blogging tips + tricks

Blog Jar : Why Your Blog Needs One

Everyone needs a blog jar. It literally takes seconds to make and only costs about $5.00 – if that! I already had a jar lying around. I use jars for different things like storing my earrings/jewelry. They’re cute and easy to use. All you need to make a blog jar a success is a jar and pieces of paper. That’s it. You have a blog jar, now stuff it with ideas! I am in love with the idea of a blog jar and I have really enjoyed using it for my blog.

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



A blog jar is a jar full of blog post ideas. This is great for those days where you literally can’t think of anything to do (I know we’ve all been there!).  After you have your jar all you need is pieces of paper and blog ideas.

Need help with ideas? Check out my 100 photography blog post ideas to get you started.

Having a blog jar will be one of the best investments you can make for your blog. It will make you a better blogger and, in turn, will help make your blog more successful. I have been using my blog jar and I am in love with it. It’s so easy to sit down, pull a slip of paper out of the jar, and write that post. I absolutely love it! Here are the reasons I came up with why a blog jar is so beneficial.

you’ll never run out of ideas

This is the best part. You get to refill the jar as you go. Think of a blog post? Write it on a piece of paper and put it in the jar. See a list of possible blog post ideas? Write down the ones that inspire you! You have no more excuses for not blogging. And it’s so easy.

keeps your blog interesting

You never know which piece of paper you’ll pull out. It keeps your blog interesting and allows you to have more variety in your posts. All good things. You want your blog to be spontaneous yet controlled, and the blog jar is the best way to do just that!




encourages you to blog consistently

Do you ever find it hard to blog because you can’t think of anything to blog? Well, of course the blog jar would help with that! When you know you will always have something to blog about it will help you be more consistent in your blogging. Which in turn, will help you become a better blogger. Consistency is important when it comes to blogging.

it inspires you

It will help keep you inspired. Since it’s so spontaneous, you’ll have to get creative whenever you do pull out a new slip of paper. I know it’s kept me on my toes.

You will be so amazed the different posts you’ll be able to write now that you have a blog jar. Plus, they’re really cute. I hope this inspires you to create your own blog jar and to blog more consistently! Have a blog post that could be added to the jar? Post it in the comments below, I’d love to hear all about it.


photography tips + tricks

5 Tips to Stay Inspired During the Winter Months

Winter months can be some of the hardest months for photography. If you’re like me, you might get a little unhappy when the sun doesn’t show up for days. I have to look for different ways to stay inspired. These tips will help you stay motivated in the winter months.

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


I think one thing that really helps with winter photography is keeping it in mind when editing. My style is darker in general, so I didn’t really have to change it much. But winter months are dark. If your style is  usually bright, try mixing it up. You might like the result better.

All images in this post were taken with my Nikon D610 and my old 50mm 1.8 lens.

1. go on a photo walk

If it’s not too cold outside, go on a photo walk! It will boost your inspiration because you’ll be photographing new things. If it’s too cold, try to find an indoor location that you can photograph in. Like a museum or aquarium. There are endless possibilities!


2. practice a photography technique

Light can sometimes be hard to find in the winter time. And bad light = no inspiration. Instead of focusing on light (like I usually do), focus on your composition. Focus on texture. Practice free lensing. Practice getting genuine smiles with your children. Practice your self portraits. There are so many different techniques you can practice while waiting for that yummy light to come back.


3. shoot nature

Winter is the perfect time to take nature shots. Why? Because even dead things can be beautiful. And nature + snow = GORGEOUS! Plus you can always go and buy some flowers from the store to macro shoot. I also find that macro works best with soft light, that you so often get in the winter time. Window light on an overcast day can be soooo beautiful. Or even just an overcast day outside can be beautiful for nature shots.


4. read photography material

If you’re anything like me, you probably have a ton of photography materials lying around just waiting for you to read. These photography materials could include a photography book, a Clickin Moms breakout or class material, or even catching up on your favorite blog! Maybe even some YouTube videos. Just pick something to read and then practice what you read!

5. seek the light, but don’t get discouraged when you can’t find it

I mentioned above how bad light = no inspiration. But, the opposite could actually be true! The weeks where there is nothing but overcast skies are the worst. But you can still get good light if you just seek it. OR if you still feel uninspired, you can always create your own light! I’ve gotten creative and used my car headlights in order to mimic that beautiful golden light. And it worked! Get creative and have fun with it.

What are some ways you like to stay inspired in the winter months? Share in the comments below!

photography tips + tricks

Photo Walks : Why They Are Good For Your Photography

Everyone should take photo walks at least once a month. Grab a friend, a spouse, a sibling,  a child, and your camera, and go for that walk! Be sure to tell them ahead of time, so that they know why you’re stopping to capture that beautiful light! All images in this blog post were taken with my old Nikon 50mm 1.8D that also allows me to freelens. I love this lens and it creates the most beautiful bokeh.

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


they help you see the beauty in things

When going for a walk in a new location, it helps you see the beauty in all things. You’ll be looking for the light. The texture. And you won’t be so focused on capturing a photograph perfectly. Photo walks are for you. For you to enjoy your photography and time with a loved one. For you to look around at the world that sometimes seems to be spinning too fast. They’re for you to slow down. Take your time. And just enjoy the beauty.

they allow you to experiment

Have you always wanted to try something new? Always wanted to photograph something new? A photo walk is perfect for that. You’ll be looking for unique things to photograph, which will allow you to experiment. Have you always wanted to freelens? Go for a photo walk and give it a try! Try blurring your images, see if you like the effect. Try photographing different textures that you wouldn’t normally photograph. Experiment and have fun!



they help you relax

When I went for my walk, I had just got home from a long day at work. It was nice and exciting for me to go find the light and take pictures. It was relaxing to talk to my husband (and sister!) and to just have fun. Me + my husband + my camera = bliss. It made that long day at work totally worth it. So, take that photo walk and just relax.

they allow you to photograph something different

I know I was getting stuck in a rut. I would always go in my backyard and I was getting bored. I am pretty sure I’ve photographed all there is to photograph in my backyard. I needed new material. I simply went for a walk in my neighborhood, but I want to take a walk in my city to try and capture even different things. It’s nice to mix up your photos with new locations to help keep you inspired in your photography.


they allow you to have fun

Probably the most important thing out there is to have fun with your photography. Photo walks help you have fun with your photography because of all the items listed above, but also because it’s just you and that camera. Nothing else matters! These photos are strictly for you, to please you, and no one else. You have your camera for a reason, I’m going to bet you actually like taking images with it! So why wouldn’t a photo walk be fun? If you’re getting bored and you’re uninspired, I highly recommend picking up your camera and going somewhere different.

Where are some of your favorite places to take a photo walk? Comment below!




blogging tips + tricks

100 Photography Blog Post Ideas

I know we’ve all had those days where we just can’t think of anything to blog about! I just recently had one of those days. Your photography blog is a place for you to share your insights into photography and to inspire others. But there are just some days where we sit staring at the computer unable to come up with anything good. Well, let me help you out. Keep this list handy for those days that you just can’t think of anything to write about.


100 Photography Blog Post Ideas

1. How you learned manual mode

2. Review a product you love and use

3. Share a photography secret that helps you

4. Share photography books you’ve read

5. How you edit your photos

6. A list post (could be anything!)

7. Your best photography purchase

8. Your worst photography purchase

9. Tips for framing your subject

10. Tips to get genuine smiles

11. Your favorite editing software and why

12. Tips for macro photography

13. What photography bag you use to carry your gear

14. What photography gear you put in your photography bag!

15. Tips on getting started blogging

16. A tutorial or how-to post

17. Share some before/after edits in a post

18. An interview with a photographer you admire

19. An open letter

20. A guest post

21. Tips for photographing food

22. Tips for using window light

23. Tips for shooting backlight

24. A photography struggle

25. Tips for photographing kids

26. What is your go to lens

27. Free-lensing and how you do it

28. Your favorite time of day to photograph

29. Blog a session

30. Personal Projects

31. Your favorite camera accessories

32. Why you started photography

33. How you take self portraits

34. Tips on photographing your vacation

35. Tips for using shutter speed

36. How to photograph older kids

37. RAW vs JPEG

38. Your biggest photography achievement

39. Share what photographers inspire you and why

40. Tips on capturing your pets

41. Photograph a step by step process like a craft or recipe

42. Tips for creating depth in your photos

43. Tips for using a tripod/your favorite tripod

44. Tips for photographing the full sun

45. Mistakes we all share as beginner photographers

46. Things you wish you knew when you started photography

47. The best thing you’ve ever done for your photography

48. Photograph one subject from a variety of angles

49. Crop vs Full Frame sensors

50. Your photography workflow

51. A family photo session checklist

52. Ways to strengthen your instagram game

53. Tips for building your portfolio

54. Tips for photographing a newborn

55. Tips for posing

56. Tips on how to use exposure to match the mood

57. Your daily shooting routine

58. Product photography tips

59. Share how you got a shot (with pullbacks)

60. Tips for shooting out of focus shots

61. Share how you capture personality

62. Tips for composition

63. Your favorite photography apps

64. Tips for capturing a variety of photos at a photoshoot

65. What lens do you recommend buying first?

66. How to get out of a photography rut

67. How you found your photography style

68. Photography project ideas

69. Tips for completing a 365

70. A day in the life post

71. Tips for taking your own family portraits

72. What you do when you’re behind on editing

73. Tips for street photography

74. Tips for travel photography

75. Gift ideas for photographers

76. How you capture movement in your photography

77. What monitor calibration do you use and why

78. How you portray emotion in your images

79. Tips for taking candid shots

80. Tips for achieving proper exposure

81. Tips for documentary photography

82. How setting goals makes you a better photographer

83. How to dress for a photoshoot

84. How you choose the photos you edit

85. How to start a photography business

86. Your photography workspace

87. Share your favorite photographs and why you love them

88. Tips for setting your ISO

89. How you stay inspired with your photography

90. Your favorite aperture and why you use it

91. Tips for achieving white balance

92. Tips for including color in your photographs

93. How you look for light

94. Your favorite photography resources and/or website

95. Your favorite time of day to edit

96. Where you want your photography to be in 5 years

97. Color vs b&w photography

98. Interpret song lyrics through your photographs

99. Your photography story

100. Photograph the seasons

The list of photography blog posts are endless! But hopefully these 100 will help get you started blogging. Have any blog post ideas? Be sure to comment about them, especially if you’d like me to write a post about it in the future!


aly dawn 365 project · aly dawn personal

Aly Dawn 365 | January 2017

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

Almost all of the images this month were taken with my trusty Nikon 50mm 1.8 lens. It’s my go to lens at the moment, so be sure to check it out. It’s also one of the cheapest lens out there, just saying. 😉

A few of the images this month were freelensed with my other Nikon 50mm 1.8D lens (this is the older version. On cropped cameras, it does not auto focus. But you can use it to freelens!). This one is even cheaper than the one stated above!

And a select few were taken with my macro lens Nikon 105mm 2.8D AF. This is also the older version and I am pretty sure you can’t buy them anymore. The old version is superb, so I can only image what the new version with vibration reduction is! Here’s the newer version: Nikon 105mm f/2.8G IF-ED Vibration Reduction. I’ve heard that vibration reduction is SUPER helpful for macro photography.

If you’re not already, be sure to follow me on Instagram where I try to post daily.

Here are some favorites from January that have NOT been included in my 365 project. If interested, here are the links: Week 1, Week 2, Week 3, & Week 4.


aly dawn 365 project · aly dawn personal

Aly Dawn 365 | Week 4

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

Almost all of the images this week were taken with my trusty Nikon 50mm 1.8 lens. It’s my go to lens at the moment, so be sure to check it out.

The last one was freelensed with my other Nikon 50mm 1.8D lens (this is the older version. On cropped cameras, it does not auto focus. But you can use it to freelens!).

This week was great because we actually had some sun. There were a couple of days where it was a bit of a struggle getting my image in. But I did it! I really did!

If you’re not already, be sure to follow me on Instagram where I try to post daily.















aly dawn personal · momma bee

Letters to My Little One | 18 Weeks In My Belly


18 weeks

I can’t believe I’ve been carrying you for 18 weeks. We’ve come so far, yet have so far to go, little one! I smile so big when your daddy rubs my belly and whispers sweet things to you. Such as, “Good Morning, little one. Daddy loves you.” It melts my heart! We get to find out what you are on Valentine’s day and it can’t get here fast enough. Boy or girl, you will be loved and cherished.

As you’ll find out when you’re older, I love elephants. I picked elephants as your animal for a number of reasons. They are strong, beautiful, and majestic. They are big creatures, but still elegant. The number one reason I picked elephants is for the story below:

An elephant and a dog became pregnant at the same time. Three months down the line the dog gave birth to six puppies. Six months later the dog was pregnant again, and nine months on it gave birth to another dozen puppies. The pattern continued.

On the eighteenth month the dog approached the elephant questioning, “Are you sure that you are pregnant? We became pregnant on the same date, I have given birth three times to a dozen puppies and they are now grown to become big dogs, yet you are still pregnant. Whats going on?”.

The elephant replied, “There is something I want you to understand. What I am carrying is not a puppy but an elephant. I only give birth to one in two years. When my baby hits the ground, the earth feels it. When my baby crosses the road, human beings stop and watch in admiration, what I carry draws attention. So what I’m carrying is mighty and great.”

You are mighty and great. One day you will draw attention. Everyone already loves you. Your mom loves you. Your dad loves you. You will accomplish amazing things in your life. I am so excited for the day you get here, but, please take your time to grow and mature.

Love, Mommy


aly dawn 365 project · aly dawn personal

Aly Dawn 365 | Week 3

Started off this week with some more rain.

But I am learning to love the window light overcast days give. And rain drops always add beauty. My sweet baby girl Khannie ran away again. Lately she’s been taking off any chance she gets! This time it was my brother’s fault so he was the one to retrieve her. All I can see is rain in the forecast, so next week won’t be any better! I am missing the sun, but loving the inspiration the rain is giving me.















aly dawn 365 project · aly dawn personal

Aly Dawn 365 | Week 2

Another week of the year has passed!

One tip I do have is to stay organized. It makes this process so much easier. 🙂 I really like the app I have on my iPad (it’s Apple only) called Collect. It makes it so easy to see your progress and to see all of your images together in one place. I highly recommend it!

The forecast for this week was rain everyday. I got a little sun on Monday, though, so I captured it. I was a little bummed, thinking, “How on EARTH will I get good pictures when it’s raining and overcast all the time??” when my husband reminded me that one of his favorite photos of mine was on a rainy overcast morning. Gotta love husbands. 😉 And I have to admit, there are a few photos I took this week that I love! The boot image was taken with my car headlights (it looks like sun! <3) and it was freelensed.














aly dawn personal

Take a Picture Everyday

I talked about goals in my last post. This year, I have a goal of taking a picture everyday. Among photographers this is called a 365. Taking a picture everyday seems daunting. So, instead of giving myself rules and guidelines to follow, I’m not. It’s going to be a loose 365. If I miss a day, I miss a day. If I substitute a picture I took a different day for that day, so be it. If I use a cell phone pic, that’s fine! In my mind, shooting 3 times a week is better than none. I’m also not going to stress about editing. I might even procrastinate that till the weekend. I will attempt to post a blog post every week, or every 2 weeks, of my pictures in my 365. The point of this project is to get better everyday. To stretch my mind. To make myself happy, because photography does that for me. 🙂 I am excited to test this out. If it doesn’t work out, I’m not going to beat myself up over it.

Here’s to my loose 365.