Intro to Volume Photography - Part 1 of 4

February 14, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

 

When I started shooting volume photography over 5 years prior to making this video, I didn't find much information online to help me through it, nor did I know what questions to ask at first. So here's a little insight into what I've learned over the years in doing this type of photography to help you get started and avoid some major pitfalls.

WATCH VIDEO 2:    • Prepping for Volu...  

WATCH VIDEO 3:    • Day of Volume Pho...  

WATCH VIDEO 4:    • Post Processing V...  

If you enjoyed this video, please subscribe!

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Equipment used in making this video:

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920: https://amzn.to/3oZBiW4

Zoom H4N Pro Recorder: https://amzn.to/43zyuy1

Canon 5DIII (for photo): https://amzn.to/3N4It7d

Canon EF50mm f/1.4 USM: https://amzn.to/3Pb2ADx

Adobe Photoshop CC 2018

Wacom Intuos Pro Pen and Touch Medium Tablet: https://amzn.to/42DElRz

Background music:    • [Non Copyrighted ...  

iMovie
 


Starting a Photography Business on a Budget

February 06, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

 

 

You don't have to spend a lot to get started with your own photography business. Just a few simple tools and you'll be well on your way.

Here are links to some of the items I started out with. Feel free to find what works best for you.

**If you are interested in purchasing any of these products, please consider using the links provided as I earn a small commission through them, which helps support what I do tremendously. Thank you! :)

*Camera: https://amzn.to/3CYNA4r

*SD Card: https://amzn.to/3NZ8EOE

*Laptop: https://amzn.to/3JHxfVq

*External Hard Drive: https://amzn.to/43bUNZE

*Editing Software: https://www.adobe.com/creativecloud/p...

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Equipment used in the making of this video:

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920: https://amzn.to/3oZBiW4

Zoom H4N Pro Recorder: https://amzn.to/43zyuy1

Canon 5DIII (for photo): https://amzn.to/3N4It7d

Canon EF50mm f/1.4 USM: https://amzn.to/3Pb2ADx

Adobe Photoshop CC 2018

Wacom Intuos Pro Pen and Touch Medium Tablet: https://amzn.to/42DElRz

Background music:    • Video  

iMovie

 


Easy Head Swap in Photoshop

February 02, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

 

Let me show you a quick and easy way to swap out heads in Photoshop using a couple simple tools in just 5 minutes!

 

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Equipment used in the making of this video:

Logitech HD Pro Webcam C920: https://amzn.to/3oZBiW4

Zoom H4N Pro Recorder: https://amzn.to/43zyuy1

Canon 5DIII (for photo): https://amzn.to/3N4It7d

Canon EF50mm f/1.4 USM: https://amzn.to/3Pb2ADx

Adobe Photoshop CC 2018

Wacom Intuos Pro Pen and Touch Medium Tablet: https://amzn.to/42DElRz

Background music: https://soundcloud.com/joakimkarud

iMovie
 


How to Remove Sweat Marks in Photoshop

June 07, 2018  •  Leave a Comment


 

 

Summer got you sweating over how your photos turned out?! Let me show you an easy way to fix them using a few simple tools in Photoshop.

If you enjoyed this, please subscribe!

Learn how to edit RED out of skin tones here.

Learn how to edit ORANGE out of skin tones here.
 


Snapshot of My Life

November 02, 2017  •  2 Comments

Dear 20-something-year-old Me,

I am writing to you from age 37. Wait, is that right? Let’s see, born in ’79… Yep! 

First of all, I want you to know that as cool as your 20’s could ever be, your 30’s are going to be phenomenally better. Here’s why: stability in your marriage, and having kids. Kids are pretty awesome. And at the age of 37 you will have had 3 already… THREE!!!!!! Never expected that one, huh? Well, besides 3 kids, you will know an amazing love from your marriage. You will end up with a very, very handsome, patient, understanding, and gentle husband who you will grow with and you will both be completely head over heels for each other. You two will never speak ill words or tell each other what to do and you both will have the utmost respect for one another. Whatever loves you’ve experienced before will be a faint flicker compared to what you’ll have now.

Your kids will also be about as great as they come. Sweet, kind, loving, cute and SOOOOO FUNNY!!!!!!!!!! Their love will fill your heart in a way that you wouldn’t imagine. But know there is a price. They will WEAR. YOU. OUT. But don’t be afraid of that, just know that a healthy sense of humor and a bit of strong coffee alongside a very supportive husband will be what gets you through each day. 

You should probably know that at this stage of your life, you will not live glamorously. In fact, just try to imagine taking a handful of syrup and touching every possible surface in your house and then take a few crackers and crumble them on the tables and floors. (Go ahead and mix the syrup and crackers and disperse across the house randomly for an even more realistic effect. Try to place the mixture in places you won’t discover for at least another week or two into the future.) You won’t have time or even care about prioritizing cleaning on a regular basis. Once a month you may decide to put everyone’s laundry away because you’re feeling like super woman. But you’ll get used to living between a clean laundry basket and a dirty one. Seriously, no one even cares. You might even be surprised to learn other moms do it, too. *gasp* 

Since I mentioned not living glamorously, I should tell you that it’s actually not a problem at all because you will get to stay home with your family every day and work from home. And that business-mindedness you’re cultivating in your 20’s is perfect! You are growing all your skills necessary for the entrepreneur you will be today. You will become a passionate photographer (ooh! how artsy of you!), as well as have a host of other small start ups of your very own. But don’t get overwhelmed thinking you will be doing all of it alone, your husband will be home every day with you to help with the kids and he will even develop software to help your businesses run more smoothly. He will also help with all the ins and outs of having your own businesses. Pretty cool, right? You might get into things and feel overwhelmed at times, trying to balance family, work, and life, but just know you will be extremely happy and content inside and your life will finally feel “right”. 

You are not ready to be a mom in your 20’s, and that’s no problem because there’s still a lot of living to do before you get here. But take your time and do all the little things your heart desires because you are young, and you can. At 37, your “mom self” thinks you are extremely lucky to have lived through all your crazy adventures of your 20’s but your “mom self” is also glad you did. Because when you finally do get to this stage, you will be ready for it all and happy to settle down. 

You will live in a small country town and the pace of life will feel fast but slow all at the same time. You may get stuck behind a John Deere on the road more than once a month and it will only make you smile because this is exactly where you will want to be. So, my dear 20-something-year-old-self, I’m writing to you in particular because so much at 20-something feels unsettled and uncertain, and I understand that doesn’t always feel great, but hold on a little longer because your dreams do come true in the next decade of your life. And while I can say being at this stage has its own kind of stress and chaos and comes with its own amount of “losing yourself”, it is pretty amazing and there is truly nothing like it. 

Hugs to you, my beautiful, young self. You’re going in the right direction. If you don’t believe me, take a look at this:


Over The Moon!

August 22, 2017  •  1 Comment

We read all the hype, there was an eclipse coming, and we were in the path of totality! At first we didn't realize what a big deal that was. Wasn't everybody going to be able to see it? Well, not exactly.

We looked up the time that it was going to occur in our area. 1:28pm. I set my alarm for 12:00 noon. Better go make sure we had a clear view of the sun from our yard and check out those special glasses we had. Make sure everything was ready to go. Around 12:30pm my husband put his eclipse glasses on and peered at the sun. It was already starting! We all took a good look at what was about to occur in utter amazement.

My husband grabbed his cell phone and tried to take a picture. Of course the sun was far too bright and washed out the image. But then he placed his special glasses over the lens. It was small, but it worked! He captured the start of the eclipse!

We grabbed lawn chairs and began setting up right in our driveway. We had a perfect view overhead. I told my husband maybe I would grab my big camera and see if I could capture some also. I put the longest lens on that I had and carefully placed the eclipse glasses over the lens. There was still massive amounts of light coming through on either side of the glasses. My wheels began to turn. What else could I try? The clock was ticking down. 1:15pm. 

I fiddled with my settings and tried various combinations over and over again until finally I was able to capture the teeniest tiniest image of the sun and moon. When I zoomed in to view it on the back of my camera I was in shock how crisp and clear everything was. It was gorgeous! Minute by minute I snapped away, capturing the tiny fragments of change as the eclipse came closer. 

Finally, no slivers left to capture, it was the moment of totality! 1:28pm. But all of a sudden the special glasses over my lens no longer worked. I couldn't focus on the eclipse with my lens! What was I going to do?! This moment wasn't coming again anytime soon! I set the camera down and looked at the eclipse with my own eyes. In that moment I can't describe how awesome it felt to witness such an amazing thing, without looking through a lens. I just wanted that moment to last forever. The light all around us had gone dim, and was greenish in color. There was truly nothing like it that I could compare. I felt like I was living on another planet for a moment. 

I reached down and picked up my camera and aimed it straight at the moon, not filtering the lens with anything, not even the special glasses. IT WORKED! I was so relieved and at the same time excited for the chance to capture it all on camera. All my favorite memories are captured on camera, and this would forever be one of them. 

Thank you to everyone who has followed me on social media and all the likes and shares and purchases of these photos. I'm really grateful that I am able to share such a memorable experience with you all through these photos.

Eclipse 2017 over Hartsville, TennesseeThe ProgressionEclipse 2017 over Hartsville, Tennessee


Take Me To The Fair

September 03, 2016  •  1 Comment

It's been awhile! For going to the fair, and for me blogging. The truth is, I like them both, but I never seem to quite get around to either. What a shame! Michaela, a fellow photographer, asked me to take a few of her senior pictures at the Wilson County fair this year, and some in Downtown Nashville. What a novel idea! I absolutely loved what we came up with at the fair! Just because the idea didn't come to me first, I wasn't offended. After all, fellow photogs help each other out, right? The easy answer is yes. The more complicated answer comes next.

Sometimes photography has to take you to a place inside yourself that you wouldn't normally look for on a daily basis. When you're planning that next shoot, how much research do you actually do? Are you thinking about new ways to be creative or try out something you've never done before? Why not? Often, we start out in photography excited for the next high of our snappy career and before we know it, we're merely showing up to the next gig with our same old bag of tricks. Stand here, look this direction, smile please. That's the cycle of photography. We're either chasing knowledge and new adventures or chasing a dollar bill. 

I absolutely hate to admit it, but I've completely gotten myself in a rut lately. As much as I'd like to pretend that everything goes perfectly in my photography business, I will be the first to tell you that it's not. I need to reach outside what I've always done and get back to the very things that first inspired me--the things that lit a fire under me and sent me searching 100mph for the answers to all my unending photography questions. My husband has always encouraged me to simply ask questions. When there's a question, there's always a reason to search for an answer, and when we are on the road to searching for answers, we're driving down the road of personal growth.

Wherever you're at with your photography today, take a moment to simply think about where that is and where you want to go. You never know, maybe your curiosity will take you to the fair! 


What's In A Photo Edit?

January 25, 2016  •  1 Comment

On average, any given image I display is 10% equipment, 10% technique, and 80% post-processing. Before the digital days, it was all about the darkroom and hoping the exposure settings were correct when the picture was taken. Now, it's all about the edit. I've heard it said "It's not about IF Photoshop is used (these days), it's about HOW it's used". Almost every digital image photographers take is tweaked in some way to get to the final image.

For starters, shooting in RAW can help more than anything. All the information stored in the image is preserved so that almost every part of it can be manipulated in a post-processing program such as Photoshop or Lightroom. If you're worried about RAW files taking up all your hard drive space, most DSLRs have a RAW medium and RAW small setting to help with this. For everyday shooting, medium and small will work fine, especially if you don't plan on printing larger than an 8x10. 

We all know photography is a dynamic industry, dictated by the unlimited creativity of the photographer. Most photographers have the versatility to do almost any style of edit on their pictures. Let's take a look at this image below.

 

 

Image 1 is straight out of the camera. Colors are crisp, the focus and exposure are fine (although the highlights might be blown out a bit, I am using that "effect" creatively here), but initially, I see a few things I'd like to change.

In image 2, not only did I convert it to black & white, but I also cropped it in a little closer to my subjects and straightened the image lines on the roof.

In image 3, I put image 2 through a program called Analog Efex Pro 2 in the Nik Collection, which is a simple Photoshop plugin by Google. The effect I chose allowed me to put more of a pink tone on the image while bumping up the contrast to add more depth and attention to my subjects. There are a ton of cool effects you can get from the Nik Collection. The possibilities are endless and it's definitely worth checking out (they even offer a free trial of the software).

The above examples are easy adjustments that can add a little pop to your images without a lot of extra time in processing. There are cases, however, where you may want to add a more dramatic change to your photos. Let's look at the example below.

 

 

The image on the left is straight out of the camera. Initially, it feels cold (because it was!), so I wanted to add a little bit of warmth and beauty to the image to make it stand out. By blending in a simply sky, adding some paint to make it appear like there was a sun setting, and enhancing some of the colors in the field and her bouquet, the image has come to life and has a warmth about it now.

Whether you're looking to gently enhance your photos or add a dramatic change for an intended outcome, editing changes everything! If you're reading this and you're not a photographer, just wanting to get your pictures made, know that photographers have many tools and may have alternate editing styles, which may sometimes be available upon request.

What are some of your favorite editing styles? Leave me a comment.


My Photog Must-Haves

January 19, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

When I got into photography, my mentoring brother warned me it could be a very expensive hobby. I never thought I would be the one to buy up the latest-and-greatest gadgets, and for the most part, I have avoided that sort of thing. When I've wanted or needed anything, I do my research and try to stay on a budget while getting things that help me in the long run.

Of all my purchases over the last 3 years, here is a list of the top 10 things that are still my everyday must-haves:

1. Canon 6D body


I initially chose this full frame camera for its GPS and wifi capabilities. GPS benefits me when I'm out shooting barns on lost country roads and can later reference exactly where it was located (in case I want to revisit it). The wifi comes in handy to use my phone as a wireless shutter release and have the ability to download the images directly to my phone without ever having to remove the memory card or put them on my computer first. The 6D also has a lot of the same great features of a 5D Mark III without the added cost. 

2. Canon 50mm f/1.4 prime lens

I cannot tell you how much I use this lens! Although there are pricier options out there (such as the 50mm f/1.2L), this lens comes in at $1000 less and is still capable of producing a nice buttery blurred background. Its standard focal length makes it great for every day use without distorting proportions. 

3. Canon 600EX-RT speedlite with ST-E3-RT wireless transmitter

I'll be honest, when I bought this, I way over-bought for my experience level at the time, but it has turned out to be the best investment! I liked this speedlite so much, I bought 2! What I love about this strobe is it packs a lot of punch in a sturdy, well-built piece of equipment that won't break down in 6 months. Besides being so powerful, the wireless transmitter allows me unlimited off-camera options, which has drastically improved my portraits.

4. Gary Fong Lightsphere

This has got to be the hokiest-looking contraption I've ever seen but I use it on almost every outdoor shoot because IT WORKS! When I need a little fill flash and don't want harsh shadows on my subject, this light diffuser is amazing! I can point my on-camera flash directly at my subject and all I see is soft, diffused, natural-looking light. I will often bounce my flash where ceilings permit, but this also helps diffuse the light a little bit more.

5. Lowepro Fastpack 200

I love this camera bag! It fits a ton of gear essentials and is comfortable enough to wear all day without hurting my back. I can easily fit my camera (with lens attached), 1 or 2 speedlites, Lightsphere, 1-3 extra lenses, my MacBook Pro and/or iPad, and lots of accessories. There are much newer versions of this bag available now, but this was and still is great 3 years later! 

6. Profoto D1 500/500 studio lighting kit with Air Remote

I purchased these lights when I was getting into school photography. I needed dependable studio lights that I could take on location that would not fail me. With hundreds of photos being taken in a controlled environment in a short amount of time, I needed consistency and quality. I also love that these lights are super powerful! I use green screen a lot, so an evenly lit background is essential and this lighting kit has done a perfect job every time!

7. 15-inch MacBook Pro with 27-inch Thunderbolt Display

I used to work on an Asus Zenbook Prime which was fine for a small family photoshoot, but when I started looking into school photography, there just wasn't enough speed, space, or dependability. I was also tired of Windows and the ridiculous amount of updates and slow restarts. I understand I could have purchased a much more expensive Windows set up with better speed, storage, etc. but for me, it was time to make the switch to a Mac. I was so glad I did and I have never looked back. Although the MacBook Pro was a great transition, there wasn't enough "real estate" for my workflow, so adding the 27-inch monitor was perfect for my dual display! Now I can toggle between Lightroom and Photoshop on the large screen while keeping my Safari and other apps open on my laptop. 

8. Wacom Intuos Pro Medium Tablet 

This item alone had been LIFE-CHANGING for my workflow! I could NOT do my post processing without it! The learning curve was a little steep at first, but once I got acclimated to it, there was no more using my track pad! The buttons on the tablet are fully customizable but I still use this in conjunction to my keyboard for the additional shortcuts. Together they are the perfect pair to help me speed through edits. 

9. Google Drive

External storage is mandatory for any photographer rapidly eating a hole through hard drive space on a laptop. I still have and use an external Seagate 1TB backup through my home network for many of my family shoots. But, for larger files such as school pictures or weddings, upload times can be slow over wifi and there's always the fear that if (God forbid) there was a fire, there's not much that can be done. Google Drive offers 1TB of cloud storage for $10/mo with great sharing capabilities and for much less than other popular cloud services out there.

10. Zenfolio and Miller's

Before I discovered Zenfolio, I was using another web hosting service that didn't quite have the shopping cart experience I was looking for. I have been a long-standing customer of MpixPro and Miller's Pro Labs so when I found out I could have my clients order directly through my site and have orders fulfilled by Miller's, I was very excited! The most important part for me was Miller's school capabilities. Not only can students order their photos online, but I can also place my group orders through their ROES system and they do all the picture sorting and envelope stuffing for me for FREE!! Miller's and Zenfolio have been excellent to work with. Their customer service is unmatched.

 

So there you have my personal Top 10! Tell me what has changed YOUR workflow and what you've learned you can live without.

 

 

 


My Vision for 2016

January 10, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

We're not quite two weeks into the new year and I didn't set any resolutions for myself. The whole pressure thing really gets to me and if I set specific expectations I might just be setting myself up for failure. I did, however, spend some time thinking about what I want for myself this year and for my business. Before I could figure out what I wanted, however, I had to figure out my strengths and weaknesses. Here's a short list that I came up with. 

 

Weaknesses:

*Indecisive

*Unrealistic expectations

*Lacking confidence

*Stubborn

*Shy

 

Now, seeing my list of shortcomings, I can create my list of strengths as a means to compensate for my weaknesses (to encourage myself to get better in these areas). 

 

Strengths:

*Organized

*Capable of doing many new things quickly and simultaneously

*Great photographer (I am proud of how far I've come and the pictures I've created)

*Good at recognizing and changing a bad attitude

*Good at pushing through for a desired outcome

 

With a brief list of my strengths and weaknesses in front of me I can now help use this information to figure out where I want to go and what I'm capable of. Here is a short list of things I would like for myself and my business this year.

 

Personal Goals:

*Lose the last of this baby weight!

*Spend more time enjoying my family

*Spend more time practicing piano

*Use my crockpot and pressure cooker more

*Spend less money on unnecessary things

 

Business Goals:

*Blog more, make excuses less

*Expand my social media platforms such as Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, LinkedIn, and 500px

*Be consistent 

*Confidently approach more people to book sessions

*Improve my photography and editing skills

*Make $1 Million

 

Ok, the last one was kind of a joke, but why not shoot for the stars, right?

 

I hope in 12 months I can look back and realize that I did most of the things on my list, or at least improved in those areas. I've spent so much time getting caught up in what other photographers are doing across the world and how far they appear to be. This has only led to becoming more frustrated and reducing my own confidence. So, I better add to my list that I will stop comparing myself to others and celebrate how far I've already come!  

 

Please share what's on your list for 2016 in the comments.

 

 

 


6 Ways To Take Better Pictures With Your iPhone

January 05, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

You don't need to be a professional photographer to take good pictures with your smart phone. Here are 6 quick tips on how to take better photos RIGHT NOW! 

I used my son as a (reluctant) example in these photos and let me add a disclaimer that the indoor lighting on these isn't ideal. But, for quick example's sake, we're going to go with it!

Tip #1: Beware of Backlighting

Have you ever taken an awesome beach picture only to have your face completely dark because the sun is behind you and there was no lighting on your face? Nothing gets under my skin more than not being able to tell what or whom I'm supposed to be looking at in a picture. 

Simply turning on lights in the room or even using your flash will help tremendously. With the example of my son above, there is still a LOT of light coming through behind him and lots of glare but with a little fill lighting I can at least make out his face.

Tip #2: Remove Distractions

Nobody wants to see you air your dirty laundry. Literally. I'm not saying the house needs to be spring clean just to get a good photo but simply removing a few items can help eliminate distractions from your subject. 

Tip #3: Crop. Crop. Crop.

There is absolutely no reason I need to see the pictures on the wall, the bike next to the chair or 4 extra feet of the rug. Simply cropping down to the area your subject is in will help eliminate distractions and direct the viewer's attention.

Tip #4: Choose The Right Orientation

Consider what you are shooting and which way would frame it best. Will things be left out of the picture that could be included if the orientation was different? Will arms and legs be cut off? (Sometimes it's ok to not have all arms and legs in the shot.) Consider choosing landscape when more of your subject will be in the frame and at the same time unnecessary objects or space can be eliminated.

Simply rotating the camera will make a much better picture for this image.

Tip #5: Watch Your Perspective

Have you ever said to yourself "That angle makes my [insecurity] look big" or "This is my better side"? Cameras can have a funny way of distorting images when shot from a bad angle. In the example below, I purposely asked my son to stick his feet straight out in front to demonstrate this point. I understand he does have big feet for a 3 year old but he doesn't have to look like Tweety Bird.

Simply tucking in the feet or putting your subject's body on a more even plane can help a lot with keeping proportions in check. It is also easy to distort a person's head if shot from above or below versus shooting straight on.

Tip #6: Blur And Focus

In most portraits, the focus should be on the eyes unless you're trying to point out something else about the photo. Choosing the appropriate focus point and making sure the image is in focus altogether (and not blurry) is one of the most important tips to taking better pictures.

Photographing moving subjects such as kids or pets can be challenging, but keep shooting and sooner or later you will achieve the best picture. 

Now that you're better equipped to take some awesome photos with your phone, get out there and test your new skills! Post your results in the comments!

 


The Value of A Memory

December 26, 2015  •  1 Comment

I was picking up my kids from my mother-in-law's the other day when I noticed an old photograph sitting on her coffee table. "Who's this?" I asked. "My parents." she answered. I had never had the opportunity to meet them before they passed away, but looking at the precious photo I saw several little spots and blemishes. "Will you let me borrow this," I asked, "and clean it up for you?" She excitedly agreed but at the mere mention of it, her eyes lit up and she fled from the room. She returned with a tiny photo of her parents that measured about two inches tall by about an inch an a half wide. It looked like they had been in a photo booth and were in the prime of their youth. You could tell they were happy and in love. She told me it was her absolute favorite picture of them, but her sister had bent the corner and it had completely removed part of her mother's face. I was happy to take her up on the challenge of trying to restore her treasured photo and took the tiny image home with me.

I worked and I worked on the photo for hours, it seemed. Once I processed the photo enough to remove the damaging crease and clean up all the nicks and spots, I decided to leave much of the photo as it was, to maintain the old-timey look of things. The next issue I had was trying to take such a small photograph and format it to be able to blow it up to a larger size without making it look too grainy or pixelated. After changing the file type I was able to increase the picture size enough to print an 8x10, while still maintaining the same look of the photo. As it all started to come together, I got excited. I couldn't wait to show my mother-in-law!

The next day when I sent her a picture of the restoration, she could hardly believe it! You could hear the tears in her voice when she saw her mother's youthful face again. Her memory was preserved forever! And now as a digital image, it wouldn't be damaged ever again! She was so excited about the picture she decided it would be the perfect Christmas gift to frame for both her sisters and her brother. What a wonderful surprise that would be! 

If you have precious old photos that need a little TLC, let me take a look at them and help you make them beautiful again, just the way you always remembered. 


How to Replace an Accessory in Photoshop

December 16, 2015  •  1 Comment

Forget to add that perfect accessory during your photo session? Sometimes those details can be fixed! Watch me edit in a different hair bow in less than 5 minutes! 

 

 


Secrets to Photographing Christmas Lights

December 15, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

One of my favorite times of year is Christmas but for photographers it can be one of the most challenging for one reason: photographing Christmas lights! When I started out doing Christmas mini sessions I had a lot of research to do to make sure my lighting was just right. There wasn't much information on the web about proper exposure of Christmas lights (with people in the foreground) which led me to a lot of trial, error and frustration. I've included the two pictures above because they both present unique challenges.

Many studio-style Christmas pictures I came across merely left the tree lights turned off, leaving a colder feeling to an already chilly month. To me, the lights on the tree are what makes Christmas so magical, and I wanted to be sure to capture that glow perfectly! To achieve this, I learned I first had to properly expose the background, and in this case it was the tree. In my image on the left (above), my settings were using a 50mm prime lens at ISO 160, f/1.4, and 1/160 shutter speed. However, now I had the issue of the subject being underexposed. To achieve this, I simply added a single strobe in an umbrella. In the same photo on the left I had a single Profoto D1 set to 6.5 and bounced it off the wall behind me to create a softer glow. Problem solved for the picture on the left! 

The image on the right had its own set of issues. When I first saw a similar picture on Pinterest of a baby tangled up in glowing Christmas lights I had to recreate it for myself! However, each time I would turn off any external lighting and only light the scene with Christmas lights I would get red spots all over my image (see example below).

Although for this particular picture I was able to edit them off in Lightroom, I went on a quest to find the culprit. With very little information on the web, I consulted a trusted photo forum and I was able to discover that my problem was as simple as removing the protective UV filter I had screwed onto the end of my lens! I have used these protective filters from day 1, never thinking they could cause any sort of shooting issues. While they are practical for many uses, in my case they actually trapped lower frequencies of light which bounced around between the layers of glass before escaping. Who knew removing the filter would be such an easy fix! 

With a little practice, you too can take magical Christmas photos with a little less difficulty and you can save your holiday frustration for detangling the lights! 

 


Toddler Trouble | How to Save the Shoot

December 11, 2015  •  1 Comment

You've scheduled your photo session well in advance. The day arrives. You show up at the studio all ready for great photos but there's one problem: your toddler isn't on board. What can you do? Here are 7 steps to getting great photos out of your little Jekyll & Hyde.

 

STEP 1: Arrive on location with screaming toddler.

STEP 2: Move toddler into photography set.

STEP 3: Turn toddler upside down and thoroughly shake out all the resistance.

STEP 4: Tickle. Repeat.

STEP 5: Add other family or friends to the set and continue to tickle, facing the camera.

STEP 6: Allow toddler to hide behind you to help them feel safe as they get comfortable.  

STEP 7: When the photoshoot is all over, leave camera in the ON position. They will finally be ready!

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