Posts Tagged ‘weddings’

My Week(338) in iPhone Photos

Thursday, April 27th, 2017

Someone shared this article about Grand Designs on Facebook last week and I’ve been binging the episodes available right now. I really need everyone to go watch it so we can talk about how bananas some of these houses are. I can’t even decide which one I love the most, but the very best part of the show is that it follows through ALL THE WAY to the end. The home flipper shows on HGTV drive me crazy when they say “if we sell it, we’ll make $100,000! So far, no offers.” WELL THAT’S NOT REALLY YOUR PROFIT YET, IS IT? The British have weird houses made out of mud, by at least they FOLLOW THROUGH.

That had nothing to do with this post, except it’s what I’ve been watching while I catch up. And now I’m caught up!


Easter bunny haul

He bought this with his birthday gift card and is SO pleased

Just chilling out, feeding myself a bottle as if that’s something I’ve EVER DONE BEFORE


Super happy to be shopping with me!

SUPER over shopping with me

Oh you know, just letting the 2 year old run away (E is watching him from behind that tree)



Gorgeous weather for a beach wedding!

My new glasses are…big

Did nothing else but edit wedding photos because I was so excited


Staying hyrdrated

Toddler yoga

Lots of naps


Octonaut playdate was VERY much enjoyed by toddlers

This is called Nine Man Morris, they learned at Old Sturbridge Village and E made them a board





Starbucks date


Puddle playdate

The futuuuuuuuuuuuure!

The opposite of the future



How to escape your children

The opposite of escaping your children

It turns out Grand Design does sometimes give up on people – the mud house never got finished. So I guess I don’t have to feel guilty about being terrible at following through with some things. I think tonight I’ll finish a whole pint of ice cream and celebrate my success. Hashtag goals.

Taking Photos

Monday, May 13th, 2013

I’m not ready to call myself a great photographer, but I think I am ready to call myself a photographer – something I didn’t think was possible less than a year ago. I know enough about my camera now to make it do what I want 90% of the time and enough about photography and editing to feel confident taking photos for other people.

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Bridal Portraits-176 EDIT

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I’m still not willing to charge money for my time or work. Even looking back at these sessions – which were only a few weeks ago – I think “Ugh! The color is so wrong. Why did I edit them like that?! Why isn’t the focus sharper?? Why did I think these were good???” I have so so so very much to learn I don’t know if I’ll ever actually be good at photography.

I also think pictures of my own kids are easier (MOST of the time). I have more flexibility to say “Oh, look at the light! Quick, everyone put on your shoes, we’re going out to do photos!” Plus I can boss them around, predict their smiles, and bribe the crap out of them with lollipops.

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But since I’ve been asked recently what camera and lens I use, what my settings are and other general stuff about photography I thought it might be worth writing this post. It is a weird mix of technical and non-technical stuff/terms because that’s how my brain works. Let me know if I’ve got anything totally wrong or explained it really really badly and I can try to fix it.

I do shoot in Manual mode, which is not the same as manual focus. Manual on the camera just means I control the aperture and shutter speed. I also set my own ISO but I usually let the camera choose the white balance. I’m not going to explain what all of those things are in detail since there are a billion blog posts about that already (see the link to Chookooloonks below, her summary is great) but I’ll explain what I do.

Basic info: My camera is a Nikon D7000 (excellent review & info here), which is a step up from my Nikon D90 but is still a crop-sensor camera. Basically that means on my camera an 85mm lens actually shoots at the distance of a 50mm on a full-frame camera. That “crop” applies to all the different lens lengths. The full-frame cameras are significantly more expensive and although I’d love to upgrade I can’t see myself spending that kind of money anytime in the near future.

Important note! If you’re struggling and not getting the results you expect, make sure your camera WORKS CORRECTLY. When I was super frustrated with my camera last Christmas it was because my camera was broken, not because I was an idiot.

A much-too-long explanation of how I take pictures:

After I grab the camera (about 50% of the time the battery is dead, so that’s the end of the picture taking) the first thing I choose is my ISO.

(ISO was the very last thing I figured out, so I’ll elaborate a little. I read a post by Chookooloonks a long time ago (found it!) about ISO and her explanation has stuck with me better than any other – think of the ISO number as light catchers. The higher the ISO, the more light catchers you get so you can shoot in darker conditions. On a super sunny day you don’t need many light catchers but in a dark room you need a lot. And when you have a lot of light catchers they show up in your photo as “grain”. With a low ISO you need to get the light into the picture another way, either through a longer shutter speed or a wider aperture.)

I like to keep it around 200 outside and around 1000 in the house, but it’s easy to change by intervals of 100 if my photos aren’t coming out.

Second I choose my aperture, or f-stop. That’s what makes the background fuzzy or not fuzzy. A low number means less of the photo is in focus. A big number means more is in focus. Up until I got my new 35mm lens* I liked to keep the f-stop around 3 or 3.5 (5 on my kit lens/macro, since that’s as low as those go) but on the 35mm I keep it around 2 or 2.5. A small number means I’m letting lots of light into the camera so I can keep my shutter speed low, plus it gives me that nice blurry background I think of as the hallmark of fancy photos.

Ok, so my ISO and f-stop are set based on where I’m shooting. That brings me to the part I’m embarrassed about: I cannot keep track of my shutter speed. I never remember what the fractions mean. Never. Instead of choosing a shutter speed I rely on my light meter in the camera, which I have set on spot metering (Wikipedia link for technical stuff). I just spin the shutter speed dial until I hit the center mark on the meter in the viewfinder and I’m good. If it’s a really bright day or strong light I might intentionally underexpose by a stop or vice versa, but mostly I try to hit dead center.

After I think my settings look good, I focus the camera on my subject. I have my camera set on single-point focus, where I choose one of the 13 focal points manually using the little dial on the back of the camera. My camera actually has 39 possible points, but I found scrolling through all of them took too long. Choosing my focal point lets me compose the photos off-center, another thing I think makes photos feel fancy. I get my one focal point right over the most important part of the picture and then I shoot. BAM! Photo taken!

The really fancy photographers are so confident in their technical abilities that they don’t look at the screen on the back of the camera to make sure they aren’t totally screwing everything up. I am not fancy. I definitely check. As I follow the kids or my subject around I adjust my settings (most often my shutter speed, then my ISO, then my f-stop) and I’ll check the screen again, but if we’re staying in one place I just click click click until I’m sure I have a shot with everyone looking/smiling/doing something cute/whatever.

During a session I usually take around 400 photos. That’s a lot. Way too many. Especially if the session is just my own kids hanging out in a park again. It’s a bad habit but since the photos are digital I figure I can always delete them once I get them on the computer.

Once I get home I almost always immediately move the photos to my computer. Then I edit. I shoot in RAW, which means I have to at least convert the photos to JPGs before I post them anywhere. I open my photos in Lightroom, mark the ones I think are worth converting, and then adjust for things like exposure and white balance. Since I don’t adjust white balance in-camera most of the time that’s my most frequent edit. I’ve started doing some creative editing in Lightroom too, sometimes using presets from Clickin Moms or MCP Actions. Lightroom itself comes with some really nice black and white presets and I like the way RAW files convert to b&w better than the JPGs. I’ve never taken a class or read the manual so what I know about Lightroom comes from just messing around with it.

After I like the basic look of the photos I use the export function to convert the photos to JPG and automatically open them in Photoshop. In PS I do more creative editing (sometimes very, very badly – I really need to take a class). I have a lot of Photoshop Actions and I go through phases where I LOVE some of them and then HATE some of them and then LOVE some of them again. The most useful one is a web-sharpen/resize action that I got through a Clickin Moms class I took, but for creative actions the ones I won from a Marissa Gifford giveaway can’t be beat. I don’t do skin-smoothing or eye-brightening or head-swapping or anything fancier than maybe some pimple-removal, although I’m pretty decent at cloning out stains and crumbs on the kids.

My final step is saving all the files, first as a full size photo then resizing and sharpening for the web and saving again. I recorded an action that does all of that for me so it doesn’t take very long (God bless Google for showing me how to do that!) and I usually just leave the computer to do it when I go to bed at night. Very last of all I upload web-sized photos to Flikr (if they’re my photos) or Facebook and Dropbox (if they’re for a friend). I usually get the whole process done in a day, although the bridal portraits took me a whole weekend because there were SO MANY – I shot the location, the bride, her family and the bridal shower all at once.

WHEW. If you read all of that, you’re amazing. And probably confused, since it’s obvious I don’t really know what I’m talking about. I think my biggest challenge right now is finding my own style – I tend to fall in love with a new photographer every day so sometimes I want all my photos to look faded and dreamy and sometimes I want them all to be tack-sharp and brightly colored. I’m an over-editor. But like I’ve said before, I’m trying to learn and the best way to do that is practice…so if anyone wants to act as my guinea pigs let me know and I’ll drag you out to run around in an orchard for two hours and you’ll get a couple dozen photos. I’ll even bring lollipops.

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*My Lenses:
Nikon 18-105mm f/3.5-5.6 AF-S DX
Nikon 50mm f/1.8D AF
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 SLD DG Macro Lens
Nikon 35mm f/1.8G AF-S DX
I also rented a fancy 85mm f/1.4 for the bridal portraits but didn’t love it.

There are no affiliate links in this post, so everything I recommend I can honestly say I truly recommend.

Gratuitous Wedding Photos Post

Wednesday, September 8th, 2010


The End.

I know that was really all anyone wanted to hear about – especially my real life friends, since I don’t think I’ve talked about anything else for weeks. Of course, my fear of the dress not fitting didn’t stop me from stuffing my face enjoying the delicious rehearsal dinner or catered lunch at the salon. Pregnancy is equal to about four glasses of wine when it comes to helping you make good choices. Maybe that’s the REAL reason you aren’t supposed to drink while pregnant – you’re already just a few seconds away from doing something really stupid, no need to add alcohol.

I look like the Hulk next to those teeny tiny maids. HULK SMASH J CREW!!

It was a super awesome fun time. Half the guests were from England (as is the Groom), so cute accents and extremely high alcohol tolerances were plentiful. It’s probably good I was knocked up and unable to enjoy more than a sip of champagne, since “open bar” is a dangerous thing to offer someone having her very first date night in 17 months and who hasn’t even finished a glass of wine in more than 2 years.

Since it’s not my wedding and most of you don’t know who any of these people are, I’ll try to keep the pictures to a minimum. I’m also EXTREMELY disappointed I didn’t pass my camera off to anyone  – I don’t have a single head-on shot with my dress and hair and makeup done, and NO pictures of me and E together or me in the borrowed comfy-yet-still-super-classy black dress I changed into for the dancing and eating part of the reception. Unfortunately, I don’t think any of the people at my table (the official Friends From High School table) had cameras, so the chances of a good picture popping up on Facebook is pretty small. I also loved the bulk lace table runners they had to decorate while we had dinner together.


Every picture of myself I have – the two on the ends are cropped like 400% because they’re really of lots of people. But you don’t know them.

(As a sidenote, although I have hated almost every picture of myself for the past 6 years, I don’t mind these. Being pregnant is a pretty good excuse for a double chin and my arms look not as huge as they used to be.)

I did steal these from someone’s Facebook – just not someone I know. Despite all my complaining about the dress being TERRIBLE for pregnant people, they looked spectacular in the pictures.

I have a whole series of pictures from the “putting on the dress” portion of the afternoon. They’re hilarious.

Isn’t she gorgeous? Everything about the day was gorgeous.

That is the official E Dancing Face. He was SO THRILLED to be dancing. I wish I could explain the dancing better, but you’ll just have to trust me when I say dancing is His Thing.

I also got to meet a reader (I will NOT say “fan”) who I didn’t know before – the bride was kind enough to send her a link when she was pregnant last year and for some crazy reason she’s kept reading. It was AWESOME, if only because I’d been doing my best not to talk about my kid for the past two days and suddenly here was someone who WANTED to talk about babies. Within seconds we were already discussing our struggles with breastfeeding and cloth diapers and labor preparations. I’ve never met someone I knew through blogging before (I know people who also blog but I don’t know them FROM their blogs, if that makes sense) but it really is like having an instant friend. So great to meet you Kim!

So, who wants to get married next? E and I definitely need another weekend like this one.

August Showers

Friday, August 6th, 2010

OK, so this isn’t technically a BABY shower or in any way baby related – at least I don’t think it is, unless the bride Has Something to Tell Us – but I’m still SUPER excited about all the cute stuff I found in planning the decorations and favors for my friend Erin’s bridal shower. If I was at all capable of sticking to a budget I would seriously consider going to event planner school (is that a thing?) or just printing up a bunch of business cards and begging people to let me plan their parties. But, alas, I am incapable of not going WILDLY OVERBOARD with adorable things I find on Etsy and would get fired immediately when I spent twice what I was allowed.

Man, I love Etsy. Hardcore love. I think I’ll marry it and get it pregnant.

P.S. Erin, if you want to be surprised on Saturday, LOOK AWAY! Although if you secretly hate the color pink and think butterflies are tacky and break out in hives when in the same room as tiny soap, it would probably be best to check out the post below and prepare yourself.

Clockwise from top left:
1. Shower invites from Tiny Prints
2. Two yards of fabric from JoAnn’s that I’m going to hem for a tablecloth (although this still isn’t done as of 11 pm on Thursday)
3. LESS THAN HALF of my milkglass collection I’m going to fill with pink/blue flowers as a centerpiece
4. Thank you notes (that match my colors!) from Target

Clockwise from top left:
1. ABSOFREAKINLUTELY ADORABLE print from Hugs & Kisses Designs (done by my friend Becca). She usually makes those with baby info but I forced convinced her to make a wedding one! Part decor, part gift. Uh, that WAS supposed to be a surprise. Oh well.
2. Prizes for the guests who win the shower games (which will NOT include wrapping anyone in toilet paper) – wrapping paper from Target, actual gifts are from Bath & Body Works
3. Mini soaps to be given out as favors from BLCBodyShop. She custom wrapped them in my colors and printed “A sunny future starts with a shower” without even once laughing at my corniness. They are coconut lime scented. I did not eat any. Yet.
4. Tiny paper butterflies to perch on the edges of all the guests’ glasses from byemma. I saw these and spent at least 30 minutes looking for a tutorial on how to make my own before I realized they were so inexpensive I couldn’t even buy the paper cheaply enough to make it worthwhile to do-it-myself. I LURVE THEM.

P.S. Do YOU have an Etsy shop? Please let me know. Unless you are Emily, because I have already called dibs on everything in her shop, so don’t even THINK about buying any of those clippies or dresses.