Maya's Eye Photography » Photography Blog, With a Little Personal Stuff Thrown In

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A Tribute to My Swedish Roots: Pippi Longstocking v3.0

My mom is Swedish. Born there. Has the accent. Likes socialized medicine. The whole deal. I grew up celebrating Santa Lucia, worshipping at the church of IKEA, and visiting my grandparents in Sundsvall.  (We also got to open our presents on Christmas Eve rather than wait til Christmas day–BONUS.) There’s more to the Swedish experience obviously, but let’s face it: I grew up in the suburbs of Chicago.

Anyhoo, after my mother saw our Rosie the Riveter shoot, I asked her for suggestions on what to do next. Along with the Little Mermaid statue in Copenhagen, Denmark (which seemed a bit more than I could set up with my four year old), she suggested we try Pippi Longstocking, which immediately sounded perfect.

The braids–which I thought would be the hard part–turned out to be quite easy to handle. It was the hair color that proved messy.

But my daughter totally owned it in the end and sank into the part pretty much immediately.


I kinda like the old timey finish on this, even though Pippi is obviously best served in full color:

There was drama over bird feather treasures (although pretty much anything this girl finds on the ground is considered “treasure”, despite my efforts to prove otherwise).

I know I shouldn’t, but I really kind of love this one:


June 9, 2014 - 7:41 am

Olga @ MangoTomato - Love! So much fun!

Baby D the Riveter

So now that I’m winding down the businessy part of things, I’m having some fun doing some projects that have been “back burnered”.

I have always loved this image, ever since I was a teenager. It’s iconic. It’s feminist. And yes, it served as pure propaganda. But it was so much better than seeing images of women giving up their stockings and tending to their “Victory Gardens” for the cause.!.jpg

Credit for image: J. Howard Miller

From the Wikipedia page on R the R: Rosie the Riveter became most closely associated with another real woman, Rose Will Monroe, who was born in Pulaski County, Kentucky in 1920 and moved to Michigan during World War II. She worked as a riveter at the Willow Run Aircraft Factory in Ypsilanti, Michigan, building B-29 and B-24 bombers for the U.S. Army Air Forces. Monroe was asked to star in a promotional film about the war effort at home. The song “Rosie the Riveter” was popular at the time,[2] and Monroe happened to best fit the description of the worker depicted in the song.[19] “Rosie” went on to become perhaps the most widely recognized icon of that era. The films and posters she appeared in were used to encourage women to go to work in support of the war effort

…According to the Encyclopedia of American Economic History, “Rosie the Riveter” inspired a social movement that increased the number of working American women from 12 million to 20 million by 1944, a 57% increase from 1940…Although the image of “Rosie the Riveter” reflected the industrial work of welders and riveters during World War II, the majority of working women filled non-factory positions in every sector of the economy. What unified the experiences of these women was that they proved to themselves (and the country) that they could do a “man’s job” and could do it well…During the war, the name “Rosie” was not associated with the image, and it was not about women’s empowerment. It was only later, in the early 1980s, that the Miller poster was rediscovered and became famous, associated with feminism, and often mistakenly called “Rosie The Riveter”.

And a friend just sent me a feature on one of the original “Rosie the Riveters”. She is one impressive woman.

This was my first attempt to see whether my four year old daughter could handle responding to specific posing requests in an outfit not of her own choosing. Gasp! She had to wear….denim.

I’m not gonna lie: a lot of chocolate was involved. Also, I put lipstick on my four year old. But I wisely chose to not go with the cherry red favored by woman of that day. I’m not sure if the chocolate or lipstick was a greater incentive for her.

Now the challenge will be resisting the urge to “meme” this throughout my daughter’s childhood to fit whatever stage she is going through…


March 31, 2014 - 8:15 am

JillVZ - LOVE THIS!!!! So cute!

Another Floridian Christmas

Having grown up in the Midwest, I believe that Christmas should involve snow.  Period. End of story. Too bad for all of you people in tropical climes; your Christmas lacks the very thing that makes it so cozy: COLD WEATHER.:)

However, due to retirement choices made by family members, and the fact that we have two weeks of vacation to kill every December, we have celebrated Christmas for the past several years…in St. Petersburg, Florida. Each year I vow that we will get a real Christmas tree, and each year I find it hard to motivate myself to come back from Florida and sweep up all of the pine needles that would fall to the ground, as our lonely Christmas tree cried itself to sleep each night, wondering where the family was that so eagerly decorated it just a few weeks ago. So we go fake. It’s truly sad.

Another thing I’ve vowed to do this year, and am actually following through on, is SIMPLIFYING MY COMPLICATED LIFE.  To that end, I have decided to finally do something with all of the images of my daughter running around in her adorable Matilda Jane outfit in Florida over winter break. I’ve had these sitting on my hard drive for approximately three months, as I wrung my hands about having the energy to Photoshop each and every image (as I do with client work), and found excuses not to open up what were otherwise great images.

Well I say “pssshaw” (or however one spells that word) to that. I encourage people in my photography classes to check out Adobe Lightroom, as it requires absolutely no knowledge of all of that overwhelming Photoshop fanciness. Normally, I start out with an image in Lightroom and then move it over to Photoshop for retouching and final “awesomeness” (i.e. various Photoshop tweaks that form my special sauce). But really, given that there are so many tools in Lightroom, including spot edits, white balance adjustments, cloning, color isolation and tone shifts, and just the magic that is the contrast and curve tweak, why not just run these images through one program and call it a day?

Before Lightroom, und after…

What I had working for me in this photo shoot was my daughter’s personality and the eclectic Matilda Jane set she was wearing.

What I had working against me was an overcast day and the little gifts that the pigeons left behind all over the pier we were racing up and down. Lightroom could deal with the former, with a little warming (beware of the over-saturation of greens and oranges in Lightroom, however, when you warm up and pop what is originally a somewhat dreary lighting situation). Photoshop could deal with the latter, but…eh.


Also, despite the adorable Matilda Jane outfit, my daughter insisted on wearing her trademark “Leper Print” shoes. Pick and choose battles…


All in all, I am pretty pleased with the Lightroom-only results. Perhaps, if I just stick to this regimen a bit more, I might actually get through my trove of family photos at a much faster rate than I have been ever since I became a photographer. Of course, there’s that pesky album-making process, which I cannot even think about right now.

Here are the photos I shot of my son the same day. He got the Photoshop treatment, so you can tell that some of these images pop a bit more. But my daughter gets plenty of special treatment the rest of the time, so I feel no non-Photoshop-treatment guilt.:)



Mamarazzi-Paparazzi Photography Classes Scheduled for January and February 2014

  • Do you always use your DSLR camera on fully automatic settings because you have no idea what the rest of the letters and pictures on the dial mean?
  • Do you know what those numbers on the lens mean?
  • Do you know what the histogram on your LCD is telling you?
  • Do you yearn to get those blurry backgrounds in your photos?
  • Do you use your CF/SD card as a storage place?
  • Do you back up your pictures? Do you know where they are once backed up?
  • Do you have a baby / child / tween / teen / partner / spouse that looks so much better in real life than they do in your photos?
  • Do you post really dark, blah photos on Facebook that look nothing like the scene you saw with your own eyes when you pushed that camera button?

Then leave that family at home and come to the Maya’s Eye Photography Mamarazzi class!  There you will receive tons of information (digested into an easy-to-understand format) that you can take home and apply to your family photography.  Happiness will follow.  Or…at least your photos will be better exposed, composed, and loved.  Classes will be held in Maya’s studio (1136 7th St. NE, Washington DC 20002). Participants will receive “quick tips” for camera bags and a detailed presentation on capturing better images of the important people in your life. And — despite the name — men are always welcome to attend!

Topics covered include:

  • Why Lighting is Key to Good Photos, Even Without a “Nice” Camera
  • Composition
  • Perspective
  • Exposure (i.e. aperture, shutter speed, ISO and what the buttons on your camera actually do)
  • Workflow


$ 105  (includes 2.5 – 3 hour class, camera bag keepers, plus the oh-so-important wine and snacks)


  • Saturday, January 25th, 2014: 1-3:30pm
  • Saturday, February 1st, 2014: 1-3:30pm

To Sign Up:

Send an email to and let me know your preferred date. Payment must be received in advance to hold your spot (i.e. contacting me and telling me that you’re interested does not qualify as reserving a spot).  Payments can be made via check, credit card or PayPal*.

*If paying by check, please make it out to Maya’s Eye Photography and mail it to Maya’s Eye Photography at 1136 7th St. NE, WDC 20002. If by PayPal, please send me  ( the email address to which I should address the PayPal invoice.  If paying by credit card, please call me at 202-670-9470.

My Annual Tradition of “Sleep-Stalking” My Children

While on vacation, I’m catching up on editing personal photos. (Also, I just took A TON of new photos of my children–especially my son–that I still need to get through. I’ll save that editing for the long ride home from Miami.) Every fall, while staying up late to edit client images, I sneak into my kids’ rooms to capture portraits of them sleeping. I only started doing this regularly when my daughter was born, so there are two years missed when my son was one and two–oh well. The bazillion canvases and wood mounts of him floating around the house will just have to do–Mommy still loves you, Baby Boy.

I’m really looking forward to creating some sort of storyboard for each of the kids, years down the road, when I have many more years’ worth of images to arrange chronologically. I think it will be fascinating to watch their little faces change. Maybe I’ll even sneak into my daughter’s room to capture her sleeping as an adult, when she invites me to stay over as a grandmother. I’m guessing that her spouse will find that kind of strange though. Hmmm. Maybe I’ll give it up after I get banned from being anywhere near her room while she’s in high school/college. That seems like an appropriate end to this project, but we’ll see. I’m a determined mother.

My Daughter:

I started out the night by photographing my husband reading a story to my daughter (I also recorded it on video, because I want to be able to pass that onto my daughter one day). I really liked the way the warm night light contrasted with the white/bluer reading light, with the white book pages reflecting light back onto my daughter’s face.

Then, I grabbed the “eyelash shot”:

Washington DC Children

When the images are left in color, they start to look a lot messier, with the distraction of her pajamas and sheets taking away from the features of her face that I want to measure over the years. That’s why I crop tightly and make the image as neutral as possible. Also? Shooting with flash in a dark room doesn’t exactly produce beautiful colors.:)

My Son:

My son doesn’t stop moving much (he’s autistic), so watching him sleep is one of my favorite things to do.:)


Lastly, because I just have to…the Classics: