Tuesday, May 10, 2016

I-Phone Photography

I am a professional portrait photographer, but never took many photos
with my phone!   For an upcoming European vacation,
I decided to challenge myself to learn how to take great phone photos.

I have the I-Phone 5 and first I practiced in my own backyard using
the default camera on the phone.  

It is SO different from my DSLR, but quite liberating to simply click
the shutter.

I really loved how it captured this flower against the sunrise!

This is how my Canon 5D Mark 3 captured it with my 50mm f1.4 lens.

I really love the wider angle lens on the camera.

Then I downloaded the camera app called Camera+.
You take the photos right from this app and it allows you 
to set shutter speed, ISO, and more.  It was very easy to learn and 
costs $2.99 for the app...Worth it!

After lots of practice with Camera+, I downloaded some
editing apps.   I really love Snapseed for basic editing and
some nice filters.  That's where I begin editing.

I edited this drab photo:

Into this with just a few easy clicks!   Pretty swell!!!

 I LOVE a photo editing app called Pixelmator!
You can actually CLONE with this app.

I tried it with this photo on the beach.  I wanted to remove
that boat trailer.

I used my finger as a mouse to clone and in an instant...
the boat trailer was gone!   It's not perfect, but pretty dang
great on my phone with my finger!

This app is pricey at $4.99, but worth it!

With an app called After Focus I was able to swipe over the background
in this next photo with my finger to blur it.

I do miss playing with depth-of-field, so this app helps me achieve
similar results for 99-cents in the app store.

I added the sun flare with an app called Lens Distortion .
It has lots of lens flares, fog overlays, and more and is free in the app store!

I also enjoy a free app called PhotoWonder that includes
lots of  facial beautifying features including skin smoothing and
thinifying!   It works like the liquify tool in photoshop.
   I did love all the special effects and decorations
that come with this app.

I am astonished at the macro capability of my I-Phone camera!
I simply used the sharpening feature in Snapseed for the center
of these flowers.  Snapseed also has a healing brush!

Can't wait to share the phone photos I take in Europe!
Meanwhile, download some of these fun editing apps and
create some great photos with your phone!

Spring Portraits with Vintage Val

After a long winter, I am always eager for spring flowers!

Here in Michigan, they don't arrive until mid-May and it's SOOO hard
to wait that long!

This year,  I am going to Europe in mid-May, so I was
especially anxious for the flowers to bloom in time for
my spring Vintage Val shoot!

I wanted to showcase Val's painting abilities in an 
apple orchard brimming with blossoms!

I'm so lucky we were able to accomplish this just two days
before we leave on vacation!

I found the most gorgeous location with blooming
apple trees, tall grass, yellow dandelions and purply ground flowers.

For spring portraits, I like to shoot with a large aperture (f1.4-f2.8)
to really blur those blossoms.

I always shoot using focus points so my subject's face is
in sharp focus, but the surroundings blur.

Read your camera manual to learn how to use focus points
with your own camera.

While scouting this location before the shoot, I saw this
thatch of tall purple/blue flowers.

I brought the pink blanket and pillow with this shot in mind.

Pay close attention to your location and use pretty
elements like this stray patch of ground cover.

Because of Val's schedule, we were forced to shoot at 3pm on
a bright sunshiny day...UGH!
Nothing worse than the sun right overhead, but if you know
how to shoot in this light...no problem.

I think the light is what makes these photos enchanting!

I always back light in this situation.  Look for shadows on the
face.  If you're seeing big patches of harsh sunlight on their face, turn 
them until the sun is behind...poof!  Shadows disappear!

Then I use a reflector to light the face.
I actually hold my own reflector!

Look for natural "frames" for your portraits
like the interesting branch of this tree.. 

The sun was right over head, so I got down and shot
from ground level to put the sun behind Val...
plus I used a reflector to light the face.

Learn how to use a reflector in this blog post.

I always try to give portraits a feeling of movement.

Learn how to do that in this blog post.

I hope you are enjoying spring wherever you are in this beautiful world!

Wednesday, March 2, 2016

Adding Bokeh to Backgrounds

It's early March here in Michigan and we just got another
punch of winter...a foot of snow!  I took advantage by scheduling
some snow shoots.
If you're editing your winter photos and want to add a bit
of extra sparkle...try adding white bokeh!
See it in the backgrounds of these photos?

I challenged myself to photograph beautiful Meghan at the
height of heavy snowfall.
It was CRAZY!  Her face was wet with mascara crying down her cheeks,
her hair, coat and hat were immediately sopping wet.
My camera was in a plastic bag making it pesky to work the buttons,
but all the chaos was WORTH IT!
I added some white bokeh during editing and I think the bokeh gives
winter photos a twinkly pop!

White bokeh looks wintery!
I photographed my own white bokeh in my studio and am
now selling a set of 4 exclusive white bokeh overlays in my
These were created by photographing real lights, so they look
realistic in photos.  They are not computer or photoshop generated.
The collection includes four high resolution jpgs that you simply
FILE>PLACE over your photo in any editing program that supports
the use of layers.  SCREEN blend mode.  Lower opacity to taste,
Mask or erase off subject or where you don't want the bokeh.


I also use the white bokeh overlays in all other seasons,
but I especially love them in winter.
Enjoy these!

Friday, February 26, 2016

Digital Birthday Props

In my portrait photography business, I shoot many birthday sessions.
I work hard to create magic for each birthday child in every season.
But the props like cakes, balloons, etc. are very expensive and
take time and effort to gather.
That's why I created my Birthday Goodies PNG Overlays.
I actually bought and photographed real balloons in my studio
so the PNGs would look real in the photos.  They are not drawings or vectors.
I use these in my own portrait photography business and am
now selling them in my Etsy Shop for anyone to use! 
The balloons come in various colors
and I have a balloon bouquet.
I bought wonderful glassware from thrift shops, glued them together,
and spray painted them into pedestal cake stands.
I used them to photograph birthday cakes and made them
into PNGs. This means the background is transparent, so, like the balloons, they are
ready to instantly add to your photo.
I even photographed cupcakes!

And, what goes on the cakes? 
Yes, I photographed every kind of birthday candle with a lit flame,
and made them into individual PNGs.
My candle collection is my favorite because I never need to
purchase candles or have young children around lit flames!
I always have the ages and candles I need.
I also photographed some of my fun birthday props like colorful rugs.

And, I have used this wonderful girly lamp in MANY photo shoots!

I also sell birthday backgrounds so all you need to do is add your child!
My birthday PNG props can be quickly added in any
editing program that supports the use of layers.
Simply FILE and PLACE over your photo, use MOVE tool to
position and size the PNG.  Mask or erase off areas where needed.
Upon purchase of the backgrounds, you will receive a link
to my video tutorial showing you how to add your child and match tones.
Ease up on the stress and create magical birthday portraits
the fun and easy way!
To visit my Etsy Birthday Goodies Gallery:
I hope you enjoy these goodies as much as I have!