Family Feet

Let me begin by saying I am so excited to actually have some spare time for this woefully neglected blog!!! I know you’ve missed me terribly. Haha! Perhaps I should begin with my usual litany of complaints, namely that I never have time for photography any more (insert whine here.) And I MISS it! I know the saying, if you WANT something bad enough, you’ll MAKE time for it. Which clearly means my priorities must be God, kids, homeschool, sleep, family, puppy, housecleaning, grocery shopping, school planning, laundry, kids activities… whether I like it or not, and not necessarily in that order!!! Truth be told, I would probably put sleep at the top of the list. (Sorry, God, I’m working on that.)

I even bought a reeeeally big purse so I can always take my reeeeally big camera along, discreetly hidden, of course :) And I did, for a while. And here’s what I’ve discovered. Feel free to call me out on this, but it’s reeeeally hard to pull the good camera out for point and shoot moments. You know the ones-birthday parties, playgrounds, school events… yes we all have our mommy cameras. And I LOVE being part of these fleeting childhood memories.  But as an artist these moments are utterly uninspiring. I use my iPhone more and more to document moments, and my camera I use for art. And THERE is where I run into my time shortage. ART takes time. ART DEMANDS TIME. Time to be lost in the moment, seeing critically, walking thoughtfully, waiting patiently, discovering carefully. Art is born of time, and that is what I miss.

That being said- I will be attending a birthday party tomorrow with my BIG CAMERA, more determined than ever to find an inspirational shot!!! So stay tuned! Haha

OK enough lamenting. On with the exciting stuff. If you remember that beautiful baby from my last blog post (yes, that last time I took my camera out) Well her sweet momma has seen my unedited photos (horror of horror) and she has graciously asked me to shoot some MORE picture of her new addition! This time I was more equipped for the task. Namely, the SUN was gloriously shining which gave me plenty of light to work with.

They wanted indoor family photos, both in the bedroom and nursery. True lifestyle photography. And let me confess, this was SO FUN!!! Unless a client is bent on being stressed out (and you know they’re out there) it is really hard to have a stressful shoot in your own home. The baby is comfortable in the environment, as are the parents. They have access to everything you might need- for example, I forgot my hair tie. No problem- I was sporting a ponytail ten seconds later! Moms are free to nurse, change diapers, change clothes. And get this- even DADS are relaxed! Did I finally get your attention? Even Dad is not grumpy at the idea of lounging in his own bed for a photo shoot. It was awesome!

My goal was to shoot LIGHT and airy. And edit even lighter. I wanted an artsy touch that looked processed, but not overcooked. I did a few black and white, which is really not my style, and I learned a LOT. It was fun!

So here we go!

When I arrived, baby was fed and ready to pose- so we started with the hard shots first. Tummy time away from Mom and Dad. As the shoot sent longer, she naturally got tired of posing :) but it is easy to get shots of Mom and Dad snuggling, comforting, cooing to their little ones. And you know how I LOVE fussy baby pictures. I promise I got a great one I’ll share later!

These were all edited with Florabella Classic Color, from the Classic Workflow collection. My biggest challenge in editing is CONSISTENCY. I was intentionally trying to produce the same effect for the entire series of shots. In my typical ADD style, I usually tire of one editing style  after three photos and do something completely different. But in order to eliminate the Schizzo-Photographer effect, I devoted myself to ONE style and stuck with it. It wasn’t easy. I’ve had these Florabella actions for a while now and never use them, simply because I have so many other actions I love.

This action has a deep, very dark contrast when you initially run it. It’s seriously dramatic- which I love, but it was overcooked. So I spent a good deal of time learning which elements to tweak, and to what degree. I had to invert the mask for the contrast, and do some mask work on several different layers to find a balance. In the end, it is pretty rich, deep and warm. And I wish I knew how to batch edit, because I had to do the same tweaking on each layer on every photo.

Next, we brought Dad down to the end of the bed to throw focus on him. Little known secret- get the Dad shots early, too, because they wear out even quicker than the kiddos. Haha!

Lessons learned from this shot- If you’ve followed my work, you know I shoot angles…a LOT.  But there is a time and a place for angles. This was not one of them. I wish I has taken the extra second to check my frame because I would have noticed the headboard was slightly crooked. Nit-picky, I know. But for the sake of self-critique, I have to mention it. I was using my 50 mm prime, and was hanging off a treadmill to get this shot, so I had zero room to move back. Thus, I couldn’t crop and rotate the image without losing some of those precious baby toes.  And now that I mention this next one, you won’t be able to stop staring. And you will ask yourself, “how could she possibly MISS that?!” Do you see the rubber bad on Dad’s arm? I never even caught that detail. I was too focused on, well… focusing! Haha. Mom acted fast to remove the unsightly blemish (hence the ponytail holder I mentioned earlier!) yet here it is, permanently memorialized in cyberspace. Of course, if I’d moved two inches to the left, this would be perfect! But I’m not much for impaling myself on treadmills, so Mom’s leg is a tad far from Dad’s shoulder. Pick, pick, Pick.

This was edited with Florabella Classic Black and White. This is a BEAUTIFUL action! Of course you must spend time finding the right filter balance. And the contrast is extreme, and requires some adjustment. But I was very pleased with this action, it’s organization and capabilities. It may even make me work in Black and White more!

Next we brought up Mom to join in the fun. Don’t you just LOVE how baby is studying Dad’s face! So precious!!!

Another edit with Florabella Classic Color. You can see why I chose to use a color-enhancing action- just look at that amazing blue headboard!!!! Isn’t it gorgeous? I must give a shout out to Mom here because that headboard is entirely hand made. Outstanding.

Did I say I tried to stick with the same editing style for the entire session? OK. I lied. I HAD to try something different, just for this shot. It is so clean and soft and white… I originally started with Florabella Classic Black & White, but here’s yet another reason to LOVE Florabella. Embedded in this action is a B&W layer. You simply move the opacity slider and voila, you can add some tint to your grayscale. I LOVE IT. I also added a vintage tone to warm it up a bit. I just adore how that little pink flower is the only “bold” color.

Here’s where I put in a photographer’s plug for changing your vantage point. Although Mom and Dad were kind enough to furnish me with a ladder, I was able to beg, plead and cajole their friendly canine into letting me use his doggy-step stool because it’s alot easier to move around than a ladder! The stool only elevated me about a foot, but you can see how the shot really fills the frame, especially because I was using a a prime lens. Scooting back further was simply not an option, and this perspective totally changes the intimacy and color mood of the image. As much as I ADORE the blue headboard, I wish I had gotten some more pristine shots like this one. It’s just so… CLASSIC!!!

But the wee little one needed a wee break from posing, as we will see in the next shot- a last minute attempt at the super cute Family-Feet shot. Little one was not particularly thrilled at moving from cosy cuddle time with mom to stinky feet time at the end of the bed. I can’t imagine why! Haha. As I’ve said before (and will continue to say) I LOVE fussy baby shots!!! I don’t know why. Maybe there’s something wrong with me, but the truth is, fussy photos are fun because that’s reality! We always want perfect portraits, but now that my own kids have grown so much, the real emotions captured on film are my favorite. Especially when it’s one of those lovely dramatic moment babies have made into an art.

So without further ado, the fussy family feet portrait! (Drumroll, please…)

Fussy Family Feet

How GREAT is this? Mom is trying not to laugh, Dad is being… well, let’s be honest… he’s doing what newborn Dad’s do best- namely, sleeping through the crying! Haha. I LOVE IT!!! Needless to say, we didn’t get the coveted feet portrait. Maybe we should have done this shot first- it would certainly be a good icebreaker! But this shot truly captures a moment and it fills my heart with joy. This is family at it’s finest. It may not make the Living Room wall, but it will be a best- loved page in the family photo album for years to come!

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