Friday, August 1, 2014

Laura

My gorgeous sister-in-law, Laura was a great sport and let me practice directing her into a pose.

J's 9 month Glamor Shots

Bedroom window light + a white blanket to sit on  = a great set up for a impromptu glamor shot session with my baby.  Check out what I captured in about 5 minutes!  My baby girl is at such a fun age.





Her special talent is doing the splits!


Sunday, March 30, 2014

Taking Your Large Extended Family Photo Yourself...

is quite an adventure.  Last summer, we had our 3rd Annual Fred Ward Family Reunion.  Since the first year, I've been in charge of taking the large extended family photos.












Monday, February 17, 2014

How To Improve Compostion

It was my baby's first Christmas.  The house was quiet and my older 3 children were fast asleep.  As usual, my baby was still up enjoying the still of the night and the twinkle of the Christmas lights.
I took both of these photos with my iPhone.  Which photo has a stronger composition?
This is just my opinion, but to me the second photo has a much stronger composition than the first photo.  Why is that you say?  Well, the top photo has some distracting elements to it.  First of all, the light that is on in the kitchen produces a second light source and distracts the eye from the glow of the Christmas tree, which is one of the main subjects of the photo.  Another distracting feature in the first photo is where the baby is located.  She is really close to the Christmas tree skirt.  At a quick glance, you may even not notice the baby on the ground.  It looks as off she blends into the tree skirt.
In my opinion, the photo above has a much stronger composition.  As the photographer, I positioned myself in basically the same position, but I took a moment to fix the distracting elements before taking the shot.  I turned the light off in the kitchen and moved the baby away from the Christmas tree skirt.  I made sure the baby was still in the light of the tree, that way the viewer wouldn't miss seeing the baby.  This photo is easier on the eye and the viewer can easily tell what the photo is all about. 

Sunday, February 16, 2014

February Frost

Winter is not my favorite season, but this winter wonderland is so intriguing.
All of these pictures were taken on my property.














*  All of these shots are SOOC.  No editing at all.  

Sunday, January 12, 2014

What Gear Do I Have?

I have been studying photography for several years.  As my love for photography has grown, so has my taste in photography gear.  Here is a list of my current gear:

JoTotes Betsy in Mustard bag  - I love my camera bag.  Not only can I fit all of my photography gear in this bag, I can also fit other necessities like my phone, business cards, car keys, etc.  This bag has been mistaken as a fancy purse.  I like wearing my bag like a messenger bag, but it also comes with a shorter bag strap if you like to carry your gear higher on your body.

Canon 7D - This camera is fabulous!  What I love about this camera is it's high ISO capabilities and the HD video option.  Sometimes my subjects are being so cute that I just have to flip the switch from photo mode to video mode.

Canon 55-250mm lens - This lens is great for landscape shots and sports shots.

Canon 18-55mm kit lens - I use this lens the most.  This is a wide angle lens that zooms.  I use they

Canon 50mm f/1.8 lens - This is a fixed lens, meaning it does not zoom.  Your feet act as the zoom when you use this lens.  This particular fix lens is great for portrait shots.

Transcend 32GB 400x CF card - I know there are larger memory cards out there, but this one is large enough for my needs.

LensPEN Lens Cleaner - This tool is less than $6 and is just so handy!  If you have dust or smudges on your lens, a few gentle swipes of a LensPEN will make your lens look crystal clear.

Joby UltraFit Sling Strap for Women - I really like this camera strap.  It is super easy to adjust and I like how I can wear my camera in a variety of ways depending on how the camera strap is adjusted.


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Handing Your Camera Over To Someone Else

To me, it is very important to make sure I am in some of the pictures with my kids.
I am my family's photographer, so I am almost always the one behind the camera.
I knew I wanted my husband to take a picture of my and my 3 year old girl while we were all dressed up for our family pictures.  So after I took all the time consuming pictures, I handed my nice DSLR to my husband to take this photo:
What a sweet picture, right?
So, how was I able to hand my camera to my husband (who is not a photographer) 
and end up with a beautiful picture like this?  
Well, I first took a picture of my daughter all by herself in the same spot.  
I had my camera on manual mode, set to the proper f/stop, ISO, and shutter speed. 
I had my white balance set to the sun mode since my light source was the sun. 
I put the camera on AF (auto focus) and handed my husband my camera.
The kind of shot I was looking for was a portrait format (vertical shot) of me and my girl. 
I told  him that I wanted the river in the background and our whole bodies to show. 
My husband followed my directions well.  The only thing that is missing is my daughter's left foot.
 Great job, honey!  Your short and sporadic photography lessons from me are paying off!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Yearly Portraits of My Kids

I've never been impressed with the traditional school portraits that the kids bring home from school every year… so I don't buy them.  Instead, I take my own portraits of my kids.  I try real hard to capture their real smiles.  This year, I consider the results a great success.  I mean, just check out these smiles:
B - 3rd grade - age 8
T - Kindergarten - age 6
K-Preschool - age 3 
J - 4 months
Toothless baby smiles are the best!

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

How To Take Your Own Family Photos

The whole process of taking family photos yourself is exhausting but so worth it!  I thought it would be fun to tell you all about the process.

1.  Picking the outfits.  Now, this task is daunting in and of itself.  This may sound selfish, but I always think about myself first when deciding what outfits our family will wear.  You know the saying that goes something like, "If momma ain't happy, no one is."  So I always make sure that I am wearing something that makes me feel fabulous.  Then I look through our closets and use what we have and make it work.  I looked for colors that coordinate with the outfit I wore.


2.  Picking the location.  I went into this photo shoot with the idea of having our annual family photo taken in a location surrounded by fall leaves.  I wasn't set on an exact location but I knew we should be able to find a suitable place at one of our favorite nearby parks.  We got there about 3:30pm.  I scouted out the area… a really pretty place a river, a bridge, and a wooded area.  I just loved the look of the bright yellow leaf covered ground in the wooded area.  The lighting was perfect and I started to set up my gear.


3.  Equipment.  The equipment I used for this photo shoot: my Canon 7D DSLR camera, my 18-55mm lens, my tripod, a metal chair, and my wireless remote.  I put a bright orange hair scrunchie around the lens so everyone would easily know where to look for the pictures.  It had been awhile since I had used the wireless remote, so I had to look up the proper camera settings in my camera manual.  (I let the boys just play and get their wiggles out while I got things set up.  B almost fell down.  So glad he didn't.  T was a good sport and sat down for a few seconds while I locked the focus.)


This photo cracked me up and made me nervous.  I loved T's face but K was super fussy and we hadn't even started yet.

4.  The progression of the family set up.  My husband is really tall, so I had him sit in the metal chair.  And since I was in charge of the remote, my husband ended up with both girls on his lap.  T really wanted to stand by K, so I let him.


My second camera timer shot.  I ran over really quick to jump in my spot and my smile and hair went all crazy.

Okay, so here is the best set up I came up with for our family.  I started with my husband and had him sit in the metal chair.  Then I put the girls on his lap.  I let T stand where he wanted to so he wouldn't fuss.  I convinced B that he would look best if he stood up on the other side of his dad.  That left the perfect pocket of space for me to go right behind my middle kids.  I wanted our faces to all be kind of close together.  So even though I am short, but I still decided to not stand up completely.    The heavy tree on one side and the smaller trees on the other framed our family just right.  The photos look nice and balanced.  
All that was left was to take a few shots and pick the best one for our Christmas card.  

I exposed the photos for our skin, which resulted in blowing out the sky.  
The overexposed sky doesn't distract from the overall look of the photos.  



The winning photo!  I just cropped this photo in a bit for our Christmas card.

Two bonus shots of the day:
J, S, K
B, Lisa, T

*All of these photos were taken in manual mode.

Just keeping it real.  I could've let the craziness of the kids overwhelm me and not even attempt to do family photos.   I like a challenge though and kept going.  I challenge you to learn your camera and take your own family photos.  Your family will thank you for it.  Promise.

MVI 3272 from Lisa Ward on Vimeo.
A fun perk to my Canon 7D camera is that it has the HD video feature built in.  All I had to do was flip a switch on my camera, and voila, instant home video.  Love it!