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Welcome to my new Home!

What do you think about my new logo & home?!?

I have been having a major identity crises lately. Not in my real life, but with my online persona. I’ve been a professional photographer for oh, a good 5 years now, and have been blogging my portrait sessions for most of that time. Two and a half years ago, I discovered the creative blogs via (my now friend) Amy at The Idea Room. I stumbled upon her blog with a Valentine’s topiary and fell in love, I had to make it.

{Image from The Idea Room}

She made it seem like I was capable enough.  It was so exciting to see a step-by-step tutorial on do-it-yourself projects and decorations. I was enamored. I was sucked in, and when Amy asked me to contribute to her blog with photography tips (after we met and I photographed her family), I was so excited!  It was a rush to think of a topic, tap out what was in my brain, gather pictures of said topic, and share it with a bunch of people that actually cared!  To hear the excitement via comments, was validation that something I shared was exhilarating.  I looked forward to sharing my tips each week, and since I only shared the ocassional portrait related post on my blog, I wasn’t too busy with my own stuff. This began April 2010.

Then I started getting into blogging more, sharing the projects I made in my new home.   Soon after that, I entered the Crafting with the Stars online craft competition, and was SO excited to be selected!  With 244 entries, I was in the top 12 to compete.  I was shocked and amazed, to say the least.  What? Me? A crafter? I do think that the project that I entered with was pretty sweet (glow in the dark bats for Halloween).

But I wasn’t sure I had much more to offer.  In the competition (like the dance show) I was paired with a crafting “star.” Someone who had already made a name for herself in the online crafting community. Fortunate for me, she lived just down the road in Austin!  Since I was so new to the online crafty community, I wasn’t yet familiar with her blog, but one of my really good friends said, “that’s my favorite blog to read!”  Lorie, from Be Different, Act Normal was my “star” and we have become great friends since that competition. (We even roomed together at the SNAP blogging convention in April).  She was so great to work with, she really has an eye for beautiful things.  That competition was in the month of October which I have deemed, “the craziest month of the year” for me. All 3 of my boys have birthdays then, I go CRAZY for halloween and often have a couples party, and it is THE busiest time for family portraits. I wasn’t overly sad when I was cut from the competition in the second round (the first round, I made no sew family of 4 halloween costumes).

After 6 months of weekly photography tips on The Idea Room, I asked Amy if I could post twice a month instead of weekly. My plate was getting full.  I loved it so much, I didn’t want to let it go, and I was also starting to run out of photography tips to post about!  After almost a year, it was too much. I was sad to tell Amy I just couldn’t do it anymore.

In January, 2011, I did something that I never ever even dreamed of.  I wrote a photography book called Say NO to Auto.

I became so passionate about people with the “fancy cameras” learning how to use it to its full potential. I wanted to make it simple to understand, concise, and just the basics so as not to overwhelm. I had the photography books with a million different tips, and they made my head spin. I wanted to cater to the people like me…people who have a hard time reading a book and understanding how to make it happen. I also wanted to make it affordable–much to my hubby’s chagrin.  It was $10 for the e-book. It wasn’t for 6 months that I found an affordable way to print them, and the price doubled to $20 for the printed copy.

I actually wrote the book as the take home manual for the hands on photography class that I wanted to teach. I had scheduled a workshop for the end of January 2011, and put together this book as the guide…then I realized that I could make the book electronic for anyone!  After my first class in Austin, then in San Antonio, Dallas, & Houston…I had one in Utah since I was going to be there for vacation. I got an overwhelming turnout to all of them.  I was shocked and excited at the same time! I have had people email me all over the US, Brazil, Europe, & Australia asking me to come…and you better believe I’ve entertained some of those ideas.  I just can’t do it all.

January of 2012, my second book, Get Focused debuted.

An intermediate level book that I stressed must only be tackled after comfortable on manual settings. I continued teaching workshops when I booked a few family trips (East Coast & Alaska), held workshops in those cities, and feel blessed in so many ways.

I still LOVE to share photography, will continue to hold occasional workshops, share my books, and take portrait sessions…but I’ve found a new love in blogging about life and how I find joy in life…hence the new name, Capturing Joy. I don’t want to be known solely as a photographer, but as an every day gal who dips her hand in all sorts of things. I will continue to have family portrait sessions–my first love–but I will limit them quite a bit. I like to photograph lifestyle and family fun, and less of the posey-posey stuff, so if my clients want that, I’ll do it. If not, then  I’ll refer them to my local photographer friends.

There is still a lot of “housekeeping” with some links under construction along with fun features I want to add to this new look, but I’m very happy with the overall feel.  It makes me want to squeel, “yipeeeee!” from the rooftops!

A special shout out to Lindsey @ ArtsyFartsyMama for my pretty new logo, and Debbie with Lagniappe for the new design work.  And to Kelli @ LollyJane & Lorie @ BeDifferentActNormal for helping me keep my sanity and figure out the things I didn’t understand (html junk).

I can’t forget my awesome friend Alisha, who let me cry on her couch on Saturday night, when I thought this wasn’t going to come together today…but it did!!! In the next few days, I have some really fun stuff to share, so stay tuned!!!

What do you think?!?!

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  1. I am loving it! The new name is fresh, fun a nd clever… I love you my friend!

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thank you so much, Desiree! For your advice a few weeks ago, your sweet support, and love you, too! you inspire me, friend;)

  2. Jacqueline says:

    I really like the new name. It suits your blog, since I think of you as much more than a photographer!

  3. looks great!!! I love the colors, the fun, carefree look… makes me want to hire you (oh, yeah… I´ve already been wanting that for a while – I guess I have to plan a trip to the USA) :)

  4. kristen ~ i LOVE it. it’s so fun and hip. and it “captures” your personality perfectly! xoxo

  5. Heather Partridge says:

    Love it! I’m glad it all came together for you today.

  6. Julie Spady says:

    I have been following you for awhile now. (bought your first book). I love your new look and the way you are going. I will defnately stay tuned in. I am a beginner photographer who is slow to learn and love your tips. I look forward to what is to come!

  7. Looks great! :)

  8. LOVE it! Good for you sister!!!!! :)

  9. Kristen it looks amazing! I’m so happy that you’ve got a “new home” and it definitely suits you my friend!
    Jess from Cox’s Corner recently posted..Cabbage Patch Doll Hat TutorialMy Profile

  10. I like the cleaner look!

  11. I love the new header A LOT!
    Just Jaime recently posted..Modern Accent PillowsMy Profile

    • Kristen Duke says:

      Thank you, Jaime! I miss my frames, but have a little plan for them….the header is fun and colorful, just like I like!

  12. LOVE it… love hearing your blog story and LOVE the new look. :) How exciting!
    kirstin @ kojodesigns recently posted..freezer crockpot cooking (round 2)- more recipes, more organizationMy Profile

  13. Everything looks absolutely fantastic, Kristen!!

  14. Kristen, I LOVE it!! Love the colors, the organization, the logo, EVERYTHING! You are such a multi-talented person, I’ve loved getting to know you better through conferences and reading your posts. You rock! xoxo
    Brooke @ The Crafting Chicks recently posted..{Poppy Seed’s New Calendars & a Giveaway!}My Profile

  15. LOVE LOVE your new look! Well done :)
    bettijo @ recently posted..Pretty Party Garlands from Recycled TeesMy Profile

  16. I think it looks great! Glad you’re finding your new online “you”! (And, for the record, whenever I see cute food props and thinking of you. :o)) Fun to hang with you a couple of weeks ago. Hugs!

  17. Yay! Looks great!!!
    Jennifer Polson recently posted..MorganMy Profile

  18. Tricia Dunlap says:

    The new look is perfect!!! You are seriously so inspiring with how you make things happen (like this awesome new look) and all the other things you balance on your plate! Congrats on the new site!!

  19. Love it!
    Coley recently posted..Quote of the Week: PeaceMy Profile

  20. Hi there!!

    I love the new look and the direction you are taking. I own a photography business and just celebrated one year of business. I love love love your work and it’s always such an inspiration to me. Thanks for sharing your life with us!

  21. I think I looks fabulous! I’m glad it all came together, I know you were stressed. I shall have to repent of my non-blog checking ways. Look at the steps I’ve made today though, posting a comment and everything!
    Love you, congratulations!

  22. Love the new look – especially love your tag line!!

  23. love the new name Kristen! The design looks great.
    kate recently posted..lace extender slip 2My Profile

  24. Hello?! Your blog looks AWESOME!!!! Seriously, great job!!!!!
    Heidi recently posted..DIY Lalaloopsy CakeMy Profile

  25. I’m excited for the changes on your blog…and you definitley have to do what you feel led to do. I’ve started using my manual settings more because of your encouragement…and it’s a blast of fun, for sure :) : :) Oh, and I LOVE the photo of you jumping in mid-air on the bridge :) :) Love and hugs from the ocean shores of California, Heather :)
    Heather :) :) :) recently posted..TEXTURE TUESDAYMy Profile

  26. Kristen, love your new blog concept! I’m hoping to find my identity some day!!

  27. Heather W. says:

    Congrats – I think this is a great decision! Best of luck to you!


  1. [...] was so much more than pretty pictures, I had so much more to share.  I wrote more about it HERE along with my blogging [...]