Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Yummy Soup

About a year ago I started photographing my husbands food in hopes to get a recipe book done, looking into an online cookbook. He is an excellent chef, taught cooking classes for couples for a few years, now does seasonal catering and takes weekly phone calls asking for his recipes especially this dressing recipe. Would love to host the couples again. That was a great idea and miss having them over.

This is a yummy Cabbage and Bratwurst soup with a touch of cream. Fennel seeds added a great twist to the flavor. Perfect in the winter, so the foot of snow in our not-taken-care-of-garden from the fall worked great. It added some nice texture.

So if your into food with a bold flavor-watch in the next couple of weeks and I will add some recipes.

Monday, January 7, 2008


You don't have to go to a million places to get some different looks. In the winter it is cold and when they only want a few shots, mess with actions or the menu in your layers palette. I love high contrast, even when flipping them into black and white, gives them a great variety. Don't forget the full view, sometimes I get caught up in the close-ups, take advantage of the old doors, it adds great texture.

Children that just won't sit

This has happened a couple of times to me and believe me, SOMETIMES it is worth it. Sam was not going to sit for nothing and working with 4 under 4 years of age, I choose my battles. After taking the photos of the girls, we got Sam to sit for two shots, with only one that worked. I left the chairs where they were and had the girls get out of the shot. I just put him in. The kid isn't crying, mom isn't about to loose it and I still had a voice after the session. I try not to make this a habit, but sometimes....

Friday, January 4, 2008

Adding Trees to a Drab Background

If you find that the autumn leaves are gone, you can still add them. I have a whole file of "Autumn Trees". For two years now, I have gone out and photographed trees at their peak. All of them are taken on the "perfect" overcast days because I photograph families in open shade and they can be put in the photograph pretty easily. If I have a spot that I photograph most of my families at, I take photos of the trees at their peak at different angles and it works great! Lighting is essential when doing this, they have to match the scene or it doesn't work very well.

It is kind of like a head swap- it is just a tree swap. 1. Lasso the tree out of the one photo, drag it onto the photo. 2. Adjust the size. 3. Create a layer mask on the tree layer. 4. Use the brush tool and smooth out the edges. Layering trees works well also.

Civil Ceremonies

This was such a good example of a civil wedding and what you should do, that I didn't. This ceremony I believed was clocked at less than 4 minutes from the time the Mayor (I believe that is who it was) first spoke until they were walking back down the isle. I knew I was in trouble right when he said, "Well, lets do this... Eamonn, do you..." I thought, well, I won't say what I thought, I just quickly tried to get from one side to other as quickly as possible.

I usually find the person that is going to do the ceremony, ask him how long he plans on taking, ask him to slow it down in order to get more than 10 shots total. If the person knows at least the bride or groom, there is usually some advice, etc. But I have found if they don't, it goes quite quick. I prefer at least 10 minutes. Again, I couldn't have been more grateful that I had Tracee with me and she got some of the family during the ceremony and some from the front while they were walking up the isle. I have had my husband with me on several civil ceremonies, and it is great to have the other angle and someone else's height advantage!

Ask when the rehearsal is. Sometimes it is the night before at a dinner and they are a little harder to go to, ( I have done them before, my husband catered the dinner for one and I was really glad I was there for that because it was a little different) but if you get the chance, it really is helpful to see what will be happening, so there are no surprises for you as the photographer. Most of the time, mine have been approx. 30 minutes before the actual ceremony. This gives me the chance to talk with the people in the line. Show them where you would like them to slow down, smile, walk a bit slower etc. Getting them to pause in the same area helps if it is inside and a flash is being used. The range is the same and the lighting is even for everyone.

Talk with the Father. Make him aware of the moment he is giving his daughter away, pause, take a moment. This is an important photo for the daughter and the father. Make sure you are watching for this. It lasts just a moment and I have missed it when somebody stood up, I was at the wrong angle, or it was so quick I didn't react fast enough. If you are using a flash for inside or back lit, make sure your flash is charged. Don't try to take 3-4 shots of the back of them walking down the isle, take one and make sure you are ready for the important shot between father and daughter.

Just a thought.

Weddings in the Snow

Stacie and Eamonn were real troopers when I asked them during their wedding dinner to come outside for some photos. A mis-communication on time for the family photos, left me with no photos of the bride and groom. Not good. Because I knew it was quite cold outside and I was about 20 minutes from one of Utah's largest snow storms, I had to think quickly. I first went outside and chose 3 spots to take some photos. I looked at the angles I could use, pictured them in my head, literally in my head, ran inside and got the bride and groom. Because the snow was starting to fall, I told them where to stand and what to do. Not my idea of the greatest photo shoot, but I had to work quickly. I was so glad Stacie's dress did not have a train, this saved sooo much time. If your bride has a train in this situation, hook it up in the back to avoid it getting really wet and you having to "arrange it" in every photo. This was a "slam bam, thank you mam" kind of situation, but we did finish just as the snow was really coming down. We left when we could hardly see the car in front of us.

I turned my flash almost all the way down to avoid catching the falling snow. The flash will sometimes brighten the snow flakes and make it more obvious. Take several shots of the same thing, you won't see the falling snow on their faces until you bring them up on your computer and most likely they are right through the eye. I did several looking at eachother so it wouldn't matter as much. I let Tracee (my partner in crime) take the candids so I could make sure I got the "basics" done. (She had the fun part). If you have someone that you can bring along, either who is learning photography or would just like to come- bring them!!! In this situation, I could not have done both. We really had 8-10 minutes before the snow storm hit and she was freezing!

Battery tips in the cold- batteries hate the cold! Bring extras and put them in your front pockets to keep warm until you need them!! I have had a couple of times when the batteries "Zapped" out just after a few photos.

Avoid snow on the lens- In situations like this or in the rain- check your lens- regularly. Make it a habit. You cannot see the spots on your lens when looking through the view finder and sometimes your working so quickly you don't notice. Use a long lens hood that is made for your lens so when you zoom out it doesn't leave a shadow around the outside edge. The hood will really protect the rain and snow from falling on your lens. (don't leave it sitting in a parade of homes-home like I did- it was 80.00 to replace!)

The last shot was my favorite! Stacie and Eamonn- thanks for being such good sports coming out into the cold! Many happy, warm days ahead!!