Tuesday, June 30, 2009
Monday, June 29, 2009
To see some other amazing wedding pics, head over to i Heart Faces for their weekly challenge! PS - my favorite, Jasmine Star, is judging this week...HI JASMINE!
If you're planning a wedding, or know someone who is, I HIGHLY recommend speaking to the wedding photographer about this new craze!
Sarah Frenzel, the photographer who shot three of the weddings I've been to in the last couple of years, has started doing photobooth's lately, and what a blast it's been! I love how bizarre the pic from Nate and Lisa's wedding (below) is...the wedding was at a home and we found all sorts of funny cookbooks like Microwave Cooking and Scandinavian Cooking. SO AWESOME.
Another photographer who has taken photobooth fun to the far ends of the RAD spectrum is Nate Kaiser of The Image is Found. If you need to laugh, please go through his crazybooth pics...you won't be disappointed, especially THIS post and THIS post (incidentally, I went to HS with this bride)!
Friday, June 26, 2009
Shannon has a special love for newborn sessions and really knows how to capture these new additions! She has a thriving business and has a creative vision...and working with newborns and children, she must have OODLES of patience!
We connected on Flickr (what a great resource!) and then found out that we have a couple of CA friends in common...how does THAT happen? As I have gone through her site and blog, I have since learned that along with her passion for photography, she has tremendous talent, too!
Ready to learn more about (and from) her? I know I am...so let's get to the Q&A!
1. It looks like you specialize in youngsters...how to you overcome typical challenges like fussiness, sleeplessness, and restlessness? (enough ness's?) My attitude for newborns is to just take things as they come. Some newborns eat every 1/2 hr, some are here the entire time without eating. Some poo and pee all the time, some never mess. BUT one thing is always for sure- they will sleep. I've had one session take nearly 5 hours to get enough good shots, and then another where I had plenty on my card in 2 hours. A few of my tricks are I run 2 space heaters set to 80/85*, I also run a white noise machine. I do a lot of bouncing and shushing with the babies and I also find rubbing their forehead and nose helps calm them. If I'm holding the baby, they are usually always swaddled and facing my window light to hopefully trick them into sleeping. I work on their schedule- I'm there for the shots- not a time limit. And most important- RELAX. Babies only have their instincts to rely on and if they can sense tension, they almost always are awake and irritable. Oh- and LOTS and lots of patience. Sometimes I'll work one pose for 45 minutes to an hour- I want the details showing- I want as many fingers and toes as possible in front of my lens.
2. Your images are sharp and clear. What do you shoot with? Do you use any Actions? I shoot with a Canon 5D Mark II and I have a backup Canon 5D as well. I have an arsenal of lenses, but my favorites are the 85 1.2L, used mostly for outdoor portraiture, and my 50 1.4 for indoor natural light (mostly newborns). Those 2 primes are on my camera 75% of the time. My 24-70 2.8 is used for studio sessions or the occasional wide-angle family or sibling shot. I Love my 70-200 2.8L but I don't use it as much as I'd like to- it's a fantastic piece of glass, and finally a 100 2.8 macro for newborn bits and pieces! I'm a FIRM believer in owning good glass. Image sharpness and clarity starts with light. Light is the root of all photography- without proper light, I don't achieve tack-sharp focus, pleasing skin tones or natural shadowing. I work and strive for those 3 things at every shoot. Next is exposure- the best focus, skin tones and shadowing come from a good exposure. So- the perfect combination for a sharp, clear image is good light, good exposure and a steady hand. Add in some good glass and a great camera and you can get some bonus flair! I have a basic action that I made of my own that basically adjusts the curves- I lift midtones, deepen midtones and add a bit of contrast- all 3 with masking, other than that I keep my post-processing very clean and simple. I have to get things right in camera because I don't have time to fix things later on in processing- I'm a full time mom to 2 beautiful boys and only a part-time photographer. A year ago I spent way too much time and money tracking down good actions and then learning how to use and apply them, only to figure out I wanted more control over my images and really just wanted clean, natural portraits as the end result- I've been processing using my own workflow for about 6-7 months.
3. In what situations do you opt to use studio verses natural light? I use natural light in any and every situation I can, however there are a few reason I have a small, one light 'studio' shall we say in the basement of our home. Probably the ONLY reason I have a studio space is I live in Iowa and it's cold- not all parents share the crazed visions I do for pictures in a snowy wonderland, so I use my studio from November until May (with an occasional outdoor session earlier than that) I'll do natural light with toddlers and children alone, but sibling and family shots are just really difficult to get indoors without closing my aperture- so it's off to the studio we go. Studio lighting at this time just doesn't excite me the way natural light does- partly because I haven't made more investment into my studio, but also because of the nature of my business. I want to focus on newborns and small children. For newborns, my goal is soft lighting and soft shadows and I also don't want the harsh flash or strobe disturbing them either- plus when a newborn smiles I've got to be ready to fire at 4 frames per second to capture every one of them. I LOVE shooting wide open and pushing my aperture to let the most light in. I'm a bokeh-addict if you will- and studio-lights just cannot create bokeh like outdoors. The other main reason I just don't like studio is that most children don't want to be told to go stand or sit in one place for more than 5 minutes. It's like trying to cage a wild animal telling a toddler to stay put on a back drop. I'd much rather just follow them around on an 'adventure' outside- we're all much happier that way!
4. What kind of training have you had? I've been self-taught and I bought my first D-SLR in May of last year, so for 13 months I've been consumed with photography- what started as an interest in other professionals photographing my first son, has developed into my passion. I still learn something every time I get my camera out, but I hope I am always learning when it comes to photography- I want my photography to grow and develop every day. I went to a newborn posing class in March with the fantastic Kelley Ryden and Tracy Raver out of Omaha and it was definitely a wonderful jump start to my newborn portfolio.
5. What's the best piece of advice you were given when you were just starting out? Start on Manual- it was the best way for me to learn how aperture, shutter speed and ISO correlate. I've never shot in aperture or shutter priority and I've seen photographers rock those modes, but for me- I prefer manual. The other piece of advice I got was just simply to practice. For about 4 months my camera never left my side. I was constantly trying to figure settings and get used to moving my hands and fingers around the control of my camera. Learning to think quicker, more creatively and to CATCH those quick children's moments. Kids aren't going to wait for me and they certainly are'nt going to re-do a great moment for me.
Be sure to tune in next week for PhotoFANatic Friday...I'm SQUEEEEEEELING with excitement over the photographer that's up next!!!
Thursday, June 25, 2009
At the time, I hated dark wood and thought it made my house feel smaller - BOY was I wrong! I also felt that in order to look like the home of a grown up, I needed a matching bedroom suite of furniture. WRONG AGAIN!
In order to really have a lovely home, filled with depth and elegance, I now believe that it's even more beautiful to mix it up in the bedroom. Woo woo, that sounded kinda naughty! ; )
Take a look at some of these examples from House Beautiful...see the one thing they have in common? Their bedroom furniture speaks nicely to each other, but isn't matchy matchy!
Finally, this room is heaven! The ornate painted chest (with monogram - TO DIE FOR!), the iron canopy bed, and the bench, all could work in different genres of rooms, however, they JUST WORK along with the couch on the side. In the past, this would have never occured to me, but I find it absolutely divine!
As I get older, and my home decor style matures, I'm so thankful for the bloggy community and for my favorite magazines. Only six months ago, I considered buying a whole new suite of furntiture, and don't get me wrong, I don't think that's bad. But in my small condo, having unique pieces with individual stories of purchases in JUST the right place at the right time, makes my CONDO feel less like a cookie cutter box, and more like a CASTLE! What do you think? Are you with me???
Wednesday, June 24, 2009
- Nothing works as good as desitin
- Oxyclean is your friend
- The dog doesn't realize they aren't her toys
- The baby will only scream when you're on important phone calls
- 5am actually exists, so does midnight and 3am
- a nice walk or drive does wonders to soothe a bambino
- Leave your "dry clean only" in your closet for awhile longer
- You may lose the weight, but your body is never the same
- Falling asleep at the end of the day (whenever the end finally comes) has never been easier
- It's all worth it: it'll be the BEST thing you've ever done!
Tuesday, June 23, 2009
The last book I read last night, Vintage by Olivia Darling, is quite naughty...and I'm not sure that I'd recommend it to genteel readers. HOWEVER, I LOVED this book's plotline. Three women were unexpectly gifted with vineyards whose vines make champagne or sparkling wine and were thrust into a competition to see who could produce the best vintage within five year's time...and now as a result, I've decided to toss away my career and other pursuits to go work on a vineyard. Forever. Amen.
Not really...but oh my goodness, wouldn't that be an incredible life? Even if I didn't enjoy wine, I'd still be in love with vineyards. All those colors and sweeping vistas...makes me long for my August vacation to wine country...or my next free weekend when I can run off to Temecula for the afternoon! Who wants to join me???
Wednesday, June 17, 2009
Monday, June 15, 2009
Sunday, June 14, 2009
The one thing I can just KILL on the grill is corn on the cob. You see, for work, I'm a member of the Rotary Club where every August, we sell corn at the weekly concert series. The first year, I scoffed, the second year, I joined in, the third year, I MASTERED the art of perfect corn on the cob...and the secret ingredient might just freak you out!!!
Throw the corn on the grill for about 20-25 minutes, then serve with spices such as garlic salt (YUMMMMMMY!), paprika, parmesan cheese or whatever floats your boat.
You'll love this corn on the cob and your guess will think you're a GENIUS! Right Beks, Allison, Amy, Lisa, and Genevieve? I can't hear you!!!
I'm also sharing this at Works for Me Wednesday, because it's the PERFECT summer snack!
Friday, June 12, 2009
And guess, what?! I did this deck makeover on a BUDGET and it only took me 1 day!
I started with two chairs, two foot stools, a table, and a grill. I repurposed an ottomoan and bought some random items from Target, IKEA, and Craig's List! I recovered the chairs with a SHOWER CURTAIN, the ottomon with a TABLE CLOTH (clearance from Target, with matching seat cushions for the foot stools - also on clearance!), spray painted the table and the flower pots, and added some other little accessories, including some breezy curtains...
What do YOU think of the end result??? I'M ABSOLUTELY IN LOVE WITH IT!!!
I'm sharing this post over at Hooked on Houses, because I'm HOOKED on my new outdoor living room. To see some other neat things that women are hooked on this week, please visit Julia's site!!!
Wednesday, June 10, 2009
I guess as we get older, we get more involved in daily routines, which might give us great comfort at times, but also hinders our fearlessness to a degree. Have you ever felt that way?
Last week, the company did an "all hands on deck" activity on a tall ship out of San Pedro (for all of you non-Californians, that's Peedro!). I was SO EXCITED as I love being out on the water and I grew up sailing on my grandpa's boat down in Dana Point. The ship, the Exy Johnson (which I kept calling the "Sexy Johnson," then saying that was my nickname, too), is an incredible piece of workmanship. It was $4.5m to build and they operate it all year long taking underpriveledged and challenged kids out to do team-building exercizes, etc. The company jumped on the opportunity to support the organization and have some fun.
When we all had our positions down and got out to sea and through the Ports, they told us we could climb the rigging. I volunteered knowing that with a harness on, I'd be fine. Then, just before I went up, I found out that you don't harness in until you get to the top platform. I nearly fainted...but all the dudes from work were standing around waiting for me to go...I couldn't turn back now!
I climbed over the outside of the rigging and hung directly over the ocean and started to make my ascent. About halfway up, the "ladder" got more narrow and it really started to shake. I had a moment of near panic where I thought I wouldn't make it up, but I pushed through. My fingers turned white from gripping so hard, but eventually, I made my way to the top...and coming back down was just as scary.
When I finished, everyone cheered for me and I had LOADS of nervous energy...but I felt GREAT! This was a feeling I want to experience again, and one that I'll remember next time I feel scared to try something new or push the envelope...I had God on my side and I knew I was protected, however knowing I was doing something outside my comfort zone really made me feel like I'd accomplished something huge! How bout you? Do you let exciting opportunities pass you by because you're afraid of what might or could happen? Try something new this week...I think you'll find it's worth the risk!
Tuesday, June 09, 2009
On the great outdoor living quest, I was CERTAIN I had something all figured out...until it fell off the stucco wall TWICE. No tool I had could handle the project I was asking of it - and naturally, I'm far too impatient to wait for my dad to get home from his vacation to run over here and fix the problem. So, I ran to Target and found THIS CRAZY INFOMMERCIAL product!
I haven't tried it yet, but it seems so intense that I decided it would work. Sadly, I ran out of daylight tonight...and I was somewhat intimidated by the bright blue gloves that came in the package. ; )
Monday, June 08, 2009
Last week, I read Katie's post on green cleaning tips and I realized that I needed to make a change...or at least TRY.
I live in a pretty nice community and we have several fussy stores. Last year, my Ralphs changed into a Ralphs Fresh Fare in order to compete with the giant Whole Foods down the way and the even closer Traders and Sprouts Market. As a result, they have oodles and oodles of natural products.
My sister-in-law is a greenie, so on the way to the market on Saturday, I gave her a call. I was out of laundry detergent, so I decided to make my first attempt and buying an ecologically-friendly product. I've heard of Seventh Generation, but that's all I could name...she recommended a product called ECOVER and sure enough, Ralphs had it, so I snapped it up!
Now, I'm sure there are fabulous reasons why people buy this product... my reason, however, was that I was shamed into it, but my reason for buying it next time will be: it smells pretty and got my clothes nice and clean, plus it's made for high efficiency washers. YAY! You might roll your eyes at how non-environmental I am, but hey, it's a start, right?!
I'm curious to know what you think about the green wave. Are you militant, more casual about it, or do you still litter? AND, more importantly, if you're a greenie and have some quick and easy tips for the lazy housekeeper in me, I'd LOVE to know what else I can do to become more environmentally responsible!!!
Friday, June 05, 2009
After spending some time on her blog, I've got to tell you, I'm quite impressed that she's only been shooting professionally for a little over a year. Her colors are bold and her images are sharp...two things that I can't get enough of! She's also doing some really interesting things with marketing...things I'm only beginning to hear about. Rather than let me tell you all the reasons why I think she's a wonderful addition to the PhotoFANatic Friday Class of 09, I'll let you hear from her!
- 1. How did you make the leap from amateur photographer to pro? I'm sitting here trying to figure this out and I can't really remember! I think it mostly had to do with the fact that I knew a few local photographers that didn't have as much technical knowledge as I did. Even though at the time I didn't know that much, it kind of blew my mind that someone could make a living from photography and not know the very basics. It got me thinking that maybe I could do it, too.
And I feel that I should make a confession here: the reason I got into photography is so I could have beautiful pictures to post on my personal blog. Yep, that was the only reason. Most photographers grew up with the love of photography in their blood, they played with their parents cameras, they were always creative with their point and shoots before upgrading to a DSLR. I was none of that. I was a crappy picture taker with my point and shoot. I made learning photography a project for me and insisted that I learn as much about my camera as I possibly could. I hit the books hard, and I still do. So I think maybe creativity is more inherent, but photography as an art can be learned!
2. What lens can you absolutely not live without? This is a tough one because I'm still trying to figure that out. I go through phases of favorites. And now with the beautiful weather outdoors, my favorite is the 85mm 1.8. It gives beautiful bokeh and there's something a little different about primes. I never believed that until just recently. I find that I do much less processing on my prime pictures than with my zoom. I also have a 50mm 1.4 and a 24-70mm 2.8L and I've used the 50mm 1.2L and 70-200mm 2.8L. If I could buy one lens right now, it would be the 50mm 1.2. I hardly ever touched my pictures taken with that lens. Straight out of the camera, they were beautiful.
3.What has been your biggest disappointment as a photographer? Your biggest success? Disappointment? Where do I begin?! I think my short career has been filled with highs and lows, but one thing sticks out to me the most. On my very first real shoot with a paying family, my files corrupted when I was transferring them from the memory card to the computer. It took about three minutes for the reality of what happened to sink in, and when it did, let's just say there was a lot of crying and screaming. I told my husband I was selling all of my equipment and that there was no way on earth I could ever be a photographer. Well, being the smart man that he is, within a few minutes, he had located some software that could recover the files and within the hour, all of my files were restored. Best $40 I ever spent! I won't even tell you about the time I formatted one of my cards DURING A WEDDING! Thank you, Card Recovery!
As for a success, I have to say being interviewed on your blog amongst photographers like Jasmine Star, David Jay, Gabriel Ryan, Sarah Q, etc, etc, wow! What an honor to be in that list! I don't belong in that list, but I'm super excited that somehow I got there. (No, the BLAH BLAH BLAHger did not pay her to say that!) I think my other success(es) are when my husband will buy me an expensive piece of equipment. It's an affirmation to me that he believes I'll make it big enough that he's willing to invest in me. I have huge doubts sometimes and having his support is invaluable.
4. What's Team 2010? How did you come up with the program? Since this is my first year as a professional photographer, I'm trying to get my name out there. I've read a lot from other photographers about high school senior rep programs. Team 2010 is designed to pick influential seniors, take some awesome pictures of them, and let the pictures speak for themselves. The seniors will earn print credit for each person that they refer. I'm fortunate to have a lot of teacher friends in the area who have helped me pinpoint those to invite. I'm hoping it will be successful. We will see!
5. What's the best piece of advice you were given when you were just starting out? I know this has been said over and over again, but it would have to be: Be yourself. I started out trying to take pictures just like this photographer. And then that photographer. And on, and on. I'm just now starting to do my style and become my own person. I think it's something that comes with time and I'm happy to have so many stunning photographers as inspiration. But I'm really excited that I'm juuuust starting to come into my own now.
Thanks so much for having me! Such an honor!
If you have a favorite photographer with skills like these who you think I should learn more about (and from), please let me know!!! I do these features to 1) learn more and 2) feature fabulous photogs whose work should be noticed by more than their community!!! As for Rachel's amazing images, I think my favorite is the 1st...which is a pic of her son. Those eyes are just remarkable and I love everything about it. Which is YOUR favorite???