ica insight

Ica Insight: The Best Gifts For the Photographer in your life


Ever wonder what to get the photographers in your life? It was my birthday just a week ago & it made me think about past gifts that really celebrated my love for photography or gifts that helped me or encouraged me to build my photography career. Though I am not a “gifts person” myself, I would rather spend quality time with people & receive words of affirmation, but whether it was for my birthday or holidays, these gifts were always such a blessing to receive.

I hope that this list helps you celebrate the photographers in your life. I know that receiving any of these gifts was such an encouragement to continue to pursue photography & when it came from a loved one, it makes it that much more special.

  1. A camera bag!
    Kelly Moore Bag - Riverdale Right now I’m currently obsessed & never without my very own red, Riverdale bag that I received from my brother in law this past Christmas. It’s a beautiful every day bag, but it’s also a padded camera bag that can squeeze in my Nikon d750 + a 50mm 1.4 lens if they are *not attached. It’s a very petite bag, & I love that because I’m a very petite women.

    When I’m out with friends & family I often long to have one of my cameras on me but HATE the bulkiness of it in a purse or around my neck. So squeezing it into my Riverdale means keeping a petite profile with a fashionable bag, that doesn’t scream “Come rob me, I have a very expensive camera is in here!” like lots of standard cameras.

Or a work bag!

Maybe I’m old school, but I’ve still got a deep love for my classic & faithful, Shoot Sac. My husband gifted this bag to me while we were still dating & while I was just starting my business. This shoot sac has been faithfully by my side over the past 10 years & it still looks as solid as the first day I got it.

This bag is a work horse & it carries all my lenses on a wedding day so comfortably. I see most photographers these day opt for more fashionable camera bag during weddings and portrait sessions, and to each his own, I just find myself never wanting to give up the comfort & durability of my shoot sac.

2. And awesome camera strap!
I’ve acquired a number of camera straps over the years, some handmade with love, others mere replacements of my original Nikon straps, but none compares to my HoldFast moneymaker straps.

Every time I wear this I always get complimented on how cool I look with this leather goodness on, most especially when it’s tethered to two cameras. But I also just love it for the “backpack” feel that helps distribute the weight of my camera off of my neck and onto my shoulders and back instead. One of my best friends almost gifted this to me, but I purchased it before she could surprise me with it.

3. A starting lens
This gift isn’t such a great gift idea for any seasoned professional photographers in your life, because they most likely already own a lens similar or even better than this lens.

BUT for the hobbyist photographers or brand new photographers in your life, this is a pretty sweet gift to receive. When I was just starting out I purchased this lens on my own, but most of my peers just starting out with me were receiving this lens as a gift for their first holiday or birthday after pursing their photography journey. It helps that this lens is great glass but not a bank breaker.

3. A fun camera!
Sometimes carrying my professional camera turns on a switch inside my brain & makes me go into “work-mode Ica” even when I don’t want to, like when I’m on vacation or just going for an adventure in the city with my husband. So a few years ago my husband gifted me my Fuji Instax camera (and the entire collection of 15 other vintage Polaroid cameras I own).

Whenever I can remember to buy film & have it ready for our adventures, I use it for fun personal memories & it brings me right back to the simple joy I get from capturing life’s sweetest moments. Shooting with this toy camera helps me remember why I love photography so much! And having instantly printed photos is a plus too because we don’t print our photos enough these days!

4. Memory Cards

Maybe you need ideas for filling a photographer’s Christmas stocking next Christmas, or if you have a limited budget to spend on the photographer in your family (we all have an “Uncle Bob” character in the family who is never without his camera & his flash at every family function), these are such little but thoughtful gifts to get the photographer in your family.

I would have never thought about giving memory cards as a gift, but man my best friends gifted me some memory cards the year I started growing my business & it was one of the most thoughtful gifts I received that year. By receiving memory cards from them, I felt their encouragement to keep capturing beautiful photos & fill them up with memories! But make sure to ask the photographer in your life what size & what kind of memory cards they use so that you don’t get them cards they can’t use. Thankfully my besties knew exactly what I use.

And honestly, photographers can never, ever have too many memory cards.
Memory cards have such a limited shelf life, having new ones & extra one never hurt.


Want to learn how to

take care of your memory cards?

If you are a pro or even a hobbyist photographer, wouldn’t you love to receive these items as gifts?
Please feel free to comment below, other recommendations you have for gifts for photographers.

Photography tips to take on vacation


It's almost summer & your next big vacation is right around the corner. Are you ready to capture some amazing photos of your trip? Here are the few of tips & tricks I keep up myself when taking photos during vacation. 

(All these photos are images taken during a day trip with family & friends to Wilmington, NC)


TIP #1. The best camera to use on vacation is the one you have one you. Use it!

One of my best friends went to Greece for a mission trip during our teen years & all she took with here was a disposable camera. There was no such thing as Instagram or Google at the time & I'd never seen anyone's personal photos of Greece before hers. To this day I still remember the impression those photos made on my heart, when she came back & shared her photos with everyone. Greece was stunning in all the graininess & harsh shadows from her disposable camera & that day I saw those photos was the day I put Greece on bucket list of places to visit.

All that to say, YES, more expensive cameras do take better quality images & as a photographer better quality is always ... well better. But sometimes remembering special moments on vacation, means simply taking out your cell phone, or the Polaroid camera you just loaded with film & snapping away. Better a moment remembered than a moment forgotten. 

All the tips I'm sharing today apply to any & all cameras.

*** If you are interested in renting a camera for your next vacation, check out Borrowlenses.com This post is in no way sponsored by them but here is a $20 off discount code just for the Ica Images fam. ***


TIP #2. Be present on vacation. Truly soak in real, undiluted moments & take photos of friends & family who are soaking in the moments too, these are the good memories you'll want to look back on one day. You don't need to turn every second of your vacation into a full-on photo shoot because real life is sweet & beautiful all on it's one.

But there is a time & place for everything so there are bound to be posed photos of the people you love most. When it comes to taking those group family photos don't simply keep the moment in mind but think about how you'll want to remember it when you get home.

TIP #3. When taking group photos take the photo both horizontally & vertically. 
Someone in the family might want to print out vacation photos to show off at home.
Give them the option to frame it or print it either way.

TIP #4. When you have to ask a stranger to take your photo, first take a photo of the composition you want, then show it to them before they take the photo (or else who knows what you'll get when they hand you back your camera). 

Example: Photo 1 was my composition, Photo 2 my husband & I ran across the street & posed in the spot I wanted.

Another example of TIP #4 but this time with the added challenge of a shallow depth of field. Always make sure you tell the person taking your photo to focus, however your camera focuses. 


TIP #5. Take in the sights! Literally, take photos of all the pretty places you pass by. Look up or down, check around the corner, turn back & you might like the view even better. Instead of taking trinkets home I like to take photos with signage or flags that are only found in that particular place. It's the same as keychain, but it's saved on my computer instead of my key ring.

And there you have it! A perfect combination of people, places & moments that will help tell the story of your vacation adventures.

Are you in the DC metro area & want to practice out these tips with me during a day trip to Alexandria, VA? Or want to follow me on Instagram as I play tourist down in Oldtown?

Come join the fun in person or online,
on Saturday, April 28, 2018, 10:30 am - 12:30 pm.
as I do an Instagram take over for the
Visit Alexandria!

Get your free ticket for InstaMeetALX: HERE
Or follow me over on Visit Alexandria's Instagram on Sat: HERE

Ica Insight - How to friendwork instead of network


“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people
than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” 

Dale CarnegieHow to Win Friends and Influence People

On Friday I got on Instagram Live to share tips to help wedding newbies get referrals from seasoned pros. Without having the proper dialog or not knowing how to approach other professionals with the right intentions, may lead to missed opportunities to gain new friends or gain referrals. I'm reviving "Ica Insight" by sharing more networking tips as promised to all my friends who joined me on Instagram this weekend. So let's get to it!

In business "your network is your net worth". But I believe you can gain an even stronger network by doing what I like to call "friendwork", it's networking but with absolute intention to be a friend, with authenticity & love.

Here are 5 ways to "friendwork" instead of network if you are just starting a business OR if you are stuck in a rut & are looking to try new ways to network. These apply to any industry, but I'll be sharing ways to do this specifically in the wedding industry.

1. SERVE OTHERS FREELY - “The world is full of people who are grabbing and self-seeking. So the rare individual who unselfishly tries to serve others has an enormous advantage.” -Dale C arnegie

If you are just starting out, consider collaborating with another business for free on a project you really love. If there isn't another business you want to partner up with for a project, consider doing a creative project with individuals who are your "dream clients". As a photographer that can be something as simple as hosting a styled shoot or mini portrait session. 

I believe there is a distinct difference between working for free without specific intentions and making a creative investment to grow your portfolio & your "friendwork" for free. If you are afraid of being taken advantage of, work on a project you truly love & believe in, then put stipulations on the exchange of work. I don't suggest offering endless amounts of free projects, but put your energy into at least one passion project that can propel you & your business forward.


Social media is meant to be social, but I find that we sometimes forget that there is a much deeper way to connect with others, oppose to emojis & likes. Offer to get drinks with & for someone whose work you admire. If meeting up in person isn't possible, meet on Facetime or Skype! 

If there is a topic or something specific you are dying to ask another business owner, be honest & make your request known. Most people can see right through hidden intentions if you don't verbalize it with honesty that you'd love their sage advice because you respect & admire them. If you simply want to connect & become friends, share that intention too.

Last year I hired business coaches & an online friend reached out about my experience, so we Skyped & talked through my awesome experience, thus solidified an even sweeter friendship in the process.

Is it me or is making friends/networking is a lot like dating?


Ever see people post on social media asking for help? Find a way to help someone you don't know, but you want to know & again, do it with a genuine heart to help. On Instagram Live I shared how I offered to help a fellow photographer in need because she posted an SOS on social media, and that connection led to 8 weddings in the last 7 years.

Helping might not mean doing physical labor or offering your services, it might be something as simple as sharing some encouraging words. You never know until you try.


When's the last time you promoted someone else's business on your Facebook feed or Instagram, and not your own business? How would you feel if another professional promoted your work on their social media accounts or even promoted you on their website? You'd most likely feel loved & encouraged that your first reaction would be to promote them right back, am I right?

It's the gift that keeps on giving. If you are on Instagram, join in on the love & do a Follow Friday post where you share a few other instagram accounts you follow & want others to know about. Heck, you don't even have to wait until Friday ... share the love anytime! Or do a blog giveaway for products or services you love from other businesses. I've seen some Cinderella, collaboration stories come to life from people avidly posting about businesses they love, Like this!

Disclaimer: I'm not talking about any of that "follow for follow" or "like for like" business. That doesn't build authentic friendships, my friends! Sow love & you might just reap it in return.

5. ATTEND NETWORKING EVENTS & "friendwork" your guts out

This is SUPER obvious, but I'm surprised that so many people don't or haven't gone to any networking events for their industry. Are there any local events that are happening in your industry? Sign up & bring a trusted friend with you for added insurance that you will have a great time regardless of how new connections you may or may not make. 

You don't get better at making new friends if you don't have new people to make friends with. Simple as that.

Before I go here's one last great resource in learning to network & make friends:
 Dale Carnegie's book: How to Win Friends and Influence People.

Was this helplful any or want more tips? Let me know in the comments below. I love having your feedback & I hope your "friendwork" grows because of this!

ICA INSIGHT // Thoughts on doing a First Look

As a bride & as a photographer I'm a big fan of first looks.

Whether you are considering a first look or not, know that what ever makes
you happiest on your wedding day, that is the way you should go.

Here are a few of my thoughts on doing a first look.

The moment you first see your soon-to-be spouse on your wedding day will be so special no matter where it takes place. That first look it's going to be a moment you won't ever forget, whether that's before your ceremony or during it.

Last summer Tanner & Divya's sweet moment (above) happened the traditional route where Divya walked down the aisle on the arms of her brother & mother & the whole place was in tears as Tanner & Divya saw each other for the first time. It was breath taking & wonderful, a privilege to bear witness to. These two missed out on nothing.

What I know about weddings is that you don't get a lot of alone time as a couple. (It's a celebration with an entire guest list ... of course you don't get a lot of alone time captain obvious! You've invited all your nearest & dearest to celebrate this very day with you.)

But if quality time is important to you as a couple why not set aside some quality time for yourselves on your wedding day? A first look allows you to start your wedding day together, just you two, "together" is what brought you to your wedding day in the first place. It allows you to exchange "first looks" or words, or gifts or prayers in private before the party starts.


First looks take nothing away from the sweetest of walking down the aisle.

This was my biggest concern when I was a bride. I wasn't sure if my walk down the aisle would feel less important because we already saw each other prior to the ceremony, but this was so far from the truth.

My heart nearly exploded when I saw my husband during our first look. We hugged & kissed, and cried grateful, happy tears with only our photographers as witnesses during our first look. Then an hour later I walked down the aisle on my mother's arm & walked towards my almost husband & felt a joy I'd never felt before, because I knew I was walking towards my future, my family, my husband. We may have cried harder as I was walking down the aisle than during our first look. And very few people knew we already saw each other before the ceremony.

If this is your biggest concern for your wedding day, know that these two moments are completely different moments & each is special in it's own right.

Taking pictures early, means getting to the party early.

Traditionally family photos and bridal party portraits are done after the ceremony during cocktail hour. If you do a first look with family & bridal party photos immediately after, everyone gets to enjoy cocktail hour that much sooner, who doesn't love that?

And don't worry,  if you plan accordingly & align golden hour during your cocktail hour so that, that pretty light won't be wasted ... instead you will be able to have more time for bride and groom portraits, during the prettiest light possible. Wins all around!

(Another plus, your bridal party & families will not be late to your ceremony if they are already with you! How awesome is that?)

First looks are fun.

You've planned & prepared for your wedding & you've taken an entire morning to get ready. Treat yourself by taking a small peak at all that you've dreamed & planned together. It's like stealing a small bite of pie before you share it with the entire family. You've made it to your wedding day ... you've earned yourself some pie my friends.

My last thought on doing a first look, if you happen to do a first look do it for you. Not because The Knot or I say so, not because it's the trendy, hip thing to do. Do a first look if it feels right & if it's meaningful to you.

As a photographer it's a joy & generally an advantage to take first look photos because it allows us to cover more ground before the ceremony & after. But it's not about us, it's about you.

To all the couples getting married this year, Happy wedding planning!

PERSONAL // How does hiring a professional photographer make you a better photographer?


Art & vanity aside, no service based business or client experience is devoid of emotion. And we as clients have so many feelings & so many emotions during a photo shoot. We feel the weather, we feel the sun quickly fading, we feel silly, we feel pressure to perform, we feel nervous, we feel inadequate, we feel comfortable, we feel the sun quickly rising, we feel vulnerable, we feel judged by the people passing by, we feel elated, we feel loved, we feel beautiful & confident, we feel unworthy & ugly, we feel fat or too skinny, we feel frumpy or tired.

We feel it all.

Some how an artist with a camera is suppose to capture the best of me
despite feeling everything in one emotional explosion.

Being on that side of camera with someone else steering the ship, always puts me in my place. 

To everyone who's ever posed in front of a camera for someone else, I get you. I am you. Just because I run a photography business or get in front of the camera more often than your average joe, I still feel everything whenever I'm in front of a lens. Being a photographer doesn't magically make me more confident or take away any of my flaws or insecurities. I take photos of my own life simply to cherish it, imperfections and all.

As a photographer I want to always say, I've been there. And when it's been far too long since I stepped into your shoes, I go there to remind myself what it feels like to be you. To trust someone else with your memories, to trust someone else to capture YOU.

I'm so grateful for our talented friend Clarence who captured Tim & I to a T.
Whenever I look at these photos I smile from ear to ear because our trust was well placed.
We trusted Clarence to do what I know he can do, we trusted in his vision, in his art & in his instructions. We may differ as photographers, but the experience he gave us is what I've seen him give his clients time & time again whenever I've worked along side him.

Receiving such an amazing client experience has sharpen my very own, because of empathy.

To all my photographer friends, don't forget about yourselves.
Don't forget to hire someone else for the job that a tripod can't do.
It's a humbling experience to receive the very thing you give away day in and day out
& I promise as iron sharpens iron, it'll grow you & challenge you for the next time to go out to shoot. There are so many photographers in the world & we all do things differently but there is so much to learn from one another as we serve each other & our clients.

Thank you  Clarence Chan Photography for being our friend & our Christmas card photographer.

ICA INSIGHT // Small Business Love


It's that time of year, big retailers are starting to kick off their black Friday promotions even earlier & holiday shopping season is almost upon us. 

As a small business owner I appreciate that Small Business Saturday has gains so much traction over the years, but why limit it to only one day? Why not promote and highlight small businesses as early as the big guns?

Well I'm taking some time today to go completely off script to do just that. Today I want to highlight some small businesses I adore & love. The kicker: these business are owned & run by friends of mine & they've got a small gift for you to enjoy this week as well!

P A N & T E A

If you are looking for some sweet handmade jewelry, wall hangs or clutches this Christmas, Pan & Tea has you covered. Jenn, of Pan & Tea is a dear friend & a past bride of mine & she makes all her pieces from scratch & with so much love. If you've been to any big craft show between DC down to Charlottesville, VA you've probably seen Jenn's gorgeous booth.

Go follow Pan and Tea on Instagram & visit her shop HERE


Ohnala, where do I even begin with Donaji's gorgeous stationary shop. Donaji is my new friend & fellow creative who resides in the San Francisco. Ohnala's heart for genuine conversations & deep connections bleeds into every piece she's created. I'm a diehard for a great greeting card because that's how my husband likes to love on me. I swear he has a hidden pile of cards somewhere because sweet cards always seem to show up around our house when I need it. But I digress.

Donaji's cards are all frame worthy & her wedding invitation suites are so clean cut & timeless. If you don't have holiday cards yet check out Ohnala's holiday selection!


J O O D L E S  D O O D L E S

Now meet Joodles Doodles, created by my friend Jill. Joodles Doodles is a hand-lettering business that turns quotes, verses & lyrics into beautiful wall art, gifts & cards. Jill is one of those multifaceted creatives where everything she does is done with her particular style & Jill is all heart & gentleness. Her instagram is such a beautifully, calming feed & her words always pull on your heart strings because she's got a way with words & honesty. So when it comes to her chalk & hand-lettering art you can feel all these things & just like my other girls Jenn & Donaji, Jill's work comes from the heart.

 Follow Joodles Doodles on INSTAGRAM // FACEBOOK // & her WEBSITE

W O O D E N  A R R O W

Finally we have Delaware's Wooden Arrow Paperie by Tait, another Ica Image's bride! I've been follow Tait's custom designs for some time now & let me tell you, she can do no wrong! If you have any wedding paper needs Tait does it all, invitations, programs, table numbers and menus. Her Wedding Wire Couples' Choice Award this year was well earned!

Check out Wooden Arrow's WEBSITE // FACEBOOK // INSTAGRAM

L U C Y  J E A N  P A P E R

And the line up just got 1 amazing woman stronger! Meet Lucy Jean Paper a one-woman design and illustration studio based here in DC, run by my friend Emma. What I adore is that I just so happen to use 3 out of 6 images from her site & the Top 3 image are illustrations Emma has done of mutual friends of ours! So so fun! In a generation where commissioning artist for paintings of themselves is almost lost, Emma's fun approach on portraits are here to stay & I think they make incredibly thoughtful gifts for any occasion.

Check out Lucy Jean Paper for yourself here's her WEBSITE // INSTAGRAM // FACEBOOK

Because these girls are not only crazy talented, they each have generous hearts & want to share some discounts with my Ica Insight Subscribers this week. So subscribe to our monthly newsletter below to grab your discount codes for Pan & Tea, OhnalaJoodles DoodlesWooden Arrow Paperie & Lucy Jean Paper

Discounts Applicable THIS WEEK ONLY (Nov 21st-27th)

PS. Signing up also automatically enters your name in for our THANKSGIVING GIVEAWAY
Wins all around!

ICA INSIGHT // Thanksgiving Giveaway CLOSED & A 2017 Announcement

Hello Friends! 

Happy Monday to you & hope you had a weekend as eventful as my own. I survived my last 2016 wedding, my 1st Ica Images Ice cream social, a painful-late-night trip to the emergency room & hosting our annual Friendsgiving. Survival was my goal and now that we've made it to Monday I want to say a giant WOOHOO & THANK YOU for sending some love my way via social media through out the whole weekend!

With that said & with Thanksgiving just a few days away I also wanted to say a small but very tangible thank you for supporting Ica Images this year, by hosting a Thanksgiving GIVEAWAY. And if you stick around till the end of this post I'm making a 2017 announcement I've been dying to share with you!

T H E  .  T H A N K S G I V I N G  .  G I V E A W A Y  

W H A T:

What am I giving away? 1 seafoam green 31 Bits necklace
If you've never heard of 31 Bits, they are a jewelry company with a mission I adore. And no this is not a sponsored post, I simply love what 31 Bits is about & I love their jewelry. I have this same necklace in gold/white & wear it all the time so who ever wins this bad boy, I'm sure you'll feel the same way once you receive it.


H O W: Click the sign up box below & subscribe to our monthly newsletter to enter our giveaway. Don't worry I hate spam emails & I won't fill up your inbox like crazy (ain't nobody got time for that).

W H E N:
Entry open until midnight, EST Thursday, Nov 24th 2016.
Winner will be announced here on The Journal Friday, Nov 25th 2016.

Finally an announcement I've kept secret for some time now.
But you all asked for it ... so now here it is!


I've been humbled by the amount of both friends & strangers who've asked for basic photography advice or training & come 2017 I'll be hosting a few of these Ica Insight Sessions to help you all with just that!

If it weren't for the internship I did with I'm Kristen Photography way back when, Ica Images wouldn't be where it is today. Maybe this will be the start of your photography ambitions, or maybe you just want to know how to work your brand new camera that you know Santa will get you for Christmas this year. Who's to say?

And if this session isn't for you but you know someone who'd love this as a Christmas gift we can make that happen to. If you are anything like our family, we love gifting experiences over material things.

Click the image above or click HERE for more info.

ICA INSIGHT // 3 Tips On How to Care for your Memory Cards

how to take care of your.jpg

Whether you're a professional photographer or not you probably own a few of these bad boys.

They may be SDs (tiny cards) or CFs (big square-ish cards), 2 or 4 gigs, 32 gigs or higher. You pop them into your camera & it saves your pictures. Then when you want to view your images you put it into your computer & Voila! Easy peasy.

Grandma can use a memory card. NBD.

But did you know your memory cards have a shelf life & how you use them or abuse them determines how well they work. Though this list can be so much longer, these few tips address some of the most common mistakes I see.

More than just the obvious upkeep, like keeping your memory cards away from water & extreme temperatures & dirt, or making sure you have a safe place to store them, Here are a few tips to caring for your memory cards properly so they don't crap out on you & ruin your memories or your work.

I'm speaking from experience here, I've had cards go bad on me & it's more than just frustrating, it's heartbreaking to lose photos. Technology is a fickle thing, but there are ways to be prepared for every scenario. 

1. To prevent files from getting corrupted while the camera is in use, never eject your memory card & never turn off your camera while information is being loaded on to it.

For example when you take a photo & your image is still being rendered don't eject the card until you see the image on your LCD screen.

2. Don't treat your memory cards like an external hard drive.

Meaning, get your images off of your card & onto a more reliable digital storage space as soon as you can. Save your images onto your computers, onto your external hard drives, upload them online (onto a place safer than Facebook), and lastly *print them as soon as possible.

Memory cards are flimsy & can easily break.
Memory cards are small and can easily be lost.
Memory cards don't last forever, save all your photos onto a different space (multiple spaces in fact) to make sure your memories don't get lost.

Lastly, What do you do once you need more space on your memory cards (assuming you've already backed up your photos) ? 

Do you ...
A. Leave your images on your card & just delete enough photos for the space you need
B. Delete all the images off your card when it's connected to your computer
C. Format your card

3. Friends ... Never delete, instead Format.

Why? “Deleting images from your card while the card is on your camera can actually shorten the life of your memory card. The rule is that the fewer times you add or remove data on your card the better.”

Also don't backfill!

"Backfilling means deleting photos and then shooting new ones. The new photos will reside in the spaces left by the deleted photos, which means the data being written to the card may become fragmented. Recovery is not likely"

(Real talk: If I'm being honest I get neurotic every time I go to format a card even when I know I've backed up all my images multiple times! But because I know it's the best way to start fresh for every shoot I do this & I always clear my cards).

*NOTE that once you format your cards and write over them with new images, the chances for data recovery drops dramatically. Be sure you've backed up ALL your images!*

If you're a professional photographer here are 4 more ways I cover my bases & care for my cards & insure all my images are protected twice fold.

1. Work with a 2nd shooter. Two sets of images & two different perspectives. Wins for everyone.
2. Shot RAW + JPEG LG if you are really neurotic & want two copies of your work.
3. Back up your images on the go. If you have an assistant during a wedding day, take some time to back up your work as you work (and throw in a same-day-slideshow for good measure! Your clients will adore you!)
4. Shoot with smaller sized cards & use more of them. They say, "Don't put all your eggs in one basket" for a good reason. God forbid 1 card gets corrupted, don't let it be the card that contains everything (especially a wedding). I do this by changing cards at the end of each section of a wedding day (1 card for getting ready, 1 card for the ceremony, 1 card for the reception, etc..). Yes you'll have to buy more cards but it'll save your bum in the end.

Finally, this is by no means an exhaustive list. If you want more tips on caring for your memory cards click HERE, HERE, HERE, or HERE Or ask good ole Siri! There are so many articles out there about memory card care.

* Disclosure: All of the links above are affiliate links, meaning, at no additional cost to you, I will earn a commission if you click through and make a purchase.*


In other news, meet my newest nephew, Ethan! He's the cutest & I may have cried meeting him this week!

You better believe I saved my images of him onto my computer immediately after taking them. 

Baby pictures are far to precious to leave to chance don't you think?

Hope you fill up ALL the memory cards this holiday season with your own adventures & memories.

* EDIT: The fabric memory card holder is handmade & perfectly imperfect just like me * 

ICA INSIGHT // Tips to Taking Better Everyday Pictures


No I'm not talking about taking better selfies. I'm talking about taking better everyday pictures of your life, adventures & your loved ones.

I'm going to bet you probably take at least 1-2 pictures a day with your cell phone. Whether it's a silly snap with the latest filter or maybe it's a daily photo you text your significant other, your mom or your bestie.

We take pictures every day.
Why not take better ones & do justice to the small every day adventures that make up your beautiful life?

Ps. Enjoy a peek at my iphone's camera roll & my every day adventures. All images below are taken from my iphone 5s with a little help from my favorite photo app: vsco cam.

Tip #1. Clean your camera/cell phone.

This is such a silly thing to say but it's makes a big difference in your photos. I'm sure you can tell which image above was taken before I cleaned the camera (left) & after (right)? It's the difference between a frame-able photo or one that never gets printed at all. Which one would you take the time to print? 

Plus cell phones are notorious for being the dirtiest thing we own. A daily cleaning couldn't hurt. Am I right?

Of course there are those exceptions like a dreamy photo of you & your best friends that no amount of smudge can keep you from printing (ie. this picture of me and my girls). But you bet your bottom that If I had taken the time to wipe my phone clean, it would have been an even better photo. Lesson learned.

2. Know how to use light

The absolute, most fundamental aspect of photography is knowing how to use light. Any & every professional photographer will tell you that much. Good light, bad light, harsh light, or low light. What makes each photographer different is how they use light (and editing) to give their work a distinct style.

So what does that mean for you & your cellphone? Here's the simplest break down I can give you.
A. Always find the best light to light your subject. Put your hand out in front of you & look for the light that casts the least amount of shadows on your hand.
B. On an iphone when you open up you camera app & tap on the subject matter in the frame and a box next to a sun icon will appear. Move that sun icon up & down to change the exposure  (brightness or darkness) of your image & then shoot.
C. Editing in your camera roll, on instagram, or with a photo editing app can help in pinch after the photo is already taken. 

Lastly, cell phones now a days have incredible camera quality. But if you don't know how to instruct your camera on exactly how to take the photo the way you want it to, it limits the possibilities of your image results. On a DSLR this is the difference of shooting automatic or shooting manual. 

*If you want to learn how to shoot manual (Though I am a Nikon user) Canon can teach you more about exposure & how to shoot manual HERE.

3. Share your vantage point.

Be the narrator of your day to day adventures by sharing photos through your eyes, through your vantage point. What do you see when you look up or down, or across the room that others can't see except for you? 

When taking photos of other people don't simply point & shoot (ex: the image on the left. Though I love this photo of my husband, niece & nephew). Tell the story from their vantage point instead (ex. the image on the right). For this second image I got down to my husband's level & waited for this sweet moment to unfold. 

The photo on the left was alright, but the photo on the right feels like I'm right their with them.

4. Take in the scenery

Photos of people I love are THEE most important photos I own. But to tell better every day stories I always take a second to take in the scenery. 

How many good books, or great movies start by setting the scene? What are the opening scenes to your favorite tv shows? Don't they usually start by sharing a glimpse of where the plot is taking place? This is how I think as I take photos on new adventures.

5. Don't stop! Capture life in ACTION

My tried & true, very-best-tip & my #1 intention for every wedding & portrait session is to capture life in action. You know I love me some posed photos, but the beauty of photography is that a photo freezes time, it freeze a single moment & a single action. 

You don't recall memories by recalling every time you posed for a photo do you? No. You most likely remember life events by recalling the exact thing you were doing on that day.

You recall the way you felt as you walked down the aisle at your wedding. You recall the way you felt when the Dr. handed your baby to you after giving birth. You remember kissing that sweet baby of yours for the first time. You remember the first time your significant other held your hand. 

Capture life's actions & remember life is about living. Not photographs. Let life happen & if a moment is special, don't spoil it by posing or staging a photo, simply capture it. This is my favorite insight on taking better every day photos.

I've just realized that these five tips are actually my five secrets to how I capture ALL my images, professional & personal. Take these tips out for a spin & if you are on instagram please use the hashtag #icainsight because I'd love to see your every day adventures come to life too!