Oh Joy

10 wearable gifts...24 Nov 2015

10 Wearable Gifts

Our next gift guide includes a few of my favorite wearables—perfect for your bestie, sister, or to hint at for yourself ;)

1. Eye studs from Leif for a subtle, yet quirky, statement.

2. Emily Green necklaces are my favorite for adding an instant pop of color to the simplest outfit.

3. A wearable planter ring from Adorn Milk for that flora lover that already has everything.

4. This En Soie clutch is one of my favorites that everyone loves.

5. Comfy and chic, a pair Zuzii shoes for someone who loves having fancy feet.

6. Make a true statement with this Ban.do sweatshirt.

7. A pretty J.Crew bracelet that looks like candy wrapped around your wrist.

8. Both cute and casual, this Rifle for Le Sport Sac backpack is a favorite around the Oh Joy office.

9. For this chilly winter, this Anthropologie knit hat is crazy cute.

10. This bangle by Kate Spade is especially perfect for that girl who rocks a pair of glasses like no one else!

how to create a portrait photo studio at home...23 Nov 2015

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

Maybe you’ve decided you’d like to take a family holiday photo or some cute photos of your kids as gifts for relatives, but a professional photographer is out of budget. Or you simply waited until the last minute and need to take some photos ASAP. I've partnered with Olympus today to show you how easy it is to set up a simple backdrop within a small space of your home to take these photos yourself!

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

1. Make your own seamless backdrop. All you need is a wall in your home or garage that gets good natural light that you can temporarily cover. Depending on how many people will be in the photo, the width you need might vary from 5-9 feet wide depending on how many people will be in the photo. If you plan to do this often, it's worth getting one roll of seamless paper in either 5 ft wide to photograph less than 2 people or 9 ft wide for bigger families with 3 or more people.

If you’re feeling crafty, simply buy a giant roll of white seamless paper and go crazy with paint to create the backdrop of your dreams. Or, you can make it easier on yourself by using fabric that already comes in a great color or pattern. Find a bed sheet in a fun pattern or buy a few yards of fabric at a local fabric store.

To hang the background, simply use thumbtacks or blue painters tape to adhere the top and sides of the paper/fabric to the wall, then let the rest of it drape down to the ground with enough room for the subject to stand on it. You'll need at least 10 feet long in total regardless of whether you use paper or fabric. With either option, it's so easy to roll up the seamless paper or just fold up the fabric and save it for next time.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

2. Lighting is key for taking a good photo easily. You want indirect, natural sunlight especially when taking the photos yourself. A professional photographer might know how to combat harsh lighting with diffusion techniques or with their camera settings, but you want to set yourself up for success. Usually the beginning of day and end of day are the best times to have indirect light, but it will depend on your location and where the sunlight comes through the window.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

3. Sit, stand, dance, jump! Just because you’re in front of a backdrop, doesn’t mean you need to stand still. If you’re using the backdrop for a baby’s monthly photo, you can have them sitting in front of the wall or laying down on the same background. This makes for a great way to have consistent baby update photos throughout the year because you can use the same fabric as a backdrop and they can go from laying down when they are tiny to sitting or standing as they get bigger.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

4. Use a remote shutter release. Often people feel limited because they don’t have anyone available to take a photo of them or of their family. So, if you don’t have a friend you could ask, you can do it on your own with your camera and a tripod. The camera we used to take these portraits, the Olympus E-M10 Mark II, lets you turn your smart phone into a remote shutter. So you can control when it takes the photo without relying on anyone else or having to run in and out of frame like a crazy person with a self-timer.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

5. Add props! While props can get cheesy, it doesn’t have to be a mustache and silly glasses. When you’re taking photos in your home, you have less of an outside environment to work with, so make it fun for yourself and bring in a few quirky items that will allow you to let loose and show off your personality and spirit.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

6. Family photos aren’t just for families with kids. If you’re a couple or a girl with a cute pup, your friends and family still want to see your face! So use this as a chance to make a great holiday card, framed prints for family, or custom thank you cards. 

You can create this at home studio any time of year especially when you always find yourself saying “I wish I just had a few really good photos of my family”.

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

Let's talk cameras for a second. We are always asked what type of cameras we use for Oh Joy photos. While we will happily share what we use, the quality of cameras we use is a higher end, professional camera that I wouldn't recommend to someone who needs a camera for personal use. So, I was pretty excited to get to try the Olympus E-M10 Mark II which is what was used to shoot all the portraits in this post. It’s a high quality camera at a price point that is more reasonable for personal use (under $600). It allows you to change lenses, you can shoot in manual (if you want), it has a mirrorless lens (which allows you to have a more precise focus), and it's small enough to carry around in your bag. It's a great compromise between a DSLR and a point and shoot and is an entry level camera that has features of a professional one and now I finally have something to recommend to the at-home photographer. Stay tuned for a giveaway tomorrow on Instagram where we'll be giving away FIVE of these cameras!

how to create a portrait photo studio at home

Regardless of what camera you use (you can even use your iPhone if you need to), hopefully this will help inspire you to take more photos of you and your family within the convenience of your own home.

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Olympus. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create new and original content like this for Oh Joy.

{Photos by Casey Brodley, backdrops by Ariel Fulmer. Coco's outfit by Such Great Heights. Special thanks to Olive Brodley and Ariel Fulmer.}

happy friday + my food network debut!20 Nov 2015

Cake Wars: Christmas on Food Network

Cake Wars: Christmas on Food Network

Cake Wars: Christmas on Food Network

Cake Wars: Christmas on Food Network

Happy Friday! Earlier this spring, I auditioned to be a guest judge for Food Network and got to be a part of Cake Wars: Christmas which we filmed back in May. If you've seen Cake Wars, it's the same idea but with an extra mega dose of Christmas added in. They combine groups of food artists—bakers, sugar artists, and food sculptors—in teams to come up with these fantastical themed cakes. I am a die hard competition show lover, so I had a blast getting to see how these shows come together by judging on an episode (not to mention I got to eat A LOT of cake, too). I loved my co-judges Sherry Yard and Charles Phoenix and cutie host, Jonathan Bennett (remember him from Mean Girls?).

Stay tuned for my Food Network debut on Monday night for Episode 3 where I'll be guest judging at 9/8c and other times listed here!

Hope you guys have a great weekend! (And how is it almost Thanksgiving already?!?)

{Photos by Casey Brodley}

10 edible gifts...19 Nov 2015

10 Edible Gifts to Give this Holiday

Every year, the holidays approach and I go back and forth on whether I'm going to create gift guides. Usually, I end up doing them but they are so late that I don't get to space them out as much as I want to. So I decided this year, I would start a little before Thanksgiving for those of you who want a little inspiration or nudge to get that gift-giving spirit started. Here are 10 of my favorite edible gifts (in a range of price points)!

1. Quin candy — for that kid who never left the candy store, these are all natural and actually so tasty, too.

2. Quinn popcorn — the best microwaved popcorn you'll ever have (the Vermont maple and sea salt is my favorite).

3. Molly Moon sprinkles — the prettiest, organic sprinkles you'll ever see.

4. A monthly food delivery of any kind from Zingerman's — cheese, bread, bacon, or even vinegar. This gift says, "I know you like (fill in the blank) so I'm gonna give you a lot of it."

5. Salt — for that person who likes salty over sweet, give them the best salts around like this Williams-Sonoma salt pot or a tasting set by Jacobsen Salt

6. Jeni's Ice Cream — because who wouldn't want a few pints of delicious ice cream showing up at their front door?

7. Croissants — Give the breakfast lover something they can never get enough of...buttery croissants from Williams-Sonoma.

8. Gordy's cherry pepper spread — for that person who loves everything spicy, they'll want to put this spread on everything.

9. Tea — small tins of tea from T2 means a tea lover can get their fix on-the-go.

10. Compartes chocolate — beautiful and unique, these make a great gift for co-workers, clients, teachers, and for when you need to buy a bunch of small gifts to give out to multiple people.

how to choose outfits for family photos...18 Nov 2015

how to choose outfits for family photos

Every year, I have friends frantically texting me as they prep for their family photos asking about the outfits they have chosen and what their kids or husband should wear. It’s the one time a year that people might spend a bit more time choosing that special outfit for the whole family. Picking out outfits for my family is actually really fun for me because to me it’s like a design challenge that involves a lot of the same components of color, texture, and balance that I keep in mind when putting together any other image (that's the art school part of me coming out). Whether you’re taking photos of you and your partner, you and your pup, or you and your family of 15, I've partnered with Artifact Uprising to share my tips for choosing outfits for family photos with some outtakes from this year's holiday card to demonstrate…

Oh Joy Family Photo by Morgan Pansing

1. Dressing for the environment. The first thing to think about is how casual or dressy you want to be. I say you should wear something more special than your average casual Saturday because...why not? If you’re spending time to take these family photos, you should use it as a chance to wear something a little extra special. That doesn’t mean you need to go black tie and wear a ball gown to the park, but dress so you feel excited about what you’re wearing and so your kids are excited, too. Also, think about where you’re shooting the photos. If you’re going to the beach, then soft flowy pieces look great in the wind. Or if it’s a snowy/winter scene then cozy on up so that the scene feels like a moment out of your real life. This year, we chose a modern, urban setting outside the Broad Museum in downtown Los Angeles.

Oh Joy Family Photo by Morgan Pansing

2. Color and texture. When outfitting a the whole family, I compose a set of outfits the way I would a full scene—balance, texture, and color come into play. If you have a certain stand-out color or pattern, you want to see that pop of color/pattern in a couple places so that it doesn’t stand out in only one spot. In our case, we have a couple hits of neon yellow, a couple hits of black, a few neutral stripes, and some blush throughout. Men and boys can be the hardest to dress because there are far less options in male clothing (poor guys). But if you love color and want to incorporate it in their outfits as well, find smaller areas like a cool belt, a bow tie, hat, or shoes where they can wear a pop of color and feel comfortable in that shade (check out Bob's blush shoes!). Also, think about textures. If you’re taking your photos in a very modern setting that has strong lines and not a lot of color, it could be nice to balance that out with some clothing that has some softness or texture to it (hence our soft skirts and dresses). Also, across the board, I typically avoid wearing all white, all black, or anything with bold logos or typography.

Oh Joy Family Photo by Morgan Pansing

3. Complement without being too matchy matchy. Unless you are going for the Ugly Christmas Sweater look, I like to have some elements of the family outfits that match or complement without anyone wearing the same exact outfit. For example, if you have multiple kids, they can wear similar colors or patterns. Or, they can wear the same style of dress or shirt but in different colors or patterns. That way there are parts of the outfits that are the same without the full head-to-toe outfit being the same. Ruby and Coco are two slightly different dresses in the same pattern, but to avoid them looking too matchy, I gave them different tops to wear over the dresses. Same goes for the grown-ups, try to have part of your outfit link back to one other person in the photos even with a touch of the same color or pattern. 

How to Choose Outfits for a Family Photo

4. Try on the clothes before you take photos. Especially if kids are involved, make sure they've tried on the full outfit ahead of time. I can't even keep track of the number of times I've put on a new pair of shoes or a new dress and Ruby doesn’t want to wear it cause they hurt her feet or something itches. Or sometimes you’ve been saving a super special piece of clothing for a few months and then your kid outgrows it before they go to wear it. So do a test run in the full outfit beforehand so you and your kids are in comfortable clothes that fit! (For example, the outfits above were what I had planned for the kids this year. But Ruby would not wearing the stockings because she felt too hot in them, she outgrew the shoes I planned for her, and we decided not to have Coco wear the headband in fear of it constantly falling off during shooting). So we simply took out some of the unnecessary accessories and switched out Ruby’s shoes for a bigger pair we already had.

Oh Joy Family Photo by Morgan Pansing

5. Be comfortable to look comfortable. You might see this as a chance to step outside your box and wear something more risqué, more glamorous, or more colorful. But don’t wear something you wouldn’t normally wear. Bob and I both wore clothes we already owned and have worn before this day. These photos should look like you and your family—just a bit more special. And if you don't feel like you or you’re uncomfortable in any way, it will show in the photos. Oh, if you have kids, don't forget to take a photo of you and your partner without the kids. I know it can be hectic to take family photos, but if someone can entertain your kids for a few minutes so you can snap a shot together, it's well worth it.

how to choose outfits for family photos

And, now here's a peek at our holiday card for this year! I hope these tips help you for your holiday photo, future family photos, or for any other special occasion coming up!

P.S. Two fun things...

1) Artifact Uprising has kindly offered 10% off holiday card printing with code OHJOYTEN valid through December 2, 2015. AND...

2) You can enter your email address in the box below to enter to win $250 credit towards printing your cards with Artifact Uprising. Entries close on December 2, 2015.

This post is brought to you in collaboration with Artifact Uprising—a brand I've been using and loving for years. All content, ideas, and words are my own. Thanks for supporting the sponsors that allow me to create new and original content like this for Oh Joy.

{Photos from this year's family photo by Morgan Pansing. Past family photos from card's past: Max Wanger and Jesse Chamberlin (sparkly streamers card), Katherine and Luke Griffin (bougainvillea running and family montage). Still life photos of the cards by Casey Brodley, styling by Ariel Fulmer. Outfit details: Joy's sweater from J.Crew, skirt from Darccy, shoes from Target, necklace from Lou Lou Lollipop Finery. Bob's shirt from Apolis, pants by Betabrand, shoes from Greats. Ruby's dress by Two Els, cardigan from Crew Cuts, shoes by Zuzii. Coco's dress by Two Els, top by Crew & Lushoes by Zuzii, hair pin by Homako.}


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