Friday, May 31, 2013

carolee's photo tip of the week: iso

what is iso? generally speaking it is an international organization for standardization. but when speaking on photographic terms it is a bit more specific than that. iso refers to the sensitivity of the sensor to light. and is measured in a range of numbers. it's an important number and factor to be aware of and every time i step out with my camera, one of the first decisions i make is in regards to my iso. what does it need to be set to? when shooting film (which i pretty much do all of the time), i select my iso when i select the film that i'm shooting. my go-to film of choice? portra 400. what's the iso on portra 400? easy, it's 400! when i'm shooting with my digital camera i change my iso based on the amount of available light. here are some basic recommendations for iso settings:

200 -- outdoors, sun shine, sunny day
400 -- outdoors/indoors, a good amount of available light
800 -- indoors or darker lit areas
1600 -- dark gymnasiums, indoor sporting events, some births or other darker indoor activities
3200 -- this is the speed that i use when shooting births. very limited available light.

a few other things to keep in mind when adjusting your iso... higher iso's increase the grain in an image. also, if you're struggling to get the right exposure with your shutter and aperture and you need your shutter to be faster than the amount of available light will allow--change your iso! increasing the sensitivity of the sensor will provide you more flexibility with your exposure and shutter!!

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

an in-home maternity session with ashley

this lovely momma is due with her baby boy really soon. i can't wait to document his birth story.

Monday, May 27, 2013

Friday, May 24, 2013

carolee's photo tip of the week: simple backgrounds

since it's memorial day weekend there's probably lots of fun things that you have planned and during it all you may want to capture beautiful portraits of your friends and family. this is a simple tip to help you improve your portrait-taking skills.

pay attention to the background! every tree, car, person, etc... can distract from the overall appeal of the portraits you take. avoid having trees come out of heads and make sure that any other object in the background doesn't break up the space in a weird way. a simple background almost makes the background disappear and helps to bring the focus on to the subjects of your photographs! a good background is never irrelevant, but it never needs to be the focus of the image.

so when you look through your camera, don't just try and capture that perfect expression (although you're going to want to do that too), first look at what is happening behind and around the person you're photographing and move, if needed, to a new angle to improve your shot!

here are a few shots from last year's memorial day festivities of my little boy. how he has grown! he's pictured with his second cousin. what cute guys!!

Monday, May 20, 2013

the kindness project: rachel

i love when i make new friends, especially ones that share my birthday. this super cute mom has more in common with me than just the same date of birth. we both believe strongly in homebirth, are advocates of breastfeeding, and cloth diaper (just to name a few things). she came over on my birthday- it was her birthday too. and we enjoyed lunch together. it's nice to buy someone lunch on their birthday.

Friday, May 17, 2013

carolee's photo tip of the week: shutter speed

what is shutter speed? and what role does it play when taking a photograph? there are various components necessary to take a good photo and the shutter speed is one of the main ones. it's the amount of time that the shutter stays open, exposing the sensor and capturing your image. understanding the flexibility of your shutter and how it relates to your aperture and iso will allow you to do some pretty amazing things with your camera. often, while teaching, my students say "my camera won't do this or won't do that." in reality it isn't the cameras at fault, it's the person using the camera who doesn't know all of the awesome things that it is capable of. the more you know about these camera controls, the more creative control you will have over your images.

so what does shutter speed do?

shutter speed captures motion. this means that it can either stop the motion completely OR show the movement of an image. just a side note: there is a difference between capturing motion and camera shake. camera shake happens when you're hand-holding your camera, your shutter speed is too slow, and you move ever so slightly. camera shake can be fixed by a tripod or some other stationary device.

if you've been struggling to take successful photos of your super active children, or indoor photos of your favorite basketball team, or other photos where there's a lot of action- your shutter speed is what you'll want to pay the most attention to!

here are some recommended shutter speeds for various activities:

freezing motion:
children: 1/250 or faster
sporting events: 1/500 or faster
moving water/water-falls: 1/1000 or faster (usually faster if possible)
birds in flight: 1/1000 or faster

capturing motion:
amusement park rides: 1 second, plus or minus
moving water: 4 or more seconds (longer exposures of moving water give it a glassy appearance. it's super cool!)
moving cars at night: 8-10 seconds
night photography: 1 or more seconds

now challenge yourself! go out and shoot something with a specific shutter speed. find things that move and see how you do! and most of all, have fun!

falling water, f/2.8, 70mm, 1/1000

playing ball, f/2.8, 80mm, 1/500

Thursday, May 16, 2013


good girlfriends are like the very best kind of sisters. this group of friends is proof of that. sweet natalie is moving away to arizona and her friendship meant so much to this group of girls that they decided to have a photo session for her to keep as a lovely memento of their friendship. that's pretty rad in my opinion!

the ladies pictured: kaneischa johnson, laura hendricks, natalie gessel, halen seevinck, alexis dyer

to view more from this session and order prints, go here.

Monday, May 13, 2013

the kindness project: kaneischa

it wasn't hard doing something nice for this girl. first of all, she's one of my closest friends. second, my good deed was driving her around to do a few errands like pay bills and such. what that meant for me was that i got to hang out with her for an afternoon. being kind was never so rewarding!

Friday, May 10, 2013

carolee's photo tip of the week: digital camera modes

to some this tip may seem suuuuuuuuuper basic, but from teaching photography at uvu, i have learned that explaining even the most basic of principles helps those just starting out. learning photography is like learning a new language. there are all kinds of terms and new concepts that have never been heard before but that are important to know. so today's tip is an explanation of some basic camera functions/controls. these controls are on every dSLR camera. they differ slightly between models and brands, but they perform the same functions.

here is a photo i took to illustrate the controls which i'm talking about today:

what are all the options on this dial? what happens when you set your camera to each one? the basic idea here is that your camera is set up to help you customize the results that you're after. in my opinion, manual is always the best setting to use. but in case you're not quite comfortable with manual yet (or are still learning all of the elements required to shoot on manual mode) here is a break down of what each of these options mean:

M: manual mode... you'll have to set everything and will have full control over your shutter speed and aperture.

A: aperture mode or aperture priority mode, on canon cameras this is listed as AV... essentially on this mode you set your aperture first and then your camera selects the appropriate shutter speed for you. this doesn't always guarantee exact results regarding your exposure. the accuracy of this mode really depends on what you're shooting. but the idea is that you have control over your aperture and thus control over your depth of field.

S: shutter mode or shutter priority mode... on canon cameras this is listed as TV this mode is the opposite of aperture priority in that the shutter now becomes the focus, you set your shutter and the camera will then adjust your aperture to what it assumes will be the appropriate exposure.

P: this is program mode... it's essentially auto mode with some extra perks. for one, when you shoot on program mode you're able to adjust things like your iso and white balance. whereas, on regular auto mode those options are all controlled by the camera for you.

all of the modes listed above are semi-manual/semi-automatic modes. meaning that they allow you to make some manual adjustments to your camera controls and then your camera makes up the difference.

now what about the auto-modes? well you have a few options there as well. they are as follows:

AUTO: fully automatic, camera makes all the necessary adjustments to exposure, iso, and white balance for you.

nighttime mode: also known as 'slow shutter sync' sets your camera to a long shutter speed allowing you to take shots in the dark of night. i recommend using a tripod if you're going to try out this mode.

flower or macro mode: this mode makes it easier for you to move closer to your subject to capture a very close-up photo. it's great to try out when you're shooting flowers/bugs or anything up close and personal.

sports mode: also known as action mode, is useful for stopping fast action... like sports photography.

portrait mode: this mode sets your aperture as low as it possibly can go, helping to create a shallow depth of field which is ideal for portrait photography.

landscape mode: this mode is the opposite of the portrait mode in that your aperture is automatically set to a higher number (smaller lens opening) to allow more of the image to be in focus.

there are some other modes on some cameras, but these are the basic ones and what they do! have fun trying them out!

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Monday, May 6, 2013

the kindness project: kendra

as a mom to a little one, i know how tricky it can be to navigate through life: shopping, doctor appointments, and other miscellaneous errands while always having someone else in-tow. it's so nice to have help every now and again. kendra is nearing the end of her pregnancy and her sweet little boy made the perfect playdate for mine on my birthday morning. so glad i could watch him for an hour to help her out.