3 Ways to Defeat Self-Sabotaging Behavior

3 Ways to Defeat Self-Sabotaging Behavior
"Hello. I’m Peggie: wife, mom, gramie, artist, teacher, and reformed self-saboteur."

For years I believed the lies I told myself: I wasn’t good enough. I didn’t know enough. I didn’t have enough talent and skill. Someone else could do it better, so mine wasn’t needed.

But God kept nudging me though His Word and His people. He directed me to Bible passages that spoke to my very soul.

I had been reared in a Christian home with Christian parents, gave my heart to Jesus as a child, but it wasn’t until I was in my late thirties that my mindset began to shift away from what I didn’t have to what I did have: not material things, but intrinsic things like talent, opportunities, skills.

Luke 12:48 ends with this admonition, “For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”

I knew I SHOULD be doing more to further God’s Kingdom, but continued to hold back, waiting for all the pieces to fit together. I wasn't even sure what those pieces were!

Tip # - 1 Make a List 

List the thoughts that pop up frequently when thinking about following a dream, making a change, or otherwise stepping outside your comfort zone. Before we can correct a problem, we must see and acknowledge the problem. Included on my list was that I didn't have any formal education. I had married right out of highschool, but secretly wanted a college degree. By then all of my four children were in school, so I stepped way outside my comfort and enrolled in college. I became a licensed Biology and Art teacher the year our oldest son graduated high school.

Tip # -2 Keep a Journal

As part of a creative writing class in college, I was required to journal. Although at first it seemed there simply wasn't time in my day for yet one more thing, my journal was therapeutic and saw me through some dark days. Journaling became a habit that continues to facilitate introspection, tracking progress, and planning.

Tip #3 - Use Positive Affirmations Effectively

I taught for seventeen years. When I started, I loved teaching so much I would have done it free! It didn't take long for that opinion to change, but I enjoyed it on most days. Until I didn't.

Knowing that I wouldn't continue long enough to retire from teaching, I got a business license and started working as a professional photographer on the side. Before every portrait session I looked in the mirror and stated positive affirmations: I am ready. I know enough. I have the right equipment.

Was I nervous? Absolutely! Was I scared? For sure!! Did I make mistakes? Mercy yes! But each time it was easier. And each mistake taught me something I needed to know.

Now Positive Affirmations and Journaling are routine parts of my day. I just published a new Coloring/Affirmations book called Change Your Thinking Change Your Life

Do These 6 Things To Get Better Event Photos

Do These 6 Things To Get Better Event Photos

Have you ever been to an important gathering, took photos hoping to document what happened with beautiful photographs, only to discover later that your pics just don't tell the story?

That's a real disappointment most of us have experienced whether we used a phone camera or a “real” camera.

Back in film camera days, getting the shot right in the camera was vital! Unless we had access to a darkroom and processed the film personally, we got what we got and that was that!

Today it is much easier since, to a point, we can see in real time what the images are. So this isn't about settings or technical camera stuff; this is about how to be sure you capture images that tell the story you want to remember. Following is a list of things to do and not do:

  • Make sure you get pullback photos that show how the venue looks. What is the atmosphere? Is it casual or Professional? Indoor or outdoor? How many people are there? How are they interacting?

  • If you're using a wide angle lens, try to place people within the frame away from the edges so they aren't distorted. If you “pose” a large group of people, place then in a semicircle, not a straight line. I won't tell you all the reasons why this works, just know that you'll be happier with the resulting photo. (Go ahead and test it. If you don't have people to work with, set up chairs or something else inanimate, first in a straight line, then in a semicircle. Take a photo of each, download to your computer, and see which one is more pleasing to the eye.)

  • Take closeup photos of specific things. Use a good optical zoom lens or “zoom with your feet.” Walk closer. (Digital zooms make things closer by dropping pixels. You'll end up with a pixelated photo.)

  • Be sure to get photos of people so that they are recognized. Get close to them. (Stay out of their bubble of safety, though. Hopefully you have a longer prime lens or good optical zoom lens that will permit that.) A good rule of thumb is to fill at least a third of the image with the person. You'll be cutting part of them off, so pay attention that you don't do that at a joint.

  • If food is part of the event, give people the option to swallow or put down their drink before you photograph them close-up. No one enjoys being ambushed by a camera when their mouths are full. The polite thing is to ask if you may interrupt them for a second. And then honor that second; get the shot and move on.

  • Don't get so hung up on the technical side of photography that you miss important shots. And don't turn into a photographer stormtrooper. If you know the way a person is standing or sitting will be unflattering in a photograph, move yourself to get a more flattering image. Don't intrude on their pleasure in the event.

5 Tips For Better Headshots

5 Tips For Better Headshots
So You Need a New Headshot?
With just about everyone having an on-line presence these days, having a good photo for our social media sites is crucial.  My best tip is to hire a professional photographer, but I understand that maybe that isn't an option for you at this time. Here are some suggestions for getting a good photo to use as your public face if you're taking it yourself.

Tip #1
Pay attention to framing, background, lighting. Declutter what's around you in the image. Use things beside or behind you to lead the viewer's eye to your best features. Or away from something you want to minimize.
Tip #2
Make sure it looks like you. If your image is heavily filtered, you run the risk of coming across as a fraud. Images that are glamorized have their place, but for everyday people, we should look ourselves. 
Tip #3
This tip is an extension of #2 and for the ladies: Your makeup application for a headshot should be similar to how you apply it for everyday. You want to come across as yourself on your best day.  If you typically wear nothing more than eyeshadow and lipstick, stick with that.
Tip #4
Remember that it's all about the eyes, the window to the soul. If you're looking directly into the lens the perception is that you have nothing to hide. You are approachable, trustworthy.  To get a good phone camera photo, look at the lens, not your image on the screen.
Tip #5
Give careful consideration to clothing and props. Let your personality come out. Be authentic. If t-shirts and jeans are your everyday attire, consider choosing what you wear by color. Use colors that match the outcome you want:
  • red = aggressive, energetic, provocative, attention-grabbing, passionate  
  • purple = royalty, sophistication, nostalgia, mystery, spirituality
  • blue = trustworthy,  dependable, secure, responsible, confident 
  • green = wealth, health, prestige, serenity, generosity, safety
  • yellow = positivity, light, warmth, motivation, creativity, happiness
  • orange = vitality, fun, playful, exuberant, outgoing 
  • black = prestige, value, timelessness, sophistication, power
  • white = pure, noble, clean, soft 
When choosing clothes, make sure they compliment your complexion and that you feel good wearing them. It will help you to feel at ease and be able to achieve authentic expressions.

These five tips are a good starting point. Begin to pay attention to profile photos that you are drawn to. Start making note of WHY you like them. And as soon as you can hire a pro.

Using Color to Achieve Dynamic Balance in a Composition

Let's begin with the four basic characteristics of color: hue, temperature, value and saturation (also known as Intensity.) Notice where the colors (or hues) lie on the color wheel.

  1. Hue is basically the color's name, blue, green, red, orange, etc. 

  2. Temperature, is a subset of hue, but just as important as the other three. Warm colors range from Red Violet through Yellow. Cool colors between Yellow-Green and Blue-Violet. Notice that half the color wheel is warm, half is cool.

  3. Value is the lightness or darkness of a color or shade. If a photo has equal values throughout the image, with no contrast or accent color, it runs the risk of being boring, uninteresting. Of course there are exceptions to this rule. ( Rules in art are made to be broken creatively!) 

  4. Saturation is the purity or intensity of the color. When I squeeze paint directly from the tube, it is of maximum intensity. A good rule of thumb is to compose your image so that there isn't an overabundance of high intensity colors. Of course there are times to break this rule! You'll develop your own style and preference. There are artists whose works are riots of fully saturated colors and they are wildly successful. 

Now, what does all that have to do with achieving balance in your photograph? Let me throw out another "rule" to consider: the most, some, and a bit rule.  Simply put, this rule states that for an image to be dynamically balanced color wise, most of the colors should be of the same temperature, value and intensity, some of the colors should be opposite those, and a little bit will be in stark contrast.  

For example, if MOST of the colors are warm, bright, and light,then SOME  of the colors should be their opposite: cool, dull, and dark. And finally, there should be a small BIT of color that contrasts with all the others in as many characteristics as possible. Think of the BIT  as the accent color.

Grab your camera and go look for color. Look for ways you can follow the rules or break them to capture a photo that pleases you. And find me on Instagram or Facebook and tag me in them.