Friday, May 30, 2014

Shooting with me!

Ever wonder what it looks like to have a family photo session??  Well, since I can't take photos of myself while I'm taking photos of other people, that would normally be really hard to do. However, while in Nashville, I was lucky enough to have another photographer friend along with me while I did a mini session for a great family!  As we were walking over, I said if she felt like grabbing a few shots of me in action, that would be cool.   Turns out, she probably took well over a hundred shots of me while I was photographing my clients.  I must admit, this was rather fun for me, since I'm always behind the camera and I always joke that there is very little proof that I exist.

I love my job, if you can even really call it a job.  It's my passion and I feel so very lucky to get to do this for my living!  As I always say, I have fun at every session and really think that everyone else should have fun too. So, here it is...a sneak peek into what it looks like to shoot with me. Huge thanks to Tracy for snapping all these shots of me!

Want in on the fun? Give me a call and let's book a date for you!

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Taking Better Photos - Look for the Light

There are many different elements that go into taking a photo, a moment, something you want to capture and relive.  So, I thought I'd do a couple of short blog posts on a few different things that can help you to improve your photos. The first thing I can assure it's NOT is a bigger, fancier, more expensive camera.  Yes, better equipment helps.  But, it's the person who looks through the lens, composes the shot and pushes the shutter button.  A better camera doesn't make your photos better any more than an expensive knife makes you a better cook (believe me, I was hoping that would be the case. It's not.)  Taking great photos is about controlling your camera and telling it what you want it to do.  How much light you want to let in and how fast you want your shutter speed to be.  However, I'm not going to focus on the technical aspects for these blog posts.  They are going to be more about the feeling part of it and training your eye to see various elements.  Here's the first one: Light.

One thing you absolutely must have to take a photo is light.  Without it, your camera most likely won't function.  Yes, flash can be a source of light.  However, for me, I almost never use flash except in a few rare circumstances. Flash also gives a very harsh feel to the photos and you'll end up with big bright spots on the image - most likely on someone's forehead or nose or both. Once you start looking for it, you'll see it.  I prefer to use whatever available light is around me. You don't always need a lot, you just need some.  Photography is so much about playing with and capturing light.  Sometimes it's amazing light. Sometimes it's not. But, what you want to start doing is noticing the light. Once you start looking, you'll start to see things differently.

The motivation to start this blog post was this photo:

I honestly got more likes on it than I had expected. It's certainly not the most amazing photo I've ever taken by any stretch but the light is so darn cool. And, this is basically SOOC. (Straight out of the Camera - for those of you who have seen that acronym before but didn't know what it meant. No editing. Shown exactly as it was taken).  I was sitting on the back porch with some friends, looked up and saw how the late afternoon light was hitting just that part of our tree in the backyard. I went and got my camera right away and snapped.  (As an aside, if you see something you want to photograph - especially light - do it NOW. Don't wait.  If you think you can do it later, it will be gone. Trust me.   I've learned this the hard way).

Over the next week, start noticing the light around you. See how light from the window lights up one side of the fruit on your kitchen counter and the other side is more in shadow. This won't be the case throughout the entire day. This happens in the morning for me in my kitchen. Maybe it's late afternoon for you.  Look at how the light outlines the petals on a flowering tree or hits the keys of a musical instrument in your house.

Different angles are going to produce very different results.  When shooting inside, most of the time I try to get a window behind me or to the side of me.  If I shoot right into the window, chances are my subject or kids will be in shadow and the window will be very bright.   When I took the piano photo, I did it from 3 different angles, seeing which one gave me the results I wanted.  Don't be afraid to move around, take a shot and see what you captured in your viewfinder.  Then move to a new spot with the light in a different place and try again.  The more photos you take, the more you'll learn where you want the light and what it's going to do to your photo.  

Looking at the above photos, I'm betting you can tell where the window is.  Look at where there is less light on my face above.  Look at where my son's face is the brightest and where the shadows fall on his pants.  Having contrasting light and dark in an image can create tension and drama and a far more interesting image.

In the photo above, there is wonderful light coming from the left side of the image while his face is a bit more in shadow from the door frame on the right.  It adds dimension to the photo.  I also like the places of light and dark along the brick wall. You want to make sure those light and dark spots don't fall directly on the subject's face though. That gets distracting and is known as dappled light...good in other places, not on a face.

Finally, it's fun to have just a little bit of light to create an image you wouldn't normally think to take.

This was taken in a completely dark room with the only source of light being the wands. I didn't need much for this image but again, I needed some and the camera needed some. There are settings I put on my camera to help this along, of course. That goes back to controlling the camera and telling it what to do to get the results I want. (Again, for purposes of this blog post though, we're skipping the technical parts and just trying to simply notice the light.)  On days like the one below, where the light is rimming everything I can see, I can hardly stop clicking.

See how it's highlighting her hair and creating a perfect shadow in front of her?  You can also see it in the background on the cars and lining the fire hydrant?  This is my absolute favorite kind of light. This is called backlighting.

Over the next week start looking and noticing the light around you. Some days it may be rather flat and uninspiring.  Other days it will be incredible. Often times it will be fleeting. But, start training yourself to see it.  Play around with your camera. Take shots from 3 or 4 different angles, from different spots around what you are photographing.  Look and see how it affects your photo.  If you don't like it, move and try again. If you love it, still move and try again to see how it will be different.  Once you start looking, you'll be surprised at how much you notice. Go forth and look for the light!

I hope this gets you thinking. Feel free to post and ask questions. 
I'm more than happy to answer them.  Thanks for stopping by!

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

A Sick Day

This post is way overdue, but better late than never.  A little over a week ago, my daughter was diagnosed with strep throat. So, we went home from the doctor and hung out at home. Eventually, the other kids came home from school but my little sweet pea wasn't allowed to play with them, of course.  Instead, she grabbed her new chalk from the Easter Bunny and headed out to our front sidewalk. It was a gorgeous day and I figured the fresh air would do her good. She kept herself busy for several hours, making some pretty fantastic drawings. This is just a glimpse into her artwork and her day.
Happy for all the photo time let's do it without the illness tagging along!

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Family Gathering!

What a wonderful night!  Being a girl who doesn't have a very large family, I love it when we have an opportunity to attend a gathering of cousins.   These aren't people I see very often but I do enjoy it when everyone is able to get together.  The kids had a great time as well and performed for everyone towards the end of the night.  My cousins who hosted this gathering live in a fabulous condo on one of the uppermost floors of their building, which gives you an incredible view of the city. I never visit without my camera in tow. Here is just a quick glimpse into our night!

This is the view from the balcony.  Amazing, huh?  I was able to catch the buildings just before the sun went behind the clouds for good.

Lincoln Park from above.

We rounded out the night with performances from both kids. They sang their audition pieces for everyone.  Such a great audience!

Thanks for taking a peek!