March Meetup, Assignment & February notes!

Hello Mamas!

It’s another busy month here at Mamas With Cameras Central! We have another full introductory workshop this weekend and there are 4 spaces left in our Mamas With Cameras Level 2: Shooting in Manual Workshop! on March 31st!


I just met with this month’s speaker, Monica Wilkinson, yesterday and I couldn’t be more excited to hear her presentation this month, Photographing Newborns! Monica is a professional photographer, mama of 2 gorgeous girls, and also works with our friends over at Clickin’ Moms. She has generously opened her home studio up to our group, and she will be giving us a tour and tips with live demonstration of her backdrops and setups that she uses for her shoots! She will also be giving away some cool Clickin Moms schwag, which is always fun! 🙂 If you haven’t seen it, check out her awesome photos on her blog.

Meeting Date: Monday, March 26th 6:30pm

Location: 514 NE 88th St, 98155

Hope to see you there! Please RSVP below or on the evite if you’re on it, since we are going to be in a home studio it would be good to have a headcount.


This month’s photo assignment, given by Mimi Inglin, is “Window Light Portrait”: take a window light portrait, using the window to help frame the image. find a window that looks interesting, and frame the subject with that window. If that doesn’t work, experiment with sidelight, and bring your subject close to a window.

Mimi gave us a terrific presentation filled with photo recipes, all about how she uses natural light in different indoor & outdoor situations!


I took notes and am including them here, but as always feel free to leave a comment if I missed anything!

Natural light photography by Mimi Ingrain

What’s in her bag?

-Mimi shoots with a Nikon D700 and Canon 5d, she felt the D700 had better focusing system

-50mm, f/ 1.4

-35mm, f/1.4


-she rents 85mm 1.4 from Glazers


She goes into homes looking for the best light, she doesn’t look for furnishings or consider what’s messy, she’s only looking for best light, and can smooth out comforters or adjust in the room with the best light.

– She uses the window a lot in home shoots

-On a dark day, push a chair up to window, put the child up on a chair

-She looks at how light is falling across subject’s face- watch for losing detail on the other side of the face.

-She likes sidelight where the subject isn’t looking directly outside the window

-Mimi always makes sure that she can see the catchlights in both eyes- ensures that you get enough detail on the shady site of the face

-Figure out times of the day when the light is good

-Colored walls can create color balance issues

-She often uses windows as a frame, makes a nice backdrop

-The key to shooting into a window is not shooting in auto settings. Mimi shoots mostly in manual. Matrix metering will make subject dark, overexpose by at least one stop, sometimes more.

-Make sure you don’t lose too much detail in the background

-With digital you need to be more precise

-To bring into photosphop, underexpose background a bit and then manipulate

-Sheer curtains make a nice diffuser

-Look at your subjects from all angles, see the light and how the light is hitting , pay attention to light & shadow, put Dad outside window to distract kids

-Another favorite spot of hers is inside the bathroom (lots of light bouncing) – go wherever you need to go to get the right light

-Mimi frequently shoots with a high ISO setting (many of her indoor photos were 1000+) High ISO means there is grain- she says she just got over it, it is personal taste, but if it is a great image, you see past the grain. Anything past 1600 ISO, make sure you don’t underexpose. Otherwise, grain will get worse in post process.

-When you shoot in RAW you have more flexibility to tweak than you do if you shoot in JPEG.

-With kids, don’t go less than 1/250

One kid f/2.0-2.8

Family shot, generally an f/4.0 depends on distance from subject

Shutter speed is the first thing, then figure out ISO as needed

Make sure all artificial light is turned off


-She likes to shoot on the porch, it is fantastic light because light is coming directly on the face b/c it is a covered area

-Also in stairways, Mimi had some great photo examples of using stairs in dark lighting conditions and getting great images.

-She likes to shoot her subjects covered by trees, it helps the light if light is indirect

-She will also shoot inside a garage. She’ll put up the door, put up a seamless backdrop


-Lincoln square (be careful with certain public places)

-Sculpture park visitor center, kids can run around


-“Do you use reflectors or a flash?” No, prefers the look of natural light.

-“How do you shoot in low light with activity?”

She says to hold breath to steady, keep arms close to brace yourself, then do something to get the child’s attention- bark like a dog! tap on a window! play games with them! talk with them! Basically, get them to stop the action. Try to put your camera down for a second to catch them off guard. Or say “don’t smile” works a lot with kids, makes them crack up [NOTE: I tried this with my 3.5 year old after she mentioned this, works like a charm!]

“How do you narrow your photos down?”

She flags the favorites- whichever ones she is struck by. Only chooses 35-40 to show clients- if it doesn’t strike her right away, just talking herself into it.

Do you use Photoshop Actions? YES!

Child’s play actions

Leah Zawosky (really good with tones)

Barb Yule


She doesn’t use the same action on all images, she uses Kubota sharpening magic

“What color should I paint my house? (to avoid color casts)”

Her favorite colors to photograph in a home are a sagey green (never gets a color cast) light taupe warm, or just plain ol’ white!


Camera bags: Jo totes vs. Kelley Moore, for the price point Jojo is awesome

ISO can go higher than you think on Rebel T1i: there is a special setting where you can set the default ISO much higher than ISO 3200

Don’t print a black & white photo on color paper: printing b&w on color paper can make the image look dull- use true b&w paper

The latest canvas deals: and – reasonable cost!


3 Replies to “March Meetup, Assignment & February notes!”

  1. I’m looking forward to attending the Photographing Newborns workshop on March 26th! I have a couple of questions – how long is the workshop, and do we need to bring our own camera?

    1. Hi Marianna- just to clarify, this is a meetup as opposed to a workshop (more of an informal “club” format, as opposed to our weekend workshops which are more structured). It will be 2 hours in the evening, you can bring your camera if you like but typically people just watch/take notes since there isn’t much hands-on shooting!
      look forward to seeing you!

  2. I will be attending the workshop. I didn’t get the evite, so hopefully this is the place to rsvp.


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