Thursday, October 27, 2011

Architecture and HDR

I promise that soon we will get back to our regularly scheduled programming: cute Seth and Caleb pics.  I only have two sessions left of Advanced Photography, and this class has been stretching me quite a bit.  I don't have much experience with a tripod, and I generally prefer taking pictures of people as opposed to buildings and objects.

This week's assignment was Architecture and HDR.  I won't get into all the technical aspects of HDR, but you generally take 3 shots of the exact same thing with 3 different exposures then merge them together to create one photo with a lot of depth and clarity.  At least one photo submitted for our assignment had to be at night.

This church is just a couple of miles down the road from our house.  I loved the red door in contrast with the blue sky.

This old barn is in Fairview, TX.

This is my HDR picture taken in downtown Plano at around 9pm:

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Macro and Still Life

This week's assignment was macro and still life photography.  Here are my submissions for the macro portion of my assignment:

The chain links on our swing set-

A paper bead on my necklace from Uganda-

Texture on some old barn wood-

Rusty nail head-

These next two still life photos were taken inside a cardboard box lined with white poster board and tissue paper.  Made a nice mini studio!  If you ever need to take shots like these and wonder how to set it up very inexpensively, check out this link for full instructions.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Back to School...

Last year, I took an Intermediate Photography class to learn more about my camera.  I felt like so much of my photography was good luck and not necessarily because I really knew what I was doing.  I was pretty famous for hitting the wrong button, making everything come out blue, and having to yell for Steve to "fix it!!"

I had always planned on going back and taking the Advanced Photography class, but life got in the way.  I just signed up for it and have gone to the first two classes.  They are on Wednesday nights, so it is a nice little creative escape in the middle of my week.  

This is a Continuing Education class at my local community college, which basically means it is all adults.   It also means that it is a shortened class, not an entire semester.  So it only lasts 6 weeks, which I personally think is a great amount of time to be able to commit to something without it getting to that point where life is overwhelming and you wish you could quit!

Our first week's assignment was "Portraits".  We had to bring in 5 portraits: two with natural light, two with artificial light, and the last could be either one we wanted.  The professor loads all our images up on his computer then displays them, one by one, on the big projector screen and everyone gives feedback.  Positive and negative.  Yikes.  I got that nervous feeling in the pit of my stomach as I was walking up the stairs to attend class.  Photography is kind of like singing or playing an instrument - it is a personal thing!  

These are the 5 portraits I took last weekend and submitted for my assignment...

I have some pretty cute subjects!  

This week's assignment: 2 Macro photos and 2 Still Life photos.  Feels good to have some homework!  (I am sure my 16 year old self would be cringing right now to hear me say that...)

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Family Portraits {What to Wear?}

The biggest question asked by families getting ready to take portraits - what do we wear??  Back when the trends were for everyone to match, the choice was much simpler.  Are we all going to wear white shirts, or are we all going to wear black shirts?  Are we all wearing denim or are we all wearing khakis?

The trend in family photography has shifted and it is now celebrated to let more of your individual personalities shine through. I love seeing family portraits where the daughter is wearing her favorite bright red ballet flats, or the son is wearing his old faithful blue converse.  

But even though a lot of family portraits have the appearance of a fashion free-for-all, at least some thought has gone into a pulled together look.  We are shooting family portraits for some friends this weekend, and she asked me today for wardrobe suggestions.  I had seen some great examples on Pinterest, so I sent her the links because it is always nice to have a visual example.

Some people go all out with bold color choices. Here is a great example of wonderful use of color:

The reason this works is that they are all bold, saturated colors.  There are also subtle ways they all compliment each other.  The oldest boy has red shoes and the younger boy has red socks which tie in with the red the two younger girls are wearing.  The two younger girls are wearing yellow shoes which tie in with the oldest girl's really cute yellow jacket. The green in the little boy's shorts matches the green in big brother's polo.

Some SERIOUS thought went into these clothing choices.  I think it is similar to an artist choosing paint colors, because this is going to be a piece of art that is hanging in this family's home.

Obviously, not everyone has the time, the desire, or the clothing choices for this type of portrait.

So if you like to play it a little safer and not quite so bold, here are two charts where you can see examples of how you might assemble your family's clothing choices based on 3 or 4 foundational colors in each group.  These are great guides if you would like to have a color-coordinated look without everyone matching and wearing exactly the same color.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Seth's Musical Debut

Steve started teaching Seth guitar lessons a few months ago. Steve had his first ever guitar student concert last night, and Seth played two short songs.  There were almost 100 people there, so we were really proud of our 7 year old for memorizing his songs and playing in front of a room full of (mostly) strangers!

This video is from his practice run-through right before the concert started. During his actual performance, he was slightly more distracted and even stopped at one point and said to his cousin Austin in the audience, "Sing it with me Austin!".  Since he has grown up seeing his Dad on stage his whole life, he doesn't realize there is anything to get nervous about!  But there were already about 30 people in the audience when he did his practice run.

Here he is, playing Happy Birthday and You Belong With Me by Taylor Swift.  I love how he looks up a couple times during the songs just to check out who is watching him!