Magical Things of Life

The Studio

Introducing my studio space…There is so much natural light I didn’t turn the lights on to photograph the space.  The images are straight out of camera,I didn’t edit them as I just wanted to share the space with you.

 

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My dog, Daisy, goes to the studio with me every day.

 

 

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The stairway to my second floor space.

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The entrance is to the right.


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Mystical Morning

Mystical Morning

Mystical Morning

SS 1/125  f 10  ISO 1000

Saturday morning I co-led a workshop through the Heritage Conservancy.   We met at a local Conservancy property for a sunrise shoot.  The morning was nothing shy of mystical and magical.  As the sun rose and the fog lifted, three spirited horses galloped through the pasture.

Lazy, Hazy Days of Summer…

A Newborn Session

I recently did a newborn photo session with a baby that weighed over 11 pounds at birth.  She was so precious.  Below you’ll find a few images from the shoot.  In addition to sharing photographs of the baby, I thought it might be useful to present a few tips on newborn photography.

1.  Get to know baby.  Hold baby, cuddle with baby and help the baby get comfortable with you.  If you are anxious or nervous the baby will sense this.

2. Posing – To achieve the frog-like poses  you often see, the baby should be between 5 and 10 days old.  I like to wait until they are at least 5 days old so that the mother and baby have had time to bond and Mom is settled into the new routine of having a newborn.  By about day five the baby too has acclimated to his/her new surroundings, although do not expect them to be on a schedule or predictable with their feeding/changing patterns.  As you can see in my images I forewent the frog pose in this shoot.  Even though the baby was only 8 days old, she was very big and not as “moldable/posable” as a smaller more flexible baby would have been.  This is not a problem, you can still get a lot of cute poses and use props to capture the baby’s essence.  Remember, you don’t have to use the scrunched up poses to capture the beauty of the baby.  You can easily pose their hands and get completely different looks and moods within your images. Also, don’t forget to focus on babies unique features – fingers, toes, nose, ears, head – each one makes the baby unique and the parents will love having these precious little pieces of the love of their lives captured permanently.  Also, remember that the baby doesn’t necessarily need to be moved and reposed all the time – you move; side to side, up and down, back and forth.  It’s a work out but you’ll capture every inch of the little bundle of joy!

3.  Time – Newborn shoots should take from 2 to 4 hours.  As happened during this particular shoot, the baby needed to be fed twice and took a bit of time to settle after the first feeding.  She also had to go potty several times and when babies are naked, you know what means! –  My kids always think it is funny when I come home from a newborn shoot and tell them that the baby went to the bathroom on me.  Needless to say, you don’t want to wear your Sunday best for a newborn shoot.  And, be prepared with extra wraps and blankets to use in the event some are soiled during the shoot.

4.   Flexibility – is crucial.  I don’t mean the ability to be acrobatic, but to be patient and go with the flow of baby and baby’s needs. This is why you want to allow several hours for the shoot.  You won’t be able to go from one pose to the next with prompt acuity.   I like to have Mom stay near by too, just in case baby needs something or  just to be another set of eyes in the event the baby decides to squirm.

5.  Fragility – Newborns are fragile.  Be very careful with them.  Yes, they are moldable and posable, but they are also very delicate.  Handle them gently and with great care.

6.  Do your homework – There are plenty of Youtube videos out there on photographing newborns.  Prior to attempting a newborn shoot, I recommend that you study newborn photography and watch some of the videos linked below.

Links:

The Natural Newborn – Daneille Stahl and Carrie Walker

Newborn Wrapping Technique – Kelly Brown

Ana Brandt – I love all of her videos!

Of course there are more tutorials available, but I wanted to give you a start.  If you go to Youtube and watch any of the videos I listed above, other recommendations will pop up on the right side of your screen.

Let me know if you have any questions and I’ll try to help.  Enjoy the photos below of this little hunk of love!


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Dinner Plate Dahlia on a Dinner Plate

This is by far the longest that I have ever gone without posting a blog.  The good news is that my absence is for good reason.

I moved into my studio space today.  I am beside myself with excitement and overwhelmed with the possibilities, as well as the logistics of settling into it.  The space is beautiful and I hope to post photos soon.

For those of you interested in black and white photography, I did write a post on Monochromia for this Thursday.  I encourage you to stop by and see it and please check in here soon for an update on the studio as well as more images from yours truly!

Oh yes, and a special thanks to all of my new followers as well as my long-term followers.  I am grateful for your support and am thrilled to have you following me and my endeavors as a photographer.  I hope I don’t disappoint and I welcome your comments whenever you visit.  I will do my best to get to all of your blogs to catch up as soon as the dust settles here.  Thanks for your patience.

 

All my best,

Robyn

Dinner Plate Dahlia on a Dinner Plate ss 1/60  f5.6  ISO1600  60mm

Dinner Plate Dahlia on a Dinner Plate
ss 1/60   f5.6   ISO1600   60mm

How many compositional rules can you identify here?

How to Choose a Photographer

Digital photography has opened the door for many people to purchase a camera and call themselves a photographer.  Some are enthusiasts or hobbyists,  others amateurs making their way to become professionals, and others, true professionals.  The question is which photographer is best for you and your needs?  In this post I will outline some specific information you should evaluate before hiring a photographer to; do a family portrait session, take head shots, work with your children, or photograph your special event.  Photographs can last a life-time if taken and printed properly so you want to be happy with your choice of photographer and their work.  If you are unhappy with the final product, you will have wasted both time and money.

To begin your search for a photographer, collect names of photographers from friends and family members.  Friends and family members can often direct you to photographers that they have worked with and have been satisfied with.  If you can see the photographic work done for your friends and family, even better.  From there, you need to be the judge of who will work best for your family and help you achieve your goals of hiring a photographer.

Once you have a collection of names, visit the websites of all photographers recommended to you.  You will know at first glance if the photographer has attention to detail and has a style that you favor and that will work for your needs/desires from the photo session.   When reviewing websites, here are a few things to keep your eye out for:

  • Style –
    • Does the photographer’s style fit your style?
    • Does the photographer use props, if so, do you like them?
    • Does the photographer take only posed shots or does the photographer also do candid or action type shots that really show family life?
  • Quality of images –
    • Is the work over exposed (too bright or flat or lacking detail)?
    • Is the work underexposed (too dark or dull)?
    • Is the work noisy/grainy (not smooth or with distracting lines or dots on the images)?
    • Has the photographer taken good care to use light in his/her images?
    • Do you see catch-lights in the eyes of the subjects?
    • Do the images look too blue or too yellow?
    • Does the photographer have a diversified portfolio?
  • Creativity –
    • Do all of the poses look the same?
    • Are there unique and fresh ideas on the website that you maybe didn’t see on other sites?
    • Can you see the photographer’s love of their art in their work?
  • Location –
    • Does the photographer have a studio?
    • Does the photographer do on-location shoots?
  • Website –
    • Is the photographer’s website easy to navigate?
    • Does the photographer offer details about their photography sessions:
      • Pricing
      • What to wear
      • Contract
    • Is the photographer connected to social media?
    • Does the website load quickly?
    • Does the website work on your mobile device? – This is important for sharing your proofs with your family and friends.
  • Pet friendly –
    • Your pets are part of your family too.  Does the photographer allow you to bring your pets to their studio or on-location?

Once you have reviewed the websites, you need to narrow your selection down to a reasonable number of photographers to contact.  Most photographers will have a contact page on their website.  It is fine to email the photographer, but I encourage you to take the extra time to telephone them directly.  Calling them will give you additional insight as to whether or not the photographer is someone you want to work with.  Here are things to consider when speaking to the photographer you are considering:

  • Is the photographer friendly?
  • Is the photographer warm and welcoming?
  • Is the photographer flexible with scheduling around your schedule?
  • Does the photographer ask you questions that demonstrate he/she is interested in what you are looking for?
  • Does the photographer seem organized and together?
  • Does the photographer seem eager to work with you and please you?
  • Is the photographer open to working with your pet as part of your family?
  • Does the photographer print holiday cards or business cards, depending on the purpose of your photo session?
  • What is the turn around time for orders?  Will you have the prints in time to give them as gifts?
  • Does the photographer offer pre-shoot interview sessions to determine your desires, or to evaluate the setting of the event?
  • How much time should you allow for the photo session?  Hint: a family session should take approximately an hour and a newborn session should be between 2 and 4 fours.
  • Pricing, if not included on the website.
  • What is included in the sitting fee – prints, digital images?  See the information on pricing below for additional considerations.
  • Is the work of the photographer during the session under warranty?

Now that you know the photographers’ personalities, their skills, and their style you are ready to take the last step in finalizing your decision.  The last consideration is going to be pricing.  If you are working on a budget, and who isn’t these days, price must be a consideration.  Below are a few considerations on pricing:

  • How does the price compare to the other photographers you have evaluated:  Much higher?  Much lower?
    • Throw caution to the wind before hiring someone who is under priced compared to other photographers.  If the price is too low, question whether or not they are putting time into post-processing and the details needed to provide quality print orders.  Photographers’ time is valuable.  They don’t make a lot per hour when you factor in the time for sessions, post-processing, order placement, and delivery/pick-up.  If they are under priced question how much they value their expertise, their time and their work.  If the sitting fee is very low, the photographer may be making up the difference on the price of prints or digital images.   See the full picture before hiring someone.
  • If the price is much higher than others don’t be afraid to ask why.  If prints or digital images are included, then maybe that raises the price.  If not,  you want to be sure that you are paying for expertise, not pride.
  • Are there hidden costs?
    • Travel time
    • Mileage
    • Are prints included in the price of the session
    • Are there additional fees for digital images
    • Blemish removal

You have now done your homework and should be able to make a sound decision that you will be happy with for years to come.  Enjoy your photographs!

 

copyright Robyn Graham

All material presented within this page is the work and opinion of Robyn Graham and is under copyright.

 

 

Family of Five

Family of Five

Capturing a Family Portrait with an Active Little Guy

Capturing a Family Portrait with an Active Little Guy

Head Shot - Backlighting

Head Shot – Backlighting

Glamour/Conservative Boudoir

Glamour/Conservative Boudoir

Professional Head Shot

Professional Head Shot

Maternity

Maternity

 

To see more of my featured photographs visit the galleries on my website.

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