3 tricks to taking awesome pictures in the full sun

It's Bluebonnet season here in Texas! And they are all over the place. It seems that each year when the bluebonnets blossom everyone is striving to get those perfect pictures in the bluebonnets. I'm not one to pass up a good photo opp so usually every year I hop on the bluebonnet train.

This year the location I picked was apparently spotted by MANY other photographers because when we pulled up there were already at least 2 dozen people in the fields taking pictures. Because I wasn't willing to go trekking around to find another good location I rolled up my sleeves and joined the crowd.

We started taking pictures at around an hour before sunset. Which is usually my favorite time of the day to take pictures but I quickly learned that I was going to have to use some tricks up my sleeve to capture a good picture because a) the sun was brutal in that wide open field and b) there were so many people in the background that I would have to somehow avoid so they didn't show up in our pictures.

Here is a picture I snapped of a few of the people we had to side-step. :) ...


On to the 3 Tricks to Taking Pictures in the open sun...

1) Use back lighting
When you are battling the sun it's never a good idea to place your subject facing the sun because then you are just going to get them squinting. Not to mention the lighting on their face will be way too harsh. So to combat this simply turn their backs toward the sun and use back lighting. (If you are unfamiliar with how to take a back lit picture check out my photography book!)






2) Get creative with how you position your subject
For example, in the 3 pictures below you can see that instead of getting close-ups of my subject I shot them at a distance with the sun to their side. That way the focus is on the entire scene and not on fact that half of their faces and bodies are slightly over exposed with harsh shadows.

Also notice in picture 2 that my focus is on the flowers and not even on the subjects who are blurred in the background.



3) Use yourself at a sunshade
I know of many photographers who bring along assistants to hold shades and reflectors in order to achieve a better photo.  I'm a less-is-more sort of gal who doesn't have time to coordinate with an assistant and who doesn't like to bring along ANY extra gear so I use myself as a shade.

In the pictures below I am having my subjects face the sun and stand in my shadow so the sun isn't directly shining on them. It works nicely to give that even lighting.



You can still achieve great pictures, even in the full sun, you just have to have a few tricks up your sleeve!

And once the sun finally went down, we were able to get a few of these classic bluebonnet shots...

I think I'm going to miss Texas in the Spring...


It's Bluebonnet season here in Texas! And they are all over the place. It seems that each year w...

5 Tips for Photographing Newborns




I love taking pictures of newborns. I think it might be my favorite subject to take pictures of. So I jumped at the chance to take some sweet newborn shots of Clara. (Here are some I took of her in the hospital.)

I've thought of 5 things to keep in mind when taking pictures of newborns. Here we go:

Tip 1: Be Calm.
I don't know about you but when I'm shooting a photo session even though I may come off as easy-going with a go-with-the-flow kind of attitude, inside my mind is racing and constantly in "go" mode.  In my opinion, this is really not a big deal...except when it comes to newborns.  I feel like they can sense when things aren't calm and relaxed so in turn it makes them on edge and not willing to relax and fall asleep. So whatever it takes, try and be calm and serene as it will show up in your tiny little subject. Also, when you are calm, Mom will be calm and that is something that affects our little subjects as well.






Tip 2: Keep clothing simple.
I know this really just comes down to someones opinion and taste but I feel like newborns don't need a lot of foof and fluff to make them look adorable. That's why I like to stick with just a simple white onesie or nothing at all. I think it's cute to add a little hat or a special blanket. But it's really not necessary to dress them it their Sunday best quite yet.




Tip 3: Try to work on the baby's time table.
This actually ties in nicely with tip #1 of being calm. One way to also get the baby to look and hold those adorable newborn poses is to not force the baby if they are just not in the mood. It doesn't take much for them to be happy...a full belly, a dry diaper and maybe a swaddle. So I never try and rush a newborn session. If I can see that the baby just isn't being calm or is too fussy I will let Mom take over and do whatever it takes to soothe him/her. Then while Mom is cuddling the baby or tending to him/her I take advantage of some good photo ops of Mom with the baby.






Tip 4: Don't over complicate things.
Just like with the clothing, I try to not go overboard on everything else as well. I like to take pictures of newborns with very little in the frame as not to distract from them. Keeping the setting simple helps to focus the eye on the subject. I love to take pictures of newborns on Mom and Dad's bed and often times I will remove whatever is on their night stands just so it's out of the picture. I try to hide anything that I think will detract from my sweet little subject.



Tip 5: Be Safe!
Always, always, always be safe when you are positioning the baby. I know we've all seen those amazing poses with the baby swaddled in a cloth and is blissfully hanging from a tree branch. Those pictures are truly a piece of art but are not always what they seem. In reality someone actually has a hand underneath the baby to hold him/her and the baby is also only inches off the ground. The photographer does a lot of editing like removing the hand etc. in order to create such shots. Even just putting a newborn on a chair can be potentially dangerous if they all of a sudden flail their arms. So before you try to pose a newborn or put them in/on things, make sure it is first and foremost safe.



If I’ve just given you some insight in photography, then you’re really going to want to joy me for my free webinar I'm giving live — I’ll be showing you the 3 most vital tips to taking great pictures with your camera plus answering your questions.

It’s guaranteed to be a good one.

Not yet RSVP'd? Learn more here.

I love taking pictures of newborns. I think it might be my favorite subject to take picture...

hey hey.

Hello everyone! Sorry for the bit of silence this week. I have my hands in about 5 different pretty huge photography projects PLUS we are putting our house on the market next week. Phew. But I wanted to show you a few pictures I took today of Lyndon during a video shoot of me teaching how to take pictures.



The settings on all of the pictures: ISO 250, 50mm, f/2.0, shutter speed ranges from 1/1250 to 1/2000.
I positioned Lyndon on the edge of some open shade with him facing the sun.  I did hardly any editing...just a little bit of increased brightness on each picture. 



To actually see the video of me teaching...stay tuned. There are some fun products coming in the near future.






Have a lovely weekend!! I hope everyone has beautiful weather and fun plans. :)

Hello everyone! Sorry for the bit of silence this week. I have my hands in about 5 different pretty ...

5 Tips to take beautiful newborn pictures in the hospital




There are few things more precious than a newborn, especially a newborn who is just hours old. I'm always in awe of the absolute miracle of it all. As a photographer, I can't help but think how every single detail needs to be documented.

Here are 5 Tips to take beautiful newborn pictures while they are still in the hospital:

#1: Open all the blinds and use a low aperture. 

Often times hospital rooms are not exactly conducive to taking natural light photos. But not to worry, there is always a way around it. First of all open the blinds (pull them all the way up, don't just open the slats). Next, if you still don't have a fast enough shutter speed, dial your aperture all the way down. (f/1.8, 2.0, 2.2 etc.) This will hwlp you achieve a nice and fast shutter speed.




#2: Position the baby where there is not a lot of clutter and distraction.

Let's face it, hospital rooms are packed with eye clutter...cords, trays, buttons, your own stuff, the baby's stuff...the list goes on and on. When taking pictures of the baby push that clutter aside and fill your frame with the baby.
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#3: Take some detail shots of the baby and the room.

A newborn's skin is so soft and furry and often times so wrinkly. And unfortunately this stage only lasts for such a brief moment. Take some close-up pictures of the baby and even some of the surrounding area to document exactly what the baby looks like.
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#4: Step back and take a picture of the entire room.

Just as you took pictures of the details, take some pull-back pictures of the entire room to show what it felt like and looked like in the hospital room.
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#5: Take some pictures with the baby and Mom.

Of course you need to document Mom holding the baby and the special bond they share. To help take the pressure of being in front of the camera off of Mom try suggesting things for her to do. For example say, "Hold the baby in your left arm and gaze down at the baby." (click, click, click) or "Put the baby on your belly and look up at the camera." (click, click, click) "Good, okay now look down at the baby. " (click, click, click)
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There you go! Above all, relax and have fun! I know that when you are in the thick of trying to capture the perfect photo it can get stressful or even frustrating. But I assure you, as you stop, take a deep breath and just relax into it, you will find success. 


If I’ve just given you some insight in photography, then you’re really going to want to joy me for my free webinar I'm giving live — I’ll be showing you the 3 most vital tips to taking great pictures with your camera plus answering your questions.
It’s guaranteed to be a good one.



Not yet RSVP'd? Learn more here

There are few things more precious than a newborn, especially a newborn who is just hours old...

Hometown memories.



I haven't forgotten about my "25 days to document your life in photos" Challenge... Day 18 is "favorite places around your town or city". I did this about 3 years ago when I was visiting my hometown of Idaho Falls, ID. I love looking back at these pictures. They always bring back so many memories!

I get a little sentimental every time I visit Idaho Falls. There are so many places and businesses that will forever be the Idaho falls that I love and remember. 

 Starting with Hawthorne...This is my elementary school. Our house was about 8 blocks away from the school (which pretty much felt like 8 miles) and I walked to and from school everyday. Yes I still feel picked on. :) But really I had some fun times with my sisters during our walks. I know those blocks so well. I think I could pick out every crack in the sidewalk. I loved Hawthorne. I'm proud to be a Hawthorne Hawk.

The next picture is the fountain at Tauphaus park. (There's no water in this picture as it was winter when I took these pictures.) In high school my friends and I use to put soap in the fountain so it would completely suds up. (okay, we only did it once but I felt so rebellious and cool.) But another time we went late at night and played in the fountain. (yeah, we were really the rule breaking type.) I have such good memories of the fountain.



And the picture on the right is the one and only Idaho Falls Amusement Park which consists of 5 rides.



If you ever go to IF, you have to eat at Smittys. This place is just part of Idaho Falls. They have the best food and service. Get the potato pancakes, you won't be disappointed.

If you've never had a Fiesta Ole' crisp bean burrito...you're missing out. So good. AND everything is so cheap. I swear I order enough to feed a small army and it will only cost $4. Their tator tots are just called "tots" and they have plenty of fry sauce to dip them in.




This is a picture over looking the snake river. This area is known as "the greenbelt". There is a paved path that goes around this part of the river where people walk/jog/bike. This is also where "the falls" are located. I love the greenbelt. ESPECIALLY on the 4th of July. Don't even get me started with Idaho Falls on the 4th...it's truly the best. (that will be another post by itself)
Notice the large building...(large for Idaho Falls)...this is a hotel that used to be called "The Westbank". My friends and I use to go the the top floor (The eighth) and look out over the river. We even had dinner in the stairwell of the 8th floor for one of our famous girls choice dances. What good memories.




Here are the falls. Not too "fally" but still nice. And the water tower is a familiar sight.


This is the Idaho Falls Temple. It's located downtown right across from the greenbelt. This is where Jonathon and I were married.




This is the downtown area. Just quaint and old...





The first picture below is of Farrells Uphosltery. I've never understood why they have a picture of a childs bum on their sign. Can anyone explain?... anyone? I would love for this mystery to be solved once and for all.

Here's another true IF landmark...
The wooden Indian. I remember driving past it as a little girl and thinking...who carved this and why? I still wonder.

One more place you HAVE to visit is Scotty's. This place has been here forever. It hasn't changed. What to order? ...french fries and a fresh banana shake, of course.


Dear Idaho Falls,
Thanks for all the great memories. I feel honored that I got to grow up on your streets. (well, in a house on your streets.) Thanks for letting me live in a place where I always felt safe and secure. My own little corner of the world that I loved and still do. You helped form me into the person I am today, one who still believes in the value of hometown pride and loving your neighbor.
Yours Truly,
Katie

Now it's your turn...what memories do you cherish in your town? 

I haven't forgotten about my "25 days to document your life in photos" Challenge...