Photog Friday: Photo Exercise #1 (repost)

Last Friday of the month is a photo exercise! Since no one has been participating – let’s start over!

The idea is this, I’ll post an exercise and upload your photos for the following month.  So, you will have until the end of the next month to post your photo(s).  The exercises will mostly be “mommy based” but you don’t have to be a mommy to play!  The exercises will be based on some being posted for Me Ra Koh’s Soar Sisters (which includes yours truly).  I’m hoping these will help you learn a few skills as well as help me stretch & grow!

So, let’s get started!!

Photo Exercise #1 (January)

This exercise will focus on the “art of storytelling”.  Storytelling has more of an impact at lower apertures, so if you have a 50mm or macro lens available to you – use it!  A lower aperture will give you the pretty, creamy, bokeh (or blur) effect – see last Friday’s post for more information on aperture.  If you don’t have a 50mm, use the lowest aperture your lens is capable of.  If you are working with a point and shoot, Me Ra recommends you use the flower or portrait icon.  Get lots of distance between you and the subject and shoot in Av or Manual mode.


Pick 2 different people. One will be a kid and one your husband (or significant other).  If you don’t have the later, use a friend, someone your age or older.  (the point is using 2 people with a large gap in age)

You will shoot 5 details that matter in their lives.  Try using different f-stops and compare.  Pick a favorite f-stop and decide why it ended up being your favorite.

Take some notes on how you decided what mattered to them.  Did you ask them any fact-finding questions? What questions did you ask to learn more about them? Jot those down.  Write down which persons details were easier? Where they momentary details or timeless details?

If you end up really excited about the assignment – capture 5 details about your own life.  How do they compare to the other 2 peoples?  Were you surprised about what YOUR details ended up being?

Be prepared to share 2 shots from 1 of the subjects  you chose.  Also, share the photos with the person you chose, they may be surprised how important something really is that they may give little thought to on a daily basis.  These make GREAT photo book gift for mom, dad, or grandparents … but, an everyday-I-love-you-gift is nice too!! And don’t forget Valentine’s Day is coming!!

The assignment may take you all month or it may take you 1 afternoon.  My hope is that you see how photographs capture the stories of our lives.  The DETAILS are a significant part of that story.   A lot of times in life we miss these little details.  We may not realize how important they are until we see them captured in a photograph.

ok, so that’s it – have fun! You have until the end of February to post (it may take me THAT long to work out any posting bugs!)  Please don’t forget, this is still new to me so it may take a few assignments for me to make it all go smoothly!

Email me your 2 photos to: (please put Assignment# in subject) so I can upload/watermark them for you.  Feel free to use the ‘comments’ to add any additional story to your photos.


At the Ranch

This was a fun session with a great family. I don’t think these boys had ever been to this location, they seemed to really enjoy it. They were so cute just exploring and having the best time! I’m so glad I was able to squeeze this late minute session into my schedule for this trip!

Thanks to the Dumas Family for hanging out with me.

Photog Friday: Aperture

Happy Friday!!

We’ve covered the exposure triangle (click HERE for the post) so now I want to build on that a little more for you. To review, the three main areas that you can adjust are ISO, Shutter speed, and Aperture. Let’s talk about Aperture and what you can do when shooting your Wild Thing.

Aperture is basically the opening in the lens when the picture is taken. The bigger the opening, the more light is allowed in (here’s a tip: the more light you let in the fast shutter speed you can use to stop your Wild Thing in motion or in the house). In my opinion, getting a grasp on aperture will allow you to start getting creative with your camera. The best place to start to get out of the full Auto mode is to play with the Av. This will isolate the aperture for you so you can see how your changes in aperture change the way your shot looks.

Points to remember!

  • Aperture is measured in ‘f-stops’You’ve seen the f/2.8, f/4, f/5.6 etc. Those numbers refer to the aperture. Moving from one f-stop to the next doubles (or cuts in half) the size of the opening of your lens which will do the same to the amount of light that’s let in. Don’t forget that changing the aperture one stop to the next also doubles or halves the shutter speed to let the same amount of light in. If you’re increasing one, you need to decrease the other to let the same amount of light in. Decreasing your aperture number means you can shoot at a faster shutter speed … because you’re letting in more light … because your opening is bigger. Bigger opening=Larger Aperture=More Light gets in.

  • Larger Apertures will have small numbers The smaller numbers (f/1.4, f/2, f/4) are wider openings or larger apertures. A wider opening means more light will get in but with the larger apertures, less of what you see in the picture is in focus. These larger apertures are used in creative or macro shots where just a small portion of the shot is in focus and the rest is a creamy background/foreground (example shots 3 & 4 below). Use these to isolate your Wild Thing in the shot with a creamy background. The larger numbers (f/11, f/13, f/22) are smaller apertures where less light is let in and more of what is in the shot is in focus. These apertures are used in landscape shots where everything from you the mountains is in focus (example shot 1 below). Use these to tell the story about where or what your Wild Thing is in the middle of with the background details in focus.

    The best way to wrap your brain around it is … wait for it … PRACTICE! I say it every time but practice, practice, practice! I mostly shoot in larger apertures. Why? It let’s in more light, I like the creamy backgrounds, it allows me to shoot faster shutter speeds, and I love the shallow DOF. Its confusing I know, but email me if you have any questions!

    Here are some example shots to help you visualize things.


    1. Small Aperture, Large number, details in background

    Small Aperture, all of the shot is in focus at f/13


    2. Small-Medium Aperture, Medium number

    More is in focus at f/5.6


    3. Larger Aperture, Small number

    Larger Aperture, f/2 makes the background creamy


    4. Larger Aperture, Small Number

    Larger Apertures, f/2 have a shallow DOF (less is in focus)


    Look at Those Baby Blues

    I 1st photographed this little cutie at his newborn session. I knew back then that I would fall in love with those big blue eyes! All babies are special to their parents but this little boy makes this family extra special. He’s a little stingy with his smiles but with a face like that you don’t need’em! I can’t wait to see him again in the Spring … on the beach!!

    Big thanks to his family for always having so much faith in my work!

    Mommy Monday: Bubble Boy

    If you’re a mom of a preschooler you know that some routines get turned on their heads when a child suddenly becomes strong willed. I guess that can happen at any age. BUT at 3, there seems to be a switch in the brain that is triggered to make the child think THEY control everything. Doesn’t matter if science can’t prove it (they’re too busy debating dinosaurs & planets) any mom can tell you – children make it to the age of 4 by God’s grace.

    Terrible 2 has NOTHING on jacked-up-schedule-and-now-he’s-telling-ME-where-to-stick-it-3’s!! Don’t get me wrong, I know Reed is an easy going kid as far as they go … and we have good days 85% of the time … and those good days are AWESOME … but BOY do I miss the terrible 2’s bad days in comparison to 3!

    All that being said, I just sat down after putting on a dry shirt, wiping the sweat off my forehead, *deep breath*. Time to clear my thoughts after a bath time routine gone horribly wrong quickly turned “you’re going straight to bed, don’t even THINK you’re earning a story back”. Clicking through older shots for today’s post, these shots caught my eye … ahhhhh, the days when bath time was always fun!

    I have faith the next bath will be better … but at the moment I’m thinking about once a week baths – just in case.

    Photog Friday: When Wild Things Roam

    Happy Friday!!

    We’ve talked a little about this before, but I thought it was about time for a refresher on – capturing images of Wild Things! (aka toddlers, preschoolers, little guys, anyone yet to have permanent teeth … you get the idea). They can be not only tough but exhausting to capture! If you know one or have one (we’ll pray for you) then you know you have to have a “Plan” ahead of time, thinking your gonna just go out and get great shots of a Wild Thing on the fly is just silly – they’re too smart for thinly disguised motives. The more you want it, the less they cooperate … they can smell desperation from a mile. So, get down wind by having a plan!

    Some tips?

    1. Let Them Roam. Give the wild thing some space. Let them think they’re far enough away that you can’t catch them and ZOOM in! If they don’t see you, they tend to forget about your camera. I’m not suggesting you hide in a bush … but I’ve done it. I’m not ashamed. You can also get shots of them walking (who’s kidding, running) away from you. This will also capture their surroundings.








    2. Ready Your Camera. Once you’re tired of shooting from far off, prepare your camera for tip #3 – action shots. Hopefully, you’re shooting in manual. If not, set your camera to Av mode and the lowest aperture you can. In manual you’ll want to be at the lowest ISO you can (100 for sun, 200 if cloudy or lots of shade). I like to shoot in the lowest f/stop available to me for a creamy background. Then set your shutter speed at least 1/250 but probably 1/400. If you want a “motion blur” to show how fast your Wild Thing is flailing, then you’ll want something slower then probably 1/80. If you’ve been practicing, you’ll have a good feel for where to start and tweak accordingly.






    3. Lure Him Back In. Most Wild Things can’t help but partake in a good game of chase. Now that you’ve given him some room, taunt him back in with a squeal and fake sprint in the opposite direction. The Wild Things instinct will be to giggle and come after you. This will give you the opportunity to flip around and get a couple of shots of him running towards you. A few “ahhhhhh don’t catch me!” and fake runs from you and your Wild Thing may chase you all day.

    Good Luck!

    For more on shooting Wild Things you can read an older post HERE. And comment if you have any questions.

    Mommy Monday: The Happiest Face

    Happy Monday!!

    This week I Heart Faces challenged us to find our “Best Face Photo of 2010”. Since I’m pretty fond of 1 particular face, I do believe this one is my very best capture of his spirit for the year. Today’s Mommy Monday post is dedicated to that photo entry. And you can VOTE HERE if you agree! (Entry #263)

    This shot just makes me smile every time I see it. Wish I could bottle that energy!

    Best Face of 2010