Friday, December 28, 2012

Fashionable Family

I can't believe 2012 is coming to a close! My last session of the year was this lovely family.
It was a rainy day and we almost had to cancel the session, but luckily we had access to a great country club that provided some shelter from the storm.
Our goal was to capture some images for some New Year's cards.  
Thanks to all of my clients, friends, and family members that made 2012 so amazing.
As the year counts down, I'm looking forward to even more fun with you all in 2013!

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Full of Fall Colors

The late fall in California made for some wonderful background for a photo session over Thanksgiving weekend.
Such gorgeous color is almost unheard of in this area of California (at least in such abundance).
It was so nice to look through my viewfinder to see such happy faces!
The fact that their outfits looked so great against the foliage was an added bonus!
Holiday weekends are extra special when your boys are home from college.
Especially when they headed off to college early!
The fact that they were still smiling at the end of the session made me happy as well.
Thanks for making my job so easy (and fun)!

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Holiday Giving (and receiving)

It's that time of the season when Holiday Drinks are in the local coffee shops,
and children are making their wish lists for Santa.
So from now until December 9th, anyone who books a mini-session and brings an unwrapped toy valued between $15 and $30 will receive 25 free holiday cards!
Be sure to contact me ASAP to schedule your session time!
~ ~ ~ ~ ~ 
Can't make a mini-session? 
 Feel free to donate via my Virtual Giving Tree!
Happy Holidays!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

A Senior Session

When I was growing up Senior portraits meant High School seniors
Perhaps that's because at the time I dreamt of becoming a HS Senior and thus could relate.

Today I've found I have to clarify, as some people think it means Senior Citizens. 
Which is perfectly fine too! 
This session occurred in Santa Rosa at a gorgeous historical home and gardens.
Isn't she just delightful? 
 It was a gorgeous October day and I was so happy I could spend it in such a beautiful location.
L. Burbank the former owner of the property one said;
"Flowers always make people better, happier, and more helpful;
they are sunshine, food and medicine for the soul." 
in this case especially I'd have to agree.

Monday, October 22, 2012

Playing @ Picchetti

When one of my favorite families wanted to book a session for the fall, how could I argue?
We decided to meet at a location in the Santa Cruz Mountains, that oozed California history.
Rustic barns and old concrete water troughs make a perfect background for a family with two rambunctious boys.
I do so love my job when I have such great subjects to work with.
We practiced making album covers for when the boys "make it big" in the industry.
Because I believe every young man should work on their album cover if they are even the least bit inclined to do so.  
There were even a few chickens roaming around!
Which made it even more special, since these city dwellers happen to have a small backyard flock as well.
Their smiles and laughter made it great day in the mountains, thanks you guys for the perfect session!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

After the Shoot

One of the biggest misconceptions professional photographers seem to run into is that once they take a picture their job is done.
While most of my clients understand that's NOT the case, I thought I'd take a few moments today to show my "behind the scenes steps" to help enlighten anyone who isn't familiar what happens after their session.

In the simplest of terms, a professional digital camera (Digital Single-Lens Reflex or DSLR) is capable of shooting in a RAW image format.
These are equivalent to "negatives" in the film world, the data is unprocessed.  (Standard point-and-shoot cameras convert the data to JPG format in your camera for you.)
The top left SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera) image is a RAW file.
Since the data hasn't been developed RAW images are more flat and darker than a standard image.
A professional photographer needs to use special software to convert the RAW file into a file that can be viewed by a standard image viewer. (Usually a Jpg or Tiff file)
The LR image on the top right is what the original file looks like after some tweaking and conversions in Lightroom.  Notice that the image has a bit more depth and contrast.
When shooting RAW more image data is captured and the photographer gets to decide what they want to keep, versus the camera deciding for you.
(This comes in handy when a white wedding dress is involved, as you can actually retain the detail, whereas the smaller, compressed Jpg file might not.)
Photographers that shoot in automatic or only shoot Jpg would end up with a picture similar to the one above.  (The "developing" is done in-camera.)
Many people are quite happy with this look and stop at this point. To a photographer the image is still too flat and dark, and could use a bit more processing.
Blemish Removal
The bottom left (PS) image is after some basic edits in Photoshop. (For me "basic" includes lightening, eye brightening, skin touch-ups, and color adjustment.)
In the image above I am working on removing slight blemishes which include anything from dark patches to pimples.
I then soften the skin ever so slightly and reduce the fine lines and wrinkles.
The process for men is much less pronounced than for women but you can still notice a bit of difference.
In babies I also work on the cradle cap and patchy skin color if needed.
If your teeth are shown in your smile, I create a layer and adjust the brightness and remove any evidence of your coffee or tea habit.
I also need to adjust the skin tones and color.  I may brighten the eyes, take some shine out of the hair, remove specs from shirts, etc.
This shot was taken during the color correction process, it's looking brighter and more life-like, but I still have a few more steps to go before this photo would meet with my approval.
This screen shot shows my workflow, it takes about 7-15 different layers in Photoshop to achieve the results above. 
(Now imagine I need to edit the faces of a family and multiply my process accordingly.)
My final steps include removing any distractions from the background (in this case a bit of the "wrinkles" in the fabric) and cropping the image for printing.
The CROP image is of the final image which has been "trimmed" to a standard 5" x 7" size.
I then need to re-size the images for the web and include my watermark before uploading them to my client's gallery for viewing.
Which image would you like your photographer to provide?
These "basic" behind the scenes steps are applied to EVERY single image that I show to my clients.
Every photographer has a slightly different process to get the results they desire, and I encourage you to find a photographer that's final look is something you like.
Take a look at their portfolio and see if their style is the right one for you,
and then remember that in all likelihood they had their own "behind the scenes" processes to get there, and their work is just beginning after your session is complete.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Class of 2013

I was so happy that my first Class of 2013 Senior was this handsome young man.
I was surprised to learn he didn't like having his picture taken growing up.
We met at the golf course for the shoot, and discussed sports a bit.
Golf is too slow for this young man, although he assured me he deflect a golf ball quickly if one happened to fly by.
You see the true love of his life is hockey, and from all accounts he's quite good. 
He even humored me in holding the stick just so, even if it's not how they normally do it.

The location was gorgeous, and he was great about battling the elements (and bugs) and crazy photographers that wobbled on a chair above his head to get a shot.

I even discovered Iowa has a hockey team!
I love it when I learn new things during a session!
Be on the look-out for the next great thing in hockey!  I have the feeling this young man is going far!

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Fab Family of Five

The other weekend I had the opportunity to explore a small historical home and arboretum with a fun family of five.
I have a soft spot for Cocker Spaniels, and was so happy that these two gorgeous pups could join in on the fun.

I also have a soft spot for cute little baby toes, and this 1-year old pretty much stole the show.
She is so close to walking on her own that I was surprised she didn't just take off and go during the shoot. 

She had the sweetest expressions!  In fact, I took more pictures on this day than I have on any other shoot thus far.
The red velvet cake created quite a few raspberries! Perhaps it's an acquired taste?
Even the dogs hammed it up!  Doesn't it look like he's smiling?
Maybe he still had a bit of left over peanut butter treat stuck to the roof of his mouth?
Or perhaps he was wondering if he might be able to sneak a taste some of that yummy red velvet cake!
Thanks guys for the fun day!

Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Day with the Girls

I have been so busy editing photos lately I haven't had a chance to share them with you!  So I'm afraid you'll be getting a few updates this week. Starting with three wonderfully fun women.  Two of which are sisters.

This sister is visiting from Croatia, she makes the best burek ever! (It's a flaky, buttery pastry with meat or cheese.)  It was absolutely delicious!  She doesn't speak much English and except for a few food terms am completely clueless when it comes to Croatian, but we got along swimmingly.
This is her sister, who lives in the states now. They were such a kick! It felt like I knew them forever even though we just met. In fact, I may be dusting off my cowboy boots and going out dancing soon, as I've been invited to join them in some fun.
I also was able to take some pictures of their dear friend, who has a sweetheart overseas. She wants to surprise him with some pictures.I just loved her smile and cute dress, I'm sure her new beau will too.

Thanks girls for the great day!

Thursday, July 26, 2012

A Day at the Beach

This gorgeous family originally scheduled their session for San Francisco,
but when car troubles created a change of plans,

I had no problem meeting them in Pismo Beach instead.

It ended up being the perfect place for a father to teach his son the proper skipping rock technique.

Or for the mischievous middle child to pose for the camera.  She loved the lens and it showed!
Or for the older sister to find a few moments to contemplate the finer things in life, and enjoy the quiet of the beach. 

I had such fun visiting with this amazing family, I'm so glad they were able to smile despite the change of plans

Monday, July 23, 2012

Wild Country

“…perhaps our grandsons, having never seen a wild river, will never miss the chance to set a canoe in singing waters... glad I shall never be young without wild country to be young in.” 
~ Aldo Leopold               

Photo shoots with boys are so much fun! Perhaps it's because we often explore the "wild country".
These boys were wonderful despite the fact the heat index was 115 degrees on the day of their session.
It was hot and miserable and if the water wasn't so murky (and warm) they probably would have been in it.
I loved that they were pretty much game for anything.
Especially when I told them one of them would win the "Top Model" prize if they did a good job.
(Any guesses on who won?)

When I asked them to look like loving brothers, they nailed that too.
Thanks boys for a great day, Iowa humidity and all.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Family Fun

The other day I had the opportunity to work with the sweetest family!
We met at a local rose garden, as the background was perfect for the colorful outfits and the family's gorgeous smiles.
I just had to share this sneak peak of a few of their pictures.
I adore the shot below.  It just radiates love and such an amazing family bond!
They were so photogenic I almost had to pinch myself to see if I was dreaming!

We timed our session perfectly and as the sun set, the girls rushed up to the top of a nearby hill as if on cue.
I loved how their silhouettes highlighted their unique personalities!
I was surprised to learn this was their very first family portrait session!
They were such fun to work with and so great about taking minimal directions that they looked and acted like pros! 

Friday, June 15, 2012

Silver and Silpada

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to capture three wonderful women for their Silpada Jewelry websites.
Each shoot lasted less than 15 minutes but we still managed to capture their personalities,
and all three were absolutely gorgeous in their silver jewelry.
They all were such a delight to work with, you can tell they love what they do.
I was enamored with their jewelry selections as well!
and I especially loved how they looked in "silver".