My name is Diana Elizabeth. I'm a photographer, writer, graphic designer and model who had memorable days reporting from the LA red carpet for E! Online. I love sharing my life as a creative professional and the things that I discover along the way - with camera in hand.

My husband and I live in a restored 1952 red brick home that sits on a former citrus grove in Phoenix. I love traveling, home improvement projects, sewing, and gardening. This is a glimpse into my life and work.

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Category Archives: For Photogs

I stared at the HTML coding and figured it out, just a few more coding here and there, and presto, the graphic I created was uploaded.  Little would I know the hobbies of a 15 year old would come in handy.  Then I started to think about all the other tidbits of hobbies of playing with design programs, enrolling in classes, small side projects I did as a teen that led me to where I am today – and also saves me money when I need to create.  In fact, I think knowing those things helps me jump into the next creative career.

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For Photogs

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I’m going to start a very slow series – slow as in – I’m not sure when the next tip is coming, haha!  But, I know this needs to be shared, and I want to help with your shooting and showcasing techniques that you might find helpful in attracting certain clients.

When I first entered weddings I started at $1,200 for 8 hours of coverage and that was made before I paid my second shooter Amy who has been by my side from day one!

I have loved every single one of my clients from the beginning of my career to now, but when I first began, my goal was to get better at my photography talents, continually learn, and to charge more.  My package is now at $6,000 and it’s taken a lot of workshops, marketing, equipment, hard work and money to get to where I am – that’s where the price increase is justified.

With that said, I know some of you want to increase sales, bookings, and perhaps reach a new clientele.  So today, let’s talk about the important shoe shot.

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Know your shoe designers

If you’re one of my 10 male readers, you should start watching the Style Network, pick up Vogue, or ask your girlfriends the names of labels.  Louboutin (not the same as Louis Vuitton even though it sounds close), Valentino, Jimmy Choo, Manolo, maybe you can turn on Sex and the City to hear what Carrie talks about – shoes!

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For Photogs

Ha – get it. It was 3:30 p.m. on a day when I needed to take pictures of some polish for a blog post.  I went around the house (because outside is too hot and I was also still in my pajamas – don’t judge me).

As I tried to find good lighting, I thought these shots would turn into a good blog post on lighting.

Backlighting

Let’s start with the obvious, go-to lighting type – backlighting.  While it’s definitely a good go-to way for portraits, this is just a terrible photo.  The background is blown out and while it might be the first thought of good photography, I’m going to be real – not all backlighting is good.  This is a perfect example.  Why backlight inside? In some cases it might be great but in this instance, I don’t think so.

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For Photogs

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If I had to choose my favorite portrait subject, I would say the expectant mamas!  There’s something so fun about that lovely bump, the glow and the excitement.  I don’t mind if it’s just the mom or the entire fam, if the husband is up for it, fantastic, if not, I’ve got a gorgeous girl to myself and we can go as long as she wants!

Here are some ideas for posing for maternity.

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For Photogs

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The trendy thing to do in Phoenix during the summer is not what you may think (stay indoors and do a get out of dodge trip) but rather – stay in town and do a staycation!  The rates at hotels are cheap, there are many spa discounts, and you can use someone else’s AC to cool off!  Out on newsstands now is PHOENIX magazine’s summer Staycation guide featuring the Valley’s best staycation offers.

Last month before I headed to France I shot at the Four Seasons in Scottsdale this lovely FORD model Daniela Lazar who stayed the night in her Jeep before our shoot!  She came in town from San Diego and forgot her house keys and was a trooper and slept in her car with the windows cracked – and she looked like this the next day.

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For Photogs, My Work

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Enjoy a sweet morning in a peach orchard at Schnepf Farms.

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For Photogs, My Work

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Almost two years ago, I was thisclose to quitting my photography career.  This would have been insane, I was doing pretty well, but I was overwhelmed.

I was losing my passion for photography and I thought, oh great, now what will I do if this is all over?

I realized the problem was – I was doing too much, and too much of the same stuff. I had done so much during my first year out of the entrepreneur gates – I was constantly booking, marketing, posting, and blogging. I rarely had a day where I wasn’t meeting a connection, shooting, or editing. I was religiously reading photography blogs, attending workshops every few months, growing, learning – as every serious photographer who wants to build a serious career out of photography does.

I worked weekends, worked late into the nights because I loved it, and then, and finally, it all caught up to me.   I was drained – emotionally and creatively.  I would almost cry when a shoot was approaching, and then I realized I was busy, but busy doing things that I was no longer passionate about, which in turn, made me feel like I was a hamster on a wheel going nowhere, and what I really wanted to be was a wild stallion able to run free and change direction just like the wind.

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This is what I had to do to save my sanity, mind, and photography career:

  • I stop shooting everyone who had a business for free.  Even though I wanted to help, and some were good causes, I had no time left to rest.
  • I stopped shooting in exchange for credit lines.  They don’t pay the bills, and I realized I didn’t need to expand my portfolio or make connections – connections come with publications who respect the time and talents of a professional.
  • I stopped reading photography magazines.  I threw them straight in the trash or gave them to budding photographer friends.  Reading them only made me feel like I was constantly behind.
  • I stopped (temporarily) following wedding blogs or other photographers just because I needed a breather to create on my own and not feel inadequate. (Read this essay for more: “Why I hate Wedding Photography”)
  • I also stopped reading business magazines, anything that made me feel like I was constantly running a race.  My mind wanted to explode.
  • I had to remind myself to stop comparing myself to others.
  • I redecorated my office.  I took down a lot of my work so I could lessen the pressure  I had on myself to constantly be doing photography. I wanted to enjoy it again without feeling the pressure that if I wasn’t doing it, I had to be thinking about it.
  • I started to make a list of what subjects I enjoyed photographing, and what I didn’t.  That included photographing babies, that went on the no list and I made a friend who does it well and I refer to her.
  • I taught up and coming photographers because seeing their excitement reminded myself why I fell in love with photography – it helped tremendously.
  • I stopped booking weddings.  I turned down a ton of inquiries, even those who had the sweetest emails. I passed along the referrals.  I still do weddings, but for six months, I said no.  I needed the break.
  • I now have many requirements before I agree to work a wedding.  This includes a first look and a wedding planner.  If I’m going to do a job, I want to make sure I enjoy it , it is structured, I am able to perform my best during that time, and the couple is a perfect fit.
  • I stopped writing for online photography sites.  I was overwhelmed with the weekly articles.  I stepped away and took a break.  Months later, I was approached by another site and I had enough rest to return to instructing.
  • I decided to stop shooting a specific subject and consider other areas – corporate, editorial, and so on.
  • I increased my pricing so I could shoot less frequently but still make the same amount.
  • I learned how to say no.
  • I learned that it’s OK to not have the same success as every one else.

I think it can be so easy to fall in love with something, want to do it for a career because of that saying that puts the pressure on the entrepreneur spirit – Do what you love.  Because, if you aren’t, that must mean you’re just plain miserable every day.

But if we’re not careful, taking on too much to do what we love can make us miserable.

By setting boundaries, limiting my bookings, and knowing that I didn’t need the so called opportunity for a credit line, I was able to free up time.  Time to rest, time to enjoy life, and the time I always wanted to have which is why I became a photographer in the first place.

That time has been long in the past, but it was a tough experience to over come, a sheer feeling of panic that if I wouldn’t be able to over come the feeling, my career was over.  Now crazy back in love with photography, you’ll only see me doing what really moves me.

Have you ever been overwhelmed by what you do, photography or not?  Did you ever get over it or did you quit?

Diana Elizabeth says it’s OK to change direction because life is always about discovering what the next thing that will challenge you.  Being burnt out is normal, it’s not failure and walking away from something that isn’t a fit any longer is better than staying and being miserable.  

For Photogs

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Remember last summer when I had a crazy empty office because I just felt like I needed to revamp myself for the new direction I was going in – blogging.  Here’s what my office used to look like.   It was still great.  I then showed an update last fall here.

But I got a new vintage hand-painted dresser from England so I had to do an update post.  And I also learned you should take interior shots with all natural light.

Oh dear, time to redo every shot of my house this summer.  So here we start with the office.

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My watercolor illustration was created by the fabulous Inslee.  I love her talents!

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I put a Pottery Barn curtain rod up, and bought curtains from Target.  To be honest, I’m still not sure about the curtains and it’s been over a year.  I’m still looking for something else, but it’s at the bottom of my list.

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My wonderful Ricki stained this piece for me.  So much of my organization and domestic abilities are attributed to Ricki pouring into me and encouraging me.

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The desk was my dad’s.  It had old yucky wood laminate on the top and I bought a stainless steel top that had adhesive on the back I found years ago from watching an HGTV show.  Don’t forget to buy the trimmer, you can’t do without it.

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Life is about the relationships you make.  Just a few favorite shots and people, more are on my corkboard that I see everyday.  I miss my Yun Yun so much (she’s in the white frame).

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As always, any questions just ask.  If you’ve done a post sharing your space please share!

Farm house dining table: Ballard Designs / White desk: Vintage, Dad’s / Bird chandelier: The French Bee / Hand painted English dresser: Antique Gatherings / White chairs with blue damask fabric: Restoration Plantation / Jute rug: Pottery Barn / Bulletin board: DIY Staples board covered in white duck cloth and upholstery nails / Key hole door knobs on closet and wall knobs: Anthropologie / Cubby Organizer: Pottery Barn / French door installation contractor: Steven D Chochran, Inc. / Handyman and Painter: Dennis of Lowan Handyman Services, LLC / Curtain Rod and clips: Pottery Barn / Curtains: Target / Ladder shelf: Sweet Salvage, refinished by Ricki / Clock:Magpie Lovely / Vintage architecture frame: Scottsdale Marketplace / Modern gold clip lamp: Land of Nod / Pink greek key chairs, chair sketch reproduction prints + blue ottoman: One Kings Lane – Sign up today on OKL for a $15 credit for purchases of $30 or more.  / LOVE sign: Made by Girl / Pillows: Target (diamond), Pottery Barn (dog), Ballard Designs (custom initial) / White laser cut magazine holders: The Container Store

Equipment used: Canon 5D Mark III / 35mm f/1.4 L / Wireless Shutter Release Remote / Manfrotto 190XProB Pro Tripod / Manfrotto Ball Head with Quick Release

Diana Elizabeth is done decorating, but she isn’t sure how to style her corkboard, so that’s on the to-do summer list.

For Photogs, Home

photo1 Super Deluxe strap by Sarah Frances Kuhn on Sony NEX / Top: Anthropologie (old)

I am getting ready to take off to the South of France for a 12-day trip this weekend!  I never knew what blogging would bring but I am so grateful – to travel the world, that’s what makes me feel giddy like a child!

I’m just about packed.

If someone invites you on a trip overseas, even if it’s a destination wedding, you do not turn it down.  It may be your only opportunity or excuse you’d ever have to go and explore the world.

There are many trips I regret passing up – Japan and China with my mom and brother, I won’t even tell you what I did that summer but choosing to stay in Tucson (even for an internship) is pathetic.  I also bailed on a Spain trip, but hopefully that will be rescheduled in the near future.  Then there was that time when my best guy friend from college got married in Capri, Italy.  We couldn’t make it and I am kicking myself!

So when it came to this France trip, I would cancel everything to go, this is a once in a lifetime all expenses paid opportunity.  Some things in life you can postpone or redo, but not a trip like this!  Here’s what I’ve packed…

Travel accessories

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Packing the international convertor in my London Fog Hardside Spinner, four wheels are better than two I have learned.  I’ve had a passport since I was a baby, my mom took me to Taiwan to see her family and I’ve just always had to have an updated one for sporadic international trips – I’m not keen on my latest photo but I’m happy to have this passport cover (mine is turquoise), a gift from Fawn who I traveled to London and Paris with years ago.  My camera equipment will be in this padded ONA bag in my carry on bag, the Cuyana long tote.

Equipment + Backup Chargers

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See this post for product links

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I’m bringing this Poweradd Pilot X1 5200mAh Portable Charger Backup, $13.99 that will recharge my devices, up to 3x for my iPhone, and also my other photo devices. I’m bringing a total of 3 photo devices – (1) the Sony Qx10, (2) Sony NEX 5-R, (3) my Canon Powershot S100.  This should mean that I am covered to capture all that I see, and if something loses juice, I can charge it while using my backup photo capture device.  I also take several SD cards with me, the largest being 64MB. I shoot in JPG format and I can still do light edits if necessary before I print an album.

Extra fun things

A new journal from TJ Maxx to document the adventure, and a photo printer.  Yup.

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Last summer when I explored Ireland, Melayne brought her Polaroid Z2300.  I paid an extra $20 to get the color blue, so worth it, right?  At the end of each day, we’d pick a few favorite photos taken with my “better camera” insert the SD card into the printer and print a few, throw it in journal pages and write some observations.  Daily I emailed family, hubby and a few best friends at the closing of each day in Ireland and London just to let them know what I explored, where I was and attached photos, but in these journal pages – I wrote other things.

Like, The guy named Conell who took our photo at the rope bridge looked like a young Ryan Gosling.  Fun tidbits, reminders to connect photos with thoughts and when I could sit down and write a post, I’d have several notes, the emails printed out, and the journal.  I can’t wait to do it again.

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You can also take photos (10MP size) and video with the Polaroid, there’s an internal 32MB of internal space and 4GB of external space you can add an SD card for more memory.

The Purses/Bags

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The two bags I will be taking with me are the Eaton Shoulder Bag in Printed Haircalf and Kensington Satchel in black, both by Madewell.  Both will fit all of my equipment in it perfectly and both have cross body straps – a necessity for a travel purse in my opinion.  I will also not be taking my designer wallet and instead will use a clutch similar to this (mine is leopard and no longer available) but this in ticking stripe is the same concept.  It will double as a clutch for dinner on the river cruise.

Posts will be scheduled to go up while I am gone, and I may check in so stay tuned.  Au revoir!

Diana Elizabeth doesn’t speak a lick of French so she hopes they will be graceful to her.  She remembers the food in Paris was divine so she is pretty sure the food will be amazing everywhere else!

For Photogs, Style, Travel

Summer has officially begun!  Any fun summer trips ahead?

How about a few fun and affordable things you can do to upgrade your equipment for your summer trips under $100 – you don’t have to overhaul it and buy a completely new X, Y, and Z, just see!

#1 Add Wi-Fi to your camera 

Most new cameras, including a few DSLRs and mirrorless cameras (my buddy the Sony NEX included), have wi-fi enable features.  But what if your camera doesn’t have that feature – including your $3500 Canon 5D Mark III body that really should have like, everything?  No worries. No need to buy the latest camera or pay extra for those who had wi-fi envy.  You can now make any camera, have wi-fi with a card!

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Eye-Fi Mobi SD card 8GB for $44, 16GB for $70, and 32GB for $85.  This is good because I don’t want to break up with my Canon Powershot S100 which is the loveliest point and shoot.

Open up an App, enter the password and you can get a copy on your phone.

#2 Turn any bag into a camera bag

Ask for my opinion on camera/purse bags and I’ll just tell you they’re all ugly and to buy a Louis Vuitton and make it a camera bag – I would give you the same response in regards to diaper bags.  I use the ONA Camera Insert to carry my Sony NEX and all four lenses in any bag.

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ONA Camera Insert, $69

#3 Take your own Selfies, but without your arm in the way

Selfies get so much of your head and no enough of the scenery.  I know, that’s the purpose of a selfie, but maybe, just maybe you’re going somewhere cool and you want more of the scenery.  You know when you give a stranger your camera and you get it back and you’re like, Oh great, a blind monkey could’ve done better?

Try this compact travel tripod, this one is coming with me to France next week.

51sCEhmmjfL._SL1500_ Aluminum travel tripod, $20

Note, this is NOT for DSLRs, this would be for a point and shoot, something lightweight, even a mirrorless camera and you would need a remote release.  Do not email me complaining if your DSLR goes tumbling down the hill on this – had to say it, you know there’s always one.

Happy vacay shooting!

Diana Elizabeth will be sharing all the travel equipment she’ll be taking with her next Wednesday, she bought something you might be surprised about, it’s very old school, turned new school.

For Photogs

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