Sandra LaForge Photography: Blog en-us (C) Sandra LaForge Photography [email protected] (Sandra LaForge Photography) Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:27:00 GMT Mon, 16 Mar 2020 07:27:00 GMT Sandra LaForge Photography: Blog 68 120 April Challenge for Photographers: Backyard When I say backyard, it can literally be YOUR backyard. For the more adventurous, put on your trainers,  or jump on a bike or in your car and start exploring. I recently took a trip to the country and discovered thousands of wildflowers blooming along the roadsides and in the fields. I was so inspired that I returned a few days later under different conditions. Check it out here

The CHALLENGE: Create a photograph of something you do not normally shoot. I would love to see what you come up with so feel free to share here.

Getting started

A great way to get inspired is to choose a theme:

  • your favorite color
  • a particular shape; round can be challenging
  • an object such as doors, flowers, old cars

Carry this theme in your mind while you are seeking your shots. I find this is a good way to jump start my creative brain, especially if the coffee has not kicked in....

Moss growing around the bricks can be eye-catching

Moss GrowsMoss GrowsGraphics in Nature


Flower PowerFlower PowerFlower Power

Sprouting Plants and Flowers

Time lapses of a bulb plant or seedlings can be very interesting.

Set up an inexpensive tripod that you leave in place. Every day or two, photograph the progress.  

This can make a very nice series of photographs for display.  

In my case, I treasure the photos I captured using this technique since I lost so many of the plants and flowers during the freezes  this past winter. 




Spring Events

Festivals, outdoor art shows, concerts provide a wonderful opportunity for action, colors, and local culture.

Check local guides or social media to see what is happening in your area. 

And, be sure to get permission to photograph someone else’s art.


Have a Party!

Invite your family or friends over for an impromptu celebration. Ask them to wear their most colorful clothes and don't forget about hats!! The gals just LOVE putting on some bling and that will add sparkle to your photographs. These ladies are wearing  Carol's designs, check them out here.

GirlfriendsGirlfriendsHave a Party


  Travel outside your usual spots

We live in a big city, however, rarely go downtown during our leisure time. What a great find when we ventured outside "our comfort zone". 


~Reflections in buildings 



~People on benches, hanging out in parks,

  strolling, sitting in cafes. 


~Shoot from a rooftop



The goal of this April Challenge for Photographers is to get inspired and to challenge yourself so you may grow as an artist. To quote one of my favorite photographers , Tom Bol of Tom Bol Photography, "Developing your creativity is a life long process.  You don’t master it, you just develop along the way.  If you want to speed up the process, go out and photograph more.  And remember, sometimes you get the most ‘creative’ shots simply because you went out to shoot.  Luck favors the prepared, but it also favors those who photograph more." Read more of Tom's blog.


Now go make some photos! Next month's challenge: Details

[email protected] (Sandra LaForge Photography) photo challenge photo workshops photographer learning resource photography tom bol travel buddy Fri, 20 Apr 2018 16:45:43 GMT
Texas Wildflowers 2018 Stellar Year Bluebonnets near Chappell Hill, TexasGod Bless Texas

Today's post will be more of an update than an article as this is time sensitive.  I am exploring the blooming fields of the wildflower season. As a travel and adventure photographer, and a happy wanderer, I cannot overlook that a great time can be found in my very own back yard.   

For those of you who follow the Texas Wildflower season, this year is a CANNOT MISS. Due to weather, length of growing season, and many other factors, it can be a narrow window to view their stellar presentation.  I was at an advantage to get to shoot on a weekday as the weekends promise to be very busy. What I witnessed today was absolutely amazing. I travelled primarily the roads from Houston to Bellville and also around Brenham and Chappell Hill. 

Texas WildflowersTexas WildflowersBoots in the Bluebonnets Texas WildflowersTexas WildflowersCalf eating Bluebonnets Just a few tips to get you on your way:

  • Play your route. Here is a wonderful site I used to navigate my journey today: Bluebonnets.
  • Photographers: early morning and late afternoon will produce the best photos. 
  • Check the weather. Do not let a chance of rain keep you home! The colors can really pop after a nice shower.
  • WEAR PROPER GEAR! Texas is know to have snakes and ant beds in the fields and ditches along the country roads. BOOTS and  a lightweight long sleeve shirt to protect you from the hot Texas sun.
  • Be respectful of private property and no trespassing signs. There are plenty of safe places to take photos.





This weekend is the Chappell Hill Bluebonnet Festival 2018 if you enjoy these types of gatherings.

Drop in and enjoy the festivities, however, do not miss the less travelled beautiful roads. 

I encourage you to go out ASAP  to enjoy the multitude and variety that are still visible. 

Please drop  me a line if you have any questions about locations or shooting tips!

[email protected]

Texas WildflowersTexas WildflowersMulti-colors of Texas wildflowers

As the song goes..."God Bless Texas" !!!

To learn more about the  the photographer, Voyage Houston or click here webpage.



[email protected] (Sandra LaForge Photography) backroads bluebonnets boots calf chappell hill cow fences festival god bless texas nikon photography professional photographer texas texas flag texas wildflowers travel voyagehouston wildflowers Fri, 13 Apr 2018 14:40:20 GMT
Why You Should Hire a Professional Photographer

Death Valley California, Zabriskie Point

Professional photography will play a crucial role in delivering the personality of your brand. It is one of the most effective ways to instantly connect with your readers or customers.

The key component to developing a recognizable brand that is creative and trusted is professionally developed visual representation, such as photos and video.

In addition, in order to have an effective impact on our potential clients, you need:

  • Robust online presence
  • Consistency
  • Above memorable

The ability to create eye-catching content is becoming increasingly important for entrepreneurs as well as big brands.

If your goal is to draw attention to your brand, the first impression should be inspiring and impressive photography


When choosing a photographer, it is important they are able identify your particular needs. Your photographer will then meet his obligation by providing you with compelling and authentic images for your story. Whether for social media platform photographs, website images, or marketing content in general, your photographic content with depict your specific brand and story. 


Model: Sophie for Carol Lipworth Designs

My viewpoint as a professional photographer is as follows; I not only have the equipment and the skills to produce pictures, I have an "eye" for the subject matter. At each encounter, I try to take into consideration a clients brand, needs and the impressions required to project the highest quality photographs for the clients story.

It is a good idea to come to your first meeting with samples of your product, current marketing materials, and even examples of colors you see as your brand identity. Be prepared to discuss what you currently like about your visual story and what you think needs improvement. This will aid the photographer in providing the best images for your specific goals. In return, they should provide you with what I call a "scope of work" detailing for instance:

  • how many hours and locations, if doing a location shoot 
  • how many preview photos they will provide
  • digital or prints, and other such details
  • timeline for delivery of images

Be sure to ask questions and have a clear idea of what you are hiring them to accomplish for you.

If you are looking for that inspiring and impressive first impression, hire a professional who will go above and beyond for their clients to make sure their time is valued, deadlines are met and the highest quality product is delivered.

Via Colori 

If you still have some doubt, do some research; look at your competitors sites, observe their "visual story" and assess their success. Is it original? Is the content authentic? Does it leave and good impression and a brand you would likely trust? Does it "WOW" you? I bet they are using a professional.....~ Sandy




[email protected] (Sandra LaForge Photography) instagram photographs professional photographer via colori Thu, 15 Feb 2018 22:56:18 GMT
Inspiration: Part 2

In Part 2 of our series, Carol and I share our own personal stories of inspiration, creativity and the part both play in our work and lives.

What inspires the direction you take in your work?

Carol: Its hard to narrow it down, but most often I'm inspired by the stones themselves - their color, shape, texture, properties - their esssence moves me to design jewelry that brings them to life. Each February,  I make my yearly pilgrimage to  the Tucson gem shows where I find the most unique stones that inspire my designs.


Sandy: Life changes all of the time and we can see artists evolve and change in their work as well. Appreciating what is all around us is my best advice. I seek out new opportunities to find beauty in everyday life. Currently, water is something that inspires me, in all forms. It may be the power and form  in the ocean wave or a droplet in a murky puddle. 

Tell us about a time when inspiration struck and moved you to create something special

Carol: I had just been making jewelry when I took a trip to Amsterdam. While window shopping, I saw the most beautiful necklaces that I had ever seen. Each necklace combined several strands of different stones, pearls, and crystals and they were magical. As I walked around the store I knew that this was a direction I wanted to take. As soon as I got home, I started creating my own version of these multi-strand necklaces, adding my own aesthetic and color combinations. My design have evolved over the years, but Im still drawn to mixing colors and materials in new ways.


Sandy: I remember the first time I wanted to be behind the camera, and not in the picture: my mother was attempting to frame a shot of me and my sister. It was taking way too long to I kindly grabbed the camera and took the picture. I vowed to learn what seem to perplex my mother and many others who picked up a camera. From that day I developed a habit of seeing the world as if it were a picture.

How do you stay inspired to create?

Carol: I would have to say that traveling provides the most inspiration to me. Putting myself in a different place, a different culture, different surroundings - all of these things help jar me out of my usual way of thinking and move me to something different. It really is true that when you change your perspective, you can change your direction and start to see things differently. When I travel, I also check out the jewelry shops and museums. Design reflects the culture, lifestyles and the place itself. That always inspires me. Seeing how an artist has dome something just a lilts differently than I do it. It allows me to go back to my studio and start experimenting with new ideas. I often say to myself, "why didn't I think of that!" But then, I remember that I've also created new ideas and designs that are unique to me.

Sandy: It helps that I always been a wanderer, often venturing away from the crowd. This provides a unique option to capture something others may miss. For instance, I was on a tour of Peru and we stopped along the roadside where there were a couple of vendors. While the others were shopping or photographing the craftsmen, I found a Peruvian toddler with a little truck busying himself off to the side, up against a beautiful mountain scape. I have been very fortunate to be able to travel to some great places. Travel has definitely been my muse and it has taken me to beauty, culture, nature, and encounters that guide me to imagine and create.

You've had the opportunity to work with clients on commissioned work projects. How do you meld their desires with your own creativity?

Carol: It's easiest when a client tells me to just do whoever I think is best. that freedom allows me to be my most creative. I try to ask a lot of questions, to see what my client likes, what the wear now, what they're looking for, to try to determine what would make them happiest. I've been fortunate that most of my clients trust my aesthetic and abilities, and let me do what I do best.

Sandy: I love the challenge of a commissioned project. First, I listen to the client. Then I absorb their ideas and try to add my own vision. In a recent project, I was asked to create an image of a place that is very "photographed". My client stated that it did not need to be recognizable, however, would mean something to the recipients who were engaged at this location. Having a happy client and an image I can be proud of is most rewarding.

Even people who don't work in traditionally creative fields want to be inspired. What advice can you give to help fuel their creativity and find inspiration in their daily lives?

Carol: Read our first blog! In addition, remember that everyone is creative in some way and its a muscle that need to be used. Start with the intention of looking for inspiration - get off autopilot and start seeing what's around you.

Sandy: Yes! We hope our inspiration series is helpful. Also, have mindset that you can create. Listen to music, take an art class, re-ignite a cultural interest, start a new hobby. As a matter of fact, conceptual thinking, i.e. using our right brain, begins with concentrating on creating something beautiful.

Watch for the final spot in our Inspiration series: A Path to Inspiration Part 3: Boosting Creativity through Collaboration.






[email protected] (Sandra LaForge Photography) artists blog creativity culture inspiration jewelry nikon personal journey peru. photography travel photographer water Wed, 08 Nov 2017 04:00:00 GMT
Fall is Here, let's go Outside

Most people I know say that fall is their favorite time of the year and I could not agree more. The air is crisp and cool, the colors are bursting, and festivals and fall sports are in full swing providing unlimited photo ops. Since I am a sports fan, in this post I will be sharing some of my favorite tips for out sports photography:

Zoom lens  Be sure to pack (or rent) your zoom lens, at least 200mm. While we can get pretty close to the playing fields, the action may be at a distance. A tripod can be handy for the large zoom lenses, but also can be cumbersome. Personal preference rules here.

Know your sport  Expertise is not a requirement, however, a general knowledge of the game will prepare you to be in the right place at the right time. Be prepared to move around for the money shots! 

Burst mode  Things are happening fast in most sport like football and soccer and you don't want to miss a thing. Review your camera's settings to be ready to switch to this mode.

Pan shots  As mentioned before, things are moving fast. This is a good time to practice techniques like panning. The blur shots add interest in fast moving sports. Choose a slow shutter speed, consider the background, track your subject, a tripod may behind, use autofocus and release the shutter as you track your subject. Tips


Sideline  What's happening off the field can be just as interesting as what's on the field. Check out the players and fans on the sideline for a unique perspective.

Prepare  Plan for annoying bugs if the sport you choose is outdoors. Carry a small can of bug repellent to stop pesky critters from running your experience. And of course, water and snacks are always tucked away in my camera backpack.

So you're not a sports fan, search for festivals and cultural events in your area. These can be most interesting and colorful.

Now get out there and enjoy some fall photo fun!

Stay tuned for a future post were I will attempt to WOW you with fall colors....


[email protected] (Sandra LaForge Photography) fall colors fall sports football nikon ordinary traveler panning photo rental photograph sports tips for outdoor sports photography Thu, 05 Oct 2017 15:01:08 GMT
A Path to Inspiration: Part 1

Even the most creative people get stuck, in fact, that was our inspiration for writing this blog. We've both had those days when we sat staring through the camera or an empty work table searching for inspiration that never came. We've been stuck, frustrated, inspiration-less.

waiting for inspiration to strike!

After years of working through this non-creative state, we've found ways around and through it. You see, being stuck with no bright flashes of inspiration to kick-start your creativity isn't the worst thing. It is the normal thing. It's frustrating, but also it is a necessary step in the creative process.

Why? Because we can't keep doing the same things day-after-day and expect to be inspired. And when we become uninspired, it's a reminder that we need to shake things up and do something different to change our state of being.

water close-up in Osaka

Inspiration can come in many forms. Here are five tips for breaking or changing habits that can lead to increased creativity:

  • Heighten your awareness. Pay attention Slow down and look around.
  • Change your routine. take a different route while driving or taking walk. When you are in a routine, your are often on autopilot unaware of your surroundings. Anything that takes you out of your routine will help shift your point of view.
  • Put on your rose-colored (or yellow or blue) glasses and see things from a new perspective. Change the way you look at nature. It is constantly changing and can be quite a muse.
  • Learn something new. It's another way to shift your outlook and experiences.
  • Relax. That's right, chill out, meditate, listen to baroque music - anything to calm yourself and allow your right brain to kick in. According to neuroscientists, deep relaxation is an ideal state for creativity, as well as good humor and pleasure.

Still feeling stuck? Remember, inspiration is everywhere, especially on social media sites like Instagram and Pinterest. Here are just four of the creative people we follow for inspiration.

Jasmine Star

Dave Black

Sue Bryce

Justina Blakeney

Let's inspire each other. Please comment below and share your tips, websites, pages,places, anything that inspires you!

In our next blog post, Carol and I will share our personal stories of inspiration and some of the artists who inspire us. Stay tuned!


            My project with Carol Lipworth Designs on location: watch

Carol Lipworth Designs on location in Costa Rica:

Sandra La Forge Photography





Carol Lipworth Designs










[email protected] (Sandra LaForge Photography) awareness creativity inspiration jewelry design photography Fri, 22 Sep 2017 02:13:32 GMT
Hurricane Harvey: Riding the Storm Out Hurricane Harvey:

Riding the Storm Out


UPDATE: Texas continues to dig out and clean up from the wrath of Hurricane Harvey. We cannot thank you enough for many ways you have come to our rescue. As flooding continues in our great state, please consider the victims and I encourage you to assist by clicking the link below:

Help Harvey Victims

The forecasters tell us we are about half way through Tropical Storm Harvey's effects so when there was a break in the weather, we grabbed our cameras and raingear and headed out to explore. 

Some positives of us getting off the sofa (what are you binge watching?):

  • A chance to capture a catastrophic event. We talked to stranded drivers, were present while a kayaker going paddled a popular intersection, and most interestingly witnessed the 4th largest city all but come to a standstill.
  • Great time for reflection pics in the high water.
  • In our case, exploring areas usually bombarded with major traffic (we live inside the Houston loop)
  • An opportunity to help. We were on the scene for a car wreck, translated for someone needing a ride to rescue their mother and also cleaned two storm drains that were backing up the high water.

Some safety tips:

  • Keep an eye on changing weather conditions. Tropical storms are unpredictable.
  • Beware of crazy motorists. Due to high water, cars were being forced to drive both directions on a one-way highway. We witnessed a wreck not 10 feet in front of us. 
  • Don’t go it alone! Luckily my best friend and partner (in crime) is a photo bug as well. Better in pairs.

Humanity prevailed as we headed back home on foot, a truck load of young men offered us a ride as the rain had just started drizzling again. Today’s excursion will provide some great photos for my ongoing water project. 




[email protected] (Sandra LaForge Photography) catastrophic flooding freelance hurricane hurricane harvey photography umbrella Mon, 28 Aug 2017 20:55:39 GMT
Improve with Fellow Photographers There is so much to gain by traveling with fellow photographers, whether they are professionals or hobbyists.  Here are a few reasons you may want to give it a shot (pun intended).

Learn New Tips and Tricks:                                                                                           

On a recent trip, there was much joking about a particular enhancement software (it has the word "pro" in it, that's all I will say).  Some of the photographers on the tour were “purists” who did not agree with such techniques.  Others did, so I decided to try it.  It was a fun experiment, but I learned it was not my thing.  The take away is that I may not have tried it if it hadn’t been part of our group discussion. If the schedule allows, spend time-sharing photos, asking for critiques or learning a new editing technique.  I have benefitted immensely from other photographers’ knowledge on every trip. If you are traveling with a professional photographer, hang on every word and ask questions!  One of our favorites, editorial and adventure photographer Tom Bol, is so helpful with non-stop enthusiasm.  

Draw from Others’ Experiences:

Places to Shoot:  Your travel buddies are a great source of information and experience.  Ask them about the places they have traveled and which locations they would recommend.  People love to share their experiences and you’ll learn details you could never get from a brochure.  We are very excited to add a couple of new destinations we had not considered thanks to our travel friends.

Gear:  We all want to find the best gear for our photography, so ask what works for them, what they like, what they don’t and why.   Real feedback beats online reviews everytime!

Workshops:  Workshops are my new favorite way to travel, learn from others and get great photos.  Ask for recommendations about workshops they’ve attended and what they liked about them.

Friends for Life!

On a recent trip to Cuba, two pairs of people in our group had met while traveling alone on other tours years before.  In both cases, they now meet up and travel together a few times each year.  How wonderful to find companionship through a shared interest!  Having a travel buddy is a great way to see the world and share experiences.

It is a big beautiful world out there.  Traveling with fellow photographers is a great way to improve your skills, learn new tips and techniques and enjoy your passion with like-minded folks.

Link to Tom Bol's Workshops

[email protected] (Sandra LaForge Photography) photo workshops photographer learning resource photography tom bol travel buddy Mon, 06 Feb 2017 20:36:23 GMT
Outdoor photography and Images by the Hubble

You do not have to be even mildly interested in Science or Space to be in awe of the photographs the Hubble telescope is sending back to earth. The creator of this beautiful and wondrous world has my praise today as I enjoy these images and cannot help but be a bit jealous of the vantage point of the Hubble. As an avid outdoor photographer, I claim to go anywhere to get the shot! I hope our future generations have the opportunity to travel and photograph beyond earth and share my passion to "go anywhere.....".

The photo below is called the butterfly produced by a dying star.

[email protected] (Sandra LaForge Photography) Hubble Space outdoor photography telescope travel Fri, 10 Apr 2015 20:22:03 GMT
Photography from a Child's Perspective Michael"s Persective, Age 10The ride we DID NOT ride at the carnival

Let's face it, people today are the most "photographed" ever in the history of recorded images. Armed with smart phones, tablets, and the occasional "camera", people everywhere are photographing themselves.

A camera for me is more of an accessory than a tool or gadget, rarely will you find me without a camera close by......For this reason, I get excited when the children in our family asked to borrow my "camera". Here is an example of a picture taken while on a recent outing.

The picture above was taken by my grandson, Michael, age 10, who just happens to be the cute cowboy in a previous blog.

Seeing the world through their eyes is so interesting and innovative! Next time you have your phone or other recording device pointed at your children or grandchildren, hand them the camera and ask them to give it try. You will be pleasantly surprised at their perspective.

[email protected] (Sandra LaForge Photography) carnival children perspective smart phone pictures Tue, 24 Mar 2015 17:49:26 GMT
Photo Shoot Opportunities When I first arrived in Houston 20+ years ago, I was unaware of the "season" as I came to call it that is the Houston Livestock Show and Rodeo. I wondered what the buzz was all about in regards to a rodeo. Having lived in Texas for many years, I had attended a rodeo or two, but nothing like what Houston puts together!

It starts with trail riders arriving from all over the country, a World Championship BBQ cook off, followed by concerts, livestock shows, and many other events too numerous mention.

For a photographer, the opportunities are limitless; whether you enjoy shooting people, animals, "color", is all there!

Happy shooting!!


Cute CowboyCute Cowboy

[email protected] (Sandra LaForge Photography) Cowboys Houston photo opportunities rodeo Fri, 06 Mar 2015 15:33:35 GMT
Time to plan a trip ‚ÄčThis is the time of year when I finalize my top three choices for travel in the the summer/fall timeframe. I kindly then speak with my spouse to see if he has a preference. For me, having a trip to look forward to that promises much needed downtime, and hopefully,  observing beautiful sunsets, enjoying quality time with family and friends,  photographing amazing scenery, and savoring yummy food.

Creating memories and preserving through passion of photography allows me to relive the trip over and over....

Please enjoy a few of my travel photos.

Double Rainbow over Hanalei BayDouble Rainbow over Hanalei BayDouble Rainbow over Hanalei Bay Harbour Island, BahamasHarbour Island, BahamasBeach Walk Amalfi CoastAmalfi CoastStairway Amalfi Coast

[email protected] (Sandra LaForge Photography) downtime memories sunsets travel photos Wed, 18 Feb 2015 17:00:00 GMT