Monthly Archives: January 2014

Tea Staining Tutorial | Around the Studio

I am gathering wardrobe pieces for my couture sessions. I got some pretty little things at the local second hand shop, a stark white bustier and a semi-lacey black top. The white bustier I bought with the intention of tea staining to give it a sweet, antique look. I was asking the lady who worked at the shop if she could show me any pretty nude color slips/bustier/lingerie items, and as I gathered she was looking for things in my size, I quickly added that they didn’t have to be in my size because they weren’t for me. She gave me a really odd “Ok”. Embarrassed, I quickly clarified that these were for photo shoots, and we had a good laugh. Anyway, tea staining is ridiculously easy and quick, and I love the results from using natural dyes. Below is a before and after of the bustier.

Maria Kim Tea Staining Tutorial-1

The process: Thoroughly wash item. Submerge item in hot water. For one bustier, I used two quarts of water. Ensure the item is thoroughly soaked before you add any tea bags. I added six bags of Lipton tea to two quarts of water. Steep tea bags, ensure tea color is distributed evenly in the container. Move the item around to ensure even dyeing. The time you have your item in the tea depends on how dark you want it stained. I wanted to keep the bustier on the light side, so I kept it in there for 2 minutes. Drain tea and thoroughly wash item in cold water until it bleeds no more tea. Dry.

Maria Kim Tea Staining Tutorial-1

Disclaimer: Don’t burn yourself. Use gloves if necessary. Different teas will yield different colors. Lipton tea yielded a peachy color. If you leave your item in the tea for a longer time, I would keep an eye on it, stirring it often. Otherwise it could dye unevenly. Follow care instructions for your item. I used hot water because the tea steeps much quicker, but if your item is not compatible, use cold water.

Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep | The Latest | January 1, 2014!

Happy New Year everyone and many blessings to you and your family! 2013 has been full of changes and full of blessings for us. Thank you all for your encouragement and support. They may be kind words to you, but to me, they are gold.

To kick off the new year, I am proud to announce that I have been accepted as a photographer for Now I Lay Me Down To Sleep, a worldwide non-profit organization that provides “the gift of photography for parents suffering the loss of a baby.”

I had come across NILMDTS several years ago when I was first entering photography. Their mission is one that resonated with me strongly. I believe all life is precious, from the moment of conception to death. All loss is hard, no matter what, when, or where. Seeing that they only accept professional photographers and seeing that I was not a professional photographer, I set the organization aside in my head as something to work towards, and promptly forgot about it for years. Fast forward to this past September. A new friend’s recent tragedy jogged my memory to this organization. I had just launched,  and finding that… I still needed a deeper purpose. I can’t just do photography because I love art, beauty, and creativity. I want to help people. Maybe I need to help people.

It still took me a couple of months to submit an application. I’m not sure what my block was. It was probably a mix of lack of confidence in my work, particularly with artificial light, and ability to work in such a sensitive environment. The thing is, since launching, I’ve learned that the biggest thing preventing you from doing something or achieving something isn’t ability but simply action. It wasn’t until I was talking to some friends about taking action that I realized I just need to submit an application. I had to prepare some artificial lighting images (below), but once i had those, it took probably 15 minutes to submit an application, not even. Easy. Truthfully, it was selfish of me to not submit an application for so long because I had so much self-doubt when I could take the action towards helping people. If I wasn’t good enough, my application would be denied and I’d just reapply later. Simple.


I tell you all of this because I could really use your thoughts, prayers, and advice as I embark down this path. If you know me, you know I can be frightfully awkward. I’m nervous about entering such a sensitive environment, but I believe in the gift and power of photography, so I want to do it if it could help ease the pain of loss in some degree, however small. I know I will always need to be ready to go, and I know I need to prepare myself in how I conduct myself with the family, during the session and afterwards (NILMDTS has a forum just for their photographers so that should help me), and I know with work, I can get there. But I also know it’d be a million times easier with your support!

If you know of anyone who is/will be suffering the loss of a baby, please let them know of this organization and the service they provide. Furthermore, if you are a photographer and the mission of NILMDTS resonates with you, I encourage you to apply.