Photo Projects

Strawberry Picking

Once upon a time, I used to add content to my blog. Well, maybe that's an overstatement; I've never been great at updating it regularly. But, it's now been well over a year since I've really posted anything, not for a lack of desire, but simply because life. In the past year, we've bought a house and moved (same neighborhood, but 4th move in two years), and had a fourth baby. Needless to say, I've been a bit busy, so posting here had to take a back-burner. But today, a look back at my previous post has me feeling nostalgic. That little toddler in the previous video posted below is now a talkative, opinionated three-year-old. Back then she was just trying to keep up with her older brother and sister, and now much of the time she acts as though she's running the show.

Yesterday, we went to a little farm to pick strawberries. Taking advantage of the weather while it's still bearable, and getting our hands dirty picking strawberries straight off the vine was just what we needed. Life is flying by at such a hurried pace these days, and my heart longs for slowness. So, I thought perhaps it was a good time to dust off my camera instead of the phone in my pocket, and get back to what I love--capturing these littles and the simple joys of childhood.

**The newest baby girl will get her own post soon. She was too busy napping to pick strawberries. 

Our Days Lately

Our days have looked a lot like this lately.  Simple.  Messy.  Mundane.  

I spend almost all day, every day with my kids.  And if I'm honest, sometimes it's really hard.  I'm asked constantly for snacks, drinks, books to be read, help with a craft.  I sweep our floor at least twice a day and load and unload the dishwasher just as often.  It can become very monotonous, boring even.  In the past, I've made a few feeble attempts at documenting our days, whether by a 365 days or 52 week project or the like but can never seem to keep on track with them.  So I've taken up just keeping my camera out, ready for the mundane moments when my heart tends towards complaint.  In those moments, I snap a picture.  Then, I'm able to look at these photographs a few days later and realize that yes,

Our days have looked a lot like this lately.  Long. Lovely. Worth it.

Of Pictures Past // A New Series

I don't have any first day of school pictures to share today, but it should come as no surprise that I take a lot of pictures of my kids.  Sometimes I quickly share them on various social media platforms, but mostly they sadly end up in folders on my computer.  I sort through them every once in a while and reminisce on months and years gone by when my babies were still babies, momentarily escaping the fact that they're becoming less baby every day.  

From June 2012, Eisley was 2 1/2 and Easton was 15 months.

From June 2012, Eisley was 2 1/2 and Easton was 15 months.

For one more year they will spend their days with me.  We'll take trips to parks and museums, meet friends for picnics, and have mid-morning dance parties in our pajamas.  These days are sweet and they pass by faster than I care to admit.  I'll continue to photograph our adventures, but I have intent to share them more.  Not because anyone (other than grandmothers) may be particularly interested in seeing all the small moments of our lives, but because those small moments turn into days and weeks and months and years and they shape these little souls.   Someday my babies will be big and I want to remember all the small moments that got them there. 

That's the beauty of photography.  It gives us visual representation of a mind full of memories. The photographs aren't of more importance than the actual doing, just a gift to help remember what's been done.  So, I hope you'll oblige me as I begin a series of posts of pictures past. Nestled among peeks of current client sessions, I'll be sharing some of my favorite personal photos from the past few years (yes, years).  

And to those who sent kids off to school today, I'm shedding a tear along side you just thinking about the future.  In the spirit of school pictures, here's a little throwback to two years ago when these two went to "school" for the first time.   

 

Chubby Easton in a backpack and Eisley's short curls...be still my heart.  August 2012.

Chubby Easton in a backpack and Eisley's short curls...be still my heart.  August 2012.

Artifact Uprising // Photo Books

For the past couple of years, I've had intentions to create year-in-review photo books of pictures taken of our family throughout the year.  And like most things that start out as good intentions but aren't moved quickly into action, it hasn't happened yet.  Enter Artifact Uprising.  I came across their website a while back and was instantly drawn to the simplicity of their products.  Not only are they sustainably produced, they are easy to design and super-affordable.  The even have Instagram books for those of you who document life via phone.  No more excuses for not getting pictures in printed form.

And while I'm at it, here are some sweet pictures I came across last night, taken back in June.  I guess that's what happens when pictures live on a hard-drive instead of on pretty paper.

A Quick Before and After | 2012 Yearbook Project | Life at Home

I want to share a quick before and after of an image I took of Eisley a few days ago.  The first image seen below is the SOOC {straight out of camera} image with no adjustments made.  I had my camera set to JPEG, though I typically shoot in RAW, so my camera made some slight adjustments to the image for me in-camera.  I may talk more about that in an upcoming post, but for now let's keep it simple.

I didn't really need my ISO set so high because I had ample window light in the room, but I was a bit too excited about my new room arrangement so I didn't really look at my ISO before I started shooting.  Anyway, here is my SOOC image; camera settings were: ISO 1250, 50mm 1.2, 1/5000.



I started by using the spot healing brush in Photoshop to remove the scratch on Eisley's nose.  My general rule in editing is to remove or alter only non-permanent blemishes, unless for some reason that's a part of the character of the image.  Since Eisley doesn't always have a scratch on her face and because I don't want that to be distracting, I went ahead and removed it.  I then ran two different actions in Photoshop, the first is a film-like shift and the second is a Black and White conversion.  An "action" is simply a series of recorded steps in Photoshop that can be repeated on any given image.  There are several talented PS Action creators out there and if you'd like more information about the actions I used here, simply leave a comment below or send me an email.

So, here are my two finished images:



 

And if you're wondering what some of the photography jargon used in this post means, you might consider attending one of my upcoming CLICK: Photography Basics Classes.  Email me for more info!

Finding the Light | Photography How-to | Life at Home

A few days ago, my husband and I decided to finally re-arrange our master bedroom furniture in order to expose the large window in our room. Because we live in a half-duplex, there is an entire side of our house that is a shared wall with our neighbor and therefore has no windows.  This causes our home to be a bit on the dark side but as a natural light photographer, I long for light, bright rooms and am now on a mission to make whatever changes I can to get more light in our home.  I'm also trying to convince him to let me sell our sofa so I can expose the window in the living room too.  It's not looking like that will happen any time soon, but a girl can dream.  Or, a girl could list the sofa on Craig's List and hope said husband doesn't notice :0)  Hmmmm...Probably not, though.

Anyway, I'm loving the new bedroom setup and thought I might show you all a behind-the-scenes look at how I'm using the newly uncovered window light for photography purposes.  The headboard used to back up to the window in the photo below.  By moving the bed to the wall, the window is now exposed along with all of it's glorious natural light.  Because I have cream panel curtains, the light gets diffused almost like a large soft box.  The result is more even, softer light.



I decided to try out the new setup by taking a few candid shots of my kids in front of the window.



 

And here are some of the shots I got.

 

Techie info: Canon 5d MkII, 50mm 1.2L, ISO 500

I'm in love with the two black and white images and will be ordering mounted prints of each to hang in our living room.  I'll be sure to post that little project along with another photo project I'm working on this year simply called: Yearbook. More to come on that soon.