Tuesday, 28 January 2014

CM Blog Circle Week 4

I am super excited to be joining a group of very talented photographers for a 52 week project. The group consists of photographers who are professional, hobbiest, experienced and me the newbie photographer!! I'm hoping I can keep up with their standards but if I can't I will enjoy learning from them! Each week a new theme will be released and we have a week to interpret the theme.

This week the theme is 'My Town'.

We live in the UK in a small, friendly town. My children go to the same primary school as my husband attended. I met my husband in Middle School and many of our friends have also decided to stay local and raise their children here. There are lots of old people and not a lot happens! This week I decided to photograph the church that is in the centre of our town. If you go anywhere you go past the church as it sits on a crossroad with four sets of traffic lights.
Take a look at Dani's blog at Lilac Blossom for her great interpretation of the theme, she had the fantastic idea to create a postcard for her town!

Monday, 27 January 2014

Living Arrows 4/52 - It's all about me!

So quite a few people have mentioned I should really get in front of the camera with my children rather than living the moment through the view finder. My mum has been nagging asking me to take a photograph of myself with the children.

I decided this week to face the fear and take a self portrait with my daughter. I wanted to capture the mummy-daughter bond in a natural image. I set the camera settings and then had fun with Missy Moo on the bed. We sang songs, tickled and cuddled...and I'm so pleased I did. I don't want my children to look back on their childhood and wonder where mummy was! So here I am, this week it's all about me (and Missy Moo!)

I will also make sure this year I do this more often. How do other photographers make sure they are with their children in the photographs? Do you set the camera to Auto and hand it over to someone else, do you only feature in phone photographs or set up tripods (this one scares me as I can see my tripod tipping over with the 2 children and dog leaping around.

living arrows

Monday, 20 January 2014

Living Arrows 3/52 - Photo Bomb!

Mr O is now 5 years old and has recently found out about photo bombing! I'm not sure where he first heard about it but he is really perfecting his skills to photo bomb any photo. I have a feeling that when I reflect on my photos of 2014 Mr O will appear in many of them in some random way!

This week I was completing an online course on lighting and was studying Natural Window Light. Missy Moo (prior to going swimming) was kindly helping me out by sitting by a window and then sat as I used a reflector and then feathered the light. It was at this point that Mr O saw his opportunity and literally pounced on it.

The connection between the two of them in the last photo melts my heart. The pure amusement they found in this split second was a memory I am so pleased to have captured.


living arrows


Thursday, 16 January 2014

Party Bags you would be proud to give out!

Missy Moo turned 3 this week. As much as I am sad to see my baby growing up so fast it is also amazing to watch her become more independent and observe as her little character develops each day. For Missy Moo's birthday we decided to go to a soft play with 12 of her best friends. Anyone who knows me will know I love a themed party and it was very hard to stand back and let the soft play organise everything. I had guessed that the little details would be missed as most normal people don't go quite as OTT as I like to for a kids party! So this year I decided to enjoy the stress free party and ordered everything online. My best buy for the party were these amazing party bags from Dagmar Paperpixies . The party bags are themed down to the smallest of details. I loved everything about them! Missy Moo is a huge Peppa Pig fan so I ordered the Peppa Pig in Pink for the girls and blue for the boys. The bags were all personalised with Missy Moo's name and thanked her guests for coming to the party. Inside were resealable bags filled with fantastic gifts, all colour coordinated and personalised from the birthday girl.

The children adored these party bags and I loved how hassle free they were. The best thing about the bags is the price. Dagmar Paperpixies start their party bags at £2.70 on ebay and you can pay extra to add on items. We went for the basic range which was more than enough for each child. One parent commented on how generous I had been with the party bags! 

So if you have a party coming up don't hesitate to contact Dagmar Paperpixies, they offer a whole range of different designs that will be sure to please your little ones and their friends. I'm secretly waiting for a reason to by the One Direction theme bags!!

Blogaholic Designs”=

Monday, 13 January 2014

Living Arrows 2/52

This week I wanted to capture my son playing. He adores his toy planes especially his Red Arrow and this week Mr O insisted on bringing them for a walk to the woods. He found a bench that soon became a runway where his planes would take off and complete a daring air display that was guaranteed to wow his audience! They even included Luke the Lukes as Mr O calls them!

living arrows

Blogaholic Designs”=

Monday, 6 January 2014

Living Arrows 1/52

I have been looking for something to challenge my photography, something to help me work out what I need to do to improve my photographs. This year my New Years resolution is to stop buying new equipment and learn to utilise the stuff I have got. Finally to get rid of the label 'All the gear and no idea'.

 This week I was fortunate to find a new website run by some very talented ladies who I have been inspired by. They are a group of photographers who have joined together on I Heart Snapping. One of the best things about this site is they are mum photographers from the UK! So often these website and groups tend to be based in America. Whilst they are amazing photographers it is great to find some local talent who cope with our grey, raining, overcast weather to photograph in!

I am joining in with their project Living Arrows - It is a 52 week photography challenge. We take a portrait every week of what having children is all about.

This is week one..... Mr O learning his sounds for school on the ipad:

living arrows

Saturday, 4 January 2014

My first Breakout - Photographing Your Everyday

Breakout Course - Photographing Your Everyday by Lacey Meyers
I have to admit once I had finished this breakout I thought it was okay, average, a pleasant read but I didn't think I had got a lot from it. Until I went to pick up my camera! First of all my daughter comes skipping past me totally naked with just her favourite fluffy slippers on. My instant thought is "I've got to photograph that" even if it is just to embarrass her when she brings her first boyfriend home. I grab my camera which thanks to Lacey is out on the kitchen side. I use to lock my camera away in a camera bag, stuffed into the wardrobe to be brought out like a crown of jewels for special occasions or when I felt like forcing my children into a photo shoot. Lacey's breakout made me realise I need to capture the everyday. Missy Moo is turning 3 next week and it wont be long before those chubby legs, innocent eyes and toddler giggles will be a thing of the past. With my camera I have the opportunity to freeze these precious moments in time. So rather than hiding my camera away it is now left out (in a safe place) which is easy to grab when these spontaneous moments occur.

Before taking the course I would have gone for a full body shot, probably from the back to include her little bottom. But then I would have missed the cute little rabbits on the front, the part that Missy Moo truly loves! I remembered Lacey's advice to tell the story.... what was important to me... I wanted to capture the little chubby legs with the oversized slippers so that is exactly what I did! The shot isn't perfect, a slightly lower angle might have helped but I think I have achieved what I set out to do. I like the light pouring in from the window behind and the soft shadows falling on the floor.

I then went on to edit the photo and a couple more I took from the morning. Suddenly my work flow was halved (which gave me time to write this blog!) I thought I was quite good with Lightroom and Photoshop but Lacey includes some free photoshop actions in the Photographing Your Everyday Breakout. These really saved my work flow and I never knew how to batch edit and run scripts. As soon as I opened Lightroom I found myself checking back to Lacey's video to check how she starts her editing.

I now don't feel the Breakout was average, it may not have turned my photos into award winning images but it has really made me think about the way I photograph my children. I am guilty of getting stressed previously when they wont stand still, or pose in a certain way to achieve the look that is in my head. I've bribed my children, I've begged them, I admit I have even got stressed with them on more than one occasion! But through Lacey's tips throughout the Breakthrough I have a new way of capturing them. I don't want to give it all away otherwise people wont want to buy the breakout and Lacey can explain it much better than my ramblings! But the breakout will and already has improved my photography and the stress levels in my house!!

My Photography Journey - hope you enjoy the ride!

My husband treated me to my first DSLR camera for my birthday in 2012, it was a Canon 500d with the kit lenses. I couldn't wait to get home and start taking professional photos. This was the start of my photography journey! I quickly realised switching a camera to Auto and shooting away doesn't create professional photos. I guess it's like buying the same oven as Jamie Oliver, it doesn't mean you will be a great chef as soon as you turn it on.

For me this was a huge realisation and I started studying other photographers photos wondering how they captured the image. I then delved into Manual Mode....wow it suddenly became very overwhelming. Shutter speed, ISO, F stops, Exposure triangles, focus points. I felt like I would never understand it all. I am by no means anywhere near professional yet but I am taking it a step at a time. I spent the first year buying all the gear.....'all the gear and no idea' springs to mind! Hoping each new lens, speedlight, reflector or prop would magically improve my photographs.

As I practiced more and more I did feel I started to be limited by my 550d. I upgraded my camera to a Canon 6d. Instantly I fell in love with the low light capabilities. I also LOVE the way you can connect via Bluetooth to the camera to download them onto your phone. Even when I am shooting in RAW I can share photographs with family and friends before I edit them.

So what will 2014 bring for my photography journey?
This year I have made a New Years Resolution to not buy anymore 'gear' but to learn to use the stuff I have to it's full (fullish) potential. I'm going to concentrate on improving my photographs in camera rather than spending hours fixing mistakes whilst editing.
To do this I have joined Clickinmoms. I already adore this website and feel totally at home there. I am surrounded by professional and very talented hobbiest photographers who love capturing images of their children. They are incredible helpful and supportive. I have taken two breakout sessions by Lacey Meyers and Shalonda Chaddock. Shalonda is the photographer from Chubby Cheeks photography. Her website instantly caught my attention when I first started studying other photographers and their styles. I admired her work and was so excited when I saw she had a breakout on Clickin Moms. How amazing to be able to learn from such an experienced and talented photographer.

My next post will hopefully show what I have learned from both Lacey and Shalonda's breakout sessions.
Blog Designed by The Single Momoirs