Dec 27, 2010

A Few Christmas Memories

We had a wonderful Christmas this year at my grandparents' home. Lots of love, song, and food were shared. We thoroughly enjoyed it. Here are a few Christmas memories.

Dec 24, 2010

Merry Christmas!

All the best to you and your family this wonderful season!

Thanks to my fabulous assistant Kelita Flatman for taking this. Makes such a difference to have someone to help on our own family photos!

Dec 23, 2010

Straight Out of the Camera | Alpharetta GA Candid Photographer

I believe that editing is an important (very important) part of pro photography, especially after reading this article. If you shoot in RAW format, then you must process and export any image to get a JPEG. In addition, retouching and editing is required to get a truly pro look. In my experience, one image can take anywhere from 5 minutes to an hour depending on the amount of editing required, despite the fact that it is already a great photo. That's one of the many reasons custom photography will cost you more than a shoot at a retail outlet.

But then, I don't always do pro photography, especially when I'm trying to capture a memory at home or test out a lens on my family (as in this case). Sometimes, it's better left untouched. Untouched images show off your skill as a photographer, the ability to get the exposure, light, color, and focus just right in camera.
I'm particularly pleased with the color (thank you custom white balance) and the beautiful light in his eyes (thank you external flash). The nice depth-of-field is courtesy of my 50 mm prime lens. The rest is all him. Oh how I love bath photos!

So, here are some of my candid at-home shots, SOOC--straight out of the camera--just exported from my the original RAW image to a JPEG. No editing required!

Dec 18, 2010

Catching up with the Blog and Upcoming Workshop | Canton GA Family and Baby Photographer

Now that my photography load has eased up, I have a chance to do some full posts of this season's shoots. You may remember this family from a previous sneak peek. They coordinated their shoot to coincide with baby's first birthday in October as well as get some shots for Christmas. October is the perfect month to have your Christmas portraits made. The weather is still nice and you have plenty of time to get the CD and have gift prints made without paying extra for rush shipping. (Ah, yes. I know this because I had to do that for some of my Christmas gifts. Maybe I'll take my own advice next year!)

On another note, I am pleased to announce a Portrait Photo Workshop on Saturday, January 15, 2011 from 1:30-4:00 in Cumming, GA. It's a bargain at $45.00/person. I know some of you are getting new cameras for Christmas. And some of you have nice point-and-shoots or SLRs already, but don't know how to get great pictures out of them. You've probably realized by now that it's not just a fancy camera that makes a great photograph, but the person behind that camera as well. Here's your chance to seriously improve your composition, knowledge, and experience with portrait photography. The best part of the workshop is getting a chance to shoot with me and some models (looking for some of those too, by the way) while I help you get great shots in real time. Awesome! Contact us for more information. I'll even email you a sweet-looking certificate to print out if you decide to give it as a Christmas gift.

Okay, back to more of this beautiful family!

Dec 6, 2010

Sweaters and Smiles | Alpharetta GA Family Photographer

It's getting chilly here! I'm not a big one on winter, but I love these sweaters! Such a fun idea for family photos. And they must know how I like color. The pinks and greens and blues are just perfect for my style of photography.

Fortunately, we captured these images before this week's frosty temperature. I'm a wimp in the cold. My thermostat? 80 degrees. I know it's expensive, but I am COLD. Meanwhile, I'm editing at home in a blanket at the computer. Does anyone else's fingers go numb with cold while they're at the computer? Now there's a product idea, a Snuggie-like keyboard cover. Okay, no more silliness. It must be late.

Dec 2, 2010

All of Us | Alpharetta GA Family Photographer

It's been a goal of mine to display more of my art in our home especially since I have so many beautiful images. But I'm busy doing photos for my clients, so it's been low on my priority list. However, Christmas is coming; things are not as crazy as they were a few weeks ago, and I've found some great deals on frames that are going to be perfect! 

While I was editing the big family photo, I kept on thinking, 'Oooh, how would this look in a square frame?' So, I had to use my little photoshopping skills to find out.

Yeah, I knew it would look good. (Grin.)

Thanks to, I was able to make the wood texture in Photoshop from scratch. 

Here's the unframed version. Love the fall colors.

Nov 29, 2010

Smiles in Autumn | Roswell GA Family Photography

Back from Thanksgiving and back at editing. This sweet family was really fun to work with, especially their little boy! I don't think I've ever had such an easy time getting smiles out of a child. He was fun and playful and very good with his sister. Little sis was a little harder, but some playing in the leaves got that grin. You can see another image of this sweetie on our Facebook page.

I shoot mostly families, especially those with young children. A few people have asked me how I can manage that. I've found that parents go a long way in setting the stage for the shoot.

Here are my top tips for parents during a family shoot:

  • Expect your children to take a little time to warm-up to the photographer. Many kids are shy at first.
  • Bring wipes or tissues! Runny noses and drool don't make for good photos.
  • Kids may need to take small breaks in between poses. Remember, they are working. Posing for photos isn't easy for a busy child!
  • Allow the kids to wander around and explore (with a parent or sibling for safety) while the photographer is shooting others. This keeps them entertained and may provide opportunities for fun candids.
  • Don't use harsh words or upset children. Avoid using threats or bribes.
  • Let the photographer coax the smile or reaction out of your child. It's their job! (And having multiple people try to make a child smile can confuse him/her.)
  • If the photographer asks you to help get a smile, stand directly behind the camera so the child is looking in the right direction when he/she smiles.
  • If your child does have a melt down or a crying fit, let it happen, and then let it pass. You'd be surprised how fast kids can be back to normal.
  • Expect babies, toddlers (and dare I say it? dads, too) to be "done" after 45 minutes to an hour of shooting.
  • Remember, a family shoot is fun, but it's also work (for everyone). It's very appropriate to go out for ice cream or enjoy a treat together after the shoot.

Nov 13, 2010

Afternoon Light | Alpharetta GA Family Photographer

With Daylight Savings ended, the best time for shooting has shifted to the afternoon, and I'm just loving capturing family portraits in this gorgeous light! Enjoy the sneak peek. 

Nov 10, 2010

Photo Workshop | Alpharetta GA Photography Workshops

Last month, I decided to hold my first Photo Workshop for photography friends who either had participated in Photo Club or were interested in learning more about photography. Because it was my first time teaching a workshop, I kept the price very reasonable and hoped that at least 3 people would sign up. On workshop day, we had 7 participants. Hooray!

The workshop was such a success. We covered the basics of photography, composition, and camera control, then practiced shooting in and outdoors with some wonderful models. We also had a chance to touch on some editing tips. Whew! It was a lot to get through in three hours, but I know everyone learned a lot. Here are a few of the exit comments: 
  • It was cool to be around people who have a love of photography.
  • I loved learning about the technique/settings, and then applying the knowledge through shooting.
  • The best part? The shooting. I learned a lot in this session. 
And yes, I am planning to hold another Photo Workshop, but after Christmas when things calm down a bit. I'm so busy shooting for clients this season! Contact me if you would like to be notified of an upcoming Photo Workshop. 

We worked on shooting at high ISOs and no flash indoors. 

Shooting in open shade helped us avoid weird shadows on our models' faces.

Getting close, close, close is important in portrait photography.

We loved this little model. Such a darling face!

Posing our models for the birds eye shot.

Most amateur photographers who shoot in bright sunlight during the middle of the day get pictures like this . . . 

But we turned that bright light to our advantage and got pictures like these: 

The models took our group photo!

Images from some of our workshop participants:

You can see some more of Dora's images here

You can see some more of Michelle's images here