My Top 17 Photos of 2017

My Top 17 Photos of 2017

I promise I’ll get to my tutorials soon. I am really excited for what I have in store for 2018. For now, I would like to share my top 17 photos of 2017. It was extremely hard to narrow it down. I also included a photo that was taken by my sister, I hope that counts! 2017 was a great year for my photography. I grew leaps and bounds and I hope the same will be true for 2018. Since the first half of 2017 was me anticipating my sons arrival and then the second half was enjoying my sons company, I feel as though 2017 went by so fast. I hope the same isn’t true for 2018, I really want to slow down and enjoy life with my son and husband!

my goals for 2018

Like many others, I have goals for 2018. Some photography related, others aren’t. I decided the best place to write down my goals was on my blog! Then people can keep me accountable!

  1. Project 52 weeks – I am late posting my images, but I am going to start posting one image every week.
  2. Monthly self portrait with my son – I started doing this since month one of my son being born. I have a goal of continuing this into 2018.
  3. Apply for and make ClickPro – This has been a goal of mine for a long time, and I think each year I get that much closer to it. I would really like to be known as a Pro by others. Wish me luck this year!
  4. Write 2-3 blog posts each week – I’ve been slacking!!
  5. Be present – I want to do all of these things, but I also want to be present in my sons life. I want him to remember his momma playing with him, not just always on the computer blogging!

Those are my goals for 2018, what are yours? Writing them down is the best thing to do! I’ll keep you accountable if you keep me accountable!!

my 17 of 2017







Aly Dawn my top 17 of 2017












Letters to My Little One | 6 Month Old

Letters to My Little One | 6 Month Old


Friday, January 12, 2018

To my little peanut,

You’ve been with us for half a year. HALF A YEAR! How is that even possible? It feels like just yesterday we found out we were pregnant with you! I am so happy to have you in my life, I really can’t express how much I love being your mommy. You are amazing. I am so happy I get to watch you grow up.

You can CRAWL! You’ve been army crawling for a while now, but the first week of January you decided army crawling wasn’t good enough and took off crawling everywhere. On top of learning to crawl, you have decided it’s a great time to also start to pull yourself up. When I took you to the pediatrician, she was literally amazed that you could do all of that. I, of course, was proud of you. At your appointment, you weighed 17.4 pounds and were 26″ long. According to the average, you are small. 50th in weight and 25th percentile in height. I love you, anyways!

You have two teeth on the bottom. They are adorable. I love seeing you smile and showing your two teeth off. It’s amazing! Right now you love watching these cute little YouTube shows, reading books, and playing with anything you can get into. Including, of course, things you aren’t supposed to get into, such as cables, wires, cords, and plugs! I have to watch you like a hawk and hide them the best that I can! Please, for me, play with just your toys?

You are also starting to not only pull yourself up, but walk along the furniture as well. Now, I am so proud of you, but please slow down! I don’t want a 7 month old who can walk! 

Another cute thing you are doing this month is giving us kisses. We ask, “Can I have a kiss?” and you will open your mouth and attempt to kiss us. Oh my. A-dor-able! You are also smiling a lot more, which is really cute with your two teeth. You laugh at a lot of things. One of your favorites is funny faces. If someone makes a funny face, you giggle! You also laugh at being tickled and when someone else smiles or laughs at you. You will put on a show for anyone who wants to watch.

You are also started to notice stranger=danger. One time your uncle, who you haven’t seen in a while, came over and you did not want him to hold you! You are also becoming a mommy’s boy. Which is cute and all, but sometimes it’d be nice to let other people hold you. I cherish the time I get holding you, though. Because I know it won’t last forever and I know one day you won’t want mommy to hold you.

I am blessed to be your mommy.

I love you so much!

Love, mommy







read month 1 here
read month 2 here
read month 3 here
read month 4 here
read month 5 here

Letters to My Little One | 5 Month Old

Letters to My Little One | 5 Month Old


Tuesday, December 12, 2017

To my little peanut,

You are adorable. You amaze me almost everyday. You’re starting to want to crawl. You can get on all fours, but you’re not sure what to do after that. It’s adorable. I love how happy you are all the time. You are such an amazing little baby – you really make me proud.

Two little teeth are starting to come in – it’s adorable. I love seeing them. I went from call you ‘toothless’ to calling you ‘toothy’ – you’re too cute! Although, now it hurts for you to chew on my finger. OUCH!

We’re so excited to celebrate your first Christmas this month/year. I know you won’t remember it, but I will. I will forever cherish each Christmas with you! It’s not about the presents, it’s about spending time with those you love. I hope I can teach you that. I hope that one day you will love spending time with your family. I hope one day you will cherish the time you have with us. That’s my wish this Christmas.

You are getting so handsome. I still can’t believe it’s Christmas time and that you’ve almost been with us for half a year. It’s surreal. This time last year, I was announcing that I get to be a mommy. This time last year I was wondering if you were a boy or a girl. This time last year I was excited, yet very nervous about what was going to happen next year. This time last year I was exhausted. But, I won’t hold it against you! My body created such a beautiful baby boy, of course it was tired! It’s crazy to think that this time next year you’ll be about 18 months. You’ll be walking, hopefully talking, and I will be so proud.

You keep growing and developing, little one. I’m watching you with amazement, I can’t believe how far you’ve come, and I’m so excited to see how far you’ll go.

I am blessed to be your mommy.

I love you so much!

Love, mommy


read month 1 here
read month 2 here
read month 3 here
read month 4 here

A Beginner’s Guide to Shooting in Black and White

A Beginner’s Guide to Shooting in Black and White

Black and white is a great tool to use in your photography. It can impact and really take your images to the next level. That being said, there are times when you should convert your images to b&w, and there are times when you should not. Have you ever converted an image to b&w and it just didn’t look the way you wanted it to? Chances are, that image just wasn’t a good candidate. So, let’s dive into what makes an image a good candidate to black and white photography.

check out my 5 Reasons to Convert an Image to B&W post


This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

what makes a good black and white

Let’s really dive into what makes a good b&w. Because, believe it or not, not every image makes for a good black and white. I have 4 reasons images will make a good b&w.

  1. Light – if the light is good, the b&w will most likely be good
  2. Contrast – whether you have high contrast lighting, or your subject is dark against your background, contrast creates a good quality for b&w images
  3. Texture – converting a image to b&w that has awesome texture is a win!
  4. Color – when color isn’t an important part of the story, black and white it is!

reasons to not convert your image to black and white

I believe there are a few reasons why you shouldn’t convert an image to black and white. Not all of these are solid rules, they’re just general guidelines I like to follow in my own black and white.

  1. Flat light – I feel like sometimes we convert our images to black and white because the light isn’t interesting. This is not a good reason. It will leave your black and white looking very flat
  2. Distractions in the background – don’t take an image with distractions in the background, and convert to black and white to try and ‘cover’ up those distractions. You should be removing distractions before you ever press that shutter speed – this is important in any setting
  3. Color – when the color IS important to the story, don’t convert!

a beginner’s guide to shooting in black and white

I want you to consciously think about an image in b&w. Shoot for b&w. Think about ways an image will work if it’s in b&w. You can even turn your camera to a certain setting that actually only shoots in black and white. I’m so nervous to do this, but if you have the guts, do it! It will definitely improve your b&w images! When you shoot with black and white in mind, your images will turn out better.

1. when the light is pretty

I think we sometimes convert our images when the light isn’t beautiful. It should be the other way around! If you have beautiful light in your image, you can bet that the image will look good in b&w. When you are out shooting for b&w, aim to have gorgeous light.

That said, when there isn’t beautiful light, other factors and contribute to a beautiful black and white image that has dull light.

2. contrast

Think about it. You want your black and white images to have contrast. Below, the two images are edited exactly the same way, except for the left has all contrast removed, and none added! Which one looks better to you? Most likely the right one, right? Why is that? It’s because of the contrast! It makes your black and whites look deeper and richer, which is definitely what you want. That being said, if your color edits tend to have a more matte look, then your black and whites should as well. The key here is to stay consistent in your editing.

Black and White Photography Tips and Tricks

3. texture

Images with a lot of texture tend to look good in b&w. Texture could be so much as water droplets on your flowers or even a fluffy rug. Why is texture important in black and white? It helps create a sense of feeling to your viewer. When we incorporate textures into out images, it helps the viewer feel like they are there with us.

4. color

Like I have previously stated, when color doesn’t play an important part, convert to black and white. When would color play an important part? You can use color to compose your images. If you had a blue wall and a girl in pink with a pink balloon, that image wouldn’t look good in b&w, it would look washed out. You need the color to add pop and interest. However, if you have a bunch of brown in your image, like the image below, then converting to b&w can make your image pop more than what it was in color.

A Beginner's Guide to Shooting in Black and White

black and white conversion

Why do you think an image will turn out good in b&w? Please comment below!

Last thing I wanted to say is, if you’re not sure if an image will look good in black and white or not…just convert it and see! I’d love to see your creations, #alydawn_blackandwhite so that I can see and comment on your creations! Happy shooting!

12 Photography Projects to Start in 2018

12 Photography Projects to Start in 2018

Photography projects are probably the best thing you can do for your photography. Especially if you are in a photography rut. I have done a handful of photography projects over the past two years. They have really helped to push my creativity. Some of them I finished, other ones, not so much. But! I keep on keeping on, and that’s what counts, right? I am excited to try these out this next year. As I reflect back on all the photography projects I’ve done, I am so proud of the one’s that I finished. I am also proud of the ones that I got half way through, even doing them half way, I learned so much. So, what are you waiting for? Start a photography project today!

check out my 6 Things I Did That Changed My Photography For the Better post

12 Photography Projects to Start in 2018


This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

photography projects 101

So, first. I want to go into big detail about how it’s totally ok to fail any photography project you start and attempt. I have started and failed a 365 every year for the past three years. But each year I get a little further. This year would have been a winner, if I hadn’t had a baby half way through! I made it 6 whole months. All my other 365’s lasted only a month or two. I call this progress. I don’t want you to feel bad about yourself. That being said, actually completing a photography project really gives you a great confidence boost.

after you complete a project

So, after you complete a project, what should you do? Here’s a few ideas for you…

  • Share on social media – Instagram is a great social media platform to share you photography projects
  • Print your project! Nothing better than seeing your wonderful pictures throughout your house
  • Share on your blog – I do this with my Letters to My Little One project, I’ve been sharing those since 18 weeks in the womb 🙂
  • Start another project!

12 photography projects to do in 2018

1. 365 project

So, I already told you a little bit about my 365 project. But I really did enjoy doing it up until my little man came. I really learned a lot, and my images changed drastically from month to month. Looking back at my January photos to the photos I take now, in December, there is BIG improvement. I highly recommend completing a 365 project. Who’s with me in 2018?

2. black & white

Shoot only black and white images. There is a way to make it so that the images you take, are only black and white. I’m soooo nervous to switch my camera to do this because I love color. However, when you shoot with black and white in mind, think about the light. The light should have depth and dimension in it. Then pick a number, say 10, of how many images of black and white you should take. This will really help you see what makes a good black and white image.

3. one subject, 10 photos

I am itching to do this project. I just have to pick out the perfect subject! So, basically, all you do is pick a subject (an egg, a flower, a toy, anything!) and take 10 different images of it. Get creative. Make each image completely unique. If you try this one out, let me know how you did!

4. work through a book

I need to do this one. There are some great books out there. Like this composition book. I have that one and it is great. So basically, as you read, you practice. The best thing about books is that they’re always there once you buy them. I love adding books to my bookshelf, so if you have any photography book suggestions, please comment below!

5. self portraits

Doing a self portrait project is the perfect way to push your creativity. Not only do you get photos of yourself, but you have to really think and plan out each shot, since you won’t be behind the camera for these. I love doing self portraits. I do them monthly with my son! Make it a monthly goal to get in the picture. Why? Because you were there too. You’re important, too. Don’t forget it!

6. letters to my little one

I love this photography project! I started it when my little was only 18 weeks (in the womb) old. What you do is write a letter to your little one. Tell them how they’ve grown. Tell them what they’ve accomplished that month. Tell them things that they like. This doesn’t just have to be for babies, it could be for older ones, too! But obviously you wouldn’t do as many. You decide the rules here. I do a letter every month for my cute little 5 month old.

7. monthly color grid

I’m doing this one in 2018! Would anyone like to join me? What you do is pick one color each month. For example, January could be light blue, then you strive to take pictures featuring that color. You would take a total of 9 images and make a grid out of it. So fun, right? Let me know in the comments if this sounds like something you’d like to do and I can type of a color prompt list + free printable!

8. monthly grid

I did this project all of 2017. It’s actually a really easy photography project if you’re looking for an easier one. You take images throughout the month. Then at the very end, you pick 9 of your favorites and make a grid from them. I use Blogstomp to make all of my grids. Super quick and easy.

9. project 52

I like to think this one would be an easier one, but I have never tried it! Photography project 52 refers to having 52 weeks in a year. You would take just one photo a week following along some prompts. For example, week one could be a self portrait. I don’t want to fill my plate up with photography projects, but I might consider giving this one a go. Maybe in 2019. There are plenty of project 52 prompts on Pinterest.

10. try something new

For this one, all you have to do is try something new! Try a new genre! Macro, food, still life, lifestyle, dramatic, documentary, so many different genres to choose from. Pick a genre every month and try to get 9 images each month. This one sounds SO fun!

11. still life

Tackle still life photography each month. The only way to get better at it is to practice! What do I mean by still life photography? I am talking about anything that doesn’t have a human or living thing in it. So this could include toys, dishes, books, any object you can think of. Why is this task challenging? Because to make still life photography impactful, you need to give your objects emotion. This photography project is perfect to push your creativity to the max!

12. print out your images

Yes, this counts as a photography project! Print out those images! Finished a project? PRINT THEM OUT! It’s so fun to see your work printed out! You could even make a book of your photography projects. Have fun doing this project. It is a big one, but so worth it!

What is a photography project you have completed in the past and just love? Share it in the comments below! What is a photography project you’ve struggled with? Please leave a comment about it! I’d love to hear.

Happy photography project making!