Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Advanced Pro: Assignment #4

Inspiration and creativity was our assignment this week. From this class, I have changed how I look at my environment wherever I go. I actually think how viable a location can be for shoots, at what perspective would yield the most flattering images and what would be the best time of day!

My inspiration this week is location. Like real estate, location, location, location is important as is light, light, light. These photos were taken about 30 minutes before the sun was setting - I desperately wished to have captured a few more images from my posing guide....when a passerby wanted to chat about what I was doing and why. Not meaning to be rude, I entertained her questions only to feel saddened (and anxious) about the rapidly setting sun :-) How does one manage these situations?

As with my other assignments, my daughters were my models, somewhat begrudgingly :-) For this location, I was inspired by the gorgeous setting sun against the lake AND I loved the tall flowing grasses that flank the lake area. That golden light is beautiful...sigh...

This image was taken with the sun still bright and "mid" high in the sky but you could definitely see the burnt orange colours. I thought it would be fun to try a silhouette this week to showcase the sunset against the water. If I could reshoot this image, I would stand a bit further back to capture more of the wind blown grasses.

Here is my youngest daughter thinking by the shoreline. For a change, I converted the image to black and white. I am curious if the image would be more impactful with more contrast?

Lastly, here is my daughter waiting and watching the sun get ready to set. I like how the grasses have enveloped her and the golden light on her face. However I do notice the difference of light on her face and next time would move a bit more camera left. What do you think Brooke?

Thanks Brooke - I loved the class!

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Advanced Pro: Assignment #3

Here I am at Assignment #3 already. To prepare for this assignment, I took the opportunity to truly understand the goal of the assignment. After some clarification from Brooke, I understand that the purpose of the assignment is to obtain genuine emotion from my interaction with the subjects that I am photographing. To me, this is a daunting task. I am not a professional photographer and have had little experience doing so but I was up for it. I'll be the first to admit that I felt awkward and self-conscious but I felt it was important to remain true to who I was and what my natural personality is. So I "practiced" a few sessions with some friends...and of course my family.

Below are my 3 favorite images from the different sessions.

This sweet guy is 2 months old; he has a lovely disposition and a proud Mama! (I intentionally had Mama in a softer focus!) At the time, she was recounting an adorable anecdote to me.

For this photo, this young man demonstrated to me what he would do if he were a rock star. I think he is well on his way; don't you?

For this image, I decided to trial a "Beloved" invitation. To be honest, I wasn't sure how the invitation would be received. My first thought was I would capture a goofy response but I was pleasantly surprised to receive a genuine hug between the girls. Aaah, if only all days were like this! (And I am hoping this is rim light I see in their hair too!)

Question for your Brooke: Regarding the processing of this image, I left the white balance as is to capture the glow from the setting sun. But I am curious if it should be lightened? I am also wondering if the image would be more impactful if I cropped it tighter? This image has been uncropped.

Brooke, you asked about the role of the interview. For me, the informal interview both helped and hindered. When I spoke with the parents and/or the subjects, there were no strong desires of the images they wanted captured so I felt somewhat directionless. At that point, I used my posing guide as a guideline. Perhaps I was too easy going? But I like the session to evolve and when the opportunity arises to use a pose on my guide, I went for it. Is that what you do Brooke or do you direct the session more?

Some of the interactive ideas used were props. For the two special young men in the photos, I knew they were budding golfers and rock stars! Other techniques were to speak to them (and my other subjects) about topics that were important to them. Personally when I speak with others about interests close to them, I notice their eyes lighting up and changes the demeanour of their faces. For my daughters, I had them play games they loved; they are used to having their photos taken so when given the opportunity to do whatever they please, they take it!

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Advanced Pro: Assignment #2

Great assignment this week - posing is something I have been working on. Having a posing guide has been a Godsend for me and my personal preparation style. As per your suggestions in the lesson, I searched several resources for images to include on my lifestyle shoot. However given the scenario that I was shooting; that is, my oldest daughter going to a 6-day overnight camp for the first time, I over estimated the number of images I could capture. As well, the situation leaned more on the uncontrolled rather than controlled side and my inexperience with unforeseen external factors such as multiple friends, varying light and my daughter's own raw emotions was evident. Consequently I was not able to capture all the shots that I had prepared.

Below are the shots that I had planned and did capture. The first image is that of my girls walking together through the field to the check-in point. I love this image because it captured a moment of tenderness between the girls and each girl had some anxiety with my oldest being on her own for a week and my youngest missing her older sister. I was happy with the perspective, behind and low.

This shot was unplanned for a couple of reasons - (1) I was not expecting my youngest to be gutted by her sister's soon to be absence and (2) I wanted to take this shot from a lower perspective but I was not quick enough to lie on the ground, instead I was sitting on the ground.

For this image, I wished I was a smidgeon more camera right to capture more of my daughter's face. I liked the perspective it was shot and I liked that I captured my husband giving Danielle a reassuring kiss. This shot was somewhat unplanned as I had actually planned to capture a slightly different shot of my husband giving a reassuring kiss to my older daughter at goodbye time.

As well, I have been practicing and practicing and practicing with my 50mm and am finding some improvement! Yeah for me!

Thanks Brooke! I look forward to your feedback.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Advanced Pro: Assignment #1

My experience with Brooke Snow's Lifestyle class was amazing, so much so that I am now taking her Advanced Pro class. Let me set the record straight: I am no where near going pro and that is not the plan. My goal is to take amazing photos consistently and to have those photos shine, heck, glow of energy and beauty.

My submission for Assignment #1 is as follows. As you know Brooke, I have been struggling to be consistent with my 50mm f/1.8 lens. These shots were all captured with my 50mm lens. Upon review of the images, I could see there were certain situations where the images were not tack sharp; it is safe to say I am still working through my relationship with this lens...ugh!

This image was taken with me lying on the ground with my daughters looking straight down at me. I set my focus point at the intersection of their cheeks; is this where you would have focussed to? This image seemed sharp to me; your thoughts? Some of the other images had one girl in focus and the other a softer focus which was very confusing for me as I consciously tried to focus at the same spot for each image.

For this shot, I stood on a step stool but wished I had a ladder. While this shot does not have her smiling, I still like the image. At the time, she was looking past me to see the football players practicing. She was waiting for me to get ready!

When I shoot Madison, I am often frustrated. She has ideas and I have ideas and they are rarely the same! LOL As well, Madison is usually SO stiff in front of the camera. Your posing tips were SO helpful to me...and to her! Had I not read your posing tips, I am quite sure I would not have posed her in this position but she was definitely the most at ease I have seen her in awhile in front of the camera. However I would have preferred to be more camera right and would like to reshoot the image with me positioned further camera right.

The next 2 images I liked for different reasons but I was curious in hearing your thoughts in positioning 2 people who have a large difference in height. When I had the girls side by side, I felt uncomfortable standing so far away to accommodate my vision with the 50mm lens as I wanted to see the details on their faces and strands of their hair. I shot them sitting in each others' laps, sitting back to back, lying down and so on. When I repeat this shot, I would remember to tell them to not put their hands on their faces as I find it distracting. Your thoughts?

Again, the hands are quite distracting for me. Would you sckooch my youngest closer to the same plane as my oldest when we is on top? Danielle looks like she could fall off!

Below are the answers to your questions!

Where I would normally would have played it safe by picking a tried and true location, I picked a location that I have long overlooked, the football field beside the playground. Usually I take pictures AT the playground ON the equipment. Until I read the phrase "pick a NEW location" I honestly do not think I would have thought about the football field! Why would I? It is a giant field of grass, lush cushy grass mind you with 2 uprights flanking the ends. When I truly looked at the location, I realized the football field was nestled in the foothills (so glad I was visiting my Mom! :-) )

As I brainstormed my Shot List, I realized that I did not bring the right props or even enough props. I had brought a chalk board that I never used as the girls started to become antsy over the shoot which was a clear sign to wrap things up. They were good for 45 minutes though :-)

Exhausting the location was a challenge for me, one that pushed me out of my safely bounded box in a FANTASTIC way! The challenge showed me that I can indeed deliver quality shots in a seemingly "boring" location. Thank you very much for showing me this concept Brooke!

Regarding the Shot List, it helped me think of how I wanted to position the girls. However my challenge is having them understand the lingo I was using or having them mimic the modelling positions I was demonstrating to them. For the most part I stuck to the plan but as they began to lose interest, my plan began to morph. By preparing the Shot List, I knew the images I wanted to capture but when my vision was not realized in some shots, I began to feel discouraged. It was a roller coaster of emotions for me - those images that "worked" had me feeling ecstatic and those that didn't, unnerved me.

Thanks Brooke! I look forward to hearing your feedback!

Friday, August 5, 2011

All Geared Up with Scrap-Tastic

August 1 was the reveal day for the Scrap-tastic kit, All Geared Up. Becky's kits are chockful of goodies - she has a real knack for blending pattern papers from various manufacturers and adding just the perfect accents. Here is my interpretation of the kit!

First is a layout documenting Danielle's first day at Kindergarten and her first time riding the bus! Gosh, I can't believe that was 2 years ago!!!!! Becky included a transparency that I used as a pocket for my journaling. My plan is to have Danielle write on a tag to include her thoughts too!

Another layout about the girls' love of playgrounds, perhaps this playground more than others. We had just finished an "endless" roadtrip to Osoyoos. Danielle was carsick for the entire trip. We even stopped to do laundry because we ran out of clothes; that happens when you throw up in excess of 11 times!!!!! I will never forget the diver who was "walking" their dog. They tied the leash to their side mirror and drove beside the dog as it ran. Not sure what happened but they inadvertently drove over their beloved dog. That was the saddest sound I had ever heard....and I don't even have a dog.

A simple card; can you ever have enough cards in your stash?

And a thank you card - these I use all the time! I love showing my appreciation to those around me.

I thought these papers lended itself beautifully to some baby pictures I had of Danielle. Sorry this picture was taken with a bit of a tilt.

And lastly, a layout about Madison. Not sure if you can see the tone on tone portion of the title against the blue robot paper but I love it. This is a layout about Madison at 10 years old. I love this layout and plan on doing one of each girl for each age. 

Thank you so much for dropping by! Now head on over to Becky's!!!