I run, I craft, I write, and I make your favorite clothes.

I have written books about sewing for children and adults and I'm the indie designer’s patternmaking secret weapon. I've taught video and in-person classes to anyone who would listen since 2008. I believe that sewing clothes is a radical act of self-love that increases your sense of self-worth. I'm basically your sewing fairy godmother.

I have to take photos to share my work, but I don’t in any way consider myself a photographer. Not even a photo-enthusiast. I prefer to take close-ups of details. You know, details don’t talk back, or wiggle, or act bored. Seams don’t make a goofy face. Pleats don’t complain when you need just one more shot.  Most importantly, the details pose just how you ask them to.  Children don’t.  At least mine don’t.

I am pretty sure my discomfort in taking photos is a big reason my littlest kid doesn’t really like participating in photo shoots. I love having pictures of Ella, but they just never seem to turn out really well.

My main problem – outside of not having the skills and experience required to take good photographs can be summed up in a single word: styling.

I didn’t know the first thing about styling, which is obvious when you have a look at a standard shot of Ella:


That’s my girl, shoved up against a wall, while I hope to edit out the light switch later.

Recently I’ve been trying new things, like getting her outside (see Vintage May), but I still know so little about what makes a good photograph, that I was only guessing.  Considering that my work is making clothes, successfully capturing those in images is something I need to learn right away.

Enter: Style That Kid by Alida Lee of AlidaMakes.com

Learn to take Photos that POP with Styling lessons from AlidaMakes.com

Alida really knows how to take a photo that brings out the best in her subjects.  I hoped to learn a little of that, and in reading through the gorgeous full-color eBook, I feel like the very little I knew I should be doing was confirmed, while the other 99% of the book was totally new-to-me information I believe will really make a difference.

It’s not a “how to use your camera” manual (though, clearly, I am in dire need of that!) but she has such great advice about timing, location, and props, that I felt like I had a private lesson, and you will, too.

My Next pass was a little better:


It helps that she loves being at the horse stable. (As evidenced by her only genuine smile of the day on top.)

I took Alida’s “find contrast” advice to heart and already feel like the bottom two photos are at least 50% better than the hallway up-against-the-wall photo.

She also suggests using props and accessories to enhance the images, which is genius on two levels: 1. it creates visual interest 2. it distracts the child from the self-consciousness of being photographed.  I cannot imagine a better “prop” than a horse, so I attempted to take photos during her lesson.  Outside the barn, she was ahorse, and difficult to catch.


Inside the barn, the light was really gold.  It was beautiful in person, but I had nothing white with me to actually set the white balance on my camera, so the photos didn’t turn out as clear and neutral as I’d have liked. I am touched, however, that I was able to catch a glimpse of the care she shows the horses she rides.


In a nutshell, Alida’s book is fantastic.  Her tips are spot-on, she communicates clearly and in such a straightforward manner, you can’t help but trust her.  I know I will be using more and more techniques from this book as I continue to try to learn to use my camera.  I truly hope she writes a book about how to use your camera, ASAP, because I will be first in line to buy it.



You can buy your copy right now over at AlidaMakes – and if you hurry – you might still be able to get in on the giveaway!

It’s worth every penny to have your very own copy of Alida’s priceless advice.  I received an advance copy to review, but I bought the eBook with my own monay anyway, because it is just that good.

Go check out the other blog tour stops to see what Style That Kid! can do in the hands of a photographer who really knows what they’re doing!

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Leave a Comment

  • Kelly July 27, 2014, 6:11 pm

    That last photo you posted of your daughter holding the horse’s reins is beautiful! The lighting was perfect. Try not to take photos when the light is shining either directly into faces or directly behind. And natural light always makes photos better!

    • Karen July 29, 2014, 4:43 pm

      Thanks, Kelly! I’m still learning, and I appreciate all your feedback! I love that shot, too. In fact, I had it enlarged and printed as an actual physical photo for my husband to take into his office :)


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