Wednesday, June 25, 2008

April's family and maternity shoot

Another shoot I did last weekend. This is a sneak peek at April's pictures, mainly because her little girl was so cute. These were all shot on their deck or in the backyard in the evening light. I learned to take snacks with me to bribe kids to hold poses or generally smile at the camera (with permission from the parents, of course). This time I took animal cookies (my stand by) and a panda pez container. The panda pez container was a HUGE hit, I pretty much could get her little girl to do anything I wanted by promising her a pez from Mr. Panda. :)

Here is April and her little girl, it was nice to capture the moment between the two of them.

we let her little girl draw on April. Yeah, I don't think I'm going to be doing that one again. She was a little young to understand "pretend" drawing and was doing her best to try to fill mommy's belly button with lipstick. :)

one of April and her husband.

They were a great family to work with, really easy going and easy to pose. I can't wait to finish up the rest of their pictures for them!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Becky's Maternity Shoot

Becky was kind enough to come over and let me pose her for some maternity shots for my website. She was a really cute model, and great with direction. I had some fun changing up different backgrounds, trying to see what worked and what didn't work (mental note - green background is really hard to work with and difficult to keep unwrinkled).

I also learned how to put a watermark on my pictures, yay! Hopefully she will enjoy her pictures as much as I enjoyed shooting them for her.

she was kind enough to let me draw on her

the quintessential "hands forming the heart" belly shot

me trying to look at it more creatively

and one of my favorite shots of her

Friday, June 20, 2008

Busy week!

Wow, this week has been super-busy photography-wise for me, so sorry about not updating. I had photoshoots saturday, a botched one sunday, monday, wednesday, and then yesterday was sunday's reschedule. Whew! Once I look at all the pictures I'll do some blog entries about what I learned during each shoot. Next week is calmer, I only have shoots scheduled monday and thursday! When it rain, it really pours.

Part of me super-excited to have all this portfolio building under my belt, but part of me is scared that all I'm doing is taking crappy pictures that people won't be happy with! Someone on another board I'm on said that the more experience you have, the more confidence you'll take with you to your shoots. :)

And to leave you with a picture, here's something from me wrangling with Samuel for a good Father's Day picture. Again, working with the white seamless background and a semi-cooperative 3 year old.

the storyboard we ended up giving my husband as his gift (thanks Amber for the help!) She pointed me here to a storyboard template tutorial which rocks!

bigger version of the storyboard here

Monday, June 16, 2008

Yeah I'm talking to you anonymous commenter

I got this email yesterday from the contact page of my website. I'm sharing it with all of you because it's part of my journey into becoming a Real Live Photographer. :)

dateSun, Jun 15, 2008 at 7:51 PM
subjectYour pictures

hide details 7:51 PM (19 hours ago) Reply

Contact Phone Number:
Mail Content: Your post production stinks! I can\'t beleive you actually think these are good enough to charge people for! Your white backgrounds are blue, the one of the girl with the green background is terrible. It looks like you went crazy with the eraser in Photoshop. You should NOT be in business and should take some more time, a lot of time to practice more. Your pictures are horrendously out of focus and dark.

OMG I am appalled.

And that's it folks. No other contact information (googling the email address provided, if it is his/hers real address, links to a Umi-yama on Deviant Art), no links to his/her website, no constructive criticism about where to learn more post production techniques, no follow up on what I should do to better my art. Interesting, just a lot of snarkiness, unhelpful criticism and lastly, an OMG (which makes me think this is a woman but I'll be open that it could be a guy as well).

From my google analytics page, someone from Prairieville, LA spent considerable time on my site yesterday (almost 19 minutes), much more than the average Washington person (who spends about 3 minutes). They found my site through the Livejournal meet_other_moms community. Now, I don't know if this is the person who wrote the email, but considering they had to take time to peruse the pictures and then write the email, I'm thinking that it could be a matchup.

I know I need work on my post production skills, esp. when it comes to the white background. Heck, I just got Adobe CS3 about a month ago, and while it's crazy fun and can do lots of things, I have a lot to learn. I'm still in what they call the "portfolio building" part of my photography, and most of my shoots are for fun, for friends, and to learn more about my camera, photography in general, and what works and what doesn't work. I set up my website because I was doing a lot of photoshoots and darn it, I needed some compensation for my time. :) Double heck, I just learned the other day that my camera was set to underexpose by 1.3 stops (once I figured out what buttons to push I fixed that right away)! no wonder a lot of my pics were coming out dark!

I'm learning about how to take my camera to its utmost abilities, how to better myself as a photograher, and I'm very upfront that I still consider myself a newbie that is just starting out. And I take all constructive criticism, helps, hints and information that comes my way gratefully and with a grain of salt because everyone has a different idea of what is "good" and what isn't good. Oddly enough, the most comments I get from my photos is that my pictures are very clear and in focus. I know that during my upload some of my pictures are grainy due to resolution issues which I've been trying to correct. I'm actually proud of my ability to shoot a clear, focused shot.

I bring this back around to you, Anonymous, and state that your email and comments were not that enlightening to me. How about showing me examples of your work, and your website? Or steering me to areas where I can get constructive criticism? I already belong to several photography forums, including I Love photography and theLivejournal Photographer community. If you (or the general "you" populace) have other places to recommend, I'd love to hear about it.


Friday, June 13, 2008

Natural light

My favorite light to work with is natural light. I'm pretty lucky, living in the Pacific Northwest we get such awesome diffused, natural lighting. People often say to me, boy it's too bad you don't get sun, it must make it hard to take pictures. What are you talking about, these overcast skies are great for setting your exposure and nice, even lighting! I'd take overcast over straight sunshine with harsh shadowing any day. :) Or maybe because I'm just starting out it's easier (and cheaper!) to use what nature has given me then shell out money and time to learn how to use a speedlight or studio ligthing proper. ;)

These were taken while we went camping at Moran State Park and on the ferry boat coming back to the mainland.

I love how if you look into his eyes you can actually see the trees and sky reflected behind him. This was taken at dusk at the campsite. 50mm, f2.8

On the ferry boat, light streaming in from Samuel's right hand side. 105mm, f4.5

by this time, Samuel was done with me trying to get him to look at the camera. I love the bokeh in this one. 175mm, f5.3

"no more pictures mommy!" 80mm, f5.6

So there you go - natural lighting at its best in the pacific northwest.

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Samuel and the seamless

I've been practicing taking pictures on the big white seamless. Here's my first attempts a few months ago. My poor son was not really a cooperative model, no matter what the pictures look like. :) Shot with my D200 using the 50mm and my 28mm-80mm lenses.

Someone pointed out to me that the background isn't actually white, it's more "bone" colored. And who the heck knew there were SO many levels of white out there!

What I learned from those is that:

  • use a grey card or the white background to "set" my white balance
  • shadows aren't necessarily a bad thing
  • getting an actual "white" background will make it seem whiter
  • get more of a differential between the background and my subject (ie more light on the background, or less light on his face) to make it really "pop"

    So, we're onto me dragging Samuel back on the seamless for another go-around. Here I'm using Superior's Arctic White instead of the Savage bone white I had before.

    I made the mistake of setting the WB on my camera first on the background, then adding a reflector light. It made my coloring totally orange, which I tried to adjust in CS3 but you can still tell it's a little off.

    here he is without the reflector light, just natural light from the living room window

    trying out the BW conversion

    this picture has all the "wrong" things going for it - it's too centered, I cut off his chin, his eyes are a little soft, but I love, love, love his cheesy smile

    So there you go. Obviously I still have a long way to go but I think I'm getting the hang of the whole shooting on the seamless. My husband even bought me a piece of plexiglass to put on the bottom to soothe out the whole wrinkling issue I was having as well.
  • Friday, June 6, 2008

    Brady- 5 weeks old

    This is my friend's five week old son. He was still in that awake an hour/nurse/sleep cycle so I got a few good shots of sleeping baby. I didn't get any good shots of him and his older sister together, so I think I'm going to have to work on grabbing the older kid's attention more and then posing the newborn. If I wasn't already pregnant this kid definately gave me baby fever. Did I mention the adorable sleeping?!

    Shot with my D200 50mm

    sleeping baby. he's propped up on the boppy (the best invention by man EVER)

    baby butt! the diaper covers I use come from Andromeda's Attic if anyone is in the market for cute cloth diapers or diaper covers.

    Thursday, June 5, 2008

    Photoshoot - Amelia

    This is the little sister of a girl in Samuel's playgroup. She's almost two months old, and pretty alert for a baby! She wasn't the happiest during the photoshoot, but I managed to get some non-cranky baby pictures as well as cranky baby pictures. :)

    taken with my D200, 50mm f2.2-f2.8

    on my white seamless on a blanket. that blanket was pretty nifty, we just turned it to pose her towards the light and she didn't care one way or the other.

    see look, a smile! or, a gas bubble. one or the other. :)

    me working on my B&W conversions. This one I just did with channel mixer, I'm thinking of using an action next time.

    my "artsy" attempt

    this is on the black velour background. I couldn't justify spending that much more on black velvet when the velour was $10 less per yard. I think it works just as well.

    Wednesday, June 4, 2008

    Photoshoot - Cecilia

    A friend of mine from Samuel's Little Gym class was kind enough to bring her daughter over and let me practice some techniques on her. Cecilia was a dream to work with - she followed directions to a T and was a total ham for the camera! I wish all kids were this easy (including my own!) Her only wish was to take pictures with her fancy dress, where her personality really shined through. What a cutie!

    These three were taken with the 50mm at f2.8 and f2.5

    say "cheese!" and finally using my green seamless. That sucker is huge, it takes up my entire living room!

    in her "fancy" dress, using the smaller Superior arctic white seamless

    First post!

    First post! This blog will mainly be used to bounce photography ideas off the general masses, show case off recent photo shoots, and update people about what's going on with the website and business. Speaking of business, I've been working hard on and hopefully (fingers crossed) it will be up and functional by this weekend. Hooray!