Photography help, photography how to, Uncategorized

Photography how to: create star bursts

    Oooooh, bright shiny lights. I love how the tree is glowing and the lights are bursting, don’t you? I’m going to talk you through how you can take a picture of your family’s tree (if you have one). You will need a basic understanding of photography, you’ll need to understand shutter speed, but that’s not super hard 😀
    You’ll need:
  • tripod or something sturdy to set your camera on
  • camera with timer and manual settings
  • pretty lights to photograph (I have a crap load of lights on my tree and still want MORE! ahaha)
  • an dark night… ooh

You might want:

        • a remote shutter release

So, first things first- turn off all the lights. Light is the number 1, most important thing you need when taking pictures, and in this case, you need to eliminate all outside light because you want the only light source to be your tree.

You’re going to set your shutter speed to a really, slow, really long which is why you need something sturdy to set your camera on. Any tiny movement will RUIN THE SHOT FOREVER! Well, ok, it’ll just ruin that one shot but you’ll have to reshoot and if you’re a perfectionist, that’ll drive you crazy. My shutter speed on the above was 13 seconds– the shutter was left open for 13 full seconds allowing all the twinkly light to enter. I had my ISO turned as low as I could, which is 100. Your ISO setting tells your camera how much available light there is- a low number means there’s lots of light and the camera doesn’t need to compensate for that. A high number means there’s very little light. Logically, you’d want to set your ISO to a higher number since there is very little light- BUT in this case we are going to make up for the low light with a slooooooooow shutter speed.

I closed down my aperture to F-11; there’s a long explanation about the blades in your lens and angles, so you can read up on the specifics and I encourage you to but I’m not going to get into it all. You’re going to want to be stopped down to at least F-11, the further down you’re closed the more dramatic your burst will be.

Next, you’re going to frame up your shot. Select your focus point, you can pretty much just point it toward the middle and go at it. Your lens will be stopped down so almost everything will be in focus. Remember, you need something sturdy to hold your camera or you’re going to get motion shake. Use a tripod, or, rig up something sturdy to angle your camera correctly. If your camera has a timer setting USE IT. If your camera has a remote setting, invest in a remote.  I use the word “invest” loosely–I have this little guy . $7 folks. Worth it if you have a Nikon DSLR (there are millions for Canon and other bodies as well). Go ahead now and take your first shot. How’d it look? Good? No good? Post your picture to my Facbook page wendy b photos. If you don’t like what you got, shoot again!

You can use the settings I have listed as a starting point, but if your photo isn’t “right” make adjustments and try again. Every situation is different, you may have more or fewer lights on your tree, you might have more ambient light, make the adjustments for YOUR specific situation. And, feel free to ask for help 😀

f-11 13″SS 100 Iso

Photography help, photography how to, Q&A

Photography :the more you know: RAW shooting:

This one is for the anyone curious about RAW files. I’m going to talk a little about why I shoot in RAW file format and why you might want to consider doing it as well. But first, let’s rewind…rewind…rewind… (if you sang that like Angelica Schulyer in “Satisfied” from Hamilton, consider this your internet high five).
A quick and dirty intro on what a RAW file is; a RAW file is a digital image file that contains every bit of digital data.  A JPG file which most people are familiar with, is a digital image that has been compressed into one digital “hunk”. To make this a visual, imagine a sandy beach. The individual grains of sand that make up the beach are your RAW digital pixels. The beach itself is the compressed JPG.

IMG_6989
Miles of beauty JPG as far as the eye can see.

I’m pretty confident in my shooting ability, I know I’m going to get my exposure right, my focus, my DOF etc. I thought I was fine shooting in JPG file format. Having never really bothered to use RAW on my other bodies, I didn’t know what I was missing. I couldn’t see the grains of sand through the beach, so to speak. I decided to flip into RAW a while back and when I saw the preview on my LCD, I thought “what a waste, this is exactly the same,” and then I loaded the RAWS into my editing software and great gravy biscuits!
The amount of information that was available was like WHOA. You can edit a JPG file, but that was barely scratching the surface. A RAW file holds every ounce of data- I could pin point the exact white balance temperature, something I was doing pretty OK with (but why be pretty OK when you can be THAT’S AWESOME?). I can sharpen an image to my taste (rather than let the camera decide what is best), in other words- shooting in RAW gives you so much more creative space. I can move grains of sand, without destroying the beach.

Another thing RAW can do for you, is save your behind. The beauty of digitals is that you can delete out whatever garbage photo you happened to snag, however deleting from your card is bad for the card, and firing off junk shots (or “spray and pray” photography) is killer on your shutter. Shooting in RAW gives you the freedom, to make saves when need be.
While shooting a newborn in a relatively dark room, I needed to add some extra light. I set my speed light to bounce light in my soft box, and went to work. I got some shots that were great, but I hadn’t realized that my speed light wasn’t recycling fast enough. I did a quick setting change (less power from the flash until I could take a minute and put fresh batteries in) but I ended up with one totally black frame. I thought, “ Crap, she looked so cute…” and then I was like “DUH YOU’RE SHOOTING RAW. YOU CAN GET THAT BACK.” And guess what…

Screen Shot 2018-01-08 at 12.42.42 PM
© wendy b photos 2018

It’s pretty amazing to see the save, right? Had I been shooting in JPG, I would have had to toss it. I would have thrown out the pretty wrap, the open eyes, the little pucker lips! There’s no way I would have been able to bring this back. That’s not to say that you should shoot in RAW and just go ahead and blow your images because you can save them in post- it’s always best to get your shot right in camera. Recovering an image won’t make it perfect- there will be grain, and you may not be a fan of grain in images- but it can make them useable. This particular image was not one I was willing to let go.

If you shoot RAW, what great things do you like best about it? Did you always shoot raw or did you make the change? What made you decide to go RAW? Leave a comment!

Photography help, photography how to, Q&A, Uncategorized

Published like crazy! {community not competition}

My second and third articles were also published on Pretty Presets for Lightroom’s blog!

These articles are geared toward new photographers generally, but established ‘togs will enjoy them as well 🙂

Thank you photog family for being so supportive. #communitynotcompetetion

WBP daydreamer

Photography help, photography how to, Q&A

Helping out {community not competition}

A few months ago, I received an email asking for article submissions to one of my favorite photography resources, Pretty Presets for Lightroom.

The first article was published yesterday. I hope you find strength in these words and run the best business you can ❤

https://www.lightroompresets.com/blogs/pretty-presets-blog/saying-no-for-photographers

photography how to, Uncategorized

How to: create a holiday silhouette

A year or so ago, I typed up a post about silhouettes but because Word Press is sort of the devil, it got eaten and is lost in the pits of internet mystery. So here goes with Take 2: Holiday Silhouette.

Long story short– expose for your tree lights, focus on your people, under exposing the people. Voila! Silhouette.

girls-silhouettewm16
ISO 200, f 1.6, 1/40th, 35mm 1.4 lens used

I just asked my daughters to stand in front of the tree and BE TOTALLY 100% STILL FOR PETE’S SAKE JUST STOP MOVING. (proud parenting moment  -_-)

But I had good reason to demand they be totally still. If you know anything about photography you know LIGHT MATTERS. Light is the single most important factor in your photography but when you shoot this, you want NO LIGHT. Why is that, Wendy?

Glad you asked. To create this specific holiday silhouette, your only light source will be your tree. If you have day light, lights on in the room- you will have a harder time getting that soft bokeh from your lights on your tree. But when you have pretty much zero light, you’re going to need to use a super slow shutter speed. When you have a super low shutter speed, any movement will look like a ghosty blur. No bueno.

What you’ll need in addition to a basic understanding of the manual settings of your camera:

  • tripod or something sturdy to set your camera on
  • holiday lights, the more the better. DO NOT wrap your kids in holiday lights.
  • a kid or two who will STAND STILL FOR THE 100TH TIME, I SWEAR TO GOD. (swearing to god optional). Also good for practicing with, stuffed animals because they are the best at being still when people are in the room.
  • a DLSR camera

Handy to have:

  • remote shutter release

First things first, mount your camera on your tripod or Sturdy Thing. You’re going to keep your ISO low, and your shutter speed SLOOOW like I said above. You can up your ISO a little bit, but don’t go to high or you will risk too much light on your people. My ISO was set to 200. My shutter speed was set to 1/20th– if I was trying to hand-hold my camera at that shutter speed the silhouette would be a motion blurry mess.  If you have a remote shutter release, it’ll be nice to use so you don’t risk shaking the camera even on your tripod when you push the shutter release.

Next you’re going to set your f-stop. I was set to 1.6 since my lens is pretty baller and I knew I would be able to get both girls in focus with it. For super beginners it’s sometimes suggested that your f-stop equal the number of people in your picture, so with 2 people, I could have set my f-stop to 2.8. If your lens only goes to 3.5, just remember to move your subjects farther away from the tree (some day, I’ll teach you all about depth of field and why it matters).

You should be good to give it a shot. Set your person or stuffed animal up, and take a test shot! How’d it look? Was your subject in silhouette? Was it a little brighter than you expected? If so, you can speed up your shutter, or close down your f-stop. Were the lights little pin pricks? Slow down that shutter even father! Show me in the comments on wendy b photos what you got!

family photos, Uncategorized

Trying new things {editing with wendy b photos}

I shared on my Facebook page that I had been experimenting with some different editing styles and a friend suggested seeing the side by side which is a great idea 🙂 The newer edits are more matte, slightly film like.
In this first example, you can see how vivid the fall colors are. A lot of this is to do with the available light- we had a gorgeous day with lots of light hitting those leaves making everything REALLY bright and strong. In the after, I applied a soft matte and texture which softened those colors without desaturating them too much.

Before and After, trying stuff is fun!
Before and After, trying stuff is fun!

In this image of Cecelia, the edit made the greens a bit deeper and the image a bit cooler/ bluer. I like what happened with the green, but I’m not sold on the skin tone- this is an example of how this newer edit style for me may not work as well on every image, with every skin tone 🙂 I like both images, and could do some work on the skin to bring back some warmth and maybe a bit of light but for comparison’s sake, this is a “one click” edit.

BACeCewm

Then there’s my Lilly. The first edit was almost exactly what I wanted; I remember being really happy with the image over all, but also feeling like something was missing. I shot this over a year ago, and had one of those “AHA!” moments when I created my matte/ film edit. The change is subtle but I love it. Her skin looks perfect, the greens are deep and rich, the matte and grain is just right. I love the clean image, but the film-like texture is *exactly* what I was hoping to get. 

I took some photos of my daughters for their 9th birthday, and edited totally with the new look and loved every one.

So you can see, the changes aren’t huge, but change is hard for lots of people myself included. I’ve been a pretty “safe” editor but something in my gut has been pushing me to try something, to push my boundaries and experiment with my editing style. Like I’ve said, I can’t promise that this softer, grainy, textured, darker look will work with all sessions or images, but I do know that it’s been a lot of fun to use and I really like the look!

Photography help, photography how to, Uncategorized

Photography HOW TO: photograph fireworks!

** originally published July 2016***

Ah, the Fourth of July. Picnics, parties, beer, and brats (that’s bratwurst, not BRATS, well… hopefully not brats 😉  )
And of course, there are fireworks. I’m sure there’s a long and delightful history about why we Americans light up the skies with fireworks and you’re welcome to Google that information in your spare time 😉

how-to-firework-1

I have always been particular about fireworks. By particular, I mean terrified. Then, seven years ago I had two little girls and now Mommy has to put on the brave face. What better way to enjoy those loud, blazing balls of fire raining down on you, but by trying to photograph them! Total transparency here- last year was the first year that I ever tried to photograph them. I’m going to try again this year if this Summer of Unending Rain gives me the chance (Ohio friends know what I’m talking about). You can try, too!

HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
1. Remote shutter release like THIS
2. A DLSR and basic understanding of photography
3. A dark place with a clear view of the sky

IT WOULD BE HANDY TO HAVE:
1. tripod
2. wide-ish angle lens that will focus to infinity. Use what you’ve got though, you can make nearly anything work.

I’ll post my photos with my settings to give you an idea about where you can start, but every lighting situation, lens and camera body is different. For what it’s worth, I took these on a Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 35mm 1.8 lens. I wanted a wide angle lens, and my 35mm is the widest I’ve got.

First things first- get a good spot! Some people like to have cool landmarks in their photos, but I want an unobstructed view. We parked ourselves far across from the field where the fireworks would be shot off. I can fake being cool with fireworks, but only from a safe distance.

Second, turn off your flash. You want the only light your camera sees to be the fireworks themselves. Relatedly, turn your ISO down. Mine was set at 100 for all these photos. Again, we want the only light to be from the fireworks themselves, so we don’t want our cameras to compensate for the dark and make images brighter.

Fireworks-7wm
ISO-100, 35mm, F-16, SS 8.0 seconds

Aperture is next. You’ll want a long focal length. Anywhere from F-11 up will work well. The fireworks will be far away, and we’re going to try to focus to infinity. You’ll want to look up your specific lens if you don’t know how to set it to infinity or even if it does such a thing. A note about my specific 35mm– it is a G lens, meaning “gelded” and does not focus to infinity which made things a little harder. What I did was set my focus to manual and focused on the very farthest thing from me, then crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

Set your shutter speed to a reeeeeaaaaaalllllly long exposure. There won’t be a ton of light, we’re using a low ISO and a small aperture (the larger the f-stop number, the smaller the aperture opening). Mine was set anywhere from 8 seconds to 13 seconds. Now you see why you’ll want that wireless remote- there is absolutely no way you can have your hands on your camera when that shutter is released or you’ll get instant camera shake and blurry photos. I would fire off my remote shutter release as soon as I saw the firework shot off- when you see that first streak of light FIRE! If you have a tripod- USE IT. The less motion around your camera the better.

Play around with your shutter speed and see how the speed affects the amount of light let in. The longer you leave your shutter open (hello, 13 whopping seconds) the more light will enter your lens. The cool thing is the light is moving! Since our shutter is super slow, it’s not going to stop that light motion and you’ll get those awesome light streaks.

Get out there, and give it a shot! Share your attempts over on Wendy B Photos on Facebook!

Fireworks-8wm

 

SaveSave

Photography help, Q&A, Uncategorized

My feelings about #3 …

So, over on Wendy B Photos I shared an article by the amazingly talented Amy Tripple Photography. It’s a list of things photographers want their beloved clients to understand. It’s one of the few times that I thought YES YES YES. I wish I knew how to say this! But then I don’t have to say it, because Amy did it so well. I wanted to talk about #3 on the list.

It hurts my feelings when you joke about my pricing.

  • When you imply that my prices are getting too high, it feels like you’re saying that my work isn’t worth what you’re paying. I’m quite sensitive about my pricing and it feels incredibly vulnerable to have to put a price on my passion and art. There are so many parts of running a business that I can’t expect you to know about: taxes, a studio, equipment, website fees, a salaried studio manager… these are just a few of the things I’m desperate to tell you about when you make a joke that “this hour had better be amazing because we sure are paying for it…” I can’t, of course, so I try to remember that you probably don’t understand all the costs involved in running a small business and continue on with your session.”

While the above doesn’t happen to me during sessions, it stings when someone inquires about a future shoot and straight away asks, “What do you charge?” or they make comments like “when is your next sale?”; it makes me think that the person doesn’t put any value into the work; they’re only looking for someone who is “cheap” even if that’s not the case at all. I know cost is one of the most important things that potential clients consider, but it should never be the #1 most important. How much do you value your photos? I’m neither the most expensive nor the cheapest person working the block so to speak and I do the best I can to work with families for whom budget is the #1 deal breaker. ** if you are worried that you cannot afford my pricing, TELL ME. If you book out far enough in advance, I can gladly take small payments over time so that you can be paid up in time for your session**

I do *everything* I can to provide professional, affordable portraits be they family, maternity, newborns, etc. I do NOT believe that professional and personal photography should be a luxury only the wealthy can afford. There are a lot of people who could never afford to spend $400, $500, $1000 on photos. Does that make them less deserving? I don’t think so.

Does that mean that other photographers need to lower their pricing? ABSOLUTELY NOT. Each one of us sets our pricing in line to where it should to be for our specific needs. None of us will have the same pricing structure, even if we’re located in the same zip code. What works for one of us will likely NOT work for another.

I am priced as low as I can be, while still being able to cover my costs of doing business and as any other small business owner can attest, it’s not cheap doing business. There are times when I need to increase my price, or my product pricing but I have done and will continue to do everything I can to make professional photos available to as many people as possible.

I can’t thank my clients enough for being understanding of the ways in which I operate my business ❤ ❤

photography how to, Q&A, Uncategorized

Published: PRETTY a photographers resource guide and magazine

**UPDATE! I got my physical copy and omg. I love it. It is available for purchase, and you can order one HERE!! 

Ho boy… so exciting for me!!  In early June, I was approached by the wonderful people at Pretty Presets for Lightroom and told that they wanted to feature me and a few other photographers in their brand-spankin-new photography magazine and resource guide called PRETTY. After I picked myself up off the floor and everyone’s ears had stopping ringing from all my screaming, I sent over three photos I love (absolutely the hardest decision I’ve had to make in a long time) and a bit of information about me and the wait began. 

The first resource guide was published July 7th and you can get yours *FREE* for a limited time as a digital download. There is a boat-load of information in the magazine for photographers and mom-togs alike. You can order a hard copy as well, for a small fee. I downloaded the digital version and wow. I can’t wait for the physical version to get here! Download your copy HERE; you know you want to see what photos I chose 😉 

I am so honored and my mind is 100% blown away by this. Thank you so much for the amazing feature and *awesome* resource guide Amy, Gayle, and Laura! I love what I get to do, I love the people I get to help in the “pretty” group, I love all the things I learn being active in the community. So lucky 😀

‪#‎PRETTY‬  ‪#‎prettypresetsforlightroom‬ ‪#‎wendybphotos‬‪#‎photographymagazine‬ ‪#‎photographyresourceguide‬

mini session, Photography help, Uncategorized

What makes a Mini Session “mini?

If you haven’t heard, I’m holding #SpringMiniSessions on April 25th. Now, you might be asking, “What makes a mini session with Wendy a MINI? What do I lose out on if I book during a mini sale?” The answer is time makes it a mini, but you don’t lose out on anything… want to see why? Read on, my friend.

what makes a mini session "mini"?
what makes a mini session “mini”?

It’s true that I am generally one of the lowest priced photographers in the Cleveland area with my experience (there are people out there selling sessions for $60 a pop, but buyer beware :more on that later:)  and it’s true that I provide digital files for sale below the industry norm, not to mention my prints available to all clients a la carte start at $2, so just what makes a mini a mini? (mini mini miiiinnnniiii!)

In short, a mini session with wendy b photos is a strict, set amount of time typically 30 minutes or less. It comes with fewer digital files included on your disk but additional digitals are discounted so you can add files easily. I restrict the number of people who can participate in the mini (usually five people tops) because more people = more shoot time= more edit time. You know what they say about time and money after all.

I offer mini sessions a few times a year; during spring (going on now), fall, and then winter. Minis are a great way to get that family shot you want “just a nice one of the five of us”, update your family photo wall, or grab some quick shots of your little kiddo hitting a fun milestone.

Minis are perfect for the budget-minded as well. Right now, my mini session is 35% off the regular family session price. If you have referral credits, you can in most cases apply them to your mini session, reducing the cost another 10%. Email wendy@wboycephotos.com for info on referral credits!

So, now you know! I have four spaces left for my April 25th family mini sessions– book yours today!