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Monthly Archives: June 2014

Behind the Lens: Tim Fleenor Edition

Introducing a new series: Behind the Lens — interviews with some of my favorite photographers.  My hopes with this series is to inspire and motivate myself and anybody who happens to also find this blog interesting (soooo, my mom.  Hey mom!).

When we were pregnant with Effy, I knew I wanted to have someone take professional-quality pictures of her after she was born.  We hadn’t lived in our area very long, and I didn’t have a “go-to” photographer.  I happened upon who has now become one of my most favorite people, Tim Fleenor.  Tim has seen us through multiple babies and multiple homes.  He laughs at our inappropriate jokes and frequently quotes The Three Amigos.  He’s ginormously tall and incredibly patient with my tiny people (and with me too).

photo 2

Sweet Hans & I

Enjoy this Behind the Lens: Tim Fleenor Edition

First of all, tell us a little about yourself. Who the heck are you? What up! I am Tim Fleenor, I am a full time Photographer based in the KC area. I have been married for 6 years and have 2 awesome dogs.


How long have you been a shutterbug and what got you interested in photography? I have taken pictures as long as I can remember. I was in the photo club in High School and bought my first DSLR in College just as a hobby.

How would you describe your style as a photographer? My Style?? I hate this question. I like to describe styles based on region of the US. I would consider myself more of a West Coast style…more Northwest. I like shadows, and texture…I guess I would use the word edgy?


What is your education background? Have you taken formal photography classes? Nada, just photo club in HS. I actually went to college for IT and hated it.

Your portfolio is pretty diverse, from kids and families, to weddings, to commercial work as well. Do you have a favorite subject to photograph? Why is it your favorite?  Most photographers hate weddings because of the stress, but they are my favorite. There is usually no happier time for someone than on their wedding day. Taking photos of pretty people in love is awesome. I also love commercial work, mostly because that is when I get to do fun stuff and be a little artistic.


What is your biggest source of inspiration? How do you find inspiration if you’re in a creative rut?  I love looking at other artist and photographers work. Just looking at what they do pushes me to try different things.

What is your favorite lens in your camera bag and what do you love about it?  I actually hate to say this, but my favorite is probably my 24-70 2.8. Most photographers think of this lens as a cheat lens, but that’s why I love it. It kind of works for everything. It’s on my body most of the time.

photo 1

Vintage Effy <3

I’m trying to educate myself on different lens types. Why do you say that many photographers consider the 24-70 2.8 a “cheat” lens? Because it’s so versatile, you really don’t need to think outside the box. Using a fixed lens like a 24, or 35 or 50mm will make you think of different ways to shoot different shots. You could do the same with a 24-70, but its just easier to give in to the easier shot.

What is your favorite photography accessory, besides your camera/lenses?  This year I have really been playing around with off camera lighting. I have a simple studio setup with 1 alien bee 800 and a beauty dish. I love to play around with that.

[Note from Michelle: Oh yeah, beauty dish.  I totally know what that is.  {Please note internet sarcasm}.  Oh....THIS is a beauty dish.  Seems straight forward enough!]


Do you plan on buying any new equipment in the near future, and if so, what have you been eying? YES! I have 2 lenses that I am going to try to purchase this year.  A Nikon 70-200 2.8 and a Nikon 35 1.4.

What piece of advice would you give to a novice photographer, hoping to improve their camera skillz?  Just keep at it. I have been doing it full time for 3 years and I still feel like I am learning stuff everyday! Also, get in a group of photographers. There is no better way to learn than being around people who have been doing it for years. Practice, Practice, PRACTICE!!!


Thank you, Tim!

To keep up with Tim, check out his website, like him on Facebook, or follow him on Instagram (@timfleenorphoto)!

If you or someone you know is interested in being featured on the Behind the Lens series, please email me at



Baby’s First Birthday, Part II

Last week I shared a peak at Hans’ first birthday party inspired by his baby quilt.  There were a few pictures I still wanted to share, so I’m back!  I know you’ve been waiting with great anticipation to hear about the rest of his party.  You were thinking: “Michelle!  I saw part I, but what about the decorations?!  Also, you did not address cake smashing!  Did Hans, in fact, smash a cake?!  I MUST KNOW!!”  Please, please, calm down.  I am here to help.

While we decorated and got food ready, Effy waited for her little friends with great anticipation.

Effy Waiting

Now for some more party details!

Photo Party Decor Label

If Hans had shown a huge preference to a particular toy or activity, perhaps we would have had a theme like that for his party.  But, he just generally likes milk and his sister, so I decided to just have Hans-centric decor all around!  I didn’t want to spend too much money buying pictures frames, so I aimed to find different mediums that pictures could be printed on and stand by themselves that weren’t super expensive.  I loaded up a bunch of my favorite Hans pictures on a flash drive and went into Wolfe’s.  I do a lot of stuff on their website from the comfort of my couch, but I decided it would be helpful to bounce some ideas off their crew in the photofinishing & home decor department.  They suggested some curved metal & gallery block prints and they were perfect and not expensive.  I had them print 5×7′s so they could easily be put on end tables and the like.

Metal and Gallery Block Collage

One thing I especially love about the gallery block prints is that they have little notches in the back that means you could easily hang them on the wall.  They weigh next to nothing so you wouldn’t have to use an anchor or find a stud or anything.  My kinda home decor!

I loved the detail and crispness that you could see in the small curved metals, so I decided to also do a stacked metal print to set out in the kitchen.  You can see all the pre-made background designs that are available to choose from.  They’ll also do a custom background for you and I (of course) had them use the baby quilt graphic seen throughout his party.

Stacked Metal

To sit out and about, I made a custom photobook for Hans.  I tend to get really ‘type A’ when I’m creating stuff like this (shocker).  I started by saying “autofill my pictures”, so the software just randomly placed pictures in a book.  I think for many people, this would be a-okay and definitely very fast.  I decided to start over and pick where each picture went.  It surprisingly only took me 30 minutes, which is still significantly less time than if I had printed each picture and then attached it into a traditional photo album.  Plus, now I can package this sweet little book of Hans’ first year away for him, which is awesome!  [I feel like I need to start a tangent right now on my struggle with printing vs not printing pictures, but I'm just going to add that topic to my ideas of stuff to write about.]


The last area I wanted to decorate was around our fireplace.  The mantle was just calling out for some Hans-inspired goodies.  I have always loved the look of canvas wrapped prints, but never ordered them!  This was the perfect excuse.  I ordered two (I wish I could take photo credits for those pictures of Hans printed on canvas, but I must give credit to my friend Tim).  I also had the quilt graphic printed on Wolfe’s linen photo paper and bought a pre-done craft paper pennant banner at Hobby Lobby (similar to this one) and combined the two for a super simple but custom looking banner!  When I stop being lazy and get my act together, I intend to hang the banner up in his nursery.

Banner prep...

Banner prep…

Fireplace Decor


Tiny baby shoes displayed on the mantle.

And like any 1st birthday party, we provided our child with a cake to smash.  Scott made Effy’s 1st birthday cake and he made Hans’ too — a lemon cake with whipped frosting.  SO delicious.  His smashing experience was completed with a custom printed bib.

Birthday Cake


Hans insisted on holding this measuring spoon during the entire process.  That sweet squishy hand just kills me.

Cake Smash

Happy 1st birthday, sweet Hans!  We love you beyond measure.



Happy Father’s Day

Happy Father’s Day to my dad, the best grandpa my children could ask for.

Thank you for showing me patience, open-mindedness,

and how moving your mouth around a lot when you burp can make it sound even grosser.

I love love love you.