Monday, November 23, 2009

I Tired

To answer all your questions. Please send me an email if I missed anything or comment on here if you would like to know anything more. This is a very long, picture less post!

When Chad and I got married I told him I wanted to use some of our wedding money to purchase a new camera. I wanted a nice camera and he thought that the one I wanted was too big and that I would never use it. I never planned on turning photography into a business, I just wanted to take pictures of our daughter and be able to capture all those important memories. The more pictures I took of Alex the more compliments I got about my pictures.

After lots of compliments, this is where I talked with my husband and thought I would try to do some shoots for free for friends and family. I bought a black sheet and had my 1st client meet me at my mom and step dads house. It was a new born baby and her parents ( I went to high school with the dad). Little did I know the pictures turned out great ( you can check them out here, under The Stewart Family and the password is classic ). You can actually check all my work out there. That's how I got started and it all went from there. I will answer some questions that you guys have asked and go into a little more detail about everything.

Here are the Questions and Answers!
Tina Fisher Asked And Talked About : Buying the Canon XSi which I think is an amazing starter camera. I have the XTi and it is a starter camera and it does me wonders. She also talks about purchasing lenses and the 50mm lens is cheap and a great lens to have in your collection. I would also add a zoom lens 55 - 250 or 70 - 200 mm. When looking at buying new lenses I would also think about lenses that have the IS ( image stabilizer ) built in.

Meant To Be A Mom Asked What should they wear for Christmas Pictures : This is a hard one because everyone has there own opinions and styles. I personally don't like everything to match ( as in I don't like white and jeans on every single person ). I love the mom in something cute and simple ( even a dress ) and the dad in jeans and a button down shirt. I love families in jeans because you can do so much with the blues. As far as kids, the parents could match a little and the little one could wear whatever they want! You can make the child stick out and put them in something fancy or you can keep it simple and have him sort of match dad is a cute little shirt. I like it when there is color in the outfits but never wear big, bold stripes or patterns.

Candi Asked How do I get the duller look on my pictures : I am not exactly sure and you would have to pin point out a picture. But if I think I know what you are talking about then it has to do with the Saturation. When you are editing if you pull the saturation to the left it will make a duller look, make it look a little used or older and flat. Let me know if you can pin point a picture and I can let you know exactly.

Susie wants to know more about lenses : I actually only have 3 lenses right now. I have the 18 - 55mm that my camera came with. I have the 50mm fixed lens and I have the 55 - 250 mm IS lens. When I shoot outdoor I almost always use my 55 - 250 mm because I like the option of being able to zoom in close. I do not really ever use my 18 - 55 mm. With indoor I switch between the 50mm and the 55 - 250 mm. It is sad to say that the more you spend on the lens the better quality you are going to get ( meaning better glass on the lens and possibly image stabilizer ).

Candice asked how do you get kids to sit, smile and look my way : What a fun questions, is there a good answer? I like to think I am good with children. I have a very loud voice and I can usually get any one's attention I want. I have toys in my basement and I let the kids play for awhile and get used to the area ( if I have an hour shoot booked I might only shoot for 30 minutes, but its capturing the right pictures that matter not the amount ). I ask them to take a few pictures then they can play again. If the kids are really not willing then we bring out bubbles, music, candy, funny faces or voices. I had a little 1 year old boy that would not sit still so I put him in a blue box and took as many pictures as I could as fast as I could shouting things really loud and making funny noises. I throw balls in there or blocks and just take pictures while they play. The hard part is getting kids to look at you but sometimes the best pictures are when they are not looking. The child will eventually look, you just have to be patient and the parents have to be patient.
Its even harder when you are trying to capture that perfect posed or not posed pictures of your OWN child. It took me a long time get Alex used to the camera. Now she gets jealous when other people are in the Studio and its not her turn. She is just so used to the camera and loves it ( which makes me happy ).

Melissa asked a lot of questions but I will answer about the flash : I hate using a flash, a flash ruins most of my pictures. Yes I use it when I am shooting a wedding and that's it, never with indoor pictures. I do not use the flash on my camera, I have an external flash and it allows me to bounce the flash off of walls and different people instead of right at the direct image I am trying to capture.

Now on to the most common questions that most of you asked.

Images : I started shooting in Jpeg and now I shoot in RAW. It takes up a lot of room but when I edit the larger file size makes a world of a difference. When I edit I save as jpeg. I only give clients the images I edit so I then delete all the other RAW images. This helps with storage and then I don't store unused or unneeded images.

Storing : I have an external hard drive that I store the photos on and I also use a site called Fotki ( its linked at the top with The Stewart Family ). It only costs me $20.00 a year and it allows me to store unlimited amount of data. This also lets me use passwords and have a viewing site for my clients. I recommend storing your pictures in at least 2 different places. It can be really scary if a computer crashes and you never know when it will happen.

Editing : I started off using Adobe Photo Shop Elements and it worked fine but didn't allow me to do everything I wanted and I wanted to upgrade. I also needed a new computer because my notebook just couldn't handle the overload. I got an IMac and upgraded to CS4. I love it and they both are amazing. CS4 is not that easy to learn and it takes time. I still have a lot to learn and don't use it for 90% of what it can do. If you want something easy to use try picnik, its a free online soft wear that has a lot of great techniques.

When it comes to editing I use a lot of Actions. I just learned about these within the last few months and they are AMAZING! You can get free ones at these two sites, Pioneer Woman and Coffee Shop. Actions allow you to press one button and it does all the work for you. Like adding special touches to make that B&W picture just that much better. It makes things look vintage or like it was in an old newspaper. Some look a little to funky and out there for me and others fit that picture just right!

Editing isn't always easy, it isn't always fun and it can take a lot of time and effort. I play around a lot and try a lot of new things. I would love to and hope to take a class on CS4 in the near future.

I am not a pro, just learning and teaching myself as I go. I love taking pictures and I love capturing those special or once in a life time moments.

You can check out a lot of my work at

Let me know if you have any other questions. Sorry this post is soo long and there are no pictures.


Candi said...

like your "Christmas 09" photo on your sidebar...that is the "duller" look i mean. Thanks :)

Candi said...
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Meant to be a mom said...

Thanks so much for the suggestions. I bought an outfit for my son this weekend so I just have to figure out what my hubby and I will wear. I don't want all of our family pics to be all matchy matchy like you said. My cousin had us all wear black shirts and jeans and white shirts and jeans in our first photo shoot. So I definitely don't want that to happen again.
Thanks again. I will keep your ideas in mind.

Meant to be a mom said...

Thanks so much for the suggestions. I bought an outfit for my son this weekend so I just have to figure out what my hubby and I will wear. I don't want all of our family pics to be all matchy matchy like you said. My cousin had us all wear black shirts and jeans and white shirts and jeans in our first photo shoot. So I definitely don't want that to happen again.
Thanks again. I will keep your ideas in mind.

Stephanie said...

Love how you did the questions and answers!!! I'm going to have to check out your your pics as always!