20 December 2011

Christmas Pause

There will be new photographic adventures and explorations in the new year - stay tuned.

Happy Christmas!

21 November 2011

My First Win!

So, although there were very few entries and it was just a facebook competition - I'm still pretty excited that I won my FIRST photography competition!

It was for portraits & they said that they loved the

"composition, the light, the mood and the emotion, all of which combined to create a fabulous shot".

Here's the winning photo:

The competition was sponsored by www.albelli.co.uk 

19 November 2011

The "Y" Family

I had the privilege of taking little boy's 1st birthday photos last year and was so pleased they gave me another chance to take their family photos!
When we tried it then, he was just starting to walk:
but now he is busy, busy, busy!
Although I know they felt pressure to slow their sweet boy down - it was a pleasure watching him run free at our photo shoot and we got a few great photos of him on the playground:

While he was busy, I managed to get a couple of just the two of them which was very nice!
and then we tried and tried for family photos!

But I think we got a couple that they'll be pleased with:
(I still want photoshop so I can get rid of strangers in the background!)

and my personal favourite of the 3 of them from the day:
my favourite bit is the way all of their hands are intertwined - the way family should be!

I'll miss you, Y family! Keep me posted on little S's growth!

And, for the record - here's a little before & after:

16 November 2011

The "A" Family

My computer is being fixed right now - so this post will be short & sweet.
Here is a little sampling of a family that I photographed a few weekends ago. It was a last minute decision to skip the park and head to the grassy area near the beach. The lighting was just right and we got some beautiful photos. We stopped by my house first and I think that was crucial in getting their little girl comfortable with me & smiling - a reminder to take time to welcome the kids before shoving a camera in their face!
isn't she just gorgeous?
Thanks for sharing your afternoon and your gorgeous smiles! It was a pleasure taking your photos!

9 November 2011

The "S" family

This is one of those photo shoots that I was just so pleased with!
Besides the fact that we had rescheduled a couple of times and I think the family had kind of a rough start to their day - once we got walking in the park and finding worms:
then everything seemed to flow so well!

When I got home & started looking at the photos - I sometimes couldn't believe that I had taken them! I know there is still a lot of room for improvement - especially in the area of perfect focus and exposure control - but in all honesty, I think these are my best photos to date and I'm so glad, too, because if they hadn't turned out well, the S family's Christmas cards might have had a picture of them with a shark jawbone. I guess there are worse things in the world - but now they have this instead:
this is my personal favorite as it seems like
such a great capture of their personalities
I know the dad really wanted a photo with his girl - it was difficult because we were all a bit distracted by the worm, but I liked this one:
and although this is a little silly - I loved this one:

So happy Christmas-card-making S family!

8 November 2011

The "B" family

You may remember me mentioning that I was looking forward to taking some photographs of an older couple. I mentioned my excitement because of the generational differences and cultural differences - I was curious to see how it would go - how natural the posing would be, how I could bring out some natural looking smiles, and creative poses with much less flexibility and energy to get to my favorite photography spots.
This is a couple that I know pretty well and am very comfortable with, so it was actually pretty easy to get on with them. I don't know what I was doing with my focus, though, I think I had it set wrong the whole time or something as more than half of my shots were out of focus. I was thinking about so many other things - especially the lighting which was a challenge because of our location - that I just didn't worry too much about doublechecking focus which usually isn't my primary problem (although there is still a LOT of room for improvement).

Well, with all of that said, I was blessed that they took me to a park that has special memories for them - as it was their sons' favorite park. He passed away a few years ago. It is also a place that their daughter has done a lot of painting, so they have paintings of the park in their home. What a special place to have photos taken!
I love this family and we had a fun afternoon together - I hope that they like what they see and that these pictures will be a blessing to them as they look at them in the years to come.

7 November 2011

Autumn fun in Seaton Park

Capturing my daughter standing still while the leaves were flying
in the air was such a pleasant surprise! That was just plain luck.

I increased the sharpness & shadows of this photo to help make the
water look more active - the original had softer looking water.

I'm not totally happy with the framing of this shot,
but the look on my son's face makes it worth it to me,
even if they're almost out of the frame.

in Lightroom, I reduced the clarity on this one just a bit to give it a softer finish

The lighting was good, but it was just a bit too dark.
Shooting in Raw allowed me to increase the exposure a bit at home
without it looking too grainy.
As always, constructive criticism is appreciated!
What would you have done differently?
What are your thoughts?

29 October 2011

The "A" family

I was able to have the chance to photograph our friends, the A family, around the school campus. They were super flexible with a rainy day and we just ran up to the University for about thirty minutes.
I think this was my first chance to photograph a couple by themselves and I was challenged to think of unique poses that aren't awkward - and then to find a way to communicate my ideas to them. I had done a bit of research before the shoot, though and we tried a few of those poses.

I'm glad we know each other and they were really patient with me -
Here are my favourites for your enjoyment!
As always, any constructive criticism is truly and readily welcomed!

I think this is my favorite one:
I love the colors and the playfulness -
I think it captures some of their great personalities!

27 October 2011

Super Excited

I have 3 - yes 3! - families to photograph this weekend and another the following weekend.
I am super excited and hope the rain holds off - although a light dusting of snow might be just the thing...

Here are a few of my favorite pictures I've stumbled across this week for inspiration.

(none of the following images are mine.)

HERE is a gorgeous photo - we've had nice light like this since the days are getting shorter...

Okay - that's enough for now.

I'm excited about practicing my new goal: catchlight in the eyes.
Remember when you were just learning to draw characters better than stick figures? Everytime you drew their eyes, or when you drew balloons, there's a little rounded rectangle in the circle to show where the light is reflected? that's the "catchlight." 
I was looking through an article recently that was demonstrating the difference and power of having the catchlight in the subject's eyes. (This isn't the one I read, I can't find it, but it helps if you're still wondering what I'm talking about.)
For instance, in that last picture up there, with the family on the blankets, even though the boy with the blonde hair isn't in a central position, (in fact, I definitely would have tried to crop this a little differently, but anyway), he was the first of the 4 to catch my focus and I'm pretty sure it's because of that gleam in his eye!

One more day, then hoping for a little sunshine!

18 October 2011

The Sun Came Out!

Speaking of the L family that I photographed last week - the more I look at these photos, the happier I am with them.
The major problem I had was sunshine. Since, being in Scotland, we don't normally have sun, I always think that the photo would be better with sun. Now I'm realizing, that actually, I need to just learn how to work with what we've got! The sun has problems of it's own! Mainly, the glowing white shirts and sweaty faces!

The kids loved the sunshine, though, and in between being still they did a little of this:

but sometimes it worked:
sometimes it scared the little one:

but it was loads of fun!

I've read up on on posing in the sunlight and am looking forward to tomorrow when I get to try again with the B family! There's supposed to be some sunshine again tomorrow and I'm so glad to get the chance to try again!

The sunshine wasn't all bad, though - I LOVE the light on this next one - it was towards the end of the photo shoot when I had finally figured out where they should stand and which direction they should face.
One time I read that they should face directly into the sun because it makes the eyes brighter and shadows fewer - but I think in a park this size, there's definitely different types of "direct sun" and we'll search for the filtered sun next time.

17 October 2011


I just loved this shot from the park:

This was taken with the 14-42mm set at:
1/80s at f/5.6
iso 200

Suggestions about what settings you would use for this kind of shot would be so helpful -
this was kind of a pleasant surprise and not an intentional, thought out process!

16 October 2011

Photography: art or craft?

I love that moment when you see a good painting and wonder... is it a photograph? Or when you see a gorgeous photo and stop and stare and wonder... is it really a painting? I love the blurry line between capturing with your own hand and capturing with the camera. How can we really know which one is "art" and which one is "craft". That is something I love to turn over and over and someday, when life is a little slower pace, I'd love to do some reading on it. Any book, article or blog posting suggestions are quite welcome!

I fell in love with adding textures to photos because it helps my photography get closer to that blurry middle line - where the moments I capture as craft are taken one step closer to art.

Here's the before:
and here's the after:

(You can click on the picture to make it larger &
go back & forth between the two to compare)

what do you think? better/worse? more artistic? too artistic? suggestions?