Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Photo of the Week

Voila, two little happy kids in their easter clothes, pretty great -- right?  MAN, these two... trying to get them to smile and look at the camera... If you've read this blog for a while I've photographed these two since they were born.  Literally, those very moments. ;)

They're just over a year apart and they are funny little cute bundles of fun... love them.

BUT, much like my own that doesn't make for great photography.  I try to get some interaction photos and while those are fun, they aren't often the ones you want to put on your mantle.

I do most of my shoots at parks, and this one's a fun one and I was really glad with all the greenry behind them.  If I pointed my lens in the wrong way we could've had some ugly wires, etc.  Also, I try to make sure they were always looking towards the setting sun (these were taken at just about 7 pm) and in a shaded area.  That way you've at least set-up a good shot and you can just pray for the rest of it to fall into place.

Pictures of kids.  It can be scary, it's true. :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Photo Shoot Editing Process Step #1: Rating

I thought I'd go through my system of editing.  Here's a clue.  Most pictures aren't that great straight out of the camera!  I almost always have to fix them.  BUT, I don't fix all of them.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2I use Lightroom (which I got with an educational discount, well -- make that DREW got it with an educational discount, thanks dear!).  I love it.
But my first step is to always rate the photos.  Lightroom allows you to rate them 1-5.  I really only use 2-5, and I only keep photos that are a 3 or better:
2 -- totally out of focus and ugly
3 -- Not the best, but I might giggle when I look at it someday
4 -- Pretty great

I only rate through 4 inititally. 

Then, I pull up all the 4's, and go through those (and sometimes zooming in to check focus), and pick about 1/3 of them and rate those a 5.  Fives are my favorites and usually the ones I post online or in my videos, etc.  I only edit photos ranked a 4 or five.  It just saves time.

Windows also has a ranking ability.  It's just a quick way to go through the pictures and decide which are really your favorite.

Ta-da, there's step one!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Just TAKE them

I've had some questions about whether people can do all these fancy things on their own little cameras.
The short answer.  No.

Even though I was trying hard with my smaller camera, things just weren't as great.  Having the right lenses and ability to more you aperature and shoot in raw does make a world of difference.

But it's not ALL the difference.

Also, in photoshop you can do a lot of great things with the photos you already have.  One of my big gripes is dark photos.  I'm going to do an entry on this as soon as I climb out of my post-Disneyland pile.

I took my tiny camera to Disneyland and while the pictures aren't as great as I could have taken otherwise (or, even if I spent a little time editing them, which is unlikely at this point) I still love them.  Like this one of me, P and Minnie.  I didn't take it, and I certinaly didn't do much to it (but Disney at least did set it up so the lighting at Minnie's house is GREAT!... but it's a picture I already treasure because it's of me and my little girl.  I don't get many of those since I'm often behind the camera.
So, shoot away!  Enjoy what you have, and now that SLR's are so cheap you can always save those pennies for "someday". :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Taking a self-portrait in a manual Mode

How do you use your timer setting when you're not there to focus on?
Well, here's the answer when you're setting up the shot, use something to take your place, to make sure that your focus is right!
For instance, this picture from my blog last week:

I wanted a small apperature so that the background wouldn't be the focus, my sweet shoes would be. :)
So, I used a game to set-up the shot, like this:
Then, once I had set my focus and started the timer, I just ran and replaced myself and my shoes with the box.  Easy Schmeasy... plus everything's in focus.  If you just set your camera to take the picture with nothing there it would have focused on my back wall, making it MUCH less fancy.

If you want to read more about my sketchers shape-ups you can find it on my losing with lovers blog on the right.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Tips on not-quite-so-new-newborns

If you want "newborn" photos I recommend the earlier the better, but of course you can take them ANYTIME.  These are of P at 1 month of age.
  • Take pictures of everything, are they asleep, are they crying, you'll like them later!
  • Take the props with you.  The little duck shows how small she is, and the pacifier shows how hard we worked to get a decent photo. :)
  • Light their little eyes.  Make sure there is a light source in front of them.  I take most of her pictures in a chair that faces a sliding glass window.  That makes her eyes have those catchlights, makes her look alive and like she's something special.
  • No need for socks.  Unless you have amazingly cute socks or shoes, just leave them off.  You'l miss those tiny piggie toes one day!
But again, just TAKE PHOTOS.  You can do it!  Just give it a try!

Friday, April 09, 2010

Newborn Pictures at Home

Bundle them up!  This pictures shows how amazingly adorable the baby can be in all those cute bright blankets you got for your baby shower.  They're just the right size, and they won't be great for long, so you might as well use them now! :)

Go naked!  Sure, don't post them all over the internet (and this one isn't actually my favorite, but it's the best one that's fit for internet consumption) but the little belly button, those crackly fingers and toes.  They're gone all too soon!
Get those cute little baby parts.  Have a part of an outfit that you just love!  Zoom in so you remember it!  Don't forget those precious little hands and feet!
And finally, don't forget some great backgrounds.  Of course, look for fabric cheap at Joann's.  Look for one color fabric.  The one on the left is a fuzzy fabric and the one on the right is just an old blanket.  Dark fabrics work great, and of course, the black fleece from J's works wonders!  Also, I used a quilt that I made for her as the background in some of these.  Have a blanket your grandma gave her?  Take a photo on it, so that when you give it to her someday it will have extra meaning!  Just TAKE THE TIME to take those pictures.  I adore these pictures of P and while I thought I was a little frivilous doing a photo shoot almost daily I am glad I did. 

Wednesday, April 07, 2010

Photo of the week

Here's my favorite photo of the week:

I am a big fan of taking care of every day objects.  Flowers, my mixer, stuff around the house that I love.  This one is of my front door planter.  Isn't it cute?

Just make sure the item is evenly lit (I tend to only use natural light), figure out if you want only one part in focus (a small apperature) or the whole thing (larger apperature).

For this one I thing I used an apperature of around 2.0... I didn't want JUST the orangy flours to come in focus, but a little bit more.  You can see that some of the other flowers aren't in focus, and that's cool.  Ta-DA. :)

Thursday, April 01, 2010

How Do You Do those Monthly Portraits?

Yes, it does look like my baby is floating in a black nebula.  Thanks for asking. 
She's not.  At least not in the photos. :)

I just take black fleece that I bought at Joann's (look for a sale, or use a coupon to get the best price, of course).  I bought 2 years, I'm pretty sure.  I just drape it over an overstuffed chair.  In the beginning I kind of shoved her in between two pillows so she'd prop up, but now I'm just hurrying to take a picture before she runs off.  Easy Schmeezy, and I love to see how much bigger she's gotten!