Have you ever seen a beautiful image but something didn't seem quite right about it? Maybe the flaw wasn't obvious but very present in the image even if you couldn't put your finger on it. Over the years, I've taken many such photos. Images I really liked but felt they fell short of the best that they could be.
Once I got serious about photography and began to study various techniques and tutorials from well established photographers, a whole new world opened up to me. One of the first tips I learned concerned keeping the horizon level in your images. Beach images are some of the best at demonstrating the importance of keeping a level horizon. The two images below are identical. However, the image on the left has a slanted horizon - slanting up from left to right. It's not glaringly obvious but it's there and detracts from the image, especially once you notice it. The second image has a level horizon which results in a more visual pleasing photograph. Once I learned this very important tip, it's often the first thing I look for in an image that has a horizon, whether it's one of my images or someone else's.
Slanted horizons can easily be corrected with editing software but it's always much preferred to get the shot right in the first place so the correction doesn't have to be made after the fact. And, thankfully, with a just little extra attention paid to your framing before you press the shutter, it is one of the easiest mistakes to avoid.
One last closing thought, it's always okay to break a rule of photography for artistic reasons. My advice is to make the rule breaking obvious so that it doesn't appear that your subjects are going to slide out of the picture!
My two oldest girls cleaned our their piggy banks on Day 7 so that my husband could take them on a long overdue trip to the bank to deposit most of their money. They're each saving up to buy a device and appear to be making good progress to achieve their goal.
Sorting, counting and filling out deposit slips.
The second set of shots are of my youngest daughter upon waking up from her afternoon nap. She always looks so cute and cuddly snuggled up in her bed.
Day 4 saw the return of the sun and much drier weather.
All three girls received hair cuts by our favorite stylist in town. Having four children herself, she works very well with the youngest of customers. I'm just grateful that the girls can see where they are going now that their bangs have been trimmed!
Upon leaving the salon, one of my oldest eagerly resumed her literary masterpiece about Killer Whales.
The second day in my week long series 'A Week in the Life' using my new 50mm prime lens while shooting in black & white exclusively.
One of my oldest daughters practices the piano while my husband provides guidance.
I bought a new lens a couple of months ago but haven't had much time to put it to use. Now that the craziness of school is winding down, I'm hoping to have a lot more free time to shoot and blog. To kick things off, I'm spending this week shooting 'A Week in the Life' solely using my new 50mm prime lens (Nifty Fifty). What better way to get acquainted with a new friend than to use her exclusively for the next week? I love color photography but am also captivated by the power of black & white images. Stripped of color, all that remains is the raw beauty of the image and the emotion captured within it. My 'Week in the Life' series will provide a snapshot of my family (in black & white) as we go about our daily lives. Just a typical week, not that different from any other week.
A Week in the Life . . . Day 1 - The Family Car Wash
My husband's filthy car gets some much deserved TLC.
(And, of course, it rained the next day.)
Sometimes the images we photograph are illusions. I don't mean trickery although those types of images have their place (perhaps in advertising or in graphic arts but not necessarily in portrait photography). I'm referring to creating a beautiful image in surroundings that may not seem all that special. With a little creativity in camera angle and lighting something incredible can be captured where you would least expect it.
Take this image for example. You might assume that it was taken in a studio but you'd be wrong. It was taken in a bedroom where these three little darlings live.
As you can see, it's a room just like any other room in a house filled with little ones. The one big advantage in this room is that there are huge windows about 3 feet behind me which creates fantastic light. By zooming in close and filling the frame with the babies, you're not even aware of the gear and supplies that are within inches of where they are lying snuggly in the basket. I laid a dark blanket over the edge of the bed to create a backdrop to further disguise the surroundings.
Here is another example. Bluebonnets are big in Texas when they bloom in the spring and they are prolific in the Hill Country. Miles and miles of beautiful blooms as far as the eye can see. As you can imagine, the small country roads become clogged with families and photographers who travel 2 - 3 hours (from Houston) to get precious photographs in the Bluebonnets fields. For anyone with small children, 2 - 3 hours in the car can be a trying experience in itself. Couple that with coaxing cooperation out of them so pictures can be taken upon arrival at your destination and you're talking about a big undertaking. This image is one of my favorites from this year. The Bluebonnets are beautiful and there's even a charming red barn in the back ground. I took many pictures in this Bluebonnet field this year. One set of my girls and then two more for dear friends of mine. And no, we didn't travel the required 2 - 3 hours to take the pictures in the Hill Country. We drove about 25 minutes from my house . . .
. . . to an open lot on a busy 4 lane road in the town we live in. I presume that a house once stood on this lot but it is long gone now. Instead, a lone red barn stands along with a smattering of trees and, of course, the Bluebonnets. Again, it's all in the camera angle and framing that makes this ordinary location look exotic.
This is my very first blog post, ever. That's right. This dog is learning some new tricks. So, if all goes well and as I hope, this will not be my last but the first of many to come.
In addition to playing around and building my website, I've been working hard in recent weeks to position myself so that I can open my photography business in the very near future. Finding the time and energy has been tricky at times because my full-time job is being a stay-at-home mom to our three young daughters and they do a very good job of keeping me quite busy. On any given day you might find me doing laundry, shuttling one daughter to piano lessons and then shuttling another to art lessons, helping with homework, reading a book for Book Club, taking a few snaps of our girls, making a meal (that would be a total of 63 meals for three hungry girls in one week!), volunteering at our church, running a myriad of errands and squeezing in a few levels of Candy Crush - all accomplished with a steady stream of music in the background. I got hooked on contemporary jazz several years ago and love playing it in the house. The music is great and I don't have to worry about questionable lyrics when the girls are around. I do love all types of other music as well - top 40, alternative, pop, rock, R&B, etc.. Mostly, I l.o.v.e. my satellite radio - great music, no commercials! Our girls also share my love of music. We often listen to Worship Jamz in the minivan - praise and worship songs jazzed up to pop music. Our littlest calls it 'Baby Jesus Music'. So sweet!