Not Your Momma's Gratitude Challenge

I have not made it a secret that I have a new found passion/joy for taking pictures. I am BEYOND an amateur, but I don't let that stop me from taking and sharing my pictures. In the name of improving my photography skills and inviting you all to do the same, my friend Stacey and I are doing a gratitude PHOTO challenge for the month of November. NOVEMBER!?!? You ask. Why are you posting when it is still September? (You guys are so smart to ask such questions). The requirement is that you post a photo a day and I live in the real world where life is busy... crazy busy. This will give you the whole month of October to get your photos together. I am so nice and thoughtful.

photography 1

What's In It For Me?

The winner of the gratitude challenge (besides yourself for taking note of small things that give you joy) will also win a $50 Amazon gift card from yours truly. Now listen, I get to enter too. There will be three people that will vote on the winners (2 pros, and one normal person). They won't get to know whose pictures are who's and they will select a winner.

The Rules

  • You must be an amateur... no professionals.
  • You must have a camera that has a manual setting. It doesn't have to be a DSLR fancy pants camera per se. I have seen some power shots that have a manual setting. I would encourage ALL OF YOU to take that camera out of automatic mode and put it in manual. (I'll be posting some of my beginner tips from a beginner over the next month to get you pumped about growing your abilities).
  • We don't want iPhone pictures here people. This is a chance to improve your manual photography... so TAKE IT!
  • It doesn't matter when you took the photo, so long as YOU took it. Don't be that person.


  • You can edit the photo as much as you like. Since I am amateur status all the way, I typically still edit in iPhoto on my computer.  At times I will experiment with Photoshop on LB's computer, but usually that ends with things being thrown...
  • Each of the 30 days in November, you will upload one photo to the House of Bennetts page on Facebook with a short caption that captures the spirit of that days category/theme. You will also tag it with #notyourmomsgratitudechallenge and #houseofbennetts.

The Themes By Day:

  1. Smile
  2. Leaves
  3. Morning Sky
  4. Books
  5. Something Funny
  6. Inspiring Person
  7. Nature
  8. Something Old
  9. Hands
  10. Written Words
  11. Movement
  12. Technology
  13. Animals
  14. Something New
  15. Friendship
  16. Your Favorite Room
  17. Clothing
  18. Gratitude
  19. Artwork
  20. Transportation
  21. Nighttime
  22. Light
  23. Something You Use Everyday
  24. Laughter
  25. Love
  26. Favorite Color
  27. An Accomplishment (a good candidate for a before and after)
  28. Work
  29. Music
  30. Self Portrait (I refuse to say Selfie)

At the end of the contest, you will upload your 30 days of submissions to a Dropbox folder and email me the link (houseofbennetts AT gmail DOT com).  This is the collection that will be judged by the judges because that is what judges do. :)  We hope to announce the winner no later than December 10 so that you can put that Amazon cash to good Christmas use.

*Helpful tip: you should upload your pictures to your Dropbox folder as you go through each day, that way on Day 30 you can submit the whole collection of your best work.

You must still upload to Facebook every day to be eligible to win the $50 Amazon card.

*If your collection wins, but you didn't upload each day, you will still be featured on the blog, but the gift card will go to the second place person who uploaded each day.

So comment away, either on Facebook or here at House of Bennetts. Share tips. Share praise. Keep it nice. We're all here to learn together. I will be doing a few periodic posts on gratitude reflections throughout the month of November and I hope to incorporate some Facebook uploads that catch my eye!

General Tips

Shoot outside... in cloudy weather and not direct sun. Also, check out this super simplified pin that helps ground what I think of as the three basics: apperture, shutter speed, and ISO.

manual photography basics

I typically set my ISO first and then go from there. I like to think of ISO as "Is the sun on?" If it is, I can use an ISO way down low (100-200). Even in pretty cloudy weather, if I am shooting outside the highest I typically need to go is 800.  Most of my shots indoors (unless I am lucky enough to have a ton of natural light streaming in) start at 800 - 1600.  The higher the ISO, the more grainy the picture.  Sometimes that can be a fun look, but also explains why outdoors shots are so smooth/clear!

So start there. Start somewhere. Just start. Let go of being self-conscious or afraid. You can do this! And you never know... you might win a $50 gift card on top of improving your photography skills. Win win I say.

Gratitude Challenge