Sunday, June 26, 2016

Developing your own Photography Style

If you have been following my blog and newsletter for awhile,
you probably recognize the above photo as MINE.

I love light, airy and colorful with beautiful skin tones!
That is MY STYLE!

But when I started photography back in 2009, I read about developing
a style yet had no idea how to actually do it!

In 2010, my fascination with portraits emerged.
My grown daughter became my forced model because
I MADE her model for me...all the time!

The poor girl...I even made her wear all kinds of what she
considered "uncool" outfits and hats
even though she hates hats.

I really struggled with skin tones!
Through lots of trial-and-error plus practice, practice, experimenting, and more practice,
I finally figured out how to capture the beautiful skin tones in-camera.

I share my secret in this blog post.

Taking the photograph is the most important part of the process
in creating a beautiful portrait!
You MUST capture a good exposure with your camera.

If you scroll through my blog posts from last summer (2015), you will

Learning these basics is essential, but more creativity
comes with composition!

My personal style is to create movement in the photo
which you can learn about in this blog post

But every person has an innate creativity for composition
that is pleasing to them.  Go with this gut feeling.
If you prefer a darker, moodier look with shadows on
the face...go for it!

One of my photo friends Lucy thinks I edit too light.  I am constantly
trying to get the photo lighter.  I think she edits too dark, but she loves it darker.

And, that brings me to the MAGIC ingredient for developing
your own photographic style:

Do what YOU love!

That may seem too simple, but it's that simple!
If you always follow your inner vision and go with
what YOU like, your own style will emerge.

This is especially true with editing your photos.
It takes time and dedication to learn how to edit.
Along the way, you will be enticed by the explosion of
editing add-ons and enhancements.

I did a ton of reading and followed endless video tutorials to learn how to edit.

That's why I wanted to share editing techniques with video tutorials
 on my own Youtube Channel.

I tried dark and moody:

I experimented with black backgrounds in my studio then jazzed them up in Photoshop
with actions and overlays:

Dark and mysterious:

(Ugh!  I'm cringing at these now! Way too much RED in this next photo.)

I tried light and washed-out:

Plus, black and white:

Then I tried the texture craze:

And, lots of actions.  

While editing and learning all the new exciting techniques that
were just emerging for digital post processing,
I found that some just didn't look good to me like the Matte look craze.

I prefer a very clean, clear look to my portraits and kept editing
until I figured out how to achieve that.

The KEY to creating your own editing style:

Edit until YOU love it!!!!

It doesn't matter what the latest craze happens to be.
If you like it...that's great!
If you hate it...that's great!

It only matters what YOU LOVE!

As I was writing this blog post, when I saw the 
early photo I took of Lindsay, I did not like
the overall beige tone created by the action.
So, I re-edited to my evolved personal style of today.

You may prefer the original, but it's always what the
photographer LOVES and thus creates their STYLE!

I love my style now and rarely venture beyond it 
because it is beautiful to ME!

Let go of trying to follow the latest trend
or copying someone else.
You can be inspired by other photographers and  
you can grow from learning new editing techniques,
but if it doesn't look gorgeous to YOU,
move on and find something that does!

When you are pleasing only yourself, you will
develop a fabulous personal style that is uniquely YOU!

Thanks to my daughter Lindsay for always posing for me!
Love you forever...

White Background Portrait Idea

The idea for this Vintage Val summer photo shoot came to me in
a dream vision which often happens to me with photography!

In the dream, I saw Vintage Val standing on a white background with
the bowl of cherries and various weather vectors.

Life really is a Bowl of Cherries!

When I awoke from the dream, my mind gushed with more
ideas for this shoot and it was especially great because
I had already purchased this cherry dress for a summer shoot with Val.

I had to pay $23 for that bowl of cherries!
That's actually cheap because it is cherry season here in Michigan.

We shot these in my garage against a roll of
white paper.  It was rather narrow, so I tried to keep her with
white behind her.

Then I cut her out of this photo and moved her
onto a plain white background.

It really was a quick and easy shoot done right in the garage!
I love the vision showing various weather conditions.

I had my photo pal Lucy use the mini leaf blower on her
hair for the windy photo.

First I took this photo with the hair blowing,

Then I took another photo with Lucy blowing her dress back,
and composited the two photos into this:

There are so many things you can do with this technique
using free vectors you can find on sites such as Pixabay.

The white background is great even if you don't use vectors!

This is a fun technique with children especially for making
cards or invitations!

Simply photograph your child against a white wall and follow my
video tutorial to learn how to cut out and move them to another background

You can also add text!
I show you how in this video tutorial.

I think these are light and airy for summer...
so enjoy playing with this portrait idea
that came to me in a dream for me to SHARE!

Thursday, June 16, 2016

French Fine Art

French Fine Art

While on vacation in France, I loved photographing the unique
flavor of the country from the jewel blue of the Mediterranean Sea
to the quaint, ancient villages of Provence.

I wanted to capture the beauty in memorable fine art to hang on my own walls.

Now, I am sharing with everyone who wants a touch
of French elegance in their homes!

Visit my France Fine Art Gallery to purchase
museum quality wall art, greeting cards, pillows, linens, etc

france provence photographs for sale

Sunday, June 5, 2016

Photographing a Vacation with an I-Phone

I'm back from my European vacation and as promised,
I tried using my I-Phone to take selfies and scenic photos.

Let's start with the selfie stick...we could not figure out how
to NOT have the selfie stick in the selfie!

Seriously!  I AM a photographer, but there was that dang selfie stick in 
most of the photos!

I figured out I needed to tilt the phone BACK/UP when it was in
the selfie stick and that's the trick!  DUH!

Many people had and used selfie sticks in Europe and we were very happy
to have one to get all four of us into the photos.
It was also fun to see what we were shooting so we could include 
various landmarks.

Using my I-Phone 5s to take photos was so much easier than
hauling around my cumbersome DSLR camera!  

For most of the tours, I had only my phone.

I especially love the wide angle of the lens!

I had to do a panorama and stitch three photos together to get this same
shot with my DSLR, but the phone captured the entire height of the Eiffel Tower.

Yet it's not as clear as my DSLR shot shown here:

I edited right on my phone using the editing apps I mentioned in this blog post
to add contrast and color.

I was very pleased with what I was able to capture including
not blowing out the pretty skies.

Look at these wonderful wide angles maintaining clarity and color 
In Nice, France.

I thought it was very strange that the beach along the French Riviera is not sand...
it's ROCKY!  I don't know how people walked and laid out on those rocks! 

I enjoyed using the phone camera on our trip to Normandy.
SO liberating to not have to worry about lenses, settings or exposure.
I got to point and shoot and like the photos!

The one ability to control Depth-of-Field and isolate subjects.
I have read about add-on lenses for the phone and want to try them out!

The phone camera also works well on close-ups and macro!

It also handled different light conditions.

Inside the church where Princess Grace was married in Monaco.

Inside a perfume factory in Eze, France.

With my editing apps, I was able to quickly crop this photo in
front of Buckingham Palace in London,

raise saturation on the Mediterranean Sea in Monaco,

Lighten or darken the photo of hubby and me staying at a French villa,

and boost and lower exposure on specific areas of my photos.

I edited while riding buses, trains, and sitting in taxis.

Each day, I created a collage of our adventures to post on Facebook
using an app called LiveCollage.   It was very quick and easy
to use with lots of photo collage layouts to choose from.

I think collages work best with a combination of wide shots,
close-ups, people photos and scenery.

We had finally figured out the selfie stick!

I'm excited to use my phone camera more in the future
now that I understand how to use it!