5 Ways to Prepare for Your Photography Session

5 Ways to Prepare for Your Photography Session

  So you have made the decision to be photographed professionally. You want to make the most of your session. How can you get the most value for your money? It is important to be photographed looking your best, being the best most polished version of yourself. In doing so you should have a plan. There are 5 things that you can do to look your best during your session. 

1. Stylize.  Take the time to carefully pick out your clothing. There are things that you need to consider when picking out what you will be wearing during your session. What is the purpose for these images? Are you planning to use these images to represent you professionally? Are you creating precious family memories that will hang on your walls as wall are for years to come? If you are using these images professionally you will want to wear something that represents you as a professional. If you are creating images for your home you will want to consider what the color scheme is in your home and you will want to wear something that will compliment those colors. Also you should wear something in which you will feel comfortable and confident. It is also important to try on your clothes prior to wearing them for the session to insure the best fit. I find that it is best to pick two or three outfits. Pick something that represents the polished you, this is the you that is dressed to the nines. Then you can pick something that represents the casual everyday you. If this is a session for a child you may want to incorporate a t shirt with there favorite thing at this period of time as well as picking something that is timeless for a more formal portrait. If you need any suggestions please feel free to reach out and we can help you style your session either using what is already in your closet or purchasing new items.

2. Hair. It is important to take care of those locks prior to your session. Ladies, you will look your best by having your hair session professionally styled by a hair dresser. If you are going to get a blow out or style with curls make sure to use product to hold your hair into place or keep to from getting flat in the South Florida humidity. Men, you should invest in a hair cut and professional shave. When you see how great you look in your portraits you will be so glad that you invested a little more for great hair.

3. Nails. You may think that no one will notice your hands in your images, but what if you are asked to pose with your hands close to your face? You want to make sure that you're nails are trim, and clean, or freshly polished so that you look really put together. It really makes a difference in your portraits. Whether you are a male and you are just cleaning your nails or your a female and you decide to get a full set of acrylics, it really gives you a nice finish.

4. Make-up. Having make-up professionally applied really gives your images the extra oomph that they need to go from good to amazing. You can choose to wear your make-up a little more dramatic if you like or you can go with a more natural application. A few days prior to make-up application it might also be a good idea to get your brows shaped (waxed, plucked, or threaded), shaped brows help to give your eye make-up application an extra wow factor, so that you look stunning for your session.

5. Eating right. In the days leading up to your session drinking a lot of water will help you to look your best. Hydrating helps you to have a rested, refreshed look for your session. You will also want to stay away from salty foods that may cause you to retain water and look bloated. 

Doing these five things prior to your session can really make the difference in your portrait session. Planning is the key to having stunning images to represent you or just to make priceless memories to hang on your walls that your family will cherish for a lifetime. 

Carlos + Maryann

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Carlos + Maryann

The first time that I met Maryann and Carlos to have them sign their wedding contract, I knew within minutes that they were going to be a lot of fun to work with. They both have a great sarcastic sense of humor that I can totally relate to. They are just really down to Earth and its a breath of fresh air to spend time with them. I had a blast photographing their engagement session and I cannot wait to photograph their wedding in January next year. 

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Sierra's Softball Session

  I cannot believe that this girl is going to be 16. I met her 5 years ago and it feels like yesterday her mom was inviting us to her 10th birthday party... I had so much fun doing this session. I think I have found my niche! This session speaks to my soul because I was a softball player from the time I was 9 all the way through college. Softball girls are full of spunk and can knock you on your butt if you fall out of line but they are also beautiful and delicate at the same time. They are the perfect mix of sugar and spice. I think often they don't feel like they are beautiful or elegant, It is my hope to restore that feeling for them. I wish I could create images like this 7 days a week. Sierra you rocked it girl!

Ward Engagement

Things in December kept me really busy and I didn't have much time to blog. I wanted to share this sweet surprise engagement session. I offered a giveaway on a facebook group of which I am a part of and some really touching stories came pouring in. One of the people that entered had a really bittersweet story about his girlfriend's family and he told me that he would be proposing to her in a short amount of time. I asked him what he thought about proposing during the session and he thought would be a great idea! It was a beautiful day at Grassy Waters Park and about halfway through our session Spencer got down on one knee and asked Felicia to marry him! I was so honored to be part of such a special occasion! I will share some of my favorites from the session. 

Brittany's Maternity Session

Brittany's Maternity Session

I have worked with Brittany for the last 3 and half years so when she approached me about making Baby Tanner's newborn portraits I was very excited, and asked if she would want me to capture some maternity pictures for her. We worked together to style her maternity images and they turned out Beautifully. It was such a pretty afternoon in the park and they looked gorgeous! I had such a great making pictures of Brittany and Zoey. I can't wait to meet Baby Tanner. 

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The Welz Family

I have had the pleasure to make this beautiful family's pictures two years in a row. It was a cloudy afternoon and but it made for a perfect wintery/fall look even for sunny South Florida. Lisa, Andy. Kate, Zach, and Madi all came dressed perfectly for the breezy afternoon. I absolutely love this park, it is also perfect for a fall backdrop here in tropics. I usually work with families that have younger children, but working with Kate, Zach, and Madi was a pleasant change. I even had to hop in the water for some of these shots, thank goodness there were no alligators close by because I have seen big ones at this location before. Thank you Lisa and Andy for giving me the opportunity to make pretty pictures with your family.

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The Kotouch Family

It was a perfect breezy Saturday afternoon when I arrived at the Kotouch Residence. It was a nice change to shoot at their home because most parks in Palm Beach County are permitted ( I have to pull a permit if I want to photograph in them). I showed up  way too early (I have an irrational fear of being late, this comes from having to watch my teammates run on more than one occasion due to my tardiness in college). I unloaded my green chaise, camera bag, and light stand;the boys, Colin and Liam, greeted me at the door waving at me through the window. I set up the chaise in the front yard. The Kotouch Family has landscaping with beautiful foliage and the leaves were perfect for our Holiday/ Christmas themed session. Achieving a nice Christmas feel can be difficult in Southern Florida. After creating a few pretty images we moved into their backyard. They live on the water. The boys really enjoyed watching the ducks from the dock.

This is the second year that I have photographed the Kotouch Family for the holidays. Marissa and Ronnie, it was my pleasure to photograph you and your boys. Thank you for inviting me to your home and continuing to support my small business.

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Giving Thanks

On the Eve of Thanksgiving, because it is finally quiet and I have a few minutes to myself before I have to get the kids up, I wanted to look back and reflect on this past year. I am so grateful for my family, and my clients. My husband, Troy, who watches the kids twice a month so that I can serve on the board for my guild and then also attend meetings to continue my education as a photographer. He also has no problem picking up my slack when I have a session, or need to edit for hours to get a gallery delivered.Troy, I definitely could not do this without your love and support. I want to also thank my assistant Amber and her momma, Christy. They show up usually before the sun comes up and they help with anything from holding reflectors, wrangling toddlers, to carrying equipment, and making sure I don't leave anything behind. You guys are amazingly helpful and it makes my job that much easier when you are there to help . me. Thank you ladies!

I am also very thankful to my clients. You guys are awesome. This year has been our biggest year for business thus far in the history of my photography. One of the biggest compliments is repeat clients. I have several families that have returned this season for their Holiday Portraits for their Christmas Cards. Thank you all for sharing your families with me, continuing to come back and spread the word to your friends and families, you have no idea what a blessing you all are to me. Many of you are friends that are clients, but some of you are clients that have become friends.

I also want to give thanks to my photography family at The Guild. You all have shared your knowledge and your insight with me. You have made a place for me so that I can learn and serve on the board. Nicole and Rebecca, thank you for the extra time you have taken to practice lighting with me. I am so grateful that you ladies approached me at Riverbend park. I think Friday will make exactly two years to the day. The knowledge and experience the Guild has shared has been invaluable. I am becoming a better photographer and a better business woman because of you all.

In closing, I am very thankful for all of you. My family, my clients, and my friends at The Guild. I hope each and every one of you has a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Warm Regards,

Casey

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Family Session- The Kearns

kearnsfamilyblog003 I first met Casey at Community of Hope, when our sons were just over 1 year old. We would sit together in the quiet room where new mothers take there babies that aren't quite ready to be turned over to the nursery yet. There is something peaceful and quiet about Casey's soul, I can just feel the Lord's presence and his love radiating from her. It is no secret that I am a very anxious person, and she was always very nice and reassuring that my little guy was not too loud, or that it was ok that he wasn't sharing the Troys that she had brought. Several months later Troy and I decided to become part of a small group at church and we got to meet the rest of the Kearns crew.

The Kearns are a family that are very near and dear to my heart. Casey and John are both very welcoming. Our small group spends a lot of time at their home. In a small group you really get to know people, and just do life with them. Both are full of life and have a good sense of humor. They are the kind of people that you can just feel the good pouring from them; the kind of people that you trust to watch your children, in a crazy world where you trust no one with your children. They two stunning awesome little boys. Hunter and Hudson. Hunter is a great big brother and he is always really patient with my little boy. Hudson is all boy, and what a little personality he has! Both boys were full of smiles and spunk. I was very surprised at how they were in such good spirits so early in the morning (You have to get up early to catch the sunrise).

I really enjoyed the time we got to spend on the beach making their pictures. I wanted to Thank Amber Haynes for assisting me on this session at a very early hour. Here are some images from their session.

 

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What to Wear to Your Family Portrait Session

"What should we wear?", this is a baffling question many of my clients have, I get asked this almost everytime I book an on-location family session. Living in Florida, our choices for wardrobe can be limited, especially when we want to wear things that indicate a change of season. Wool and flannel are beautiful but not when you are dripping in sweat with flushed cheeks due to South Florida's high temperatures and humidity levels. If you are wanting to wear more "fall-ish" attire it is very important to schedule your session for early morning (think sunrise) or late afternoon (sun set). If you aren't able to schedule a session at these times it is best to wear something in darker popular fall colors but a lighter fabric that breathes easily. Men will want to wear lightweight slacks or even khaki shots with a polo if you are going for a more casual look.

You should also consider the setting of your on-location portrait session? Is your session on the beach? Are you in a park with tall grasses? These are important questions to consider when planning your attire. If you are on the beach you will want to wear appropriate foot wear. Sandals or flip flops are a personal favorite of mine. Ladies, I would strongly suggest staying away from anything with a heal. Sneakers are functional, but most are not aesthetically pleasing for portraits. It is best to wear something nice but you won't mind if it gets wet. If the waves come up. Also be prepared to get barefoot for a beach session.

Is your session scheduled in park or nature preserve? Will there be tall grasses? When I am shooting in an area like this I always wear jeans and boots. We do live in South Florida and snakes and ticks live here too . I love to shoot in these settings, but being the anxious, paranoid person I am, I am always fearful that a rattlesnake will pop out of the weeds or I will get Lyme disease from a tick. ( it is the worse case scenario, but not impossible) I always stomp around the area in which I ask families to stand before posing them in tall grasses where there could be "nature". The time of day in this scenario becomes important as well because you don't want to be in jeans and boots in  98° weather during midday. You'll be all red cheeked and sweaty and that is not cute or attractive for most people. So again you will want to have your session early in the morning or late in the afternoon.

One of the most popular methods for styling a family session so that everyone's clothing is complementary, is having one person pick a multi colored plaid or print shirt, dress or pant, then everyone can pick a color from that print and incorporate it in their own apparel. This is the method that I like to use most often when taking my own family's pictures. If you don't like this method pinterest has tons of resources with color palettes and clothing layouts. Many clients have such a hard time finding something from their own wardrobe that they just go out and purchase new attire. When doing this for an entire family, that can get expensive! To avoid the expense of buying wardrobe for the entire family I have decided to provide a new service in my business. For a small fee of $50.00 I will come to a your home and help you dig through your closet to find what to wear to your session.

 

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The Vanover Family Session

I absolutely adore this family! Seth Godin talks about having a "sneezer" in his book  The Purple Cow. He goes on to talk about how when people really like a product some are "sneezers" and they tell everyone about your idea to help spread the word. Well these people are my "sneezers". They are the life breath of my business! I absolutely love photographing them and watching them grow! They are naturals in front of the lens. We had so much fun in their South Florida Family Session. This is by far the coolest way I have ended a session to date. Here are a few of of my favorites from their session.

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Print Competition 2.0

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Print Competition 2.0

Five months ago I wrote about competing in my first print competition. The competition was held by our local guild of which I am a member. I had entered 2 images. Neither of the images that I had entered earned a score deserving of a merit. This time around I entered 4 images.Which I included: "No- Nap", "Looking at her Legacy", "Hanging out with Puppy", and "Only This Little Today". 2 of the 4 images that I entered merited and placed in their categories for an award! "No Nap"- was entered in the category Portrait of a Child and placed 3rd and "Looking at her Legacy" received 1st place in the category of Commercial/Photo-Journalism. It is so exciting to look back and see the change and growth that has occurred in my photography. Community is such a big part of growth. I am so grateful for the photography communities of which I am a part. Being part of the Guild has helped me grow so much as a photographer in just a few short months. It is also important in whatever you do to understand that you never stop learning, growing, and improving!

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Miranda's Portrait Session

While I was on vacation in California, I was able to meet some of our extended family for the first time. Miranda is my cousin through marriage. While we were in California, she came to the house after she got out of work to spend some time with us almost every day. We also got to see visit some fun tourist spots together. She was absolutely fantastic with my son Cole. I had the privilege of spending some one on one time during Miranda's session at Lodi Lake. It was absolutely gorgeous and I wish, as a South Florida Photographer,that we had a location more like this! It was by the water, and I didn't have to worry about alligators! Here are some of my favorites from her session.  Isn't she Gorgeous y'all!?

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Behind The Scenes with Amber...

Being a photographer that works with small children can be very difficult. Having a good assistant is essential to creating beautiful images. I am very fortunate to have found Amber.  I teach with Amber's mother and in passing we discussed Amber's interest in photography. When I decided to start doing mini-sessions, (which can be like a marathon) it was clear that I would not be able to do it alone. I asked Christy, Amber's Mom , If Amber could come assist me. Amber and her mom came and helped to entertain my clients while I was photographing them. She is a great assistant; not only is she a second pair of hands to hold a reflector with a great eye, but she is also wonderful with children! When I asked Amber what originally drew her to photography she said that her love of photography started with her grandfather. He loved taking pictures of her growing up while they were on vacation. Upon entering high school, she saw among her course selections that she could take photography. She decided she would pursue the interest sparked by her grandfather. She has taken photography for the past two years and plans on taking the course again her junior year. When asked what she likes to photograph the most, Amber says that she enjoys photographing her sister who is a dancer. She also enjoys taking photographs at the beach. She says that she would like to pursue travel photography and travel the world to photograph famous landmarks.

I look forward to working with Amber and helping her reach her photography goals. I am grateful for all the assistance she has given me on the job. She is a very talented, motivated young lady and I am certain she will achieve what she sets out to do!Haynes0001Blog

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Greetings from California

Our family is taking vacation in California for the next two weeks. I am in photography heaven! In my mind I pictured tall palms and lush green lawns. Nope. The part of California has lots of yellow dead grass and lots of barns. It's gorgeous. Unfortunately I didn't bring my computer so I am blogging from my cellular phone and haven't been able to edit any my pictures to post. Things are so culturally different here. Today we went to a flea market. It was unlike any flea markets we have in Palm Beach. I was able to score some cute clothing that was pretty affordable and they had some very interesting foods. They take mango and dehydrate it and coat it in cayenne pepper. Tomorrow the rest of my family arrives. We have San Francisco, Monterray Bay, The Red Wood Forest, Alcatraz, and Yosemite on the agenda for the next two weeks. I am so excited to see so many new things. The climate is so much dryer here it's so hot but it doesn't feel like it because I am not Drenched in sweat. I can't wait to share so of these images with you when I get back to a computer!

 

 

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Taking the Certified Professional Photographer's Exam

Today marks one week since I sat for the CPP exam . My family was vacationing in St. Petersburg and I drove over to Daytona Beach State College to take the Exam. Naturally I got there early and used the couple extra hours to finish studying for the exam. I was scheduled to take it at 1:00 so at 12:45 I shut off the truck and walked to the photography building on the campus, where Florida Professional Photographers were holding their Florida School. After looking around I was greeted by a lady who informed me that the exam wouldn't start until 1:30. I was incredibly nervous and anxious so I returned to the truck for some last minute drilling on information. Around 1:15 I walked back to the photography building to sit for the test. I ran into some of my friends from the guild that were sitting for the exam as well we wished each other well and then we were seated. The CPP is proctored much like some of the standardized tests that students are given in schools these days. There are time constraints, and scripts that the proctors read and the materials are sealed until the test time starts. As I sat with my sealed envelope in front of me watching our CPP Liason write the start time on the white board, my heart pounded and I actually found it difficult to breath. "This must be what my students feel when they have to sit for these big high stake tests", I thought.  I took a deep breath in and used my pencil to break the seal on the envelope. I thought, "Here goes nothing". Using testing strategies that I taught my students I looked over the test. My heart raced as I saw how difficult the questions were. Again I took a deep breath in and took the exam one question at a time. I finished the exam with only 5 minutes to spare. This was the most difficult exam I had ever taken.

Our proctor told us it could be 3 weeks before we received our exam results but we may receive them sooner. I checked my email everyday last week knowing that I wouldn't, but hoping that I would receive and e-mail with the results. Today's society is all about instant gratification. When  I had to take my exams for certification in the education field I always found out right away how I did on my exams. Being the incredibly anxious person that I am, I was pretty certain that waiting 3 weeks to get my results was going to give me a heart attack. Monday I checked my email and saw an email from PPA regarding the CPP . My heart thudded in my chest as I clicked on the e-mail to open it.False alarm. It was just a blanket email that they send everyone regarding the steps to become certified. The anticipation was killing me!  Yesterday I checked my email a few times in the morning and then later around 4 I checked it again. There it was in my inbox. cppmailbox CPP exam score. My heart raced as I opened the email. my eyes skimmed over the first few lines and down to the numbers and what is needed to get a passing score and the next words read- and you did it! I jumped out of my seat on the couch and yelled "I passed!" Both my toddlers looked at me as though I had 5 heads growing out of my body.

Passing the exam is only the first step. The next step is to submit 15 images that have to meet some very rigorous high photography standards. There is also a schedule for doing so. I think the submission date is in August. If I want to meet my October 1st Goal deadline I better hop to it!image

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Dreams and Aspirations... Shooting for CPP

image What do you want to be when you grow up? This is one of those questions that you are asked as a young child. This is pretty much where most people are introduced to goal setting and dreaming. The time in life  when we are told that we can do anything or be anything that we set our mind to. When we are encouraged to think out of the box, then as we age we are told to have more realistic expectations. As an educator, I am one of those that supports the "You can do it if you work hard enough" way of thinking. I have heard heard students say countless times that they want to be a doctor or a lawyer, and they wholeheartedly believe it. They aren't sure of how to get there. I put up a quote in my room this year. "Turn your Can't into Cans and Your Dreams Into Plans" and that is just it... I have been dreaming but without a plan.

Usually when I drive to work, I see parents dropping their kids off at school. Walking there little ones into class and what not. I don't have this luxury. As my children get older I may not have it, as both my husband and I are educators and have to be on the road so that we can greet other people's children each day. The other day when I was dropping Cole off at daycare, I saw a dad dropping off his two kids in a t-shirt in pajama pants. I would be lying to you if I told you that I wasn't just a tiny bit envious. "What does he do for a living that he can where pj's and drop his kids off at his leisure?". Now maybe he was just staying home sick that day, but this is a thought process I have every morning when I see mothers in yoga pants dropping off their children at the elementary school  adjacent to the middle school at which I work. I feel angry sometimes and I know its because I feel like I am shorted time with my children. This is where the light bulb goes on and I begin daydreaming. In my daydream I am walking my son into kindergarten, in my fancy athletic attire. I am also 15 lbs lighter because after I drop my son off I can take my daughter for a jog in her jogging stroller. After our jog we enjoy a late breakfast . Then my daughter goes down for a nap, and I finish cleaning and doing laundry for the first half and then I start editing portraits from my latest session. I pick up my son at 3:00 promptly I take him to the park. We go home and I have dinner made before the husband gets home. We eat dinner, bathe the kids, put them to bed. I finish editing ( through the wee hours of the night), and we do it all again the next day.  I know its a little Stepford-ish but it is my dream. I never imagined wanting a life like this. I wanted to be a teacher until I was 60, and a Softball Coach forever. Funny how becoming a mother changes things. It tears me apart on the inside to leave them everyday. They are my Why, My purpose, My motivation.

I want to have a very successful photography business. I want it with every ounce of my being. So this is me turning my can't into cans and my dreams into plans. As some of you know I am part of our local photography guild. One of the things that they encourage photographers to do is to become a Certified Professional Photographer. Once someone decides that they are going to do this, they declare candidacy and then have to take a test and submit images in order to become a CPP. Sounds easy right? Nope. I have looked over these test specs and they are what we in the education world like to call "rigorous". This test doesn't just test knowledge, but also your ability to apply it to compose the best picture possible in any situation. CPPs can compose jaw dropping portraits in virtually no light with hurricane force winds, while standing on their heads with a pinhole camera and some film.  Well not really but you get the idea. Becoming a CPP basically distinguishes one from the rest. It is a huge feather in the figurative photography cap. And this is my goal. But Goals are dreams with deadlines, so here it goes. I, Casey Lyn Rose will become a CPP by October 1st, 2016. That gives me approximately 4 months, to learn and study lighting patterns and more. I have learned that I work best under pressure. For those of you who are my readers I invite you to ask me how CPP certification is going every once in awhile. Ask me in person, or drop me a line. Hold me accountable...

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My Bag of Tricks: What I Bring to Every Session

What is it that I bring with me to every session? Well my camera bag of course! My Camera bag is Gracie in butterscotch from Jo Totes. It has seven pockets in which I store extra batteries, memory cards, business cards, pens, a notebook, and my Erin Condren planner-of course. It also has plenty of room for all of my gear. There are also dividers to separate my camera and lenses. I absolutely love this bag(It was a Christmas gift from my husband this year). It is faux leather. But I think it is absolutely gorgeous! If you are in the market for a new camera bag you should definitely check out Jo Totes. I will leave their link here.  http://www.jototes.com/collections/all My camera is a Canon 60D. My camera is falls into the category of DSLR(Digital Single Lens Reflex) cameras. It is different than a typical point and shoot camera but I won't get all technical with you. It is has what the technical folks like to call an APS-C sensor also known as a cropped sensor.  It has manual exposure capability (This is my favorite mode and the only mode I shoot in because it affords me the most creative control of my camera). My camera strap cover is custom made by 3 dudes and a diva! Check out her Etsy shop she makes adorable stuff! The link for her shop is here. https://www.etsy.com/search?q=3dudes%20and%20a%20diva

In my camera bag I have 4 lenses. I have 2 zoom lenses and 2 prime lenses (prime lenses have a fixed focal length so instead of zooming the I have to move to recompose the composition in the frame). My zoom lenses are 18-55mm which is a standard kit lens and my 70-300mm which is a standard telephoto lens. Both of my zoom lenses came with my first DSLR the Canon Rebel T3i. My first prime lens is my 50mm 1.8. This is the lens that I use most when I am photographing newborns. It is a fast lense that lets in a lot of light allowing for bright, soft images. The 2nd prime lens which has really started to get more mileage lately is the 85mm f/1.8. This is what some photographers would dub a portrait lens. It also has the capability to open wide to create that soft blurred background that people love so much I usually purchase my lenses and cameras from Adorama. They have a physical storefront, but also have an online store.  http://www.adorama.com/

Finally I have my flash. In the past I have mostly used my flash for fill lighting as I am someone who likes to use available light, but as I learn more I have learned to embrace my flash and am starting to make use of it off of my camera. I will be adding a stand, some umbrellas, and a radio trigger for my flash so that I can start using off camera flash more often for better quality images.

Gear is important in creating beautiful images, but having the knowledge to manipulate the camera to capture light is essential. Even the best gear is can have it's limits if the operator never switches the dial off of auto mode.

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Introducing Finley

When I first walked into the busy cafeteria on the first day of preschool a year and a half ago Kim Stellman was one of the first people that I met. Kim is super sweet. When I was pregnant with Ashlynn last year she was like my pregnancy cheerleader. She always had something nice to say or asked me how I was feeling that day. Fast-forward to a year later. When we returned to school this year Kim shared the exciting news that she was expecting. It was then, that Kim asked me to capture Baby Stellman's first pictures and  I agreed right away and had been awaiting her arrival ever since. I arrived at the Stellman home after school on a Thursday afternoon. Baby Stellman was fast asleep and all ready for her session. Since Finley was already two weeks old, I wasn't sure how easy it would be to capture the perfect picture of her because the standard for newborns is to schedule the session for them in the first week of life when they are very sleepy, but  little Finley was a natural ( our session was delayed due to some nasty head cold running rampant in our home). She did so well.  Shortly after we got started her big brother came home from school and couldn't wait to join in on the fun. He is such a polite little guy and a delight to work with! Both of these children are absolutely stunning! Here are some of the images that I captured that day. Finley001Finley002Finley011Finley014

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Competing in My First Print Competition

At the beginning of my photography blog journey. I spoke about how I joined The Pro Photo Guild of the Palm Beaches. There are all kinds of perks to joining if you are a professional photographer. Each month they have a different speaker, who shares a certain level of expertise. This month was a little bit different. At today's meeting they held a print competition. Each month we have an 8 x 10 print competition. Members can submit an 8 x 10 print and we vote on it. The person who wins usually gets a giveaway or a door prize. This print competition was more more formal than our usual 8 x 10 competition.

First of all, calling it a print competition is a little misleading because submissions are actually digital. There is no physical print submitted. The submission process can be a little complex because the submission has to have a color profile embedded into it and the file size has to meet exact specifications. Late last night I submitted my two images. There are many different categories into which images can be submitted. The two images that I chose for submission were both in the Portrait-Group category, although, upon review my black and white submission may have fit better into photojournalism.

To continue, the images have to be named. As I said earlier I submitted my images late last night. After a long day of work and finally getting a baby to sleep, my brain the lacked creative fuel needed to pen the perfect title for my images. Sitting there, baffled, I chose Momma's Pancakes for my black and white image and Sisters for my second image. I learned during the feedback process that choosing the perfect name for an image for competition is very important. The title helps to tell the story of the image. I was told that a good title can potentially add 10 points to a score.

When the judges score an image there are many elements they are looking at. Lighting patterns, composition, the matte, and exposure of the photo are just a few of the things that judges look at when evaluating an image. When an image earns a score of 80 or higher, the image earns a merit. I went into this print competition hopeful that one of my images would earn a merit, but sometimes when you are the image maker, it is difficult to see your work through someone else's eyes. I also went into this competition with the attitude that it would be a huge learning experience and that I would take any critique, and use it as an opportunity to grow as a photographer. My first image, Momma's Pancakes, earned a final score of 76. My second image, Sisters, scored a 77. Neither images were merit worthy, but I learned a lot about myself as a photographer. I use a lot of flat lighting, I can grow by experimenting with different lighting patterns and that there are some things I can do in post processing to make my images better.

To conclude, the first print competition was a great experience. I put myself out there, and was critiqued. There are some things I can do to grow and get better. The next time I compete, I will have a better idea of what the judges are looking for and I will earn a merit! Below are the images that I submitted for competition.

SaturdayMorning006sisters

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