Just a reminder about our upcoming meetup on Monday October 28th with Lynette Johnson! We’re so excited to have her speak! Lynette has over 20 years of experience as a much sought-after family and wedding photographer. She has been featured in People Magazine and in news outlets around the world for her incredible work with the Soulumination Foundation. She will be speaking about the way she captures special moments in a natural way. It’s perfect timing for capturing those special Fall moments! We hope you’ll join us for this inspiring meetup!
After her presentation we will be doing a short “hands-on Halloween tips” segment to get you all ready to take great photos for Halloween! Maybe we’ll bring a Jack o lantern! It should be lots of fun!
Date: Monday, October 28th
Location: Mosaic Coffeehouse in Wallingford (4401 2nd Ave NE)
Our next Introduction to Digital Photography workshop is coming up on Saturday, November 16th!
Can’t wait to see you all!
We are excited to see you all again for our first Fall meetup! We are absolutely THRILLED to welcome one of Seattle’s most inspiring photographers: Lynette Johnson! Lynette has over 20 years of experience as a much sought-after family and wedding photographer. She has been featured in People Magazine and in news outlets around the world for her incredible work with the Soulumination Foundation. She will be speaking about the way she captures special moments in a natural way. It’s perfect timing for capturing those special Fall moments! We hope you’ll join us for this inspiring meetup!
Sorry to report that there are thunderstorms on the horizon for this evening, so we need to cancel our “Shooting in the Golden Hour” meet up tonight! See you next month!
Red Tricycle, a wonderful online resource of things to do with your kids, runs an annual Totally Awesome Awards program to let parents nominate and vote for the best family-friendly products, parenting tips, and resources in their communities. And guess what? We are finalists in the Most Awesome Mom-Run Business category for the Greater Seattle area!
We are so excited and honored to be finalists, but it would be even more Totally Awesome if we win. Winning would give us more visibility in the Seattle area so that we can invite more mamas to learn and share with us. So please help us out by voting for us! You can vote by clicking on the badge below or by following this link: Vote for Mamas with Cameras!
We hope you are having a fun summer and taking lots of great pictures! For our Monday night meet up this month, we want to enjoy the lovely weather and lead our mamas through some hands-on shooting practice OUTDOORS! Pack your DSLR camera and meet our Nikonista Wenmei at the Black Sun sculpture outside the Seattle Asian Art Museum! The sun will be setting to the right of the Space Needle and we can try to get some photos of the reflection off the reservoir as it sets. If the water tower is open, we can also go to the top (106 steps) to get some shots of the Space Needle in the sunset.
UPDATE: It turns out the reservoir has been drained, but both lily ponds are filled and full of lily pads, fish, and even a family of ducks! And in addition to water reflections, we’ll play around with bubble reflections too. Just bring your cameras — I’ll have the bubbles!
Date: Monday July 22nd
Hope you can join the fun!
P.S. As a reminder our next Introduction to Digital Photography Workshop will be held on Saturday, August 10th, after that we’ll be on a hiatus for Mary’s maternity leave, so if you want to learn the basics of how to use your digital camera, register now!
MAY MEETUP: PROTECT YOUR DIGITAL PHOTOS
Do you have thousands of photos clogging up your laptop computer? Are you one crash away from losing months or years worth of precious memories? Protect your photos with some help from Molly Bullard of Seattle Photo Organizing. She will discuss the technical components of your computer and hard drives that house the data and a give you workflow ideas on how to organize and create a backup of your file sets.
We hope to see you there!
UPCOMING WORKSHOP: SHOOTING IN MANUAL!
And a reminder, our Shooting in Manual Workshop on June 8th is open for registration! (Mary is going on maternity leave in late summer so this will be the last opportunity to take this workshop until at least late fall!) We hope you can join the fun! 🙂
Check out the beautiful image captured by Carrie Sievers McClinton during the photo exercise portion of the Manual workshop!
APRIL WRAP-UP: Baby’s First Days with Jessica Peterson
Jessica Peterson, the speaker for our April Meetup, did a wonderful job talking us through how she approaches her labor & delivery photography, and how she captures memorable photos of baby’s first days. She had a gorgeous portfolio of images to share with us, and was kind enough to share her notes, and one of her photos with us for the wrap up this month!
Baby’s First Days- Jessica Peterson’s Notes
- Hospital, birth center, or at home
- The Newborn Exam Can request to wait for photographer. Or do again. Or stage. Weighing, measuring, footprints
- First Meetings/siblings
- Find the light Daytime, use hospital windows, use isolette light (at night esp.)
- To flash or not to flash. I flash a lot. But bounce only. If you don’t have an external speedlight to bounce, don’t flash directly. Increase ISO, find the light.
- Snuggle and rest – Seriously!
- Best for lifestyle approach
- Use people as props
- First bath
Days 7-14: The Newborn Session
- Lifestyle or posed or both? I do a mix at every session, sometimes more of one or another depending on light in the home. A mix provides interactive family shots and some focusing just on baby.
- Session environment
Baby’s want it WARM. 85 degrees
You need light, find a window with no direct sun
White noise machine (app on phone works)
- What to bring
Beanbag – target works great, tie the bottom if it’s not full enough
Absorbant, waterproof pads, chux,
Wraps for baby! Cheesecloth, knitted, crochet, stretchy fabric, scarf
Hats or headbands
- Setting up for sleepy baby shots
Beanbag so baby can be 45 degrees to window.
Build your nest (heating pad or not?)
Layer lots of blankets, protect the ones you want to use.
Stretch blanket backdrop smooth and out, not just up.
Clamp blanket to backdrop stand or dining chairs with NO WRINKLES
Have diapers, wipes, rags on hand. You will need them!
- Working with newborns
Think about the womb. Harvey Karp’s Happiest Baby on the Block
They want to feel secure, like movement, warmth, white noise (loud),
Bounce and sway!
Full tummy first.
Challenges: wiggly when awake, color issues, funny faces/grimaces, eye contact is hit or miss, and they want to be on their mamas
- Posing – You could do a whole workshop on posing, which I haven’t done, but I’ve learned through trial and error.
Safety first! Don’t try hanging baby, chin on hands – those are composites
Respect a baby and don’t force a pose – they’re all different.
Don’t shoot up the nose. Don’t let light shine up the nose. Watch expressions and hand positions. Gently press to get hands or arms where you want them.
Start swaddled/wrapped. Then unwrap as you go.
Easy poses on side and tummy
Patterned or special blankets for baby lying on back
- Lifestyle Snuggle, adore, soak in the love.
Find the light in the home, or go outside
Use the bed – it works for whole family, mama or dad, siblings
Shoot through the crib (move it if you need better light)
- Siblings I love watching them discover their new sibling
- What’s your style? Mine is minimal; I enjoy color and contrast.
- Get it in camera Especially for newborn skin, this is crucial.
- My basic edits Curves, to lighten midtones (skin!), curves to increase contrast (S curves)
- Trouble shooting Jaundice, flaky skin, skin smoothing.
Thank you Jessica for a wonderful guest presentation!
Hope to see you all next week!
Mother’s Day is coming up, and we photography-obsessed mamas have a secret for you people who are thinking about gifts. Yes, chocolate is yummy and we will eat it and then it will be gone, only to linger annoyingly on our hips. Yes, flowers are beautiful but in a week they will die and they will be yet another thing around the house that needs cleaning up after. No, we don’t want any “cool household gadgets” that will help us cook or clean or do anything that means we have to put down our cameras.
For Mother’s Day, why not give a gift that complements and enhances our passion for photography? We are sharing our list of things that Mamas with Cameras are (not so secretly) lusting after!
1. A Gorgeous Camera Bag.
Thankfully, the camera bag world is starting to catch up to the fact that a) women enjoy photography and b) we don’t like carrying gross-looking bags that look like our kid’s lunch should be in there. Here are some great camera bag examples:
Kelly Moore has some lovely bags!
The 2 Sues Bag
Or the B-Hobo Bag
2. An awesome women’s camera strap.
These Black Rapid straps are a staple at Mamas With Cameras. They are comfy, adjustable, and make it easy to pull out your camera when you are chasing your toddler.
The Joby is another similar strap:
There are also cute replacement straps or strap covers that you can get on Etsy in all kinds of patterns & colors:
3. A fun lens!
Yes, the 24mm f/1.4 would be a blast, BUT, if your “Mother’s Day” budget is a bit more modest, try a Lens Baby, a fun replacement lens that creates fun photography effects!
4. A portable tripod!
The Joby Gorilla Pod is a versatile tripod that will enable us to set the camera on auto-timer and actually be IN a photo or two!
5. Take and/or frame a picture of us with our kid(s).
As the family paparazzi, we are almost never in our family photos. Nothing is a bigger treasure than those rare moments where we are actually in a good picture with our kids. Try an 8×10 gallery frame like this one at Pottery Barn!
6. Give her a space in one of our upcoming Mamas with Cameras Workshops!
Mamas who are shooting lots of pictures with a new DSLR but have no time (or desire) to read the instructions enjoy taking our Introduction to Digital Photography, or gals who have taken our Intro Workshop who want to get comfortable shooting in challenging light enjoy our follow up workshop, Shooting in Manual! There are also Mamas who have piles of pictures and just need an afternoon to get inspired to make a Creative Photobook!
Our workshops are hands-on, fun, and a fast way to get comfortable and grow as a photographer! We can send printable gift certificates that you can hide in the chocolate box for a REAL mother’s day surprise! (Now that would be a photo-op!)
You can find a lot of these products (plus a few more gift ideas!) in the Mamas with Cameras Amazon store if you’re a fan of one-stop shopping (and/or free 2-day shipping for Prime or Amazon Mom members)!
Happy Shopping! 🙂
We hope to see you at this month’s meetup: April 22nd 6:30-8:30pm at Mosaic Coffeehouse in Wallingford! Jessica Peterson of One Tree Photography will be sharing her tips and tricks about photographing baby’s first days. If you are expecting your own little one, or if you have a friend or relative who will be delivering a new baby soon, you will love to learn about poses, home setups and light that will help capture those special first days (and maybe even that gorgeous photo for the birth announcement!).
Check out Jessica’s gorgeous birth and newborn photography on her website!
Also, now that you FINALLY done with taxes, take some time to do some spring cleanup and organize your photos into a lovely photobook! Register for our workshop, “Creating Unique Photo Books” on Sunday May 18th from 1-4:00pm. If you have thousands of digital pictures that have never been seen outside your computer, this is the workshop for you! Learn how to use Blurb to make beautiful, compelling photo books that will engage and delight your family and friends, and preserve your most beautiful photos! In this hands-on workshop, you’ll be guided on how to gather photos beforehand and make real progress towards finishing a book that you’ll treasure. REGISTER HERE! We are starting to send out the “prep guide” to guide you through your photo culling this week so you have lots of time!
Lots to post about today because there is just so much going on! We had a great meeting with guest speaker Della Chen, who inspired us with her unique documentary-style imagery. This month’s assignment and my meeting notes will be at the end of the post! But first here are some important dates for your calendars:
MARK YOUR CALENDARS
Next Meetup! April 22nd, 6:30 pm at Mosaic Coffeehouse: Guest speaker Jessica Peterson presents on “Baby’s First Days.” She’ll discuss her tips of how she gets those special newborn photos right when the baby is born (either in a home or hospital environment), and early setups and poses that you can do whether you are photographing a friend’s newborn or your own!
May 11th 1-4:30pm: INTRODUCTION TO DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
Did you buy a digital SLR camera but have no idea how to use it outside of the automatic setting? Does the idea of reading an instruction manual make you nauseous? Are you interested in taking amazing pictures of your kids, but feel a bit intimidated by the technology behind your camera?
Give yourself a Mother’s Day Weekend treat! With an investment of just a few short hours, we’ll get you grounded in the basic definitions and controls on your digital SLR camera so that your photos of your child’s big milestones can be as beautiful and moving as the moments themselves.
May 18th 1-4:00pm TELL YOUR STORY: HOW TO CREATE UNIQUE PHOTO BOOKS!
If you have thousands of digital pictures that have never been seen outside your computer, this is the workshop for you! Learn how to use Blurb to make beautiful, compelling photo books that will engage and delight your family and friends, and preserve your most beautiful photos! In this hands-on workshop, you’ll be guided on how to gather photos beforehand and make real progress towards finishing a book that you’ll treasure.
OUR APRIL PHOTO ASSIGNMENT: “Day in the Life”
Inspired by Della Chen’s talk, our photo assignment this month is to share 3-5 printed images at the next meeting from “A Day in the Life” of your child(ren). The guidelines of the assignment:
1. Pick an “ordinary” day to tote around your camera with you- the goal will be to capture pictures that capture daily rituals like getting dressed, eating breakfast, playing in the yard etc. Cull down to your favorite 3-5 prints to share with the group at our April Meetup.
2. Extra challenge: if you are up for it, go to Glazers or Borrowlenses.com and rent yourself a lens that is wider than the lens you currently use- so if you are currently shooting with a 50mm portrait lens, try renting a 24mm f/1.4, or a 24-70mm f/2.8. The wider angle helps to get more of the surrounding environment and contributes to the documentary feel of the photos.
3. Extra EXTRA challenge: if you really love the idea of this assignment, Della advises that a great thing to do would be to actually trade a few hours with a fellow Mama With Camera and take turns documenting each other’s quiet (or crazy!) moments!
NOTES FROM DELLA CHEN’S PRESENTATION
During last week’s presentation Della shared many of her professional and personal images and answered lots of questions from the group. Below are my notes that I took as she was speaking- because of the nature of the Q&A we skipped around a lot so there are many different categories!
Della Chen Notes
-Worked at a newspaper for 5 years, has a documentary background. Doesn’t tell people to smile or pose, doesn’t work in a studio. She shoots wedding in a journalistic setting. She does documentary- “day in the life” sessions with families. Life changes so fast, your Saturday afternoon will look different in a year than it does now.
-She does families, weddings, editorial and commercial work. The documentary/editorial style is very specific.
-She is a fly on the wall, steps in when she needs to get close.
-Working as a journalist, you learn to be prepared at all times.
-Always looking for good light, good texture.
-Likes to crop in squares.
-Shoots at people’s homes. Beaches & parks are ok, but if they’re not part of your routine, doesn’t make sense.
-Tends to do more black and white than color.
What’s in Della’s Camera Bag?
-shoots with Canon 5D Mark II
-24mm/f/1.4 and 50mm/f/1.2
Shoots very wide which means that she gets very close to her subjects
-When shooting wide, set settings, go in and frame the shot, then take picture quickly.
-Typical settings- portrait f/2.8 or lower. f/8 for big room
Doesn’t use a flash for family shoots, only for wedding receptions
-Shifting from photographer to “mom”. In Mom mode, Della has snacks. She always keeps a camera in the kitchen, with 24mm f/1.4 on the camera.
-Likes to shoot very low, gets on the ground, lays on belly
-Shoots a lot of “hail marys” (not looking through view finder)
Q: Are there problems with distortion on 24mm? A: No, no distortion, at least not on the Canons.
-All done in lightroom. Very little in photoshop. Just dust removal/burning & dodging. Uses Visco filters.
Most of the time, moments “in between” are her favorites. Usually the ones you don’t mean to take.
-Asks her clients: What kinds of activities are happening in your life? Soccer game? When are naps? Go with the flow. Be aware of what people are feeling. Little bit of planning and a lot of playing by ear.
-5 hours of shooting in a “day in the life” session= 2000 images. Edits down to 300. Presents a slideshow of 70.
-Uses a shower cap to protect equipment in the rain.
-She shoots in manual all the time.
-In houses with low light- open all shades, shoot at ISO 3200, convert to b&w
-How long does she spend in post-processing? For a 1 hr shoot, 45 mins. Use key system where she stars, she batches and adds the metadata in bridge. Doesn’t do a lot of effects, usually basic b&w.
Dressing for shoots: recommends against thin stripes. No matching outfits (white shirts, khakis) For babies, just diapers.
Her style has improved with digital. She takes more risks. Shoots a lot.
Advice: the more you shoot, the better you get. Weddings=lots of frames, many scenarios.
Tries to shoot everyday, at least with phone.
Advice on editing? Tough to edit our own kids. Too much of the same scenario dilutes the impact of the image. Biggest pet peeves= 15 images of the same scenario on a blog. Dilutes impact of the moment.
Keeping things fresh with kids= sometimes changing lens helps. Changing perspective.
Focal point, uses single point focus. Focus/recompose.
Documentary style- have to anticipate what happens next, have to move around a lot more than if you were just a straight shooter, have to listen a lot, be in tune with what’s happening. Rolls on the floor a lot.
Family/wedding/editorial/commercial is all similar. Do the same kind of lifestyle/storytelling. Doesn’t want commercial work to look different than portrait work. Doesn’t work with lights. Heavy lighting=not the right job.
-Sunny 16 rule= set aperture at f/16 and double your ISO to determine shutter speed (if ISO is 100, then shutter=1/200)
-When shooting subjects with glasses- adjust so sun isn’t hitting the glasses.
-Lightroom actions= VISCO supply company. Presets mimic what film looked like. Adds grain, different hues. Favorite is Canon triX 400: adds grain, very contrasty.
-In the winter, she mentors for youth in focus, after school program for kids, all manual, all film, develop own prints.
-For prints- locally uses Moon Photo and Panda Lab- down in Mercer. For clients, uses White House Custom Color. Large exhibition prints= Moon Photo .
-Favorite place for camera maintenance= sometimes Camera Techs in Ballard. Became a member of Canon and sends in camera for regular maintenance.
-How do you keep things challenging? Does 10 x weddings a year, 50 portraits, 10 family documentaries, works with Redfin Real estate.
– Uses external drive that automatically backs up to another external drive, then online at mosey.com
Who inspires her?
Wedding work= Wi Wynn (photojournalistic wedding) Anna Cuperberg (SFO) Jenny Jimenez (photo JJ) Sergio Matola (19 years old-very talented) Group in CA called Images Found- interesting, creative portraits. Not documentary style but artsy.
We look forward to seeing everyone next month!