Sunday, April 25, 2010

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Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Mother's Day Portrait Sessions

Mother's Day is right around the corner. There is a lot for a Dad to do on this holiday. He has to think about his wife, the mother of his children, his own mother and something from the kids to their mother. sdfs

Dads, you might consider breakfast in bed, sending her off to brunch with her girl friends, or having the kids make her some painted pottery. Or, you might consider something different this year. (Mom, if you are the one reading this, just go right ahead and forward it to your husband.)

A common complaint among mothers is that they are never in the family pictures. As the one behind the camera in our family, I can relate. More often than not, Mom is the family photographer. It isn't a job she minds so much, but it would be nice for the kids to see their Mom in a photograph every once in a while. So, whether you are a mom or a dad, you might want to remedy this problem and schedule a Mother's Day portrait session

A portrait session is a perfect Mother's Day gift. It lasts much longer than flowers or even a coffee mug. There are lots of ways to arrange this. Dads can surprise Mom and schedule a "Mom and kids" portrait session. Or he can be there too, for a whole family session. Just make sure you give Mom enough notice to change into something cute. She'll appreciate that.

Or you, Mom, could take the initiative and set up a portrait session yourself. There is nothing wrong with stating exactly what you'd like for Mother's Day this year. Some husbands actually prefer to have things spelled out for them.

You might even consider hosting a Mom and kids portrait party and get some of your other Mom friends in on the fun. They are probably missing from a lot of family photos, too.

Whatever you decide, please let us know as soon as possible so that we can get your portrait session scheduled, or send out a gift certificate, before Mothers Day actually arrives.

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Thursday, April 15, 2010

More Cardboard Art: Building a Robot

Photographs by Greta Eskridge

I knew that long-time client and friend, Greta Eskridge, would be a great addition as a guest blogger here at the Dodgen Photography blog. Seeing her post about the cardboard robot her son made, sealed the deal (in case you didn't know, we're big fans of cardboard creations). In Greta's words:

My son James loves to build things out of cardboard. If he sees a box lying around the house, he is sure to ask if he can use it. This time he wanted to make a robot.

It was a pretty straight forward project.

First, I cut off the back of the box, then a hole for his neck and two holes for his arms. This allowed him to slip it on and off easily by himself. We used an additional box, with eye holes cut out, for the head.

Next, he decorated it. Besides markers or paint, some glue and various shiny things are just right for decorating a robot. Tin foil would also be fun.

He was pretty pleased with his creation.

A little imagination goes a long way with a cardboard box.


For additional photos, go here.

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Saturday, April 10, 2010

Spring Hikes

Photographs by Greta Eskridge

Spring is the perfect time to take a hike. Everything is in bloom, the skies are blue, the sun is out, but the air is still cool. It feels good to be outside.

Kids are great hikers because they are naturally curious and they love to explore. As long as you don't expect them to hike an eight mile trail with you on your first time out, they will have a good time. A little planning goes a long way in making your hike successful. You might find these tips on hiking with kids helpful.

I took these photos at Riley Wilderness Park in Orange County. It is just beautiful right now, and one of the many parks to explore in Orange County. You might find it hard to believe, but the OC is rich with hiking trails. There are beach hikes, mountain hikes and everything in between.

I have found these three sites to be helpful in locating good hikes.
Brian and Ashley's Hiking Blog!
Wilderness Parks
Hiking Trails

We hope you and the kids will make it out to a trail this spring. If you do, please share your adventure with us. We'd love to hear about it.


Photographs by Greta Eskridge


Thursday, April 01, 2010

Dodgen Photography is Going Green

Press Release


Long Beach, California, April 1, 2010 -- After years of photographing children exclusively in black and white, Dodgen Photography is adding a new color to their repertoire - green. With so many companies going green these days, it seemed only a matter of time until photographers jumped on the green bandwagon, and Dodgen Photography is taking the leap in a big way.

Dodgen Photography's owner and primary photographer, Jeremy Dodgen got his inspiration for the change from photosynthesis, the process by which green plants use sunlight to synthesis foods from carbon dioxide and water, generating oxygen as a byproduct. Dodgen hopes to create a similar synthesis in portrait photography and be a breath of fresh air in a color-saturated portrait world.

While revolutionary in the photographic world, Dodgen points out that their is a long history of the use of green in portraiture, including some of the most famous men in United States history. Washington, Lincoln, Jefferson, Hamilton, Jackson, Grant, Franklin have all been immortalized in green.

Dodgen wants to assure his current, as well as potential, clients that this move is not just about the money, stating "we won't just capture green backs, we'll capture faces, feet, hands…the whole person."

There are definite economic benefits to the green initiative, including job creation. To help with the effort, Dodgen Photography recently brought on several leprechauns to develop just the right hue of green. It soon became apparent that there would be the added benefit of reduced carbon footprint, after all, leprechauns have really small feet.

Quoting a favorite actor, musician, and green advocate, Dodgen knows "it's not easy being green," but adds "when you see the green sparkle in the children's eyes, you know all of the hard work is worth it."

Contact: Jeremy Dodgen
Office: 562.856.2755

Dodgen Photography is a renowned for their ability to capture a child's true personality, in their one of a kind green and white portraits.


Below are a few photographic examples demonstrating why green is the new black:

Dodgen Photography is going green to help reduce their carbon footprint.

Ella couldn't be happier with the changes.

Happy April Fools Day!

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Portrait Parties--A Word from our Hosts

Our portrait parties have been very popular since the day we started offering them. After holding these parties for many years, we thought it would be nice to hear from you, the hosts, that pull these parties together.

Our first host is Greta Eskridge. Greta has hosted 4 portrait parties and she shares with us why she keeps coming back for more.

I attended my first portrait party with Dodgen Photography 5 years ago. Not only did I come away with wonderful pictures of my family, I also decided I wanted to host a portrait party of my own.

It seemed like an easy thing to do, a fun way to introduce my family and friends to Jeremy's amazing photography and also, a really easy way to earn some credit towards purchasing more photos from the session.

I was right. It was all those things. But after hosting my fourth portrait party this year, I have found it to be much more.

I host my parties in the fall. (That way there is plenty of time to order pictures for Christmas.) We have used three different locations and in those four years, our family of three has grown to a family of five. Hosting the portrait parties has been a fantastic way to document our growing family, as well as the families that join us each year. I love looking through each family's portraits to see how every one has changed from year to year.
It has become more than a party. It has become a tradition.

If you are hesitant about scheduling your own party or being a hostess, let me put your mind at ease. Judy and Jeremy make it easy. Finding people to attend won't be hard either, once they see Jeremy's photos.

I look forward to working with Jeremy each year for my portrait party. The pictures he takes are some of our family's most treasured possessions. I am so glad I decided to host that very first party. I look forward to doing it for many years to come.

In addition to this post, Greta is going to be a contributor to the Dodgen Photography blog. Greta is a stay at home mom of 3 kids. She is pursuing a new found love of photography, and writes two blogs of her own, Lilly and the Brothers and Picnics in the Park. Look for more posts from Greta on photography news, book reviews, craft projects and more.

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Recycled Forest

I love artist, Yuken Teruya's work in which he transforms everyday objects (like toilet paper tubes and Happy Meal Bags) into intricate vignettes. I also thought it fit in nicely with our series of posts about the creative reuse of cardboard.

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Thursday, March 18, 2010

Signs of Spring

The first day of spring is right around the corner and with it comes the return of the monarch butterflies who will reawaken after a four months in hibernation. Many of the preschools I photograph at raise butterflies from larva each spring, giving the children the opportunity to witness up-close the complete life cycle of these beautifully delicate creatures.

Small Friends Preschool takes this a step further with their butterfly tent that is large enough for a child to sit in. Climbing in the tent gives each child the opportunity to get hands on experience with the recently hatched butterflies, and gave me the opportunity to capture some great photographs during my annual visit.

If you are interested in raising butterflies at your home, it is pretty simple and inexpensive. Amazon offers the Insect Lore Live Butterfly Garden kit for just over $14 (plus $3 for five butterfly larvae and special food, ordered using the included mail-in voucher). The kit is reusable and the larvae are available year round, so you can raise butterflies at any time of year, though butterflies should only be set free in temperatures over 55 degrees Fahrenheit.

Where Butterflies Grow, by Joanne Ryder is an excellent picture book about the life cycle of butterflies and would be a perfect companion to the butterfly kit. Read it before starting and refer back to it throughout the process as a reminder of what will happen next.

We first discovered it online as an audio book. It may seem strange to have an audio only version of a picture book, but Joanne Ryder's text gets children's imagination actively involved from the very first line. "Image you are someone small hidden in a tiny egg...." This line sets the stage for an engaging journey from egg to caterpillar to chrysalis to butterfly. Ethan has even acted out the story while listening.

The picture book is equally enthralling. It's detailed watercolor illustrations by Lynne Cherry provide lots for kids to observe and discover. As a postscript, Ryder includes suggestions on how to prepare a portion of your garden to attract butterflies or encourage the ones you have raised to stay.

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Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Pizza Box Tabletop Soccer and Cardboard Tube Marble Run

The latest issue of Family Fun magazine has several cardboard reuse ideas that look fun and fit into our series of posts about creative (re)uses for cardboard. Our favorites are Tabletop Soccer made from a pizza box and a magnetic Marble Run made from paper towel, toilet paper and wrapping paper tubes. Click the preceding links for complete instructions.

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Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Cardboard Fire Station

Making believe is the gist of his whole life and he cannot so much as take a walk except in character.
Robert Louis Stevenson

A couple of years ago when Ethan said he wanted to build a fire station, I thought he was talking about a little one for his numerous fire engines. When he clarified that he wanted one that he could fit in, I was not sure where to start.

Inspiration came when we realized we could use his loft bed for the frame and the box from our new wagon for the walls. Curtains the he could open and close, a door through which the fire engines could come and go, and door knobs for the front door helped complete his vision.

One of the things I love about cardboard structures is that they are temporary, so when the kids have a new interest or want a new challenge, the box can be modified, stored or just recycled. To make these transitions easier, I like to use Velcro Cable Ties when attaching the cardboard to furniture like loft beds and table legs. They make it easy to attach and detach cardboard without ruining the furniture or the box. I did not take detail photographs at the time, but you can see the small black straps along the sides and under the main door of our fire station.

What always amazes me (a perfectionist) when creating things like this, with and for Ethan, is how much his imagination will take over to fill in the gaps, look past the inconsistencies in scale and smooth over the flaws in construction. I have to remind myself that it is more important to make it, than to make it perfect.

Now I implore you to go collect the props, set the stage, and open the curtain to your child's world of make believe.

For more creative cardboard project ideas, click here.

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Sunday, February 14, 2010

Happy Valentine's Day