The 6 month old

I spent some time with this little sweetie last week.  I have decided that I love baby sessions!  I hope to get a chance to do more newborns and babies in the future.

This little guy had his newborn pictures taken in this tub and now 6 months later he’s grown just a bit 😉

10 months, 20,000+ pics, 2 cameras later { Part 3 }

I credit this shoot and these pictures for getting me to where I am today with this photography stuff.  This was the first time I had the opportunity to do a shoot with someone other than toddlers and the first time working with a group.  And it was FUN!!

This shoot gave me the confidence to take on some senior sessions.  This shoot also led me to wedding photography!   I contacted Vienna Glenn Photography because I was interested in taking one of her photography courses and it turns out that she had seen these pictures and invited me to second shoot some weddings with her.

I was floored!  And nervous!  And excited!  And a little skeptical…  I had only had this camera in my hands for 2 months.  I was afraid I was jumping in too soon.

I didn’t want to be the girl that got a camera and called herself a photographer.  That is pretty much what happened (although I still can’t really call myself a photographer) but it didn’t just happen.  I put in a ton of time and effort to learn as much as I could possibly learn.  <——–  That’s me trying to justify and explain myself….lol

I think I had 3 weeks before the first wedding so that gave me some time to really practice and do some research about wedding photography.  I’ll pick up my story in the next blog post.

These girls were so fun to work with!  I couldn’t believe my luck to have such gorgeous models to practice my skills on 😉

 Photos all taken May 6, 2011.  I used my Nikon D90, 50 1.8 lens and edited them all in PSE8 with this action.  (I still use this action on pretty much all of my portraits.)

Thank you!!!  to all of my young prom friends for stopping by and letting me see what I was capable of.  🙂

10 months, 20,000+ pics, 2 cameras later { Part 2 }

Every day I would pick up my camera and shoot.  Everyday I would learn something new.  I quickly got bored of shooting objects and scenery.  People became my favorite subjects.  Unfortunately my kids got tired of being my subjects very fast.

April 23, 2011

By the end of March I upgraded my Photoshop Elements 2 to Photoshop Elements 8 and put it on Matt’s Macbookpro.  Every night when he got home from school I would grab his computer and learn how to edit pictures in Photoshop.  I mostly learned from online forums and by doing google searches.  I downloaded a bunch of actions* and went nuts with them.

April 24, 2011

I switched over to RAW files when I started using Matt’s computer.  At this point I was just using Bridge to process them.  It was a lot of trial and error because I didn’t really know what exactly RAW was all about.

March 31, 2011

The above picture was my first attempt at backlighting.  I would find something specific like that to learn and practice it until I got it.

I took pictures of the kids every chance they would let me. 

April 24, 2011

When they wouldn’t let me I borrowed other people’s kids.  I loved shooting other kids because it really challenged me to try my best.  I would pick these shoots apart and learn from them.  The more photo sessions I did the more hooked on them I got.  I loved it!  It was at this point that I began to start thinking about where this photography thing was going to lead me.  I didn’t have any plans or goals but was beginning to wonder if someday it might become more than just a hobby.

April 28, 2011

May 3, 2011

May 9, 2011

By mid April Matt must have gotten tired of sharing his laptop with me because he surprised me with my very own imac!  It was a little scary though because it meant he thought I could potentially do something with this photography stuff.

I loved editing pictures just as much as I loved taking them early on.  It was fun to learn more and more about Photoshop.  I started learning as much as I could about colors, color castes and the color channels in Photoshop.  I learned how to read histograms.  I learned about clipped pixels and how to prevent them on the skin.

I took notes as I learned.  I memorized the color wheel so I would know how to fix color issues.  As nerdy as it may be I was having so much fun learning something new!

 The weather was finally nice enough in May to take Kirsten out for an official shoot

May 6, 2011

Also in May, I took my twin sisters out for a shoot.  I would come home from these shoots and analyze everything I did wrong and then research how I could improve.  Editing was a slow process because I was still learning Photoshop and trying so many different things.  I was developing a style and trying to figure out what I liked.  Turns out I like a clean pure edit so editing doesn’t take me nearly as long today as it used to.

May 10, 2011

May 10, 2011

May 10, 2011

May 10, 2011

In May a friend suggested I take some pictures of her daughter and friends before prom for some practice.  I almost said no because I lacked confidence.  But then I figured I had nothing to lose and even though I couldn’t promise anything would turn out I did the pictures anyways. 

The pictures I did for these kids was the turning point.  I was thrilled with how they turned out and this shoot alone gave me the confidence to pursue photography as more than a hobby.

To be continued….   Part 3 will be the prom shoot 🙂 

*A favorite site for free actions that I found early on was The Coffeeshop Blog.  I downloaded her perfect portait action and it’s the one and only action I still use today.

10 months, 20,000+ pics, 2 cameras later { Part 1 }

I was wanting to do this post at the 6 month mark but here we are at 10 months in the blink of an eye.
It’s always fun to see other photographers post their story and progress.
So here is mine………………

I didn’t grow up with a camera in my hands destined to be a photographer.  Well, I guess I always had one but it wasn’t a passion or anything like that.  As a young mom I always wished I had a better camera to capture my kids.  I never made the purchase though. 

I turned 30 this summer.  My baby was 3.  I was bored.  I began looking for a new hobby and the camera I always wished I had came up again.  I started talking to Matt about it and he understood my need for a new challenge so he was the one actually pushed the buy button on this expensive toy.

This showed up at my door on March 8th 2011:

My very first SLR!!

I opted for the body only and 2 additional lenses instead of the kit lens.  I already knew how I wanted to shoot and knew I wanted a lens with a large apeture to get those beautiful fuzzed out backgrounds and the 50mm (1.8) was mentioned several times during my search for the right lens.  The larger lens is a 70-300 4.5 and because it was such a deal to buy it with the body I couldn’t resist.  I had no idea if I would use this lens much.

I read the 2 inch manual the first day.  I had already been playing around in semi-manual mode on my point and shoot so when this camera came I put it in manual mode because I figured it was learn how to shoot that way now or never.  I knew if I got too used to shooting in auto I may never take the time to learn manual mode.  It was a challenge to be sure! 

I read and read and then read some more.  Most of the information I found was online.  When I got stuck I googled any and everything.  The book Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson kept popping up in my online learning so I bought it.

This book taught me how to shoot manual.

I learned how ISO, apeture and the shutter speed all worked together.  This book is more aimed at landscape photography but covers all the basics of exposure.

Of course when I started using this camera I thought it was amazing!  I was so impressed by the pictures it was taking.  Here are a few of my firsts with dates.

March 8, 2011

March 9, 2011

I bundled up this cold March day and went out to see what my new toy was capable of.  Of course I had no idea what I was doing but it was fun trying.  (I ended up over editing every single one of them)

March 9, 2011

I found a sleeping baby to capture 😉

March 9, 2011
And of course my own kids had to endure countless pictures.  I think they zoned out after a bit. 
March 9, 2011

The first shoot I did with Kirsten.  I knew nothing about light at this point.  Later I realized I kind of got lucky by placing her where I did.  This room has the most beautiful light in the entire house and has lots of white surfaces that bounce that light around.

March 10, 2011
March 10, 2011

Ventured outside to get some shots of the kids.  I envisioned these pictures to be much better than they actually turned out. 

As I was learning how to shoot with an SLR I began teaching my self Photoshop also.  I had played around in Photoshop (PSE2..lol) for many many years but never actually figured it out.  So I started googling.  And reading.  And experimenting.  I felt like I was in school all over again.  I absolutely LOVED having a new hobby to figure out.  It was very fulfilling for me and I sucked up as much knowledge about photography as I could.  Slowly but steadily Photoshop began making sense.

March 11, 2011

Found some more poor victims children to catch with my camera.

March 12, 2011

At this point I still had no idea how to properly expose a picture.  I was shooting in manual mode but didn’t know what a light meter was or how to read it.  It was basically trial and error with my settings and going off the LCD screen.

March 12, 2011

Discovered the beautiful light in my front porch!

March 15, 2011

Rookie mistake:  Over editing!  

March 22, 2011

March 23, 2011

I was learning steadily but not fast enough.  I wanted to be good and I wanted to be good instantly.  I could envision what I wanted but I just couldn’t produce it yet. 

You can see my beginning editing skills were a little lacking.

March 23, 2011

I started paying more attention to light and figuring out ways to light up the eyes.

March 29, 2011

The more I shot people the more I loved it.  My new hobby was starting to become a little more than that in my mind.

Too be continued…..