or in the first few months after this baby is born.  It is a reality I must live with without letting it consume me.  Although my health continues to be good, the “looming black cloud” feeling is difficult, at best, to live with.  Through it all, God is still good, and I will continue to choose joy to the very best of my ability each and every day!

When we learned that I was pregnant this time, my mind went in about 10,000 different directions, one of which was towards my photography business.  Right in line with, “what if I have a relapse and end up in the hospital again?” was, “how am I supposed to book sessions not knowing what the next hour holds?”.  As I thought about continuing to work, I also began to think about how I most wanted to spend this time in my life.  Did I want to spend however many months of good health I had, working?  Even at a job I adore with people who I  truly care for?  It didn’t take long for my heart to catch up with my ever-racing brain.  I knew what I needed. I knew what was best for my family.  Everyone needed me at home.

I then made the extremely difficult decision to stop taking on work, and to begin focusing all of my time and energy on being the wife and mother God has called me to be.

For the foreseeable future, I will be a stay at home mom.  I missed out on so much when I was hospitalized and in recovery two years ago.  Looking back at old photos from even a few months ago reminds me that these days are indeed long, but the months and years are painfully short.  Have there been days where I wish I had a session to blog about?  A new family to celebrate with and focus my creative mind on?  Of course.  I truly love being a photographer, and even though I am no longer shooting professionally, I will never stop shooting.  This is my legacy, outside of my family, and I believe every life has a story worth telling.  One of the great blessings of owning your own business, is the ability to come back to it years later, if you find your circumstances have changed!  Babies grow, even though I keep telling them not to.  Only God knows what the future holds, but today is a good day.

Even knowing how much I love being a photographer and serving such amazing families, I know that nothing can ever fill my heart more than my own husband and children can.  Being a wife to Thomas and a Mom to these sweet babies…this is what I was born to do.  I now that without a shadow of a doubt.  There is no where on this earth I would rather be than in the trenches of life with them.  They have my heart.

There are no words to express my gratitude to the many amazing couples and families I have served over the years.  You invited me in to the most glorious celebrations of life and love, the days you’ll remember for the rest of your lives…I can not thank you enough.  You allowed me to pursue a passion so strong, and have shaped who I am today.  You have inspired me in countess ways, and reminded me of the moments that truly matter.  Each one of you has left a mark on my heart, and I feel blessed beyond measure to have had you in my life.  Thank you. Thank you.  Thank you.

For the glorious journey that awaits us all…let the adventure of this lifetime begin.

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Cell phone

One of the questions I hear most often from other moms is “How do I take better pictures with the camera I have?”  Usually, they’re asking about a cell phone camera or a point and shoot, but occasionally they’re referring to that big fancy camera they “have no idea how to use”.  While you will never get the same quality from an iPhone that you would get from a DSLR in manual mode (if you’re using your DSLR in auto, it acts basically the same as a point and shoot), there are a lot of small changes you can make to improve the everyday pictures you take of your babies (or “babies”) in between sessions with a professional!  I am so excited to begin a new blog series today to help moms everywhere take better pictures of what matters most with the equipment you already have!  The tips in these posts are true regardless of weather you’re using an iPhone, Android, point and shoot, or DSLR!  Today, I’m going to talk all about something called a color cast, and the simple thing you can do to fix it in your photos!

The following pictures were taken with my cell phone without edits, to show you that you can use these tips on ANY camera!

The one thing you should hear first and remember throughout this series is that photography is all about light!  The quality, the quantity, how the person behind the camera sees the light and decides to change it (or not!) based on what they’re trying to create.  Every image that has ever been taken was created using LIGHT! Now, back to that pesky color cast thing…

A color cast is when your picture (or part of your picture) appears to have an unwanted tint to it.  Have you ever taken a picture and thought to yourself, “That doesn’t look like it did in real life; his face isn’t actually orange!”, or,  “I look like I have a horrible fake tan, what gives?”, or “Why does everything have a sickly green color? We look ill!”?  That, my friends, is a color cast.  A color cast has the potential to ruin an otherwise great image, which can be a bit of a bummer.  So how do we fix it??

 

Step one: Turn OFF the lights!!

 

This is such a common mistake, and to most people seems counterintuitive.  Isn’t more light better?  Well, yes and no.  The amount of light isn’t as important as the quality of light!  Every light source appears warmer (more yellow) or cooler (more blue) to your eyes.  The lights that most of us have in our homes are warm, and appear more yellow to our eyes.  This is why your skin takes on that orange fake tan look when you turn all the lights on to take a picture!  If you take a picture with a camera and you are not controlling the white balance yourself (in manual mode, which is a topic for another day), you will look orange.  So, step one is to turn off those lights!
 Side by side images with and without a color cast

Step two: OPEN the curtains!!

 

Unless you have pure white curtains in every room, your curtains are creating a color cast in your pictures.  Do you remember ever making a telescope as a kid out of a toilet paper roll, a rubber band, and some colored plastic wrap?  When you covered the end of the roll with blue plastic and looked through the other end, everything in the room turned blue!  Hopefully I’m not the only one who made these as a kid…arts and crafts were one of my favorite things. 🙂  This is essentially what happens with colored curtains closed over a window.  The light shining through your curtains from outside creates a color cast that will match the color of your curtains.   If you ave navy blue curtains in your living room, your pictures might look like you live underwater.  Green curtains in the playroom?  Suddenly everyone has a stomach bug…not the most flattering thing, amen?

The other AMAZING thing that happens with step two?  Opening your curtains will flood your room with light, greatly improving the quality of the images you can create!  Remember, photography is all about LIGHT!

side by side images with and without a color cast

Let’s recap. If you want to remove a color cast from your images, turn OFF the lights and  OPEN the curtains!!  Was this post helpful?  Let me know what you think in the comments!  If you have any questions, leave them below and I will check back to answer them!

I can’t wait to dive into the rest of this Taking Better Pictures series with you!  Next time we’ll talk all about how your location effects your light and changes your images!

It’s really not summer without a trip to the fair.  I fell in love with the magic of it all as a teen; Montgomery County is known for its huge fair that shuts down major roads every year.  It was nine summers ago that I went to the fair with my now sister-in-law and husband, and she kept bowing out of the rides just so the two of us could go together (I had no idea she was setting us up)!  I’m fairly certain we can never leave Maryland because so much of our family history is here.  After moving down from NY years ago, MD finally feels like home.

I honestly had no idea that there were smaller carnivals in the area, but I happen to stumble across a list of them and thought we might try one with the kids this year.  Eli is almost 3 (cue the tears!) and I’ve been curious to see if he would enjoy rides of any sort now that he’s a bit older.  The big county fair has an admission fee, which is a risky thing with toddlers since it’s possible there will be a tantrum within the first 5 minutes (amen?), but the local carnival is free until you decide to ride something, so it’s a win!  Fun fact? Most of the carnivals I looked at also have fireworks one night they’re in town – perfect for anyone who missed the 4th of July!

The carnival ended up being a crazy success, with Eli riding the rides not only for the first time, but all. by. himself.  I honestly teared up at the sight of his joyful independence.  My mama heart can’t take how quickly he is growing up!!  His favorite ride, of course, was the train…which he rode several times just to be sure he sat in every car available.  We also rode the ferris wheel as a family, and I tried really hard not to freak out when we stopped at the very top and our seats began to sway (the fears we conquer for our kids).  And because it’s tradition, I ordered a delicious funnel cake complete with gorgeous powdered sugar.  Given the way that both kids cried for more, I think they enjoyed the summer treat as much as I did!

I’m learning that as much fun as I remember having as a kid, family traditions are so much more fun when you get to watch your own children enjoy them.  Nothing makes my heart more full!

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There was a time not even five years ago that I was pretty uncomfortable with myself.  I wanted to be “cool” whatever that meant, and spent too much of my time feeling less than.  Fast forward a few years, and several life-changing moments later (losing a father, gaining two miracle babies, and a giant medical crisis for good measure), my outlook has done a complete 180.  I have learned to embrace who I am, to love who God created me to be.  I have learned to embrace my awkward.

Photographers spend so much time with a camera in hand that you would think we were totally comfortable with it, but you know what’s funny?  Nothing makes photographers nervous more quickly than asking them to get on the other side of the lens.  To be vulnerable.  To be photographed.  Earlier this summer it was my turn, when an amazing community of photographers (that I’m so blessed to be a part of!) held a headshot swap!

Of course it rained on the evening of our get-together, but that’s the beauty of this perfectly imperfect life!  We actually had way more fun hiding out under a bridge, talking and waiting for the storm to pass, than we ever would have if the sky were perfectly blue and nothing went wrong.  It was an excellent way to break the ice since several of us had never met!  God always knows!

The introvert in me always freaks out a little when I’m meeting a new group of people (anyone else a homebody?), but this wonderful group of ladies are some of the kindest I’ve had the pleasure of knowing and made me feel right at home!  I feel so blessed to be part of such a strong community of creatives that love the Lord and love what they do!  I left our time together grinning from ear to ear, and still twirling in my dress.

Without further delay, I present a few favorites from my new collection of headshots, taken by the lovely and talented Anna Kerns!!

Anna Kerns Photography, www.annakerns.com

Anna Kerns Photography, www.annakerns.com

Anna Kerns Photography, www.annakerns.com

Anna Kerns Photography, www.annakerns.com

We decided to embrace small town life for the 4th of July this year, and what a blessing it was!

It’s been years since Thomas and I had gone to a fireworks show, and I was SO excited to take the kids for the first time this year.  We heard it was supposed to rain on the 4th, so we ended up at the Middletown celebration on the 2nd.  If you have little ones, I highly recommend it!  It wasn’t nearly as crowded as the show we used to attend, and they had funnel cake!!  Oh, and bounce houses for the kids, and a fire truck, and ice cream, and lots of arts and crafts vendors.  Since the celebration was at a local park, there was also a playground (complete wit ha sand pit! I didn’t realize that was even a thing!) and lots of open green space for toddlers to run around.

As excited as I was for Eli to see his first fireworks show, I was also a little nervous.  Our sweet boy isn’t the biggest fan of sound noises, so this was a pretty big risk.  I was also super excited and nervous to be attempting to document the fireworks this year! I really do love learning to do something new as an artist.  Never stop learning, my friends!  We waiting for what seemed like an eternity (with kids that were getting fussy, and dads that were getting skeptical, haha), but as soon as the sky grew dark, the magic began…

Hearing Eli laugh and squeal and say “that is SO AWESOME!!” from across the picnic table told me this was a risk that paid off.  He had a great time, and our hearts were so full by the end of the night!

Another BIG bonus to going to a show not on the 4th?  We got to SLEEP IN the next day instead of rushing back to work!!  Needless to say, we have found our favorite new tradition!  Let’s not forget about the funnel cake, though, be cause that’s what’s really important here. 😉

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Hi there! I’m Mischa and I am SO excited you’re here!  Most days, you can find me rockin’ out to a Spotify playlist wearing my neon pink Beats, enjoying an extra large mug of something hot, and sneaking a chocolate or two while my two babies nap down the hall! I create images for families who believe in the magic of ordinary, everyday life!

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