Toes in the mud

Is there anything more wonderful? I THINK NOT.

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We’ve been having torrential rain, flooding, and all sorts of unfortunate shenanigans. But you can leave it to the kids to find the silver lining!

These kiddos, you guys, I don’t even know what to do with them. I’d just finished cleaning the living room floor, and a gust of fresh air tempted them outside. Yes, I thought, begone with you so I can finish picking up the toys and maybe make this place look less like a massive thunderstorm system just passed through (which it did). Jump on the trampoline. Get the wiggles out.

And then I glanced out the window and saw the first set of toes heading straight for a muddy spot right in the middle of the yard.

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I can’t say I blame them. Squishing your toes in the mud is just the best feeling ever, right? But I did have to fight the urge to freak out and tell them to keep their feet clean.

Here’s the thing. They’re kids. My job as the mom is to keep them from going completely feral, try to make them presentable when we go out in public, and keep our living environment reasonably healthy and disease-free. But their job is to discover the world. So with an (in my unhumble opinion) impressive amount of photographer zen, I grabbed the camera instead of telling them to come straight inside and get out of the mud right now.

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Mmmmmmm. Can’t you just feel that mud squishing between your toes?

Let’s face it: there’s nothing in that mud puddle that a good hosing-off won’t fix. Just let them be little. What does it cost? Five seconds of washing off their feet before they step on my clean floor? WORTH IT.


Hi, I’m Kate, and I’m a family photographer in the Muskogee, Fort Gibson, and Tahlequah area. I am available for family portraits, birthday parties, lifestyle sessions, and events of all kinds. Summertime is perfect for capturing fun in your backyard, at the splash pad, at the park, or wherever you play. Hit me up for a super affordable “summer fun” session! You will love seeing the sheer joy of your kids playing in the sprinkler or blowing bubbles through my lens!


Lifestyle Photography

What is lifestyle photography? It’s the lowest-stress, most natural way to get gorgeous pictures of yourself and your family. Here’s how it works: I come into your house and just follow you around, taking pictures. You do what you usually do: play with your kids, cook food, relax, laugh, and have fun. I blend into the background and take pictures of your loving, beautiful, candid moments.

So why choose lifestyle photography? Many people love the fact that it’s more natural than posed, go-to-the-park portraits. While there’s nothing wrong with a good family portrait session in the park, there’s something to be said with how people come alive when they’re in the comfort of their own home. It’s just easier for the photographer to capture genuine expressions of joy and love when you’re not standing there in an unfamiliar place wondering if you look awkward the way you’re posed.

Also, lifestyle photography gets you in the frame. As parents, you spend a lot of time taking pictures of your kids. Your phone is probably full of pictures of your kids playing. But when was the last time you were in the picture, playing with your kids? This is especially true for moms, who are often the main photo-takers of the house. You deserve to be in the picture too! (If you’re a dad who takes more photos than mom, good job! You need some pictures with you in them too.) In years to come, your kids will love that there are pictures of you having fun with them.

What if you feel insecure, or don’t think you look good in pictures? Don’t worry! First, it’s my job to make sure you do look good. But second, this is for your kids, and for you. It’s for your family to be able to have beautiful photographs of the love you share. That love doesn’t care if you have crows feet or could stand to lose 20 lbs. That love cares that you are there, with your family, loving them, laughing, and being joyful. When you are old and your children are grown, you will be glad that you have beautiful, professional photos of the awesome, fun, messy, gorgeous life you’ve lived. So get in the picture!

If you are looking for a lifestyle photographer in Tahlequah, Muskogee, or Fort Gibson, OK, give me a call to book your session!

Park playin’

We’re having so much fun playing at Nana’s! 

Emory's silly face
This is his new face. Do you like it? It comes with a snuffling noise. Snuff snuff snuff snuff.

We came down to Dallas for my best friend’s wedding, and we just don’t want to leave!
Rori swing panning

There’s so much to do. Swings to swing on. (Panning is fun. It’s one of those photography tricks where you get one good shot for every twenty you take, but it gives a great sense of motion when it works out. Here’s how: slow shutter speed and move the camera to follow your subject.)
Heidi Bedford Boys Ranch Playground

There are playgrounds to climb on.

Kids having fun in the summer sunshine: this is why I’m a photographer.

Sweet little girls playing in the morning sunlight

The Bedford Boys Ranch playground is so much fun!

Parties are really fun too.

We’ll have to go home soon, but I’m already looking forward to our next trip down.

Next time I come down to Dallas (probably in August), I’ll be setting up some mini sessions for anyone who wants affordable back to school pictures in DFW. Email me, or just stay tuned for updates on the blog!

Pirate Wedding!

I had so much fun shooting this pirate themed wedding! It was my first as the official photographer, so the pressure was on! But everyone was lovely and easygoing and ready to smile (not to mention mostly three sheets to the wind, as is proper for a pirate wedding), so all I had to do was keep my finger on the shutter and catch the fun while it happened. I hope all the wedding-goers enjoy these pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them!

Duncan Wedding Shootproof Gallery

Nikon D750: A Love Song

I upgraded, guys! I’ve been lusting after a full frame body since, like, three weeks after I got my D3200, and Ryan finally convinced me that the time was ripe to take the plunge and get it.I also upgraded a couple of my lenses. (Did you know that the lenses you get for crop-factor bodies actually don’t work on full-frame cameras? Or at least they cost you resolution.) The kit lens that comes with the D750 is amazing and I’m in love with it. And of course, I got an upgraded 50mm 1.4 because everybody needs a good 50mm.And I’m finally getting around to editing some of the thousands of pictures I took on Spring Break down in Dallas at the folks’ house. For now, have a picture of Rori being super excited about her birthday party.


And, as usual, I am available to capture your birthday parties, events, family get-togethers, and portrait sessions in Tahlequah, Muskogee, Fort Gibson, and all over Northeast Oklahoma. Call Kate Friend Photography at (918) 822-7774, email me at, or Like my Facebook page and message me there to schedule your session!

Improve Your Photography: How (and why) to make a flash diffuser out of a grocery store bag

It’s no secret that I am practically allergic to using my on-camera flash. The light is so harsh and it makes everything look so darn flat. Besides, if I’m looking at a scene that is magical the way it is, why on earth would I think that changing the lighting would make the magic come across in my camera?

So, basically, I never use my flash. I might place a reflector here or there to make sure my subject is illuminated enough, but otherwise I go with the light I have. It’s a fun artistic challenge, and I end up with striking images that I absolutely love.

But there are some times when you really want to use a flash. Taking pictures of people is one of those times. You want to be able to get the shot you want, and you want to know it’s going to be exposed correctly, because it only takes an instant for the cutest expressions to change. There is nothing more frustrating than missing the perfect moment because you were twiddling with your shutter speed to get the right exposure.

But there’s also nothing worse than spoiling the perfect moment with the horrid light that your on-camera flash gives.

(NB to the camera enthusiasts: yeah, you can spend a lot of money on a fancier on-camera flash, but spare me. They might let you adjust your light or swivel the flash, but you still need to diffuse the light. Also, I don’t own one. I do, however, gladly accept donations toward camera equipment, or you can just book me for a photo session!)

Ok, so I love all things DIY. It’s a running joke with my husband, who loves all things The Best You Can Buy. Me, I’m like, man am I ever drooling over that $300 flash, but can I do the same thing with fifty cents worth of crap that I already have lying around? (The answer is no, you can’t jerry rig a $300 flash, but you can use some free stuff to vastly improve your existing flash!) So he thinks I should buy a super expensive flash (I can’t say I disagree) but in the meantime, I found myself wondering what I could do to mimic the effect of a light box and soften the harsh look of the built-in flash. I’ve read a few inspiring posts about how to make flash diffusers out of things like airplane barf bags, but since I haven’t flown on an airplane in quite a while I ended up doing some brainstorming to figure out what I have on hand that would give a similar effect.

So let’s shed some light on the subject. (See what I did there?)

How to make a grocery bag light diffuser

1. Get your grocery bag.


2. Fold it in half once

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Or twice

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3. Tie the handles together to make a tube-ish sort of thing.

DIY plastic bag light diffuser

4. Annnnnnd pop it on your built-in camera flash!

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5. Voila! You have made your own DIY flash diffuser from a plastic baggie!


If you fold it in half twice, it diffuses the light even more. Play with it and figure out which way you like best. You could also try coloring it with sharpies to give your flash some cool color effects.

DIY plastic baggie flash diffuser

Sooooooooo… Does It Work?

The short answer is, YES! It absolutely does work. You still get the front-on light that happens when your light source is coincidental with your camera. But the light is subtler and gentler, and makes your subjects look beautifully illuminated instead of deer-in-the-headlights.

I ran around my house taking pictures of my poor, unsuspecting children favorite, beautiful models to compare the look of my redneck clever DIY flash diffuser with the regular built-in camera flash.

The baby on the porch: the on-camera flash would definitely destine this one for the bin, but the DIY flash diffuser gave it a soft, natural look. It might even be a keeper, if it weren’t for that chair and the pot handle sticking out of his head! (Like I said, I was taking pictures For Science and not for my portfolio.)

The boy sitting on the coffee table: the back lighting here definitely triggered the flash to pop up since I was using my auto settings (again, something I don’t usually do, especially because of the flash). The first shot is with the built-in flash by itself. You can see how flat the lighting is and how harsh the shadows are. The second shot is with the plastic baggie diffuser. It has a perfect glow and lets his happy expression come through. To my mind, a much more beautiful photo, though if I were putting it in my portfolio I’d probably run it through Lightroom and edit the background a bit. When the lighting is right, though, you really don’t have to do all that many edits.

The selfie: here we see the limitations of the DIY plastic bag flash diffuser. It seems that the light is diffused more when the camera is a bit farther away from the subject (I have a 35mm lens on my camera here). I had the camera at arm’s length (obviously) and it’s a little harder to tell the difference between the diffused flash and the non-diffused flash. Look closely, though – on the left the light is pretty darn harsh, and there’s a bit more interplay between highlights and shadows with the diffused flash photo on the right. (I thought about putting on makeup but then I realized that I would never get this post photographed and written if I did that, so I just went #nomakeup #nofilter. #noapologies.)

I’m not going to lie, as allergic as I am to flash photography, I think I will probably be using this trick in the future. There are just too many times when I need to get a quick shot and I don’t have time to worry about the light, or when I really need to be able to increase my shutter speed and need more illumination.

Tips for on-camera flash diffusion:

You can use this with aperture-priority or shutter-speed priority modes. Just push the little button next to your flash to make it pop up, and the camera computer will do the rest for you. You can also use it with manual mode, but you’ll have to balance your aperture/shutter speed/ISO yourself to allow for using the flash.

If you’re going to do this with an automatic setting (and if you’re using automatic settings, you should definitely be using a flash diffuser), I highly recommend that you use your portrait/landscape/children/other appropriate setting of your choice rather than just the plain auto setting. I’ll be doing another blog post on these settings later, so stay tuned!

It’s March and I’m offering Easter mini-sessions, so be sure to contact me and schedule your mini-session ASAP!

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DIY plastic grocery bag flash diffuser