Thursday, February 26, 2009

Tonights prayer

We each have a night to say family prayer. (that's what we did growing up and it worked well). Since it's Thursday, it was Gabe's night.

Our cat, Domino, has a bit of a scratching problem.

So Gabe is praying and he says "please bless Domino to...*silence*...uh...not have legs."

And we all cracked up.

Thursday, February 19, 2009

Photo Talk - lesson 4 - Lighting, part 2

Sidelighting is really nice on portraits because it adds depth and drama to the image. It helps give the appearance of 3D on a flat surface.

When you're using natural light, you need to consider your surroundings. Think of light as a living thing that moves in different ways depending on where it is. We all know that we should wear white shirts in summer because white reflects the heat and black absorbs it, right? Well, heat comes from light and the same rule applies. White reflects, black absorbs. This will affect what's happening to your image! It's especially important with sidelight and backlight.

In this picture, you see the main light source is coming from the left. But that's not where the sun was. She was standing in an alley that appeared to be shaded. The sun was off to our right. There was a building directly behind her and directly behind me. Off to the left is the street and across the street is a tall building with a very reflective surface. The sun was hitting that surface and bouncing back to us, making the main light source come from the left instead of the right.

With sidelight, you want to expose for the brightest part of the image. If you expose for the dark side, then the brighter side will be totally blown (meaning very white, little detail...overexposed).

To do this with a point and shoot or on auto with a SLR, you need to point the camera at the bright part of the picture, then hold the button down halfway. This will lock the exposure. Do not release the button, move to wherever you're shooting from and push the button the rest of the way to shoot.

If you're shooting in manual on a SLR, you don't have to hold the button down. Point the camera at the brighter part of the image to set your exposure (line up the exposure bar by adjusting ISO, Shutter speed and f-stop) then back up, don't change the exposure and shoot. If you don't know how to shoot in manual, don't worry about it yet. I'll get there.

Now consider your location. I did these with a window to the right and a reflective surface to the left. I changed the reflective surface with each shot so you can see the difference.

First, this is with no reflective surface to the left. Only the wall, which is too far away to be useful at all in bouncing natural light.

Now a white surface to the left.

This is black.

Silver. On portraits this will give a slightly cool, but bright reflection.

and Gold. This is very reflective and gives a warm cast to the portrait.

A couple other sidelight examples. The first one is using a video light held up and to the right.

And this is a streetlight shining off on the left.

Go play! Have fun! And remember to post a link to your pictures!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Photo Talk - lesson 4 - Lighting, part 1

Sorry about being a slacker for the last year or so. I had a baby. That's my excuse. lol.

I've also been debating where to go with these lessons because I'm trying to keep them on a level that both SLR users and point and shoot users can put them into practice.

Anyway...I've been thinking about lighting lately and how it is one of those things that can make or break a picture. It's also something that anybody can work with, regardless of your camera.

Let's work with natural light for this lesson. I'm pretty sure everybody (except maybe Kandace up there in Barrows) has access to the sun.


Thank you.

Now, we're going to discuss 3 basic lighting situations and things that affect them.

Frontlighting, sidelighting and backlighting. For demonstration purposes, I got the crappiest camera in my house to do these's Nathan's cheapo point and shoot with ZERO features. This is to prove that anybody can do this with any camera.




We're going to do these 1 at a time. We'll start with frontlight. It's pretty straightforward. The light is in front of the subject. If you were outside on a bright day, this sort of lighting would make the subject very squinty. However, if you're inside with a window it's not so bad. North facing windows are the best light, followed by South. I put plastic over my window to diffuse or soften the light coming in.

So go find a subject. Turn off your flash and turn off all the lights in the room. Face them towards a window, sit with your back towards the same window and shoot.

Ta-da! Frontlight.

Isn't it pretty?

Now go try it! I'll post sidelighting in the next few days, followed by backlighting. If you try it, comment and leave a link to your blog or wherever you put it online so I can see it!

Wednesday, February 11, 2009

First 5

So I got this from a friend's blog, I think it's such a great idea and can't wait to do it.

{Lucky you!

The first five people to respond to this post will get something made by me! My choice. For you.This offer does have some restrictions and limitations:
1- I make no guarantees that you will like what I make!
2- What I create will be just for you.
3- It'll be done this year.
4- You have no clue what it's going to be. It may be a story. It may be photography or an article on properly cleaning your face before a masque. I may sew or paint something. I may bake you something and mail it to you. Who knows? Not you, that's for sure!
5- I reserve the right to do something extremely strange.

The catch? Oh, the catch is that you must repost this on your blog and offer the same to the first 5 people who do the same on your blog. The first 5 people to do so and leave a comment telling me they did win a FAB-U-LOUS homemade gift by me! Oh, and be sure to post a picture of what you win when you get it!}

9 months

Clara is 9 months old now. Something about my babies turning 9 months old is significant to me. It has something to do with the fact that she's been out of me for as long as she was inside of me. Or something. I don't really know. Maybe I just like the number 9.

Anyway...she's the cutest thing ever. She can pull herself to a standing position, she does the army crawl all over the place, she claps and she points at things. She even gets it right if you ask her "Where's mommy?" or "Where's daddy?" She melts everyone's heart instantly and she's just as easy going as she always has been.

This is her flat smile. It makes me laugh.

When you live in a snowglobe... means you have to get to tolerate enjoy the snow for months on end.

Nathan and Aria were thrilled to realize that the snow berm (I just learned that word this year, btw) along the neighbors driveway made a great sledding hill in their very own front yard. And since the snow is basically ice nowadays, they were flying down quite nicely!

They also played a game with Dave. I don't know what it was, but they all had fun.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Business Changes

So last year I got really busy with photography. Too busy. My family is growing and something has to give so that I can give my kids the time they need. I considered taking some time off, but it made me sad to think about not doing shoots. I really love it.

So...I debated. I considered several options and ended up combining a bunch of them.

1. I raised my prices.
2. I am only going to take 3 shoots a month. That's it. So plan ahead!
3. I am no longer offering the photo journal package.

This is the one I'm really excited about.
4. One of those 3 shoots each month will be free. Anybody can nominate a family/child/couple for a photo shoot. It must be a family who otherwise would not be able to afford pictures. To nominate someone just email me at Please include a paragraph explaining to me why you're nominating them. The chosen family will be spotlighted here unless you ask me not to. :)

This is what my website says about it....

It's 2009 and I now have four kids! Four! I've found that to be the Mom I want to be, and spend all sorts of quality time with my sweet kids before they grow up and don't want to hang out with me anymore, I need to make some changes to my business.

I am now limiting my shoots to 3 per month.

2 of those monthly shoots are available to anybody to schedule. The third is a pay it forward type thing I want to try this year. I will accept nominations each month for a family/child/couple who otherwise would not be able to afford pictures. I really believe everybody deserves beautiful pictures and would love the opportunity to take them. If you'd like to nominate somebody, email me at

Monday, February 02, 2009

Playing by ear

If you've heard the story of how Dave and I met, then you know that him and his roommate had a bet going to see who could kiss me first. (I know, I know). So after institute choir (I was the pianist) his roommate came up and started talking to me. Dave, however, sat down and started playing "Waterfall" on the piano in an attempt to impress me. I was duly impressed and turned my attention to him.

It wasn't until quite a bit later that I found out it was one of maybe 5 songs that he could play. He plays the piano entirely by ear. Can't read music at all. He just listens to what he wants to learn over and over until he can play it.

It's actually pretty amazing to watch him learn a song that way.

Anyway...apparently, my kids have picked up that little talent. All of them (well, not Clara yet) can pick out little songs (Doe A Deer, Mary Had a Little Lamb, Row, Row, Row Your Boat). Nathan especially likes to figure out video game songs. He can play the little tune from Zelda: Ocarina of Time, and Mario. Gabe heard him play Mario often enough that he picked it out on the little toy piano. With a little help from Dave, he managed to learn it on the regular piano and it's so dang cute!