How to: create that twinkle light backdrop

So, a little while ago, I told you not to wrap your kid in holiday lights but to instead try something like this set-up, which is good advice and you should totally take it. m-twinkle-lights-1wm¬† But… maybe you don’t know *how* to do such a thing! No worries, I can help you get started. You are going to need to put your camera in manual mode, or at least *AV*/ *A* aperture priority and you’ll need a basic understanding of your camera’s manual features. If these words are Greek to you, maybe call in the pros and ask about a mini session ūüėČ Otherwise, it’s pretty easy to do.

What you’re going to need:

  • a bunch of Christmas lights on a WHITE WIRE
  • an SLR camera and lens — I used a Nikon D7000 and Nikon 50mm 1.4 lens but entry level bodies and lenses will work just fine with a little tinkering
  • a solid color background
  • something to hang your lights on

You may want:

  • a white sheer curtain
  • a couple boxes of cheap-o laminate floor
  • speedlight– do NOT use your on-camera flash. It only points forward and will ruin EVERYTHING! ::dramaz::

The first thing you’ll want is something to string lights on. I have a backdrop stand, and used an ivory piece of vinyl backdrop from The Backdrop Shop, but you don’t need a “real” drop; if you have a solid, light color wall in a room that gets LOTS of sun light you could tape lights to your wall. You can use a full size sheet (a twin size white sheet will work if you have only one person in the picture).

This is a pull back of my set up, shot with a wide angle lens. I have a 6×6 backdrop, about 12 pieces¬†floating laminate floor and 2 strings of 150 white lights. If you want to load up your lights, you can buy more, but I think this is plenty. ¬†After you hang your lights, wash your hands!

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(also, sweet vintage sled, right?) Shooting in a purple room poses challenges, so I would suggest trying to shoot in a light, neutral colored space. Sooner or later, that purple room will be painted (again, for the 3rd time) a neutral shade as I start offering more sessions in my home space.

You’ll need to set your lens to it’s widest aperture. I know my lens isn’t its sharpest wide open, so I keep it around to 1.8 or 2. You’ll also want your child out as far away from your lights as you can get while still being able to frame the shot well. Depth of field gives us that blurry background with those glowing orbs of light and works when you are closer to your subject than your subject is to whatever is behind it.

My settings were¬†f 1.8, SS 1/250, ISO 160 with my white balance set to flash since I had to use my speedlight. I ¬†used my speedlight because I was taking a picture in the early evening¬†when there isn’t a ton of natural light available. I bounced the speedlight on a 45o angle behind me. ¬†I could have adjusted my settings; slowed my shutter speed, ratcheted up my ISO or opened all the way to 1.4 buuuut I have a speedlight and truly, there was very little natural light.

Once you have your settings… set, it’s time to start! You may have to change your settings around here and there. If you don’t like what you’re seeing, adjust your settings. It’s best to take test shots with something like a stuffed animal- something that won’t get peeved at you for taking time to adjust. ¬†Once you have the shot you like, add in your model!¬†I had my daughter sit on the sled to have her up a little higher and a touch farther away from the backdrop. Remember you want to be closer to your kid than your kid is to the lights, but having your lens as open as possible helps a LOT if you don’t have much space.

I took a few practice shots and really didn’t like the look of the lights- they glow pretty yellow (which yea, I could have set a custom white balance but eh) so I put a white, sheer curtain panel over them. It softens the color of the bulbs and creates a sort of faux- bokeh. You can see in the pull-back picture that the lights are still pretty sharp and that is for sure NOT what I wanted. ¬†Draping the sheer made it so soft and perfect.

DSC_0086If I had moved my daughter out more¬†the lights would be even larger orbs. I could also use my 35mm lens so I can be zoomed out some and able to get closer to my kids! All kinds of adjustments can be made. I’ll keep shooting and if you’re not getting what you want, keep trying! It’s worth it, promise.

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Fall Family Minis the E family {Sagamore Hills family photos}

Oh, beautiful Jenn…JE-3wm
Jen came to me as a referral from a dear client and friend of mine and I am so stinking happy she did! She and her two littles showed up ready to rock it out even though it was *fricken freezing*. I think it was something like 39o that morning! In my opinion, her kids have the coolest names ever, her daughter’s name is one of my most fav and was one I considered for one of my girls! Oh Amelia, you’re so sweet.
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She offered to hold Edison (Eddie) and it was so so adorable. She held him for a good few minutes, even boosting him up on her hip like a seasoned mommy when he slipped down
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Mr Bright Eyes himself. There is nothing cuter than a baby in a hat. And, a coordinating hat, at that.

 

These fall mini sessions fly by- I think we were done with Jenn’s¬†session in about 25 minutes! Now, don’t be fooled, a short session doesn’t mean you get shorted on files to choose from or shorted on service. I provide 50+ files in every client gallery- and you get to choose which photos you’d like burned to your disk which comes with a print release! Short time, never short on value.

Fall family mini session {Twinsburg family photos}

I had the great pleasure of taking fall photos for Jenny and Chris! My fall family sessions were not without drama right from the start (I’ll blog about that later) but my clients are all so awesome they just rolled with it. I worked with Jenny and her family earlier this summer. She told me they had NEVER had family photos taken! ¬†Lucky for me, they liked me (they really liked me, heh) and booked a fall session as soon as my fall mini session sale was open. ::if you want to be in the know about sales, head over to Facebook, LIKE and FOLLOW wendy b photos::

Working with little Wally and Greydon is always fun– little boys, what can I say, you know? We built a little leaf pile and G jumped and threw leaves and had a blast.JCRFall-37wm

Wally… not so much. Absolutely hated the leaves so we dusted him off and put him on a soft blanket and life was good again.JCRFall-29wmWe were getting ready to pack up and head out. The sun was getting low and then it was magic. The Golden Hour you hear about… if you hang around photogs or read our blogs! ¬†That incredible part of the day where the sun is just above the horizon line and everything is warm. I turned around and said, “WAIT please! I need to take your photos, it’s not even a ‘want to’ situation; I MUST photograph you more!” and….

JCRFall-1wmHello, sun rays wrapping right around this family. Hello gorgeous sun flare spot making a tiny little rainbow, hello perfect light hitting Jenny’s hair… If it wouldn’t have been totally unprofessional, I would have wept with joy right there. How gorgeous are they? Total perfection.

Thank you x 100000 Jenny and Chris, for trusting me (twice!) with your precious family ‚̧

 

 

This is a test…

Not of any emergency broadcast system, just a starter blog post test.

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Hey all, how’s this for a first real live, wendy b photos blog post! Welcome aboard. If you haven’t yet, click over to Facebook and give wendy b photos a ::LIKE:: Stay up to date with sales, and client teaser posts. If you’re looking for natural light, family photography in Northeastern Ohio, you’ve found it! I’m Wendy, and I want to photograph your family. Or your “pregnancy glow”.Or your newborn! Or your baby’s first birthday cake. Or your baby’s senior portraits. Whatever you want, I can find a way to make it happen.

Check out my website to see all the details on session pricing, and maybe have some questions answered in the faqs section. You can also click any of the links ^^^ up top there!

So, away we go! Check back soon for the first fall family mini session I’ll be adding!

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