Mar
31
Autism

my growing nephews


Yesterday I shot some photos of my sister, Josh and the boys. We try to do this once a year and I always feel so much pressure because I want to do such an amazing job for them but they are also my trickiest clients ever. If you haven't been following my blog long, both of my nephews have Autism. Noah is almost 8 and Elijah is 6. They're adorable and I can't believe how huge they are getting! But if you look at the thumbnails from our shoots, it's pretty hilarious. I always think it's a miracle that we get even one photo with everyone looking decent. There is a whole lot of wiggling and some interesting expressions and Elijah won't look at the camera no matter how much you call his name. They are manageable for about 10 minutes and then everyone is done. It's every family shoot with kids times 10 :). And I want it to be perfect. So I have my work cut out for me.

The top photo is miraculous--you don't even know. We told them to hug and then they just happened to look toward the camera and smile--so precious.

Here's Noah--so big and a skateboarding pro already:


Grandma and grandpa came along to help out and here they are bribing Elijah with a cookie:


Cookie monster himself:


The one in 300 best family photo of the day:


I have to give a ton of credit to Natalie and Josh. They've done this many times over the years and it takes SO MUCH ENERGY. Plus they have to look good themselves in the process.

Another cute shot:


I like this one because it shows them as themselves and the connections they have with each other:



Whew! Love them.


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Mar
31
For Photographers

Album Design Templates


I get a ton of questions from photographers about how I do my album design. The answer is: I use Photojunction software (NOW COMPLETELY FREE SOFTWARE!!) and over time have created my own templates that I pull from to create each unique album. This works great for me and is very efficient. If you haven't had a chance to see some of the results, click here to view a number of our most recent designs!

The exciting news is that I offer my template collections for sale so that other photographers can benefit from them as well! I have an entire website dedicated to my album design templates so click on the link to find out more!


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Album Design Templates


Mar
31
News!

Templates now available for PJ Remix!


Great news! The fabulous, super-helpful people over at Photojunction converted my templates so they can be used with Remix--the latest and greatest version of Photojunction! So for you photographers who have been waiting SO patiently--thanks--and click here to get all the info you need to place your order.

If you have no idea what I'm talking about but are a photographer who would love help with your album designs, click here too!


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MJ's Camera Bag


Mar
28
For Photographers

f.a.q. -- backlighting


I can't believe how long it's been since I answered a photographer question on my blog! What a slacker I've turned into!

This question from Dusty was a comment on my blog back in November on the Meyer Family Portrait post and I've been meaning to get to it ever since.

Dusty has a great question about lighting. Lighting is something I feel like I've just learned a ton about this past year. When I first started I would place my subjects in locations based on the background rather than the light. I learned fairly early on that I could get very even lighting in full shade so I would stick to locations where I could place my subjects in the shade and the entire background would be shade as well--so the lighting was even. This works well and I still do this often. But in the past year I've realized the full extent of how much light affects photos. Light is by far the most important variable in creating a great photo. I've found that if I find great light, the background of a photo is less important.

Dusty's questions referred to the following photographs:



Both photos were shot with my 70-200mm in the same location. I did move myself around the subjects a bit to get the second effect.

Here's another recent example of my new favorite lighting scenario:


Basically what I do is I look for the end of a shady area --where the shade ends and light begins and where the shade is possibly diffusing part of the sun--making it less harsh. In all of the above examples, I used trees. But buildings work great as well. Trees are excellent because they can be used to block part of the sun but still let some of it through. I place my subjects' backs to the sun in the spot where the sun is still hitting their heads but the bulk of the background is shaded. This means that the light will be the same on their faces as it is in the background. But instead of it being a flat photo -- like photos that are in full shade -- this scenario creates some nice hair light that separates the subjects from the background and often gives a nice glow to the photo. Depending on how much light is coming through and where you position yourself you can get some flare or some of the beams that you see in the second photo. You have to experiment with your positioning while shooting to get the different effects. I rarely shoot with the sun in the frame -- that creates more of a silhouette effect -- but shooting with the sun slightly out of the frame works well.

I hope this answers your question Dusty and helps others of you out there who are learning about light!


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Align


Mar
26
Other Photos

beautiful baby shower details


Today I had the pleasure of shooting a beautiful baby shower full of gorgeous details--always a photographer's dream :). All the credit for every detail of this shower goes to Lynn Maestas with Party in Bloom. Her site is still in the works but definitely bookmark it if you have a party in your future.

The baby shower was thrown by the residents of Esplanade Place Condominiums for one of their own in the building's clubhouse. These were the amazing invitations that Lynn designed, created and sent out to the guests complete with a silver baby-toy-block style box:


And here is Natalie, the guest of honor and mom-to-be looking radiant and thrilled with the results:


The fun and bright table settings:


Each napkin was wrapped like a diaper:


The place-holders:


I loved the little ornaments that hung off the back of the chairs:


The bright-colored drinks the guests were served upon arrival:


Lynn even took care to decorate the ceiling:



Great work Lynn! What a fabulous party in preparation for baby Max's debut!


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