Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Spontaneous Madrid Trip Sneak Peak


Those of you who follow me on instagram may already know that earlier this month, I made...well, just about the most spontaneous decision I've ever made. I bought a ticket on Thursday, packed my bag, and left at 6 AM on Friday for MADRID! This turned into a three week adventure through Spain and Germany. Having now returned from a huge trip that I hadn't really prepared for, I am drowning in work and trying to get back on my feet!

In the mean time, here's a sneak peak of beautiful Madrid:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Hot Summer Nights

| Dress: Cynthia Rowley | Belt: Target | Sweater: H&M | Shoes: Ralf Lauren |  

The temperatures have been skyrocketing lately, so much so that I've succumbed to the energy-suck that is the air conditioner. Maxi dresses have become my daily uniform. This particular maxi was worn on a Friday date night to Flat Bread Neapolitan Pizza and the movies.

It's baffling for me to think that only just months ago I was bundling up like a marshmallow just to go take out the trash. Don't you remember way back when, when time seemed to move so slowly, it was almost like things were standing still?

And now it's July. JULY! I'm afraid I'll blink and it will be Christmas. 

Sunday, June 29, 2014

Bedroom Makeover

All items above from Urbanara. 

Recently, I've been dreaming of bedroom makeovers. You see, we moved in to our cute little apartment almost a year ago.  The rent is cheap, there are big windows, cute historical details, and hardwood floors (albeit the floors are pretty destroyed.)   And while I decorated our work space, hung up artwork in the living room and arranged the books on the bookshelf in that hard to achieve practical-but-also-artful way, I never did anything to the bedroom.

I suppose the motivation isn't nearly as great to invest time and money into a private space, since the only people that would really see it would be myself and my husband.

Well, I woke up the other day in our mess of a bedroom - still no headboard, no matching duvet covers, no headboard, no bedskirt, and not a stitch of decor on the walls and decided things had to change.  I want the bedroom of our place to be a place we can relax and feel good in. At the moment, I only feel stressed out by the mess created by lack of storage. 
So! The shopping begins. In addition to all of the bed essentials, I'm on the hunt for a rug, some beautiful new curtains, and a fabulous light fixture to hang above the bed.  I've already found some great options! I'm currently in love with the UK site Urbanara (which now ships worldwide!) and am also pulling lots of inspiration from my pinterest boards 

What are your thoughts on bedroom makeovers? Do you tackle them first or push them to the bottom of the priority list like I do?  Where do you find your inspiration? Where do you shop? Let's talk - I could use all the help I can get!

Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Why Don't Americans Care About Soccer?

Most of you know that I have a German husband. Said German husband is, along with the rest of Germany/Europe/Earth, very much obsessed with Soccer.  With the start of the world cup he now spends every free moment he has checking the scores, and we exchange multiple texts a day regarding the outcome of various matches.

Just putting it out there: I am not a sports fan. I do enjoy watching soccer, but I have to credit that mostly to having spent 2.5+ years living in a country that LOVED watching soccer (In German, we call it Fussball) and went absolutely bananas during the world cup.  Before moving to Germany, I didn't care about soccer at all.

But why is that?

Why is it that in the USA, soccer is largely considered a sport for kids to play and eventually outgrow?  It doesn't really bother me that it's that way....I'm just genuinely curious.

Because everywhere else in the world, Soccer/futbol/fussball is a BIG deal. The world cup is the most watched sporting event in the history of the ever!  People should be into that, right? But, no.  I could easily list five cups way more important to Americans than the world cup: 

1. The Stanley Cup
2. Reese's peanut butter cups
3. 7/11 Big Gulp cups
4. Those red cups they hand out at frat parties
5. Cup o' noodles

So I guess I just what to throw the question out into the world: what is with America's apathy towards soccer? Why don't we care about it like every other country on earth does?

I know this post doesn't really have any conclusion, but I definitely find it interesting! What's your take on the world cup and Soccer in general?

Monday, June 23, 2014

My Favorite Wedding/Portrait Camera Lenses

I think most photographers would agree that, when it comes to equipment, using quality lenses is key. Having an amazing camera body is awesome, but in my opinion it's much better to shoot on a cheap camera with a great lens then a great camera with a cheap lens.   I shoot on canon cameras so I'll be listing canon lenses here, but if you're a Nikon shooter it's pretty easy to find the Nikon equivalents to the lenses listed below.

Want to upgrade from your kit lens? 

If you're a newer photographer looking to trade in your kit lens (18-55mm is standard,) my first recommendation would absolutely be the 50mm f/1.8.  

Known as the "thrifty fifty," this lens is, in my opinion, still the best value you can find on the market right now. It's made with plastic and inexpensive glass, but being able to go down to a 1.8 aperture (though I would stick to 2.2 and above if you want a really sharp focus) will give you the shallow depth of field - read: those fab "blurry" backgrounds - that make images look soft and romantic.

The low aperture also makes this lens ideal for low light situations.

Those looking for higher quality glass can upgrade to the 50mm f/1.4 for an extra few hundred dollars, though I'll be honest and say that I've experienced focusing issues with the 1.4 and actually prefer the 1.8.

Cost:  $110 on Amazon

What's the best "all around" lens for wedding and portrait photography? 

When someone tells me they're looking to invest in a lens that will be super versatile for them, I will always point them to the Canon 24-70 f 2.8. I say invest because this lens is not cheap. 

It's sharp, fast, and when you have your aperature opened between 2.8 - 4 you're going to get shallow depth of field for really romantic looking photos. This is the lens I use to photograph most ceremonies, because being able to go from 24mm (very wide angle) to 70mm (telephoto, close up portraits) means less moving around and disturbing the moment.

If versatility is more important to you than wide apertures, you might want to check out the Canon 24-105 f/4. This allows you an even longer zoom and is much cheaper than the 24-70.

Cost: $2,299 on Amazon.

What lenses do I use? 

Other than the 24-70, I have two prime lenses I switch off of frequently when shooting weddings and portraits. I LOVE the look of prime lenses (prime means the focal length is set and you can't zoom) and almost always prefer them to zooming lenses.

The 35mm f/1.4 is my go to lens during most portrait/engagement sessions. It's made with "L" glass (that means the good stuff.) The 35mm focal length, at least for me, is that perfect sweet spot where you can get amazing wide angle shots or move in for beautiful portraits with minimal distortion.

Shooting on a prime lens means you have to be your own zoom. You have to run back, forward and back again to get the different shots you want. If you want a portrait, you have to get right up in the subject's face. I LOVE that.  It lets me create a stronger connection with my clients which I think shows through in the pictures.

Those wanting a cheaper option would also be satisfied with the Canon 35mm f/2.

Cost: $1479 on Amazon. 

My new all-time-favorite lens for portraits is the 85mm f/1.8. This lens is SHARP, which means you can have your aperture wide open at f/1.8 or f/2 and still have a really sharp focus. Love that!  The photos I take with it are bright and contrast-y which means less editing in post.

The absolute best thing about this lens, however, is the PRICE!  It is cheap as far as lenses go and gives you an awesome bang for your buck.

Cost: $379 on Amazon

I hope this helps a few of you out with your hunt for lenses! I'd be happy to answer any questions you have about cameras, lenses and the like in the comments section.

What's your favorite lens? 


She Snaps is an ongoing series about photography and the business behind it. While most concepts can apply to both men and women photographers, this series is written with the female photographer/entrepreneur in mind. Enjoy! 

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Weekend Travel Itinerary: Malta

When scanning a map in search of a place to visit, the tiny island of Malta can be easy to overlook. But despite its size – or lack thereof – the country is a cultural powerhouse bleached by centuries of Mediterranean sun that boasts 7,000 years of history, prehistoric ruins and tales of the Knights of St. John.  Only 19 miles long and 8 miles wide, the island can be explored in no time at all, though you’ll certainly wish you could stay for weeks on end.  If an extended trip doesn’t seem to be in the cards, you can still join the Maltese in the experiences they love best in one single weekend adventure.



The best place to begin your trip is in Malta’s capital. Easily walkable, Valetta is the perfect place to soak up the history (and the sunshine) that Malta has to offer.  The buildings lining cobblestoned streets feature vibrantly colored balconies above, while cafes, restaurants and shops serve locals and tourists alike at street level. Take in views of the harbor at the Upper Barrakka Gardens as the sun sets – it’s not to be missed.
Guze Bistro in the heart of Valetta takes traditional Maltese food and offers it a modern twist. It doesn’t lack in ambiance either – the restaurant resides in a 400-year-old building built by the Knight’s of St. John.
If you’re looking for a traditional experience, try Fenek; pan fried rabbit served in a garlic white wine sauce.


First and foremost Malta is an island, and like other islands it is best viewed from the sea. Set off on a full day cruise with Hera Cruises for an experience both adventurous and incredibly relaxing. Around noon you’ll anchor for lunch in The Blue Lagoon, which boasts crystal clear waters perfect for snorkeling. Jump from the rocks (or your ship!) straight into the sea, but be prepared – the water remains brisk, even on the hottest of summer days.
Your ship will dock in Sliema, making it easy to catch a ferry back over to Valetta for a dinner of fresh locally caught fish at Palazzo Preca, a restaurant owned by two sisters that is renowned for its seafood offerings, from swordfish to octopus to giant prawns.



After a leisurely breakfast, take some more time to soak up Malta’s infinite sun. Among the country’s best sandy beaches are Mellieha Bay and Golden Bay. While these beaches are certainly no surfer’s paradise, the still waters offer supreme conditions for swimming and snorkeling, a flawless way to spend a warm late morning.


If you’re hungry, stop in Rabat for one of Malta’s most traditional and beloved snacks: The Pastizzi.  This puff pastry stuffed with a mixture of ricotta or pureed peas is flaky and brittle, the crumbs shedding all over your palms and sleeves with even the slightest of movements.  Pastizzi’s are sold in shop after shop for only a few cents a piece, though the absolute best can be found at the Crystal Palace Bar, tucked away on Triq San Pawl (Street Saint Paul) in Rabat. You’ll probably find a few old men lounging outside, pastizzi in one hand and cigarette in the other.  If you’re feeling brave, wash down your pastizzi with a bottle of Kinnie Soda, a local beverege, though admittedly this bitter orange drink flavored with herbs is not for everyone.

Unlike Valetta, whose boulevards and streets form a perfect and practical grid, the walled city of Mdina is a mass of twisting roads and alleyways that all intertwine, no rhyme or reason to be found.  Allow yourself to get lost for an hour or two. Climb one of the city walls for a panoramic view of the island – all the way out to the coast – that is nothing like you’ve ever seen.
The best way to finish out your perfect trip to Malta is with a perfect meal, and Medina Restaurant is arguably one of the island’s best. On a warm night you can dine out in the stone courtyard under swaying palm trees and you’ll feel like you’re in another world.  

I based this weekend itinerary off of my own experience in Malta. I hope some of you find it helpful! If you have any other suggestions for things to see, do or eat, or advice for those hoping to travel to Malta, please share below in the comments! 

Monday, June 9, 2014

SHE SNAPS: Photographers - Be Nice to Other Photographers

Even I can’t deny it: There is an undeniable appeal associated with being a photographer.  Getting to be creative for work, setting your own hours, not having to submit to the 9 to 5 grind. It IS appealing. It’s not without its challenges, and you end up spending way more time in front of a computer screen than actually out there doing what you love, but even then it still seems…glamorous. Exciting, somehow. Like I said before, I really can’t deny it; I am a photographer and half of the reasons I decided to be one I just listed above.

I’m also definitely not the only one hopping on this camera-wielding bandwagon.  It is the age of the professional photographer.  You see photo websites and blogs popping up in all directions, everywhere you look.  Here in Utah, for instance, the number of female photographers advertising themselves as wedding, portrait and lifestyle photographers is staggering and still increasing steadily.  I’m not here to complain: After all, I'm one of them! 

But what I’ve noticed is the environment among photographers seems very hostile. There is a rivalry among us – particularly among the female photographers I meet – that goes beyond friendly competition.  For a while I thought it was just me being silly, feeling threatened and insecure by the other more established photographers in the area, but after a while I realized it wasn’t all in my head. It's actually true. Photographers can be mean!

I get it. We want to be successful. We don’t like the idea of competitors charging less for their work and taking all of our business away. I still find myself growing very irritated when I hear local photogs – at some of the workshops and gatherings I attend – speaking so poorly of other photographers. It is easy to bash those who charge too little, who over-edit their images, who don’t seem to really know what their doing yet. I

And then I realized I was doing it too.  I receive emails frequently from people asking advice on starting up a photography business and so many times I’ve felt disinclined to help them or answer their questions for fear of being copied. I felt threatened by simple questions because I thought my business would suffer. 

Here is my wake up call to myself:  I was being stupid.

Helping others figure out how to do what they love is not going to hurt my business. If anything, I think it will help! How could forming genuine friendships with other people who love what I love really hurt?  Would having a community of photographers who lifted each other up, asked each other for advice, recommended each other’s services when they themselves weren’t available, etc;, really be that bad?

It sounds pretty dang awesome to me! 

Photographers: BE NICE TO OTHER PHOTOGRAPHERS.  There will always be people who know more than you and people who know less than you. There will be people who charge small fortunes and people who don’t charge hardly anything at all. Does it really matter? We all started somewhere and we’re all doing what we love.

If you are a photographer, local or not, I would really like to be friends with you! Please leave a comment here introducing yourself and feel free to include links to your websites, social media accounts, etc;. I will check out every single one and would love to stay in touch.  

If you feel like following me on my photography adventures, you can find my info here:

Instagram: @Darylschmidt


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...