Well, as promised, I kicked of the Spring season today with photo sessions. I will make a full disclosure here…I am nervous before all photo sessions. True. This morning was worse because its been a few months since my last session; the weather was cloudy with a chance of showers but the radar was clear so all systems go! Then…I was chillaxing waiting for my family to arrive and it started raining. Seriously?? The radar LIED. But, my sweet family were sports and just carried an umbrella. Going with the flow is critical for a successful photo session.
Since I last saw these guys, they have welcomed a new family member and the smiles were endless from all. It was a lovely morning. I even got to sneak in a few unsolicited hugs with my little friends–its the little things that make us photographers happy.
More to come…
I am back in action! Tomorrow marks the start of my Spring photo season. To gear up, I stopped by this little roadside cemetery and church that tries to channel my camera every time I drive by.
So what’s new? Well, the computer is dusted off. Photoshop is running again and posts will resume. I am talking with a new client about documenting the progression of Muscular Dystrophy for my community project.
I am also looking to meet families who are interested in documenting their family as a loved one approaches an end of life transition. For many families I have spoke with who have lost a loved one, they tell me that they wish they had more photos. Many families have found that photos taken during this transition were very comforting and healing after the loved one passed. If you know someone who is interested in working with me, please send them my contact information.
And, the roadside scene…
People often think Winter is not such a great time for photos. But, the more I do Winter sessions, the more I love them. Winter accessories add so much color and texture to photos so its a great time to have fun with color. Here is a sampling of winter photos taken during a mini-session last weekend:
And one of my favorites…
One of my mantras as a photographer is to get the shot correct, in camera, and don’t rely on photoshop to “fix” a photo that is poorly exposed (although I am always up for the challenge of fixing a photo on the back end). I typically don’t use a flash or other light modifiers when I work with kids but there are certainly times when using a flash would be what I need to get it right in camera. With that said, using flashes requires for people to be still and pose, most of my clients don’t do that. Some of my favorite clients are affected with sensory processing disorders or other issues that make using a flash a hindrance. With that, I need to make decisions on how to balance getting a proper exposure with minimal equipment.
I had finished my session with this little girl but her mom wanted to show me something on the property where we were working. I did not carry all of my gear with me but she looked so cute in this spot and that is her grandmother’s house in the background. Since the sun was high in the sky and the sky was a substantial part of this photo, I have to decide whether to set my camera to properly expose the sky or to properly expose my client. I usually (always) pick the client. While she is slightly underexposed in the top photo, I was still able to retain a tiny bit of detail in the sky, which I knew I could recover since I shoot RAW and not Jpeg. (RAW is a file format that does not compress or enhance pixels. I like to be able to do that myself. Jpeg is a format that yields a smaller file size but it also compresses pixels and can make certain corrections impossible.)
The first of the three photos below is how this photo looked straight out of the camera. For my work flow, I recovered the detail in the sky in LightRoom by sliding the highlight and whites slider all the way to the left. I exported the photo to Photoshop (CS5) for further adjustment. In Photoshop, I adjusted the highlights, shadows and saturation in the sky portion only. I did a few global adjustments with contrast and sharpening. Lastly, in the 3rd photo I added a texture overlay for some color pop.
Not a bad recovery, huh? Again, not my choice to “fix” photos in Photoshop, I prefer to use that for enhancing. But when you have to balance gear and equipment with keeping the client relaxed and happy, its nice to know that you can do a little correction when needed.
Its so annoying when photographers keep posting photos of their kids, isn’t it? That is why I am just going to post these last few for a while.
I firmly believe in a birthday month. Most of us are so cool that we deserve to be celebrated for more than a single day. To kick off my daughter’s birthday month we took a road trip to a very special store. I am too ashamed to say which store it was so we will just call it “store”. Said store also has a “bistro” where we celebrated with a surprise cake.
But just as important as the cake is the preparations. At six, one must primp and do make up. right? Of course!
I feel pretty..
Oh so pretty…
Celebrate you for a whole month! You deserve it. My birthday is in September…I am happy to celebrate from August-October.
Did I ever tell you about the time that I heard my daughter freaking out, screaming and crying when she was two? She and my son were playing in my room and I was downstairs in the kitchen (I am sure whipping up a gourmet breakfast or something–not sitting on my butt drinking coffee and reading the paper). All of a sudden, I hear her screaming like a banshee. I snuck up to bust my son in the act of torturing his loving sister and to my dismay, he was sitting on my bed reading an Atlas (don’t ask). So I continue to look for the screaming banshee…nowhere. I finally spotted her in my bathroom, standing on a step-stool and watching herself freak out in the mirror. I quietly asked her what she was doing, in my most patient and loving ways, without any swear words. She blankly and seriously looked me in the eye and replied, “I practicing.” It was then that I knew I was in deep, well over my head with a little ball of personality. It was that day I swore I would get her into acting, drama, something like that.
Well, the day came. Thanks to my begging and the really nice guy at the Arts Center who may have allowed my daughter into the drama class just a wee bit early she made her stage debut. I would be lying if I said it was all smooth sailing but in the end, my daughter, with her whole heart and soul, emerged…
And, I am off to find apartments in The Big Apple.
I was cleaning out my computer and I stumbled upon this before and after photo that I took early last year. Evryone seems to love these peeks. The next time I do a drastic edit, I will save each step of the process to share with you.
These cows are often roadside near Yates Mill pond. They never seem to mind having thier photo taken. I recall this day was very grey and cloudy. But with a little cloning (removing unwanted items–there are two things I removed) and adding a sky it started to look like a sunny day. Next, I drastically boosted the color. I went over the top because these cows just made me laugh because they looked like they were smiling and posing so I wanted a silly “pop” of color to match my mood.
One note about boosting color saturation…watch your blacks and whites since they often have magenta, blue or yellow tones. By using a layer mask in Photoshop or the paint brush in LightRoom, you can make sure your blacks and whites to not take on a strong color cast.
In addition to photography classes, I available for individual or small group training for Photostop CS versions.
What a fun way to kick of the 2013 photography year…a class photo with my daughter’s awesome kindergarten class. They each told me what they wanted to be when they grow up. I have to say I am relieved that my daughter opted for “teacher” and not her dream job of being a “scanner” (cashier) at Target. I was also glad to see not one of them wanted to be a photographer because this market is over-saturated, I cant imagine how much worse it will be in 15 years. And one wanted to be what I always wanted to be…a hairdresser.
Theme was inspired by Christine Kay Photography in Chicago
A few years ago, I did a project for my son’s class. I placed each photo in a Polaroid “frame” and then the kids signed their name under their photo. I love doing these little projects.
Once upon a time, there was a little boy. He walked late, he talked late, he was the sweetest little boy. We went for a check up when he was three and his doctor asked him to tap his toes and tap his heels. This little boy would not have it. He tried and he tried, but nope, his feet would not move that way. His doctor told us we should revisit occupational therapy. We made an appointment and met a fantastic therapist who saw that this boy had more complexities that could not be explained by sensory integration disorder. She asked him to give a “thumbs up”. He tried and he tried. He stared at his fingers, he rotated his hands, he tried to mentally will his thumb up, he was so proud when his pointer popped up and not his thumb.
This is a boy who needed therapy to walk a balance beam, to stand on one foot, to play hopscotch, to do a jumping jack. Every physical movement had to be taught to him, mostly by his therapist because he would not comply with his parents.
Fast forward four years or so and this boy said he wants to play hockey. Hockey requires you be wear a suit of armor…knee and shin pads, elbow pads, padded chest protection, padded pelvic protection, bulky gloves and a helmet with a face cage. Ha! No way, his Mom thought. But she agreed. He was fitted for gear. All the while thinking, “we will need an OT just to help him get dressed”. Step by step, they talked and they set deadlines for wearing gear at home. The little boy resisted. He wanted no parts of it.
Then all of a sudden, to what should my wondering eyes would appear but an 8 year old boy all dressed in hockey gear. Yes, this is my little boy. I saw him get dressed with minimal support and tears filled my eyes I was so proud. All of those years of fighting the therapy and it paid off. The next day, he got dressed all over again, grabbed a stick, a puck and played roller hockey in the driveway. In two weeks, he starts his first team practice. I still can’t believe it. I am so proud. He will never know. Maybe he does because he is also proud.
He still hates his photo taken. And that is okay. But I had to sneak a quick one.
For more info on dyspraxia, check out Warren’s site Dyspraxia Foundation USA. He is an adult who has dyspraxia and he has created a national support organization.
Respect and appreciate your teachers. Even if you don’t like them, they will care for your kids and do all in their power to keep them safe. I could end this post there but I will elaborate since I am not an organized thinker.
Each weekday, my kids wake up and spend approximately one hour with my husband and I before we take them to school. My kids spend a day at school for approximately 7 hours. They come home for approximately 4-5 hours before they go to sleep. So I see my kids for about 6 hours a day (less for my husband), and the school sees my kids for about 7 hours. During the course of their day they hear from their principal and administrators, meet with multiple teachers and teacher assistants, interact with cafeteria workers, and see a custodian who works hard to maintain their school. Sadly, these people spend more time with my kids than I do on most days. But each one of those people, every day, shows my kids how to be respectful, how to learn, and demonstrates kindness toward others.
Why in the world are educators not paid better wages, offered more respect and support than we as a community provide? It is one of my biggest pet peeves. Even when we have a teacher we don’t really like, they still bust their butt to educate our kids. I hear people complain about teachers. I admit that I have unfortunately done it as well. No one is perfect, it happens. When I hear people complain about a teacher not being affectionate, not making a child feel loved in the way a parent wishes or even the way a teacher dresses, it makes me crazy. Teachers go to work every day because they like what they do, they like interacting with your kids–its why they don’t work in the corporate world with better pay and benefits. They spend their own finances on supplies to support a lesson plan that they researched, they spend their own time planning activities for your kids, they support your child and their development in the best way they know how–just like you, a parent, supports your child/ren in the best way you can. How can one complain about someone like that?
As the calendar year closes and the New Year begins, people make all sorts of resolutions. Consider making one of your’s to thank your teachers, teach your kids to respect them, their friends and life in general.
For the New Year, I will be making a new blog page to make weekly entries about random things that people in the community are doing that demonstrate respect and kindness to one another. If you have a suggestion, please feel free to contact me. The media may not want to report random acts of kindness but I want to know that it exists on a regular basis.
Much Peace and Love to your family in 2013 and always.