Saturday, July 25, 2009

Wedding Bliss

Update: All photos are up here now!

Couple photos from last Saturday's wedding. I wasn't the official photographer or anything. Just the obnoxious friend with a camera, haha!

The bride's parents watching their first dance.

View from the pew!

Beautiful cake! The flower's were done by the maid-of-honor. Also the bride's sister. She's so talented!

Lighting the unity candle.

The maid-of-honor and flower girl, also sisters of the bride, look on during the ceremony.

These photos are copyrighted! Do NOT copy!

Monday, July 20, 2009

I ♥ Faces - Week 28 Entry

:gasp!: This weeks theme is... FEET! Feet at I Faces? Shocking I know! Be sure to head over there and check out the entries!

Monday, July 13, 2009

I ♥ Faces - Week 27

It's Sports in Action and Pets week over @ I Faces! Go check it out and enter a photo yourself!

Whoever thought of the Sports in Action challenge, must have forgotten to consider the fact that for many teen boys sports, wearing of a helmet is required, which means it's hard to see the faces. Being as I only shoot boys sports, finding a photo close enough up to make out a face was quite a challenge. Here is what I came up with.

And now for the Pets category, I'd like to introduce Mr. Galactic Hero! He was rescued from the middle of the road while we were at the beach about a month ago and promptly given that name by my boyfriend's 4 year old nephew.

Monday, June 22, 2009

I ♥ Faces Entry - Week 24

Well I'm excited to enter again this week at I Faces after last weeks surprise win! This weeks theme is "Let's Hear it for the Boys!" Be sure to go check them out and enter a photo yourself!

For my kids entry, here is baby Asher with his mommy. This was taken a few weeks ago when he was 3 weeks and 3 days old. He is such a cutey. I totally love how laid back and relaxed he looks, chilling in mama's arms. (Click to make bigger).

And for my adult entry, here is my boyfriend's brother, Justin, being an octopus on the beach. Shh... don't tell him I entered this. I think he'd be mad. :D Although he's not officially an adult (he just turned 16 last week), I would feel weird putting him in the kids category. (Click to make bigger).

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

I ♥ Faces Entry -Week 23

Update: I can't believe I won best photo in the adult category!!! I saw on twitter, Angie and Amy remind everyone to go check out the winning photos, and my heart literally stopped when the page loaded and I saw my photo right there! Wow! Totally unexpected!
I had to laugh when I read what Jenny wrote:
'Jenny wrote: "What draws me to this photo is the suggestion of the story behind it. Where is he, what caught his eye and why is he grimacing? "Here comes the elephant!" or "I should have tied down the hot air balloon!" The curious facial expression combined with the softness of the photo makes an interesting contradiction." '

Ok so to answer all that, he is at the beach, and the story behind it is, well nothing. Sorry to disappoint. That's just my boyfriend, being his usual self. I can count on one hand the number of "normal" looking photos I have of him. But the explanations for the photos that Jenny wrote, wouldn't seem out of place at all. Knowing him, I could have easily put one of those as the caption, and it would seem totally normal.

He, on the other hand, wasn't as thrilled with my win for some reason. He was more concerned with the fact that I had posted that picture. Why I'm not sure, as nothing seems to embarrass him.


This week at I Faces, it's sepia toned week! I'm not gonna lie, I don't use sepia tone all that often in my photos, but I like the look it gave to these two. I took these this weekend at the beach. Be tuning back for more from the beach later this week.

For the kids category, here is my boyfriend's sweet little nephew. I love him so much! He's about the sweetest 4 year old you'll ever meet.

For the adult entry, here, once again is my goofy boyfriend. This was also taken this weekend.

Be sure to head on over to I Faces to check out all the awesome entries! And while your at it, enter one yourself!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Edit those photos! Part 1

I've gotten lots of comments from people, non-photographers, mind you, and most in real life, about how amazing my pictures look. Well thanks, and yes part of it is just creative shooting, but much of the pop and pow happens in post-productions. Did you know that no picture that I have posted anywhere in the past, oh, 6 months, at least, has not had some form of editing performed on it? It's really what you should do. Yeah, it's time consuming, but it's really worth it. It can take a very blah, amateur looking photo, and make it look amazing!

So, I'm going to take you through what you need to know and do, in order to start producing some entirely fabulous photos. This series is meant for the completely amateur photographer, so no matter how much of a novice you are, you should be able to follow along. Let's get going!

In order to start editing, your going to need a program to edit with. Here are a few to get you started.

For the reluctant editor:

You are the person who is reading this and going "edit photos, what?" You personally have never edited a photo and wish to continue with that trend.
  • Many people use and upload to sites like Snapfish, Shutterfly, and Kodak Gallery. These sites have some basic editing tools build right in. So if your already uploading pictures to share and print, for heavens sake, take a moment to edit the red-eye out. The power of these tools isn't anything to write home about, but it's better than nothing. You can typically crop, edit red-eye, adjust color, and make a few other simple edits.

For the editor wanna-be:

You are the person that doesn't have much experience editing photos and you just want to get the basics, without having to spend the money and take the time to learn a more advanced program.
  • Picasa is a free program from Google, which you can download straight to your computer for free. (You can also take advantage of their web albums, which I have yet to try). The one thing I use Picasa for the most is organization. I always leave it open, and it imports everything from my computer automatically. At first I didn't like that, but I've found that I've gotten more organized because of it. Sometimes when I download pictures of my computer, I have pictures from various events. It's so easy to scroll through, put only the ones I want in a named album, then export that out, leaving me with a neat and tidy, named folder, which I can then open into PSE 7 or upload to SmugMug. It has a good array of editing tools, such as red-eye removal, cropping, straightening, adjusting lighting and contrast, and various simple creative options. I've typically found the "I'm feeling lucky" does a pretty decent job, for the lazy or in a hurry editor. I also really like their collage feature, which is a great way to take an album and make a cool looking collage, quickly and pain free!

  • There is also Picnik, which instead of being downloaded, it is used online, right in your browser. It had a been a while since I had visited the site, so I decided to check it out a couple of days ago. Maybe I just didn't stick around long enough on my first visit, but I was fairly impressed. They have about every basic editing and creative features the average person could want. And even more if you are willing to pay the modest $24.95 fee to upgrade to premium. I played around with some photos, and it's pretty easy to take a photo from "blah" to "wow!" in just a few minutes. They also have lots of great tools if you like to have fun with your photos, like collage and scrapbook layouts, stickers, lots of cool fonts for text and more.

For the serious editor:

You are ready to move up in the photography world and are willing to try your hand at learning the ways of some of the more advanced programs. You want more precise control over your photos and want to take them to the next level.

  • I adore Adobe Photoshop Elements (versions 5 and 7)! It's a great program packed with punched. You can do virtually anything with your photos, as long as your willing to take a little bit of time to learn how to use the features (There are some great tutorials out there, just look around). This is a awesome program for under $100, and I can't recommend it enough. I also love actions, which are prerecorded commands you apply to your photos, which can save you loads of time. There are lots of free action sets out there, so again, just look around.
  • Now a couple things to note regarding Adobe Photoshop
  1. Don't feel like you need to buy the $700 Adobe Photoshop CS4 in order to do great things with your photos. I've come across many run of the mill, very amateur photographers that decide to buy the pro version (instead of the consumer version, Elements) because they feel it will make them "cooler" or something, and then struggle with understanding how to use it and such. Hear me out people, until you have become an expert at Elements, and I mean an expert, don't even consider CS4. Elements is much cheaper and much more user friendly. So save your pennies for better photo equipment and take some classes, then consider a pro version. (Sorry for the rant, just kind of a pet peeve of mine, and I've seen the mistake all too often). Personally, I'm not sure I'll ever buy CS4 (or CS5, etc.), although I would love Lightroom.
  2. If you have a computer that more than 2 years old, you may want to see if you can find one of the older versions of Photoshop Elements (click here to see the list of release dates to see what version you need). If your computer is 4 years old, you may find the PSE7 runs painfully slow (like my poor father).
  3. Download the trial version, and try it out. See if it's a program you think you can master and are willing to invest time into (and some money) before you buy.

Take some time to identify which category you think you fit into, and what will work for you. Even the most amateur photographer, with a terrible camera, can make their photos look amazing, if they have some editing tricks up their sleeves.

Up next: What makes a good photo, and why edit?

Play Day 09

My brother's school had it's 2nd annual play day on Monday, with some of the other local school's special ed classes. It was lots of fun to go watch and I was beyond impressed with the regular ed middle schoolers present! Most of the special ed students were part of Best Buddies and had their buddy along, and then the SGA students ran the stations. The teachers were mere observers and the occasional assistant or participant. I took tons of pictures, and it was hard to choose the ones to edit and post. Here are a few favorites. And of course, no photo session would be complete without an animoto video!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

I ♥ Faces - Week 21 Entry

Well I didn't enter in last weeks competition, silhouettes, mostly because I didn't have any silhouettes already, and didn't have time to shoot any. But I'm back this weeks for birthday week and the special pets category!

For the kids birthday, here is Mr. SL on his first birthday. He wasn't so sure about his cake at first, but in the end, he gobbled it up and begged for more. He is glancing over to his dad in this picture who is telling him to eat it. I love the face he is making, kinda a "are you sure about this stuff?"

And for the pets entry, here is Zoe, my boyfriend's family's Maltese. This was at the alumni lacrosse game a few weeks ago. It was cold and rainy, and well, when you only weight 3 lbs. and your mom shaved all your fur off, you get a little chilly.

Be sure to head on over to I ♥ Faces to check out all the awesome entries and maybe even enter your own! Oh and I can't be the only one who is dying to know the results of the blurb book contest! Seriously Amy and Angie, let's move it! Not that I really think I won, or even made into the book, I'm just dying to see the beautiful faces that did!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Blurry Backgrounds for GIMP

Today I learned how to make blurry backgrounds after the picture has been taken. I know how to adjust my aperture already, but there are time where I forget to adjust it or it's not as low as I would like. So learning how to do this was really handy. It's also great for those of you who have point and shoot cameras and want to make your pictures look like the pros.

I'm going to show you how to do it in GIMP. Why? Well because it is slightly different that Elements and also I thought there may be some people out there who don't have Elements and want to try it. It's also free, saving you money you may not have to spend. But I do really recommend Elements!!!

Here are your step-by-step instructions.

Step 1: Go read MckMama's post about blurry backgrounds! It's amazing and 100% credit goes to her.

Step 2: You better have read that post! The whole thing!

Step 3: Download GIMP.

Here is the picture I'll be using. Cute picture but the bushes are much sharper than I would prefer.

Step 4: Open up GIMP and open the picture you want to work on. Do this by going to file and open and then choosing your file.

Step 5: Now with your picture open, select the free select tool from your toolbox. It looks like a lasso. (Yes I'm aware I'm missing an "s" in my screen shot. I'm just too lazy to go back and fix it.)

Step 6: Now adjust your feather edges and outline the area you would like to keep sharp. This can take a little bit of practice. Do keep it as close to the object/person/area you want to keep sharp as possible. It will be quite obvious if you don't and won't look that good.

Step 7: Once the area is selected, go to select and then invert and click invert.

Step 8: Now you are all ready for the fun part, the blurring! Woohoo! Go to filters and then blur and select Gaussian blur.

Step 9: Almost there. Now set your blur radius levels. It takes a little bit of trial and error to find what you like for each picture, so just play around with it.

Step 10: Now wait a second for it to make the adjustments. You'll see it happen. It you like what you see, save it and move on. If not, try again until you get what you like.

Step 11: Sit back and admire your work!

Step 12: Make sure you write a big thank you to MckMama (not me!) when your done!

Happy Editing!

Friday, May 22, 2009

Holly Go Lightly

My dog got groomed on Wednesday! She looked so cute and fluffy, I just had to take some pictures. She is a 9 year old Jade Mist Shetland Sheepdog. She isn't the easiest thing to shoot, as she tends to ignore you when you call her name, I'm pretty sure the cat is easier.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Week 19 I ♥ Faces Entry

Over at I Faces it's their Blurb Book contest week. Basically you are entering, in either the amateur or professional category, your best "face" pictures. Amy and Angie (co-founders) will pick a winner from each category and their will be one "reader's choice" winner. All three of these winners will be featured in their book and receive a free copy of the book. Anyone else who is chosen to be featured in the book will receive credit for their photo as well as 10% of the purchase of the book. Cool, no?

I'm entering in the amateur category since I don't really get paid for my work, and haven't really been at this that long. I actually chose one of the first photos I took, so I really was an amateur when I took it. It's one of my old favorites, you just can't get over those deep blue eyes.

Head on over and check out my competition, or if you feeling up to the challenge, enter a photo yourself. But hurry, you only have till 9 p.m. tonight (5/19). Good luck!

"I am submitting this photo into the Blurb Book photo contest. I am granting I Faces permission to use my photo in a printed version of a book for commercial use and possibly advertising of a photo book on both the Blurb and I Faces web sites."

Monday, May 18, 2009

Alumni Lacrosse Game

Saturday was the alumni lacrosse game for FCA/CHEN. It's always lots of fun to watch, and the boys always seem to have lots of fun. Of course the weather was absolutely miserable, but I'm pretty sure the guys didn't notice.

Here is the video of all the pictures

And a few pictures. For the rest, visit my SmugMug site.

Praying before the game.

Bench warming, it was really cold.

Fight for the ball...

Brother against brother.

Note: Any use of these pictures, whether personal or commercial, without my permission is a violation of the copyright laws. This includes simply copying and saving them to your computer. Please contact me if you would like to purchase copies.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Pretty, Pretty, Princess

So as I was posting yesterday, E came downstairs to announce to me that her CD player had turned off. I noticed that she was wearing quite a fashion statement. I told her I wanted to take her picture, but while I finished yesterday's post, she went upstairs and changed (again!). Oh well, I still took her pictures. The outfit and accessories are all her own.