Welcome to the Team Diann!

Hair&MakeupArtistWith all of the preparation and scheduling for work to get done on the studio, I realized that it was time look for and hire at least one dedicated hair and makeup artist for the studio, once we are up and running.  I want someone professional, but fun to be around.  Someone who can keep the energy high and someone who has a great sense of humor.  I want someone who knows the business and realizes what it takes to get excellent clients, capture those beautiful photographs, and to make our clients happy.  What I didn’t realize is that I already had someone like that in my life.

I had the honor of meeting up with an old friend for lunch and we spent over 4 hours catching up. It is amazing when you are with the right people how very quickly the time can pass.  It was a great lunch!

My friend, Diann, decided to add even more knowledge to her arsenal, and decided awhile ago to leave her own photography business and became a licensed Hair & Makeup Artist.  She loves hair and makeup, and it is one of her favorite parts of photography.  She has been working hard and I am all too happy to bring her in and and make her part of the team at Heilyn Photography.

Welcome to the team Diann elyse!

IMG_2175aDiann is a mother of two daughters ages 25 and 19. Her youngest daughter is pursuing her degree in ASL (American Sign Language) and her oldest daughter has her degree in Elementary Education and is a first grade teacher in Oakland County. She shares her house with a wonderful man and their 5 dogs.

Diann has a degree from Wayne State University in Forensic Science with a Minor in Photography. In order to be with her kids more, after moving back from California, she began a part-time career in photography that quickly turned full-time. She worked more in the graduation and family portrait market, with her favorite being youth dance competitions. She sold her company and decided it was time to learn something new. She attended Paul Mitchell Beauty School to pursue a career in Cosmetology and is a licensed Hair & Makeup Artist.

Diann says, “Heidi approached me with an incredible opportunity that allowed me to still participate in an art that I love but from a whole new point of view–the pre-photo preparations of making someone feel as beautiful as possible.”  What an exciting opportunity to be able to work together!  I cannot wait to see what the future holds!


Ocean Fresh

I love the ocean, and I am saturated with peace when I am near the water.  I grew up on the lake and looking back, I realize too often that I took for granted the beauty that was before me on a daily basis and now I miss it so very much.  I dream of having a space that I am energized by and would love to share with all of my clients.  I dream of a place that envelops those that enter with a sense of peace, tranquility, and rejuvenation.  I am inspired by blue, teal, turquoise, white, silver, grey.  I want to feel the ocean, even if I cannot see it…

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The studio is very large.  The portion that I will be using is 1,200 sq. ft. and that is amazing, but to cover a floor that large, no matter what medium, is quite intimidating.  I considered carpet, tile, wood, vinyl, laminate, paint, stain and even a brown paper application that looked totally cool like I found on this blog by Freckle Face Girl and this blog by Domestic Imperfection. I still want to do the brown paper/faux wood look somewhere at some point down the road, but not on 1,200 sq. ft. of space.  I am considering doing the stairs to the studio, however.

So, I settled on staining.  I considered acid staining until I got quotes to have it done.  Upwards of $6,000 quotes from a few companies got me thinking if I could do it on my own.  I spent hours and hours culling over websites and photos and videos on the process. I am well-versed on how to stain floors, that’s for sure.  The process of applying the acid stain, neutralizing, washing, sucking up the water, cleaning, etc., etc. was daunting.  Especially the not so appealing part with fumes, gas masks, and potentially splashing acid onto my skin didn’t sound like a viable option. I needed something awesome that was easy to apply, was available directly to consumers, and was low-VOC (volatile organic compounds) or the stinky stuff in stains/paints, etc.

I searched and searched, and found that the common, everyday stuff found at the big home improvement stores were not what I was looking for.  I was looking for the color of the ocean and that was hard to come by.  I then came across two companies.  One, Direct Colors, sold acid stain and another company, RadonSeal, sold a water based radon sealer stain called LastiSeal. I ordered samples from both companies and the winner was RadonSeal.  Their product, LastiSeal not only had a product that came in my favorite color, but it would also protect and seal the cement I was putting it on and waterproof all in one!  Oh, and non-toxic, non-flammable, non-hazardous and VERY LOW VOC.  I barely smelled it, and I am an extremely sensitive sniffer! LOL  However, I did return to Direct Colors to purchase their sealer, because it too is low VOC and water based.  While I technically didn’t need it, I wanted the extra shine it provided and to protect the stain even further from scratches that might occur with all the moving of my equipment. I am extremely happy with both companies and highly recommend them.  For those DIY’ers, I used 6 gallons of each product for this 1,200 sq. ft. project.  I have quite a bit of stain left, but I have barely any sealer left.

I hired a contractor to do the work for me, and they cleaned and prepped the surface and applied the first coat.  But, after seeing it dry, it was not at all what I wanted, so I took over the project to apply my artistic touch.  Here is what it looked like during and after the first coat.


Not exactly what it looks like in the sample photos at the top of this blog… but just wait.  I took over and applied the stain with a garden sprayer and then used a rag/faux technique to work it into the cement to create movement and variations.  (Think ocean.)  Here it is after another coat of stain while it is still wet.  You can see how I used a figure 8 motion across the entire floor.


A total of 5 coats of stain and 6 coats of clear sealer later, my shoulders were killing me!!! It took me a couple of weeks to get all of the coats applied because there is drying time required between coats, and it took several more weeks before I could put anything heavy on the floor to allow it to cure, but the results are in!  The floor looks amazing and I am SUPER happy with the outcome!

Drumroll please…. (I promise to get better photos once the space it completed.)

Lights on…


Lights off… the color changes with the time of day too!


I am super happy!  Now it’s time to fill that space and bring in the clients!


Frame it up!

Thanks to Mark’s Quality Services, I have new window frames and a new drywall.  Oh, so not that exciting to most, but it’s progress, and it’s exciting to me!

Since I am not completely finishing off the studio space at this time, I still needed to cover up the bare studs around the windows to give them a finished feeling.  I will be utilizing the windows for their natural light and they are so much nicer with a nice, thick frame around them.  All pretty and clean!

Mark also helped me by hanging new drywall and finishing off a wall for me.  It looks fantastic and is taking shape!





Lights, Camera, Action… well, almost

Out with the old lights and in with new, recessed lighting… 20 to be exact… complete with dimmers.  I am loving it!  What a great way to create mood lighting when I’m not actively in a photoshoot.  Next up are new window frames and some drywall fun.

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Inspiration and Exploration

As I journey forward on this studio quest, I am constantly inspired while I explore the possibilities.  I get a lot of inspiration from Pinterest, Google, and my fellow photographer friends. Here are just a few of my findings that inspire me through this process.

I want the space to feel comfortable, peaceful, elegant and sophisticated, but with a touch of artistic flair.  It is an artistic space, and a place that I can feel inspired and give my clients a memorable experience, and create beautiful portraits.

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Humble Beginnings

20150325_161330-PANOIt has been a dream of mine to have a studio of my own, where I could bring clients in, treat them like royalty for a day and send them home with priceless memories and beautiful portraits that they, and their friends and families, can enjoy for years to come.  I would love to give everyone the gift of seeing themselves, bringing out their inner beauty, and showing them the results in beautiful portraits.  I know it won’t be a quick journey to a beautiful studio space, but the journey is half the fun, right?

Hand-Dyed Coffee Filter Rose Wreath

I, like most women, love Pinterest.  Daily inspiration IMAG0763where I get ideas for photography, exercise, cooking, crafts and home projects.  If you haven’t checked it out yet, I highly recommend it.

Caution: Be prepared to lose about 3-5 hours of your life today after you click this link to Pinterest… it’s highly addictive!  HAHAHA  (If you sign up with Facebook, you can follow all of your friends Pins and you can click here to follow mine too!)

I have been collecting tons of ideas for backgrounds for my up and coming, new photography studio.  Along the way, I found the use of coffee filters to make flowers. There are many different ways, and certainly easier ways to use coffee filters to make flowers, but I found this one to be truly beautiful.  It is definitely time consuming, but a labor of love and I am happy to share my process with you!

First, visit your local dollar store, or warehouse club and stock up on lots of coffee filters.  I read in one blog where someone used different size filters, but for this project I will only be using the standard size.  I will be on the hunt for the super big, commercial filters in the future, however.  I purchased about 1,000 and I easily will be needing a lot more with the success of this project, I see these getting used for all sorts of textured backgrounds for my photoshoots.  Not just for flowers, but for layered textured backgrounds as well.

While you’re purchasing your coffee filters, also grab some food coloring or latex paint in various colors that you want, some latex gloves, and if you don’t already own one, some sort of drying rack (I used the ones I use for baking).

Grab a large bowl the width of the flattenedIMAG0606
coffee filter, slip on some gloves and get ready for some science.  Okay, not quite “science”, but you are going to put approximately 2 cups of warm water into the bowl and “scientifically” add food coloring (or latex paint) until you get your desired color.  My studio brand color is in the teal family, so I wanted many shades of teal blue.  I started with a fainter color of teal, soaked some of the filters and then added more food coloring for each subsequent “batch” of dying the filters.  Use your hand (with gloves) to be sure the filters are full soaked and there’s no dry pockets between the layers.

I wanted to create dimension with my final product, so dying some of the filters with an “Ombre effect” was something I thought would add dimension and variation.  I dyed the outside edges one color, and the inside another.  Get creative, add more than one color!  This day I dyed some cream/brown colors, teal, and grey/teal.


I also made some really dark filters and added blackIMAG0608 latex paint for the final batch.  This created a beautiful grey/teal color that really added some depth.  Another method of dying your filters is to only dye the very edges and then let it “bleed” into the center.  Similarly, you can dye just the center and let it “bleed” into the edges.  This will leave the un-dyed portion white, or a very pale shade of the original color.  Very cool!

Let the filters soak for quite awhile.  The length of time will varyIMAG0622 depending on the intensity of colors you are going for, but I recommend a minimum of 30 minutes. Remove them, using your gloved hands, squeeze the filters into the shape of a cone and squeeze excess water from them and then lay onto your drying rack, that has been placed into a sink, and allow the excess dye to drain from them.  I separated them in groups of 30-50 and this made the dripping phase quicker.

If you are brave, take your drained filters, separate them further into groups of 10 and toss them into your dryer.  (I will admit right now that a tiny big of dye did come off in my dryer, but just a little bit, but it was easily wiped away with a damp cloth.  I would adviseIMAG0612 putting something in the dryer after you clean it, that you wouldn’t mind getting dye on… perhaps an old towel?)

They do not take long in the dryer at all.  10-20 minutes.  Remove them and prepare your iron. Flatten them out and iron them.  Yes… I said iron. Some of you might not even iron your clothes that often, and I’m asking you to iron coffee filter?  Yup.  Iron them puppies and be prepared to make gorgeous roses!  It will make all the difference in the final outcome.  It is a good project to do while you sit on the floor watching your favorite reality TV show. Just don’t burn your carpet–use an old towel.


Once you are finished ironing out 10,001 filters, the fun part begins!  First, pull out your glue gun and get it hot and ready.  Begin by combining two filters of your color choice.  I combined a lighter shade with a darker shade to create variation and depth.  Dab some glue into the middle, and run a bead from the middle to the edge. Just one bead is all you need, and press them together and set aside.  Repeat this about 5,000 times.  Just kidding.  But, you get the point.

Once you have a stack of filters glued, you are ready for the next step.


Place approximately 10 filters together (or as many as a your sharpest pair of scissors can cut through) and cut a spiral all the way to the center leaving a circle at the end, like follows.


You will find that if you cut a 1 inch band, the roses will sit higher.  If you cut a 1/2 inch swirl, the roses will sit flatter.  You can also cut the very outside thinner and then go thicker toward the center to create a cone and depth.  There are no “rules” here.  Use your imagination and get creative.  You will see what it turns out like after you make your first few and you will get your groove.  It’s not hard at all!

Gather up the center, and create the center of the bud.  This is where you can get creative and pinch and curl it and then place a dab of glue to set the very center, and continue curling toward the center, very loosely.  You will end up with a little rosette and a circle at the end of the filter which will serve as your “base” and a place to put a ton of glue on and “set” the whole rose as follows.



Repeat, repeat, repeat.  Fast forward a couple of hours until you have yourself about 100 or so roses.  Purchase a foam wreath form from your local crafts store and keep that glue gun hot.  I separated all of my roses by shades from light, medium to dark.  I wanted to place them on with variation.  Glue them so they aren’t in a straight line.  This will help it to look more authentic.  (I’m not sure there’s anything authentic about teal and grey roses though!  LOL)

Glue them all on to cover 2/3 of the wreath, leaving the back flat.  I have seen in other blogs where they cut the wreath in half.  I didn’t do this because I wanted it to pop away from the door or wall once I hung it.

Add a beautiful ribbon at the end.  I secured mine with glue and then a couple of “T-pins”.

Viola!  Beautiful rose wreath!

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