Thursday, September 27, 2012


The other day on the spur of the moment I decided to update my head shots. My 60D has a handy swivel screen that makes taking self-portraits much easier - with my remote, it was only slightly more difficult than taking pictures of someone else. But not as fun. :-)

This post is really for my grandparents who complain that they never see any pictures of me because I always take pictures of my sister. :-)

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Today is a Happy Day | Personal

• It feels like autumn and once again, I have made my bi-annual favorite-season switch from Spring to Fall.

• I have worn sweaters 4 days in a row

• I wore my boots for the first time this season

• I have a photo shoot with two gorgeous girls today

• Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Lattes are back and I had one this week

• I found one of my favorite kids' books ("A Porcupine Named Fluffy") at a thrift store and bought it for my collection

• God is sovereign!

Have a happy day!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Aperturent | Review

I knew I would need a flash for Grant & Sarah's wedding. The ceremony wasn't starting until 6pm - I'd have time to squeeze in formals before the sun set, but by the time the reception really got going it would be 8pm and DARK. If you have been reading my blog for any significant length of time, you know that I hate flash with a passion. Which explains why I don't own one. Usually I would be able to borrow my friend's, buuuut... she was second shooting for me. So she'd need her own.

Enter Aperturent. I seriously think that renting equipment, especially when you're just starting out, is a fabulous way to expand your gear without forking out hundreds or thousands of dollars. With renting, you can easily wrap the rental costs in with your pricing, so you are out $0 and you can use the high end stuff!

I chose Aperturent mainly because I had a coupon and so it was the best deal. :-) A lot of people it seems like BorrowLenses, and I'm sure they are a wonderful company too. But we're not talking about them right now. :-)

I rented a Canon Speedlight 580EX II, and a Lightsphere diffuser. Since I'm not local to Aperturent, I rented for a week, which was really nice because I could practice around with the flash before the wedding. The items arrived on the day I specified, securely packed in a handy plastic container. I really liked this, as I could just cart that tub with me to the wedding. The Speedlight came with it's padded case too. I think I hardly need to mention that the gear was in great condition and working order. :-) I have pictures to prove it.

It was almost too easy. You just receive the gear, save the cardboard shipping box, use the equipment for a week (or however long you rent for), then pack it back up in the box and slap the included return shipping label on top of the old one. Drop it off at FedEx before their last pickup of the day, and voila!

I will definitely consider renting again in the future... I'd love to try out some L series lenses. :-) And Aperturent provides a great service, so I would certainly use them again! Try it out yourself - they have generously offered 10% off to my readers! Just enter coupon code KGRACEBLOG at checkout!

*Disclaimer: I was not paid to do this review.  I was under no obligation to write a positive review. The opinions expressed are entirely my own.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sis + Sunset

I looove shooting at sunset. Why don't I do it more often? I don't know what's wrong with me. Of course, it could have something to do with the fact that most of my shoots have been in the morning due to the schedule of the person being photographed, but still... I have my trusty model sister that I can stick in glowy light any time.

Saturday, September 8, 2012

What I learned from shooting my first wedding

A few readers expressed interest in my personal experience shooting a wedding for the first time... so, here's the scoop on wedding photography from my very limited amateur point of view. :-) (thanks Wendy for the behind-the-scenes shots!)

1. Make a schedule and shot list! This was probably the #1 best thing I did. I sat down with Mrs. S (unfortunately Sarah wasn't able to be at the meeting due to work, so in an ideal situation, you'd be talking to the bride herself) and wrote out a timeline for the day. We worked backwards from the ceremony (much easier than starting at the beginning of the day!), and I left 15 minute buffers in between events. I then took that basic schedule home and filled it in with what shots I was planning to take. An example:
11:00 am  Kathryn meet Sarah & bridesmaids' for hair appt. at salon
1:00 pm    Hair finished and drive back to house
1:15 pm    Kathryn, Sarah & bridesmaids arrive at house
                       - Lunch
                       - Girls getting ready
                       - Kathryn shoot details:
                                Dress hanging up
                                Bridesmaids dresses hanging in a row
I also included notes on what I wanted my second shooter to cover, with detailed instructions on how I envisioned any specific shots if I wasn't just leaving her to her own judgement. :-) I made sure that the bride & groom, families and the wedding coordinator had copies of the schedule in its' basic form (without the shot list).

2. Don't be afraid to make suggestions, and be the boss. I'm not saying tyrannize everyone and ruin the day. But most of the time, the bride doesn't know what the best light is, etc. so just mentioning, "We could actually get a better shot if you were to stand this way," or, "Can we open the shades on this window?" can aid you in getting the shot you want. I regret that I didn't do this as much as I could have.

3. Slow down and focus (and I don't mean the camera) during portrait time. Another thing I think I can definitely improve next time. It was so easy to start feeling rushed during portraits and just zip through poses without pausing to make sure that everything looked just right before pressing the shutter. Portrait time is the fun time of the day, so relax! For instance, in the pictures with the flower girls, I realized after the fact that the one little girl's dress was slipping off her one shoulder. If I had slowed down and "studied" the shot briefly before I snapped it, I would have noticed that and been able to fix it. Also checking your shot for a moment afterward on your LCD screen would help too! (The Lord knows how to keep us humble...)

4. Remember your aperture during family portraits after the ceremony! I followed a tip from Jasmine Star where you shoot family portraits in layers - start with EVERYONE and then peel people off from there. That means the number of people in your shot is changing. I was shooting outside and it was evening and overcast - the light was fading. In my first shot there were a TON of people, so I had my aperture up around f/14, which also meant I had to have my ISO pretty high. Once I had it cut down to just the bride & groom with their parents, for instance, I could have pulled my aperture way down and lowered my ISO, resulting in a crisper, less grainy shot. Unfortunately, I totally zoned out on that point and shot everything at f/14. *blushes* Next time I think I would actually note on my shot list what aperture I would use so I'd have a visual reminder.

5. Flash has its place and it is sometimes a necessity for outdoor-receptions-at-night-with-only-cafe-lights-for-illumination. But I still don't like it, even with a big fancy 580EX II.

6. The "big name" photographers (hellooo Katelyn James - and lots of others but she's my favorite!) do NOT charge too much!!! It's a big figure, yes, but they earn it!

7. Schedule a massage for the day after. You'll need it. :-D

I'm sure I must have learned more than that, but I'm drawing a blank. If you have specific questions, leave a comment and I'll be glad to answer it, however unqualified I may be. :-)

Saturday, September 1, 2012

Grant & Sarah | Wedding

Grant is one of my rent-a-brothers. :-) We pretty much grew up in the same church and our family adopted him and his brothers as our brothers, since we don't have any of our own.

When we met Sarah's family, I thought, "Grant is going to marry one of those girls." I wasn't sure which one, but I think I get credit for correctly predicting which family he'd marry into several years in advance. :-)

I was honored to document their backyard wedding (this was my first time shooting a wedding as head photographer! Whooopie!). Thanks to Wendy for second shooting with me - several of her images are used in this post! Grant & Sarah, may God bless your marriage and use you to further His kingdom!

They couldn't have me take their picture... :-)

They wanted to do a guitar shot... my dad says it looks like a band from the 50's. :-)

Sarah's ring is a family heirloom from Grant's family

The ring bearer has got this down pat!

This was pretty hysterical. Grant built this obstacle course in their woods so they thought it would be cool to get some photos of the guys on it... except Grant kept falling off. :-)

Sarah, you are so beautiful!


Everyone kept joking to Sarah that it wasn't too late to run... so Bekah wanted to get some funny shots of Sarah "escaping." :-)

Don't you love the pom poms in the trees?

During the ceremony they did an old Scottish tradition where the groom presents the bride with a sword, and the bride presents the groom with a Bible, as symbols of their pledges to protect and provide for their family

Grant had to pose like this when he was a ring bearer so he subjected his little brother to the same treatment. :-)

During dinner we slipped off for a few minutes to do Grant & Sarah's portraits.

They came up with this one :-)

Gotta love the naughty smiles :-)


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