Showing posts with label pictures. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pictures. Show all posts

Friday, September 27, 2013

The lazy woman's blog post

Gratuitious sleeping baby photo
My goal has been to blog regularly for my new crafty blog at The Papercraft Lab. This week I blogged every weekday, so yay!  That means this blog has been sadly neglected. So I'm going to take the Friday Night Easy Way Out and point you to some of my posts over there.  I'm trying to write about easy ways to capture family memories, so they're not all crazy-crafty "Ain't nobody got time for that" kinds of activities.  

Here's what I wrote over there this week:

Scaling an Artisan Business - super exciting news about The Papercraft Lab featured in Fast Company!

How to Find a Family Photographer - updated from a post here last year

How to Have a Successful Photo Shoot - recycled and renewed from an old post here last year

No More Wasted Space - a scrapbook layout and coming to terms with whitespace in design

Photo Lab Friday - a new series on how to (quickly) edit your photos to make them shine

I'd appreciate if you could subscribe to the new blog - there are convenient links in the sidebar over there to add to Feedly or your reader of choice.  Especially if you've been coming here to read about craftiness, scrapbooking or easy photography tips.

In my ideal world, I'd like to post here on weekends, and there on weekdays, since that Lab is my new business venture and the closest I'm going to get to "work" these days. But I make no promises.  This weekend is the girls' birthday party (hooray for siblings born with birthdays 12 days apart!) and hopefully a fun trip to the zoo if the weather pseudo-cooperates.

What's going on with you?  Are you still out there? I haven't abandoned you, I promise.  :)

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

So, I have this other blog...

I started another blog for my crafty pursuits, in support of a new business I'll (eventually) launch.  For now, I'd love it if you'd clickety-clack on over there, and maybe add it to your reader if you like the crafty stuff.

I'll still blog here about our regular life, but if you're wondering why I've become scarce and less crafty, it's because I'm posting those things over at


If you'd like to subscribe to it, I'd appreciate it greatly!

Here's the feed link to copy-paste into your reader of choice:

http://feeds.feedburner.com/papercraftlab   

(Apparently Feedly thinks it's hiding.)

Hope to see you there, my Internet friends and "friends".

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Look at this photograph

I've been very surprised to find the transition to becoming a stay-at-home parent has been somewhat difficult. I know I'm privileged to be able to choose this life for a few years, and it's what I've wanted since T was born in 2009.  I don't miss the job I left.  

What I do miss is the automatic structure that working outside the home provides - these hours are at work, those hours are at home with kids awake, these hours are mine all mine after the kids have gone to bed.  When working part-time, each of those "buckets" was precious and precariously balanced. I did a decent job at making those hours count, with a lot of hand-wringing in the process, of course.

Now my days are very different. Time has definitely slowed down, which I love. While T is at school or with my parents, I can spend an entire hour in the bed lounging around with BabyM, making her giggle, watching her practice her newfound mad rolling skills, and squeezing her delicious baby fat rolls. I don't feel guilty about lingering chores, checking work email, or doing something more productive like bathing her or clipping her tiny fingernails.  Or T and I can spend over an hour with her new Spirograph toy, and do it again the next day because school's out and we don't need to be anywhere at a certain time.

I have an extremely low tolerance for "busy".  I need a lot of space in my schedule, rather than a packed day of dashing from one activity to the next.

But without *some* structure, things fall apart for me.  I kept some time logs when I was on maternity leave and TJ was also off.  Laura Vanderkam, the author of 168 Hours, one of my favorite EVER time management books (and I have read many - it's a sickness), was kind enough to analyze them and give me some great advice.  On a side note, I met her in person (squee!) a few weeks ago on a fun trip to the zoo. I have taken her advice of making an extremely short to-do list each day and it's been helpful.  

But even with that great advice, I was floundering a bit.  So I created our Summer Schedule, which has been a hit. I'm extremely lucky that both girls nap well, so I have at least 1.5 hours mid-day all to myself.  And the Internet sucked up every last minute, making me feel like I wasted a precious resource.

On a whim, I signed up for the Big Picture Classes (BPC) Phone Photography course online.  For once, they included Android phone owners in the description with specific content just for us, and that's what sold me.  (Every other class I've heard about is iPhone-centric.)  

I have a history of signing up for online classes and not following through.  I love having the materials and reading through them at my own pace, but this means I miss out on the "community" created during the class.

 
So on July 1 I read the first assignment and played along.  At first I rolled my eyes about taking a photo of my feet (I mean, really?!) but then I realized that the prompts had a lot of flexibility and room for creative interpretation. The point is not to just complete the assignment and check it off, but to really THINK about how I can do it creatively and make an image I'd want to include in our Project Life album.


Assignment 1 - Where I Stand

Part of the class is a "photo scavenger hunt" with a list of 7-8 open-ended prompts.  I've been working on those as well as the daily assignments and having a great time with it. I've loved seeing how the other students around the world are interpreting the same instructions.  I'm learning more about how to use Instagram and related tools, plus several new camera and photo editing apps for my Android phone: PhotoGrid, Pixlr Express, and Vignette.

And I'm fired up. I can't wait for new assignments to be posted.  I'm looking out for opportunities to cross off more scavenger hunt items.  I want to spend some time with the documentation for my camera app, which I paid $5 for 6 months ago and never learned how to use properly.  I've rediscovered how freakin' awesome my Galaxy Nexus phone camera really is.

And what I've realized is that I need to be learning new things.  Just crossing tasks off a to-do list isn't enough for me.  One of the valuable things I got from work, and didn't realize until now, was the constant learning curve of new challenges.  The culture of my old workplace was that you never got to "just do your job well" - you always had to take on new work and "do more with less". I used to grumble about it, but it turns out that I *need* that sort of challenge to stay engaged.

Don't get me wrong - I am learning new things about parenting and my kids each day, but that is a very different process for me (and often an exercise in frustration as we all learn how to grow together!) - it's all that squishy interpersonal stuff I've never been very good at.

So this Phone Photography class is exactly what I need right now. I'm thrilled to have a place to channel this energy and regain what I lost after not being at work for so long!  This is making me really, really happy right now.

If you want to follow along with me as I take this class, I'm anandirc on Instagram and will be posting my class photos with the hashtag #BPCphonephotographyproject.

Tuesday, April 02, 2013

Tuesday Lovin': Adobe Lightroom

Starting Project Life in 2012 changed my photography process significantly:

  • I took many more photos, deliberately, because I knew I needed stuff for the album
  • I went through those photos EVERY WEEK, because I need to print them
  • I used my phone camera a lot more, because it's handy. So I needed to coordinate two sources of photos - phone and the "big" camera.

Prior to Sept 2009, I only took photos at special occasions and on trips when I remembered to bring the camera. When T was born, I was excited to capture her rapid changes, so I ramped up, even remembering to get a photo of her on most days of her first year. 

In 2010 and 2011, I just dumped all those photos onto our hard drive. I went through some of them to make photo books for the grandparents, but still have loads of unprocessed photos from those years.

2012 and Project Life made me realize that my current process or "workflow" as fancy photographers call it, was really cumbersome. It worked, but it was a PAIN:

1. Dump photos from phone and camera into a folder called "import"
2. Sort those photos manually into folders based on subject matter - crafts, family/date, house, etc
3. Using the painfully slow Windows Photo Viewer, go through and delete unusable shots
4. Open the remaining photos in a photo editor like Photoscape or Adobe Photoshop Elements and go through each one to make edits: crop, adjust exposure/white balance, apply filters and actions as desired.
5. Save copies of the photos to their "final homes" on our server.
6. Upload those photos to our Smugmug site.


After several months of this, I was ready for a change.  Someone suggested that Adobe Lightroom might help. I was skeptical that another expensive software package was going to HELP matters, but bit the bullet during the Black Friday sale on Amazon.

I'm not a "click it and see what happens" kind of person, so I did a lot of reading online and watched some videos on the Adobe site to learn the software before using it.  (More on those resources in another post.)

At first it seemed overly complicated. But then I realized I don't need to use *all* the features of the software and I can grow into it over time. 

A few editing sessions later I fell in love, because it made my biweekly photo sorting process *much* easier and faster:

1. Dump photos from phone and DSLR memory card into monthly folder via Lightroom .(Settings saved so all I need to do is choose a different folder each month)
2. Quickly review imported photos and mark the rejects. One click deletes the rejects forever.
3. Crop and edit photos, still in Lightroom. Easily do more extensive editing in external programs, without leaving Lightroom.
4. With just a few clicks, save the final JPGs to our monthly/category folders *and* send to Smugmug *and* Facebook as desired, all at once.

Lightroom is really fast at displaying photos and moving to the next one. There are lots of options for flagging and marking images as you go through them, but I just mark the ones I'm not keeping because there's a beautiful menu option called "Delete Rejected Photos". 

It also can process multiple jobs at once, as in my Step 4 above - I can start all of those items and still work in Lightroom while those are being completed. Much faster than uploading at each site, or manually copying files to the hard drive.

The one thing I needed to get used to is that Lightroom doesn't actually edit the original files. It's a nondestructive editor, so it just saves those edits separately from the photos. If you want an edited version, you have to "export" a JPG file with those edits. But this way I don't shoot myself in the foot by irreversibly editing a file beyond repair. 

Lightroom is also superfantastic at cataloging large numbers of photos.  We have 16000+ and growing, and I haven't yet tackled the aspect of sorting through and categorizing all of them, but I know that Lightroom will be able to handle it, as many professional photographers use it for their hundreds of thousands of photos.

I'm making my way through Scott Kelby's excellent Lightroom 4 book (slowly).  I love that I can pick and choose what features I need, and slowly get better at processing photos and storing them in a way that makes sense for us.

So if you're serious about taking pictures and keeping them organized, even if you never intend to do it professionally, I highly recommend using Adobe Lightroom. You can get by without it, but it makes life so much easier.

I love, love, love it. (And no one is paying me to write this. Though if you buy something on Amazon after clicking through my links, I may get a few cents to spend on chai.)

Monday, October 29, 2012

Traditional scrapbooking scares me

My friend Jenn is an avid scrapbooker.  She has TONS of albums completed, and is one of those people who actually reaches the mythical state of being "caught up".  I've been eyeing her craftiness for a couple of years now, but could not bring myself to take the leap and do traditional scrapbooking.  You know, making one and two page layouts, either 12x12" or 8.5x11".  Selecting pictures, coming up with a title, finding embellishments to match and telling a story.

When I think about a blank page in front of me, especially a 12x12" size page, I freeze up.  Too many decisions to make.  Too much creative freedom paralyzes me.  I don't know where to start.

The projects I like are more constrained.  Mini albums from a kit, with assembly instructions.  Simple mini albums of my own design, but with a repeating design theme throughout.  Project Life with its convenient grid-like slots to fill. Cards for specific occasions and people.

I read about a "Favorite Photos" scrapbook album in one of Cathy Zielske's books.  I love the idea because it's non-chronological and I can keep adding to it.  Plus, it consolidates all of my favorite photos ever into one physical album we will always enjoy looking through.  Right now some are framed and the rest are hidden away on our hard drive.

I took an online class a few months ago at Studio Calico to explore current trends in papercrafting.  There were weekly assignments to make cards and scrapbook layouts.  I figured this was as good a time as any to get over my fear and jump right in.

The album I wanted to store these in is 8x8", so I didn't have to face a blank 12x12" page.  I made one layout which I'm not terribly excited about and need to redo.  

But I did a second one for the lesson on ombre and like it enough to show you.  



I stumbled on the color combo of light blue and hot pink, and am officially in love.  I used my extensive collection of washi tape to make the circle grid card and my brand new Hero Arts neon pink ink to stamp the little envelope and color the doily.  I'm not usually a doily kind of person, but thought it was ok here.  (Now I'm the crazy person who takes clean doilies home from restaurants when we get them!)

When I posted this layout in the gallery for my class, it was slightly different, with big stickers for the date that were not the right proportion.  I knew it wasn't pleasing, but wasn't sure how to fix it.  And then a wonderful classmate suggested stamping the date with an office date stamp instead.  I thought it might look nice on a piece of washi tape (you know I love me some washi tape).  I love being able to crowdsource crafty ideas!




The photo was taken by the most excellent Kristi Lloyd at T's 2.5-year photo shoot.  It's in one of the lounges at Microsoft.  The funky couch pattern and her expression make this one of my favorites.  I also love that we're in the background but you have to look hard to notice.

It took me a long time to put this together, but I'm still happy with it every time I look at it.  This gives me hope that I might actually be able to put together a decent "Favorite Photos" album.  I've got 2 more photos waiting for me to make pages, and the original layout to redo, so plenty of fun things to work on!  Now, if only I could find the time...

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

We are in love

I am a casual photographer.  I've had my own camera since junior high, when my dad got a nice compact film camera from a colleague in Japan, and generously handed it over to my excited 10-year-old self, because he had a *really* nice Canon himself.

I used that verysame camera through middle school, high school, college, a trip to India, grad school and the first couple of years of work, until 1998 when I finally joined the digital world and bought a 5MP HP digital point and shoot camera that was ENORMOUS. 

And even then, I didn't take TONS of photos, but enough to document interesting stuff here and there. 

And then we got a dog.



The number of photos I took vastly increased, and most of them were of The Peanut.

Then we got another dog.



When we got engaged, I knew I really wanted nice photos of our wedding, and that was my top priority.   This got me hooked on professional photos.  Not the "dress up in sweater vests and haul the kids off to Sears" but candid, photojournalistic awesomeness at a location of our choice.

Photo by Bradley Hanson


Since we've had BabyT, we've gotten professional photos every 6 months.  Luckily for us, Baby X' will be born around the same time of year so we can keep that same schedule for a while, corresponding to birthdays and half-birthdays.

Photo by Kristi Romain


But since having T I didn't want to miss all the "in between" times.  Babies change a lot in 6 months, so I stepped up the picture-taking.  I had an ambition to do a DailyBaby shot every day of T's first year, but didn't quite make it everyday.  Still, I'm only missing a handful of days so I'm pretty proud of that.  Mind you, not all of them have been uploaded online but that's a different problem of mine ;)

Doing Project Life this year has made me even more motivated to "capture the everyday".  I've finally had some time to go back to my 2011 photos and process them, and I've noticed a definite improvement in my photography since then.  Practice really does help even though I wasn't actively trying to get better.

I'm a gadget girl.  I've wanted a fancypants DSLR camera since 2009 when we upgraded my 2005 teeny tiny PowerShot to the more powerful, but still point-and-shoot, Canon S90.  I chose the S90 because it was much smaller than a DSLR and I figured I'd  be more likely to toss that in the diaper bag for outings.  I was right.

But the DSLR bug was in my ear.  When I was looking into photography classes to learn some technique, most are geared towards DSLR owners.  My friend Laura, who is amazingly talented, is so enthusiastic about her camera and lenses that every time she'd mention it on her blog, it reminded me that maybe I should look into getting a DSLR.  A lot of the scrapbookers who frequent forums I read are also avid photographers, as are many of my real-life friends.

So one day, with idle hands performing the devil's work, I read tons of reviews on Amazon and finally plopped the Canon Rebel T3i DSLR onto my Wish List.  Which is private, and no one ever looks at it but me. But it was there. Staring at me. For an entire year.

But it's a BIG purchase and I always had an excuse for why I couldn't or shouldn't buy it.  After seeing the pro photos from T's recent birthday party, and noticing that one group of them had this "look" that was different, and really, really awesome, I couldn't wait any longer.  I wanted to learn how to take photos like that, with that cool blurred background and the subject super-sharp in the foreground. 

It's a testament to my self-restraint that I was able to wait so long, really.  So one night last week I put up an innocent query on Facebook: did any of my friends have a "starter" DSLR they were looking to sell. Because I'm friends with a lot of engineers and scientists, I knew there was a similar gadget-love going on, and people upgrade their gadget goodness ALL.THE.TIME.  Within 5 minutes, a coworker posted that he was looking to sell his Canon T3i.

Uh, yeah.  The same *exact* camera that's been on my wishlist for a year.  Is that the Universe talking to me or what?  (Ok, I was looking for an excuse, but that was really too good.)  The nice thing about staying with Canon is that the menus and controls are pretty similar to the S90. 

So I jumped in feet first and bought it with the money I've been hoarding from my Etsy shop revenue.  We're MFEO, right?  (Meant For Each Other, for those who haven't watched Sleepless in Seattle in a while.)


And I am SO in love.  By just upgrading the camera, my photos have gotten a huge boost.  Imagine what could happen if I actually learned some things, and *practiced*?!  The mind boggles.


The other thing I've discovered - my friends are a knowledgeable and generous bunch.  I've gotten tons of useful tips on lenses and technique that would have taken me ages to figure out myself.  They've given me lots of links to bookmark for later, classes to consider, things to try on my camera, and the confidence to go forth and shoot and learn.




Given the timing, I can't jump into taking photography classes right now, but hope to squeeze one in sometime during my maternity leave.  In the meantime, I'll have a lot of opportunities, and a new subject on which to practice.  I am SO excited, peeps!


Sunday, September 25, 2011

now, new and improved!

Check out the new look of the blog! The very awesome PaperMama created this banner for me. I wanted something with a family photo, a pennant banner and LOTS of color. She delivered. Hooray.

The photo was taken by Kristi Lloyd Photography during T's 1 year photo shoot last September. She blogged about our 18 month photo shoot here and we just completed T's 2 year shoot last weekend. I can't wait to see the pictures!

I blogged about my latest crafty project at the papercraft lab notebook. I had some time alone in the house today (so rare!) and finished a quick little project I had been planning for months.  It makes me happy every time I see it.

I've been on a roll getting things done lately.  I ordered some super-cute eyeglass frames to try on at home from Warby Parker, in the hopes of having a better experience ordering glasses online.  I also found a nifty coupon for 39dollarglasses.com to get $15 off a pair of glasses, so I took the chance and ordered a pair online to see if my assumptions about sizing are correct.  The total was less than $30.  (I'll write up a post on that once they come in.)

This weekend I designed (for hours!) and ordered a photobook with the ridiculously awesome photos of Trillian's 2nd birthday, by Phani Kowta.  I leave you with my favorite one:


All in all, a good weekend here at the House of Peanut.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

How do I know when it's love?

Stephanie commented on my last post asking how to find a good family photographer and I figured it deserved a post of its own.  I'm sure the Internet has made this task a LOT easier, because most pro photographers have nice websites with portfolios of their work, and you can browse at your leisure (or at 2am when everyone in the house is sleeping!).  I thought I'd also include some other helpful tips for the shoot itself.

The Search
When I was searching for a wedding photographer, I had no idea what to look for or how much it would cost.  I started with one of those local wedding resource pages and just started browsing other photographers' work.  I found one I completely fell in love with, but alas, they were already booked for our date. 

However, I found out the style that I liked so much was called 'photojournalism' - less emphasis on posed pictures and more on just capturing the event and the unexpected details.  So I started using that term in my web searches and found more photographers, and also found a site for the Wedding Photojournalist Association - bingo!  This site gave me a lot more options in my area, within the style I was looking for.

I then browsed a LOT of photographers' sites.  My method isn't scientific - it couldn't be, because what I was looking for was *art*.  So I simply sat back and browsed.  Looked to see whose pictures jumped out at me. 

Some photographers had a style that just didn't do it for me.  Others had a few pictures that caught my eye.  But there were a few where nearly every photo in their portfolio was a WOW shot.  Of course, these portfolios are heavily edited compilations of many events, but I felt confident that if nearly the whole portfolio wowed me, then that was a pretty good bet that I'd like their work at our wedding.

If forced to articulate what I was looking for, here are some of the characteristics:
  • Interesting small detail shots, like trim on a dress, or a closeup of a shoe
  • Capturing shots with a definite "vibe", almost like you can *feel* what the subjects were feeling
  • Few posed shots, but if there were posed shots, ones where the subjects look like they're having fun with each other and not looking *at* the camera.
  • Both black and white and color shots, but more importantly, choosing which shots looked better in b&w and which were more suited to color
  • Pet photos that capture the "dog soul" 
Since this is an artistic judgment, it's like trying to outline what I like about a piece of music. I can't say for sure, but I know I like it when I hear it.
Some photographers have the gift of being able to capture pets well on film, and some don't, even those with mad skills with people-pictures.  So if you want to include your pets in a family shoot, make sure the photographer you pick has samples of pet photos in their portfolio and that you love the style of those too.  This is why I love Nicole's work.

First Contact
So the next step was to review the prices (if posted) and then reach out and contact the short list.  Because I'm lazy like that, I eliminated anyone who didn't have a way to email them. I asked a few key questions:
  • Rates (if not posted clearly) and whether there was a print order minimum $
  • Availability for the dates we were considering
  • Whether we could get all of the pictures on a DVD and if that was an extra charge
Surprisingly, in this digital age, there are photographers who *won't* give you the digital files or charge ungodly amounts to give them to you.  You need to order all prints through them, and you don't have copies of the pics to share on Facebook, websites, etc.  We're social networking kind of people, and we don't print a lot of photos so this was a deal-breaker.  Obviously, I respect intellectual property and copyright, and try to give credit to the photographer, but I want those pictures in digital form.

Making the Decision
Once I got the answers back and have narrowed the list based on availability and budget, we had to make the big decision.  For things like weddings, or family portrait shoots on weekends, you need to book early and decide fast because the good photographers are BUSY.  We got around this for our family portraits by booking them on a Friday afternoon and thus could get Kristi on relatively short notice.

That first wedding photographer whose work I fell in love with sent me a short list of other folks with similar styles, which was super helpful. In the end, I chose one of those and we were REALLY happy with our pictures.
Depending on the significance of the event, you may want to *meet* with the photographer in person before deciding who to hire.  After all, for a wedding, this person is going to be following you around for most of the day, and it's a pretty big responsibility you're entrusting them with.  There are no do-overs. 

We did this for our wedding photographer, and meeting with Bradley was what really sealed the deal for us.  He and TJ talked about motorcycles, he talked to us about his philosophy of work, and showed us some recent wedding photos he'd taken.  We liked him, and really got the sense that he was a professional.  We also felt he wasn't going to be intrusive, which was a big deal for us.  We didn't want to be constantly aware of the photographer, or worse, interrupted by him to "look here at the camera!" or "hey, can we recreate that moment?  I missed it."

On the other hand, we met with another guy who was starting out in the business, and he was sort of timid and shy, and didn't give us that confident "I can handle this" vibe.  He might have done just fine, but our wedding was not a time for experimentation.

Most photographers have you sign a contract and put down a deposit once you've made your choice, and that holds the date for you.  This is especially important for weddings - you don't want to get close to the day and then find out the photographer wasn't really holding the date for you.  It's really hard to find a great photographer on short notice.  For a summer wedding in Seattle, the good ones book over a year in advance.  Crazy, I know.

Your Homework
So you've decided on a photographer.  Some people think the work is done, and you just wait for the day and look good, and get some pictures taken. 

But I picked up a tip from one of those ubiquitous wedding-planning magazines:  make a list of the shots that you want for sure, both candid and posed.  Now, you've hired a professional so you're not trying to micromanage their creative process, but if you want a shot of you in your wedding dress holding your beagle, you need to let the photographer know.  And on the big day, you might not remember the list.

For our family photos, I emailed a short list to Kristi, and asked for her feedback because I wanted to be clear that I wasn't trying to micromanage.  I made the list fairly vague and just discussed the subjects, not the style:
  • All five of us (people and dogs)
  • Baby and each dog interacting or at least looking at each other :)
  • One good chubby baby arms and legs and bare feet shot
  • Baby and mama, and baby and daddy
  • My husband and Peanut
It's also helpful to ask the photographer what you all should wear (unless it's for your wedding, duh!).  Typically solid colored shirts are good because they're not distracting, and Kristi recommended that we wear shirts in the same color family so they don't clash. 

We also asked her if she needed any 'props' and she suggested a neat idea where we'd all be wearing white, in our bed, with a white comforter and sheets, snuggling with the baby.  That worked out really well, even though it was the last set of shots so we didn't change T back into her white onesie:



For family shoots, ask your photographer for locations if you don't have your heart set on one.  Some people like outdoor shots.  We love our house and wanted to capture that as part of the photos, so we chose to do our family shoot at home.  It made it easier to change T into different outfits, and keep her happy, as well. 

We did my pregnancy shoot at a local park with our dogs, because the lighting was better outside that day (though it was 98 degrees, but that's another story!).
If you're getting pictures done at home, make sure the areas you're using are clean.  You don't want piles of dirty laundry or dog hair-covered blankets in the background of your shots.  Photoshop can only do so much :)

The Big Day
For our family shoot, Kristi advised me to choose a time when the baby was fed and well-rested.  (One out of two wasn't bad!)  This sounds obvious, but really think about it.  If your baby is asleep when the photographer shows up, do you really want to wake her?  How will she be if you do?

Have all the outfits and props, plus any additional payments ready to go.  Once the photo shoot is underway, you don't want to disrupt the "flow" by trying to deal with business details.  Of course, if a baby's diaper needs to be changed, or the dog needs to go out, you'll deal with it, but it's best to get everything else ready ahead of time.  Then again, I'm a planner like that.

And then just do your thing.  Try to ignore the fact that there's a photographer there and go about your business.  Eventually you'll stop noticing him/her, and that's when the magic happens!

Monday, April 26, 2010

You make me happy when skies are gray

I can't get enough of the pictures that Kristi Lloyd took of us all last month.  I've got them as my slide show screen saver at work, and every now and then I'll catch myself staring at them and missing my sweet baby, who is, of course, at home with her Daddy and having a Fun! Daddy Day!

We used to marvel at how Peanut and Spike were so happy to see us at the end of each work day. Even their happy tail-wags and licks pale in comparison to the way BabyT's face lights up when I come home from work, or when her Daddy comes home for lunch. It's pretty freakin' awesome.

For me, good pictures are important. If money were unlimited, I'd get a great photographer to come out here every month and photograph us. It's not just about snapshots that record moments (though of course, we have plenty of those), nor is it about posed photos of different family permutations.

I like the artistic shots that capture details I might not think of. I like that with a certain kind of great photographer, you can just be there and hang out, and that person will capture the whole essence of an event or group of people without us really noticing.

This is why I spent hours poring over websites for wedding photographers in 2005. Other than the dinner at Canlis, we spent the most money on our pictures, because we wanted amazing ones, which we got from the awesome Bradley Hanson.

I spent more hours poring over photography sites to find someone to do T's 6 month pictures. But when I found the right person, I got the pictures I had envisioned. And actually so much more, because a great photographer has that special artistic eye, and of course the mad skillz to turn that into reality.

I met an awesome photographer via Etsy but she lives in Maine. I'm still working on getting her to come out here but she needs 3 or 4 families in Seattle to make it worthwhile.

When I was little, we had lots of the obligatory JCPenney or Sears portrait sessions. Heck, I still get coupons from them, which tempts me to go. But it's not what I'm looking for. I disliked having to get dressed up and go to the studio and look happy while the photographer poked and prodded us to get in exactly the right position (turn your chin a little this way, put your hand on his arm, etc. etc.). To me those pictures look too staged, without any sense of love or life.

But our wedding pics and the recent family pics? Woo hoo! We were actually having a good time. We mostly forgot about the camera being there. T got to wear a few different outfits. And now we have a (digital) stack of images I enjoy looking at over and over again.

So we're definitely going to hire a professional again, to capture BabyT as her life unfolds.  Then when she's 16 and doesn't like us, we'll still have cute squishy baby pictures to pore over and remember :)

Sunday, November 02, 2008

I hope the Devil don't remember my name

I started making jewelry because I *LOVE* jewelry. I have a lot of it, and most of it is fairly inexpensive. Except for my Fabulous Wedding Jewelry which lives in a secret lockbox and comes out only once a year or so.

Well today, I walked from work to a nearby shopping center to get some exercise and stumbled upon a craft fair at a church. In addition to the crafts, there was a bit of a rummage sale going on too, and they had some amazing vintage jewelry, and some more contemporary pieces, for REALLY cheap. Apparently they were 50% off because they didn't sell last year. I had $8 in cash, and got all these items, plus a few more - talk about a screamin' deal.

I had first intended to look for pieces to disassemble to make new jewelry but some were just so darn cool that I had to keep them for myself, intact :)

horseshoe necklace

I know, it's probably a cheap knockoff of some Tiffany & Co. piece, but I love its simplicity and sparkle. So I'm keepin' it to wear.


Thai chandelier umbrella earrings

These earrings made me wince at first because they're so huge and elaborate, and I'm not a giant-chandelier-umbrella-earring kind of girl. But they're clip-ons, and the flower attached to the clip is *fantastic* so I thought they'd be great for disassembly.

When I got home and looked at these a bit closer, I nearly fell over when I saw this:

Siam chandelier earrings sterling silver

They're sterling silver!! And I paid $1.75 for them. Not only that, but the stamp says "Made in Siam" which makes them officially vintage, since it seems that Thailand hasn't been called Siam since 1949. How awesome is that? I'm still debating whether to keep them as-is or take apart and make something smaller that I'll wear myself.


The next few items have a theme, so my guess is that they came from the same owner:

train engine necklace

old airplane pendant

gold and silver train necklace

While the silver train engine and plane are adorable, I'll probably recycle those into something for my shop. But I am *totally* keeping the whole-train gold and silver necklace. I typically hate mixed metals, but this is absolutely DARLING.

I also am not a huge fan of gold, but loved these tiny delicate earrings with a pressed flower captured inside resin (and only $0.50!):



And remember a few weeks ago when I mentioned helping a fellow local Etsy seller set up her shop? Well, she came through on her promise to make me something fabulous. I am *in love* with this necklace she made for me. It's long, so I couldn't get a good picture of the whole thing, but it's made from a recycled rosary, and has all sorts of bits and bobs on it. It's truly a sight to behold:



So I probably need to step up my game a bit to do this fantastic jewelry some justice. I've been wearing my blah jeans and sweats to work, and Tim Gunn would be appalled. So here's to next week being a little more fashion forward. :)

And do let me know what you think about these pieces. Am I crazy, or are they really as cool as I think they are?

Monday, June 23, 2008

I saw your picture on another guy's jacket

Giant Hippo in Lake Washington

I seem to be focused on photos lately. One of the things I struggle with is organizing our digital photos. I have a decent file system set up, so that each major event gets its own folder, and I delete the pics that suck, crop the remaining ones, adjust the exposure and color as needed.

But I've only done it for the past two or three years. I have a huge backlog of digital pics to sort out, including my trip pictures from Germany in 2003.

I have the photo equivalent of a junk drawer on our Windows Home Server (insert shameless product plug here). I have a folder called "Etsy_originals" where I just dump my camera contents. A staging ground for the editing tasks to come. Once I've prettied up the photos I want for my shop, I resize them and save them to a special "Etsy" folder.

But lately I have been lax about deleting the stuff in my junk drawer. So I had a few hundred pics there, mostly of items in my shop, but a few events, like TJ's birthday party and a trip to Luther Burbank Park with Spike and Peanut.

I finally posted those to Smugmug so you can check them out by clicking the links above. There weren't too many pictures in either set, but really, who's going to look at pages of pictures anyway?

Also, now that I'm a picture taking fool for Etsy, I forget to take my camera out into the world. So I vow to be better at that. That's why I bought my adorable tiny camera, right?

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