What do I stand for?

Sometimes when I go in Instagram, I look at my feed, and then I look at the feed of some cute Utah mommy-bloggers. I just feel like my life isn’t together. I don’t have cute babies yet. My husband and I live in an old house that is definitely less than photogenic. We work all day and hardly ever see each other, so there isn’t much time to go on fun adventures and take cute photos in exotic places. Based on this analysis of my experiences with social media, there are a few things that I stick by when I post.

  1. Be real. Often on Social Media I feel that there are so many unrealistic expectations that we create for ourselves. From body image, to jobs, to income, there is a whole plethora of ways that people on social media can represent themselves in an inaccurate way. I try to represent myself as who I am: a broke newly married woman who works 40 hours a week and enjoys every moment she can with her husband. If people don’t like that, they can feel free to to follow me.
  2. Be kind, to yourself and others. There are too many unkind people in this world. A lot of people who aren’t bold enough to be unkind in person, often find the courage to do so online.. As part of being real, and of my third point, Social Media needs to be something that makes people feel good. If something doesn’t make you feel good, about yourself or your life, then get rid of it! On my account I try my best to love myself, and others, for what they are. Imperfect! Rejoice in imperfections.
  3. Represent the Savior. I have never been ashamed of sharing my thoughts on the Savior or the Gospel on my social media accounts. Its a huge part of who I am and if I were to not share posts in regards to my spiritual growth and experiences, I would be in-genuine. I would hope to make a difference in the lives of others, if only through subtle and small things.

REP: Chris Pratt and Deaf Community

For this assignment I used a post done by actor Chris Pratt on his Instagram account. Here is the post for reference. You can watch the video as well.

Instagram does this thing where it mutes all the videos it shows and forces you to turn on the volume in order to hear them. (maybe because most people are watching those videos at work when they should be working and don't want to get caught. I know that's when I do it. 😬) So when I made a video recently with subtitles, and requested that people turn up the volume and not just "read the subtitles" it was so people wouldn't scroll past the video on mute, thus watching and digesting the information in the video. HOWEVER, I realize now doing so was incredibly insensitive to the many folks out there who depend on subtitles. More than 38 million Americans live with some sort of hearing disability. So I want to apologize. I have people in my life who are hearing-impaired, and the last thing in the world I would want to do is offend them or anybody who suffers from hearing loss or any other disability. So truly from the bottom of my heart I apologize. Thanks for pointing this out to me. In the future I'll try to be a little less ignorant about it. Now… I know some of you are going to say, "Hey! Chris only apologized because his publicist made him!" Well. That is not the case. As always I control my social media. Nobody else. And I am doing this because I'm actually really sorry. Apologies are powerful. I don't dole them out Willy-Nilly. This is one of those moments where I screwed up and here's me begging your pardon. I hope you accept my apology. And on that note. Why doesn't Instagram have some kind of technology to automatically add subtitles to its videos? Or at least the option. I did a little exploring and it seems lacking in that area. Shouldn't there be an option for closed captioning or something? I've made them lord knows how much money with my videos and pictures. Essentially sharing myself for free. I know they profit. So… GET ON IT INSTAGRAM!!! Put closed captioning on your app. #CCinstaNow

A post shared by chris pratt (@prattprattpratt) on

Chris made a public comment stating that people shouldn’t use closed captions while watching his movie, and that they should just turn up the volume. Members of the deaf community were offended by this statement, and so he took to his social media account to make a personal apology.

In his post he addresses the deaf community, through sign language, in order to apologize to them for the comment that he made. The effort that he made to reach out in a way personal to them was very effective because they felt that he cared. Christ Pratt is known to be a pretty cool guy, and this was just something that made him even more likeable. He did it because he wanted to, not because his publicist wanted him to.

I would say that the best way to find out if this post is effective or not, is how much it appears online. Many people shared his post, and many people also liked it on Instagram. It was also covered by lot of news stations.


For this assignment, I analyzed Always social media campaign #LikeAGirl. Here is the campaign’s video for reference:

What Always attempted to do with this commercial is show the negative stigma associated with being a girl, and how whenever anyone says ‘like a girl’, they don’t mean it in a kind way. The campaign tries to show that when people do things ‘like a girl’, they don’t necessarily need to fit in a certain range of emotions or actions. You can play softball ‘like a girl’, and do amazing. You can run ‘like a girl’ and win a marathon. Your gender doesn’t change you ability to do something in a spectacular way.

#LikeAGirl is trying to show that as young girls we don’t feel that being a woman holds us back. We go hard in everything that we do. But as we grow older and mature we starts to feel much more self conscious about everything that we do, as women. Suddenly being a woman becomes our weakness. Always ends their video by saying, “Lets make #LikeAGirl mean amazing things.

This campaign effectively using the Story Principle by connecting with the individuals in the ad. When we relate to them and what they are going through we feel like the brand is more authentic.

The Attention principle is also used in this add. When women use the hashtag #LikeAGirl they are drawing more attention to themselves and whatever they did. Everyone loves doing that. It’s human nature.

We live in a time where people want to be different, and draw attention to problems that have been left untouched for long periods of time. This is where the Zeitgeist Principle comes into play. With the whole Me Too movement, and I’m With Her, women are gaining more traction in the playing field, so to speak. This campaign was timely because it fit in well with what people were passionate about at that moment.

Thoughts on Cleanliness

When reading the excerpt from the teachings of Joseph F. Smith I was really impressed with the concept of Repentance. He says,

“Does repentance consist of sorrow for wrong doing? Yes, but is this all? By no means. True repentance only is acceptable to God, nothing short of it will answer the purpose. Then what is true repentance? True repentance is not only sorrow for sins, and humble penitence and contrition before God, but it involves the necessity of turning away from them, a discontinuance of all evil practices and deeds, a thorough reformation of life, a vital change from evil to good, from vice to virtue, from darkness to light. ”

On my mission we would teach about how repentance is a change of heart and action. We must make sure to always be clean, and make small changes each and every day.


We live in a very organized society. Not organized in the sense that we like to keep our kitchen cabinets neat, or make our beds in the morning. But rather, organized in the sense that we like to categorize, and label. But not so much with objects. More so with each other. People are either:

Fat or skinny.

Short or tall.

Black or white.

Nice or mean.

Smart or dumb.

Male or female.

Most of these I feel are unnecessary. Our pants size shouldn’t matter. Our skin color shouldn’t matter.

But something that I feel that matters is our gender. It is part of our identity. It is part of who we are.

For me, this is a label I am proud of. I’m proud to be a woman. A female. A daughter. A sister. I’m proud of my potential to create new life, to bare a child. I’ve always been taught to embrace that label. That classification. Being a woman is not something to be ashamed of.

But being either male or female is no longer the norm. What has become the norm is to be different. Facebook now offers 58 different gender options.

I grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. My parents are very liberal. In fact, they call themselves ‘oxy-mormons’, because there aren’t very many left-wing Latter-day Saints. Because of this, I never really thought anything about gender growing up. I knew that I was a girl. I liked girly things. I definitely liked boys. Some of my best friends’ parents were gay. The concept of having two moms wasn’t really weird to me. I knew they loved their children, and I knew they loved me and my parents, so the fact that they were gay was never really discussed. I can’t remember whether or not I knew they were married. In my young mind, that didn’t matter. My parents had taught me to love everyone, regardless of their gender, race, religion, or life decisions.

It wasn’t until Prop 8 was under way that I really began to question what I knew. Or what mattered to me. I remember my dad sitting me down and explaining why certain people that I loved so much weren’t talking to us anymore. Why Sally’s parents wouldn’t let her come over and play anymore, or why my friends at school would ask me why I hated gay people.

This was a turning point for me. In my young, innocent mind, I felt that  I needed to take a stand. I couldn’t be a fence sitter on something like this anymore. How did I really feel about this?

To be completely honest, I still really struggle with this subject. I feel strongly about what I was taught in church, as a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. I won’t go deep into doctrine, but I do know and have a strong testimony in the importance of families. (A father, mother and children.) Having grown up in a home with parents who love me, and a good relationship with my sisters, I know that the family is ordained of God. And I also know that marriage should be between a man and a woman.

That being said, I also feel that love is love. Whether its between a man and a woman, two women, or two men. People should be able to be with the one that they choose. And we cannot control who people choose.

So it hurts, when people call me a homophobe, or tell me that ‘I just don’t care.’ Often those who promote and encourage understanding and human rights are the most oppressive and close minded. They do not know my story. And I don’t know theirs.

What frustrates me is that there are so many labels. People feel the need to further classify themselves beyond just male or female, or gay and straight. I feel that the over-specifying simply creates more problems. Ultimately what we are missing is a lack of love and understanding.

We need to accept that we don’t know or understand each other as well as we think that we do. But we also need to give our 100% in trying.

If we feel loved or accepted, we shouldn’t feel the need to over-categorize ourselves.

I am LeeAnn Shaffer. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am a friend. I love to write and I love chocolate. I am obsessed with Ke$ha, and hedgehogs are my favorite animal. Sometimes I drive all the way to Trader Joe’s just to try the snack that they have out, and I can’t ever walk in a straight line. 

Who are you?



Final Photobook

Making this photobook was so fun because I was a chance to look back through all of the photos I’ve taken this semester and see how much I’ve grown as a photographer. I learned a lot more about how to use Photoshop, Lightroom, and InDesign.

The font is the same throughout, and I used the rectangles on the front as repeating design elements. When I printed it, the text was cut off a little bit on each page, so enjoy the pdf because it looks better than the actual book does.



The Meaning of Home

I was so excited to start college. I’ve always been an independent person, and the idea of leaving behind Castro Valley and all the memories it held was something that excited me. I never looked back.

My first semester was wonderful. I learned so much about myself. I had meaningful experiences that taught me more about who I wanted to be, and how I wanted to be remembered. The small town of Rexburg, Idaho, with all its dysfunctional inhabitants, became my new home. I fell in love with the mountains, the

I came home that summer and I felt lost. I remember not feeling comfortable in my bed, and wandering out to the couch in the middle of the night. My mom heard my crying and came to get me. My excuse was that I couldn’t sleep, but it was much more than that. The roof that I slept under for eighteen years no longer felt like my roof. The sheets on my bed weren’t my sheets. The overflowing suitcases on the floor were just a subtle reminder that I no longer belonged here.

I followed my mom into her bedroom and curled up next to her on the bed. We didn’t speak, but sleep eventually overcame me.

This happened again the week before I left on my mission. I came in to her room, resting my head on the pillow next to hers. No words were shared, but we both cried. We cried because what was coming was unknown. I was leaving behind two homes. Two families. My heart was now in two places.

Eighteen glorious months passed, much more quickly than I would have liked. I lost myself in the work. But by losing myself, I also found myself. I found parts of me that I never knew existed. I also found another new home, amongst the Joshua trees and dust of the Mojave Desert.

Home is now three different places. When I think of my home, I think of the small blue house on Gem Avenue, with the Mulberry tree out front. I think of BYU Idaho’s campus, and all I’ve learned there. And, I think of the people of Rancho Cucamonga.

You see, for me, the word home no longer has a strict definition. It isn’t confined to the 4 walls and shingled roof of a dwelling place. It isn’t required to have a kitchen, a TV, or a dining room table. The word home means so much more. It is a conglomeration of places, people, and experiences. Its the time I spent walking roads in Apple Valley. Its the classrooms I spent so much time in. Its the trampoline in my backyard that my sisters and I spent hours playing on. Home is more than just my parents and siblings. Its the Gallos. The Cancholas. The Hobbs. Its Berkeley, and Alexa, and Cayzia, and McKenzie. Its Callie and Jessica and Jake and Ryan. Its Ben and Joel and Jordyn and Dallin.

When we are children we learn slowly. We touch a hot stove, and we learn that heat can hurt us. We make friends; some stay, some leave. Growing up we only have a small pool of experiences on which to base our thoughts and feelings. But as we mature, and move away, and find ourselves, the pool of experiences grows and gains meaning.

I’ve learned to embrace change. It doesn’t always come easily. It can be painful. I happens too quickly at times. But when we focus more on the experiences, and then the meaning that those give to our lives, we can expand life’s vocabulary.

Home isn’t just the little blue house on Gem Avenue.

Its what I choose to make it.


Fine Art Print

This is probably my favorite photo I’ve taken all semester. I know it’s shown up in a few posts previous to this, but it was my first choice for getting it printed as well. In order to make it more prepared to print, I darkened the background and increased the vibrancy of the veggies. The focal point of this photo is the tomatoes, and I love how the man in the background is not looking at the camera. 

Original, unedited photo.

Composite Image

For this assignment, we took two separate photos and blended them together using layer masks in Photoshop.

Top 5 Images

This semester I had the opportunity to take some pretty cool photos. Choosing my 5 favorite wasn’t too difficult, because out of the 4000 or so that I took, only a handful really caught my eye. But that’s photography, right?

Taken at Bannack, MT
Adam- Taken at Bannack, MT
Rexburg Temple, Taken in Rexburg, ID
Jessica- Taken in Seattle
Veggies- Taken in Seattle.