Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Recipe Tuesday- Strawberry Pretzel Salad {East Idaho Photographer}

Yay!!! It's recipe Tuesday again! I love doing this every week. It actually makes me do a little more cooking in my home. :) And I LOVE to cook. I just seem to never be home much to make fun recipes. 

Todays recipe is one I grew up with and LOVE!!! My kids thought I was crazy to make a crust using pretzels but they were surprised how delicious the final product was. This is a great jell-o salad to make with any dinner or to take to a pot luck. It is really easy to make the night before if you don't want to have too much to do before dinner time. 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Recipe Tuesday- Healthy Monte Cristo {East Idaho Family Photographer}

Today's Recipe Tuesday is a healthy version of a Monte Cristo Sandwich. Regular Monte Cristo Sandwiches are made with meat. But we don't eat a lot of meat in our family so I came up with a healthy version of a Monte Cristo Sandwich. If you like meat you can use that instead of the veggies. I was first introduced to Monte Cristo Sandwiches when I was a teenager living down south. I love them! If you want to try a new way to make a sandwich for your family then this recipe is for you!!! I hope you like it as much as we do! :) 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Tips and Tricks Thursday! Manual mode {East Idaho photographer}

Tips and Tricks Thursday 

Can you believe it is Thursday again? I think every week goes by faster and faster. I hope that you've been out there playing with your camera and its settings. I hope last weeks lesson helped you to understand ISO a little bit better. I used the ISO function a lot in my recent ballerina session. We shot inside a dance studio and  part of the session I used only my flashes. To capture movement I had to crank my ISO way up in order to get a high enough shutter speed. Today we will discuss how aperture and shutter speed work hand in hand with ISO to get the proper exposure.  

Chapter 2: Manual Mode Settings

Part C: Aperture, Shutter Speeds, and ISO- hand in hand

I know we have touched briefly on aperture and shutter speed separately but today I want to explain how they go hand in hand with ISO.

If your camera will allow you to set both aperture and shutter together you will be able to have better results in proper exposure of your images. Before we talked about using TV (S) and AV (A) modes but that only allowed you to set one or the other but not both together. Both work hand in hand. If any of you have seen me during a session you have seen my fingers moving constantly on my camera. This is due to changing the shutter or aperture or both to get different effects on what I'm trying to achieve. I also change my focal points constantly and I will explain that more next week. 

But first, lets talk about your camera and how to tell when you are properly exposed. If you look in your eye piece you should see down at the bottom a bunch of lines with an arrow in the middle.  When you dial either your aperture or shutter you should see a blinking, thicker line that moves as you dial. The goal is to get the blinking, thicker line lined up in the middle. All camera's are different in what you see in your eye piece but they are all very similar. 

Here is an example of the back of a Canon XSI. The red circled area is what you should see inside your camera when you look through the eye piece. 

The dark, thicker line is right in the middle, which means this image should be properly exposed. Now there are situations, especially on a bright sunny day when that middle point will change depending on where your focus is. But we will get into that in a later lesson. For now we will just work on getting a properly exposed image by making sure that darker line is lined up in the middle. 

The most important thing to do when you are changing both the shutter and the aperture is to think about what you are attempting to capture. 

I will give some examples...

Example 1: Action 

Lets say you are wanting to capture movement. It could be a sport image, children playing, an animal moving, etc... If you want to capture the image without a lot of blurring then you would want to set the shutter speed first. With any type of movement you want to have a shutter speed of 250 or higher in order not to get blur. In sports the higher the better. But often times in sports you are in an inside building with not a lot of light. Then you have to really work at getting the proper exposure using your f-stops and ISO. To do this, you would set your shutter to 250 and then a higher ISO (because that will allow a little more light to filter in even with a  quick shutter) and then using the dial, change your f-stops until the dark line is centered in the middle.  Now be careful too because the lower the f-stop number the more depth of field you will get and the less will be in focus. If you are wanting to capture a couple basketball players going up for the basket you would want them to be in focus. So you would need to maintain a higher f-stop of 6.3 or higher. If you were to only use a 4.0 or even lower, only the spot where your focal point is will be in focus. If you are unable to get a higher f-stop centered in the middle, then crank up the ISO even more. 
Here is an example from a recent session I did. I wanted to keep a little motion going in her skirt as she twirled, but I kept the focal point on her face so that her face stayed in focus. Because I wanted only her face to be in focus I was able to keep the f-stop a little lower. But also notice my ISO is cranked to 1600, which will create noise. But I didn't mind the noise. I think it adds to the feel of the image.  

Here are my camera settings... ISO 1600, Shutter 250, F-stop 5.6

Example 2: Big depth of field

You want to really focus on the subject, but blur out the background. This would be helpful for images where there is a lot going on in the background, like a child playing at a playground with multiple other children. Or a detail that you want to single out in the image. If you are wanting a big depth of field, you want to start by setting your f-stop. The lower the number the more depth of field you will have. Every lens is different on how low you can go on your f-stops. But depending on how much of a depth of field you want depends on how low you go. Once you set your f-stop than dial the shutter speed until it reaches the center of the line.

Here is an example from the same session using the low f-stop to capture a good depth of field. 

My camera settings are:

ISO 500, Shutter 100 and F-stop 4.0

Example 3: Group shots 

What if you want EVERYTHING in focus in the image? Great example of this is if you are doing a group shot. You don't want just one person in focus. You'll want everyone in focus. So in order to achieve this you need to have a higher f-stop. If you are shooting 4 or more people you will want to have your f-stop 8.0 or higher. When I shoot a wedding and do group shots, I will keep my F-stop at 10 or higher just to make sure everyone is in focus. Do not use a low F-stop on group images or you will be disappointed. Also watch your shutter speeds. Anything lower than 125 can be tricky with a group shot. Good rule of thumb with hand holding a camera is never go lower then 80 shutter speed. With 60 and lower try to use a tripod to keep your camera steady or you will get blurring.  

Here is an image I did this past fall for a family. 

My settings were: ISO 640, Shutter 160, and F-stop 8.0.

Notice how everyone is in focus. When I am shooting any group I want to make sure that they are all in focus. 

Example 4: Landscape and wildlife images

 When trying to figure out your settings for landscape or wildlife images make sure to be aware of movement, lighting, whether you want it to be all in focus or if you want a particular thing in focus. Determine what you are looking for and then set your settings accordingly. If it is a bright day and you want it all in focus you may end up setting your shutter speed high, your f-stop high and your ISO low. If it is an overcast day and not very bright, you will want a lower shutter speed but a middle f-stop (8.0+) to still keep everything in focus and adjust ISO accordingly. If you are shooting wildlife that is moving you need to have a high shutter speed to capture the movement and a middle ground F-stop (8.0+) and then change ISO to get it exposed properly. 

Here is an image using the example of high shutter, high f-stop and low ISO. This image was taken last month in Kentucky. I absolutely LOVE old barns and silos. This silo was so cool I just HAD to take a picture of it. 

My settings were- shutter 1000, f-stop 9.0 and ISO 320.

So, as you can see from this lesson, in order to fully shoot manual and get AMAZING pictures, you need to know how shutter, aperture and ISO all work together to create a correctly exposed image. Now get out and go try it out. Put it on manual and dial away!!! The more you do it the more it'll make sense. And the more you do it, the more it becomes second nature. I don't even "think" about it now. I just start turning dials. And so can you!!!

As always... if you have any questions feel free to leave a comment here or on our business Facebook page! Good luck!!!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Beautiful Ballerina {East Idaho Ballet Photographer}

I absolutely LOVE it when I get to have a "creative" session and try new lighting and posing techniques. This Ballerina session was so much fun! And the Ballerina is so beautiful. She has been dancing since she was a little girl and she is amazing. I had a chance to watch her dance for a few minutes before our photo session, as she finished up her practice session. Wow!!! Ballet is so beautiful! She has a competition coming up and I wish her all the best. I think she will do amazing!

I have quite a few images to share but for today I am going to just share a few. I will share more later as well. It is so hard not to just sit and "play" with them for hours! :)

Recipe Tuesday- Strawberry Valentine Crescents {East Idaho Family Photographer}

Want a fun treat for Valentine's Day?

 These yummy strawberry crescents are a delicious way to start your day or just make as a treat for the kids. They are especially delicious right out of the oven while they are still warm. They are easy enough that even your kids could make them. Hope you enjoy them as much as we did!!! 

Recipe Tuesday- Strawberry Valentine Crescents {East Idaho Family Photographer}

Sunday, February 12, 2012

"Share the Love" contest!!! {East Idaho photographer}

Our "share the Love" contest has begun!!! 

Do you love Valentine's Day as much as I do? 
Then tell me!

I want you to share on our Business Facebook Page 
  (click on the phrase "Business Facebook Page" above to go to our Facebook page) 
what you love most in this world and why. Or share a heart felt story or experience you have had in your life with someone you love. 

Then I want you to go spread the word to your friends, family, acquaintances, and who ever else you can think of, and send them to our Facebook page and have them "like" or comment on your status. 
The person with the most likes and comments will 
win a gift certificate worth $125 
toward ANY future session. 

Contest will run from Monday February 13th at 12 am until Sunday February 19th at midnight! And is open to ANYONE!!! I will do sessions for people located in Idaho, Utah and Florida. 

Good luck to all of you!!! I can't wait to hear about your love stories or what you love! Be as creative as you want!!! 

VIP members will receive a $75 gift certificate which can be combined with your already discounted session and order. 

Thursday, February 9, 2012

Tips and Tricks Thursday! Manual mode- ISO {East Idaho photographer}

Tips and Tricks Thursday 

So I just realized I totally spaced posting last week. I had just returned from my FUN trip to Nashville, Tennessee and Kentucky and I got so busy with my kids, house work, and clients that I forgot to post! Sorry for those of you who are following this every week. I will try to be better. :) 

Chapter 2: Manual Mode Settings
Part B: ISO

Today I want to discuss ISO. What it is and how to use it.

Unless you've used film in the past, you probably don't know what ISO is and how it effects your photographs. ISO stands for International Organization for Standardization. In relation to photography, it essentially means your film speed. Film Speed is the amount of light that is needed to properly expose your film or image.  
Even though your camera is probably not film but is digital, the ISO camera setting still has the same function as older film camera's. Camera ISO determines how sensitive the image sensor is to light. 
If you go to any store and pick up a roll of film, you'll notice a number on the package. Generally it will be 100, 200, 400, or 800. That's the ISO number. The lower the ISO number the more light it will need to penetrate the film for proper exposure. 800 ISO film requires a lot less light to expose your picture properly than film with an ISO of 200.

 Depending on your digital camera model you may have ISO settings that range even higher than 800. My camera can go to 3200 and the Canon 5D MarkII can go to 25600. 
If you are unsure where to find the ISO settings on your camera, check out your owners manual. Most digital camera's now will allow you to set your own ISO. And if you know where it is to change it, you will have more control in different lighting situations. 

The general rule of thumb- The lower ISO settings (100-400) are for daylight and situations where there is a lot of light. And the higher the ISO settings (800+) are for night and low light situations.

Here is a quick reference guide for ISO settings...

  •       Use an ISO of 100 or 200 when taking photographs outside in sunny conditions.
  •     If the sky is overcast or it is evening time, then use an ISO within the range of 400 to 800.
  •     Night time or in cases of low light you might need to set your digital camera ISO to 1600 or higher if your camera will allow you to go higher. If you don't, then your photo will appear too dark, if at all.
How does the ISO speed affect the photographs end result? 

If you set your digital camera to a low ISO, for example 100, the resulting photograph will be better quality than one set at 1600. The higher the ISO the more grainy the photo will look. I suggest going for a low ISO number whenever possible.
However there are circumstances where a lower quality photograph is better than none at all. For example, trying to take a picture in the evening when the sun is setting and there isn't very much natural light left.  I had the opportunity to go to Grand Turks on one of our cruise ports last November and as I was headed back to board the cruise ship I wanted to get a shot of the ocean and an old dock. It was about 5:30 pm and there was hardly any light left. I cranked my ISO to 3200 and was still able to get enough light in to get the shot. The image is grainy, but I was still able to capture it. Here are the results...
This was shot with very little light using an ISO of 3200. By using the high ISO I was able to get a little more light into the sensor but the result is a grainy image. Having grain in the image was worth it to get this amazing shot of the clouds, sunset and water. 

When you use your digital SLR camera in automatic modes such as portrait, landscape and sports etc, all basic settings like ISO, Aperture and Shutter speed are automatically made for you. There are times when you'll want to override these automatic settings and choose the ISO yourself.

When to use the ISO setting on a digital SLR camera

  • If you want to ensure the highest quality photograph possible. 
The lower the ISO the better the quality. An ISO of 100 or 200 will give you a better quality photograph than one set at 1600. If the image is destined for website display, then this may not matter. However, if you wish to print the photograph, then you'll want to keep the ISO low. Otherwise it will look grainy or noisy (as it is also refered to). 

  • If you want to take a photograph in dark situations and not use a tripod.
 For example, if you are on a tour through a mountain cave or at a fish aquarium, a tripod may not be an option. In these cases, you could up your ISO to at least 800 or more. This way, your camera will automatically keep to a fast enough shutter speed for you to hand hold your camera. Yet still allow enough light in to your camera's sensor for a reasonable night shot. As explained in the first section, this would cause a grainy photograph. However, in some circumstances any photo is better than none. 

  • If you want to take photographs in darker situations other than outdoors, without the use of a flash.
For example, if you were taking images in a museum or theatre, camera flash could be prohibited. Or if you were photographing a child blowing out their birthday cake candles. A bright flash could ruin the atmosphere. In this case you would keep the ISO at around 1600. 

  • If you want to take a photograph indoors of a moving subject. 
For example, if you were taking photographs of a basketball game at an indoors sports center. In these circumstances there isn't always enough natural light to take a good photo, while at the same time the players aren't going to stand still long enough for you to shoot at a slower shutter speed either. Therefore, you could up your ISO to 800 or more. Again, this would allow enough light in to your camera's sensor for a reasonable shot.

This was shot with an ISO of 160 on a bright sunny day. Exposure is good and there is very minimal grain in the image. Good quality image. 

I hope you were able to learn something from this weeks "Tips and Tricks". Remember if you have any questions, please feel free to leave a comment and I will answer it as best as I can. 

Go play with your ISO in different lighting situations and use different shutter speeds to see the difference. If your ISO is too low for the lighting situation, your shutter speed may be to low to hand hold as well. Just play with it and try out different setting options and see what you get. I would love to see your results if you want to share. 
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Have fun playing!!! 

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

More of Baby "S" {East Idaho Baby Newborn Photographer}

Here are a few more images from my newborn session yesterday. I can't believe how good he was. I am having a hard time not editing them ALL! Mom and Dad are going to have a hard time narrowing them down. :) He was such a calm baby that he let me do quite a bit with him.

Just as a side note- the last image was done very carefully and Mom and Dad were right there. I do not risk injuring a baby and make sure that safety comes first. Please- if you are a photographer, please make sure you "safely" pose babies. I know that there are a lot of stories out there on the web about the safety of newborns and it has become a serious issue and problem. I do like to be artistic but not at the risk of injury. :)

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Baby "S" {East Idaho Newborn Photographer}

I LOVE doing newborn sessions and this little cutie was so much fun. We have so many great images from today's session. He was such calm baby. Even when he was a wake (which wasn't too often), he was happy to just sit there and take it all in. I will try to share more images tomorrow. But for now I have a couple to share as a sneak peek. :)

Recipe Tuesday- Moist Pumpkin Bars {East Idaho Photographer}

This weeks "Recipe Tuesday" is another pumpkin recipe. It is an easy one to make and so delicious! Even my kids like it. And they are a little picky when it comes to desserts. I actually made half of it with walnuts and half without, since I have several kids who don't like nuts. So if your family doesn't like nuts or if you have anyone in your family who is allergic to nuts, you can leave them off and it will still taste amazing! Hope you enjoy this recipe as much as we do!

Recipe Tuesday- Moist Pumpkin Bars