Portrait Session: Katey

On this fine afternoon, I got to spend the day with this cheery teacher, Katey, and her two children.  Katey’s daughter was so ready for the camera.  She would strike a pose and show all of her teeth with a huge smile.  The picture below was a tame for this young starlet-in-training.  Katey’s son, on the other hand… well, let’s just say he took a little coaxing.  No problem, I took some fun pictures of him throughout the session!  Katey, though, was just all smiles throughout.  Beautiful family on a beautiful day!

 

Katey

The Power of Props

If you’ve even had someone take a picture of you, know how nerve-wracking it can be to just “do something” in front of the camera.  All of a sudden your limbs are these foreign objects that just don’t feel natural anymore.  Where do I put my hands?  Should my arms just hang here like this?  Does this look weird?  This feels awkward.  Ohmigosh, do I LOOK awkward?!  We’ve all been there.  (Okay, we’ll I’ve been there; I suppose I can’t speak for you lovely readers.  Haha.)

 

props

A simple solution: props!  Having something else to do with your hands and distract your attention can do wonders!  In the images below, Jen has a scarf she played with, and Trevor drank a beer.  Simple things to keep moving and keep things interesting.  Part of the nervousness a person can feel when in front of the camera is they feel like they’re supposed to “preform” for you.  All of a sudden, nothing feels natural and the person being photographed feels super self-conscious.  Having props helps them to do more natural movements as they interact with the item, and it distracts them from focusing on what they think they need to do for you.

The props you choose can be just about anything, too, which is great!  No need to spend lots of money, you can use things that are around the house or inexpensive.  Fun prop items are:

  • picture frames
  • pinwheels
  • bubbles
  • instruments
  • pets (and even people!)

So go, grab your favorite items and go to town! =)

Tips on Photographing Children

Photographing kids with logo

Planning on having a little camera time with a child?  Here are a few tips that have been useful for me.

 

Keep Your Camera Ready

If you’re looking to capture a particular pose, that’s okay.  However, there are SO MANY moments that are missed in-between the posed pictures if you put the camera down after your shot.  Unlike adults, most kids aren’t terribly concerned with looking “just right” for the camera.  They would much rather play, climb things, talk to you, and show you stuff.  Let them!  You’ll get more authentic pictures from watching your little one climbing the monkey bars or playing tag with his sister.

 

Anticipate the Connection

Sometimes it’s helpful to have the camera on the child, with your finger over the shutter…and wait.  Wait for the child to make eye contact with the camera.  Wait for the child to laugh at something funny.  Wait for the child to make a funny face in rebellion.  Just wait for it.  I have found this especially useful for the times when children are supposed to stay in an assigned spot (like in a wedding, or in a play).  Just hone in on them and wait for their little eyes to meet the camera naturally.  Sure, it might mean watching them through the view finder for a while, but it’s worth it when you get a gem of a shot! =)

 

Give Them Something to Do

If you give a child a toy or some fun prop, you get some fun pictures.  Kids like blowing bubbles, or batting at a pinwheel—let them explore the object and play!  The expressions you get will be genuine and livelier than just a standard “cheeeeeese” smile.

 

Get on their Level

Crouch, kneel, crawl…whatever is needed to have your camera at their eye level.

 

Highlight What They Like

If the child loves karate, ask her to show you some moves.  Dancer?  Fantastic!  Ask her to do her latest routine.  Animal lover?  Bring the family dog!  People are a lot more comfortable when they’re in their comfort zone.

 

Make Picture Time Fun

A lot of times the reason a child will shy away from the camera is because a lot of their experiences in front of the camera have been very stringent.  Sit there.  Hands like this.  Tilt your head that way.  Smile.  Smile bigger.  That’s too big of a smile.  Be still.  So many rules!  While there are definitely times when such structure is warranted, the majority of their picture-taking memories should be more of the “I bet you can’t make your tongue touch your nose” variety.  Even if most of your pictures aren’t keepers, you’ll definitely end up with some fun shots that are probably pretty representative of the child’s true personality.

Website Makeover Time!

thiet-ke-websiteYou know that elated feeling you get when you buy a new outfit, or a brand new car, or the latest cell phone that you’ve been wanting?  As though everything you had before that item was just blah, and now you’re living in color!  That is until it becomes blah again.  Well…websites can be like that.

Right now, this website is getting a bit of a make-over.  =)

There are so many things that can be included in a website now to make things easier for reader!  To say it can be a bit overwhelming is an understatement.  Still, I want to make sure that things are PERFECT!  That said, please bear with me while I make things “prettiful” again.

Portrait Session: Megan


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Megan was oodles of fun to photograph. There were lots of laughs during this day! (Oh the fun images that aren’t posted!) Aside from the good times, I loved that Megan was down for whatever. I think I could have asked her to climb a tree for a shot and not only would she probably ask which tree, but she’d most likely throw in a “how about I lay down on that branch?” (Not that I would ask such a thing. Unless it was a REALLY cool tree, of course!)

I think Tyra Banks would be proud of Megan’s ability to “smize” (smile with her eyes) in her pictures!  Look out America’s Next Top Model, this teacher might need to make her debut! =)

 

 

 

 

Lounging Around – Trevor

 

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Trevor was easy to photograph. This gamer was “camera ready” the whole time and made each picture look easy.  Some people are just naturally photogenic–Trevor is clearly one of those people.  I know he loves working in the video game industry, but I can’t help but think that Hollywood or the modeling industry is missing out on this charismatic, shining star!

 

Gabriela Dance Theatre – “Abstract”

What better way to bring February to a close than by having the pleasure to photograph amazing artists doing what they love.  The Gabriela Dance Theatre showcased talented individuals from all over the country on one stage for a entertaining performance of dance, song, and creativity at it’s finest.

 

According to their website, Gabriela Dance Theatre describes “Abstract” as a “collaboration of Artists from San Diego, and Los Angeles consisting of Ballet, Hip Hop, Contemporary, Modern, and Jazz, along with Live Musical Performances accompanied by some amazing dancers.”

 

You can stay “in the know” about upcoming performances by “liking” Gabriela Dance Theatre on Facebook.  Feed your creative side and support the arts! =)

Gabriela Dance Troupe - 1

Halloween Party

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Halloween is one of my favorite holidays.  I mean, the costumes, the parties, the CANDY!  Okay, perhaps I’m a big child at heart.  Guilty.  Still, I love this time of year–especially for pictures!  The pictures above were from a Halloween event in Northridge for high school students.  There were games, contests, music, and, of course, candy!  (My favorite!)  The students had fun and so did the staff.  Proof that you’re never too old to dress up and engage is silly games!

Five Apps I’m Obsessed with Right Now

Every now and then I remember that my smartphone is super powerful and capable of doing amazing things.  It’s during these little a-ha moments when I’m usually in the Google Play store, marveling at all of my options.  I’m like a kid in a candy store on a shopping spree!  SO… here’s what I’m obsessed with today.  (In no particular order.)…

 

1. Pocketbooth

Who wouldn’t want a photo booth on their phone?!  The camera is automocially the front-facing camera (at least for the Samsung Galaxy S4) and the images are in B&W.  The only slight negative part is the quickness of each picture.  There also isn’t a countdown or anything so you have to move quickly and be ready, fast!

2. Pinterest

Oh boy, Pinterest.  Pinterest is like a rabbit hole for me.  I go in with a little curiosity and end up spending over an hour in there, with a bazillion tabs open in Chrome.  Luckily, I can’t really do that on my phone.  (Well, at least not that I’m aware of anyway.)  Still, it’s easy to get carried away, even in the mobile version.  I can still pin and I can still search.  What a happy camper I am!  Fun way to spend some idle time, also.  =)

3. Diaro

I know a lot of people love Evernote, but for some reason, it just doesn’t do it for me.  I have it on my phone, but I rarely ever use it.  Diaro, however, meets my needs.  While it’s a diary app, I like that I can use it for whatever I want while also keeping it private.  That was important to me.  I use it keep track of ideas, plans, important things in life, etc.  I have a terribly memory so I wanted something that I could have on my phone that was easy to use for recall.  This obviously works well as a general personal diary, also.

4. Hardest Game Ever 2

The addictive quality of this game is just insane.  It is seemingly simple, yet each level usually has me yelling at my phone. =)  Each game is very quick, but you have to complete the task in order to unlock the next task.  The objectives are fast-paced and sometimes very silly.  You’d be surprised at how tense you can get while playing.  I would advise playing when you have a lot of time on your hands though, because the time will fly!

5. Zombies, Run!

Let me start out by saying this: I hate running.  Hate it!  However, I always see things I hate as an opportunity to embrace it in some way.  A few years ago I channeled my I-hate-running feelings into training for a half-marathon.  My goal is just to finish the race and not give up along the course.  Did I finish?  Yes, I did!  Proudest medal I’ve earned to date, too, by the way!  Did it change my attitude for running?  Absolutely!  It never quite turned into a love for running, and I definitely didn’t hate it, and I enjoyed seeing how far I could go.  After the race,  got injured, and I had to stop running.  Trying to get back into the groove of things, I found the Zombies, Run app.  Love it.  There is a story line and definite incentive to keep going.  I can listen to music while running and as things happen during my run, the notifications will interrupt my music.  So fun.  =)

fav apps page

 

Senior Social – High School Seniors Preparing For Graduation

I love photographing special events.  On this day, I got to photograph the Senior Social for Options For Youth Charter Schools graduates.  The Senior Social is where the students of this independent study gather together to bond, get graduation information, and do senior crafts.  It was a fun day at the North Hollywood Recreation Center as seniors and their parents prepared for the next chapters of their lives.

Senior Social-3 Senior Social-1

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