Artwork from Crystal Jo Foto on HGTV

WooooHoo, Crystal Jo Foto is famous! We couldn’t be more honored to have our work featured on the show “Raise the Roof: The College Challenge” on the HGTV network on June 22 at 2PM. Our cute clients, Sydney and McKenzie enjoyed our lemonade stand and the photos from this session were the inspiration behind the makeover in the lower level of their home. Huge prints are displayed and they are the first thing you notice when you walk into the room.

Here’s an interview with Sydney and McKenzie’s mother, Melanie.

How did you get on the show?
I was working for the county Office on Aging, who partners with Rebuilding Together Central Ohio for a lot of home repair projects for seniors.  The director of home repair sent out an e-mail requesting nominations for families that met the criteria of the show.  Rebuilding Together Central Ohio was partnering with HGTV/DIY for Raise A Roof:  The College Challenge.  They wanted candidates that were home owners, needed some work done on the home, couldn’t necessarily do the work themselves or afford a contractor, and had a story to tell.   The goal of the show was to encourage college aged adults into volunteering in their communities and to highlight the impact that Rebuilding Together has on local neighborhoods.  I am a single parent of two girls, and my younger daughter has an autism diagnosis.

Did you ask for anything to NOT be in the room?  How did they involve you in the process of the remodel?
The only thing I mentioned about not wanting was pink walls.  Then I came home for the reveal and of course got pink walls, lol.  But they did such a great job that I didn’t mind.  I had done several walk throughs with Rebuilding Together and made lists of work that was needed, but the design process and the work process was all a surprise.

How long did it take?  How long were they in your house and how long was the process before?  Please tell us about the interview process.
I turned in a brief paragraph about our situation in early December.  After that, I went through 2 rounds of interviews.  The first interview was with 2 individuals from Rebuilding Together Central Ohio, they came to the house and we walked through all of the rooms and outside, making lists of repairs that needed done.  I was also videotaped answering some questions.  The second interview included 2 people from Rebuilding Together Central Ohio, the President of the National Rebuilding Together office, and a designer and a producer from HGTV.  They did more walk throughs, this time taking measurements and asking more specific questions, such as “Do you care if we tear that wall down”?  This is when the designer noticed the lemonade stand photograph that you had taken of the girls hanging in my living room.  By the end of January, I was told that I was selected for the show.  The bulk of the behind the scenes work started in March.  Rebuilding Together sent their employees, volunteers, and contractors on a nearly weekly basis.  They did work on the HVAC system, rewired and upgraded the electric, took out the carpet and put down the laminate floor.  They had delivered storage pods, I had to empty everything from the family room, laundry room and utility room into the pods.  We also did the “before” interviews with the camera crew in March.  The actual work weekend was two weekend days in April.

Were you surprised by the outcome of the room?  Did you cry?  Do you love it now?
I was very surprised by the outcome of the room.  I was nervous, not because I was afraid of the outcome, I just didn’t know what to expect.  My reaction was stunned silence.  I felt like it was boring for the cameras because it was so quiet, but the producer said it was all over my face.  There was just so much to look at and take in, my brain couldn’t focus on one thing to comment on it.  Everything in the room was brand new except for the TV.  I kept going back and forth between the enormous pictures of the girls and the really cool wallpaper.  I couldn’t figure out the wallpaper -was it wallpaper, stencils, was it velvet?  I love how the yellow pops out of the wallpaper and matches the walls.  Then I was thinking, “who on earth has a white leather couch with kids and a glass table, that’ll last a week”.  I love the cabinets in the playroom that hide the toys.  It was a challenge moving everything back in, but the paring down of belongings was sorely needed.  On it’s own, I am not in love with the raspberry color of the playroom, but I love it with the black and white accents, and it’s a perfect match for young girls.  The most  emotional part for me was just accepting the help and all the gratitude I have for Rebuilding Together and the students from Ohio State for their hard work and resources.  The aesthetic outcome is beautiful, but it’s the behind the scenes things like the HVAC, electrical work and fixing the privacy fence that have had the biggest functional impact on our day to day life.

Was the taping fun?  Did the neighbors come watch? I’m sure you were the hit of the neighborhood!
The taping was fun.  It was fascinating just watching the network crews set up their equipment, my back yard was tent city.  Wearing a microphone was a challenge, it picks up everything and I was always knocking it loose.  We had to take a zillion takes because of barking dogs or chirping birds.  My neighbors did come and watch, many of them were very pleased to see such a project being featured in our modest neighborhood versus the mini mansions you usually see on HGTV.  When they sent us off to the hotel, I didn’t really want to go, I felt like I was missing out.  The best part of taping was with the students during the reveal piece, they had a lot of energy and were fun and played with the kids.  Both hosts, Aneitra and Chris Grundy, were wonderful.  Grundy is just as hilarious off camera as he is on, he is personality plus.

Drumroll please….

And the play room…
McKenzie wrote her name on the old basement door.  The show tore down the old door but still kept this little memorabilia from the old room.

An interview with Crystal Jo (ahem, the artist, tee hee)..

How were you approached about this project?
In March, Melanie, Syd and McKenzie’s mother, sent me a message saying that HGTV saw a lemonade stand portrait hanging in her living room and were interested in possibly using the images for the makeover. Of course, I said, “YES, PLEASE! Give them all of my information!” I didn’t want to get my hopes up because it was such a possibility. The HGTV representative contacted me and asked for the digital rights and had me sign a few contracts and releases. That’s when it became REAL. I wasn’t sure how big the artwork would be or even what images they would use. I was just honored to have the slight chance my work would be featured on such a well-known network.

What were your thoughts when you saw the room for the first time?
It is BEAUTIFUL. The colors, the texture, the different patterns… oh, I love it. And the photos are HUGE. And they even put smaller portraits around the room. It truly is an honor to see my work displayed like this. I just love this family so much, it really couldn’t have happened to more deserving people. Xo!

C-Bus. Columbus Engagement Photography

Julie and Dan.  Engaged.

Julie and Dan live in Connecticut so they refer to Columbus as C-Bus.  It’s a city they both love and wanted to incorporate into their engagement session.  

Session fave.  Happiness just exudes.
Stunning, Julie.  I love your big sparkly smile and sweet personality! 
I just love Julie’s feet here.  She’s got pep in her step.  It must be love.
She whispers something in his ear.  And his reaction.  :) Happiness.
Super excited for your wedding next summer, friends.  Xo!

Fun facts about Julie and Dan…

How did you meet?
We met on Jdate, an internet dating site.

Tell us about your proposal!
After a night of partying all night for Daniel’s birthday, he woke me up at 6 am the next day and proposed in our apartment. I was so surprised!

What’s your favorite thing about your significant other?

My favorite thing about Daniel is his sense of humor, funny personality, always up to try new things, and his love for golf.

My favorite thing about Julie is her energetic personality, gorgeous smile (always smiling), and willingness to put others before herself.

What makes you guys unique?
We enjoy great food, having fun and playing golf.

How did you find Crystal Jo?
Crystal Jo was very highly recommended by a friend who used Crystal Jo at her wedding last summer (shout out to Julie and Oli, click HERE to see their wedding). The photographs were just beautiful and captured every special moment. We also heard that Crystal Jo is wonderful to work with.

Dapper. Columbus Family Photography

Jackie, Rhett, Cindy, Gina, Bob, Jackson, Allec, and Nina.  Family.

Look at this little natural beauty.

And her cousins just adore her!
They are in town all the way from Georgia to visit family.  Perfect time for family photos!
So dapper!  And I just love their complimentary colors.
And Nina in her little heels.  She loved showing them off!

8 o’clock. Project 52

Project 52.  (One photo a week, on a scheduled theme, for 52 weeks.)

Week 25 of 52: 8 o’clock

Our 8 o’clock usually consists of her playing on the swings in our backyard.  She knows now.  We swing.  We get a bath.  Book and bed.  It’s a great little summer bedtime routine.  This week she started asking for kisses on each upswing.  It’s adorable.  Here she is, looking behind her for Daddee, getting ready for his kiss on the upswing.  “Kiss.  Oh, you missed it.  Kiss.  Kiss.”  And lots of giggles in between. I’ll try to get it on video and post it on my instagram. I’m “crystaljofoto” if you’d like to follow me.

Canon 5DMkII, 35mm f/1.4
ISO 800, f/2.8, 1/640 sec


To see Megan’s 8 o’clock, click HERE.

Seize the Day. Columbus Newborn Photography

Just wait until you meet this little bundle of joy!
Vivia Diem Filia.  Born just ten days ago.  Her precious middle name is Diem, meaning “Day”.  Just like her Mama’s tattoo.
Carpe Diem.  Seize the Day.  You may remember seeing photos of this tattoo two years ago when I photographed Lara and Jeremy’s beautiful July wedding.  “Carpe Diem” is very special to Lara as it was something she remembers about her unforgettable father (whom you can see a photo of on her bouquet).  If you’d like to see how it all started… their wedding day, click HERE.
Look how tiny.  Arriving five weeks early as the couple was traveling in Pittsburgh, Vivia weighed only 4 pounds, 14 ounces.
Um, her nursery.  Straight out of a catalog.

Welcome the to the world, Vivia.  You are so beautiful!
A little behind the scenes with Crystal Jo Foto…
And the end result.  This was her Daddy’s favorite photo, on the left.
Some fun facts from the parents of this little princess..How long have you been married and how did you met?
We met in grade school at St Michael’s School.  We have been married 2 years on July 16th.Tell us how you found out you were expecting.
We found out we were expecting on November 3rd, the anniversary of Lara’s Father’s death.

Did you find out the gender?  How did you come up with her name?
We did find out the gender at our 20 week appointment.  We liked the name Vivian, but wanted the name to end with an “a”.  The middle name “Diem”, comes from the latin word meaning “Day”.  We got it from the phrase “Carpe Diem” meaning to “Seize the Day”;  Lara’s father’s last lessons to her before he passed.  Lara has the tattoo “Carpe Diem” on her wrist.

A baby is here! What are you looking forward to the most?
Having a family, sharing her and watching her grow!

You are a new parent.  Give us the scoop.  What has surprised you the most about parenthood?  Any funny stories or first times, share with us.
The biggest surprise was her coming 5 weeks early while out of town for Jeremy’s Grandfathers funeral! We  delivered in a hospital with Doctors we didnt know in a completely different state!

How did you find Crystal Jo?
We interviewed Crystal Jo for our wedding 2 years ago and immediately knew she was the perfect photographer for us.  Her bubbly personality and creativity produced beautiful pictures for our wedding.  She and her assistant Ana, were so patient and warm with our newborn as we had our first photo shoot.