We had a tray of homemade cupcakes, decorated with sprinkles and party picks, no balloons (that was the one thing Margot did notice at the end of her party when the other group was carrying out all the balloons) and a little paper banner that we couldn't even get to stay up. So if this was a parent competition, which I sometimes fear that these types of kid-experience events have become, I would lose hands down. Although I notice the effort that the other parents went into making their son's party, I do not dwell on that; I don't actually think it is a good idea to go too far overboard with a kids' birthday party anyway.When I think about the birthday parties I had as a child, it never involved more than sitting around the picnic table outside with cake, ice cream, presents and pin the tail on the donkey. Actually, my birthday party was often combined with the neighbor girl's because she had a birthday three days after mine.
It is the friendship and giving and giggling and smiles that the children are really enjoying. The cake matters least. What strikes me about these parties is how much fun the children have when the gift opening is initiated and it is those who are doing the giving are having just as much fun and the birthday child . . . so much joy when a gift given is loved. That is what counts.
I put together the mosaic above using one of Kim Klassen's storyboard templates. I posted it on Facebook, but then later came back to it and decided it was too light. The one in this post is darkened up a bit, but I am finding that I am having more and more trouble making processing decisions. I have Rad Lab as a plug-in to Photoshop. I really love the program but I often fear I over-process and do not have my eye quite tuned yet to what a photo should look like or how to make the best choices. Yes, I know a lot of that is a matter of taste, but I also think perhaps not all of it is. What is the best way to learn and see and make the best choices? Is there a book on processing (not the technicalities of a program but the best way to get a look and feel just right)? I do believe that Kim Klassen's beyond layers class is going to help with this and I just need to move through that and perhaps try to focus more on developing a certain style or a few. I know in the past my photos were very lightly processed. That was largely due to not knowing how to use the programs and not knowing a thing about Lightroom presets, Photoshop Actions, Rad Lab, textures, layers, etc. Now have I gone too far? Hard to say, but I would like to try to focus on that a bit.
Also with the above mosaic, perhaps I should have applied exactly the same processing steps to each so the would be consistent. Any suggestions on that? Better to have them all look about the same or okay to be a little different? Also, are some of the skin tones too warm and 'orange-y'? I struggle with that as well. Most people seem to say warmer skin tones are better, but sometimes I think it does not look quite as natural as it it should. Anyway, if anyone does have any suggestions for processing, I'd love to hear them.
Anyway, below are some other photos (some of the same ones from the mosaic) from Margot's birthday party:
Waiting for the festivities to begin:
Three best friends forever: