The Greatest Gift

"My Father gave me the greatest gift anyone could give another person;

He believed in me."     Jim Valvano


My father was an educator.  He encouraged all four of his daughters to get a college degree, two of us went on to graduate school.  He mentored our creativity with art projects and indulged us with almost every household pet you can imagine.  And he never drew the gender line predominant in the common thought of that era that little girls are suppose to just look pretty, learn to cook and marry well.  He taught us things like how to change a tire (that sure came in handy while driving through the backwoods of Tasmania in the 1980s) and tune the car; the correct way to trim a tree right (which led to a lot of climbing and getting into trouble being on the rooftop or in the garage rafters), and gave us a keen interest in watching and playing sports (my sister Andrea has always been Dad's sports pal).

He believed we could do "whatever you put your mind to doing".


I got my love of cars from Dad.  It wasn't necessarily the biggest engine or how fast they could go but more how they looked as well as a continued appreciation for fine lines and beautiful features.  These photos were taken on my iPhone 8+ at a recent car show.  They embody my love of the auto machine as well as creative ("thumbprint") expression.  I hope you enjoy them.

The greatest gift I can give my Dad these days is time. We are blessed to have both parents still guiding us as they walk towards 90 and 94 years young.  So for this Father's Day I'm taking Dad to a Car Show in Folsom and then out to breakfast. 

No tree climbing.

We Must Use Time Creatively

Martin Luther King once said "We must use time creatively".  I like that, it resonates with me.  I don't think I would be very happy without some form of a creative outlet.  I went from being an Art Major to working in the corporate world back to being a watercolor artist.  I eventually traversed to portrait photography after getting married and wanting an at-home business while raising our kids.  Portrait and Event Photography has been fun over the last few decades but the connectivity of social media and the ever improving cameras on smartphones prompted me to create Thumb Print Images.  


Our smartphones are always with us as we travel through life's daily adventures.  Whether we are spending time with family and friends or on the trip of a life-time, there is an easily accesible camera at our fingertips.  Yet I find that so many people are intimidated by their smartphone camera settings or just aren't happy with their images.  And if they aren't the type of person to learn through YouTube or Google, well, improving their photography talents can be difficult.

You can improve your smartphone photography and editing skills through classes with Thumb Print Images.  Classes are always held in small groups to give you the best hands-on learning experience.  You will learn to avoid common mistakes by coming to understand the importance of light source, good composition, and basic editing.  Step up your social media posts with creative editing techniques, use of filters without overkill, and the ability to add text to your image.  Organize and store your images without having to purchase additional space.  

Images of mosaics Smither Park, Houston TX.


I add classes each month.  If those dates don't work for you, Book A Party! with your friends and let's get a date on the books that does.  Let's use time creatively.

With joy,


Good Bye to 2017, Never to be Forgotten

Like most years, 2017 flipped through her days quickly and ended all too soon.

Thankfully, we have images.  

They help us Feel.  

Joy, Humility, Sadness, Love, Companionship, and more.  

They hold our memories and allow unlimited revisits.

Make the most of your images.  

Edit them in a way unique to what you want to convey, share them and give joy to others, and preserve them for endless revisits over the next upcoming years.

Happy New Year!

With joy, Cynthia

When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs.

“When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs. When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence.”
Ansel Adams

There are a lot of social media images being posted this month with hashtag #DOT, 30 Days of Thanksgiving.  So I joined the campaign on both Facebook and Instagram to show, in smartphone photographs, my daily gratitude through the month of November.

Recently our adventures took us to the Silverado Resort in Napa, California.  I am very thankful to have experienced a joy-filled weekend with dear friends while I was wine tasting, laughing, and enjoying the kind and generous magnitude in each personality.   Yet all around us was this blanket of stunning reality in the devastation which hit this area just last month.  I have no words, only my images.

We knew the area was extremely hard hit and that the homes that we had rented were in good shape so we decided we would go anyway to support the Napa economy.   However, none of us were prepared for what we saw as we drove around. 

The Thankfulness from this adventure was not only in what we experienced together as friends.  It was from what we experienced from individuals in the wineries, restaurants, and locals we met while walking around.  Napa wants you to know they are ok, they want to see you, and they are there to give you their best.  #NAPASTRONG and they are.


Create Lasting Memories

Life is full of adventure and, if you are like me, you want to enjoy those moments through your pictures as best you can.  Knowing how to take good pictures and edit them into something artistic, or simply with more clarity, requires some skill.  And even though most of us have a great camera on our smartphones, there are still so many things to learn when photographing the next travel adventure, family reunion, or walk-about.  Here's a few pics from my most recent adventures:

HOUSTON ART CAR SHOW - April 2017:  The people watching was as exciting as the car creations!  We always toured some great Houstonian sites with my niece Adrianne.  She is an amazing research guru on everything cool and artsy, anywhere!

BIG TREE FOREST and CRESCENT LAKE, OR - June, July 2017:  When it's hotter than you know what, you get out of town.  We had never been to the Big Tree Forrest and decided to go on a hike, then hit Murphys (a great little town!) for lunch. It was a nice day trip. 

In July we usually head to the family cabin and hang on on the dock, swim, eat, paddle board and relax a lot.  Even the dog was relaxed.  I don't know what those four were staring at, but it seemed funny enough for me to shoot a pic.  And what is the 4th about if you're not roasting marshmallows?  The little guy is from next door.  He finds us more fun than his own family.

How you shoot, crop and edit an image is unique to you.  Like your own thumbprint.  As you can see, I love tight cropped pics that draw your eye in, high contrast, B&W filters, food shots, architecture and more.  My images are sometimes lightly edited, other times more artsy.  It all depends on what I am trying to convey, how I choose to put my thumbprint on the file.

Thumb Print Images offers smartphone classes in The Basics of Photography, Travel Photography, Portrait Photography, Creative Editing, and Photography in the Workplace.  You will find the current schedule under the CLASSES tab.  (The Portrait Photography Class will come in handy for your next holiday card!)

If the current class schedule doesn't work for you, then Book a Party!  Just email me with when you'd like to gather your friends and I'll create a special class product for you to forward to your friends.  You share the link, they order the class, and we all meet at a visually inviting place to learn smartphone photography skills, apps, products, and editing!  A fun time for all!  I'll even bring the party favors.

Keep cool!


Where Are You Going and Where Have You Been?

That was my first blog one year ago when Thumb Print Images began.

Happy Anniversary!  It's been one year since Thumb Print Images started offering classes on how to take better pictures with your smartphone.  Since then, my life has been filled with beautiful memories and images from travels, family adventures, and daily life.  When you always have your smartphone with you, there is always an opportunity to capture the moment adn share it with others.

"Which one of my photographs is my favorite?  The one I'm going to take tomorrow."

- Imogen Cunningham

New adventures for all of us are as near as tomorrow.  For me, April brings the Houston Art Car Show, May is our daughter's Graduation and the 2017 Roseville Greek Food & Wine Festival, and who knows what the summer holds.  I look forward to each day and what it presents.

There will be new opportunities for you too!  Classes are in the works for a Wine Tasting & Photography in Amador County late Fall 2017 as well as a Photography Class in Italy sometime 2018 under the brilliant guidance of Experience Italy

So who's interested! Email me your thoughts, I love feedback.

Take better pictures with your smartphone as you travel through your next adventure.  Thumb Print Images offers classes in Photography Basics, Creative Editing, Portrait Photography or you can Book a Party and we can create a class for you!

There is Beauty in the World...

... so much beauty in the world! 

Northern California has been drenched in rain and the flooding has been a challenge for many.  We've been very fortunate not to have the water levels impact our home but close by there are a lot of changes to the landscape.  I walk the American River Parkway whenever I can and, when I do, I am always grateful for the breathtaking elements from Nature, which she never fails to deliver. 

Even in the rising waters which threaten so many, there is Beauty.

 This image was taken with my Samsung GallaxyS7 Active and modified on my iPad with the Mextures App, which isn't available for Andriod phones.   Mextures is great for light leaks, texture, grunge and all sorts of other applications.   In my Creative Editing Class you will learn how to create your own beautiful images from landscapes and other pictures.  Classes are added all the time or you can gather friends and schedule your own time.  Enjoy!

This image was taken with my Samsung GallaxyS7 Active and modified on my iPad with the Mextures App, which isn't available for Andriod phones.   Mextures is great for light leaks, texture, grunge and all sorts of other applications. 

In my Creative Editing Class you will learn how to create your own beautiful images from landscapes and other pictures.  Classes are added all the time or you can gather friends and schedule your own time.


Summer School Can Be Fun!

The summer classes have been a blast and I've enjoyed being able to share great photo tips with some wonderful people.  The level of talent in participants has varied from "very basic" to "knows some stuff" so there is something for everybody in the Thumb Print Image classes. 

If you are ready to learn some great cell phone or tablet photography techniques, join me in one of my next classes where you will learn how to take better pics through understanding light source, composition, and editing.  Take your pics from ordinary to pop!

For those of you with a pretty good knowledge of cell phone photography, the Editing Class is the right one for you to further enhance your skills, fix images from lighting and composition issues, and create fun artsy images.  Click on the "CLASSES" tab for more information.

Class size will always be limited to give you the best "hands on" help.  Grab your pal and sign up soon, or contact me to schedule another time that works best for you.

In the meantime, here are just a few "before" and "after" images from recent classes.  Enjoy!


Where have you been and where are you going?

You like to travel and love the convenience of shooting with your phone or tablet camera.  And why not? The technology these days is awesome for traveling light, capturing the moment and instantly sharing with others.  (Don't get me wrong.  I love my big girl Canon DSL and the clarity will never be replaced by my little ol' Samsung Galaxy.) 

But you find that your phone/tablet camera images just do not have that snap or the creativity you see in other people's social media pics.  And you just aren't the kind of person to YouTube research, Google tutorials or ask some tweener for help.  So now what?

Welcome to Thumb Print Images!

Thumb Print Images is all about how to shoot with your phone or tablet and how to edit those images in your own unique way.

Join me in small groups of 4 to 6.  Locations around the Sacramento region to be announced.  Fun in great visually loaded venues guaranteed.