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Welcome to my blog!

Thanks so much for dropping by my blog and taking a peak.  Now I never claim to know everything, or be perfect, or even being able to spell!  I work really hard to not only be a good photographer, but have a personal connection to my clients and understanding what they want (especially when they might not know).  In addition I love to help others improve their own pictures.  Let's face it...no one can afford a personal photographer to follow them around 24/7 (but if you do know someone give them my name!). 

My blog has a collection of advise, current photo experiences and the personal updates.  My new 2012 series (TT- Tipsy Thursday) is a combo of all kinds of questions I've received, things I've seen & even those mistakes I've made in my years of shooting.  I'm ALWAYS in need to know what other people want to hear about, so please email me with ANY suggestions.  Again thanks for stoping by and hopefully you enjoy!

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Thursday, December 06 2012
 Tipsy Thursday #45

There all kinds of pictures being taken this time of year.  Why not try a few different ideas!


Squish Your Family into an Ornament:

paint-sm

This can be done both with an actual ornament or in a photoshop type program!

Get your family together nice and tight (especially your heads) and shoot your reflection. You might try shooting from an angle to get your camera out of the shot or use a editing system to take it out.

You can even take an image and lay it over an ornament.  Too cute! 


Utilize common things to make interesting backgrounds like:

  • Chalkboard. There is chalkboard paint you can put on a wall/board of wood.  Then use it to put "Merry Christmas from The Taylors" or your kids names...
  • Tinsel. Hang this along a wall for a sparkling background.
  • Wrapping paper. Either one or many patterns and crumple it up and spread back out for more texture.
  • Paper-craft snowflakes. Make a wall of these with your kids.
  • Foil. Crinkle it to give it texture!
  • Tree lights.  Can't go wrong with tree lights!!!

Speaking of tree lights!!!

It's always a pretty picture when the lights behind an image are out of focus and blurred out (like below!).  A classic way to do this is getting a very shallow depth of field. This looks especially cool when you have lots of tiny lights in your background.

Aim for a large aperture (which means a low aperture number, like between f/1.4 and f/5.6). A portrait or telephoto lens works best - anything 50mm and up.

paint-sm

Just have your subject stand close to the lens and far away from the background.  Don't be afraid to not have your subject center either.  This is the perfect time to work off center!

 

 

Posted by: AT 05:04 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, November 29 2012
 Tipsy Thursday #44

On Thanksgiving last week I took the day off and did not post a Tipsy Thursday...but I got a great subject to talk about.  We took a picture of my husband's side of the family...over 20 of us.  I set up my camera and used the best invention...a remote control!  It never occurred to me that other people wouldn't know about these being available but since EVERYONE there was surprised I thought it needed to be talked about.

The one I
 have to an older camera I own has not only the remote setting but you using the remote to hit the timer.  This is nice to keep you from taking picture of you using the remote.  Not all cameras have remote options but you can quickly find out online if your model has one.  Mine was only $15...well worth being able to get myself in a few shots.  AND you can use the remote for if you want to set up your camera on the tripod and not be right behind it.  Example being I
 will use it so my subjects might not know I was going to take a picture!

Posted by: AT 03:21 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Tuesday, November 20 2012

In November this year in honor of Veterans Day, I'm going to post every day with a little fact of American Flag History/Facts.  I think kids learn so much these days but truly understanding and respecting the flag can be overlooked.  Lots of these posts are cool little topics you could bring up at the dinner table.

 

Day 1: The American flag should never be flown with tears/holes or any disrespectful manor. My husband (Air Force vet) will take and dispose of flags properly if you ever need, but if you would like to do so these are the steps:

  1. The flag should be folded in its customary manner (into a triangle...youtube can help if you are not aware how to do that).
  2. It is important that the fire be fairly large and of sufficient intensity to ensure complete burning of the flag.
  3. Place the flag on the fire.
  4. The individual(s) can come to attention, salute the flag, recite the Pledge of Allegiance and have a brief period of silent reflection. It is nice if children are present to let them know a few facts on how the flag came to be what we know today and appreciate those that have given their lives for our freedom.
  5. After the flag is completely consumed, the fire should then be safely extinguished and the ashes buried

 

Day 2: What does the red/white/blue stand for on the U.S. flag?

Red- represents the courage, heroism & sacrifices of our military who have fought for our country and it's freedoms since the Revolutionary War

White- speaks for the purity of our high ideals

Blue- signifies the strength & unity of all our states (represented by the stars)

 

Day 3: Why is the flag folded into a triangle when it is folded?

The triangle shape is to symbolize the cocked hats which were worn by soldiers of the American Revolution

 

Day 4: According to The Federal Flag Code are flag decals proper and if so where should we place them?

While The Flag Code does not forbid using flag decals you should put them where the least amount of wear & tear will be caused.  On the bumper is a big no no!

 

Day 5: When displaying the flag with one other flag which side should the U.S. flag be on?

The U.S. flag should be to the flag's right or the observer's left.  If on a staff the U.S. flag should be over the other's flag

 

Day 6:  Has there always been 13 stripes on our flag?

No, on January 13th 1794 Congress passed a law placing 15 stars and 15 stripes on our Flag to signify the former admissions of Vermont & Kentucky into our union in 1791/2.  This move was taken because both states exerted pressure to have their states recognized in the flag.  But in 1818 Congress returned the number to the original 13 as at that time more states were being admitted and adding that many stripes would have made our flag look like a zebra.  So just adding more stars became the better way to go.

 

Day 7:  Where is the largest U.S. flag in existence?

The"Superflag(http://worldamazingthings.blogspot.com/2008/07/largest-us-flag-amazing.html)", was made by "Ski" Demski, measuring at 505 feet by 225 feet and weighs 3,000 pounds, takes 500 people to unfurl, and sets the world record for the Largest US Flag.

 

Day 8: What does it mean if you are flying the flag upside down?

EXTREME distress is symbolized by the Flag upside down. 

 

Day 9: How long should a flag be left upon a grave?

A Flag should be at a grave one day only.

 

Day 10: Should the flag be at half-staff on Veterans Day?

No, actually Veterans Day is a day of celebration for all our men and women that has serviced.  Memorial Day is a day of morning and requires half-staff.

 

Day 11: If a flag is being carried in a parade, what should you do?

All that are able should rise and stand at attention (hand over heart or service members salute).  Follow the Flag as it passes and stay at attention until it passes.

 

Day 12: Should the flag bearer hold any portion of the Flag against the staff (post)?

No, the Flag should fly free, symbolizing our freedoms in this land.

 

Day 13: Other than Memorial Day what other 3 days does the president declare the Flag at half-staff?

National Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day (December 7th), Patriot Day (September 11th) and Peace Officers Memorial Day (May 15th). 

 

Day 14: Would it be proper to fly a Flag or display a Flag after it's served as a casket flag?

Yes it's ok to use a Flag after being used on a casket.

 

Day 15: Is it ok to use the flag as a ceiling cover?

No, it's not to be used on ceilings, as a table cover, receptacle for receiving/holding/carrying/delivering in any way nor used for advertisement purposes either.

 

Day 16: What should you do if the Flag touches the floor?

While you don't want to drag the flag, leave it on the floor or step on the Flag, it's not a requirement to burn it if it touches the floor.  And if it gets dirty it's ok to wash it as well.

 

For the last 13 days of the month I'll be adding the representation of each of the 13 folds to the U.S. Flag...

The first fold of our Flag is a symbol of life.

The second fold is a symbol of our belief in eternal life

The third fold is made in honor and remembrance of the veterans departing our ranks who gave a portion of their lives for the defense of our country to attain peace throughout the world

The fourth fold represents our weaker nature, for as American citizens trusting, it is to Him we turn in times of peace as well as in time of war for His divine guidance

The fifth fold is a tribute to our country, for in the words of Stephen Decatur, "Our Country, in dealing with other countries may she always be right; but it is still our country, right or wrong".

The sixth fold is for where our hearts lie. It is with our heart that we pledge allegiance to the Flag of the United States of America, and to the Republic for which it stands, one Nation under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.

The Seventh fold is a tribute to our Armed Forces, for it is through the Armed Forces that we protect our country and our flag against all her enemies, whether they be found within or without the boundaries of our Republic.

The eighth fold is a tribute to the one who entered into the valley of the shadow of death, that we might see the light of day, and to honor mother, for whom it flies on Mother's Day.

The ninth fold is a tribute to womanhood; for it has been through their faith, their love, loyalty and devotion that the character of the men and women who have made this country great has been molded.

The tenth fold is a tribute to the father, for he, too, has given his sons and daughters for the defense of our country since they were first born.

The eleventh fold, in the eyes of a Hebrew citizen represents the lower portion of the seal of Kind David and King Solomon, and glorifies in their eyes, the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob.

The Twelfth fold, in the eyes of a Christian citizen, represents an emblem of eternity and glorifies, in their eyes, God the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.


The Thirtenth fold, t
his is the final fold and completely folds the flag so that only the stars can be seen, as they are the uppermost reminder to us of our Nation's motto, "In God We Trust." After the Flag is completely folded and tucked in, it takes on the appearance of a cocked hat, ever reminding us of the soldiers who served under General George Washington, and the Sailors and Marines who served under Captain John Paul Jones, who were followed by their comrades and shipmates in the Armed Forces of the United States, preserving for us the rights, privileges, and freedoms we enjoy today.



Posted by: AT 09:09 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, November 15 2012
Tipsy Thursday #43

I get questions about camera recommendations all the time...and while I know some I do not know everything!  Especially the more rugged point and shoots.  So I'm reposting some great info I found on 2012 Toughest Digital Cameras by Kaylan Kumar:



In the past, many people who own cameras wished for tougher units that can stand drops, bumps and can be submerged in deep water. This wish has been granted and so we now have digital cameras that are tougher than ever.

And how tough can they get? The waterproof ones can be submerged in water as deep as 33 feet. The sturdy ones can withstand drops from a height of five feet without getting any damage and other units can still work well even in a freezing temperature of 14 degrees Fahrenheit.

Powershot D20

Canon’s Powershot D20 camera is not only waterproof but it’s also shock-proof and freeze-proof. It has a 5x optical zoom lens, a 12.1-megapixel CMOS sensor and DIGIC 4 processor that contribute to low-noise and quality images. This unit also has image stabilization which allows users to better capture still photos and videos.

canon powershot d20

Canon Powershot D20

This Powershot model is ideal for use outdoors because of its wind-reduction technology. This particular feature reduces noise caused by the wind. Other features include a three-inch LCD, a built-in GPS and an underwater macro mode that helps in capturing close-up shots.

Coolpix AW100

Nikon’s Coolpix AW100 sports a great design with a tough exterior, GPS and gestural control. It is waterproof, shockproof and freezeproof and is lightweight. Other cool features are a 5x optical zoom, full HD movie capability, Expeed C2 image processor and 16-megapixel sensor with ISO sensitivity.

nikon coolpix aw100

Nikon Coolpix Aw100

Available in bright metallic orange, the color has a purpose and it’s meant to keep the camera visible when used in murky deep waters, during winter storms or when placed in dark bags.

Cyber-shot DSC-TX20

This Sony Cyber-shot model is waterproof (up to 16 feet), shockproof (up to five feet) and freezeproof. It has a 3-inch LCD with a resolution of 921,600 dots, high definition video recording capability, a built in microphone and an image that is 16.2 megapixels.

sony cybershot tx20

Sony Cyber-shot DSC-TX20

The camera also has two stabilization features – the standard Optical SteadyShot for still images and the Active SteadyShot. During movie capture, the unit is able to save 12 megapixel images without affecting the video feed.

Lumix DMC-TS4

Panasonic’s Lumix can be submerged at deeper waters compared to the other brands. You can swim underwater for an hour up to 40 feet using the camera and take pictures of the wonderful sea creatures and plants as well as yourself without worry.

It has a built-in GPS, barometer and altimeter and has a full high definition video capability. Other features worth considering are its Auto, Program AE.

panasonic lumix ts4

Panasonic Lumix TS4

What’s great about this unit is that it comes with a wrist strap that will never fall off your wrist. The strap has a sliding lock that you can simply press down and move closer to your wrist to secure the camera on your hand. This is available in orange, blue, silver and black.

While these camera brands have passed the toughest challenge, do keep in mind that they’re not perfect. As such, they still have weaknesses just like any other type of machine.

About the Author:
Kalyan Kumar writes for http://www.42photo.com, a camera store in business for 40 years.


Posted by: AT 09:02 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, November 08 2012
 Tipsy Thursday #42

  • Use a Tripod: A long lens needs support for two big reasons. One is that they are easier to use if you have a support to rest the lens and camera weight. The second reason is to dump vibrations faster. A tripod or monopod is strongly recomended when you use a long lens.
  • Use a fast Shutter Speed: With a long lens freezing the subject motion is critical and even when the subject is not moving you have to avoid vibrations and camera-shake. This means you have to use fast shooter speeds even with static subjects. Try to keep the speed at 1/500 or faster increasing the ISO if neeed be.
  • Lens Wide Open is Better: With long lens it’s better to use it wide open to get a faster shutter speed. Sharpness with long lenses is all about motion blur, the fastest you can shoot the better.
  • Shoot Bursts: Always shoot in burst or continues modes!  With camera shake, subject movement and other factors you will find that the shots in the middle of your bursts are usually sharper than the first and last shots.
  • Try Zoomed In Shots: You can get really good magnification and excellent distance from your subject.  You’re not going to be able to be ‘on top’ of your subject but say there is a humming bird on a branch…you can zoom way in without them knowing.  You can even do this for the moon!
Posted by: AT 12:38 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, November 01 2012

Tipsy Thursday #41

Storing your pictures:

 

  • Use acid free, archival use made books. 
  • Do not store in a damp place, not their friend.
  • Wearing 100% cotton gloves will keep from smearing your pictures.
  • If you got them!  Keep all your negatives together and in a separate local than your pictures (that way if a fire does happen, is safe, the pictures or negatives)
  • If you don't have negatives scan them into digital files
  • Take an external drive or usb external drive and back up your images.  Cd's aren't the best long term solution, scratches and other things can damage them and you're out of luck. 
Posted by: AT 09:28 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, October 25 2012

Tipsy Thursday #40

 

RAW is a type of photo file format like a jpeg. But it's not compressed and holds a lot more information about the light that your camera has captured. This does make the file size a lot larger than a jpeg so watch the image count on your memory card.  In your menu options you can change your setting to RAW and lots have it where you can do a RAW and jpeg file.

RAW let's you adjust the way that light is handled yourself instead of doing that for you.  These files are un-compressed so you will need a software system to access them, generally get some free with your camera. 

You have a lot more editing options when you shoot in RAW like being able to adjust white balance, contrast, exposure etc. which gives you more creativity as a photographer.  Save the original RAW file then you can go back in the future and still play around with it.

You're limited with what you can do with a jpeg in post processing.  So give RAW a try!  Only real down side is they are much higher resolution so watch your image counter.

 

See how the right image is more vibrant & rich, this is the same exact image just the right is RAW and jpeg is on left. 

Posted by: AT 09:00 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, October 18 2012
 Tipsy Thursday #39



Posted by: AT 05:46 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, October 11 2012

Tipsy Thursday #38

Candid Pictures:

 

  • Become invisible, there is a reason photographers wear all black lots of time especially at weddings
  • Angle where you're not in the subjects face
  • Shutter lag issues
    1. The lag is more the less expensive the camera, try to lock in the focus and then take the shot when you're ready.
    2. If you have the long flash for red eye, turn it off.
  • If you can just turn your flash off if the amount of light is enough.
  • Crop after the fact, just get the shot
  • Try to hold the camera at waist level and don't let them know you're taking a shot. 
Posted by: AT 08:26 am   |  Permalink   |  Email
Thursday, September 27 2012

Tipsy Thursday #37

I pulled this from The Spring Events that has LOTS of venues not only in Houston but Austin & San Antonio as well!  They know a thing or two on weddings...this was a blog post from today that I aggreed with so much I had to pass it on.  Direct link: http://thespringsevents.com/wedding-blog/avoid-a-dj-nightmare-with-these-tips-for-hiring-one.html

My friend hired a DJ that was a complete embarrassment. She ended up crying in the corner of the reception hall because she was so disappointed by the way the DJ demanded to run her wedding reception.

After experiencing that horrific event with her, I was convinced I wouldn't allow the same thing happen to me. I researched for hours before I settled on a DJ for my wedding, and I am so glad that I did because he was great.

So that no one ever has to deal with the nightmare my friend did, I wanted to deliver some tips on what I did to find the DJ I chose for my wedding.

Ask Around

You always want to make sure other people have a good experience with a DJ before you use that person. Ask everyone you can think of for recommendations. If you head out to a bridal show, be brave and ask some of the brides what they have heard about local DJs.

 

Research as Many as Possible

Check into as many DJs as you can because you'll have to consider your budget, their availability, and the variety of their inventory. If you have a large selection of DJs to choose from, you have a better chance of success in finding the one you need.

Interview the DJ

Before you make your choice, interview the DJ. Ask the DJ about his or her experience, what he likes to do during reception, how flexible he is, and how he handles certain situations. You can also ask if he has a video of his DJ work that you can view, so you know what to expect.

Provide a List of Songs You Want and Don't Want

Before you make your final decision, hand a list to your DJ of the songs you want played and those that you do not. Ask the DJ to see if he has most of the songs, and if he doesn't, if he would be willing to use your copy. Also, check with him to make sure he is comfortable with the songs you've chosen. Make sure the DJ agrees not to play the songs you don't want as well.

Trust Your Gut

If you meet with a DJ, and you just don't feel good about having him work your wedding, don't choose him. Your gut is usually correct. Even if there's nothing wrong with his work, not feeling comfortable with him will only make working with him a frustration, and you don't need that for your wedding.

Take Your Time and Choose Wisely

Don't rush your choice for a DJ. This is one of the most important wedding professionals you will hire because it's the entertainment that everyone expects at your celebration. Find out as much as you can, and feel good about your decision. If you need help, bring along a friend or family member. That way, you'll have second opinion, and know that you've made the best decision.

Marcelina Hardy wrote this guest post because she didn't want the same thing that happened to her friend happen to anyone else. She used DJs in San Antonio TX because she found San Antonio DJsare the best for her wedding. She is now married almost ten years, and loves to watch her wedding reception video because of how much fun the DJ was during her very special day.

Posted by: AT 05:31 pm   |  Permalink   |  Email

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