Friday, February 20, 2015

Life of Late | February 2015

It's so hard to believe we're nearing the end of February already. So far this year has been an odd mix of flying by and slow moving all at the same time! Winter is "off-season" for me, so having a slower business pace after my insane fall has been a nice change, and just what I needed to gear up for weddings and sessions I'm booking for the year!


Tidbits from life at the moment:

• I'm majorly in love with this skirt from BHLDN. It's like a beautiful dream in skirt form. I wish I was rich.

• Very early planning stages, but... European travel just might be in the near future!!! (Nope, not excited about that at all.)

• My current favorite chocolate indulgence is the Raspberries in Dark Chocolate from Chocolove (that link is to Amazon where you can buy a pack of 12. Because why would you not??). I love the real raspberry chunks in it! And there's a love poem inside the wrapper which is always hilarious. :-)

• I started this devotional this year and I have been so encouraged by it. Years - even centuries - divide us from the women who wrote the words, but what they have to say is so applicable to us today!

• Cats: 1. Our cat manages to get herself into the funniest positions while sleeping, and it's adorable (if you follow me on Instagram you'll have seen some examples of this recently :-), and 2. My friend Emily just picked up the darlingest tiny ragdoll kitten for her grandma and I just might steal it!!

• Though winter is slow work-wise, I have a few here and there, and last weekend was a unique and very fun one involving lots of period clothing and a fabulous 18th century house! I'll be posting some more from that soon!

Friday, February 13, 2015

What's in My Bag | For Photographers

I'm often asked what equipment I shoot with, so I thought it was about time I just did a blog post with the contents of my camera bag! There really isn't all that much - I keep it simple! These are only my main lenses that I shoot with on a normal basis and that I actually own. If anyone is interested sometime I can do another post with everything (actual camera gear and otherwise) that I take with me to a wedding. For now, here's my bare-bones setup which is what I own and what I use for portrait sessions:


Canon 50mm 1.2L. This is my go-to lens that stays on the camera about 85% of the time. It's a fabulous portrait lens and all around useful focal length for candid, or very nearly any, shots. I used to have the 1.8, and just this past year upgraded to the 1.2 and it's dreamy. :-)


And in case you're wondering, I do put protective UV filters on my lenses. I don't want to risk scratching my expensive glass!


My other lens is the 100mm 2.8L macro. Also the stuff dreams are made of. :-) I love my 50mm so much that this one doesn't come out as often for portrait sessions, but it is a beautiful portrait lens, as well as being completely amazing when it comes to ring shots or any kind of detail shots at a wedding or an engagement session.


As you know from a few posts ago, I just upgraded to the 5D Mark III! This is my main camera (obviously) and I looove it!


I do still have my 60D which I have as backup, and my second shooters use it occasionally.


My camera bag is a Kelly Moore B-Hobo bag. (It's actually not technically mine, it was originally my mom's, and I sort of adopted it. Shhh!). I like the slim profile and that it fits everything I need for a portrait session.


On a wedding day, I have more to lug and I have to lug it for a longer length of time. So I will usually pack all my stuff in a rolling suitcase, and then I have a Shootsac that holds just the lenses I'm using and essentials (water, phone, schedule, etc.). I like to use this whenever I can, because it's so light and barely there. It's only downside is that the camera doesn't go in there (but then that's the only way it's so slim!).

I hope you enjoyed this peek inside my bag (a thrill a minute, I'm sure! ;-). Thanks for stopping by!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Foyle's War Party | Personal

Whew! It's been quiet around here! My apologies for that. It's a combination of being off-season, so not having much work to post, and also getting violently ill, recovering, second shooting a wedding, and attending a literary ball. These things take time, folks. :-)

But! I have a just-for-fun post for you today. Last month I hosted a Foyle's War party. This has been something I have thought would be fun for a long time, and so I decided this fall that it would be my winter project and it was going to happen! And happen it did and it was loads of fun. :-) Those of you who aren't Foyle's War fans probably won't "get" most of the stuff in this post, but I hope you enjoy it anyway. ;-)

We decorated with WWII posters and handmade bunting (Lily and I spent about a day and a half making all the bunting - so much work but so worth it!). We served Foyle's War related food - coq au vin, lemon curd sandwiches, Uncle Aubrey's green gage wine, and ration cake (no frosting!). The main event of the evening was a murder mystery, in which everyone was a suspect and had to deduce who was the murderer. It made for a very lively dinner time discussion. :-) After dinner and after we'd wrapped up the mystery, we played some Foyle's War games and trivia, and then had a hilarious time posing for the photo booth.

It was a smashing evening and I'm so thankful for all the friends who came out and made it a success!


Without Lily, this party would not have happened! She cooked, cleaned, sewed, and generally made a slave of herself. She's the best.





Uncle Aubrey's green gage wine (aka sparkling juice with green food coloring), and scotch (aka tea). 




The onion was one of the prizes, and also turned into the most popular photo booth prop :-)


I loved my ration books!! These were the covers for the suspect guides for the mystery, and also held the Foyle's War trivia. 

Gabe (from The Period Tailor) made a Sam cap for the photo booth!


Some new favorite pictures of us. Soooo typical. :-P
Me, goofing off
Lily: Um, no...


More hilarious photo booth posing! (Grace and Laura were the maids in the mystery, hence the cleaning implements ;-)

Monday, January 26, 2015

Upgraded! | Personal

I decided that if I booked 3 weddings for 2015, I would upgrade to the Canon 5D Mark III. I've been renting this camera for all my weddings, and I got to the point that my business was established enough that I was ready to have it for all my shoots.

So... last week this arrived! :-D Bucket list item #1 for 2015... check!


This is my first full-frame camera, which is exciting, but the main features that make me love this camera are it's amazing ISO, and the focusing system!


Excited to take this baby with me on my next shoot!!

Friday, January 16, 2015

My Editing Process | For Photographers

I was asked by a blog reader if I would mind posting about how I edit my pictures. I guess this post is proof that, no, I don't mind. :-) Many people are reluctant to share their "secrets," but the fact is all the information you can ever want is pretty much out there if you look for it. Nobody is completely original in their process, and if you can be a help, then why not share a little?

Learning editing was definitely a process of trial and error for me. I started out with Adobe Photoshop Elements and like most beginning photographers, got sucked into the world of ACTIONS! Ooooh, so many fun actions. :-) I did have the advantage of having been looking at good photographers' work before I really started getting into it myself, so I avoided making too many glaring mistakes that are common. I did my share of playing with vintage actions, but eventually came to the realization that while I occasionally liked them on some photos, and some photographers do it very well, that was not my style. I finally found something that I liked pretty consistently.

Then I bought Adobe Lightroom. I wasn't sure if I'd like it, because it was definitely an adjustment from Photoshop. Once I discovered the Sync function, though, I was sold. :-) I took some photos I had edited in Photoshop, and attempted to recreate the look in Lightroom to figure out what on earth all those sliders did.

That brings us to today, where I have reached a point of consistently editing with the same look across my work. I don't use presets in Lightroom because though I have the same style, conditions vary from shoot to shoot and no preset is going to fit that perfectly. Instead I edit a photo from the set and sync it with all the other photos that match. Here are some before and afters - I shoot in RAW so the SOOC images are very dull and flat and need a little boosting.


My typical basic edit involves bringing up the exposure a little if necessary (I am still working on achieving the right exposure in camera - it tends to look brighter on my camera's display than when I get it on to my computer, so I need to work on over-exposing even more than I think I need to!). Then I will boost the contrast, bring down the highlights if there are important white areas being blown out, add a little fill light, darken the blacks a tad and the shadows a tad, and sharpen.


I gravitate toward warmer images so I usually will warm up the white balance, though not always. It's all dependent on the circumstance. I will reduce noise on dark indoor shots if necessary. That really is about all I do! Bright, clean, and natural is my goal!


I hope this little peek into my editing workflow has been helpful! And I like hearing what you all want to be reading about here on the blog, so if you have a suggestion, just let me know. :-)

Monday, January 12, 2015

Levi & Clara | Anniversary

Clara emailed me several months ago and asked if there was any chance I could fit in an anniversary session on December 26th, because she lives several states away and they would be in the area for the holidays. I don't mind shooting in the middle of the winter, but I am always a bit surprised and feel bad for clients having to freeze while looking good in pictures. :-) As it turned out, I was able to do it literally right before heading out to Williamsburg, and it ended up being just about the most gorgeous day in December! Sunny, and nearly 50 degrees! Who knew?!

The timing worked out perfectly to catch the lights on the square at the end (my heart!). Levi & Clara were a delight to photograph!

















































 

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