Thursday, December 1, 2011

Christmas Traditions and Family Memories

Christmas time is a wonderful time of year! In our household, it is filled with bright smiling faces, giggles and shear joy. This is also a time filled with tradition, both old and new.

When my husband and I first married, we decided to adopt some of the traditions he had grown up with, namely the food we would be eating (he's Italian and who doesn't love Italian food!)! For breakfast every year, we fry chunks of pepperoni (it's very yummy!) and eat it on bread. We also do a more traditional Italian meal for dinner - lasagna, meatballs, chicken parmigiana, etc.

I wanted to add a new tradition and so we started the tradition of The Christmas Pickle. For those of you who do not know what The Christmas Pickle is, it is a Christmas ornament that looks like a pickle and is hung on the tree Christmas Eve. The first child or person (if there are no children) to find the "hidden" pickle on Christmas morning gets a special gift. Over the past couple of years we have altered this tradition slightly. Instead of hanging the pickle on Christmas Eve, we hang it with the other ornaments once the tree is decorated. Every night we move the ornament to a new location on the tree and our children search for it, racing to be the first to find it.

This year we have added another new tradition that we hope to enjoy for many years to come. The Elf on the Shelf.

This is Harry, our scout elf. He was sent to us last night from the North Pole (aka Target), to watch over the children and report to Santa nightly on whether they have been nice or naughty. These elves are known for a little mischief and fun while they are at your home. Harry's first bit of fun included raiding our cabinets for mini M&Ms and playing Mario Party on the Wii.

Our kids were so excited to find him this morning and have been guessing what he will be up to next. I can't wait to put Harry into different situations and hiding places. This is one tradition I can't wait to continue!

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Fall Beauty

I love fall sessions! I love the lighting, the colors and the fun that fall brings. A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to do a fall shoot with 2 absolutely adorable children. I had a lot of fun with these two and look forward to seeing them again.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Kamieo Photography Celebrates a Major Milestone

I love to support other photographers in their endeavors of creativity. Kamieo Photography, is one of those photographers. Her work is full of life, color and energy. So it is no surprise that she has acquired quite the following - over 5 Thousand fans! To celebrate this major milestone, Kamieo is having a 5K Fan Giveaway. There are over 20 vendors participating in this giveaway; Borrow Lenses, The Organic Bloom, and, Whisker Works are just to name a few.

You do not want to miss out on this! Check it out:

Let Kamieo know that Carsten Photography sent you!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

What to Wear - Fall 2011

Need some inspiration on what to wear for your upcoming family portrait session?
Vibrant colors are a great way to add some personality and additional color to your pictures. A mix of warm (brown, pink and yellow) and cool (green, blue and purple) colors will be perfect for your fall portraits this year.

For additional ideas and suggestions, please click here.
Happy shopping!!!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Meet The Kennedy's

Every portrait session I do is completely different and unique - the families, the locations, the experience. Working with the Kennedy family was NOT an exception to this statement.

When the family contacted me for portraits, I asked my typical questions to find out about them. "What's your family dynamic?", "Is there anything I need to know about your kids?", "Are there certain topics that make your kids laugh", etc. The response was, "They really are just crazy fun loving kids. Love sports, and arm farts. So if you can do a mean arm fart and also take pictures we are sure to get big laughs!" I knew right then that this was a family I could not wait to work with!

From the very start of their shoot, the Kennedy's kept me smiling and laughing - when it should be ME making them smile and laugh! The kids ("A", "S", "T" & "H") were amazing! "A" had a chance to rock the arm farts - since my skills were definitely lacking! "S" not only had great posing ideas and locations, but she also made some of the best goofy faces. "T" was full of smiles and "H" was just as cute as can be. "Fun loving" was the perfect description for these guys.

I had such a great time shooting the Kennedy's session. This is a family that truly loves each other and enjoys life to it's fullest.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

2011 Senior Portraits

There are many milestones we look forward to in our journey through life. Most of which are before we become adults - starting school for the first time, becoming a teenager, getting our driver's license, first kiss, and senior year!

Senior year is special for so many different reasons and is filled with so many lasting memories. Some of the things to look forward to are prom, graduation day and your senior portraits!

I had an amazing time with the beautiful Lily Harris when we shot her senior portraits. I seriously could not have asked for a better model to work with. She was energetic, fun and super prepared - she had a suit case full of clothing and accessories for me to choose from, what more could a photog want! We started off at an auto repair shop/junk yard, moved on to a dilapidated barn (where she found an old creepy baby doll arm), then off to a few local wineries and finishing in a field full of little yellow flowers. I could have shot her all day!

Congratulations Lily on completing this stage of your life! I know that great things are ahead of you. And as the great Confucious once said, "wherever you go, go with all your heart."

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Things Are Better in 3s

Things are better in 3s! Chocolate, wine, food, weekends! You cannot stop with just 1 piece of chocolate, 2 is just a tease, so 3 is perfect for satisfaction and is the cut off for over indulgence. This same rule applies to wine! Food ... 3 meals a day! And who doesn't LOVE 3-day weekends?!

But what about children? Does this rule apply here as well? The Pirello's sure think so!

Beth and Mark are expecting their baby any day now. And not only will this be their 3 child, it is their 3rd son! They could not be more excited about their newest family addition. And as luck would have it, they let me document this moment in time for them.

Only days away from her due date, Beth was radiant and totally at ease during her maternity session. She and I took our time, soaked up some sun and had a few laughs (courtesy of her comedic boys!) The whole family was just so excited to meet their newest member. The boys were gravitating towards the baby - kissing him and talking to him through their mommy.

The love the Pirello family has for each other is infectious and shines through each member. This was definitely a session I will not forget.

* Since this session was taken, The Pirello's have welcomed their 3rd beautiful little boy into their family. Congratulations Beth & Mark!!! And welcome home little Alex!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What To Wear - Spring 2011

"Amy, what should we wear for our portraits?"
This is the single most common question that I get. I've often tried explaining to my clients that their wardrobe should mesh well and be similar but not identical. Colors should be complimentary and vibrant but not overly loud. And most importantly, your clothing should reflect who you are.
Clothing is such a large part of your portraits. They help set the mood of your portraits and aid in portraying who you are. What we wear says a lot about us, and don't we all want to be perceived in the best way? Clothing can also bring energy into a picture with it's color. Dull photos often have a lackluster feel to them, but images with vibrance stir emotion and leave lasting impressions. Not to mention they look great hanging on a wall!
I've put together some examples of what would look great in your family portraits, or even as an individual portrait.
Now for what I've noticed that does NOT work well for photos.
At the top of my list is stripes! Unless you are trying to look like you've put on some weight, I highly suggest avoiding stripes - especially horizontal ones! Even the skinniest of people rarely look good in stripes. There is one exception to this rule though - the pen striped suit!
Next on my list is polka dots! Good for kids (in moderation) bad for adults. Do I really need to elaborate on this one?
And of course there are colors that should be avoided at all costs. The obvious - anything neon! Unless you are trying to dress like you're in a bad music video from the 80s, biking/walking at night or are hunting with Dick Cheney, I would avoid neon colors all together. Orange is another color to avoid. It may look good in your clothing, but on camera not so much. It's best to just stir clear of this color.
Now that you have an idea of what to look for and what to avoid, there is one more step that should be taken. Iron your clothes! I realize how ironic this statement is, as my examples show wrinkled pants, but nonetheless this is an important step that is frequently overlooked. You would be amazed at how dominant wrinkles look in a picture. So please, save yourself and your photographer the headache and just iron your clothes. On a side note, removing the lint and hair from your clothes is a great idea too!
I've said my peace. Hopefully you've found all this information useful and will be able to pick the right outfit(s) for your portraits.
Happy Shopping!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"Life Is Better With a Little Drama In It" - Scott Nilsson

I was contacted last week by a couple, Jessica and Ryan, who were in need of some headshots for an upcoming audition of the Tony Award winning musical RENT. Of course I said yes! How could I refuse someone's request to be a part of fulfilling their life-long dream?!

RENT is rock opera about a group of young artists and musicians who are "struggling to survive and create in New York's Lower East Side in the thriving days of Bohemian Alphabet City, under the shadow of HIV/AIDS" and will be returning to Broadway on July 14th at New World Stages.

This is not Jessica and Ryan's first time trying out for the musical, although it will be their first tryout for Broadway. They were both cast members for the musical's debut in the Tri-Cities last summer. Jessica starred as the role of Mimi Márquez and Ryan as Roger Davis.

I had such a great time working with Jessica and Ryan. These two kept me laughing and entertained from start to finish! I wish you both the best of luck at your upcoming audition in LA.

Break a leg, guys!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Hippity Hoppity Easter's On It's Way

The sun is shinning, the trees are budding, and there is an overwhelming giddiness to be outside. Ladies and gentlemen, spring is in the air! I love this time of year. Everything feels so crisp and fresh. It is like the world has been rejuvenated after a long a dreary winter and is celebrating by sharing its beauty with us.

There are a several things I really look forward to in the spring; photo shoots and Easter are among my top 5. This year, I get the privilege of combining the two! I am one of the sponsors for the Pasco Jaycees Eggstravaganza and will be taking pictures of the children (and adults) with the Easter Bunny. For a small donation, participants will receive a print of their picture. All proceeds will be benefiting the 2nd Harvest food distribution center, the Pasco Parks & Recreation Scholarship Fund and future Pasco Jaycees events.

The festivities start at 8:30 Saturday, April 23rd, with a pancake breakfast. Come out to the Pasco Softball Complex (near the Trac) for a great time. Be sure to check out the Pasco Jaycees website for details:

Friday, February 18, 2011

The Magic of Actions

I love finding new ways to edit my work. And the faster I can do an edit, the better! Actions have become a great way for me to customize the look of my shots without having to to do every editing step every time. Don't get me wrong, I still do a majority of my editing "hands on". But there are some steps that I do for every picture and an action helps save time; allowing me get my finished product to my customers faster.

Some actions used, I have created and others I have gotten from other photogs/professionals. One of the newest actions I have been working with is Mini Fusion from MCP Actions. It is a free action that MCP is giving away and what a difference it makes!

MCP Actions offers other free and for sale actions. I also love using their free Facebook Fix action for resizing my photos for online viewing. The re-sized images look just as crisp as the full-res images. It's a must have for anyone posting their work online!

If you'd like to try out MCP's Mini Fusion Action click here for your free download.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

The Kelly Moore Bag

I have been looking for a new camera bag for a very long time. There have been quite a few that I have come close to getting but for some reason or another, I held back. Maybe the bags I had been looking at before were not a right fit for me; size, functionality, long-term usage, etc. But I feel that I have finally found the right bag for me! It's part of the Kelly Moore Bag collection. The bags are stylish AND functional. Kelly even gives a video tutorial, on her site, to help you see how large the bags really are and what they are capable of holding. I am torn between two bags; the Juju Bag (walnut or muted teal) and the Classic Bag (grey). Hopefully one of these days I'll make up my mind.

We Have A Winner!!!


Shellie Feathers is the lucky winner of a free photo shoot. Shellie, please email me ( to schedule your session and discuss the details.

(numbers started at 3)

I would like to thank everyone for your support and participation in this giveaway. And since it is not as fun to lose, everyone that participated in the giveaway will receive 30% off their portrait purchases if you schedule a custom session by February 28. Your session does not have to be in the month of February, just scheduled. Contact me at if you would like to schedule a photo session.

Monday, January 31, 2011

Free Photo Session Giveaway!

Enter to win a free photo session to celebrate our new milestone ... our new website!

The Details:

We are giving away a free custom photo session (valued up to $150). The winner can choose one of several different shoots: family, children or individual portraits or a boudoir shoot, since Valentine's Day is coming up! These shoots are on-location, so entrants should reside in the Tri-Cities, WA region. The winner will be randomly selected on February 5th @ midnight (pst) and will be announced on the 6th @ noon (pst).

How to enter:
  • Check out our website by either clicking on our logo above or going to Come back here and leave us a comment about our new site.
Do you really want to win? Here are ways you can get additional entries.
  • "Like" us on our Facebook page and leave a comment. If you already "like" us just tell us you already do.
  • Share the contest with your friends and give them a chance to win as well. Post the graphic above that says “Carsten Photography” and place it on the web: blog, Facebook, other social networking sites. You may also do a non-graphic version about this contest by sharing details. Just leave a comment and tell us where you did this. If you mention us on Facebook, tag us in your post (@Carsten Photography).
  • Subscribe to our bog and leave a comment telling us you did.

The winner will be announced Sunday, some come back to see if you won.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Kelly Moore Bag Giveaway

MCP Actions is at it again with another fabulous giveaway!!! This time they are giving away 2 Kelly Moore Camera bags; one for the ladies and one for the guys. Click on the image below to find out how you can enter to win one of these bags.