Welcome to Amen Photography's Blogsite!

Amen Photography specializes in classic/contemporary location portrait photography in and around Reno and Lake Tahoe. We now offer WEDDING Photography, with packages catered specifically to your own personal preferences and budget. If you are interested in booking with us, please email us at amenphotography@hotmail.com or go to the 'contact us' page of the site. Check back often for updates and specials on portrait packages.

Kristin & Robby {06-18-2011} | Placerville, CA Wedding Photographer

Posted on February 27, 2012

Kristin and Robby were high school sweethearts, and even when distance separated them for part of their courtship, their love for each other surmounted all hardships. Their wedding was one of the most beautiful weddings I’ve ever had the privilege to document. You can see from all the little details that they put so much of their heart and soul into the every little detail of their wedding. Kristin handmade most of their wedding decorations, and the two of them scoured thrift stores and Craigslist for just the right stuff to make their vintage-chic-themed wedding the perfect day to share with their friends and family, and most of all, for both of them to remember forever.

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Home-made Vanilla Extract!

Posted on December 24, 2011

Sorry, I have hardly kept up with this blog at all this year.  I am planning an overhaul of my web/blogsite soon, and that will contain all my newest stuff, but if you are interested in keeping up with my work, check out my Facebook fan page here.  (For some reason, I’ve preferred to keep my Facebook posts more up-to-date than my blog posts.)  However, since the holiday season is upon us once more, here’s another step-by-step DIY post for ya…

At our Christmas bunco last week, the ladies got these really cool, home-made vanilla extract in fancy bottles as consolation prizes, courtesy of our awesomely creative friend, Rebecca Garrett. Sadly, she has moved to another town (boo!), and December bunco will never be the same… but thanks to her, I got inspired to make my own vanilla extract to give to the boys’ teachers as Christmas presents this year!!! :-)

The recipe from Pinterest suggested vodka as the alcohol base, but after talking to the knowledgeable “wine guys” at Whole Foods, they highly recommended using Bourbon Whiskey instead. After all, when you go splurge on the “expensive” vanilla extract, it’s usually “Madagascar Bourbon Vanilla” which means it is made with Madagascar vanilla beans soaked in Bourbon. :-)

Got these cute red-topped bottles from Cost Plus World Market. Both the Reno and Sparks stores are completely sold out of them (Gee, I wonder why?), but the Carson City store still had quite a few left… so I went there after my South Lake Tahoe photo shoot this past weekend and got me enough bottles to give to all the boys’ teachers and assistant teachers (plus one for me to keep for myself). *Four boys in school means A LOT of bottles!!!

My boys jokingly called the tops, Super Mario mushrooms!!!

Cut each vanilla bean crosswise and lengthwise…. (The Madagascar vanilla beans were also from Cost Plus World Market, but I was told you can buy them cheaper in bulk from Beanilla.com.)

Put the equivalent of three whole beans in each bottle…

Looks pretty already!

Measure out six ounces of bourbon. (The formula is one vanilla bean for every two ounces of bourbon.)

Six ounces = 3/4 of a cup, in case you forgot the math. ;-)

Pour alcohol into bottle using funnel. (Pour some of the leftover drops into your own mouth!  Just kidding.  Okay, not really.)

Seal with pretty red mushroom cork…

Admire pretty light patterns…

And pretty red tops…

Practice some artsy photo-taking…

a couple times…

Admire pretty light patterns one more time…

Print out home-made labels onto sticker paper (from Office Depot). (I have the pdf file of this label, if you need it. I created it myself, so you won’t find it on the internet.)

The normal steeping time is 1-3 months… but it only gets better with age… And the best thing about vanilla extract is, it never expires!!!

Stick labels on the bottles…

Prettify with cute ribbon…

And voila! A super adorable gift people will actually use!!!

Make sure to tip each bottle sideways and wet the cork to ensure an even better seal. Learned that from the wine guys as well! :-)

Admire pretty bottles lined up in a row with beautifully blurred background…  I can’t help it!  I am a photographer! :-)

Thanks for the inspiration, Rebecca!!! :-)

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My Baby!

Posted on September 9, 2011

In honor of my youngest son’s 3rd birthday coinciding with the Great Reno Balloon Races, my poor toddler got suited up in warm clothing in the middle of a hot day so his crazy mommarazzi could take this picture.  Happy Birthday to my sweet Lukey!!!  Love you lots!  (As his birthday treats, I made him some hot air balloon cupcakes!)

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My Newly Remodeled Office!!!

Posted on July 3, 2011

After much whining and grumbling, my dear hubby finally caved and gave me my very own office. He moved all his stuff to one of our guest rooms, and told me I now had a blank canvas. I got soooo excited, and then overwhelmed, because I never had to decorate a room in MY very own style before. Finally, after spending some time doing online and magazine research, I found that I am drawn to a combo style I now call Victorian/French. Soo, that’s what I did to my office, and seriously, it is now officially my absolute favorite room in the whole house!!! :-)

BEFORE: Khaki brown walls. Oak furniture. Cluttered desk. THREE MONITORS??? What the heck! Black chair I got for $5 at a garage sale. Blech.

BEFORE: Oak bookshelf basically falling apart from the weight of the stuff on it. My beautiful artwork is perilously perched on top.

BEFORE: TWO stations, one for me and one for my husband. Very tight quarters and very distracting.

BEFORE: What a messy looking office.  How could anyone possibly concentrate on creative work?!?!

AFTER: My newly installed IKEA shelves, complete with interior lights and glass doors. (I know, I haven’t completely populated it yet, but you get the point. It took a boatload of screws to install, but I am very pleased with the result.)

AFTER: My new client seating area. When I told people I was finally going to get a girly girl room in my house, they wondered why the heck I chose to paint it blue. This is why. I chose quite a lot of girly girl accents, enough to balance out a pretty nice looking hue of an otherwise masculine color (FYI, the color is called BEHR Arctic Ice, at 50% strength).

I painted some oval frames from Aaron Brothers (buy one get one for a penny!) red and tied black ribbon on them for my boys’ silhouettes. Very Victorian.

Not quite fully furnished bookshelves, but you see the tap-on, battery-operated LED lights I installed (from Home Depot).

My new desk!!! It’s white!!! And remember that horrendous looking black desk chair that I got at a garage sale for $5? I’ve reupholstered it velvety red! Now it’s all girly!  Black ball curtain rods from Lowe’s, with 20% off coupon, and white curtains with metal clips, 90% off (yep, 90!) from JCPenney home store.

Hydrangea flower arrangement: A $4.99 thrift-store find. My middle name comes from the Spanish word for hydrangea. :-)

Soon-to-be home of some of my photos, which haven’t been printed yet. (They are metal wire curtain rods with clips, from IKEA.)

The desk was inspired by Pottery Barn’s Bedford collection, which was too expensive for my budget, so I found a very similar looking one from JCPenney.com for a fraction of the price).

A $10 eBay find:  vintage Kodak folding camera.

Another thrift-store find: $2.99 for all four!!! I love my friend, Will’s comment on our egg coloring project last Easter about the colors being CMYK (ok, technically, the K is for black, but green is definitely more colorful), so I put water and the same food colors in them for display. The light over them illuminates the colors beautifully, too!

Girly-girl decor from Pier One. 50% off!  It’s not entirely useless, either!  (It gets to hold my homemade lens bag, and maybe a purse and a coat.)

Thrift store find: $5 bird cage photo holder. Reminds me of that episode of FRIENDS where Rachel and Ross shared their love of Pottery Barn, and Ross knew the exact catalog page number of the “ornamental bird cage, large.”

The chairs were 50% off, and I had a coupon code for an extra 10% off plus free shipping! And the felt roses pillows were from Pier One, with a $20 coupon! (Never buy anything full price.)

While moving this little table, I accidentally dented it with a sharp object, and it was so annoying, I had to cover it up. Found these wooden flourishes from Michael’s, and they did the trick. (They also match my chair design!)

Added wooden accents to my desk as well, because I accidentally dented it too! Sheez luiz, the clumsiness!

Future home of silhouettes of my four boys, who are at Grandma’s house on vacation right now, so I have to wait until they get back, unless Grandma does them for me… ;-)

Super cute black and white ribbon, 50% off from Michael’s!

Beautifully displayed art.  White accent table ($49) from Marshall’s, and pretty easel ($20) from Ross.  I LOVE LOVE LOVE my gorgeous new office!!!

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Brooke’s Senior Portraits & Trash the Prom Dress Sneak Peek – Reno, NV High School Senior Portrait Photographer

Posted on May 2, 2011

Here’s one of the few” trash the prom dress” sessions I am embarking on this spring.  I had a fun shoot yesterday with Brooke, further reinforcing my belief that high school seniors are among the most exciting subjects to photograph.  :-)

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Southerland Family – Maternity and Baby Photo Sessions | Reno, NV Maternity and Baby Photographer

Posted on April 15, 2011

One of my favorite things about my job is getting to know people at a more intimate level by having the privilege of photographing the growth of their families.  I love it when I get to do a maternity shoot, and later on get to take baby’s first photos as well as photos of him every month of his first year.  You will get to see more of baby M this year, because I’ve been honored to be asked to document the first year of his life, one month at a time.  How could I possibly tire of such a cute little munchkin?  He’s just absolutely gorgeous!

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Alice’s Piano Shoot – Sneak Peek! | Reno, NV High School Senior Photographer

Posted on April 7, 2011

I did Alice’s senior portraits at the end of last year, but one of her most special talents is playing the piano.  Unfortunately, we have been unable to find just the right piano to include in her photos… until recently, when I stumbled upon this little waiting area at a local hotel/casino with a grand piano sitting solitary next to some giant glass windows and perfect light.  Let’s just say we “snuck in” to take a few shots, but there was no sign there that said we weren’t allowed to ;-)

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Brandon & Caitlin’s Engagement Portraits – Sneak Peek! | Reno and Lake Tahoe Engagement Photographer

Posted on April 7, 2011

The transition period between winter and spring here in Reno is always a tough time for location photographers.  You never know until the day of the shoot whether or not you will be needing a thick coat and snow boots, a raincoat, or shorts and flip flops.  Brandon and Caitlin were nice enough to work with Mother Nature’s crazy schedule, even though she did give us a nice dumping of snow just a few days before their engagement session.  I love the “Twilight” feel to the shots, mostly because I am in love with the Twilight series ;-)  Lake Tahoe was also gorgeous this time of year, with the snowcapped mountains making for a great backdrop for pictures.

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Standout Competition Pieces | Reno, NV Baby and Children Photographer

Posted on February 22, 2011

Every once in a while, I like to jazz up my photos more than usual to practice some new editing skills and to try to score some accolade points from fellow professional photographers.  In the process, I spend hours going through my whole archive of photos to find the ones that, in my opinion, more accurately represent what I am all about as a photographer:  fun, classic, and heartwarming.  Here are three of my favorite children’s portraits from the past year.  The wedding/family/engagement/seniors categories are going to have to wait for the next time I get some “extra” time in my hands ;-)

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Snowmelt | Reno, NV Photographer

Posted on February 22, 2011

After a couple of weeks of Spring-like weather, we were greeted once again by snow.  There is a blanket of white outside my house right now, and everywhere I look, I see Christmas card scenes!  Just for fun, I went out to my backyard and practiced some good old fashioned “still-life” photography.  It is truly amazing how much beauty there is in the simple little things, like melting icicles.

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