Tuesday Tip 8.25

Okay, so it's not Tuesday anymore, but I like 'Tuesday Tip' better than 'Wednesday Tip.' Sorry for the tardy tip, but school started yesterday! That's where my head (and heart) were yesterday. It's hard to believe my boys are so big!

So, in honor of a new school year, this week's post is about gettin' schooled! Or rather 'what to do and where to go when you want to learn more about photography.' There are so many different resources!
You really can choose your preferred method of learning and go to town.

There are hundreds out there. My recommendation for a good first book is Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. It is a nice jumping off point as well, because, while you may have different ideas and methods, his teaching is sound.

Classes and Workshops
You can take courses at your local college, online courses and hands-on workshops. I personally like workshops. They are usually in small groups and a bit more personal. You get to put in to practice what you've just learned.
Search locally for these.

Online Sites
Here's where it gets even more mind-boggling. The number of photography boards, help sites, forums, etc. is huge!
A great place to start is photojojo.

These are just the tip of the iceberg. Let me know if you want more resources. Regardless of the method you choose - practice, practice, practice! Never before has your homework been so much fun!

Speaking of homework, here are my guys on the first day of school. A great reminder that catching the moment is more important than the right background, perfect lighting and worrying about crazy reflections from the flash on the backpack stripes! My eldest said it looked like he has on a jetpack (hence the pose!).

And yes, it was dark when we left for school!
I don't remember school starting so early when I was a kid!

Tuesday Tip 8.18

This week's tip is not really a tip, but more of an observation.
Yesterday, my husband and I celebrated our 13th wedding anniversary. So, I thought this post was fitting.

It seems like the longer a marriage "survives" these days, the more it is penalized. It is either made fun of for being routine & boring or ended by either spouse for the same reason because something or someone else is more exciting. Day to day routines are not the death of a marriage. They are a part of life regardless of your marital status, so relegating them to a marital punchline is just silly. It is how we connect, react and communicate with each other that makes a marriage or any relationship for that matter. In the following, Sandy Broyard puts into words yet another reason to value, cherish and respect marriages that are not shiny and new. Married couples are not jealous of newlyweds; just excited at the adventure that lays before them. A long marriage is not worse for the wear;
just better at short hand.

"In the dim twilight, I often see pairs of Canadian geese on the grass near the parking lot. A large reservoir on the other side of a busy road draws them to this suburban area. Today there are three couples. One of the females is eating grass, and her mate is a few feet away, keeping a vigil, on the lookout for any danger. I watched their interaction. It is minimal in its movements but intense in its awareness, one of the other. When one makes an adjustment, the other notices and immediately makes a compensatory shift. To an insensitive eye, these changes in direction of the body and head might seem random, but I know differently. This is a couple mated for life, and I had mated for life and had known and experienced as one does when one knows that the marriage is for life that the shifts and gestures need only be small. The intimacy of the relationship becomes this fine essence, a distillation of the earlier passion, but just as powerful.
In the marriage that endures, there is no need for grandiosity."
Excerpted from Standby by Sandy Broyard, 2005

Now for photography!
How do you get kids to smile? Mine won't even look at me when I take their picture.

First, a smile is not my singular goal during a session. True, I do love smiles, but I also want other expressions.
No matter the type of session, I aim for a combination of everything that makes a person unique.
So, go into it knowing that you get what you get. Or more accurately, what they give you.

Second, to get that myriad of expressions, you have to connect with your subject.
The easiest way to do this is (1) be yourself and (2) talk!

(1) If you are goofy, go for it. If you are pensive, bring them in. If you like practical jokes, pretend to fall down. The point is both kids and adults will know when you are being sincere and they will relax and be themselves, too.

Which brings me to (2) - get them talking. Ask questions and listen to the answers. Also ask silly questions.
You'll get some curious looks, some belly laughs and lots in between!

This was after I had asked her about six times if her name was Susie. You can just see the "No, silly."
After a few more silly questions . . .
Good to note:
If your child is tired, hungry or just plain not into it, stop and try again later. Nothing will turn a kid away from the camera faster than an insistent parent asking for "just one more" for the tenth time. Trust me. I've done it.

Happy shooting! Leave questions in the comments or email me!

Tuesday Tip 8.11

You need (yes, need) a Magic Bullet. This thing is awesome. I use it at LEAST once a day. Making smoothies, milkshakes & margaritas. Grating hard cheeses, chopping nuts & making quick dips. As I write, I am sipping on a Frappucino-like concoction, except it is decaf (which Starbucks no longer makes) and I didn't have to use my first born as payment. Seriously, I do love me some Starbucks (and Dunkin' Donuts!), but some days, I just don't feel like going that route. Plus, the Magic Bullet is F-U-N!

You can get it at Target, Walmart, Amazon or the Magic Bullet site. If you already have one, let me know the yumminess you are creating. If you don't have one, you can email or call to thank me after you've used it once.

Onto photography! This week's tip is also about location, but this time, it's about finding a location.
A little backward since last week was about shooting on location, but there you go.

You can find pockets of perfect anywhere. You don't need a huge area. Some oddball places I've shot:
entrance areas of malls, banks, neighborhoods, restaurants, etc.
industrial doors (those cool ones with the horizontal grooves)
antique and salvage stores

There are obviously eleventy-hundred more places to shoot,
but I just wanted to show you how quickly you can find a location.

I really want to shoot in a junk yard, but no one has been up for that yet!

This was taken in front of a furniture store!

FYI: Always ask permission. "Candy said so" will not get you out of trouble.

Happy shooting!
Leave questions in the comments or email me!

it's about love: Tammy + Chad

I was so excited about this session! In one weekend, I got to have two sessions with family members!
That is a rare treat for me since we live so far from everyone.

The first session was an engagement session! I haven't seen Tammy in years, and now she & Chad are going to be married soon! We had fun shooting a few different places, and I kept calling Chad John!

Aren't they adorable?

They made each other (and me!) laugh so much!

Congrats, you two!

New logo!

Looky, looky! Check out the header for my new logo! That is all. :)

Tuesday Tip 8.4

Hello all! Hope everyone is well! This week's Tuesday Tip is marry someone with cool parents.

Yes, that's what I said.

Not only was my mother in law cool enough buy these Empire Strikes Back (the best Star Wars movie, BTW) sheets
for her boys, but she KEPT them! Now, my boys have them on their beds. Very cool, indeed.
She has many other qualities that add to her coolness, but I had to share the sheets!

Now, my father in law is high on the cool meter as well. Again, many examples, but the one that comes to mind right now (Sorry, Pat. It's almost time for lunch.) is his grilling prowess. Seriously, the man is a grillmaster. How he grills to my picky standards and still keeps everything perfectly tender is beyond me.
Don't even get me started on spices and marinades.

For the photography tip, here's an image and the pullback shot for Miss J. Her question was about shooting on location. You all know that I love details and faces and just plain gettin' up in your koolaid. That is also 1 of the 2 best ways to shoot on location if you don't have rolling hills, gorgeous scenery or awesome architecture to play with. Get up close.

Sweet and semi-cooperative subject

The pullback

The second way (and good for portraiture in general) is to open up your lens.
The smaller the f stop number, the larger the opening and the more blurred the background will be.
This keeps the focus on your subject and obscures distractions in the background.

Happy shooting! And leave questions for future tips in the comments or shoot me an email.