Photography HOW TO: photograph fireworks!

Ah, the Fourth of July. Picnics, parties, beer, and brats (that’s bratwurst, not BRATS, well… hopefully not brats 😉  )
And of course, there are fireworks. I’m sure there’s a long and delightful history about why we Americans light up the skies with fireworks and you’re welcome to Google that information in your spare time 😉

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I have always been particular about fireworks. By particular, I mean terrified. Then, seven years ago I had two little girls and now Mommy has to put on the brave face. What better way to enjoy those loud, blazing balls of fire raining down on you, but by trying to photograph them! Total transparency here- last year was the first year that I ever tried to photograph them. I’m going to try again this year if this Summer of Unending Rain gives me the chance (Ohio friends know what I’m talking about). You can try, too!

HERE’S WHAT YOU’LL NEED:
1. Remote shutter release like THIS
2. A DLSR and basic understanding of photography
3. A dark place with a clear view of the sky

IT WOULD BE HANDY TO HAVE:
1. tripod
2. wide-ish angle lens that will focus to infinity. Use what you’ve got though, you can make nearly anything work.

I’ll post my photos with my settings to give you an idea about where you can start, but every lighting situation, lens and camera body is different. For what it’s worth, I took these on a Nikon D7000 with a Nikkor 35mm 1.8 lens. I wanted a wide angle lens, and my 35mm is the widest I’ve got.

First things first- get a good spot! Some people like to have cool landmarks in their photos, but I want an unobstructed view. We parked ourselves far across from the field where the fireworks would be shot off. I can fake being cool with fireworks, but only from a safe distance.

Second, turn off your flash. You want the only light your camera sees to be the fireworks themselves. Relatedly, turn your ISO down. Mine was set at 100 for all these photos. Again, we want the only light to be from the fireworks themselves, so we don’t want our cameras to compensate for the dark and make images brighter.

ISO-100, 35mm, F-16, SS 8.0 seconds
ISO-100, 35mm, F-16, SS 8.0 second

Aperture is next. You’ll want a long focal length. Anywhere from F-11 up will work well. The fireworks will be far away, and we’re going to try to focus to infinity. You’ll want to look up your specific lens if you don’t know how to set it to infinity or even if it does such a thing. A note about my specific 35mm– it is a G lens, meaning “gelded” and does not focus to infinity which made things a little harder. What I did was set my focus to manual and focused on the very farthest thing from me, then crossed my fingers and hoped for the best.

ISO 100, 35mm, f-20, SS 13.0 sec
ISO 100, 35mm, f-20, SS 13.0 sec

Set your shutter speed to a reeeeeaaaaaalllllly long exposure. There won’t be a ton of light, we’re using a low ISO and a small aperture (the larger the f-stop number, the smaller the aperture opening). Mine was set anywhere from 8 seconds to 13 seconds. Now you see why you’ll want that wireless remote- there is absolutely no way you can have your hands on your camera when that shutter is released or you’ll get instant camera shake and blurry photos. I would fire off my remote shutter release as soon as I saw the firework shot off- when you see that first streak of light FIRE! If you have a tripod- USE IT. The less motion around your camera the better.

Play around with your shutter speed and see how the speed affects the amount of light let in. The longer you leave your shutter open (hello, 13 whopping seconds) the more light will enter your lens. The cool thing is the light is moving! Since our shutter is super slow, it’s not going to stop that light motion and you’ll get those awesome light streaks.

Get out there, and give it a shot! Share your attempts over on Wendy B Photos on Facebook!

ISO 100, 35mm, f-16, SS 8.0 sec

 

Fall Flashback: Jenny and Chris {Cleveland Family Photographer}

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The R Family

It’s hard to believe I’m going to be pre-booking fall family mini sessions for my current client list in just about seven weeks! Looking back at these fall photos makes me so excited for what’s to come!

Jenny, Chris, Grey and Wally are four favs. I was lucky enough to photograph them a couple times over the year and it’s always a treat. I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of their hugs, their little smiles, or their family cuddles!JCR-11wm

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Oh, Wally :*) I love working with kids- you never *ever* know what you’re going to get!  Grey was all smiles and giggles and little boy energy, and Wally was…two. Haha! As with all my toddlers, a touch of shyness, and even grouchy faces are expected and totally normal. I photograph my families as they are, and sometimes that includes our furrowed (and super precious) brows.

I book family sessions through out the year; and am currently booking for September! If you’d like to squeeze the last drops of summer into a family session, check out the details of what’s included on www.wboycephotos.com and then send me an email! wendy@wboycephotos.com

If you’re a current client in good standing, keep your eyes out for my fall family mini session dates. I’ll be emailing them out in early August!

Cassy + Jason {fall family photos}

I wrapped up my nephew’s birthday and dove face first into my incredibly packed fall family schedule.Cassy fall cover

I was lucky enough to shoot baby Alison when she was newborn, and getting to see her as a toddler was such a treat.

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Her big brothers are so much fun. They’re the perfect combination of silly and sweet.CO-43wm CO-32wm

We played in the leaves a bit, snapped a couple of the three together (the smooching happened all on its own!)CO-5wm

grabbed some fast family photos and that was that! I could have shot all day though; Cassy, Jason, Owen, Carter, and Alison were total models.  CO-9wm

Mini sessions go *fast*. Even though I time mini sessions out to no more than 30 minutes, my clients can still expect anywhere from 30-40 images for a family of five in their private online galleries 😀 I’m booking sessions for June and July NOW. Summer is such a great time for photos. I prefer summer to fall for my own family photos (GASP!) The sunlight is so warm, the days are filled with fun. There’s no pressure to hurry up and get the photos done so you have them in time for your holiday cards– shoot in the summer and you’ll have your images WELL in advance for those cards!

Book your session today by emailing wendy@wboycephotos.com

A bit about respecting your privacy

I just want to put it out there for every one to see– if you would prefer I not tag you in photos I share online, or if you’d prefer I not share anything at all, please let me know. I do not want any of my clients to feel like they don’t have the right to privacy. If you’d like me to hold off sharing something until a certain time (pregnancy announcement, holiday photos, what ever) same deal; let me know.

I love being able to share my work and every time I do, I can count on at least 350 people being reached by the shared image which is one of the ways I advertise and grow my business, but if you have any requests at all just say the word. Under no circumstances will I share something you’ve asked me not to. As I venture into the world of boudoir photography, this will be more of a concern; at this point in time, I’m not sharing ANY boudoir photos online anywhere. Should I ever decide to open a page specifically for boudoir photos, you will 100% have the right to tell me which, if any photos you’re OK with being shared. I do NOT have a plan right now, to open a boudoir photos page.

I prefer to have requests written, so that I don’t lose them or forget 😉 and all of my contracts now remind clients that they have the right to request privacy. Your wishes are important to me and always will be. Being respectful of their wishes is just one of the ways I show my clients how much I love and appreciate them <3

When Colin turned 1! {baby milestone photos}

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Sweet little Colin, my nephew, came to my house to visit and while he and my sister were here, I obviously forced him into photos 😉 He was a bit unsure but most kids are at first. But a few minutes on Mommy’s lap and we were back in the game:

Momma?

Of course, Roary Dinosaury helps…

Rooooar, I'm a dinosaur

Soon Colin was all “I don’t always take first birthday photos, but when I do, I pose like a pro,” Serious baby is serious.ah yea

I love being able to take milestone in my little home-studio space. It’s really nice to have that option when the weather isn’t the best. Maybe someday, I’ll have a large separate space where I can take all kinds of session! Oh, and it’ll have north and south facing windows that are HUGE! And wildflowers! And tall trees with low limbs so I can make s tree swing! aaaah……

If your little one has a mile stone coming up, email me today at wendy@wboycephotos.com! I’m booking June and July right now- don’t miss out! In fact, why not take a look at my Watch Me Grow package? Get all your milestone photos arranged in advance so you’re never left scrambling last minute 😉

A special trip home {North East PA photographer}

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In late Summer, my high school best friend Angela asked if I might be coming back home to PA any time, and if I was, would I have time for a family session… because they hadn’t had photos taken SINCE HER WEDDING. Dude. Yes, all the yeses. I knew the perfect place, too.

My family’s grape farm in North East, PA <3

Ange was my best friend all through high school. I spent nearly every other day at her house, and probably every single day over the summers! We spent hours walking the sidewalks of our hometown, putting miles on our feet. Those walks and my time with Ange and the entire Licata family are some of my best memories.
Life got away from Angie and me, as it tends to do; but little trick life has is bringing people back to you. I don’t even recall how Ange and I reconnected- probably over Glee :*) Matt(y), who I was lucky enough to know during his first year is now 16 years old (17 in just a few short weeks!) and TBH, it was totally trippy to photograph him as a teenager. In my memory, he’s still a baby and we’re all still smooshing his cheeks and saying, “My name is ChubbaWubba” He has grown into an amazing young man; artistic and kind, loving and pretty rad.

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And then there’s sister Sierra. She is Angela’s clone- looking through my viewfinder at her was like looking backward in time. She told me her birthday was in December, and she actually liked it a lot that people think she and her Mom are so similar, Isn’t that awesome?

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And Kendall, only three or four months older than my own daughters. He was silly and spirited and pretty much what every eight year old boy is :*) I said to him, “I love your silly face bunches. I know your mom loves it too- but let’s do something she isn’t expecting. Let’s give her one grown up smile face, how about?” and he grinned and gave me….AML-19wm

I am eternally grateful for my reconnection with Angie. I wish I hadn’t lost years with her, but we have our whole lives to make up for it.  There’s no one else I’d rather have describe to me on the phone what was going on during “South Park” (because I didn’t have cable and had never seen it) no one else I’d rather stay up all hours of the night playing Nintendo- she was always way better than me. No one else, to wander aimlessly through town talking about our boy problems, life problems, forging a bond that will never be broken.

 

 

The S family {Willoughby Family Photographer}

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Ah, late summer <3 It was warm and beautiful on the day Jenny, Brian, and their perfect three came down for our family session. As is usual, we started off with shy smiles but we warmed up quickly and had some genuine happy faces.JS-39wm

Isn’t Layla beautiful?  JS-17wm

As a twin mom, the phrase “double trouble” is tossed at me on the regular. I’m sure the same is true for Jenny, but Corbin and Spencer are far more “double the love” than trouble. Add a dash of Layla, a setting sun and it was a party:JS-114wm JS-118wm

 

 

I’m so glad I get to work with this family every year <3 To get to see the kids grow into these crazy, silly, sweet people is such a pleasure for me!

Watch Me Grow sessions ARE HERE! {Cleveland Newborn Photographer}

Something I’ve been wanting to put together for some time now has come to fruition!

Watch Me Grow sessions! These bundled milestones are such a time saver.

New from wendy b photos! Watch Me Grow!

If you belong to any of the “mommy” Facebook groups, you’ve no doubt seen countless last minute cries of, “I need a photographer for my child’s 6 month photos ASAP!!” Sadly, most professional photographers don’t have immediate availability, myself included. It’s so hard to try and keep up with daily life when you have a new baby I don’t fault anyone for only realizing what milestone is just around the corner too late.

The beauty of this Watch Me Grow bundle is that all our sessions are scheduled when we schedule your newborn session! This new bundle of sessions makes it easier than ever to make sure you never miss a milestone. Booked all at once and paid for over the the life of the bundle there couldn’t be a more simple way to get all your sessions in without worrying about them last minute.

You’ll have your newborn photos, 4 month milestone, 8 month milestone, and 1 year cake smash all booked and on the calendar ready to go without a second thought.  I’m offering them at a discount when you purchase the Watch Me Grow Bundle. Four sessions, one disk for each session with the corresponding amount of digital files and print release… only $575.

As with everything in life, conditions apply so check out wboycephotos.com or email wendy@wboycephotos.com for details!

Baby S’s 6 month milestones {Macedonia family photographer}

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I have a feeling I’ll be playing catch up on the blog for.ev.er :) The N family came to me as a referral (refer a friend and you get $10 off your next session when your friend pays their deposit and they get 2 extra digital files for their disk!) and I’m so glad. Little fella Soren was six months old! SN-89wm

Seriously, have you seen a sweeter face?! Those brown eyes! So dang CUTE. SN-135wm

Soren was an expert sitter which blew my mind! Mom and Daddy brought his beloved stuffed bear, and we snuck it in a couple shots. I *love* when a family wants to personalize their session with something special to them!

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Ahh… love family sessions like this! I can’t wait to get back outside and work in the sunshine again. Old Man Winter, I’ve got a couple weeks left of tolerating these temps in the teens, but you’re going to have to BEAT IT. Anyone want to brave a snowy session once we get back into the 20s?

Session Q&A- when to book maternity or newborn photos

Q- I’m pregnant! When should I schedule my maternity and/or newborn session with wendy b photos?

A- This is a two-parter :) Any session is booked by emailing me; wendy@wboycephotos.com. We will settle on a date and location, and I’ll send you a contract and invoice :)

You’ll want to schedule your maternity session ASAP keeping in mind that I book at least six weeks in advance. Maternity photos are best shot after week 32 but before week 38- you’ll be showing pretty well but not yet so huge that the “I’m so done” mantra has been chanted. You are welcome to book your maternity session as soon as you hit your second trimester, but know that we won’t be shooting until you hit 32w.

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Newborn photos *MUST* be shot within the first 14 days or so after birth. Since a good lot of us have no idea when our babies will be born, you will want to schedule your newborn session by the time you are 34w. I put you on my calendar for your due date, then I leave dates open the week before and two weeks after for your session. It is of the utmost importance that you let me know as soon as the baby is born, so we can nail down your exact session date. Doing so can help ensure that the whole family can be available to participate, if you’d like. On-site newborn photos often include siblings and both parents so keep that in mind :)

This photo of mine, taken of momma Patti and her daughter Catie was chosen by I Heart Faces (iheartfaces.com) as one of their "50 Beautiful Newborns to Inspire You"
This photo of mine, taken of momma Patti and her daughter Catie was chosen by I Heart Faces (iheartfaces.com) as one of their “50 Beautiful Newborns to Inspire You”

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If your baby is born prematurely and requires NICU time, we would resume your full session when you’re all home together.

If you want book maternity photos as well as newborn photos, I offer a Baby Bundle package. The package saves you some money and gets you *14* photos included with your session fee. I strongly recommend the Baby Bundle package. You get more shoot time, more photos, more bang for your buck!

I also offer a Fresh 48 add on to any newborn session, for just $100. It includes 30 minutes of hospital shoot time and *all* the best images for direct download. Total number of images will vary.

**I have been recognized nationally by the photography group I Heart Faces and had my work used as inspirational photos in both the newborn and maternity galleries!**