8 steps to guarantee adorable toddler portraits!

Friday, June 15, 2012

when you're photographing a toddler, in this case a new 3 year old, it's important to follow several steps to ensure adorable portraits. 

step 1) make sure your subject is well rested.  preferably a nap an hour or two prior to the shoot, that way you don't end up with this scene on your way to the location:
adorable toddler piortraits
 step 2) include your subject in the selection of what to wear, props, etc.  in this case, I steered Avery toward a new dress Grandma gave her for her birthday.   then I let her pick out coordinating balloons and candy!
adorable toddler portraits

adorable toddler portraits
 step 3) be aware of your subjects mood and strike while the iron is hot.  here, we came out of Cracker Barrel with a happy girl.  i popped her up on this barrel and took some shots hoping the good mood lasted until we made it to downtown.
adorable toddler portraits
 step 4) keep it fun!  even if your subject isn't feelin' it.  here, Avery wasn't so sure we were having fun.  but i kept jumping around like a mad woman having a party all to herself. 
adorable toddler portraits

adorable toddler portraits
Add caption
 slowly, but surely, she decided i was funny and decided to give me smile!
adorable toddler portraits

adorable toddler portraits

adorable toddler portraits

adorable toddler portraits

adorable toddler portraits

adorable toddler portraits
 step 5) have a backup plan.  i was pretty sure the balloons wouldn't make it through our whole shoot.  Avery refused to let me tie them to her wrist, and inevitably they escaped. 
adorable toddler portraits

with a little more crazy dancing and singing, i was able to convince little A, that balloons were meant to be free. 
adorable toddler portraits

adorable toddler portraits
 that's when we introduced the lollipop!
adorable toddler portraits

adorable toddler portraits

adorable toddler portraits
 step 6) document the age.  i love holding fingers up, but have also used wood, or paper  numbers.  it's always nice to have the child proudly show how old they are!
adorable toddler portraits
 step 7) know when to quit.  by the time we rounded the corner to location 2, i knew Avery was done.  i snapped off a few more smiley shots and then told her she was done.  i think that's when the real smiles started.  we went out to a nice mother/daughter dinner, and a memory was made. 
adorable toddler portraits

adorable toddler portraits
 step 8) don't forget all those cute little details!
adorable toddler portraits

adorable toddler portraits
following these steps is a surefire way to keep a toddler looking adorable during a portrait session!

how to lose 10 lbs in 10 minutes! (a photoshop tutorial), {AZ wedding photographer}

Friday, April 27, 2012

it doesn't happen frequently, but sometimes a bride will ask me, "can you make me look skinny?"  now, my personal style is all about natural beauty, capturing you just the way you are.  but i totally get not wanting to get a huge wall portrait where the only thing YOU will be focused on is a perceived imperfection. 
 (YOU is in bold because we are all our worst critics.  i usually have to have clients point out exactly their imperfections because i don't see them.)

recently, i got a first hand account of how it feels to not want to look at a photo of a memorable moment.  2 weeks ago i ran in the SoCal Ragnar Relay.  i ran 3 legs totalling over 14 miles in 24 hours!  this was a huge accomplishment for me!  but when i looked at the photos, i was so distracted by those last few pounds i'm trying to lose after having my son. 

here is a tutorial of how i made  my finish line photo into a memory about my race, and not my 10 moths post partum body:

Before/After
lose weight in photoshop

here's the before:

step 1:
i use Lightroom 3 for almost all of my post processing.  it's great to exposure, color, etc.  but when LR can't do what i need, i turn to Photoshop Elements 8. 

open your image in PSE, under the Filter tab, choose Distort, and Liquify.


Step 2:

PSE opens a new window.  here you choose the brush you need to change your image.  i zoomed in on the areas i wanted to fix, primarily the tummy.  i chose a brush sized to 24, and pressure 50.  these are number i've just played with over the years, i don't have a technical explanation for it.  as you brush, you'll see why this filter is called "liquify", the image acts like a liquid and you can ripples under the brush. 

with short strokes, brush in and down along the area you want to change.  i brushed along my waist line on both sides.  as with most editing, i believe less is more.  so, after a few strokes i was done. 

i also brushed along my left arm, sweeping over the outside of the arm and also on my arm pit.  i basically made the crease of my arm pit a little straighter so it didn't look so bulging.  (a personal pet peeve about my ares.)

and then i did a a teeny, tiny bit under my chin. 

step 3:

after cinching in that waist, i smoothed out the wrinkles in my shirt, because i felt they were distracting.  i chose the eye dropper tool and selected the green of my shirt.  then i switched to the brush tool and with a soft gray brush, swept over the wrinkles in the shirt.  this gave the shirt a smoother appearance. 

i didn't get a screen shot, i think the opacity was about 50%.  don't leave the brush at 100% opacity or the shirt won't look natural. 


step 4:

next a ran one of my old trusted actions, Baby Powder Room from Coffee Shop.  (since switching to LR over a year ago, i almost never use these actions anymore.  but here i was in PSE so i went with it.) 

first i used the Lighten Skin layer and with my brush at 35% i brushed under my eyes and on my "pregnancy mask." 

next, i chose the Smooth Skin layer and brushed the same areas. 

Step 5:

finally, i decided to revisit another old trusty action, Vivid 2

i ran the action, chose the Vivid layer and reduced the opacity to 64%.  i like the little color pop and vignette it gave the image. 


After:

so here i am with my medal, at the finish line looking all proud of my accomplishment!  not a huge change, but now when i look at this image i'm not totally obsessed with my flabby mid-section, i can just focus on my big post-race smile! 

this is my fist tutorial, i hope it makes some sense!  let me know what you think!

Learn How to Make Family Holidays Picturesque, OC Family Photographer

Thursday, April 12, 2012

everywhere you look, magazines, blogs, Pinterest, we're seeing smiling, happy families having amazingly beautiful, glossy, and fun holidays.  take one look and you're left screaming, "i want a holiday like that!"  the secret: take better pictures!

well, i know my mom's holiday fetes are always beautiful and festive, so i set out to actually capture that!  notice the brunch spread!  scrumptious goodies and a centerpiece of brightly colored Easter egg topiary!
family portrait
 my parent's backyard is a lush landscape perfect for brunch under the blue skies!  our family gathered for a quick portrait before attending church on Easter Sunday.
family portrait
 with 5 granddaughters (and 3 grandsons, but let's face it the decor is lost on the boys) it's so important to my parents to mix beautiful decor and tasty food with whimsy and fun!  grandpa is a pro at hanging paper lanterns and what-not from his trees. and grandma has an eye for details to brighten and enliven the minds of children and grownups alike!  and the kids were so inspired, they entertained us with a lively Easter program. 
 the Easter bunny didn't disappoint either .  kids and canines alike were busy finding candy filled delights all afternoon!
family easter portrait

family portrait
 being that we were all dressed up and looking so darling, portraits were definitely on the docket, more on that later. 
family portrait

the moral of the story, get out there and capture your special holiday moments!  take close up shots of all your special details, get in close on those kids' candy-coated smiles, and don't forget to snap some pics of the yummy food too!  and don't forget to get a family portrait!

Happy Easter!

then and now, Orange County Senior Photographer

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

things around here have been BUSY.  along with the standard holiday rush, we've been making a lot of business decisions, for both this little photography company and hubby's State Farm agency.  i feel like this poor little blog has been stale do to my full plate. 

while editing a more current senior session, i realized i never blogged this before and after.  you can see more from Collier's senior session here. 

this is my baby brother, on his last day of high school, i took him to our old house (where we lived on his first day of Kindergarten), we knocked on the door and politely asked to use their porch to re-enact these photos.  i absolutely adore the result:then and now - Orange County Portrait Photographer