November 27, 2011

First Sunday of Advent | St. Paul Cathedral

1st Sunday of Advent at St. Paul Cathedral in Pittsburgh PA
Advent is such a special time.  I was so happy to make the trip to Pittsburgh on Saturday night with part of my family for the vigil mass for the 1st Sunday of Advent.  I'm looking forward to being able to take the next several weeks to reflect on this past year.  To prepare for Christmas from a nonsecular viewpoint.

November 20, 2011

Lifestyle Photography Tips | New Castle Family Photographer

For Sunday Stills this week we were asked to share a Portrait Session and some tips to improve Portraits.  This is a Lifestyle Session done with my Sisterella and her beautiful children.

Tip 1... Location.  It's super to have the location either be the choice of your subject or relevant to their life in some way.  This location was chosen because the children's father is an Engineer on the railroad.

Tip 2 ... Photos from behind.  I love the above photo.  Colin setting off and Anna following.  A priceless narrative to where they are in their life right now.

Tip 3 ... Not all photo need a constrained crop.  Frame for the subject/story NOT for the 'picture frame'.

Tip 4 ... If your subject is low to the ground. Then get down on the ground and shoot from their perspective.  Alternately you can shoot from up high...I love my 3 step ladder (I always have it with me now).

Tip 5 ... Background.  Before you press the shutter make sure that your background is clean.

Tip 6 ... Wait.  Let your subjects breathe.  Let things happen.  I like this photo better then the one above it.  And in a few years when Colin is all grown up, Sisterella will like this one better too.  

Tip 7 ... Shoot the funny stuff.  Mum with the 'props' makes a fun Facebook profile photo.

Tip 8 ... Be on the look out for the sweet stuff.  It wasn't hard to see what was going to happen once Anna Sophia picked a couple of flowers and headed back towards Mum.  My camera is to my eye the majority of the shoot.

Tip 9 ... Let the treasures be in the shoot.  Colin had a Railroad spike and Anna had given Mum the flowers.  They were equally proud of these found 'treasures' from our morning out.  No use in asking to put them down and tempt a hissy-fit.

Tip 10 ... Move those Focus Points.  Moving the Focus Points on the camera is now second nature to me.  It wasn't always.  But once I got used to doing it ... it stepped up my composition game.  Yes you can focus and recompose, which I do frequently for my still subject.  But for moving subjects or my fast moving Polo photography moving those Focus Points gets me a shaper better composed picture every  time.  It's second nature to me adjusting Aperture and Shutter Speed.

Tip 11 ...  Get a variety of lighting scenarios.  Front light, back light, side light.  Opportunities for flare or a silhouette shot add some drama to the Gallery that you present to your subject.  And allow your artistic side to come through.

And finally...

Tip 12 ... When you are looking for a location.  Scanning for the next place to move your subjects...your camera needs to be up to your eye.  You need to be looking through your lens so that you can see what will be in the shot.  See the environment from your lenses perspective.

Happy shooting!

November 16, 2011

Stumped with Wadsworth

O hemlock-tree! O hemlock-tree! how faithful are thy branches!
Green not alone in summer time,
But in the winter's frost and rime!
O hemlock-tree! O hemlock-tree! how faithful are thy branches!
-From The Hemlock Tree by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I wonder if the little Hemlock that has sprouted in this spot has any sense of the of the tree that once stood where it is now growing?  Maybe.  Maybe not.  But I like to believe that it does.

Mighty may it grow, protected as it is by what remains of it's predecessor.

November 13, 2011

Fuzzy Cow Belly

This week at Sunday Stills the challenge was to shoot with a change of perspective.  Then post one good photo and one bad.  Sometimes a photo is neither good or bad and it's up to you to pick which shot you like best.  When Im shooting I always think...'get the shot'.  Then look for the shot within the shot or the new perspective or angle.

I shot the above photo first.  I liked the sun position and the opportunity for flair and I had a bit of a soft spot for 923 here...she was very curious about my camera.  I liked the photo and the angle but thought that I should change my position and see what else I could capture.

For the 2nd photo I just moved over from where I was standing (apron 10-12') and closed up the space between us with the zoom.

Once I got home and had a chance to look at both images on the computer I was happy that I took the time to take the 2nd image.  I'm not sure which one I like better.  For me I think I like the 1st maybe a tad bit better.  I like the way her body is leading my eye right back into the frame towards the light.

Which do you prefer and why?

November 9, 2011

Tula | New Wilmington Pet Photographer

Tula | Miniature Dachshund
I think it's safe to say that Tula is my smallest client yet!  And is she ever an adorable seven pounds of energy.  I love my JRT's but I could easily become a Doxie convert.  More photos will be coming soon from this fun session with Tula and her gorgeous person Cindy.

November 4, 2011

Big Blue Silo

Blue Sky Over Kemland Farm in Volant, PA