Tuesday, December 15, 2009

How to photograph a Christmas tree with lights.

Camera on tripod at low angle, room lights off, expose for tree lights, shooting at a slow shutter speed to burn them in to the image, use cable release or self timer, white balance set to tungsten. Experiment with turning a room light on for a bit of fill light if you like. This was shot with one room light just left of camera, and it was a torchiere so the light was high and bouncing off the ceiling, with a 3 way bulb on the lowest setting. ISO 400, f4, 1/4 second. I lightened the tree top angel in post processing to give it some glow, added saturation, and applied high pass sharpening.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Christmas Baby?

Meredith is due December 24, so we'll soon find out. A sneak peak of a few images before the big show.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Riley, Todd Beamer High School

Riley is a very busy young man - ASB President, plays piano, is in the jazz choir, likes math & science, active in his youth group, technology in schools campaign, and works at the Met Market. Whew! We had a fun session, and as a bonus went to the school for a few images. It was a bit chilly outside, but he toughed it out.

Saturday, November 07, 2009

Erin's sneak peak

Erin graciously modeled for a maternity portrait class I recently did for SPPA photographers. She did a fantastic job and we created lots of great images for her. Love the sexy boots and cute black dress she brought! You can view more images in her slideshow on my website.

Thursday, November 05, 2009

Portraits for Home Decor

Portraits in the bathroom? Might not be a room you'd normally think of for displaying your portraits. Here's a cute idea for a bathroom. We don't normally put glass over our wall portraits, but do recommend it for bathroom displays.

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

Mariah's One Year portrait

Mariah wasn't too sure about having her portrait done this time, but we still captured some great images. Here's a few of my faves for her sneak peak.

Costumes contest

Thanks to all who stopped by for our Halloween Costumes and Cans event last Saturday! With your support, we made a nice donation of food to the Multi-Service Center food bank in Federal Way. Images have been posted on my Facebook page, so become a fan, invite your friends and family to become fans, and vote for your little goblin. Most votes wins a $125 Gift Certificate!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Costumes & Cans

Do you have your costumes ready? Be sure to stop by for a treat, because Saturday the 31st is Costumes and Cans, our Halloween canned food drive to benefit the FW foodbank. Bring 5 cans of food, per child, and receive a free 5x7 portrait of your little goblin in their costume. Costume contest for Facebook Fans too! Tell your friends and family to become our fan so they can vote for your little goblin. Most votes wins a $125 gift certificate!

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Look better in photos

Whether gathering for family snapshots, or having your portrait professionally photographed, there are a few simple things anyone can do to look better in photos. I often employ these methods for my clients during their session, and you can try these tips yourself the next time you're in front of the camera.

Angle your body.
Facing straight towards the camera with both feet planted side by side makes your body look wider and only works for very slim model types. Angle your body away from the camera, one foot in front of the other and one shoulder closer to the photographer, weight on the back foot. To slenderize the waist even more, keep the hips angled away from the camera, then twist the upper body towards the camera. Men look better and more natural by just shifting their weight to one foot, leaning to one side, rather than standing stick straight.

Sit pretty. For sitting poses, again, angle your body, knees pointing to the side rather than straight at the camera. Sit up on the edge of the chair, not slumped into the back of the chair. Lean a bit to one side by propping your back elbow on the arm of the chair, a table or on your knee. This creates a diagonal line leading to your face, and adds life to the image.

Don't slouch. Good posture can dramatically improve your appearance. Most people slouch without realizing it, making them look heavier and tired. Sit and stand tall with spine straight, shoulders back and relaxed not hunched up towards your ears, belly in, buttocks tight.

Chin out and down. Lean in slightly toward the camera. Move your face forward a bit and tip your chin down slightly. This eliminates double chin and really engages the eyes.

Eliminate double chin. Position yourself so the camera is above eye level and tilt your head up to it.

Tilt the head. Tilting your head slightly forward toward your ear looks more natural and engaging.

Arms out. Move arms slightly away from your body, elbows bent slightly, for a more toned look and to avoid upper arm heaviness. This also allows the curve of your waist to show, making you look slimmer.

Avoid blinks. To feel at ease, try closing your eyes, then opening them slowly just before the photo is taken. This helps minimize blinking.

Smile gently. Learn to 3/4 smile, relax and think happy thoughts. A really big smile often exposes too much gum, and squints the eyes, making them look smaller.

Smile with your eyes. Tyra Banks calls this "smize". Open eyes wide, tilting up at the corners a bit, with a closed or slightly parted, relaxed mouth.

Don't look directly into lens. Try focusing your eyes just slightly above the camera lens.

Breathe. Don't hold your breath, and do some deep breathing in and out to relax and energize you.

Practice. Try these tips and posing in front of a mirror to see what works best for you and your body. Studying poses shown in magazines or catalogs is also helpful.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Holiday cards

This is the beautiful holiday card selected by the Kurnik family, and just one of the many designs we offer. Have you reserved your session yet? Yes, amazingly it's that time of year again! Call now to schedule your appointment before it's too late. Add us as your Facebook friend prior to your session and receive $25 off your session fee!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Costumes & Cans

Click photo to see the card bigger.

We are so excited for our Costumes & Cans event, which will be held at the studio on October 31, from 10am to 5pm. We hope to have a big turnout and collect lots of cans of food for the Federal Way Food Bank. Bring 5 cans of food (per child) and receive one 5x7 print of your child in their costume. Be sure to invite all your friends and family with little goblins and ghouls! This event is on a walk-in basis, so those with younger kiddos may want to come earlier.

Tuesday, October 06, 2009

Olivia - 2010 Senior Portraits

Olivia has such a warm personality and it was a fun time photographing her senior portraits. With dad, brother and friend Maria on the scene for moral support, we captured lots of great images.

Her white sweater worked perfectly for our WOW - white on white.

Olivia remembered that she wanted a portrait showing off her tatoo, but she forgot to bring shorts or a skirt, so I raided my closet. Anything for art! She has one of the prettiest tatoos I've seen.

Monday, October 05, 2009

What is Custom photography?

I am often asked "what is custom photography"? I thought I would take a moment to define what it is that I do, and clarify for those who have always wondered, exactly what this means!

We’ve all been to chain portrait studios, and so we’re all familiar with that experience. Whether Sears, Walmart, or other department store chain studios, you will undoubtedly have some degree of experience with the process. In contrast to this, custom photographers aim to provide their clients with a custom experience - something special, something worth investing in.

Custom photography is a luxury. Unlike department store, or other chain studios, custom photography affords you the luxury of completely customizing your session to your family’s needs. Working with a custom photographer means that you will be working with someone invested in taking the time needed to ensure you get the very best from your portrait experience. Sessions are not rushed, and you are never "just a number".

Most clients who opt for custom photography are clients who appreciate and value high-end custom work, and who have a strong desire to obtain several different images of themselves, their children, and their families. Many clients arrive with a pre-determined plan in place for their images, whether it be that special gallery wall they have always wanted to create, a special keepsake album, or a variety of gifts for family members.

So, what does a custom photographer do? A custom photographer:

- Takes the time to consult with clients before the session to obtain information about their clients’ vision for the session, to select favorite locations, (or backgrounds if in a studio), to discuss the best clothing options for each family member, and to pre-plan the combinations of individuals to be photographed at the session.

-Invests the time at the session to ensure that the client’s vision is realized, and that all requested combinations are achieved (within what is in their control, of course). Sessions are never rushed, and clients are given the luxury of a session custom tailored to their needs which is not rushed, or hurried, and where there is no ticking time clock or "next session" walking in the door in a few moments.

-Consults with clients about their final images, and assists them in selecting the best images for display. A custom photographer will have knowledge of design and esthetics for wall display such that she can assist you in creating a beautiful wall arrangement that showcases your images beautifully.

-Works personally with clients to ensure a high level of satisfaction. Unlike a chain studio where you are merely a number, and where your session is simply a cookie-cutter replica of everyone else’s session, a custom photographer tailors your session to what YOU want, and how YOU want to remember your memories. A custom photographer will go the extra mile to make sure you are happy!

Custom photography, as mentioned above, is a luxury. It is not a "need", but a "want" and there is a higher price tag associated with the higher service and custom experience. I like to compare custom photography to fine dining. We all need to eat, but we don’t HAVE to eat at a five star fine dining restaurant. We do that when we want a special occasion, when we want that extra something special, and when we are looking for not only a meal to satisfy our hunger, but also to satisfy our need for a special experience, attention to detail and customer satisfaction. We could eat fast food and have our hunger satisfied, but we would lack that special experience.

So, as a luxury, custom photography is not for everyone. It is not in everyone’s budget, and is not something that is done exclusively as the only means of capturing one’s photographic memories. I fully expect that my clients visit a chain studio in between our sessions, and would be deluded to think that my clients have no photography sessions outside of my studio. After all, children change so quickly, and it would be impossible for most to visit a custom photographer monthly to capture all of the wondrous changes that children go through!

So there you have it - my definition of custom photography. In basic terms it is simply providing the attention to detail, the high level of customer service, the outstanding product quality, and the fun experience my clients have come to expect. I personally love what I do, and I hope that it shows!

This article reprinted with permission from Heather Rivlin Photography.

Monday, September 21, 2009

Billboard with my photo

We were driving north on Pacific Highway when my daughter said "Mom, did you see that?, your photo is on a billboard!" We turned around to go back and check it out and sure enough there it was, the photo I created for Puget Sound Skills Center, bigger than life, for all to see. This was actually quite a project, as the image is comprised of seperate photos of each subject, which I then enhanced and merged to create one long image. You can view the image in the earlier post I made here, just click the photo to see it bigger. The billboard is near 310th Street S in Federal Way, so look up when you are driving past.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Caitlin - 2010 Senior Portraits

Caitlin chose a studio session and she brought lots of great outfits in a variety of colors which worked perfectly with some of my new backgrounds.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Recent Garden photos

The garden has really grown a lot since the front yard renovation last summer, so here's a photo update. We can create your outdoor portraits in any of these wonderful areas, and you are welcome to take a stroll thru the garden during your next visit to the studio.

The front porch, and one of my favorite places to enjoy the garden; the swing.
View of front yard patio.

Pond next to front sidewalk.
View from street, and with afternoon sun lighting the grasses.
Side path with tropical area including hardy bananas.
View of side path towards the front yard.

Entrance to back yard.Right side sitting and shade area under tree.

Left side sitting area with luscious purple clematis on trellis.
Fondly referred to as "The Outback", this is the area on the other side of the English Laurel hedge, which previously was a mess of scrub trees and overgrown blackberries.

View to the left and the arbor Randy recently built for the swing. Split rail fence built from trees we removed.Pathway leading to the back field.