I have so much to thank my clients for – but I’m going to be a bit specific just now.

I want to thank them for teaching me so much about photography, about relationships, and about learning enough to actually be able to teach some of what I’m so grateful to do for a living. Also, I thank them for offering some great incentive to start brainstorming an idea that leads us to today.

I am so very pleased to officially announce the release of the Capturing Life Through (Better) Photography series!

Nearly two years ago, I partnered with Rex Ballard, now a Director of Photography with ABC’s Emmy award-winning television show, “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition.” We spent nearly a year producing a workshop-on-a-DVD for the professional photography market, Inside Contemporary Children’s Photography. We were thrilled with the result and the feedback we got.

I also heard a lot from my clients (and a lot of people I just happen to know!) that they’d love a resource that wasn’t just for professional photographers – but for people who simply want to photograph their every day life … better.

About two months after we wrapped, Rex and I partnered again – this time to produce an educational series for every day photo-takers. The concept was simple: teach people how to use their existing equipment in a more entertaining way, without sacrificing the actual instruction. Or: simple tips and tricks to turn everyday snapshots into little works of art.

We storyboarded out all the concepts, created a plan of attack and started pulling together a team. We were lucky enough to team up with some fabulous executive producers (thank you, Sarah and Paul Casey!), a team of production assistants, gaffers, audio specialists, set designers (thank you, Justin, Ty, Ben and so many more) and makeup artist, wardrobe consultant & details manager Susan Ballard. Our team grew and shrank based on the amount of filming we were doing.

Along the way, we worked with about 30 different models and actors – adults, children, and a fun array of animals. We were able to reference all kinds of photographs of my clients, to whom I am always grateful – and we filmed on and off for months before finally creating a 90-minute ready-for-broadcast DVD.

Meanwhile we were taking copious notes, and I set out to write what was meant to be an accompanying book but, over time, eventually become a standalone product: a 100-page book which shares some themes with the DVD but also drives down further into explaining technical concepts through simpler analogies and fun imagery and graphics. (A big thanks to Erin Casey and Amanda Santucci for their help with this.) The book was a surprise – I didn’t quite expect it to become what it did. I’m quite happy with it.

Then there was the Quick Reference Guide, a compact, on-the-go booklet that highlights many of the tips in the DVD and book (thank you for your help, Kate Bingham!) and then the iPhone app, which started out as another version of the Quick Reference Guide but became its own robust tool (thank you, Robyn & Sean Whitsell!)

We worked with California-based branding and marketing team, Parker White, for six months on the website, which showcases a trailer of the DVD, video clips from various sections of the DVD and – very soon – inside spreads of the book.

We got public relations guidance from New York/LA/San Diego-based Formula PR, who created a fun and active media event for us in October in Manhattan – a day and evening of high-flying acrobatics at The Trapeze School of New York. We spent three days meeting with a variety of media and were genuinely thrilled at the caliber of individuals who took the time to join us at the event, as well as conduct deskside interviews – thank you to People Style Watch Magazine, O – The Oprah Magazine, iVillage, Ladies Home Journal, Good Housekeeping, Family Circle, Latina Magazine, Life & Style Weekly, Parents Magazine, Blisstree Media, Fitness Magazine, and so many more!

We’re learning to master the art of long-lead editorial patience ;)

Before we even got the products released, we got coverage and requests for guest posts by the CBS Early News blog, AOL’s Wallet Pop, the Soma Undercover blog, Tarte Cosmetics, Happy Baby and others – whew. I didn’t really think that much of being profiled by, um, a dog … but my associate Jessi was quite excited to hear that Perez Hilton’s dog’s blog, Teddy Hilton, did a piece on this on his own personal blog ;)

One of the major endeavors we took on in the making of the DVD was to put the viewer in everyday shooting situations – on the sidelines of a sports game, at a birthday party, a night out with friends, or just a day at home with family. We came up with a lot of visual goodness, but here’s a quick peek at some behind-the-scenes images:

And a few, random, completely out-of-order pages from the book ….

There’s a great deal more to come – but if you’re interested in checking out the DVD, book, quick reference guide or the deluxe kit (which is all three products together), you can do so on the capturinglifebetter.com website.

If you are still looking to give a gift for the holidays, we are officially shipping everywhere right now!

And, please note, if you live in the Raleigh-Durham-Chapel Hill area of North Carolina, you can always contact our studio to come by and pick up the products in person.