Me and my girls

February 3, 2011 |  Category:   life press

This photo might be my favorite of me and the girls. You may have seen it on Apartment Therapy’s OhDeeDoh yesterday (oh hi, new readers) and you may see it again in another yet to be published interview. We took them last Fall specifically for these features because, well, there just aren’t that many of me and the girls. Sometimes it takes 50 shots before you get one that captures that special something and I think this one nailed it (you can see a few outtakes below). Mia’s expression is so perfect – it’s so her, and I love Claudine’s dreamy face looking out the window.

So with me usually behind the camera, it’s up to Mark to take these rare photos of us. It’s not that he can’t take a good photo, but sometimes I’ll hand over the camera, we’ll take some pictures, I’ll go through the shots and…they’re all blurry. Or blown out. “How are they all so blurry?”, I say, “It’s autofocus!”. So there’s usually a lot of post production Photoshop work when Mark takes a picture, but whatever. Sometimes it not about perfect lighting or the perfect exposure or the sharpness of a photo. The most compelling photos are ones that make you feel something and when I look at that photo I just want to go give bear hugs to those girls. And maybe pinch those cheeks.

Speaking of photos and image quality, I’ve been agonizing and going back and forth about upgrading my camera to a better, but more expensive model for the past couple of months (and getting another lens too). I started taking better pictures when I bought this camera, my first DSLR, but now that I’ve been shooting with it for 2 years, I see the limitations and it’s been frustrating. I haven’t been able to pull the trigger though. I’m not a pro photographer and it’s hard to justify spending that much money on a camera (but write offs! I need tax write offs for 2011!! But OMG, it’s soooo expensive) We’ll see. Mark is the enabler of the family, however, and he’ll tell me to buy just about anything even though he doesn’t spend any money himself (seriously, dude does not buy anything at all). I’m sort of split on the money spending. I can horde money and be afraid to spend it (because see? Our health insurance premiums!), but I can definitely spend (damn you, those stupid JCrew 30% off sale emails that land in my inbox).

But I have to say, I do like Mark’s philosophy: “Sometimes people should buy the things they want, not just the things they need”.

um. ok.

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  • Eva February 3, 2011 at 2:29 am

    You all look so lovely!

    You can try selling your old camera body online; it should fetch a few hundreds and then you can upgrade (:

  • Lisa February 3, 2011 at 2:35 am

    Beautiful photos. Beautiful family. Perfect philosophy. x

  • Amanda @ willfuljoyful February 3, 2011 at 2:38 am

    My husband is just like Mark! It leaves me putting the brakes on any nonessential spending because I can’t decide what’s reasonable if he’ll just let me go crazy. I don’t want him to say I can’t buy something (oh hell no!) but I would like to have a more rational discussion on the pros and cons rather than “You never buy anything. Go for it!”

    I’ve always felt guilt over spending money on myself and now that I’m a mother it’s even worse. I can’t even bring myself to spend birthday and christmas money on things other than bills and groceries. The last time I waffled back and forth over something I wanted for so long, he just went out and bought it for me himself. I have to say that randomly receiving a MacBook Pro as a present from my husband was way more fun than buying it for myself.

  • Willow February 3, 2011 at 5:01 am

    That picture is beautiful. Such a sweet combination of emotions on your faces.

  • Caddy February 3, 2011 at 5:22 am

    Adorable photos!

    I so agree with Mark’s philosophy! Buying things you want can be good for your soul.

  • Vonnie February 3, 2011 at 5:29 am

    I haven’t caught up with you guys in a while but it’s lovely to see you looking so healthy & happy. Such a beautiful family!

  • gail February 3, 2011 at 5:39 am

    Jenna, in these photos you are the most beautiful of the girls!

  • Esther (Oefshop) February 3, 2011 at 5:40 am

    You’re right about the photos !! It is so beautiful when you can see emotions through a photo !!

    Anyway, I love those photos of you and your girls, you 3 are so beautiful πŸ™‚

  • Jess (Where My Heart Is) February 3, 2011 at 6:34 am

    Wonderful photos – it is so nice to see you with your beautiful girls.

  • Kristi Estes February 3, 2011 at 6:37 am

    i love all of these photos. go get that camera girl.

  • joslyn February 3, 2011 at 7:02 am

    these are magical…and yes, get the new camera (i’m a total enabler, sorry πŸ˜‰

  • mary katharine February 3, 2011 at 7:21 am

    I think cameras are worth the money. Bottom line.

    I have a nice one, that I absolutely do not deserve and did not request. My husband bought me a D-40 when months went by without me taking photos because my little mini digital had long outlived it’s year life span. He is in the Army and is gone more than a little and he wanted some photos of our girls! Unfortunately, while at a soccer game on Saturday an unexpected monsoon came upon us and the camera was drenched and slowly stopped working. My husband had bought the camera at a closeout store, so got a really good deal on it. It actually was going to cost more than he spent, so he looked into it and purchased me a D-90 … his logic, it has video capability and therefore you won’t have to carry the camcorder and the camera. Good point. BUT I think I stopped breathing when I opened my unrequested, very expensive gift. He refused to return it. I didn’t use it for a month. Finally when I stopped being scared of the price tag, I took it out and gave it a whirl. And in an instant … LOVE. I’m not a professional, and I’ve sadly not read my manual, so I’m not fully getting the most from this camera, however, it is my up when nothing else is. It takes beautiful images and I will never regret capturing the moments that I have, the way that I have through it’s lens. You cannot put a dollar amount on life and I think while expensive, it is not inflated and definitely not a regretful purchase.

    Oh, and I’m completely with you on the JCrew emails!! Such temptation is such a test to resist!

  • Emma February 3, 2011 at 7:24 am

    I’ve just started using my DSLR, from a canon powershot S1 IS I purchased 6 years ago and can see how you get to a point where there’s definite limitations. I always think with anything creative, you should spend the money if you can! It’s not like you’re buying some massive TV or something … creativity is important.

    Those photos are such good value!! I love the first one, it’s the best composition I guess, but that second one just cracked me up.

  • monica of hola!design February 3, 2011 at 8:17 am

    yes i love mia’s expression on the first one! great pictures.
    I love mark’s philosophy….go ahead and buy it!

  • Susan February 3, 2011 at 9:16 am

    Beautiful capture…that’s a framer! I am not a photographer by any means, so the Nikon D5000 we bought is just perfect for me. Enough auto settings for an amateur, but great manual settings for when I want to feel like a pro. Emphasis on the word FEEL.

  • Brandy February 3, 2011 at 9:45 am

    You don’t need to be a professional photographer to justify a pro body. When you outgrow a camera it’s logical to upgrade. You won’t learn if you have reached the limit of your gear.

  • jodi February 3, 2011 at 9:57 am

    these are all so beautiful. i really love the first one.

    i, too, am really wanting an upgrade. it’s just so darn expensive!

  • tina February 3, 2011 at 10:15 am

    I have to tell you I love your blog. It’s my favorite. You mentioned about your blog being wordy but I love wordy blogs. The ones with pics, you just go through it in a flash but the ones where you can read and relate are the best. Beautiful pics, btw.

  • Cynthia February 3, 2011 at 10:23 am

    Hummmm….my fuzzy logic would rationalize you are going to save heaps of money by renegotiating your health insurance thereby justifying a business expense/tax write-off for business…plus, we all get to benefit by your new camera with all your lovely photos! Hope you get what you need/want πŸ™‚

  • elainegan February 3, 2011 at 10:29 am

    Gorgeous! Love the warm smiles on their faces πŸ™‚

  • Michele February 3, 2011 at 10:35 am

    Beautiful photos!! I especially love the second one ~ relaxed, intimate and fun.

  • Dana February 3, 2011 at 10:36 am

    Great photos!!!
    And hey, you ARE a proffesional photographer: itΒ΄s not about classes you may have taken or jobs you may have had. You just are. Your photos speak for themselves.

  • diamondkelt February 3, 2011 at 10:53 am

    I shoot with a Nikon 40D and my hubby shoots with a Canon D40. I love them both. My Nikon is just right for my skill set and let’s me putz around with it all I want. Chris’ Canon has more bells and whistles. Sometimes camera shops will let you rent out a camera to try, but I don’t know how it is up in NYC.

    If you already have lenses for your Canon stick with the Canon brand just for the investment you’ve got in it already πŸ™‚

    Best online shop: B&H Photography
    They have great reviews and everything imaginable for photography.

  • diamondkelt February 3, 2011 at 10:54 am

    Here’s a linky to B&H:

  • Annie February 3, 2011 at 10:55 am

    LOVELY !!!
    You all look beautiful, happy and relaxed.

    I like Marks beliefs.
    You WORK hard and deserve to buy things.
    I also see the camera as a Business expense.

    If anything sell the old one and put what ever you get towards the new one… may be there is a website you can “swap” cameras???

  • Jenna February 3, 2011 at 10:57 am

    Dayum, you guys are enablers. Thanks @diamondkelt. I know what I want (actually, now debating over 2 different canon models). Just haven’t pulled the trigger yet on the purchase!

  • Cynthia February 3, 2011 at 11:36 am

    Hi – I found my way here via the ohdeedoh article and am totally in awe of your blog and photos. Love the humor in the outtakes but the expression captured in your #1 pick speaks volumes. Mark sounds so much like my hubby … camera-challenged, generous beyond belief when it comes to my photography hobby, loves to cook. I’ve had my dSLR for about 6 hrs now and also find it hard justifying upgrading since I’m not a pro and also a SAHM to boot. I think you have way more of a legitimate (business) reason for investing in photography equipment than I do. Although, if you find yourself choosing btwn a nice lens vs a new camera, I would personally try upgrading the lens first. A great lens does wonders and, as long as you upgrade to a Canon dslr in the future, you’ll always have it. I’m sure you can easily find a place that rents out lenses for you to try in NYC. Your photos will always look awesome to me no matter what camera equipment you use because you have an eye for capturing emotion even when you’re shooting food. Upgrading will only kick it up to another level of awesomeness. Good luck.

  • Cynthia February 3, 2011 at 11:37 am

    Stupid auto correct. I’ve had my camera 6 years not hrs.

  • Anna February 3, 2011 at 11:45 am

    Hi Jenna, I think it’s well worth the money to splurge on something that you use so often and captures so much memories for the family! I recently upgraded my camera to a Canon 7D, it’s not top of the line but I highly recommend it!


  • Kate February 3, 2011 at 12:22 pm

    Oh, I love the photos!!..and the light is simply amazing..

  • rebecca February 3, 2011 at 1:25 pm

    fab interview, jenna. and thanks for the web design advice. i appreciate it.

  • helen February 3, 2011 at 1:45 pm

    I have the same problem right now, regarding camera. I have a Canon G9 that I’ve been using for the past 4 years. I like it a lot because it’s not a big as DSLR so I actually carry it with me. But sometimes it just can’t produce the quality of image I want. I’m not sure if I should spend the money on a DSLR (and the lenses that will cost even more following that) also I’m not sure if I’ll use it as much because of the increase in weight and size. My husband is the same way, so it doesn’t help πŸ˜›

    But in your case, if you want, you should upgrade, since you are already in the land of DSLR and your photos are simply awesome! I say go for it! πŸ™‚

  • j February 3, 2011 at 2:00 pm

    you and your girls are beautiful. get yourself that camera for valentine’s day!

  • Stephanie February 3, 2011 at 2:16 pm

    Absolutely darling. Perfectly captures such a loving and beautiful relationship between a mother and her two daughters. πŸ™‚

  • nicole @ deliajude February 3, 2011 at 2:18 pm

    That photo is sweet and full of love.

  • Renee Alam February 3, 2011 at 2:28 pm

    Such a beautiful photo…it looks so natural and not staged..I love it!It’s perfect! I hate when my husband takes our pictures b/c it’s like he takes forever and by the time he finally takes the photo we all have our eyes rolling or walking away. πŸ˜‰ You’re such a beautiful mom with beautiful daughters!I can see why you chose that photo for the interview.I also love how the colors of all of your dresses go together.I think Mia could be your husband’s twin sister…she looks just like him.

  • Kate February 3, 2011 at 2:36 pm

    Go for it. I upgraded my Canon Rebel XTi this summer to a 7D and haven’t looked back! I’m a semi-pro (on the lower scale of that category, though, definitely) on-the-side photographer and have noticed a huge difference, even without the full-frame sensor. Super solid build that feels good in your hands, and the image quality is fantastic. I mostly shoot with a 50mm f/1.4 and a 17-40mm L-series. Great stuff. Enjoy!

  • kate February 3, 2011 at 2:59 pm

    Serious envy over Mia’s dress!

  • Annie From Seattle February 3, 2011 at 3:27 pm

    I’m with Mark. PS For even more fun with your new camera, consider the awesome Seattle company Black Rapid’s strap. Looks funky but quick on the draw, easy on the back, and leaves hands free for Parisian pastries or what have you.

  • Annie From Seattle February 3, 2011 at 3:36 pm

    Black Rapid site:
    (Seriously Jenna…I can’t oversell this thing. I’ve had mine about a year and I don’t know how I got around on trips without it).
    Can’t WAIT to see all the awesome pics from you plus new camera. Fun!

  • PJ February 3, 2011 at 3:53 pm

    That top photo is absolutely perfect. For a while my husband and I shared our Canon Rebel XTi, but while he was deployed, I really learned how to use it, and now I don’t like to share – which means I’m never in any pictures! I have my eye on a $1,200 lens fixed aperture lens right now, but there is absolutely no way I can justify spending that much. Which is a bummer, really!

  • Ana February 3, 2011 at 3:57 pm

    Those photos are precious. You 3 look stunning!

  • ebony February 3, 2011 at 5:09 pm

    hello Jenna,

    i’ve been reading your blog religiously for the past four months but this is the first time i’ve left a comment! i just wanted to tell you that i really enjoy your posts and your photographs, they are very beautiful. i really love the photos in this post, particularly the second one, you all look so happy! all the best,


  • lilcg February 3, 2011 at 6:09 pm

    great pictures. mia looks like I always pictured ramona (only much better dressed!)

  • sarah February 3, 2011 at 6:38 pm

    those are seriously adorable pictures. i love them & i know you’ve blogged about not taking pictures of yourself much, but you are quite photogenic!
    what camera are you shooting right now and what are you thinking of switching too? we just upgraded ours last month from an older canon 20d to the new 7d. the improvement in the picture quality we are getting even using the same couple of lenses is quite impressive. I was very pleasantly surprised!

  • Jenna February 3, 2011 at 6:44 pm

    I’m glad to hear the good reviews about the 7D. I’m deciding between that and the 5dMark II, which is just insanely expensive. You know, I can go back and forth and be undecided for months. We’ll see!

  • Em February 3, 2011 at 6:57 pm

    Gorgeous pictures of you and your beautiful girls. I agree with the comments regarding a new camera. Really enjoy your phtotography on the blog – go for it!

  • emmy February 3, 2011 at 8:13 pm

    Gorgeous girls!!!!!

  • erika February 4, 2011 at 6:19 am

    These are great, Love the overall look and expresions!
    The dress Mia is wearing is great, so colourful and stylish!

  • jaimerugh February 4, 2011 at 8:43 am

    i love these pictures.

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