Updated My Trusty Camera

It is always best to work with what you have first and truly master it. It is also a good idea to work with in your budget. I feel as if I have exhausted those good ideas with my Canon rebel. A great camera for taking photos on the fly, but not so wonderful for the low light situations I often encounter at weddings receptions and inside dark churches. So after a lot of planning and thinking I have finally updated to a Nikon D600.

I feel as if I have betrayed my beloved Canon a little bit (I love both camera companies. Honestly they are both amazing and one is not better than the other. I just prefer how the shutter button does not lag as much with the Nikon cameras. It is going to take a while to get used to the extremely different Nikon design. Even the lenses go on in a different direction. Sneaky marketing!)

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My Canon Rebel XSI was a valuable learning tool in learning how to shoot manually and setting the correct ISO, white balance, aperture, and shutter speed for each shot. The 8 mp and low quality ISO that only went to 1600 was really beginning to keep me from reaching my potential. I feel as if I have learned so much over the past year and my rebel just was not able to keep up with me and translate those new skills.

My Nikon D600 has 24.3 mega pixels and goes up to an ISO of 6400! I feel like I can take on the world. Plus it is full frame. The photo above illustrates the difference. Both photos were taken at an ISO of 800 at 125 and f/4.5. Both pictures are nice, but the top has digital noise from the ISO and is not as sharp and crisp. There isn’t a huge difference in the day light, but at night the D600 takes photos that my rebel cannot. I honestly feel like I cannot take a bad photo with this camera right now (I’m sure my inner critic will wear that down quick).

I am so excited to be learning more. I have been reading the manual. Only on page 99. A couple hundred to go! I wanted to share this exciting news with everyone to let you know that I am striving to always better myself and my photography. Expect a lot of changes and hopefully an insane amount of improvement! 644240_461787977221297_206456939_n

(This inspiration quote was made by and is copyrighted to http://www.girlheartscamera.com)

Top 10 Engagement Photo Shoot Tips -Maryland Wedding Photographer

Engagement photos are usually a one-time event, so knowing what to expect can be daunting, especially for those who have not had many professional photo opportunities in the past. Before going into the session, couples usually discuss the details with their photographer. I have spent some time compiling a list of my best tips and facts about engagement photography to make your experience easier to plan and prepare for.

    1. The typical engagement photo session lasts anywhere between 3-6 hours. Travel between different locations, outfit changes, and moving photo equipment takes time. If you know this ahead of time it takes the stress off making a time restraint. Have plans after your photo shoot? Maybe reschedule those plans so that you don’t miss out. Engagement photos are a way to celebrate your engagement so take the time to appreciate your moment.

2. Location, location, location. Now this one is important. You are going to want to choose a location that has personal meaning to you (such as where you met or had your first date), is aesthetically pleasing, or fits well with your personality as a couple. Think of your location as a movie set because the backdrop of your venue makes the mood of the photos. Your photographer may also be able to suggest some great places. Choose up to three places to add some variety (or as a back up in case one place is unavailable that day).

3. The engagement ring symbolizes your engagement and commitment. Make sure your photographer gives your ring special consideration and photographs it separately.

4. Pick at least two outfits: one casual and one a bit more formal to change on location or between venues. This will give your more variety. You do not need to match or look like twins, although magazines may have some fun styles for inspiration and to keep you coordinated. And don’t forget to bring comfy shoes to wear in between locations, especially for women who favor heels. 

                                                   I’m sure they thought it was a good idea at the time…..

5. Engagement photos require some intimacy, so if you are shy be prepared to kiss in front of the camera and do not be afraid to be yourselves. your photographer should help you relax after a short while. No one likes silly faces in their pictures.

6. Bring props! Have a shared hobby? Bringing along something to do together or that has some symbolic meaning for your relationship gives you something to do and helps you relax in front of the lens. It also gives your photos a story, which brings us to tip number 7.

    7. create a story. Playing out a story line like how you met or recreating a scene from a favorite novel or film makes your album unique and produces fun photographs. Profile picture anyone? Think of your photo shoot as a series.

8. Consider professional hair and makeup. If you are investing in great photography you will want to look your best. Not necessary, but it is also a great way to test out potential artists for the wedding day.

    9. Search within your interests for inspiration. Using poses and ideas from other engagement photos will make your pictures look just like everyone else’s. Search your favorite paintings, magazines, and movies for ideas and never be afraid to ask your photographer for a specific pose or shot.

         I still think they gave up on that floating door too easily. They could have at least taken turns….. 

10. Have fun! Laugh and do not take yourselves too seriously or you may end up looking stern or miserable in your pictures. Keep your hands relaxed as well because they give your nervousness away. You want to look as happy as you feel.

Were these tips helpful? Please feel free to comment or share some times of your own or share this post on Facebook or Twitter. Just one little click away.

Digital Photography Workshop in Bel Air, Maryland

Coming this August to Bel Air, Maryland: Lovely Lens Photography will be conducting a digital photography workshop for beginners. This workshop covers all of the basics on how to use your camera, understand how your camera works, take better family photos, and how to edit and archive your favorite images. This weekend long workshop is only $400 per person and includes lunch both days and covers everything you need to know about digital photography and taking stronger photographs for your family albums. Come prepared with your camera and questions! More information will be coming this July. There are only 10 spaces available. E-mail me at LovelyLensPhotography@gmail.com to hold your place or for more information about the workshop.

Meet My Tambourine

This is my new tambourine. This is me with my tambourine. Have you seen my recent post about the Cazenovia College Fashion show? (If not, it can be found here: https://lovelylensphotography.wordpress.com/2012/04/27/wedding-photographers-branch-out-too-cazenovia-college-fashion-show-2012/ ) In that post I mentioned how it is good to get out of your photographic routine. Now, lets talk about getting way out of the routine. Last time I said that it was a good way to refresh and have some creative fun. For a photojournalist turned wedding photographer, going back to photojournalism for a day is not much of a leap. In fact, wedding photography is very photojournalistic. I was looking at some amazing artistic photography today; not wedding photography or documentary images, but photography for the sake of art. Now, I am not calling these images art, but I did do a small 15 minute photo shoot to have some fun and take photos for the sake of taking pictures -not for weddings, not for photojournalism, and not for my family albums.
I just moved to Bel Air, Maryland so the apartment is an absolute mess. I made some room in a small corner and set up a lamp and my tripod. I took some ridiculous photos, I acted silly, I laughed. And I found a little bit of creativity in the process. Some of which I feel I have been missing lately when I fell into the routine of photojournalism then wedding photogrpahy.
Today I decided to make myself a summer project: take more creative photographs just because. Now, I’m not going to set something up every day, but the goal is to have fun outside of my photography business every week. Of course, I absolutely love what I do and it is fun, however, to be better at what I do I need to reach out to the art world that drew me in. To the idea of photography as life documentation that thrilled me when I got my first camera at 5 years old. This summer I plan on taking fun photos (They don’t have to be good!), film photographs, artistic images, and maybe even dabble in a little bit of Photoshop fun as well. So here is my challenge for you: grab your camera and photograph yourself with something new or something that you love. In my case it was my exciting new tambourine. Then this summer make it a point to photograph life for the love of it. Have fun, realize that there are no photography rules (if I followed all the rules these photos wouldn’t be so flat. Once you know the photography rules, break them!), and be creative! 

Wedding photographers branch out too -Cazenovia College Fashion Show 2012

Photographers tend to get stuck in the niche they create for themselves. When I was a photojournalist my thoughts revolved around the next story and now that I am a wedding photographer, I find myself doing the same thing. However, I have so many different interests and so many exciting things are always going on around me. The Cazenovia College Fashion Show is one of them.

My friend Lily had her senior collection last Saturday, which I had the honor of being one of her models. Between the two shows I pulled out my camera and took a few snap shots. To me, they were not anything special at the time, just some quick pics for the girls. Afterwards as I was browsing them, I realized something amazing had happened. I kind of fell into my old role as a photojournalist, capturing moments as I saw them through my lens. What I first thought were some quick snap shots, turned out to be some pretty fun photographs.

The entire experience was exciting and inspiring because it was different. It took me out of the mold I unknowingly placed myself into. So my advice for photographers: step out of your garden and experience the rest of the world around you. You might surprise yourself in the process. The next time you’re on the job you may even recall the experience and look at your present subject in new light. Motivate and refresh yourself by mixing up the routine. You might just surprise yourself. Nichole took this photograph of me after I fixed my make up. We were all waiting for the next show. My mother took this photograph of all of us after the show. My mother is pictured below with her boyfriend. 

Lovely Lens Photography Theater Dance

I’m sure many of you have been wondering where I have been lately. My blog posts have been few and far between over the past few weeks. Things have been hectic with my senior thesis project and gallery opening coming up (plus my thesis defense!) so I have been a little tied up. The good news is that my gallery exhibit, “Anachronism” opens this coming Monday at 4 pm.

For those of you in Cazenovia, New York or nearby, the exhibit is at the Gallery at Reisman Hall at Cazenovia College. It consists of nearly 2,000 2″x2″ photographs from the past 110 years from my family archives. The exhibit illustrates the uses of personal photography and how technological advances, such as roll-film and digital photography, have impacted the way that people take and use personal photographs. In many cases, photographs are the only biographical material people leave behind after they pass on. “Anachronism” creates a timeline to demonstrate these concepts using my family ancestry as well as images from my own life.

Now for some fun news: On March 27th Lois Greenfield, a famous dance photographer, was in Syracuse to teach a workshop at Syracuse University. While I was unable to attend that workshop, I did have the honor to meet her at the Manlius Pebble High School where she was conducting a lecture and lighting workshop. (If you are unfamiliar with her work, please google her photography and prepare to be amazed! Ms. Greenfield also only photographs in film! I was so impressed.)

Four dancers form the school; Trevin, Rachel, Greg, and Emma, improvised dance routines as we photographed them under various theater lighting set ups. All I can say is WOW! They are amazing! Take a peek at my photographs to see what they can do. The dancers warming up:Emma and Greg:Trevin and Rachel: I later found out that this workshop was actually an audition for Trevin. Rachel and Trevin worked so well together and made up this incredible dance routine on the spot. They looked so connected when they danced. Trevin is a self-taught dancer who has only been dancing for one year! I love the motion blur here:Reminds me of Michael Angelo’s painting The Creation of Adam. The lighting was very difficult, but I am proud of some of the shots I was able to manage.You know how when people start to take photographs they often over shoot to get a good photograph? I believe that we are all guilty of this at some point or another. Lois Greenfield stated that we should “desensitize our eyes in order to capture the moment you want to take.” What she was saying was that we need to pay close attention to capture the moment rather than taking a ton of photographs hoping to capture something. Sometimes photo bursts work, but we need to train ourselves to capture a greater vision. 

This workshop inspired me. I think I would like to work on dance portfolios as a side to wedding photography. What do you think?

WISE Symposium 2012

On Tuesday I had the amazing honor of attending the 10th annual WISE Symposium in Syracuse. Professor Varisco and a fellow classmate, Kristina, and I ventured out at 7:30 that morning and arrived to an exciting array. We collected our name tags and made out way into the exhibition hall. I was simply impressed.

I have never seen so many business women in one place. All the women were dressed up and looking fabulously chic; I knew that I was some place special. Lined up by the entrance of the hall were bagels and muffins as well as some great Tazo tea. I did not take many photos because I was so busy taking notes and absorbing the amazing and inspirational speeches given through out the day. Here is a small collection from the photos that I took. I have also shared some incredible quotes form the inspiring women that spoke. I have learned so many wonderful things. Here are some of the WISE words that I collected:

“Coming here is the best thing you have done for yourself today.” Nell Merlino

“Embrace the thriving artist routine” -Tara Gentile

“Your business does not run you. You run your business.” -Nell Merlino
“When you love yourself, you don’t let anybody do anything to hurt you.”-Juanita Bass“Fun is the key to creativity and creativity is the key to innovation.” -Barbara Corcoran

“Once you get the courage to jump and take that risk, you find the answers on the way down.” -Barbara Corcoran 

“You tell me I can’t do something, I do it twice as good.” -Juanita Bass

“The people you serve, the work that you do. . . It is an art form.” -Tara Gentile