Thursday, March 01, 2007

Just a few things...

Oy! There's so much I want to say, so much I've been putting off writing on my blog. Time is flying by so quickly.

First, I have to say a big thank you for all the compliments I get on my blog. Thank you for reading and caring and sharing with me! Thank you for praising my photos and layouts and my little girl! It means so much to me.

I've had some people ask me about my photos so I thought I'd answer the questions here. I have a Canon Digital Rebel XT. I LOVE this camera so much. It has been one of the best things I ever spent money on. I almost always shoot with my 50 mm f1.4 USM lens. It was a birthday present last year (the lens) and next to the camera, was one of the best gifts I have ever received. I almost never use my flash. I love to shoot with natural light so when I take photos of Helayna I open all the blinds up and place her close to the window (usually at a 45 degree angle to the window) and make sure the sun isn't shining directly on her (which doesn't usually happen because our place is quite dark). My white backdrop is actually 2 towels I purchased at Wal-Mart for super cheap. I like them because they are absorbant (I usually have a change pad under the towel as well though) and they are soft and they were CHEAP! They won't work forever because she'll get too big but for now they do. Plus you can also fold them up and lay her on top (well, not so much any more but I could when she was a newborn). My black backdrop is actually a really thick black curtain that I, once again, bought at Wal-Mart. It's not very wide (I need another one) but it's long so when I did those maternity photos, I actually just tacked it into the ceiling. My set-up is so hilarious. Seriously, it is not fancy at all but it works. I had this AWESOME, HUGE black piece of fabric that I used to use but when we moved, I put it in a black garbage bag (I was pregnant, I wasn't thinking, ok?!) and well, black garbage bags get put out with the rest of the black garbage bags. I'm still choked about that. I paid way too much money for it... Anyway, those are what I use for my backdrops. I used to just throw them on the couch and lay Helayna on the couch but she's getting too big and too squirmy for that now so in the last photos, I put a pillow down on the floor and put the backdrop on top and then laid her down. If we had carpet, I'd just lay it down on the carpet.
A few other tips (and I'm by no means a pro, this is just what I do - I am always open for suggestions or tips though!!!).
I always do photos when she is happiest - after she's slept and fed (and when the light is good) so usually after her morning nap. She LOVES being on her tummy (she didn't used to but we've been practicing) and I love how she looks when she's on her tummy so that's why I have so many shots of her like that. She usually only lasts about 5-10 minutes though before she's done (and that's on a good day) so I shoot as fast as I can and get as many as I can.
I recently discovered the continuous mode on my camera and I LOVE it. You just press the button down and it snaps a way and often the photos in the middle are the best because there's no camera shake from pressing the button down. Normally in those 5 minutes I shoot any where from 40-80 photos (man, I LOVE digital). I delete after I upload to my computer unless they are really bad and I can tell on the camera's screen. Some times they look good but once I upload they are blurry so they aren't so good after all.
When I'm shooting photos of her, I set the focal point (not sure if you can adjust this on point and shoot cameras) so that it focuses on one of her eyes because I want her eyes to be in focus (unless I'm doing something else and I then I focus on that - like her toes or something).
I use the rules of thirds as much as possible (not always, sometimes I forget). I love photos that are off centre - I think this is one of the ways to really improve your photography. Don't put your subject right in the middle of the photo - that's what every one does. Change the angle - turn your camera a little bit side ways. Get up on a chair or lay on the floor. Seriously. These things have improved my photography so much. I've heard so many really amazing photographers say those things so I listened and it makes a real difference. It's not always possible and sometimes the centre is the best place but it makes such a difference just to try new things. Some times I forget and Jonathan reminds me and I'm so glad he does because the photos turn out so much better.
Don't be afraid of taking bad photos. Look at these:

But I also got a few really good ones that day and that's what matters, right?! Besides these tell such a great story and help me remember the day and how it all went.
I also have Jonathan help me some times. He isn't always here but when he is, it makes such a difference. Believe me, those little numbers don't stay up long when our little squirmy worm gets a moving.
If anyone ever wants me to do a photo shoot for them, I'd absolutely LOVE to. I love taking photos. It's one of my favorite things to do. I'd love to learn more and be a better photographer and heck, maybe even make money doing it some day (not that it would be a lot but still).
Oh and I always shoot with my camera in the manual mode. I never used to but I started to teach myself (read those manuals) and I'm so glad I did because I think it makes such a difference.
I'm sure there are more things I do but that's all I can think of right now (man, I thought my brain was fried when I was pregnant. HA! It's the sleepless nights that are killin' me now). And honestly, just keep on taking those photos because it won't matter how 'bad' they are in 25 years from now. Your kids or spouse or friends or whoever will just be so happy that you have them. I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE looking back at photos of me when I was little. I know my mom wishes she had more and better ones but I LOVE the ones she does have. There are so many memories there. Gosh, this is why I scrapbook. To remember. Because time goes by so quickly. And already my girl is 4 months old and there is so much I forget.


Anonymous melissa diekema said...

your big black backdrop got thrown out? waaaaa!!!!
(try a piece of polar fleece)

8:30 PM  
Blogger Crystal said...

What an awesome post! You wrote alot!! I love hearing your procedure and tips. Thanks for always sharing your knowledge and awesome photos with me. Helayna is going to love looking through all these pictures someday - and it will be way sooner than you think!

10:06 PM  
Blogger Sue said...

Great tips, Heather! If only you lived closer, I'd have you do OUR family photos! :)

10:15 PM  
Blogger John said...

Thanks Heather for the great information and the helpful tips. I absolutely love all your pictures and have been dying to know your secrets!:o)

I wish you were closer so you could do Zech's pictures. I'd hire you for sure! It's something you should really consider--people always see your pictures on our fridge and want to know where you got them done--they are always amazed by your talent!:o)

11:27 PM  
Blogger Just Rhonda said...

Okay You live close to me. I'll hire you. :) You can do some family photos of us. It is a killer trying to get myself in the photos while keeping my kiddos still...... so pick me. pick me. And i LOved hearing about your photo process. That TOTALLY sucks about the blackdrop getting thrown out. TOTALLY sucks!!!!

8:20 AM  
Blogger Leigh said...

Thanks for sharing what you do, Heather! And I'd love for you to do a photo shoot of me (I had Austin take some pictures of me today-- they actually weren't too bad! I set him up where I would go, zoomed in to the right place and then handed him the camera and traded places with him. Whatever works, right? LOL! Sage even wanted to take a picture of me and it turned out okay, too. I'm thinking of using it for a layout called: "What do you see... when you look at me?") Okay, sorry for the extra rambly comment--we should just start emailing eachother regularly again!

12:22 PM  

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