Thursday, December 12, 2013

Photographing Christmas Card Photos Indoors

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Christmas is a favorite time of year for me as
a portrait photographer.
My mind is working all year long on pose ideas, plus
clothing and props that I find at thrift stores.
These two shots were taken in my studio with lights.
The bokeh lights in the background of these next
two photos are from clipping Christmas lights
to a large white board.
You will need to place your subject about
5 or 6 feet in front of the background to create bokeh.
If I'm shooting indoors, but not in my studio,
I use natural light as much as possible.
In this next series of photos...the family was backlit by the
window, so I did set up my umbrella lights.
I always coordinate the clothing by color
and pattern.
Try playing with depth of field by focusing on
something in front of the frame, and letting the background blur.
Here's how to photograph indoors with
Have your subject face a window or have the window to one side.
Place the Christmas tree in the distance
behind the subject to create bokeh.
The closer you are to the subject,
the bigger the bokeh.
This one is lit from a window on her right side.
If you have a fireplace, try this
Waiting for Santa  shot!
It's especially adorable with toddlers.
I had to really up my ISO to get these without window help.
Young children do get bored and tired
during a photo shoot.
I find the best way to handle that is to give them
something fun to hold.
I don't give them the item until they start to break down.
I just LOVE a pretty
bokeh tree in the background.
The face here is lit by a window she is facing.
So look for fun props and clothing at your area thrift stores
and use some of these tips to create wonderful Christmas memories!
After many years of requests, I am finally selling two sets of  my 
EXCLUSIVE Bokeh Overlays.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

Christmas Tree Light Painting

If you have a DSLR camera...have some fun with
light painting this Christmas season.
Set your camera to:
ISO 100
3.2 sec.
Turn off all the lights in the room except for your Christmas tree.
Sit in a chair across the room from your tree.
Get a focus on the tree, then switch to manual on your lens to hold the focus.
Click the shutter and you now have 3.2 seconds to PAINT with the light.
Try squiggling your camera back and forth like this:
Do zig zags:
Drag the camera down a bit at the end of the exposure
to get this:
Once you get a feel for it, you can be endlessly creative!
Do little circles and all the lights will look like this:
Zoom in or out!
In editing, I lowered the exposure and upped the blacks.
I also boosted the saturation and vibrancy.
But I also love this one showing the tree.
This was done by zooming out during the exposure and
not lowering the exposure in post processing.
Drag the camera diagonally.
At the end of the exposure, I dragged this UP and Right:
Create some Christmas art,
but best of all....
Have a total blast with this!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Adding Snow for Christmas Portraits

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Even though I live in Michigan...a WINTER state...we usually
don't have snow when I'm shooting Christmas portraits for clients in November.
So I came up with a method for adding fake snow.
Watch my Video Tutorial to learn how to do this
in Photoshop and PSE.
It's best to take the photo in front of a pine tree because that
really makes for realistic "snow".
I learned that it's easier NOT to use props like this
chair that are difficult to paint around the legs...but
it still works.
Miss Emma is so adorable!
I do a running series called Vintage Val.
The snow adds so much to her Christmas gallery!
In this next photo, I had Val blow sparkles.  I found a big bag of them
at a thrift store for 49-cents!
I found the wonderful vintage furry, green swing coat
and the Santa skirt at a thrift store, too.
Then I found the white rabbit fur hat at Goodwill and added
one of my flower clips...also made from thrift store flowers!
Let it SNOW!
Even when it's NOT snowing!
The white steam coming off the hot chocolate is also
a Photoshop brush!
You can find free steam and smoke brushes HERE.
I LOVE and appreciate those who share for free!
This next one was a challenge trying to
paint the snow around the sled spokes...
but it was worth it!  This is one of my favorite
Christmas portraits this year.
I was so happy the little one-year-old sat so sweetly on the sled!
The little boy's outfit is from a thrift store.
I found the little girl's matching vintage hat, scarf and muff set
on E-bay.  I was the only bidder and got it for just $12!
I love finding photo props and clothing at thrift stores
and on E-bay.
To download one of my free high resolution 
Sparkle Snow Overlays
Bless him for being so precious!!
More thrift store finds.
You can find wonderful Christmas props at
the thrift stores.
The red star was only 99-cents!
These silver bells on red velvet cords...also 99-cents!

Her hat is actually the rabbit fur scarf clipped around her head!
I hope this inspires you to create some wonderful
Christmas photos this holiday season!