Wednesday, March 14, 2012

The Art of the Edit, or Lack Thereof

These last few weeks, I have been trying to work on the functional side of my business; working on the evil SEO and trying to find other ways to get people to find me.  In this process, I have also read quite a few articles about photography.  The thing that stuck with me about most of them, is that everyone is talking about photoshop actions. 

For those of you who don't know, a photoshop action is a set of commands that photoshop will run over each of your photograph and adjust lighting, contrast, and other settings depending upon the action.  They can be very useful when you are working with a large batch of photographs that you want to have a similar feel or you are re-sizing image.  I use one for saving things for web use.

My problem comes, when there are dozens upon dozens of photographers out there, using the same style of lighting, same warm glow or what have you instead of having a voice of his/her own or letting each photograph speak for itself. 

The other thing that I realized while reading these articles, was that, though I do use photoshop to develop my photographs, I don't do a lot of editing to my work anymore.  I shoot in RAW which is somewhat similar to a film negative.  You cannot view these files without a specific viewer and you have to develop them before being able to print them. 

This is the photograph that I shot.  The exposure is a little off because it was in my dark office and I am shooting the whirling dervish that is my daughter, but otherwise it is not a bad image by itself.  I lowered the color saturation and adjusted the exposure, added a bit more contrast and warmed up the light to create the image at the top of this article.  I let the photograph guide me to the feel the image should convey.

I know that most other photographers out there deal with a lot more images than I do, but that is also part of the problem.  Instead of looking for that one shot out of a hundred, which is what I do with all my art shots, we give our clients 50-60 images out of a hundred to choose from.  We sacrifice our artistic vision because we don't want to step on our clients taste.  The question we need to ask ourselves (and clients probably need to ask themselves as well) is, didn't they choose their photographer for his/her artistic vision?

I think my rant is done.

Thanks for reading,

Sarah McTernen

Sunday, March 11, 2012

I'm sorry...Multi-what?

Party Light - 8x10 Print $35

I just thought I had ADD.  Apparently there is a term for people who can't just keep doing the same thing forever without getting bored. 

Multipotentiality:  "An educational and psychological term referring to a pattern found among intellectually gifted individuals. [Multipotentialites] generally have diverse interests across numerous domains and may be capable of success in many endeavors or professions, they are confronted with unique decisions as a result of these choices."-Wikipedia

Then again, that definition says "intellectually gifted" and I am not sure I fall into that category anymore, since my brain has become a sieve.

Back when I was in school and trying to define myself, I first thought that I would be a violinist and go to conservatory back east, but I couldn't wrap my brain around committing my life to only playing the violin.  Then I thought about culinary school.  Hey, I loved to cook and bake and play with food.  Once again, the thought of only doing that, stifled my resolve.  This scenario played out through many other professions until I decided on teaching and then flaked out of college only to come home and start a photography business. 

I find it interesting that there is an entire community out there of people who may see the world similar to the way I do. 

Want to read more about it?  Check out

Thanks for reading,

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Blackberry Pancakes

Just About There - 8x10 Print $35

My lovely neighbor had a freezer issue and needed to get rid of the frozen blackberries that she had picked the previous summer.  I said of course I would take them, not knowing what I would do, but pretty sure I could figure something out.  My first thought was jam.  The problem with this thought is that I don’t know how to make jam, nor do I have any of the equipment to do it or the ingredients, like pectin.  So I tried to make no pectin jam and low sugar jam at the same time.  This did not work the way I wanted it to.  I had three jars of  blackberry not-jam.  I decided to make pancakes and those were delicious.

2 cups Whole Wheat Flour       
2 eggs
2 teaspoons baking powder  
2 cups buttermilk
1 teaspoon baking soda  
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt   
¼ cup melted butter
1 ½ cups blackberry puree with honey and lemon juice

Mix together the dry ingredients in a small bowl.  Mix together all the wet ingredients except the butter in a larger bowl.  Pour dry ingredients into wet and mix thoroughly.  Add melted butter and stir until combined. 

Cook on a medium hot buttered griddle until bubbles begin to show.  Flip.  Cook for another minute or so or until brown and cooked through.

So yummy just writing this makes me want to go and make a batch!

Thanks for reading,
Sarah McTernen

PS:  Hey let me know what you think about this recipe.  I'd love to hear what you think!

Friday, March 9, 2012

An Ardent Evening

Dreams of the Imperial $45

Plan an evening in with Ardent Life Photography and Design.

Package A:  Playing with Wire—Want to learn how to make wire jewelry?  Why not make it a party?  Enjoy an evening in with friends, laughter and a little instruction from me on how to make a simple wire worked necklace and dangle earrings. 
$85 per person
I will provide each guest with a set of  mini jewelry tools, the wire and beads along with 1 hour of instruction

Package B:  Glamour Girls—Spend an evening with friends, shopping in your living room with Ardent Life Jewelry and have a glamour girl photo shoot.  You will receive an 8x10 of your favorite pose (chosen from  the web gallery that will be available less than 1 week from the date of your party).
$60 per person

Package C:  The Traditional - I will come with my jewelry, displays and photography for you to peruse at your leisure. You provide the location and the friends.  You will receive a great host/hostess gift while also receiving 10% off any purchases you make. 

E-Mail me to book your party today

Also, the Ardent Life Market, a yard sale for art, will start this spring.  Don't forget to sign up for more information from the facebook page

Thank you for reading,
Sarah McTernen

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Still Need a Calendar?

I decided to put out a series of desk Calendars for 2012 and I still have a few left.  They are printed on 4x6 matte photo paper and can be placed on a table easel, they come with either a gold or silver easel, or held together with a binder clip and hung on a wall, cubicle or otherwise.  Don’t want to flip pages from month to month just want to know what day something falls on?  I also have printed 8x10 yearly calendars that can either be framed or just tacked to the wall.  All in stock calendars are now only $7 each.  See the  Calendars on Facebook at   If you want one that starts in a different month, just E-mail me and custom order one for $15.

Links to Etsy:

Thank you,
Sarah McTernen

Wednesday, March 7, 2012

The Only Thing Constant is Change

Ardent has entered its seventh year in business.  It has grown from simple unmatted photographic prints and portrait work to custom framed work, practical photography products, jewelry, websites, logos, and a new artist’s market to be launched this spring.  Seven is my lucky number, so something awesome is going to happen this year.  Last year, I had made it my goal to attend an event a month on average and I over achieved.  I have decided this year to start my own artists’ yard sale with the Ardent Life Market (  I wanted to be able to show my art but still hang out with my kids and my husband.  This is also the first step towards having Ardent in a permanent location. 

I am looking forward to a great 2012 and I hope you are too!

Best wishes,
Sarah McTernen

Friday, March 2, 2012

Finding Time

Finding time is exactly what I am not doing. I have taken a break from the 30 day challenge (obviously) and will start working on it again in a week or so.  Family is taking precedence right now.  I am also waiting for spring and sunshine because some of the subjects I put on the list will just not work in the dull light of these winter clouds. 

Best wishes,
Sarah McTernen