Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Making of a Portrait

I get asked occasionally what the most difficult thing is to photograph. Without a doubt, the hardest thing to photograph is my own children! As I do every year, I took Christmas portraits to go on our family Christmas card. Through this experience, I decided that it was time to publicly admit that my adorable children are NOT perfect angels when it comes time for photos. Yes, they could be worse and yes we even had some fun but making a portrait of my own children is rarely as simple as sitting them down and asking them to smile. It honestly is exhausting. :)

So, why am I publicly admitting that my children have photographer's child syndrome? (This is what those of us in the field like to call it.) I'm showing you my "blooper" photos to hopefully make you smile but I'm also showing you that sometimes to get a good portrait, you have to relax and just go with the flow. This year, I met tons of wonderful families and photographed lots of little bitty kids. I saw all kinds of parenting styles from mellow to apathetic to almost freaking out. I try to reassure parents that when their young children are not initially wanting to cooperate, that this is a normal part of the portrait process. Often times, I think that they really don't believe me. :)

So, I would like you to meet my children and see what I am used to dealing with when I get out the camera. Please believe me when I say, "Don't worry about what your children are doing. It is very normal. Let me work with them for a little bit and let's see what happens." They may start out shy like my daughter or wild and crazy like my son. But, give me enough time and we will get that one picture that every parent wants. :)

My son, who is very sweet and very smart, loves to have the attention of a photo session but really CANNOT sit still. If I only showed you this photo, you'd never believe me. :)

My daughter is a little quiet and usually looks at the camera very skeptically like she has never seen a camera before. She takes a little time to warm up but usually comes around. Once she warms up completely, she has more trouble sitting still than her brother. She still looks a little shy in this photo but I love it because this is her. :)

I have lots of little tricks that I use to make kids smile. Most of them no longer work on my children because they have seen them a few too many times. So, what do I do to get them to cooperate? It's somewhat simple. I just make sure that I am having fun. I don't put pressure on them to be perfect, to sit perfect and to smile perfect. I want them to be themselves and to have a good time. The mood that I set for them makes the portrait what it is.

It took a little time to get the photos that I wanted for the card but in the end, I always win. This is our family holiday card for this year. (Thank you, Ron, for snapping the family photo.)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The making of the backdrop

Anyone that knows me, knows that I love a good challenge. For Christmas this year, I decided that I should paint my own backdrop. I have a degree in art. I should be able to do this and save some money, right? :) I will admit that it was fun for a while and I will be painting another backdrop in the next month or so. But, this is one of those projects where I stopped half-way through, scratched my head and said, "Darla...WHAT were you thinking???" Thankfully, my husband and children were understanding as I monopolized quite a bit of our living space for a couple of weeks. I photographed my journey so that I could share it with whomever cares. :) These are just snapshots with my point and shoot but here is the story I call, "The Making of the Backdrop."

It all began with the marker outline. Being a mother of small children, I couldn't find any real markers, so I borrowed one of those washable crayola markers stashed with the children's craftings items.

Next, I painted part of the shading which would later get mostly covered. So, I'm not sure if this step was really necessary but I was stalling. I haven't painted anything in quite a while and throwing red paint on the canvas right in the beginning did not seem wise. :)

Ok, the stalling was over. I had to get some red on the canvas, whether it looked good or not.

Then, I added the yellow tones that would become some of the highlights.

I missed a few photo steps here but I added a few washes and deepened the shadows and added a few brighter highlights.

Last but not least, I added some small details that will probably never be noticed by anyone but me. :)

The finished backdrop was then used for the Christmas photos that adorn our holiday cards this year. While I was trying to take the photos of my children, the dog would not leave me alone. Ask for attention in my house and you are bound to get it... Meet Duchess, the family dog who has been with me for the past 10 years. :)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Rick and Katie's Pre-Wedding Portraits

I have been holding onto these photos for three weeks, anxiously waiting to share them. This was my first opportunity to do wedding/bridal portraits prior to the wedding day and it is definitely a trend that I will be recommending! I had so much fun creating these images. Rick and Katie, your wedding this past Saturday was beautiful and it was a privilege to share those special moments with you. I will be processing those photos soon but wanted to share the pre-wedding portraits first.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Another In-home Session

I think I am just about ready to wrap up my photography business for the year. I've been so lucky to be able to meet so many new people and to have the opportunity to express my creativity in such a variety of ways. I've photographed everything from newborns to a couple celebrating their 50th anniversary and everything in between. Thank you to all of the wonderful people who allowed me to be a small part of your lives...even if only for an hour. ;) "S" family, as with all of my other families, it was a pleasure meeting you. Here are just a few of my favorites from your session:

Monday, December 6, 2010

Casual in-home session

What a wonderful time of year! I feel so lucky when someone invites me into their home with fire-places blazing, Christmas lights twinkling and everyone is happy with holiday cheer. This adorable little family wanted casual portraits in their home just being themselves. *giddy grin* This shoot was so relaxed and easy-going. I LOVE getting the opportunity to just record a family. "R" family it was a pleasure meeting is your sneak preview: