Sunday, July 26, 2015

My NEW Add-a-Baby Backgrounds!


Over the years, I have photographed my abundant supply of props in various
locations so I could easily add a baby without having to cart
a child or infant into the depths of a wildflower field.

I used the backgrounds often in my own business and decided to sell them
in a collection which became very popular!

This collection is available in the right column of this blog.


I had many requests to sell the backgrounds individually, so I opened an 
Etsy Shop to do just that.

This new venture had me running around this summer, photographing
exciting new props and backgrounds. 


All the photos in this blog post are made from my backgrounds.
You can pick and choose which to buy and simply add your own 
child or baby in Photoshop or PSE.

Here's my Video Tutorial showing you how to move a subject to a new background,
plus how to match your child to the tone of my backgrounds.

I love my new backgrounds and I will be using them in my own portrait business.











I'm also selling my Flower Baby Backgrounds individually in my




I would love for you to share the link to my Etsy Shop with others
to get the word around.  It's new and exciting for photographers!

THANKS!!!



Sunday, July 19, 2015

How to Use a Reflector



The night before we shot these photos in the gorgeous field
of wildflowers near my home,
it rained like CRAZY!

The morning dawned bright and sunny, but
the field still had standing water.


But, water doesn't stop me from photographing on a pretty morning!

Beautiful Madison was a great sport to slog through the
sloshy field with her mother!



I want to show you how to use a reflector 
because I have one with me on all  photo shoots and
usually hold it myself!

This way, I can get the reflected light right where I want it,
in the quantity I want it.

You can't see from this angle, but I am shooting the photo with my
right hand while holding the reflector with my left!


The sun is at Madison's back in all these photos.
The reflector bounced light back onto her face and filled in any shadows
so her skin and face are radiant!


Here, I'm taking the photo without the reflector and you can see that the face is shaded.


I shot this next photo without a reflector.
The background is beautifully exposed, but
her face is dark and underexposed because 
the sun is at her back.

I could choose to meter for her face, but that would
blow out the pretty background.



Instead, I use the reflector low and angled to 
bounce the light up and under her hat
to illuminate her face...


This way, the entire photo is exposed correctly. 


The reflector is a silver disc that is like beaming
a mirror at the subject...BLINDING!

I don't angle the sun directly into someone's eyes.
I look for the "edge" light which is softer and
much easier on the eyes.

I have my subjects close their eyes while I find this
sweet spot of light.  I count down from three and tell them
to open their eyes and can shut them the moment
after they hear my camera click!

Be very careful using a reflector with children too young
to understand how to close and open their eyes.
Use very little reflection with kids!


I like soft reflector light better than a flash.

                                  I like that I can instantly see the results...how much light is
on the face and what is illuminated.  That's also the reason I use
continuous lights in my studio rather than strobes.


I am so used to holding the reflector with one hand and shooting with the other!

When shooting in back light and the subject is sitting or is a small child, get down
to their level so you can capture the dazzling sparkles of light
in background trees.


The results are so worth the effort!


Without a reflector and with a reflector...
the difference is dramatic!


You will see the light on the face to know you have the reflector
angled correctly.


In the running shots, I had my daughter hold the reflector:


Here, Madison's mom Eve used the reflector as a giant fan
to give her hair some movement!

Reflectors are also great to block the sun if you need a certain angle.



I use a 40-inch, five-in-one reflector that has silver, gold, black, white and a diffuser inside.
But, reflectors come in different shapes like oblong or triangles and various sizes.

Here's a link to mine on Amazon.com for $40. 

I also have a 12-inch reflector that folds tiny for travel which
works well to illuminate just a face.

It takes some practice to really SEE how the light is reflecting.
You don't want harsh....look for soft light.

You will see how a reflector really improves your photos!

Reflector Portraits


This photo shoot with beautiful 10-year-old Maddie is a typical
summer evening shoot.

I usually back light the subject at this time of evening, about 7 pm.

I use evaluative metering which gets the background
properly exposed, but usually leaves the subject dark like this.


That's why I use a reflector for these evening shoots.

Learn how to use a reflector in THIS BLOG POST.


The reflector allows you to properly expose for the 
background while lighting the face properly.




I did this photo shoot for a dance portrait brochure.


Summer is a perfect time to take dance portraits
with the dancers wearing their costumes!


I like these location shoots much better
than the studio dance shots.




I hope these portraits inspire you to purchase a reflector and
practice with it this summer!

Sunday, July 12, 2015

Vintage Val Summer 2015


I always look forward to my Vintage Val season portrait shoots.

For Summer of 2015
I found a vintage red and white polka dot 50's bikini on Ebay
and styled the shoot around that.

I had fun collecting all the props from
thrift stores and a few from Target.


We did the shoot at my neighbor's pool about 6pm
in mid-July.

I loved using my fun props!




I wanted a red label vintage bottle of Coke 
and was delighted to find it in my grocery store.
Coke started selling in the famed bottles again in 2010.


I think Val should be in a Coca Cola ad!



When Val was on vacation in New Orleans in June,
she bought this pretty parasol just for this shoot!


I love her parasol!!!



My neighbor Ginny has a Tiki Bar by her pool!



Ginny's son Trent was cutting the grass while we were shooting,
so we asked if he could be Val's 'Cabana Boy' .

What a hunk!


I found this great hat and red heart sunglasses on Ebay.


Finally, it was time
to venture into the pool.






The one problem I had with editing is the
bathing suit photographed as hot pink.

You can see the difference between the hat 
and suit color in this photo.


I had to turn the suit and float to red in Photoshop
for every photo because I want the suit to be RED.

Watch my video tutorial to learn how to
change or adjust the color of an object.


After these 'dry' shots....
we took the PLUNGE and
 shot a series of UNDERWATER portraits!

CLICK HERE to see the underwater shots and learn how
to shoot underwater.

Bring your camera to the pool and get some fun summer shots!