Just Take the Picture

I realized recently that I had taken far fewer pictures of my kids than “usual”. I was working a lot more, and blabla life stuff, but I love taking pictures of my girls. I looked through the pictures I had and saw they’re all very “posed”. Not terribly much in the way of our daily life or lifestyle. I don’t think I took any pictures at Christmas. I didn’t take my camera to Thanksgiving, and I know it
sat at my desk during their birthday (twins man, those birthdays get pretty busy). There are very few of the girls just playing together which is one of my favorite parts of our lives.

I tried to step out of my own box and look at what was holding me back and it hit me when I shared a picture of my cat to FB (on my dinner table because of course there was a cat on my dinner table).Not a daily occurrence

My house is a mess. My family room has piles of toys everywhere, legos spread across all surfaces, Barbie clothes everywhere. My kitchen has cups on the counter, and last night’s supper pans in the sink. There are books, cups, magazines- all kinds of things on the dinner table and like I said, the cat.  If you follow any lifestyle photographers, you see these gorgeous homes- perfectly cleaned, gorgeous light in every room, nary a dust ball on the floor. And forget pets on their tables.

I realized something else—screw it. We live here. Having a spotless home is not a priority for me. We pick up but you’ll probably never see our whole counter top…There's a counter in there somewhereThere will always be cat/dog fluff swirling their ballets across the floor. My throw pillows will never be artfully arranged. This is what our lives are- they’re messy and chaotic. And I’m going to be more mindful about shooting us just the way we are. Slovenly pigsty and all 😉level5disasterselfportrait-1wmTake the picture. Don’t worry about the mess. Sometimes, life is messy.

2016 Recap: what a year

So, we made it! 2016 was… well it was something wasn’t it? Professionally the year was awesome for me and I met a ton of great new clients as well as caught up with so many of you loyal WBP friends, I was able to get the direct download option back up and running without glitching and so many of you saw the value in printing your images professionally!  My goal was to book 43 sessions this year, I booked over 60. That’s super exciting to me- I only take 3-4 sessions a month, and of course the winter months in Cleveland are brutal for us outdoor, natural light photographers. I thought to myself, “Hey Self, forty-odd sessions would be GREAT, all things considered. You’ll be back in Erie and then visiting the in-laws in New England and not able to work, and who know what winter will be like! Forty-something is a totally good number! Let’s do this!” Then you guys were like, “Oh, it’s on.” And it’s been awesome.

I got to hold and snuggle so.many.babies this year- keep ‘em coming! If you know someone having a baby in 2017, get them in touch with me- I have baby plans for all budgets. If I met your baby in 2016, don’t forget your milestones  😀

Summer this year was so gorgeous- I got to have my first outside newborn session with little Elise! I got to take on a couple boudoir sessions and hire on a hair and make-up artist to help out with that (with more sessions opening up again in June 2017).eas-113wm jf-14wm
Fall came in like a lion and sold out completely within days of my announcing dates and locations.

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And even though I was going to take December off to give my eyes a bit of a rest, there was no way I could turn down baby Mason or Jenny in her journey.
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2-2wmThis year was such a whirlwind! I am very hopeful that 2017 will be amazing as well. I’m booking March and April right now; I’ll be booking special very limited mini sessions at the end of March which will be shot in April. Thank you all so much for keeping me busy; I hope I get to see all of you this year!52in2016

How to: create a holiday silhouette

A year or so ago, I typed up a post about silhouettes but because Word Press is sort of the devil, it got eaten and is lost in the pits of internet mystery. So here goes with Take 2: Holiday Silhouette.

Long story short– expose for your tree lights, focus on your people, under exposing the people. Voila! Silhouette.

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ISO 200, f 1.6, 1/40th, 35mm 1.4 lens used

I just asked my daughters to stand in front of the tree and BE TOTALLY 100% STILL FOR PETE’S SAKE JUST STOP MOVING. (proud parenting moment  -_-)

But I had good reason to demand they be totally still. If you know anything about photography you know LIGHT MATTERS. Light is the single most important factor in your photography but when you shoot this, you want NO LIGHT. Why is that, Wendy?

Glad you asked. To create this specific holiday silhouette, your only light source will be your tree. If you have day light, lights on in the room- you will have a harder time getting that soft bokeh from your lights on your tree. But when you have pretty much zero light, you’re going to need to use a super slow shutter speed. When you have a super low shutter speed, any movement will look like a ghosty blur. No bueno.

What you’ll need in addition to a basic understanding of the manual settings of your camera:

  • tripod or something sturdy to set your camera on
  • holiday lights, the more the better. DO NOT wrap your kids in holiday lights.
  • a kid or two who will STAND STILL FOR THE 100TH TIME, I SWEAR TO GOD. (swearing to god optional). Also good for practicing with, stuffed animals because they are the best at being still when people are in the room.
  • a DLSR camera

Handy to have:

  • remote shutter release

First things first, mount your camera on your tripod or Sturdy Thing. You’re going to keep your ISO low, and your shutter speed SLOOOW like I said above. You can up your ISO a little bit, but don’t go to high or you will risk too much light on your people. My ISO was set to 200. My shutter speed was set to 1/20th– if I was trying to hand-hold my camera at that shutter speed the silhouette would be a motion blurry mess.  If you have a remote shutter release, it’ll be nice to use so you don’t risk shaking the camera even on your tripod when you push the shutter release.

Next you’re going to set your f-stop. I was set to 1.6 since my lens is pretty baller and I knew I would be able to get both girls in focus with it. For super beginners it’s sometimes suggested that your f-stop equal the number of people in your picture, so with 2 people, I could have set my f-stop to 2.8. If your lens only goes to 3.5, just remember to move your subjects farther away from the tree (some day, I’ll teach you all about depth of field and why it matters).

You should be good to give it a shot. Set your person or stuffed animal up, and take a test shot! How’d it look? Was your subject in silhouette? Was it a little brighter than you expected? If so, you can speed up your shutter, or close down your f-stop. Were the lights little pin pricks? Slow down that shutter even father! Show me in the comments on wendy b photos what you got!

A really HUGE fall catch-up post

If that isn’t a catchy title, I don’t know what is.

It has been an absolute whirlwind fall. Every year I tell myself I’m not going to take on so much- I’ll spend more time with my family. I’ll actually hire someone else to take photos of us because I won’t be working every minute!

And then this year I took something like 12 more fall sessions than I did last year :*) I took 4-5 mini sessions every weekend and then also took my usual work load during the week. It was nuts and I’m pretty sure my eyes are going to fall out of my face. I’m taking only 2 sessions in December, not just to give my retinas a rest, but also because with the holiday season comes winter break for my daughters and you guys know I’m a mom first.

I wanted to share some of the families I had this year, and since my blogging is pretty much the worst ever, I’m going to pop them into a couple giant posts! We’ve had our first snow here, and looking back at the colors of fall is so nice 😀
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Trying new things {editing with wendy b photos}

I shared on my Facebook page that I had been experimenting with some different editing styles and a friend suggested seeing the side by side which is a great idea 🙂 The newer edits are more matte, slightly film like.
In this first example, you can see how vivid the fall colors are. A lot of this is to do with the available light- we had a gorgeous day with lots of light hitting those leaves making everything REALLY bright and strong. In the after, I applied a soft matte and texture which softened those colors without desaturating them too much.

Before and After, trying stuff is fun!
Before and After, trying stuff is fun!

In this image of Cecelia, the edit made the greens a bit deeper and the image a bit cooler/ bluer. I like what happened with the green, but I’m not sold on the skin tone- this is an example of how this newer edit style for me may not work as well on every image, with every skin tone 🙂 I like both images, and could do some work on the skin to bring back some warmth and maybe a bit of light but for comparison’s sake, this is a “one click” edit.
Before and After

Then there’s my Lilly. The first edit was almost exactly what I wanted; I remember being really happy with the image over all, but also feeling like something was missing. I shot this over a year ago, and had one of those “AHA!” moments when I created my matte/ film edit. The change is subtle but I love it. Her skin looks perfect, the greens are deep and rich, the matte and grain is just right. I love the clean image, but the film-like texture is *exactly* what I was hoping to get. 

I took some photos of my daughters for their 9th birthday, and edited totally with the new look and loved every one.

So you can see, the changes aren’t huge, but change is hard for lots of people myself included. I’ve been a pretty “safe” editor but something in my gut has been pushing me to try something, to push my boundaries and experiment with my editing style. Like I’ve said, I can’t promise that this softer, grainy, textured, darker look will work with all sessions or images, but I do know that it’s been a lot of fun to use and I really like the look!

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}

Colin 1yr

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 😉