Tender Look Photography has moved to Joanna Joy Photography!

Tender Look Photography has rebranded and moved to a new website!  (I left this old site up because I'm sentimental that way and love to flip through old photos for a trip down memory lane!)  The new site has fresh look but the same love of natural photos - documenting wedding days,  capturing family relationships for gorgeous wall prints. . . Visit Joanna Joy Photography to view current pricing, recent weddings, and tons of helpful wedding planning advise on the new blog!



I am: the mother of 3 rough and tumble boys and one baby princess. I am wife to a man who still makes me laugh after 18 years.  I am a Christian and I desire to be a blessing to all the couples and families I get to work with - to capture the joy and beauty in their relationships!  I think the most beautiful things in life are not jeweled gowns or fancy ballrooms but a mother's prayers, eyes lit up with love, and laugher that fills the room.


to read my personal blog!

As we go through the year, facing challenges, vacationing, and exploring the world with our cameras, I'll share a bit of that here.  Don't let the ninjas and cowboys scare you away!  There's always a princess with a wand to make everything beautiful!

Payson AZ

Written by Joanna on Saturday, 06 July 2013. Posted in Arizona Hiking

recipe for a great family vacation

Add 3 brothers, wives, and bambinos

Combine in cabin for 3 nights

Add to cabin: a trampoline, tree house, climbing tower, ping pong table, fuse ball table, and basketball hoop

Mix with a large cool swimming hole (ensure waterfalls are present)

Baste on sunscreen and bug repellant

Stuff with marinated grilled meats and other fatty foods

If able, stuff with freshly made fudge from a local provider

Turn up volume as needed (only shush laugher when neighbors complain)

Turn off all electronics if possible (if impossible bemoan the state of our youth and society as a whole for it's dependance on facebook etc. do this loudly and frequently)

Upon vacation completion, garnish with a rowdy group cheer 

Photo of the Day || Fresh Ink

Written by Joanna on Friday, 21 June 2013. Posted in Photo of the Day

an artist at work

Photo of the Day || Game On

Written by Joanna on Friday, 21 June 2013. Posted in Photo of the Day

the summer hibernation habits of Arizona Boys

Happy Birthday Mathias!

Written by Joanna on Friday, 21 June 2013.

Jump Street

Mathias turned 13!  Last year we went to Mud Mania - this year we opted for Jump Street on 59th Ave and Glendale.  The party boys worked up a sweat at trampoline dodgeball and practiced their slam dunks on the trampoline hoops.  Eliya and a friend enjoyed the little tyke area (yes they dragged me out there - now I'm shopping craigslist for a 17 fter ha - too much fun.) Austin was backflipping on the big trampolines - awesome.

This was not a Pinterest party with homemade decor and favors.  (see Amber's My Little Pony party.)  In true 13 year old fashion - we had pizza and cheetos and played basketball with a soccer ball.  The cooler of ice was dumped on the birthday boy and we ended the sweltering afternoon with popsicles.  

Happy Mother's Day!

Written by Joanna on Friday, 21 June 2013.

Best Mother In Law Ever

We made a trip to Tucson to visit my husband's mother on Mother's Day.  My brother and sister in law opened their home for a lovely family dinner.  Nothing beats Josh and his grill - so yummy.  And I think I discovered were Eliya gets her dramatic expressions from . . . Nana!  These two are too silly.

Family Date Night

Written by Joanna on Friday, 21 June 2013.

The kids are getting older, with work, photo shoots, basketball practices, etc. we do a lot of running around.  We've been trying to take more time as a family to just spend time all together.  Not all family "date nights" are fancy or expensive - sometimes just a simple walk to the park.  Eliya however believes date night means dress up.  Maybe she's watched Mommy dress up for her date night?  This Friday she insisted on some bling in her hair, a jeweled purse, and fashion must-have Hello Kitty shoes.   

Boys will be Boys || Seussical the Musical

on Friday, 21 June 2013. Posted in Boys will be Boys

The Cat in the Hat

Danny Joe's class preformed Seussical the Musical.  Guess who was Thing 2?

Photo of the Day || Call me a Cab!

Written by Joanna on Tuesday, 07 May 2013.

Apache Taxi

Today I got to mix my two jobs - Apache Taxi and Tender Look Photography.  My husband does graphic and IT work for Apache Taxi.  The fleet is so often on the road we didn't have photos of the cars.  I was asked to shoot a few pictures at the yard.  Functional and practical but not scenic . . .  I grabbed the keys to a Prius and took a spin around Tempe.  Don't laugh - it took me a several minutes to figure out how to start the car!  Then I was slightly terrified someone would flag me down for a ride - I'm not exactly sure what to do with the meter . . . ha.  I need to stick to the office!  

Princess Post || Baby Sister goes Bad

Written by Joanna on Tuesday, 07 May 2013. Posted in Princess Posts

Children's Lifestyle Photography

I'm trying to raise a little lady - honestly I am - but despite my best efforts she is undoubtedly influenced by her 3 big brothers!  Baby sister can open a can of whoop like no'body's bizness.  Shooting out the ceiling fans is second nature for these two buddies. (yes that is a sword tucked in the back of her t-shirt - cuz when you run out of ammo you need a plan B!)  PS None of these images were posed - literally shot fast from the hip as the war zone broke out.

Princess Post || Swinging in the Trees

Written by Joanna on Saturday, 20 April 2013. Posted in Princess Posts

Just a regular day for my little monkey - she could swing through the trees for hours!!

Tucson 4th Ave Street Fair

Written by Joanna on Saturday, 20 April 2013.

We joined the cousins in Tucson to browse the street fair.  To keep thing interesting we created a Scavenger Hunt before leaving.  In teams of two we scouted the fair to mark our list. Here's a little sample  


a child on a leash

adult wearing a ballon hat

a rainbow with a unicorn


"that guy is my hero" award

"too cool for school" award

"regretesty" award


photo with a statue

photo with someone in uniform

photo of a 3 person pyrmid

I don't have the pics from the kids phones but Isaiah was photographed roaring with a lion stature, my youngest son was photographed with a policeman, everyone got pictures of raindow crafts - though we are still debating the tackiest award!  It was a beauiful day - packed with people and packed with talented artists! and if you were wanting fried food there was lots of that too!

Photo of the Day || School Spirit

on Saturday, 20 April 2013. Posted in Photo of the Day, Boys will be Boys

Boys will be Boys

There are no limits to the things a class will do to win a pizza party!!  A week full of spirit: Crazy Hair Day, Neon Day, Mustache Day . . .

Princess Post || En Plein Air

Written by Joanna on Thursday, 21 March 2013. Posted in Princess Posts

Children's Lifestyle Photography

Part of a girl's education used to include music and the arts.  As spring starts to peep through winter, I spied out my kitchen window two artists painting en plein air.  I believe the final project was a portrait of a zombie - not sure where that inspiration came from but the rendering was amusing. :)

Princess Post || Carry Me Please

Written by Joanna on Thursday, 07 March 2013. Posted in Princess Posts

I put up a little fuss and insisted on dragging the family out for a hike for "family time".  I spent the first bit of the walk yakking on the phone with Amber and my husband giving me looks - like "you drag us out here for a walk and then you spend all this time on the phone???"  Note to self - turn the phone off.  Leave it at home. 

My choice of hike location was a bit of a dud - I was expecting a bit of spring green but seriously only encountred drab grey yucky hide-the-bodies-behind-that-bush type of landscapes.  Urgh.  However, I did get to see a bit of darling.  My big boy rescued little sis from scratchy stickers.  Knight in Shining Armour - way to go Isaiah!  Then prissy princess had to ride on Dad's shoulders.  Not sure if her dainty feet touched the ground much this hike . . .

Photo of the Day || Winter Wonderland

on Sunday, 03 March 2013. Posted in Photo of the Day

We are a family of six in a rather little house.  If I can have a tiny space of "pretty" I'm happy.  Viola, a bit of winter wonderland on my sideboard.

Princess Post || Docternarian

on Sunday, 03 March 2013. Posted in Princess Posts

Children's Lifestyle Photography

First her daughter was getting a makeover, then when I returned to the room, I saw potions being created.  I asked what she was doing and she replied she is a "docternarian!"  Well.  I'm a proud mama.  A "docternarian" in the family - what an accomplishment!!

She patched up her daughter and dragged her outside for a photo.  The latest craze in this household, much to my dismay, is photobombing.  Sheesh.  I was telling DJ to get out of the picture, but Eliya announced he could stay because this was a "family picture."  So cute!  I think they crouch because I do?  not sure why but it had me laughing!  

Next she drags some chairs to the sidewalk saying she wants me to do a portrait of her and her daughter.  That set up is promptly photobombed by obnoxious brothers.  Yes, there are monkeys in every family. 

Boys will be Boys || 'Round the World

on Sunday, 03 March 2013. Posted in Boys will be Boys

Children's Lifestyle Photography

"I went all the way around the world, 3 times in a row, without even letting the other people have a turn!  Three games straight - while Danny was dancing!!"

Mathias has a great afternoon playing basketball - didn't let little bro even get a shot off!!  My favorite part though was watching the retelling of the action to Dad when he got home from work.  

Princess Post || Purple Puzzles

on Sunday, 03 March 2013.

Children's Lifestyle Photography

Friday's are my "off day" and we always try to squeak in a bit of mommy/daughter time.  A trip to the library is always a hit with both of us!

Princess Post || Rain Rain Go Away

on Friday, 08 February 2013.

Children's Lifestyle Photography

My daughter keeps asking when it's going to snow.  Sorry baby - in Phoenix the most we get is a dreary cold rain.  After 3 straight days of rain I was ready for some sunshine!!  But the umbrellas and rubber boots got put to use and these two princesses from neighboring kingdoms frolicked in the puddles.  They staged an impromptu fashion show on my front walk and those final pics are the "end of runway" poses - too funny.  PS their mother's don't dress them funny - we just allow their unique sense of style to have full reign! :P

My Little Pony Party - a How To guide

on Sunday, 18 November 2012.

Happy Birthday Mikki!

Amber, TLP photographer and fellow theme addict,  threw a My Little Pony theme party for Michela.  Eliya was invited and I was inspired to take a few notes.  (see additional details and read more about the party on Amber's website www.twopeasinapodphotography.com)

My Little Pony Party Tips: 

Have your talented mother draw a retro pony for "Pin the Tale on the Pony"

Hang rainbow colored streamers and ballons EVERYWHERE!

Buy several spools of rainbow ribbon and go wild.

Have your talented sister-in-law craft an adorable rainbow pin for the birthday girl.  It'll bring magic to her smile. :)

Invite giggly friends who happen to love games involving sugary donuts.

Be sure these friends think Frutti Loop necklaces are just fab. (cause they'll start the day by making their own . . . and end the day eating it!)

Search pinterst for rainbow foods - no "rainbow" is not a food group but fruit skewers will work just fine!

Finally, haul out the camera and enjoy the cuteness and magic of being 4!  

PS Michela was very much the little lady - greeting guests at the door, sharing her toys, giving hugs good bye, saying her thank yous, and overall topping the sweetness charts.

Happy Birthday Mikki!  Thank you for letting me come to your party!

Basketball Practice

on Monday, 27 August 2012.

Event Photography

My husband was watching me put up this blog post today.  He's like "honey, you've got too much personal stuff on that blog.  You look like a busy mom with a ton of kids."  (I was reminded of the Mr. Obvious Man comics - ha)  It's not news that I'm a mom with a ton of kids.  I am so blessed to be able to add a bit of variety and shoot events besides weddings.

I love hauling out the camera and doing something different.  I won't tell you how many shots it took to get that ball swishing out the hoop or how many it took to get the flare near the empty basket at the close of practice.  I will tell you how fun it was to watch the boys play like they were in the stadium with the paparazzi flashes lighting up the building - acting all nonchalant in front of the camera.

The Beautiful Game

Written by Joanna on Sunday, 29 July 2012.

Personal Photo Challenge

I'm not a purest - I'm fine with soccer in a gym - I'll take A/C over grass any day!  The one drawback though is the lighting - a huge photo challenge.  I've avoided it all season but finally on the last game I had to at least try to take a few.  My son has enjoyed playing so much I wanted to snap a bit of that.  My challenge:  A gym with a ceiling a gazillion feet tall, low light, and then throw in soccer playing kiddos.

Soccer is not the easiest sport to shoot - football (my personal fav) is great.  You can anticipate what's going to happen (esp. if you know the team and players) plus there is contact and a clear line of action.  Basketball - just focus under that hoop.  Soccer - it's tough to capture the kicks and passes and near misses!  I'll get more practice - the plan is to sign up for another league this fall!

It's so cute how much he enjoys this.  He suits up at least two hours before and literally counts down the days until his next game or the hours until practice.  I was very impressed with the head coach of this program.  Very involved with all the kids, kept it fun and fair.

We were short a few kids so coach played today.  DJ scored two goals - I captured neither.  (Fail Mom Fail!!)  After the goal, instead of flashing me the huge grin, he turns with his teammate and runs down the court ready to do it again.  Sheesh.  He began the season hanging back a bit.  At home, he's a mad man playing his big brothers.  He plays with so much attitude most home games end up someone in tears (usually him cuz big bros retaliate with force).  With this team it took him a few games to get comfortable and involved.  Shooting this like a wedding - it was a marriage of enthusiasm and awkwardness, skill and confusion, and of course all fun and games!!

Photo of the Day || Three Amigos

Written by Joanna on Wednesday, 25 July 2012. Posted in Photo of the Day

I haven't read enough parenting books to know the answer but my boys are not always the best of friends. (that's why I love this pic!)  Many times I am more "referee" and not so much "mom".  I saw a National Geographic documentary about lion cubs - fighting for their territory etc.  That's my boys!

Lately I've taken less pictures of them playing and more pictures of them playing for the camera.  They've made it a game - "Mom get me smashing the water balloons!"  "did you get that cannonball??"  "take a picture of this!!"  "did you get it?? let me see!!"  "let's try that again!"  Definitely more fun now!  I get to join in the fun instead of just watching through the lens!

Family Road Trip

Written by Amber on Tuesday, 24 July 2012.

Idaho Spuds

A few weeks ago my parents, brother, sister-in-law and my little family heading to our home state Idaho for a road trip. We did lots of driving from town to town. Showing our newest family members where we all grew up. It had been a good 8 years since I had been back to Idaho.  It sure did my heart good to see my dear family members, smell the fresh Idaho air, see red barns, and drink in the rolling hills of farm land. I am a counrty girl at heart what can I say.

Here is a mix of my phone camera pics and regular pictures I took during our road trip.

Here is Mikayla in front of my Great Grandparents 1st home where my dear Grandma grew up. ( I love that door sooooooo much )

My cowboy playing by the old farm house

A family Favorite ...Arctic Circle .50 cent ice cream cones

Summer time love

Nevada clouds and the joys of unpacking

Excellent Escalante

Written by Joanna on Monday, 23 July 2012.

A Day in the Life of a Child

Is it friends and family?  Or my friends ARE my family!  Another lovely afternoon enjoying the pool.

DIY Ghetto Kite Step-By-Step

Written by Joanna on Monday, 23 July 2012.

Amature Kite Construction

It's monsoon season but we haven't had much rain - just one haboob after another.  Normally I don't tell my children to go fly a kite in the storm (I'm not exactly raising Franklin here . . ) But this wind storm the kids wanted to fly a kite so they made their own.

Supplies for kite #1:

saw (why? because it's dangerous and just snapping a twig isn't as much fun!)



discarded plastic

duct tape

Supplies for kite #2 (this kite also functions as a movable punching bag):

discarded fishing pole (for twine)

clean trash bag

Splish Splash

on Monday, 16 July 2012.

Tempe Children's Photographer

Warning:  today's post features more Eliya photos.

Flood irrigation is on a two week schedule through the summer so that means splash fun every other Sunday!  Yes I've taken splash pics before but it's cute every time.  and she's too young to use my camera and take photos of me splashing in the water so I'm stuck being the photographer.  which in this case is not as much fun as splashing.  or racing through puddles. or kicking and stomping. or just running around in a pink tutu.  that never gets old!

Rio Salado || Urban Hiking Pt.1

Written by Joanna on Monday, 09 July 2012. Posted in Arizona Hiking

Hiking Tips

In a previous blog post, I had visited a new location.  Deserted and eery in the middle of a dust storm, I hadn't ventured too far.  This Saturday, I walked the trails with a friend.  We used to hike the Maine woods together with no fear.  Since then my buddy has become amazingly citified!  This hike was surprisingly deserted.  I expected more traffic on these trails.  We walked for maybe 2 hrs and only saw two transients under the bridges.  My recommendations:

Stay away from bridges.

Don't hike this alone.

The bike trails are great. (though a bit boring on foot)

The rocky paths by the water are more fun (but you might go to focus on some sunflowers and find someone in the bushes!)

Remember the bears are as scared of you as you are of them.

Don't sleep in.  Hiking from 8-10 in July is not advised. I don't care how much coffee you had.

Wear sunscreen.  Always.  Those freckles that are "angels with umbrellas protecting you skin" need help sometimes.

Socks prevent blisters.  This is a known fact.  I don't care if your toes are claustrophobic.  Wear socks.

A yummy breakfast erases all discomfort.  Three cheers to Joe's Breakfast Dinner.

Home of the Free

Written by Joanna on Monday, 09 July 2012.

When I think 4th of July, I think family, food, fireworks, country music, flags waving, and good ol' American pride.  I also remember past 4ths.  Standing in line at the port-at-potty's with a pregnant sister-in-law in sweltering July heat, listening to a country band while the sky explodes over Phoenix. . . Sitting on the GCC lawn listening to "You're My One and Only Vato" while watching a musician amuse the kids juggling swords and bowling balls . . . Waiting for the small town Northern Maine parade to start then later practicing my Miss Potato Blossom wave.

This year, cousins joined us for the show at Tempe Town Lake.  We opted for the "big city" experience and took the lightrail.  The crowds were massive, the lines were long, the show was spectacular.

Photo of the Day || Happy 4th of July

Written by Joanna on Wednesday, 04 July 2012. Posted in Photo of the Day

An Army of My Own

They fought for freedom.  They fought for independence. . . and if I let them, I'm sure they would fight for the right to play with explosives!  This 4th of July be safe and have a great holiday!

(*cardboard armor patent pending)

Make a Wish

on Tuesday, 26 June 2012.

Event Photography

So I don't get ruby bracelets and dinner at the Buttes for my birthday anymore (that was so 4 kids ago!!)  This year my husband asked me what I wanted for my birthday.  I don't like the birthdays to be all about getting, I'd like my kids to learn to give a little.  I said "I'd like you and the kids to make me a cake."

I'm at work and get a call.

"Where do I find the oil?"

"By the stove."

"That's Canola Oil, I need Vegtable Oil."

"Humm, honey, it's the same you can use canola."

"I have to put 1/2 cup oil in this??"  (surprise and disgust in his voice.  he's been dieting and eating a lot of salads.)

"Yes, that's where the calories come from.  You knew that right?"

A few minutes later, another call.

"How long do I cook it?"

"Babe, it's a mix.  It should say on the box."

"Oh.  Ok.  But I need toothpicks."

"You can bake a cake without toothpicks."

I maybe should have warned him to let the cake cool before frosting it. . . Nope.  It was more fun this way!  Better then any Tammy Coe or Sprinkles creation.  That would have been too easy!  I think this will be a new tradition.  Nothing could have made me smile more!  I had been expecting the kids to make it.  He grills, makes omelets, roast chicken, etc. but apparently this was his first cake. :)

Pool Time Summer Time

on Tuesday, 26 June 2012.

Strange Fact:  I don't know how to swim.  Why not?? Well, I grew up in the frozen north.  The lake would thaw for maybe 2 months and even then it was very cold!  well it was swimable for crazy people but mostly too cold for my chicken heart!  (On a side note - my sisters enjoyed ice fishing . . . I never understood that!  Sitting in the cold waiting for fish??)  So happy to live in Arizona where all the pools are heated and the only ice fish see is at the meat market!

As a parent, I've made it a point to be sure my children grow up knowing how to swim.  This little guy is almost there.  He's at that awkward stage where he keeps his face down the whole time so can only swim as long as he can hold his breath then he stops.  We're still working on it and spending as much time in the water as possible!

My friend laughs at me when I try to coach him. "How can you teach him how to swim when you can't swim??"  Well, I can quote enough instructors "red light green light kick those legs!" "let me see some superman arms!"

*for those of you who think Eliya always takes a cute picture.  Ha.  Here's the little stinker with the cheeso "my mom is a photographer" smile.

Behind Every Bush is the Boogie Man

Written by Joanna on Tuesday, 19 June 2012.

Adventures in photography

I was browsing a blog and a location was mentioned.  Well, location scouting can take hours of work - either aimlessly driving around or panning google maps is hopes of spotting something green.  That's how we do it here in AZ - waaayyy too hot to be cruising around for hours trying to find a patch of green lawn.  Yeah yeah we like to pretend we live back east where things actually grow.  It's sometimes a very hopeless effort but folks love a portrait with trees in it so we can't always do edgy urban buildings or sunset deserts.

Anywhoo I grabbed my camera and headed out.  Hot on the trail of what might prove to be a good lead.  Investigative scouting here we go!  I hit the freeway - it's an hour before sunset, I'm thinking I'll get some pretty light.  haha.  not so fast.  Do you know what a haboob is??  Yuppers.  A huge dust storm.  The wind is blowing and the sky is very very dusty.  I'm not quite in the center of the storm but it looks purty ugly.  I persevre.  I'm on the road anyway, might as well check this place out.

I wasn't raised with a TV in our home and horror movies where not considered family entertainment so I've led a pretty sheltered life.  However, I have read the newspapers enough to be convinced that dead bodies are always in the river beds.  Drug lord kills - on the river banks.  Murdered bodies that need to be hidden? sure, the river bed.  Perfect hiding spot.

Today's location, the Rio Salado Habitat Restoration area, was creeping me out.  There was no one there but me.  Long grasses blowing in the breezes.  Very windy, deserted, and full of bushes, a dark dusty sky. . .  Once while visiting the Rio Grande, we were walking by the river.  Suddenly the bushes moved and someone who had been sleeping/camping there stepped out.  Now I see folks popping out of bushes all the time.  I think I'm just super jumpy and protective of my camera.  Seriously, I don't care about my safety but if you try to touch my camera . . . uh uh.  The Restoration area is close to downtown and not the best part of town so I was aware enough to be careful where I wandered.

I did see enough to perk my interest and will definitely go back for a hike/walk with family or friends to explore!  There looked to be quite a few trails and lots of pretty green areas.  Potential for sure!  Below is a peek under the bridge and the junk yard across the street . . . the restoration really stands out in contrast!  What a wonderful makeover project for a neglected piece of land.

Photo of the Day || Summer Red

Written by Joanna on Tuesday, 19 June 2012. Posted in Photo of the Day

What says summer?  Geraniums on the front porch. My mom always had geraniums on the porch.  In honor of my mom, I bravely planted one and crossed my fingers hoping it would last more then a few months (the average lifespan of my plants.)  My lovely big potted plant was mashed almost to death - you see it stood in the front yard in direct line of fire of fierce soccer games.  I almost trashed it but a little sliver of healthy green prompted me to relocate it to the backyard and give it another chance.  My two littlest kids were given the task of watering it daily and they have nursed it back to life!

More summer fun . . . Messy haired blondies pedaling up the street.  There's no stopping these two!  Don't even try to slow them down!

Photo Challenge || Backyard Bokeh

Written by Joanna on Tuesday, 19 June 2012.

Explore your backyard and capture something dreamy!  Post to our flickr group.  If you haven't joined yet, email me for an invite.

This is the view from my porch swing.  I actually shot this sitting on the swing.  Sitting in the shade peeking over the lantana covered fence into the sky and listening to the birds chirp.  It's just lovely.  Absolute favorite spot to sit.

Photo of the Day || Farm Fresh Eggs

Written by Joanna on Tuesday, 19 June 2012. Posted in Photo of the Day

We live in the middle of Tempe Arizona - hardly a rural town!  (I think it took a week after moving to adjust to sirens - police and fire, and oh yeah the noise of the lightrail too. . .) However, we are blessed to live in an irrigated community.  Ei. my husband gets to play farm worker and open the gates to channel with water for the original water canals into our yard for local flood irrigation.  This means our neighbor is full of large trees and lot of vegetation - unusual for Phoenix where gravel "lawns" are the norm!  I've loved the country feel of this neighborhood.  Several of our neighbors even have chickens and have shared some fresh eggs with us.

This is pic is just additional proof that God creates the best color schemes.  Feast your eyes.

Mud Mania

Written by Joanna on Tuesday, 19 June 2012.

Boys will be Boys

Only bad moms deliberately allow their children to immerse themselves completely in mud simply for the pure joy of getting truly filthy.  The novelty of squish squishing in ooze . . . OK maybe we can spin this and say it's only good moms challenging their children to experience new things that allow this type of shananigans to go on.

We celebrated a birthday in all boy fabness.  Mud Mania 2012 at Chapparel Park in Scottsdale AZ.  Kudos to the other parents who waited through Disney-like lines to watch in total grossness the mess that was their children.  Actually, I did get a thrill watching them get hosed down.  I seriously need one of those super soakers in my backyard - I think every mother of sons at one time or another just hoses her kids down in the yard before allowing them back in the house.

DIY Owl Pillow Step-By-Step

Written by Amber on Monday, 18 June 2012.

Gettin' Crafty

I somehow managed to find myself doing some kind of craft every week (this is not necessarily a good thing) . I honestly put the blame on Pinterest that my dishes don't always make it to thier rightful place in the cupboards.  Instead, they simply stay in the dishwasher till I need them again.  This last week I was busy sewing a owl pillow for a good friend. She had come over to my house for a visit and fell in love with one of the owl pillows I made last summer.  I really did not know what I was getting myself into when I agreed to make her one.  I am no seamstress and don't put a whole lot effort into how straight my seams are. No one really notices and my pillows pretty much end up getting sat on,  tossed to the floor, or often I re-sew it because I found a special vintage fabric at the Goodwill.  I'm more of a ........this looks like it's even, pin it together, sew it with confidance and hope that it all works itself out somewhere between the stuffing and final iron job :P BUT, sewing for someone else is whole 'nother thing....... So I bit the nail and attempted to make my friend's owl pillow properly and make sure everything was in proportion and well measured out. Since this is rare I pull out my phone camera and document this new craft adventure!!

  • Body and Belly are made from your choice of fabric
  • Eyes and nose are made from felt of your choice of color and your favorite type of button.
  • Stuffing or foam

Design your owls body that you would like him to have. Make sure you include your 1/2 inch seem. Design his beak. and cut both out.

Design his belly. I had made it to long and trimmed it off the top to fit his body better.

For the eyes I used items around the house to get the perfect circle

Put it all together and play with it till you get a feel to how you would like his face to look.  I like to zigzag over the felt for a more finished look but it's up to you.

Button love for the eyes.  Play around till you get the expression you would like him to have.

Now that his face and belly is sewn. Turn him  wrong side out pin together, take a deep breath and go for it!!

You really won't know what he will look like till you start stuffing him. I think stuffing is the hardest and what takes the longest to do.  You have to stuff till you can't stuff any more. You really have to work at it till he starts to take form. Don't give up right away. Keep working it and it comes together!

Hand stitch the bottom together and you are done! A cute addition to your home! Happy Sewing!!

Poolside for the Weekend

on Wednesday, 30 May 2012.

Memorial Day with Family and Friends

My sister stopped in to visit this past weekend (these are her toesies) We visited a friend and enjoyed the pool - what a lovely way to relax and chat!  Watching the kids play in the pool, munching watermelon . . . so sweet . . . This color combo just speaks summer!

Photo Challenge || It's the Little Things

Written by Joanna on Friday, 25 May 2012.

Domestic Still Life

We've been adding a lot of blogging to this site recently and we're adding one more feature!  Shooting scheduled sessions is always nice but sometimes just dragging out the camera and playing around is just plain ol' no pressure fun.  Through the summer, when it's too hot to shoot much outside in the Phoenix heat, we'll start posting some personal photo challenges.

This week take a look around the house and snap a domestic still life.  A little vignette that makes you smile and feels like home.  To me homecooked meals mean home.  Chicken stew on Christmas Eve, summer BBQs with cousins, smoothie breakfasts on the porch swing . . .  I'm also a collector of white ceramics.  I once helped unload a box for a vendor at a local swap meet and scored a collection of beautiful large white bowls!  (My mom is a garage-sale and she instilled the love of treasure hunting in me!)

I'm not sure yet how you can share your photo, but I think I'll post a flickr group and we can all share our challenge photos there.  I'll post sharing instructions soon.  For now, take the challenge and appreciate the little things at home!

UPDATE: email me at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it to request an invite to join our flickr group.  We'll be sharing our photo entries at http://www.flickr.com/groups/tenderlookphotography/

Pet or Prop?

Written by Amber on Tuesday, 22 May 2012.

A name for the Bunny........

Yes he really let me put a bow tie on him. Put him in a basket and would hold any pose that I put him in! He is a dream come true! The perfect prop! He lets my kids hug, kiss, hold him all day long,  well it's more like I do those things to him! But, only when my husband isn't looking! We haven't even had him a week and we are in love already! Mikayla loves his nose and Markus loves how he smells. I love how he snuggles into my neck and falls asleep. The only thing missing is his name.  We need some ideas on what to name him? I'm doing a contest for a cute name for our newest member of the family. The person who's name we pick will get a little surprise in the mail!

Sweet Sedona

on Sunday, 20 May 2012.

Most Beautiful Place on Earth

Ok really just it's the most beautiful place within driving distance of Phoenix.  If you need to choose only one between the Grand Canyon and Sedona - visit Sedona.

A cousin of mine recently moved to the area and her sister was out visiting.  We made it a party and took the kids to Oak Creek.  They threw mud around, splashed round, and ran around.  There were two weddings at that same Park. I did run into one bridal party - everyone was wearing Red Converse!  I resisted the urge to stop the bride and grab a shot though one day shooting a wedding at Cathedral Rock would be too beautiful!  This time with order of the day consisted of protecting my camera from water and protecting my munchkins from sunburn.

Instagrams of Spring

Written by Amber on Saturday, 19 May 2012.

My new favorite thing to do is capture our happy moments of day to day life with my camera phone. I love how easy intagram has made it for me to edited a favorite image I just took and share it with my family and friends. Here is month of us enjoying the last few days of spring!

Save the Peaches

Written by Joanna on Saturday, 19 May 2012.

Warrior for the Cause

Last year was our first spring in this home.  Eliya would sample the peaches everyday and they were always a little too raw.  The day they ripened the birds literally stripped the tree and ate all the fruit!!  I didn't get a single ripened peach last year!  This year we are planning to protect the tree and throw a net over it to stop the birds.

Mathias, my early riser, manged to craft a bow and arrow out of duck tape and bamboo - all before breakfast!!  He claims it's very accurate and proceeded to demonstrate (promptly losing his arrow in the bushes.)  I don't know how much protection it will be against birds but I'm hoping for some ripe peaches this year!

Pool Peek A Boo

Written by Joanna on Friday, 18 May 2012.

Mommy's Pool Princess

Though technically it isn't summer yet - but here in Phoenix any day is an excuse to hit the pool!

Remember how I said she loves to have be picture taken?  Whenever I'm focusing on something, she'll just pop her wee face in front of the camera!  Absolutely must be the center of attention!

Snuggle Bunny

Written by Joanna on Friday, 18 May 2012.

Mommy's Little Shopper

Thursday is my day off and I love to spend it with my little girl.  We do piles of laundry and then go shopping.  She loves to fill the cart!  Today she snagged this pint size pillow pet.  She also enjoys having her picture taken and always runs up to the camera to check her shot!

Tonight she passed out early on the sofa and her brother passed out early too . . . guess which one is sleeping with the bunny??  Yup - her big brother!  Turning 12 this month -  he's my softy and it's too cute that he's snuggling with her bunny!  However he also builds weapons in his free time so I dare not post any photos as evidence . . .

Mommy's Treat

Written by Joanna on Thursday, 17 May 2012.

Water Balloons with No Instructions

My baby girl had a birthday party to attend at a water park across town on Saturday.  This left my boys home for most of the day with no mom.  Poor darlings!  They had to make their own PB and Js.  I took pity on them and brought back a package of water balloons and some favorite sour candy. I snatched up my camera and joined the fun!

Second to wedding photography, I love sports photography.  Attempting to capture Water Balloon Baseball as the sunset was a challenge!  And of course Water Balloon Dodge-Ball was difficult to watch.  I don't think any protective Mama Bear is a dogde-ball fan. . .  The biggest challenge though was keeping the camera dry during the Water Balloon Cymbol performance!!