Sunday, December 4, 2011

Perfect Christmas Tree Photos

Capturing gorgeous photos of your Christmas tree is all about selecting the correct shutter speed.

Shutter speed is the speed that the shutter opens, lets in the image and then closes.  Shutter speed manages two elements of your photo: the amount of light in your image and the amount of motion captured in your image.

When the shutter speed is on a lower/slower setting the shutter is open a longer amount of time letting in more light.  The slower the shutter speed the longer the shutter is open and the more light that is let in to create your image.  When the shutter speed is on a higher/faster setting the shutter is open less time letting in less light.  The faster the shutter speed the less time the shutter is open and the darker your image.   When capturing your Christmas tree you want to let in lots & lots of light so you would select a lower/slower shutter speed.

When the shutter speed is on a lower/slower setting the shutter is open a longer amount of time capturing all the movement found in your scene.  The slower the shutter speed the longer the shutter is open and the more movement that is captured in your image.  When the shutter speed is on a higher/faster setting the shutter is open less time capturing a smaller amount of "time" in our scene, stopping any movement that is happening.  The faster the shutter speed the less time the shutter is open and the less motion is captures.  The higher/faster the shutter the sharper your image.  When capturing your Christmas tree you want to capture the "movement" of the lights so you would select a lower/slower shutter speed.
Notice 2 things in the following images.  Notice as the shutter speed increases the images becomes darker, also notice that the bulbs get smaller. 
What do you do when you get images that look like this?...


End Result...

  Be sure to put my workshops on your Christmas list!
 Just a few of the things you'll learn:
-Shooting in Manual Mode
-Perfect Lighting Every time
-My Favorite Poses
-The Magic of Photoshop
Photo By Emilie Workshops:

I couldn't resist adding this next one.  When I asked my baby niece to reach up to the top of the tree she lost her balance and in slow motion starting timbering into the Christmas Tree.  My Sister In Law is one quick lady and caught her before she knocked the whole tree over.  Of course I captured the whole thing on camera.  Enjoy....

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Santa Pix with no Santa

All you need is a...

-Santa Hat (I found mine in the $1 bin at Target)
-White Glove
-Fabric for a backdrop (I used black fabric but you can use anything you have around)
-Reflector (I'll talk more about this later in the post)

Cut a hole big enough for your hand to fit through
The perfect spot to shoot is next to an open door.  You'll notice a couple of things...

1.  Notice I just draped the backdrop over the open door.
2.  Notice that my Santa hand person was not blocking the light coming in the door. 
3.  Notice there is no direct sun coming through the door just indirect light.

Here's the image I captured...

The next images I played with a reflector as fill light.  (Fill light is the light that diminishes the shadows cast by the main light.)  The open door will light my subject bright on one side and leave a shadow on the other side of her face.  Sometime this look is desired.  A strong light and dark side makes for a more dramatic image.  When you diminish the shadows by using fill light it creates a more soft image.

Ho Ho Ho Merry Christmas!!

If you enjoyed this tip and love learning about photography and lighting then you must check out the Photo By Emilie Workshops.  I offers workshops in Salt Lake and ONLINE!!  I am giving you a discount of $25 off until Christmas.

Discount Code "perfectgift"

Friday, November 4, 2011

Accessories under $100.

Gift giving season is upon us.  Here are 10 fantastic photography accessories under $100.  Happy Shopping!!

Keeping your lens clean is so important to the sharpness and quality of your images.  This cleaning kit is only $15.90 on Amazon.  Here is a video on how to clean your lens.  Happy Cleaning :)

The harsh and direct light produced by the on camera flashes is so unflattering.  This Soft Screen Pop-Up Flash Diffuser softens and diffuses the light.  It's only $11.95 on Amazon.

This program does 90% of what the full version of Photoshop does, but at a tiny fraction of the cost of the full professional version.  Only $89.99 on Amazon.


If you have Photoshop you Must have my action set.  It comes with a Color, BandW, Vintage & Soft color action.  Have Elements?  No trouble, it comes with step by step on running the actions in Elements.  Only $30.00 on my blog.

This little flash is 90% as good as the Canon/Nikon flash and comes at less than one-fifth the price.  I have one of these flashes and love it.  The YN-560 works on both Canon or Nikon cameras.  Only $68.64 on Amazon.

This Rain Cover is perfect for the upcoming winter snow storm photos.  You can buy a permanent one for more money, but I like the cheapies since they are so small and portable.  Only $5.99 on Amazon.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE my reflector.  I use my constantly!!  My favorite is the 32" White/Soft Gold.  Click here for read a tip I wrote on my blog.  Only $55.42 on Amazon.

If you haven’t learned all the thousands of keyboard shortcuts in Photoshop, you’ll love these little stickers that go on your keyboard to remind you of the shortcuts until you memorize them.  Using shortcuts have saved my years of my life!!  Only $6.96 on Amazon.

A Tripod is a must have if you're taking photos of products, home improvement projects, food or crafts.  It allows you to use a slower shutter & brightens up your images.  Only $28.64 on Amazon.

A clean camera is a happy camera.  These non-abrasive and lint free wipes are perfect for cleaning your camera.   Only $10.14 on Amazon.

Learn to use many of these nifty accessories during my Online and Salt Lake workshops.
Click Here to learn all about my photography education options.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Tricks to the perfect Newborn Photos

I've been taking lots and lots of newborn pix the last few months.  I'm excited to share some of my tricks to capturing great images.

Here are the 5 Items I can't shoot without...

1.  Boppy Pillow - This is my favorite positioner.  I use the Boppy for at least 5-10 different positions.
2.  Binky - Enough said :)
3.  Heating Pad - Heat is a necessity when taking newborn photos.  I use the heating pad to warm up the blanket or prop I will be using next so that I never lay a baby on a cold prop or blanket.
4.  Bag-O-Beans - I use this both under the prop blanket and on top of the babies while I'm positioning them.  Babies love to be nice and toasty warm and the Bag-O-Beans works perfect.
5.  Space Heater - I couldn't do a newborn session without a space heater.  They are magic to get newborn to be nice and calm!!
Now let's talk about editing newborn images.
Below is my out of camera image.  Her skin is not as creamy as what I see with my eyes.  These SLR cameras are so sharp that they pick up the tiniest little nicks and scratches.  No good.  Here is how I fix and soften skin in PS.

First, open the image into PS and duplicate the background layer.  The short cut is Command "J".
Next, add a Gaussian Blur filter found in your 
"filter"-"blur"-"Gaussian blur" menu.

When adding the Gaussian Blur make it a little stronger than you think you'll need.  The reason is that you can brush on the Gaussian Blur at a low opacity, but if you don't make it strong enough you can not increase the opacity more than 100% of what you originally made the filter.

Then, add a vector mask to the Gaussian Blur layer by clicking the "Add Vector Mask" button at the bottom of your layers palette. 

Last step, Invert the Vector Mask (short cut is "Command I").  This will turn the Gaussian Blur Filter off.  Then, use the "Brush Tool" to brush on the Gaussian Blur effect in the areas you would like to soften.

Final product...

Here are a few more images I took of her
sweet tiny little parts...

I hope this tip helps you on the pursuit 
of newborn photo perfection!!

Happy Snapping!!

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Family Portrait Outfiting

As you begin planning your families outfits 
consider these 3 questions.  

1.  Do you feel strongly about matching your home decor?   2.  Is there colors that look best on you and your family?  3.  What is the personality of your family (sporty, trendy, dressy, casual)?

Here are 3 easy methods to plan outfits 
for your family portrait.  

Find one piece of clothing that includes the colors you would like to use.   Plan the rest of the outfits around that piece.  Here are some examples...

Here I chose this darling red, pink and green girly dress and planning the other outfits around the color scheme. 

 Here they coordinated their colors around that adorable skirt. 

 Here they coordinated their colors around that adorable skirt. 

 Here they coordinated their colors around the little guys red, blue and gray shirt. 

 Here they coordinated their colors around the littlest sweeties top.  It had purple, orange and a touch of lime green.  

Choose a color season of colors or a theme of colors.  For example fall colors, bright colors or spring pastels.

Here I chose fall colors

Here they chose spring pastel colors

Here they chose fall colors

Here they chose fall colors

 Here they chose summer brights

Choose 2 or 3 colors to use in every outfit.  It's a little easier if you choose a basic color like tan, denim or black and then add your colors.

Here I chose denim, teal and blue.

Here is an example of the real thing.  Notice they purchased the same teal polo for the majority of the little boys.  This really helped pull the look together with this big group.

Here is another example of denim, teal and and blue.  Notice that the oldest and youngest boy are wearing the same polo, however, the youngest is wearing a blazer.  A clever way of matching but mixing it up at the same time.

Here they chose denim and white.  They also added yellow flowers.  What a fun way to add interest and pull the image together.

 Here they chose denim, red and navy.

Here they chose denim, aqua and pink

Here they chose tan, yellow and blue.

Enjoy the hunt for the perfect outfits!!