It’s Mother’s Day this weekend here in the States, and this week I’ll be sharing some of my favorite #momsinthepicture over on my Facebook page. I was inspired to do so, with help from the good people at Pretty Presets who’ve written up some helpful blog posts to help you get in the picture.
You are worth so much more, than a shaky selfie shot. We get so caught up in how we look; is our “mom muffin” showing? Is our grey hair visible? Can you see the bags under our eyes? These worries make us shy away from being in photos. What message are we giving our kids, when we dog on ourselves over how we look in photos?
Photos immortalize us. They are tangible evidence that WE LIVED. Exist in photos, make sure your children, your children’s children and so on know YOU LIVED.
Check out the helpful bog posts from Pretty Presets Blog HERE! And while you’re at it, why not book a family session for yourself? I’ve got some gorgeous nights available in June AND July that would be perfect for families! Email me, email@example.com for information or to book your session!
Detail collages get me in all the feels. I love seeing those newborn lips, and those mushy cheeks, and the little noses, and those itty bitty ear folds.
When I can, I like to create a little birth announcement for my newborn clients. Even if you don’t purchase 150 and mail them, it’s always nice to have one for yourself. When my daughters were a few months old, maybe even a year old, I finally made a couple for myself and printed a 5×7 of each, then framed those 5x7s in an 8×10 matted frame. Just a suggestion… 😉
No one can resist a nibble on newborn toes. Maddie is no different. I love Mason’s face, looking up to Daddy like, “HAAAAALLLPPP!!!!” Seriously, it’s not like anyone could resist taking a smooch or maybe… nibble.
If you’re expecting in June or July of 2017, email me today firstname.lastname@example.org to set up your newborn session!
I noticed that I had taken fewer shots of my own kids than “usual”. I was working a lot more, and blabla life stuff, but I love taking pictures of my girls. I looked through the pictures I had and realized—they’re all very “posed”. Not terribly much in the way of our daily life or lifestyle. I don’t think I took any pictures at Christmas. I didn’t take my camera to Thanksgiving, and I know it sat at my desk during their birthday (twins man, those birthdays get pretty busy). There are very few of the girls just playing together which is one of my favorite parts of our lives.
I tried to step out of my own box and look at what was holding me back and it hit me when I shared a picture of my cat to FB (on my dinner table being a bad kitty, because of course there was a cat on my dinner table).
My house is a mess. My family room has piles of toys everywhere, legos spread across all surfaces, Barbie clothes everywhere. My kitchen has cups on the counter, and last night’s supper pans in the sink. There are books on the dinner table, and like I said, the cat.
If you follow any lifestyle photographers, you see these gorgeous homes- perfectly cleaned, gorgeous light in every room, nary a dust ball on the floor. And forget a-hole pets on their dinner table.
I thought something else—screw it. We live here. Having a spotless home is not a priority for me. We pick up, but you’ll probably never see our whole counter top. There will always be cat/dog fluff swirling their ballets across the floor. My throw pillows will never be artfully arranged. This is what our lives are- they’re messy and chaotic. And I’m going to be more mindful about shooting us just the way we are. Slovenly pig sty and all 😉
Take the picture. Don’t worry about the mess. Sometimes, life is messy.
If that isn’t a catchy title, I don’t know what is.
It has been an absolute whirlwind fall. Every year I tell myself I’m not going to take on so much- I’ll spend more time with my family. I’ll actually hire someone else to take photos of us because I won’t be working every minute!
And then this year I took something like 12 more fall sessions than I did last year :*) I took 4-5 mini sessions every weekend and then also took my usual work load during the week. It was nuts and I’m pretty sure my eyes are going to fall out of my face. I’m taking only 2 sessions in December, not just to give my retinas a rest, but also because with the holiday season comes winter break for my daughters and you guys know I’m a mom first.
I wanted to share some of the families I had this year, and since my blogging is pretty much the worst ever, I’m going to pop them into a couple giant posts! We’ve had our first snow here, and looking back at the colors of fall is so nice 😀
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.
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.
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!
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 😉
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:
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.
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.
I wrapped up my nephew’s birthday and dove face first into my incredibly packed fall family schedule.
I was lucky enough to shoot baby Alison when she was newborn, and getting to see her as a toddler was such a treat.
Her big brothers are so much fun. They’re the perfect combination of silly and sweet.
We played in the leaves a bit, snapped a couple of the three together (the smooching happened all on its own!)
grabbed some fast family photos and that was that! I could have shot all day though; Cassy, Jason, Owen, Carter, and Alison were total models.
Mini sessions go *fast*. Even though I time mini sessions out to no more than 30 minutes, my clients can still expect anywhere from 30-40 images for a family of five in their private online galleries 😀 I’m booking sessions for June and July NOW. Summer is such a great time for photos. I prefer summer to fall for my own family photos (GASP!) The sunlight is so warm, the days are filled with fun. There’s no pressure to hurry up and get the photos done so you have them in time for your holiday cards– shoot in the summer and you’ll have your images WELL in advance for those cards!
Book your session today by emailing email@example.com
In late Summer, my high school best friend Angela asked if I might be coming back home to PA any time, and if I was, would I have time for a family session… because they hadn’t had photos taken SINCE HER WEDDING. Dude. Yes, all the yeses. I knew the perfect place, too.
My family’s grape farm in North East, PA ❤
Ange was my best friend all through high school. I spent nearly every other day at her house, and probably every single day over the summers! We spent hours walking the sidewalks of our hometown, putting miles on our feet. Those walks and my time with Ange and the entire Licata family are some of my best memories.
Life got away from Angie and me, as it tends to do; but little trick life has is bringing people back to you. I don’t even recall how Ange and I reconnected- probably over Glee :*) Matt(y), who I was lucky enough to know during his first year is now 16 years old (17 in just a few short weeks!) and TBH, it was totally trippy to photograph him as a teenager. In my memory, he’s still a baby and we’re all still smooshing his cheeks and saying, “My name is ChubbaWubba” He has grown into an amazing young man; artistic and kind, loving and pretty rad.
And then there’s sister Sierra. She is Angela’s clone- looking through my viewfinder at her was like looking backward in time. She told me her birthday was in December, and she actually liked it a lot that people think she and her Mom are so similar, Isn’t that awesome?
And Kendall, only three or four months older than my own daughters. He was silly and spirited and pretty much what every eight year old boy is :*) I said to him, “I love your silly face bunches. I know your mom loves it too- but let’s do something she isn’t expecting. Let’s give her one grown up smile face, how about?” and he grinned and gave me….
I am eternally grateful for my reconnection with Angie. I wish I hadn’t lost years with her, but we have our whole lives to make up for it. There’s no one else I’d rather have describe to me on the phone what was going on during “South Park” (because I didn’t have cable and had never seen it) no one else I’d rather stay up all hours of the night playing Nintendo- she was always way better than me. No one else, to wander aimlessly through town talking about our boy problems, life problems, forging a bond that will never be broken.
Ah, late summer ❤ It was warm and beautiful on the day Jenny, Brian, and their perfect three came down for our family session. As is usual, we started off with shy smiles but we warmed up quickly and had some genuine happy faces.
Isn’t Layla beautiful?
As a twin mom, the phrase “double trouble” is tossed at me on the regular. I’m sure the same is true for Jenny, but Corbin and Spencer are far more “double the love” than trouble. Add a dash of Layla, a setting sun and it was a party:
I’m so glad I get to work with this family every year ❤ To get to see the kids grow into these crazy, silly, sweet people is such a pleasure for me!
Oh holy smokes. Between shooting, editing, and keeping my family alive I have totally lost my mojo blogging! I love to blog, too but time keeps on slippin’ slippin’ slippin’… So lets roll back the clock to gorgeous July in my hometown of North East, PA. I was able to take a couple Summer Mini sessions out there along the shores of Lake Erie. The Lake was angry and frothy and a funky shade of green/grey but if you live along the Lake, you know how temperamental it can be!
I met up with Denise, a knowledgeable and trustworthy lawyer friend along with her two children; and off we went!
One of my favorite shots from our session :*) Look at the color of the wave behind them! That’s crazy! I absolutely love their fun faces, silly pose, and that peek of pink sunset behind us!