Monday, March 30, 2015

Family Photo Series {Couples}

There are so much inspiration on the internet for different poses, especially for couples. However, the main reason that I never want to become a professional photographer is because I just don't feel comfortable choosing just the right poses to get the best pictures and then talking the subjects into those poses. Thankfully, this family photoshoot was pretty low-key, and everyone helped each other with pose ideas :)

Here is a fun and casual pose that was perfect for these two :) Smiles everywhere!

The grandparents! 

Always love a good close-up :) but you may notice that he is wearing black and she is wearing brown. This may not bother some (specifically my husband, ha!), but it is something to be watchful of as the person behind the camera.

So, we switched up the pose and had him take the vest off. 

Not a whole lot of "lessons" in this post, but it does show a few different pose possibilities for couples!

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Four Bindings Complete {March ALYOF Finish}

I wasn't sure if I'd make it this month, but here they are... four baby quilts have finished bindings!

Goal Post Here
Number 84 in Linky Party 

Sure, the binding was already attached to the fronts of the quilt. All I had to do was put my feet up and finish hand-sewing the binding to the backs of the quilts. Sounds simple right? It should have been done in the first week of March! Yet, I fought a sinus infection for the entire first week. Looking back, I'm so thankful that I did get down to work during the 2nd and 3rd weeks. I even found out that I can finish the hand-sewing in one day (but don't expect any thing else to get done during my "free times" on those days!!). I'm thankful I finished them when I did, though, because I ended up fighting a stomach virus during the fourth week of March. Ugh. Let's just say I'm looking forward to saying good-bye to March!!! 

I'll show you more pictures of the individual quilts as I send them out to their recipients :)

Monday, March 23, 2015

Family Photo Series {Families of 3 and 4}

As my college professor used to tell us, "get closer!" That's how I felt about these pictures...

E may be smiling, but we just seem so far away!

See how much better this is? Well, other than the fact that E is eating her dress, ha! So many less distractions when you focus in on the subject.

I always feel it is important to take pictures both horizontally and vertically. I like having the option of which direction to hang them. If you're the photographer, make sure you check with your subjects to see which they would prefer to have more of - horizontal or vertical. I have been surprised how many have a real preference of the way you take their pictures!

My sister-in-law's family... again, they just seem so far away, right!? 

So, we moved a little closer. I love the background and the fact that they are all at different heights - that adds interest to the picture.

This was my crop to get rid of that sun spot you saw above. They used this picture for their Christmas picture, but I believe that instead of fully cropping, the graphic artist did the work to color correct the sun spot.

Monday, March 16, 2015

Family Photo Series {Large Group}

Large groups are definitely the hardest to take pictures of... Reminder from the first post in this session, we're working with a 6 month old and a sick kindergartner! Plus, we are just using a camera on a tripod.

The main problem in this first shot is that the camera was too far away - there is too much backdrop showing (plus a distracting opening in the door to the left). 

Don't be afraid to crop! This is the same picture as the first - I cropped the open part of the door on the left side and the odd-looking unused seating on the right side. Remember, however, when you crop family photos, you still want to be able to put them into normal sized picture frames. Often times when you crop on any photo editor, you can constrain the cropping to a specific ratio so that it either works for a 5x7 or a 8x10 or whatever size you plan on printing.

I like this set-up because the grandparents are in the middle, and the kids have a place to sit (I find that they are more cooperative if they have actual places to sit). Of course, all I can do is focus on how "awkward" that I think I look... that is common - most of the time, when you show the resulting pictures to a large group, each individual will focus on themselves and like a picture depending on how they look (or how their kids look). 

Thankfully, we had a graphic designer in the family (far left in the back row!) who can do a little head swapping... meaning, to a small degree, goofy smiles and closed eyes can be swapped from a different picture of the same pose. I don't have these fixed pictures to show, but it is sure helpful when you don't have a true photographer behind the camera who can help dictate your head angles or who can just keep taking pictures until everyone is looking reasonably well.

Although I liked these arrangements because the grandparents were in the middle (the place of honor), it is always important to make sure that everyone is comfortable. If someone is not comfortable, they won't like the picture afterwards. My mother-in-law didn't like being in the middle. She would have preferred to have a grandchild on her lap or to be standing up. Therefore, she wasn't as fond of these indoor pictures... that turned out to be helpful as we moved outdoors and took our favorite pictures there...

We never tested this shot during the location try-out, but it turned out to be the best place! There was still two textures in the backdrop, but we had a little more room to play with heights. Again, notice that the kids had a place to sit. However, we needed a little extra editing to get rid of those sunspots (this is not as easy as it sounds... my brother-in-law put in a lot of extra time to color correct that spot!).

All-in-all, as the "photographer" but also needing to be in the picture, it was difficult to keep track of how many pictures you should be taking to make sure eyes are open or head angles looked good (I didn't have very much time to review pictures between shots as I was busy getting the timer set an then running back to my spot). Many thanks to our graphic designer who helped with the finishing edits (again, I don't have copies of those, but hopefully you can imagine what a little post-doctoring could have done!).

Monday, March 9, 2015

Family Photo Series {Location Tryout}

I took a photography course in college and I've read countless articles online... a main thing to remember when planning for a photoshoot is that lighting changes throughout the day. A few of us went up to the granary the day before to check out the location, find sitting props and of course, make sure the lighting would be OK for the time we hoped to take pictures (I think we planned on between 4pm and 5pm).

The front of the granary... a little too busy, but the lighting isn't horrible. It was sunny at the time, so shade was a must to prevent squinting and harsh shadows.

We headed inside the granary - this was one of the walls. The lighting is perfect, but the area didn't allow for a large family set-up. (PS: How little is E, here?! That hat fits a little better this year, haha!)

We went a little on the risqué side and picked out a corner on the other end of the granary. This spot is a slight risk because the backdrop isn't identical - see how the door is white and the wall is weathered wood? This could potentially be too busy if too much of the backdrop shows up in the picture, but at least it allowed for a larger family picture.

We then realized that we needed more sitting options than just one easily hay bale (we had brought it from the home place).

More exploring in nearby buildings meant that we found a rustic box to add! Notice how we have one person standing and one sitting in these practice pictures. It's important to be able to visualize the different heights that will be present when the entire family is there for a picture.

Don't forget, though, that along with a large group picture, we were planning on doing individual families as well. So, here's a close-up so we could see what the backdrop looked like with a smaller subject. That metal thing on the wall was very close to being a problem - it could easily show up coming out of one of our heads! Something to keep in mind for the big day...

Ok, just one more moment for reminiscing back to little E :)

Ok, back to practice shots. We decided that another box was necessary for even more sitting options. We decided to also bring some blankets along to protect our nice clothes since these boxes were dirty! The granary was a little narrow, so we had to shoot from about this angle. It would have been better to shoot a little more from the left, but sometimes, you just have to work with what we have.

Then, all of a sudden, it was the day of the pictures... 

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

WIP Wednesday {ALYOF: March Goal}

March ALYOF Goal: Finish hand-sewing the binding to the back of these four baby quilts. 

Two of these baby quilts are reserved for March due-dates, while another is reserved for an April baby. The last one will just hang out in my "gift box" until just the right little lady arrives! I better get started though... it's a binding party type of month!


Current WIP List...

  • 4 baby quilts needing binding (current goal)
  • 1 lap quilt needing quilting then binding (on the back burner)
  • 6 baby quilt tops needing quilting and binding (on the back burner)
  • 1 pillow top needing a border then quilting and then needing a back (on the back burner)

Goodness, I don't remember the last time that WIP list was so short! 
Sure, my to-sew list is still quite long, but at least most of the items on that list haven't been started, so they don't belong on the WIP list... yet ;)

Monday, March 2, 2015

Family Photo Series {Intro: Location Fun}

About a year and a half ago, my sister-in-law and her husband were moving to a different country for two years (only half a year to go before they're back!). Thus, it was definitely a good time for family pictures! 

My in-laws decided to forgo the professional photographer, and instead we used my DSLR with a tripod. We would rely on me and the graphic artist married to my other sister-in-law. I was nervous!

We all had different ideas for locations and back drops. Dan was the one who thought to use a granary on one of the old farmsteads on their land. It took a little convincing of his mom and dad to embrace the rustic backdrop, but I'm so glad we took the pictures there!

In the next several posts, I'll chat a little about location planning, clothing attire, arranging people, and about how the graphic artist and I worked together to take what turned out to be pretty decent family pictures :)

I'll also share about what I learned through the entire process... which is a lot! 

Taking your own family pictures is definitely not for everyone... and it definitely wasn't the easiest thing I've ever done (especially since the group included a 6 month old and a sick kindergartener)!

Overall, I hope you enjoy this little series :)