Sunday, May 31, 2015

My Pretty Floral Chair

Morning is my favorite time of day and I especially
love shooting still-life photos with a low morning sun streaming
gorgeous light into the scene.
This week, I awoke to a beautiful sunny morning,
and decided to haul my favorite floral chair to a field
and photograph it in full morning glory.
The chair is so pretty in the photo, you would never know it was
a musty old chair I found at the thrift store!
When my eyes landed on this beauty from across the thrift store,
I KNEW it was MINE!
My heart pummeled as I hurried over to the chair,
worried somebody would snatch it up before I could reach it.
Not to worry....NOBODY was noticing this lovely treasure.
If you could see this in's not so lovely.
It's actually made from vinyl!  I think it's from circa 1959
and likely hid in somebody's basement for years.
I had to wipe away dirt and cobwebs from my
$15 thrift store treasure.
But, I KNEW it would photograph beautifully
and it DOES!
It's perfect for little girl shoots!


Photography is very forgiving of a less-than-perfect
paint job, outfit or old chair.

So, keep your eyes alert to photo props at the
thrift store.
Forgive a few imperfections....
in a may be PERFECT!

Sunday, May 24, 2015

Senior Portraits Beyond the Ordinary

Senior portrait season has begun and if you are
a professional photographer shooting senior sessions or
if you just want to create unique photos of someone,
this is the blog post for you.
Of course,  I take the typical
photos from various distances and angles.


But, with seniors...I always try to capture their
interests, talents or activities in a few portraits.
This is where I go beyond the ordinary!
I really tap my own creativity to
 capture my seniors in a special way a beautiful photo!
I always ask the senior these important questions:
What is your passion?
What do you LOVE to do?
What talent to you want to capture in a photo?
Allie was on the swim we borrowed my
neighbor's pool for this next portrait.
I actually saw this pose in a vision and I saw her
curled hair floating in the water.
When she got into the pool, I had her slowly
lower her body into the water, and sure enough,
her hair floated as I saw in the vision!
Abbie plays the saxophone.  I had her come back another day in the morning
to capture this photo in a field of Queen Anne's Lace.
Nick wanted his vintage yellow car in some photos:
I love to try out different perspectives!
Chris wanted his SUV.  I really push my creativity to
think of poses that are NOT ORDINARY!

Emilee wanted to wear her prom dress:
Yes, I took the typical photos of Christian, BUT...

I also waited for sunset to capture this special
portrait of him playing his beloved soccer.
I was lying flat on my back for this photo.

I did the same thing for Alyssa who is on the pom pom squad:

Silhouette shots look great in senior collages!
I actually went to the baseball stadium for this shot of
catcher Hunter:
We also shot on several farms for Sarah...
And, another Sarah:
Jenna was on the track I created a progression composite.
Watch my video tutorial to learn how to do this in Photoshop and PSE.
 I challenge you to think up a different, creative
portrait for your senior...
then share it with ME on Facebook!

Tuesday, May 12, 2015

Dandelion Portraits

Every Spring, a field near my house explodes with YELLOW!

                          It's dandelion season and where some people see a sea of WEEDS...
I see an ocean of sunshine!
Anything that will add COLOR to a portrait is where
I want to shoot!
I rode my bike to the field and picked some dandelions
then wired them together to make a head wreath.
By shooting with a wider aperture, thus a shorter depth-of-field
the background dandelions blur together making it even prettier!
Try f2.8 if your lens will allow.
The YELLOW doesn't last long, so I pulled together another
dandelion shoot.
Isn't he adorable?
He's a TWIN!
They arrived at the shoot wearing the adorable green onesies...
perfect with the dandelion yellow!

Use the COLOR of dandelions and have the subject wear
clothing to bring out the YELLOW.
I found this adorable green outfit at a thrift store for a few dollars.
The clothes really make a portrait!
I even love when the dandelions turn to
Another great photo op!
It's always gorgeous to have your subject
blow the seeds while backlit against a low evening sun.
Take advantage of the dandelions while they are here.
I think dandelions are beautiful...just not in my own yard...ha ha!

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Vintage Val at Curwood Castle

In my last post, I showed you how to get
beautiful skin tones in-camera.   
This Vintage Val shoot at Curwood Castle in Owosso, Michigan
is a great way to show you  the techniques in action.

Spring is stupendous at Curwood Castle as it is surrounded
by gorgeous magnolia trees that bloom in early May.
We shot on a bright sunshiny day between 10 and 11:30 am which can be
extremely tricky with face shadows.
She was backlit in both of these shots.
You can see the sun on her hair, but not her face.
Here, she is under a magnolia tree which could create the
horrible mottled shadows on the face,
but I had the sun at her back to eliminate the shadows.
I saw the shadows and had to turn her several times
until I could see that the shadows were gone.
The hat really helped to block it!
Here Val is getting situated on the ground. 
Note all the mottled sun shadows on her
because she is under a tree.
In this next shot, you can see hot spots on her
dress which looks pretty, but none on her face.
Her hat helped to block the sun on her face
 I used a reflector to bounce light back in for most of these photos.
Once again, the hat saved this next photo.
I was looking closely at her face in every
single shot to make sure there were no harsh
shadows or hot spots.
Val is wonderfully game to try all my ideas.
She even climbed a magnolia tree in a VERY tight dress!
But it was worth it for this pretty shot.
Notice the back light and sun on her hair.
I had her turn her face away from the side light until
I saw the shadows on her face were gone.

The hardest shots to get were at the angle with
the castle in the background.
Hooray for the umbrella!
I didn't have an assistant to help me this day,
so I had to hold the reflector myself while shooting!
For this next photo, I put my camera on a tripod, framed the shot
and locked focus.  Then I threw the sheer fabric into
the wind and shot with my remote shutter. See me aiming the remote
at the camera with my right hand, while tossing the fabric with my left.
If only I looked as elegant as Val!  Hee hee!!
 Fortunately, with the magic of Photoshop...
the goofy gal is not in the finished portrait!
Who needs an assistant?
I LOVE magnolias!
Another backlit in-a-tree shot with the castle in the background.
It was 81 degrees and I was sweating trying to handle
all the lighting and shooting.
But, it takes this effort of looking at each photo very carefully
for face shadows....and lighting a backlit subject to create
the beautiful skin tones!
I love that Curwood Castle is yellow!
Very hard to shoot in the bright sunlight.
For these lying-on-the-ground-with-the-magnolia-petals shots,
it was impossible to avoid the sun on her face,
so I held up a large diffuser to soften the harsh rays.
If you have a four-sided reflector,  unzip it and
you will find a wonderful diffuser inside!
We always take a sunglasses photo with Vintage Val
because Val has lots of zany sunglasses.
I found the amazing vintage dress at Goodwill for $5.
Those vintage woman were VERY SKINNY!
Val is tiny, but we had to pin the dress together in the back
After all the tree climbing and sitting on the ground,
the dress ripped down the lower half!
Val is such a good sport!
Although these photos look relaxed and effortless
It takes a ton of work and concentration to pull it all together.
and fix any problems with lighting or shadows
BEFORE you click the shutter.