Wednesday, August 31, 2016

my must have photography supplies

Taking photos has forever changed my creative routine, my way of seeing, my inspiration and the way that I live everyday life. My camera has become a tool for making art, finding inspiration for my art, documenting moments and capturing beauty in the everyday things. Something I get asked A LOT is what kind of photo/video equipment so I've put together all of my photography equipment and gear that I use.

I use photography to document my art, to capture photos for my blog, to share things on social media, for my classes and as a way to capture inspiration around me. Basically, I spend a lot of time taking photos for my creative business which means I really need good reliable gear! Back when I was starting out (and I had no budget), I simply used a digital point and shoot camera. But as my blog and business grew, I needed better equipment. I remember when I splurged on my first DSRL camera a Cannon Rebel- it was so exciting! Since then I've built up my collection of cameras and below is what I use.

1. These days I use my iPhone to take photos most of the time, especially when I am on the go. Smart phones these days take amazing photos and since they are portable and easy to throw in a bag, I find myself relying on my phone more than any other equipment. 

2. I love my Cannon Rebel! My first one broke and I liked it so much that I purchased another one. Even through this is considered a beginner camera, I love the Cannon Rebel because it is really simple, easy to use and a great quality camera. I use a DSLR camera when I am creating online classes or shooting photos for blog content. I like the ability to use a variety of lenses to capture details, unique angles and close up photos.

3. I also have a Cannon 7D which is a great mid range camera that has lots of features. While I love shooting photos and video with this camera, it's really heavy so it's more of a challenge to take on the go.

4. Once in a while I still pull out my digital point and shoot, a Cannon PowerShot ELPH.

A big part of my creative business is all about creating online classes and since I do this alone, I need a good camera that is easy to use. A couple of years ago, I saved up for a quality camcorder that I only use to film class content. Above is what I use and I really love this camera. It is simple (I like simple), great quality and is packed with a lot of pro features.

Back when I started creating online classes I had no idea what I was doing and I had to figure everything out through trial and error! 

1. Since I film and photograph so much class and blog content by myself, I MUST HAVE a good quality tripod. I used a lateral tripod so that I can position my camera above my work space and film/shoot downward. I use the Oben lateral tripod and while it's a little expensive, it has been so worth it!

2. I also need to be able to twist, turn and orient my camera while it's attached to the tripod so I use Oben ball head that attaches to my tripod. This attachment might look simple but it has changed my life. I sit for hours at a table filming videos and this little attachment makes it simple for me to just reach up and twist my camera to the correct angle, instead of having to get up and reposition the tripod. 

3. Something I learned over time is how important good lighting is. I used to only shoot and film in daylight but this process can get really difficult especially when you miss out on good light or when you need to shoot at night! Purchasing soft box lighting completely changed my life! Now I can film and shoot photos late into the night without worry. I own 4 of these lights and depending on the project, I will move and position them in all kinds of different ways.


Most of my photography gets used for my creative business (blog, website, portfolio, marketing) or as inspiration for my artwork and I try to alter, filter and edit as little as possible. My goal is always try and take a photo that needs little to no editing (personal preference).

While there are a variety of wonderful filters and programs for editing, I typically use Adobe Photoshop for my editing. I have been using it for the last 15 years and am comfortable with the program. You do not need to use Photoshop for editing photos- most computers (PC or MAC) come with a simple photo editing program that will give you basic options to alter the brightness, contrast, saturation and hue.

When I do need to edit, I tend to  only crop or brighten up my photos. I have a personal preference for photographs that are clean, bright and have lots of light and contrast to them. Even through I am always trying to take photos that have these qualities- weather, setting and lighting often do not cooperate and I end up doing some corrections in photoshop.

Often my background is not ideal. In the photo above, I needed a good natural light photo of a necklace tutorial so set up my camera on our deck. Our house is distracting and is was not what I wanted for the photo so I used my cropping tool in photoshop to clean things up.

I take lots of my photos with my iPhone and while there are some really cool applications that will alter photos in unique and creative way, I tend to stick to simple editing when using the camera on my phone. I like applications that with simple filters, options for tuning the brightness and contrast and options of cropping my images. These are the my favorite three apps that I use all the time.

Snapseed is my favorite application to use for editing my photos- its SUPER simple and there are all kinds of amazing effects to easily enhance your photos.

Afterlight is my favorite editing application to use. Like Snapseed it is really easy to use and has all kinds of fun filters and effects. 

PicTapGo is a fun application that has some really simple but dynamic filters. You can layer filters and it actually saves your filter preferences and combos so its easy to edit and alter on the go.

What about you guys? Do you have favorite camera equipment or gear?

Monday, August 29, 2016

NEW online class and end of summer SALE!

I've been working hard on new online classes and I am super excited to announce my FALL lineup! This week I am offering an early bird rate on the classes AND this week, I've also got my annual END OF SUMMER SALE on online classes happening over in the shop. Details below!

$15   SALE $10
LIVE September 19th
register for class HERE

There is something so simple and beautiful about creating with ink. In this class we will use my favorite subject: flowers, to explore a variety of expressive techniques. From using brushes to found objects to items from nature, we will experiment with creating dynamic and bold floral ink brush paintings.

$30  SALE $25
LIVE October 3rd
register for class HERE

In this class we are throwing out our pens and pencils and using a brush and watercolors to doodle. We will explore shapes, mark making, lettering, color and more. I will be sharing a variety of simple techniques that will take your doodles to the next level! 

$15   SALE $10
LIVE October 24th
register for class HERE

Who says that art needs to fit inside a square?! I will share a variety of creative techniques and concepts that can be used to transform an embroidery hoop into a unique round piece of art! 

$30   SALE $25
Live November 14th
register for class HERE

I believe that gratitude can completely transform your perspective and make your life better! In my darkest moments, it has been the practice of giving thanks that has truly saved me. There is something even more profound about writing or creating about gratitude. In this class I will be sharing 30 creative and simple art journal prompts, techniques and exercises that will inspire you to pay attention to the all the good things in your life!

$80  SALE $65
register for bundle HERE

Head on over to my shop HERE to view all of my class offerings!

There are many online workshops out there at different prices with different content. Back in 2009, when I decided to offer an online learning option, I set out to create a structure that is similar to taking a "live" class from me.  My mission is to provide an affordable class with a learning environment where you are watching lots of demos, learning techniques and then creating on your own art.

  • I have three different structures of online classes: 
Large Class: These classes are $50 and have 5 HUGE lessons that include videos, photos, written information, prompts and more. My large format classes dive deep into a variety of techniques, projects and information.
    Mini Class: My mini classes cost $30 and have 3 HUGE lessons that include videos, photos, written information, prompts and more. 
    Micro Class: These classes cost $15 and have 1 HUGE lesson that includes videos, photos, written information, prompts and more.
    • My classes are a combination of video learning (with demos, techniques and me talking) and lots of photo steps outs of inspiration, techniques and process.
    • All classes are all filmed in my studio. Since 2009 I have been tweaking my gear and my process with the hope that video/photo content gets better and better. My #1 goal is to provide inspiring lessons and visuals that are easy to understand.
    • My classes do NOT have a required supply list. Instead I share the supplies that I like to use and then give you a variety of options and inspiration to use supplies that work best for your process and your budget.
    • All of my classes have unlimited access which means that once you register you can create and access at any time and work at your own pace. Whenever I "release" a new class- I release each lesson "live". Many people enjoy working in this format, as the lessons are posted each week but once all information gets posted there is unlimited time to access everything. I have found that some people prefer to work along with the live format when I release a new class, while others will wait months until they have the time, money and the schedule to register for the class. Either way works- just know that once you are in- there is no deadline or pressure to create.

    Thursday, August 25, 2016

    Wednesday, August 24, 2016

    blackberry mint s'mores

    The end of August in Oregon is blackberry season and when you have a backyard full of blackberry bushes, you find all kinds of ways to enjoy them! One of my favorite summer treats are s'mores but I love putting a twist on this sweet treat.


    Graham crackers
    White chocolate
    Fresh mint leaves

    Make your s'mores the traditional way and after the marshmallows and chocolate melt, add a handful of blackberries and top with a mint leaf.

    This treat is a perfect combo of sweet and fruity and CRAZY delicious!

    Tuesday, August 23, 2016

    wood rings

    My long time readers will know that I love colorful and funky statement rings! And I love using simple supplies to to make my own. Just about anything small can be transformed into a ring and one my favorites materials are beads.

    With a little paint, wood beads can easily be transformed a unique ring.

    I started by painting the beads a solid color.

    And then added simple and tiny details.

    Once the painted bead is dry, I glued the bead to the ring blank.

    The last step was to add a drop of glue and add a small decorative bead to the hole.

    The result...colorful and funky wood statement rings!

    Looking for more ring inspiration?

    wood burned rings   shrink plastic rings   stone statement ring   faux turquoise ring   colorful clay statement rings   flower rings

    Sunday, August 21, 2016

    new coloring books are here!

    I am so excited to announce that the coloring books I illustrated for Peter Pauper Press are here and I've got them for sale over in the shop HERE.

    Individual books are $5.99.

    But if you purchase all 4 books, I'm throwing in a brand new 5 page coloring download for free! 

    Here is a little peek at the coloring books!

    succulents from Alisa Burke on Vimeo.

    fashion from Alisa Burke on Vimeo.

    seashells from Alisa Burke on Vimeo.

    woodland from Alisa Burke on Vimeo.


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