International Print Competition (IPC) 2018 – Professional Photographers of America

Another exciting year of competition is coming to a close and I’m excited to have scored high enough with three of my images to receive merits.

I want to give you a little bit of an idea of how far an image can go when I’m creating for competition instead of for the client.

First up – this image was titled “Midnight Mystic” and received a score of 83. I started with this:

TRU_5243 copy

And entered this:

Midnight Mistress

Thank you to Laura for being a fabulous model for me! If you look close enough you will see six rather creepy looking skull faces within the smoke of this image. See if you can find them!


The next image I’d like to share is titled “Enchantress of Evil” and it received a score of 81. I started with this:

TRU_9038 copy

And ended up with this:

Enchantress of Evil

Quite a difference!

Thank you to Ali for being such a wonderful muse! We will be getting together again soon to create some more fun images!


The last image I entered that received a merit was titled “Always In My Heart”. This is a tribute piece created for my sister Sharon and it received a score of 81. I’ve been working on different versions of this image for over a year. This angel image is very special to me and I am so grateful to my niece Caitlin for posing for me. She had no idea what I was going to end up with!

I started with these:

And ended up with this:

Always In My Heart


I’m also going to share my last submission. It scored a 79 so didn’t make it into the merit category – but it was created from love. Titled “Mourning Rose” it is about the depth of loss.

I started with this:

TRU_7867 copy

And created this:

Mourning Rose

Thanks so much for stopping by my blog! If you are interested in art work for your home of your OWN family, please contact me soon. If you are looking for family, newborn, baby, child or senior photography, let’s get together and create some memories!

You can also check out TruYou on the website, facebook and instagram!

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check back soon!






International Print Competition – Professional Photographers of America

If you’re a fan of my facebook page you’ve already viewed the images for 2018. I’m going to share my images for 2017 in this blog post because apparently I forgot to do that last year! Then my next blog post will feature the 2018 images along with the images I “started” with. This will give you an idea of what goes into an award-winning image.

According to the Professional Photographers of America (PPA) organization 12 elements have been defined as necessary for the success of an art piece or image. Any image, art piece, or photograph will reveal some measure of all twelve elements, while a visually superior example will reveal obvious consideration of each one.

1.) Impact is the sense one gets upon viewing an image for the first time. Compelling images evoke laughter, sadness, anger, pride, wonder or another intense emotion. There can be impact in any of these twelve elements.

2.) Technical excellence is the print quality of the image itself as it is presented for viewing. Retouching, manipulation, sharpness, exposure, printing, mounting, and correct color are some items that speak to the qualities of the physical print.

3.) Creativity is the original, fresh, and external expression of the imagination of the maker by using the medium to convey an idea, message or thought.

4.) Style is defined in a number of ways as it applies to a creative image. It might be defined by a specific genre or simply be recognizable as the characteristics of how a specific artist applies light to a subject. It can impact an image in a positive manner when the subject matter and the style are appropriate for each other, or it can have a negative effect when they are at odds.

5.) Composition is important to the design of an image, bringing all of the visual elements together in concert to express the purpose of the image. Proper composition holds the viewer in the image and prompts the viewer to look where the creator intends. Effective composition can be pleasing or disturbing, depending on the intent of the image maker.

6.) Presentation affects an image by giving it a finished look. The mats and borders used, either physical or digital, should support and enhance the image, not distract from it.

7.) Color Balance supplies harmony to an image. An image in which the tones work together, effectively supporting the image, can enhance its emotional appeal. Color balance is not always harmonious and can be used to evoke diverse feelings for effect.

8.) Center of Interest is the point or points on the image where the maker wants the viewer to stop as they view the image. There can be primary and secondary centers of interest. Occasionally there will be no specific center of interest, when the entire scene collectively serves as the center of interest.

9.) Lighting —the use and control of light—refers to how dimension, shape and roundness are defined in an image. Whether the light applied to an image is manmade or natural, proper use of it should enhance an image.

10.) Subject Matter should always be appropriate to the story being told in an image.

11.) Technique is the approach used to create the image. Printing, lighting, posing, capture, presentation media, and more are part of the technique applied to an image.

12.) Story Telling refers to the image’s ability to evoke imagination. One beautiful thing about art is that each viewer might collect his own message or read her own story in an image.

2017 was my 2nd year entering IPC.

I was beyond excited when I received a 98 on one of my images! This image titled “Nestled In The Secret Garden” also received first place at the district level in Children’s Portraiture. It was also added to the prestigious “loan” collection and received fourth place in the Grand Imaging Awards in January this year in Nashville. I doubt I’ll top that any time soon but I’ll keep trying. It was very exciting!

A special thanks to sweet little Mariel. How adorable is she?


This one of Ali (one of my muses) scored an 86 and I was thrilled! She sure can give the look I need for this kind of image (you’ll see her again in my 2018 images!)

The title was “A Storm Is Raging”.


The third merit I received in 2017 was for an image from a senior session.

How gorgeous is Tyra?

Titled “Intensity” this image received a score of 81.


Check back soon for the 2018 IPC images and the stories behind them!

You can also checkout TruYou on the website, facebook and instagram!

Thanks for stopping by!




Newborn Baby Boy – Marion, IA Portraits

How adorable is this little guy?

Nolan_Newborn_023 copy

Nolan_Newborn_018 copy


I’m pretty sure big sister loves him!

Nolan_Newborn_014 copy

So sweet together.

Nolan_Newborn_009 copy

I’m quite sure they are going to be lifelong friends!


Don’t forget the little baby toes!

Nolan_Newborn_021 copy

If you are expecting a little one soon – – make sure you visit the TruYou Photography & Design newborn gallery page to see what I can offer.

Your baby’s comfort and happiness is the most important thing. Together we will create amazing soft and beautiful images of your precious bundle. And there will be plenty of time for cuddling!

This is the second year in a row TruYou has been voted one of the top ten newborn photographers in the Cedar Rapids, IA area.

If you are interested in more information about newborn photography by TruYou Photography & Design – – please visit the information page.

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check back soon!


Teen BFF’s vintage, fun, and boho-styled photography shoot!

What do you get when you mix two photographer friends (who think they are REALLY funny) with two teen friends (who are clearly BFFs) + one Mom (who is willing to hold reflectors, carry lights and do almost anything as long as we keep her away from the bugs, cobwebs and anything dirty) with a fantastic eclectic out-of-this-world antique and vintage store?

A wonderful, fun, creative, photography shoot!

When I put out a model call on my Facebook page looking for tweens or teens for a creative shoot, Addie’s mom got back with me really quickly! Addie has modeled for me before and I’ve even entered an image or two of her in competition. Her mom suggested she bring her friend Hannah along and I thought that sounded like a fantastic idea! Once I met them I knew it was TRULY a fantastic idea!

They had so much fun together and they were both wonderful at taking direction, being patient while waiting for us to get our lights placed where we wanted them, figuring out what my blabbering means (it’s usually posing direction that makes sense in my head but not so much sense when I say it out loud), laughing at our jokes — because you know, my photographer friend Alley (look her up – her work is amazing!) — and I seem to think we are funny, and overall just being awesome!

Here are some images we created that day at Simply Iowa in Fairfax. If you haven’t been there – you’re in for a treat. Unique treasures galore. You just have to look everywhere and keep your eyes open!

I love every one of these images!

Thanks girls. And thanks Mom! And thanks Alley. You all rocked it!

And a special thanks to Barb for letting us use the outside of her store as a studio!


BFFs – Addison and Hannah



Loved shooting Hannah through this unique door with the stained glass window. It framed her so beautifully!



Lots of grungy interesting areas to photograph Hannah at Simply Iowa!



When Alley was photographing Addie I decided to go with another angle. Love it!






Hannah rocking the “serious” look!



Then the girls switched it up with some fun boho-styled outfits, headpieces and jewelry. I love how Alley posed them for this image!



How fun!


Then I decided it might be a good idea to “frame” Hannah again. This time with a cool open doorway and with the window of the old car!


Next we found a fence to photograph at! Simply gorgeous!




And we ended the evening with these images. These are my favorite — because she is wearing her mom’s prom dress! I have a daughter (now 25 years old!) so I totally understood how important these images were to her mom. We had to talk Addie into it — and I think her mom had to promise her dinner at HUHOT — but it was worth it!

Vintage prom dress + vintage car + vintage retouching = magic!

If you are a member of the class of 2019 and interested in more information about senior imagery by TruYou Photography & Design – – please visit the information page.

If you are Mom of a teen and you’d like a shoot of her in YOUR vintage clothing – or just a sweet session for your teen – give me a call! 319.377.7261

You can also checkout TruYou on the website, facebook and instagram!

Thanks for stopping by and be sure to check back soon!