Friday, April 15, 2011

photography q&a, pastel dipped eggs, & a special baby.

i recently wrote an article for a website about photography and how anyone can take a better picture. i thought long and hard about what i felt should be included in the article.

at first, i included some pretty good tips on composition as well at the technical side (iso, aperture, shutter speed). it all seemed basic at first, but it wasn't, and it wasn't correct. it wasn't correct because #1 you don't need to know much at all about your camera to take a good photo (unless of course, you were hired to shoot somebody's wedding:)

and #2 all the technical stuff can bring a newbie down. overwhelm them. squash their creativity. although, there IS a place to know your stuff, my article was not the place for it.

it was titled, How Anyone Can Take Better Photos, Even You!

i'm not posting the article...yet, but i will soon. it just got me to thinking that just about anyone-ANYONE can take a really good photo.

things like clarity, tack sharpness, iso, aperture,... it's enough to make a novice photog go crazy, so let's not talk about those things today.

it's really much more simple than you think if you listen to your heart and eyes and less to google and digital photography books. don't get me wrong, i went to the University of Google and i poured over amazing books by the funny man scott kelby and the great bryan peterson, tirelessly. TIRELESSLY.

however; looking back, i should have calmed down, cried less, and enjoyed it the beginning.

it's a fact that i am as clueless now as i was then, but the difference is that now, i have more confidence in myself and my work...and even that comes and goes.

* before every shoot, i still become nervous and sweaty. every time, and i have come to find comfort in those feelings. if the day comes that i do not feel those emotions, it's time to step it up and challenge myself more or hang it up.

*after every few shoots, i'll call my girl kelle or my man jeff and say i blew it. "it sucked. i wasn't myself. what if i didn't get anything?!"

"heidi, of course you did. i feel the same way sometimes. i'm sure you did fine!"

99% of the time, those are my favorite shoots and i love the photos and i worried for nothing.

sometimes we are our own worst critic.

so in keeping this q&a simple, in your next photography excursion simply try do this and i promise you a better photo. i don't care if you're shooting in automatic, AV mode, or practicing in Manual.

1. try to shoot shade, bright shade (i think i made that up. it's shade, but not dark shade. you still want some light illuminating the faces of your beautiful children).

this shot is a perfect example of finding even shade but with light directly and evenly illuminating peyton's face


2. look for pretty background colors or lines that would work well with your subjects in front of it. for example, throw a few throw pillows on the floor and open your front door and let the light shine in. get low and shoot.

try either one of these tips and if you have one that you LOVE, send it to me ( and i'll post it! who cares if it's sharp...i'm not afraid of a blurry or grainy photo. sometimes is makes it even more interesting. feel free to tell me what you did differently this time!

okay, this was one question that i received of a few regarding shooting the photos i posted from the fair

Hi!!! I just have to tell you that I love your all of them! I am just wondering, how do you get such clear shots at night? I have some pictures from a fair we went to and everything looks blurry, including my kids :( I would love to get such clear shots!!! ~Shaye
(thank you, shaye! you are making me blush:)

it's easy to shoot something like this because even though the sun was setting, there was enough light to capture what i wanted and without having to worry about harsh sunlight and shadows, this is why i LOVE to shoot right before sunset. it's golden and this light does not dictate where i have to shoot.

also, i can practice my backlighting shots:
you can see that peyton is 'framed' in golden light. maybe not the best quality shot, but i still love it and i love practicing with different kinds of lighting situations.

but onto answering shaye's question.

i think this may have been the photo. did i use flash?
No! i didn't need to. there is so much ambient light around beckham, flash would have looked unnatural and would have darkened the background which would have defeated what i was trying to capture with this photo:
beckham. at the fair. enjoying his lemon ice (best lemon ice ever btw!)

it's not perfect, but it's all i wanted it to be. a memory of being at the fair eating lemon ice at 9pm at night!

the photo on the left was taken by shooting up and hoping for the best. the skyflyer was moving which makes it harder because blurriness could have been a factor (and it was), there was a lot of light on the ride and in front of it. i just kept shooting and checking the screen on my camera to see if i got what i wanted. when i did, i stopped and we moved on to something else.
{for you technical peeps out there, my settings... shutter speed 1//160, f2.8, iso 800} i can't remember if i set my camera that way or if i set my camera to complete AUTO without flash allowing it to find it's own settings}
these last examples are to show you what happened when i was not standing near enough light...


i like to practice playing with my settings, especially in low situations such as the fair, but if you want to photo and you like to shoot in problem. turn off your flash, go near some light (funnel cake sign is bright enough) and shoot. take 20 photos if you need to!


none of these three photos are fabulous in quality, but the last one is a little clearer because the subjects (kelle and nella bean) are standing pretty still and so am i. i could have used flash, but i really don't like to and this shot is good enough for me!

sometimes the moment is all that needs to be captured and you shouldn't worry about the technicality of taking the photo!

i hope you find some of these tips helpful. these are things that i try and that i find work for me right now. you may have other ideas or systems that you use that will yield the same or better results. use them. do what works for you. i am still very much learning about my camera and work. that is what keeps me on my toes and keeps me interested.

keep shooting because the MOST important thing you can do for yourself (besides believing in yourself) is to PRACTICE!!!

one basket of beautiful eggs...

some dye,

and a couple of excited kids and you've got an easter holiday tradition!





we colored eggs at sunset. each egg perfectly rounded and textured with ridges, indentions, and maybe a crack or two and when the dye touches it's hard shell, the real beauty pops and you find yourself admiring each egg, one by one and wondering why we don't do this more often.

we didn't stop until we had colored every egg in the house, even the ones that i had hid in the fridge to use for tomorrow's breakfast. we were having fun and the kids wanted to color everything in sight.

proud eyes and smiles as they presented daddy and i with each egg...


and when i thought we were done, i decided to go a step further to lengthen the night's festivities by rolling the perviously colored eggs in a mixture of dark purple dye and oil. (warm water, tablespoon vinegar, red and blue food coloring, and 1 tablespoon oil-mix with a fork)

we watched as each brightly colored orb took on a marble effect and they are beautiful!


happy easter! enjoy each other and eat good, fresh food! xoxo
i'm in michigan right now. away from my family for a few days but for a very good sister, elaina had a baby. he arrived a little early...four weeks, but he is healthy and happy and we are all very much in love with the little guy!

his big sister loves her baby spencer much and so do we. congratulations, mommy and daddy! more photos from our session coming later!


Spencer Adam Luckow arrived to us on April 12th weighing 5 pounds, 13 ounces. 19 inches.
and happy to meet his baby sister, Evelyn!
lots of love!

leaving you with the song i sang to my little beckham the night he was born in the hospital. it's on loan to little spencer tonight as surely i will hold him close, breathe him in and remember my own little angels as they entered this world and captured my heart.
here comes the sun... i love you, little sister.


Becky said...

Love all your pics!

Jannice said...

congratulations on your new nephew...he is beautiful! Thanks for the photo tips. I'm desperately trying to scurry away to purchase a REALLY nice camera. Its hard with two little kids and way too many hobbies!! ;)

Anonymous said...

Love your pictures. Love your blog. I would love to get a real camera someday. For now the camera phone will have to suffice.

Shaye said...

THank you, thank you, thank you!!! You answered my questions perfectly!!! I am looking forward to summertime fairs and trying it again :) And someday, MAYBE, if I am ever brave enough, I willpost some photos to my (never used) blog...and you can give me some of the more technical advice. Remember, I said MAYBE :)
The eggs came out and Kelle continue to inspire me to enjoy the every day things with my kids. Thank you again! And thank for the shout in in your blog...made me feel like I met someone famous :) ~Shaye

April said...

What sweetness, love it all!!


PS - We are heading to MI this weekend. And tomorrow, my baby boy turns 3 ... craziness!!

Christie Clair said...

We dyed eggs tonight too, and I also ended up boiling a second round of the "saved" eggs. Oh, well, I can always stop for a coffee on my way to the store in the morning...or we could just stay in ours pjs and eat cereal. Dyeing Easter eggs is a sacred memory I hope my kids treasure for years to come.

PS- Thanks for the photo tips. I take a ton of pictures, and some day hope to be a better photographer...

Happy Easter!

Jeanne said...

Great camera tips! I am learning every day about what works and what doesn't. It is so much fun! Your nephew is so cute all scrunched up! Congrats!

Lafleche said...

Love the photo tips. I can't wait to read the article. Loving your new baby nephew and thanks for giving me baby fever. AGAIN! lol... have a great weekend Heidi.

Nicole said...

Wow, beautiful post Heidi! Thanks for the tips...I've been freaking out a little lately thinking that I won't be able to get a decent photo of my Peyton when arrives in like um 7-ish weeks, yikes!! Congrats to your family on Spencer's arrival, what a gorgeous little boy!!

Sarah said...

this was great. I wish I understood more though so i look forward to the article. My best best is just shoot at 5ish and I don't know jack about what backlighting means! ha:) happy easter and you are such a good sister for making the trip for that precious baby. love the song!!

Kelly said...

omg, i looooooooove that picture of little spencer and his cute little wrinkled forehead. Oh i could eat him up for b, l, and dinner...mmmmmmmmm

Daniele said...

That pic of the big sis snuggling her baby brother! omg too precious.
PERFECT timing for some photography tips for me- I turned 30 on Saturday and was surprised with a Canon T3i...I still can't believe I get to start learning how to take beautiful pics of my girls! You may have answered this before, but what lens do you typically use? Right now I just have the one that came with the kit.

Sarah said...

What a sweet little boy! Thanks for the photography tips! I agree, I'm a newbie and I sometimes worry way too much about the technical instead of just capturing the moment!

Tisha said...

loving the egg coloring pics and thanks for the photo tips!

patsy said...

baby spencer is such a cutie... and thanks always for photo tips :) hope you are having a great time with family...and can't wait for the article :)

Amie said...

What a sweet pic of big sister and little brother!

Thanks for the photo tips. Keep them coming!

Hope you had a great Easter!

Sian said...

wow I just found your blog and already I love it. Your tips on this post are perfect for me. some who LOVES taking photos but is intimidated by all the technical stuff. Plus your photos and your family are beautiful! Your new follower
sian x

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