chantal stone photography: the blog

March 30, 2008

SoFoBoMo: Beginning April 1st

Filed under: Personal,Photography,SoFoBoMo — chantal @ 10:36 am

The unofficial slogan of the Army is “hurry up and wait”, as anyone who spent any amount of time in the military can tell you (including me). So it’s no surprise that the start date of my project would have to change when we realized that my husband’s actual departure date will not be until April 30th, allowing me to begin my “Final 30 Days” project on April 1st. For a while, his departure date was somewhat unclear, so now that we know for sure, the countdown begins.

I’m anxious to get started with the project; photography is my life, and combining it with my family is just awesome for me. But then there’s the conflicting feeling of absolute dread, because the start of this project marks the beginning of the end for us. I don’t want my husband to go to Iraq.

Anyway, if you’re following any of the other SoFoBoMo participants’ blogs, you’ll see how many are preparing and planning ahead for their projects. There’s a lot of discussion on printing the book, layout, etc. I’m so impressed with this forethought. It’s so not me. I’m just going to dive right in, shoot what I know from day to day. Since my project is a countdown, of sorts, the images will appear chronologically, which saves me a lot of trouble.  I still plan to use Willow Book to print the final book, unless I come across something else that can equal the quality, ease of use and customization at a lower price. Once the project is complete, I will post the PDF online for everyone to see.

I plan to post regular updates on the project, but probably not every day. We’re not that exciting of a family, so a photo every day of us sitting around watching tv, playing video games, or being online just isn’t that interesting. However, there may be days with more than one post. Initially, I thought about creating a separate blog just for the project, but I decided against it. This blog is about my photography, my work, and my life… and this project encompasses all three.


March 28, 2008

The Kids & Friends: Studio Time

Filed under: Photography,Portraits — chantal @ 1:00 am

As a photographer, I have a difficult time paying for the generic-looking school pictures that my kids take every year. I either put them away in a drawer somewhere, forgotten and unseen, or I simply just don’t purchase them at all. It’s no big deal, really. I have TONS of photos of my kids. Some posed, most not…all are incredible. But every once in a while it’s nice to have a good studio photograph made, with even lighting and solid background. So a few days ago I took my three children to the studio to do some portraits. A few friends joined us too, as we made some portraits for the girls in their dance costumes as well. As you’ll see…we had a great time!


Chanel, the diva…


I’m going to have this next image enlarged HUGE….this illustrates their personalities perfectly…

Chanel, trying to be America’s Next Top Model…

The Dancer…


and junior Dancer…

Chanel’s friend, Christin. They’ve been dancing together for about 5 years…



My friend Sarah brought her 4 daughters along…. they are SO cute!! You may remember them from a Fall photo session we had. They’ve all grown so much!
Riley, Avery, Sienna, and Addison…



I did managed to snag a few shots of the twins before one of them started to cry (I can never tell them apart!) but these photos of them not cooperating are my favorite!



Riley also dances with Cherie…

It’s great when you can get the shot that was intended, but these little in between moments are my favorite…



Afterwards, I took my kids out to shoot some more. We had such a great time! And we’re going to have to go out and do it again soon because Chanel still had her dance make-up on, which, when not in costume, just doesn’t look right on a 10 yr old! But I managed to get some great shots of Sharif, and of course, Cherie too!




The End!

March 26, 2008

Mid-Week Round-Up vol.6

Filed under: internet,News,Personal,Photography — chantal @ 12:35 am

1) Come play Geek with me! So, I’m usually way behind when it comes to getting on board with the next new thing, or new technology. I resisted getting the internet, I resisted buying a dvd player, I was even the last person I know to get a cell phone. (All three things I could NOT live without, btw) So it’s no surprise that I’m late to the whole MySpace/facebook/online networking thing. And I still do not totally see the point of any of it. When I get a new MySpace message I always wonder why couldn’t the person just send me a regular email? But there’s more….there’s Bebo, Plaxo, Spokeo and Lord only knows what else. And yes, you can find me on all of them. Every time I get an invite I do not hesitate to sign up. I always ask myself whats the point? But I do it anyway….happily. And then I obey, and pass the invite right along to the 998 other people in my address book, just like a good little internet soldier.

In comes my newest little fascination: Twitter. As if email and blogging aren’t enough to keep the world informed of the inanities of my life, I can easily text msg updates on what I’m doing right from my phone to Twitter! So the next time I’m bored in the school parking lot waiting for my one of my kids, or if I’m at the grocery store and I see a really awesome sale on organic chicken breast, or if I’m just too lazy to write a normal blog post but I still feel the need to tell the world exactly what’s on my mind at any given moment, I can just Twitter! The internet is the greatest invention. Ever!

So all of it’s kinda silly, and I’m pretty sure I’m almost too old to be bothered with any of it, HOWEVER….should you feel the need to connect with me on a much deeper level, you may find me at my favorite various internet hot spots, below:


2) RENT-A-BAG? Now they have thought of everything. Do you ever find yourself drooling over that $8,000 Prada purse or the $10,000 Chanel tote that you know you can’t afford? Well now you can….with Bag Borrow or Steal. It’s a new service where instead of buying the designer bag or jewelry, you can RENT it on a weekly basis. It’s still too rich for my blood, but if you have $150 a week to blow on a Fendi clutch then go for it! Me? I’m going to Target (pronounced Tar-zhay, for the uninformed)

3) My four favorite actors right now are:

Kiera Knightly (Pride & Prejudice, Atonement, Silk) – She was BORN to play Elizabeth Bennett, and should rightly play any romantic heroin, forever.

James McAvoy (The Last King of Scotland, Atonement, Penelope) – kinda new to the movie scene, but I’m sure he’ll be around for a long time….totally brilliant in Last King of Scotland.

**NOTE: Kiera Knightly and James McAvoy need to star in every romantic film from now until the end of movie-making-time. The End.

Will Smith (too many weird alien movies, Six Degrees of Separation, The Pursuit of Happiness, I Am Legend) – Nobody can just cold-cry like this dude can, he’s a WAY better actor than I think even HE knows.

Mark Wahlberg (Boogie Nights, The Departed, We Own The Night) – He says the F word better than anyone in Hollywood, 2nd only to Joe Pesci, MAYBE. I’d love to see a movie with Mark Wahlberg, Will Smith and maybe throw in Matt Damon for good measure. Yeah, that would be a good one. Someone needs to get started on that soon.

4) A Letter. Dear Winter, You are now officially done. It’s over. We get it, you’re cold, you make lots of snow. And you make ice too. I missed you back in December. I wanted a white Christmas, but you were no where to be found. So I sadly got over it, and as soon as my heart began to mend with the hope of a new, greener love, you show up. So we had a few laughs, sled down a couple of hills. Big Deal. It is now time for you to pack it up and hit the road. I’m over you. I’m now in love with Spring. Under no circumstances are you allowed to show your frigid face around here this weekend! I am anxious to begin a series of very awesome engagement photo shoots and you WILL NOT RUIN IT FOR ME. Come early in December this year. Heck, you can show up in November and I’ll welcome you with open arms. But for now, Sayonara!

With Love, Chantal

5) Chris Matthews is AWESOME! You HAVE to watch this…the WHOLE thing:

Found via Think On These Things.

6) Fun Photo Shoot Today! Since I’m a photographer, and this is actually a photography blog, tomorrow I just might post a few pictures from a fun photo shoot I am doing today with some kids (a few of them are even my own!)

Stay Tuned!

March 25, 2008

Photography Book Now

Filed under: contests/competitions,For Photographers,Photography,SoFoBoMo — chantal @ 4:45 pm

My memory is failing me… I honestly can’t remember where I came across this, either through email, someone else’s blog, or something?  Anyway, since a lot of photographers are participating in SoFoBoMo, then you may want to check out Photography Book Now, a contest for self-published photo books.

There are two categories to enter: General Photography Book and Thematic Photography Book, with a grand prize of $25,000.  The fee to enter is $35 per book, and the deadline is July 14, 2008.

Good luck!

March 20, 2008

My SoFoBoMo Project: March 29-April 29, 2008

Filed under: For Photographers,Personal,Photography,SoFoBoMo — chantal @ 9:22 am

(What’s SoFoBoMo? Read here, #4)

Paul Butzi, Colin Jago, and perhaps a few other photographers participating in this project are beginning to post about their planning process, and how they plan to design their books. I’m aways impressed with such early planning. For me, it’s usually just a matter of waking up one morning and starting, very little planning at all. But this is an important project, and I feel it deserves more attention in the early stages.

I’m starting my project a couple of days earlier than the rules dictate, but for good reason. On April 29th my husband will be deploying with the Ohio Army National Guard for his 2nd tour to Iraq. My project will begin on March 29th, when I will be chronicling the final 30 days that my family is together before he leaves. This is a deeply personal subject for me– my family. But it’s also something I feel is so important for the public to see. We just passed the 5th anniversary of the start of the Iraq war, and with all of the other things going on in the news these days, it seems little attention is given to how this war is actually affecting regular Americans on a day to day basis. Almost everyone knows someone who is or has been deployed to the Middle East, but how many are actually personally affected by this thing that’s taking place 7,000 miles away?

This project will serve two purposes: 1) to have a photographic document of the time my family enjoys together during this last month that we will all be together for a year; 2) to bring attention to the fact that this war affects real people, real American families, everyday in a very profound way. It won’t all be doom & gloom. We’re planning a road trip during April which is always fun with 3 kids, and is certain to provide plenty of great photo-ops.

For the actual book, I’m not sure which format I will use to do the design. I do plan to have the book printed, so right now I think I will likely use one of the same design and print services that I use when designing Wedding albums for my business: WillowBook. It’s certainly not the cheapest option out there, but the quality is excellent and I know the design interface, which is easy to use and navigate.

I will likely blog many of the photos during this month-long process. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll post them here to this blog, my other photoblog, or a separate blog dedicated to just the project. I kind of like the idea of having a page just for the project, so we’ll see. And of course, once the book design is finished, I’ll post the PDF for everyone to see.

March 18, 2008

Mid-Week Round-Up vol.5

Filed under: Books,For Photographers,Good Reading,internet,Photography,SoFoBoMo — chantal @ 9:15 am

1) Cool Websites… If you spend more than 5 minutes a day on the Internet, then chances are you’ve already heard of It’s a blog-phenomenon only a few months old. It’s funny, satirical, stereotypical, and irreverent… and if you don’t know it, come out from under your rock and check it out. But even more significant might be all of the stuff-people-like spin-offs that have grown from this popular website. It seems every demographic has felt the need to create their own lists of stuff they like. Sadly though, many seem to lack the dark humor that makes the original work. And yet, these blogs/lists seem to be popular among their own stereotypical group. A few you might want to take a peak at are StuffEducatedBlackPeopleLike, StuffCollegePeopleLike, StuffGhettoPeopleLike, and my personal favorite spin-off that’s relatively new but has lots of potential to be perfect: StuffGayGuysLike.

One note– if you scroll through the comments on these websites, you’ll notice how some people get angry and leave negative comments; some people are clearly offended. But it’s important to remember that these lists are supposed to be funny. If we can’t laugh at ourselves, than what?

2) Don’t Make This Mistake… I was browsing a photography message board (or something, I can’t even remember what site it was) the other day and someone made a post asking for lighting advice because he/she was asked to photograph a friend’s wedding but he/she had no clue how to handle the lighting. The first thing that popped in my mind was: why on earth would this person accept the job if he/she didn’t know what to do? I can understand a Bride looking to save a few bucks because Weddings are just so expensive. But really, there are so many areas to save money, the photography is one area where you don’t want to go thrifty. A Wedding is one of the most important days in new family’s life. And after the ceremony, after the food is eaten and the flowers are wilted… years later when you’re browsing your albums with your children, the only thing left are your pictures. Do you really want to leave these important memories to someone who’s photographic education is a one or two time post to a message board? This may not be true for every area of your Wedding planning, but when it comes to Wedding photography, you really do get what you pay for: Hire A Professional.

However… if you must let your cousin or uncle or friend —who just got a new DSLR for Christmas and now they want to be a professional photographer— actually shoot your wedding, then make sure they read this website: How To Shoot A Wedding. It’s a great article, written by wedding photographer Anthony Hands, that covers everything from making sure the wedding couple knows your experience level, to written agreements, to knowing the basic functions of your camera.

Wedding photography is fun, but it’s a skill and an art, and certainly not as easy as it looks.

3) Easter already? Is it me, or is March going by way too fast??

4) Photographer looking for a project? April is almost here, and that’s the month to start your SoFoBoMo project. What is it? It’s Solo Photo Book Month… a project where photographers will photograph and put together a solo book in a month. Paul Butzi started it all and discusses the project in length on his website, including a SoFoBoMo Q&A. And I think a SoFoBoMo-dedicated website is in the works. Colin Jago has a running list of participants on his blog.

The project is supposed to be made in a 30-day time period, during either April or May, depending on the photographer’s schedule. I’m bending the rules just a bit, and beginning my project on March 29th and ending on April 29th. (I’ll be discussing what my project is about in a later post.)

5) I can’t wait for Spring!! I’m tired of crappy weather…last week it was snow, this week it’s rain, and I even heard flurries in the forecast for tomorrow. UGH! I shot this sunrise in Chicago last Spring… I can’t wait for the warm Sun to make its appearance again…


**please note that in about 4 months, I’ll be complaining about the heat and saying how I can’t wait for Fall. I seriously need to live where it ranges from 6070° with an appropriate balance of sun and clouds.

6) What I’m Reading… There are a few books I’m reading right now. I try to limit my reading to one book at a time, but these are all great, and different from each other, and I can’t put them down:

Atonement, by Ian McEwan – It’s a crime that I haven’t seen the movie yet. But it comes out on DVD today and I’m going to Blockbuster this afternoon. However, I’m still going to read the book, since Ian McEwan is one of my favorite authors…his writing is like a total brain massage. So rich, so descriptive, I love all of his books.

The Assault on Reason, by Al Gore – I’ve said it before, I’m a political junkie…more specifically, I’m a presidential polotics junkie, and this a great book on the philosophy of Reason for the modern age. It helps to clarify how much of what goes on in Washington right now simply does NOT make sense.

A New Earth, by Eckhart Tole – You see people everywhere reading this book right now. It’s an Oprah book, and it’s great. I’m only at the beginning, but it’s all about reawakening and altering your thinking to change your life for the better.

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