At-Home Family Portraits

13 Dec

There’s no place like Home for your Holiday family portrait. You pick the setting, you set the tone — casual to formal — we’ll come to your home! From now until January 31st, traci-marie Photography is offering at-home family portrait sessions for the holidays. Availability is limited, so call to reserve your at-home session today.

http://www.traci-marie.com
281-221-2245

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What is Depth of Field?

3 Dec

To understand Depth of Field (DOF) you first have to understand Aperture which was covered previously here. If you remember – the aperture size directly impacts the DOF. The first article in the series can be found here.

Let’s imagine that you look out the kitchen window. There is Timmy, Jane and Rover playing in the backyard. Each is at different distance from you but you want each of them to be in focus. You grab your camera and select a small aperture (large number). You snap the picture and all three are crisp, clear and in focus. This is called a great or high depth of field.

You glance over at Jane and now she is sitting sweetly reading Winnie the Pooh to her teddy bear. You want the focus to be on Jane so you select a wide or large aperture (small number), point the camera at Jane, focus and snap the picture. Timmy and Rover are there but they are blurred. Jane and teddy is the star of the picture. This is called a shallow or low depth of field.

A small aperture would be great for large group pictures where everyone is a different distance from the camera as well as landscapes. A wide/large aperture makes beautiful individual or small family portraits.

Other factors that influence depth of field are distance and focal length. We will discuss this once we get the basics down.

Got it? Let’s try it and let me know if you have questions or need a little assistance! This exercise is very similar to the aperture exercise.

traci-marie Rogers
traci-marie Photography
http://www.traci-marie.com
traci-marie@traci-marie.com
http://www.facebook.com/tracimariePhoto

Try It Exercise:

1) Set your camera to Aperture Priority Mode. You will be able to select the aperture to use and the camera will select the shutter speed
2) Find a stationary well lit object that you want to photograph (something near a window or under shade)
Focus in the same exact spot for the following steps:
3) Set your aperture to f/2.8 (large aperture) and snap a picture (if you do not have this aperture then select f/3.5)
4) Set your aperture to f/8 (medium aperture) and snap the same picture
5) Set your aperture to f/22 (small aperture) and snap the same picture
6) Look through each image to view the difference between each. Notice what is in focus between each.

Glossary for this lesson:

Aperture: an opening, such as a hole or slit; in a camera, a circular opening that limits the amount of light that can enter and expose the film.

Depth of Field: The amount of your image that is in focus.

Cyber Monday Specials!

2 Dec

Black Friday has come and gone now the real fun starts. You don’t even have to throw on your undies or leave the house. Pull up your chair and get your shop on. We had a good deal for you last week but this week is even better!

This is a first and we hope that you like this one but here it goes!

-2 hour portrait session
-up to two locations within a few miles of each other
-Two 3×3 or 4×8 accordion albums {both must be the same size}
-ALL post processed digital images on CD with a print release {usually 30 images}
-Custom Facebook Timeline
-Custom Desktop/iPad Wallpaper
-For only $225

If that doesn’t meet your needs then we are also offering mini sessions!

-30 minute portrait session {you pick your theme or let’s come up with it together!}
-one location
-Three post processed digital images on CD with a print release
-Custom Facebook Timeline
-Custom Desktop/iPad Wallpaper
-For only $125

To purchase visit – http://traci-marie.com/tmP_Site/Cyber_Monday.html

Black Friday 2013!

29 Nov

Ahhhhhhhh, the adrenaline rush of Black Friday shopping. It’s that one day of the year where you can get the very best top-of-the-line items at an unbelievable value.

We don’t want to deprive you of your adrenaline rush.

Here’s the deal: $100 for $75, $200 for $125 and $300 for $200!  Purchase here.

Whether you’re buying a gift certificate for yourself, your family or for someone else, it’s a fabulous way to build beautiful memories… The Black Friday way!

Not sure how to use or “gift” the session? Here are some great ideas…

– A heirloom portrait of your family to hang on the mantle (after Santa’s stockings come down of course!)DSC_1758

– Some sexy boudoir portraits to give your honey for Valentine’s Day

– Give to Mom to schedule a cherished mother/daughter session

– A beloved fine art pet portrait of your “furry baby”

– Some romantic anniversary photos together

– Baby’s milestone portraits

– Portraits from past sessions

So You Wanna Take Better Pictures Part 2: What is aperture?

5 Jul

For the first How To in this series see So You Wanna Take Better Pictures.

What is aperture?

Aperture: a circular opening that limits the amount of light that can enter and expose the film/sensor.

The aperture size determines the amount of light that is allowed to reach the sensor. We know aperture in F-stops. The smaller the F-stop number then the larger the lens opening (aperture). So an aperture f/2.8 allows more light to reach the sensor than f/5.6 and f/5.6 allows more light than f/22. This can be a little confusing as the bigger the number equals less the light.

Quiz time!

Say that you have a lens and the aperture range is f/1.4 to f/16.

What is the maximum aperture size?
What is the minimum aperture size?

If you answered that f/1.4 is the maximum size and f/16 is the minimum then you score a gazillion gold stars! Why you ask? Because f/1.4 allows the most light (large aperture) and f/16 allows less light (small aperture).

You want to take a picture of Timmy so that he is the only thing in focus and the background is blurred. You can accomplish this with a large aperture. The smaller the number then the larger the aperture size. So an aperture of f/2 will give you that blurry background while Timmy is in focus.

Jane and Rover are playing on a hill and you want all of the picture to be in focus. What aperture size will produce this outcome? A small aperture you say? Another gold star! You select f/16 and grab a clear shot of the bushes, Jane, Rover and the beautiful trees behind them.

Below is an example of an f/3.5 aperture and an f/22 aperture as well as the same picture taken with each. Do you see the differences?

20130705-094353.jpg

20130705-094400.jpg

20130705-094406.jpg

20130705-094411.jpg

Next we’ll discuss Depth of Field which is directly related to the aperture size.

Got it? Let’s try it and let me know if you have questions or need a little assistance!

traci-marie Rogers
traci-marie Photography
traci-marie@traci-marie.com
http://www.traci-marie.com
http://www.facebook.com/tracimariePhoto

Try It Exercise:
1) Set your camera to Aperture Priority Mode. You will be able to select the aperture to use and the camera will select the shutter speed
2) Find a stationary well lit object that you want to photograph (something near a window or under shade)
3) Set your aperture to f/2 (large aperture) and snap a picture (if you do not have this aperture then select f/3.5)
4) Set your aperture to f/8 (medium aperture) and snap the same picture
5) Set your aperture to f/22 (small aperture) and snap the same picture
6) Look through each image to view the difference between each. Notice what is in focus between each.

What did you find?

Glossary for this lesson:

Aperture: an opening, such as a hole or slit; in a camera, a circular opening that limits the amount of light that can enter and expose the film.

Depth of Field: the distance between the nearest and farthest objects in a scene that appear acceptably sharp in an image.

Shutter Speed: the rate at which the aperture of a camera opens and closes to let in light and expose the film.

Photographing Fireworks

4 Jul

Today is July 4th and with that comes fireworks – lots and lots of fireworks.  Are you interested in photographing fireworks?  There are a few things that you need to know.

  1. Use a tripod.  You need this to hold your camera steady because you will be using a long shutter speed to catch the burst and the tails.
  2. Remote shutter release. You have to press the button on your camera to take the picture but you just press a button with a shutter release and this will help keep your camera still.  You may also use the timer but this is harder to time shots and frame your pictures.

    photocamel.com

    Photo by photocamel.com

  3. Frame your picture.  Don’t just point the camera at the sky and shoot away.  Capture the sea of people watching the fireworks, the lake the fireworks reflect in or the beautiful mountains scaping the scene.  If you do not have any of these then look around and there will be something interesting.  There always is.
  4. Aperture. What aperture?  Begin with an aperture of f/8 to f/16  but if the shots are too dark then go to f/5.6 and open up from there.  But before you do that – bump up your ISO.
  5. ISO. What ISO?  Begin shooting at ISO 100 but if that doesn’t work for you then begin to increase your ISO.  Be careful when increasing ISO as the higher the ISO the more grain will be visible in your pictures.
  6. Shutter Speed. What Shutter Speed?  Set your camera to M for Manual.  Then use your ISO scroll to select Bulb or B.  This is bulb mode.  This mode is great for long exposures in the dark.  The shutter stays open as long as you press the shutter release button.  This is where your shutter release comes in.  It’s near impossible to hold a camera for a long length of time with the shutter release open without camera shake.
  7. Check your pictures after a few shots.  You may be missing a few explosions but checking your progress will ensure that if you make a mistake then you can correct it.
  8. Practice makes perfect!  The more you do something then the better you get at it.
  9. HAVE FUN!!!!

I would love to see what you capture!  So link in the comments or post on my Facebook page.

So you wanna take better pictures?

30 Nov

DSC_4726You want to take better images of Timmy, Jane or Rover but how do you do it?

You have your eye on that snazzy DSLR that is on sale but how do you use it?

I know you want to whip your camera around and take a crazy rapid burst of shutter clicks but refrain from picking up your camera and read this series first. Trust me – I know it’s difficult because your index finger is itching to snap away but trust me – this will be beneficial in the end! You can thank me later.

Understanding photography is not easy and it can be confusing. You will need to read this over and over to truly grasp how each of these work and then play with your camera settings to get a solid understanding of it. If you think you will learn photography in a day, a week, a month then I’m here to tell you that is not going to happen. Have patience, you will get better but you are not going to be shooting like Jerry Ghionis in 30 days.

Do you wonder what makes a great photo of Timmy? How that background gets blurred while cute Jane stays in focus. Why is Rover off center? We will tackle these questions but we’re going to do it in segments to let this information soak in and allow you to practice what we learn.

What are we going to discuss? We’re going to discuss each of the items listed below and how they relate to each other to capture those stunning images so we can spam everyone on Facebook, Tweet to the world and share Timmy, Jane and Rover with Great Aunt Thelma once removed.
Once we have the basics down. We’re going to learn to shoot the fun stuff like Christmas lights, Christmas trees and holiday shenanigans. But first things first – what is ISO????

Most consumer cameras have an ISO range of 200 – 1600. What does this mean? ISO stands for International Standards Organization which is a scale for measuring sensitivity to light. A 200 ISO setting will be less sensitive than a 1600 setting.

If you are outside in sunlight then you will most likely want to use a 200 ISO setting. If you are indoors then you increase your ISO setting to allow more light to enter the camera.

There is a tradeoff for increasing your ISO. A higher ISO means the more grain that will be visible in your image.

Higher ISO will benefit you when you need a fast shutter speed but your aperture is wide open. What does this mean? This statement will make more sense as we go along but high level – shutter speed controls how quickly the shutter opens and closes. Aperture controls how much light the camera lets in. So a higher ISO (more sensitive to light) allows you to take a picture in low light when your aperture is wide open and you need a fast shutter speed (stops movement, eliminates blur).

Got it? Let’s try it and let me know if you have questions or need a little assistance!

traci-marie Rogers
traci-marie Photography
traci-marie@traci-marie.com
www.facebook.com/tracimariePhoto

Try It Exercise:
1) Find a stationary well lit object that you want to photograph (something near a window or under shade)
2) Set your camera to Automatic
3) Set your ISO to 200 then take your picture
4) Set your ISO to 1600 then take your picture
5) Compare the pictures
6) What did you find?

Glossary for this lesson:

Aperture: an opening, such as a hole or slit; in a camera, a circular opening that limits the amount of light that can enter and expose the film.

DSLR: digital single-lens reflex camera

ISO: International Standards Organization which is a scale for measuring sensitivity to light.

Patience: the ability to endure waiting, delay, or provocation without becoming annoyed or upset, or to persevere calmly when faced with difficulties.

Shutter Speed: the rate at which the aperture of a camera opens and closes to let in light and expose the ‘film’.

Black Friday and Cyber Monday Special!

25 Nov

Your holiday shopping can be as simple as a click or call away! 

Our BLACK FRIDAY and CYBER MONDAY sale is November 25 and 29. Get $100 gift certificates for only $75! The more you order, the more you save! Email traci-marie@traci-marie.com to reserve your order at traci-marie@traci-marie.com with your name, phone number and number of certificates you would like to order! Don’t miss out on these savings!

Flash, NO not that kind!

20 Jul

Many of my fellow photographers build their website using Flash. Let me get some formalities out of the way before I delve into the whole point of this post. What is Flash? It is not what that creepy person wearing a trench coat does to unknowing passers-by.

Flash is an Adobe product that uses vector graphics to create animation (this is a very basic description). Websites can contain Flash movies or be created solely with Flash.

Flash websites are beautiful and interactive. So – traci-marie Photography, why isn’t your photography website created in Flash? That is a great question!

There are a few minor issues that I could overlook but the major issues doomed my site to forever be Flash free. Between you and I – a small Flash movie may make an appearance now and then but that is as far as I am willing to go!

I could overlook how Flash removes the capability of using the Back button although that may be an inconvenience for many. If you are a Back button maniac like I am then you understand how much we would miss that button!

I could even pardon Flash for requiring users to download a plug-in to watch those amazing movies.

Image of iPhone Screen when trying to download Flash

No Flash for you!

Why is this important? Another great question!

Accessibility is at the top of my list. Screen readers audibly describe the content of your website for visually impaired viewers. Most Flash websites are not created in a manner that allows the screen reader to NNJJ. Another alternative is to create a Flash website and a HTML website. This doubles my work (think of how time consuming it can be to maintain two websites!) when I prefer to be behind my camera. Why not just create one website that meets accessibility requirements!

I feel safe saying that the majority of users perform queries in search engines. I want my website to appear in your search and this can be difficult to accomplish with Flash websites. I will not bore you with the details but if you want them – please comment and I will gladly reply.

There are 6.4 million iPhone users in the U.S. according to Nielsenwire. The iPhone cannot view Flash movies or websites (long story!). I want all visitors to be able to view my website instead of a request to download Flash which we all know is impossible. See above iPhone screenshot.

Lastly, if my page loads slowly then you are not going to watch my site countdown how many portraits are loading. You are going to move on to the next photographer website.

So there you have it. traci-marie Photography agrees that Flash websites are alluring and yes – I would love to have those beautiful graphics flowing around on my website and enticing you to click on everything you see but this will not happen until the web and Flash get along better.

Happy Shooting!

Bring Back the Memories!

14 Jul

Photos are a great way to share your travels with family and friends! Before you start snapping away, take a moment to read the below tips.

Night image of rescue boats from suite balcony on a cruise ship

An interesting night shot of rescue boats taken from the balcony suite of a cruise ship

Tip #1: Plan ahead! Make sure your camera is in good working order before you go, and pack plenty of batteries! You’re going to want to be able to take pictures of everything interesting or beautiful you see, so remember to bring plenty of film/memory cards. And most importantly, plan to have your camera easily accessible! A water and shock resistant case is recommended, but a padded, insulated lunch container works wonderfully as well, and is much less likely to be stolen than a fancy camera bag!

Tip #2: Get in Close! When taking pictures of people, don’t make the mistake of standing too far away. Get close so you can see the expressions on your subjects faces! Zoom in on individuals or capture them from the waist up (also called a 3/4 shot). When photographing individuals against a grand landscape, take some pictures from far away and some up close as well!

Tip #3: Capture the Essence! Everyone loves panoramic scenes and major landmarks, so you’ll definitely want plenty of those. But try to capture the simplicity of the location as well. Try snapping a photo of a brightly colored flower box hanging from the shuttered window of an old Colonial, or the old mailbox at the end of a long, dusty driveway. Chances are it will be more compelling than if you shot the complete scene, like the entire house, lawn, driveway, etc. Focus on the details and you’ll capture the true essence of the location!

Tip #4: Tell a story! Let your pictures tell a story by creating a visual diary of your trip. Include street scenes, interesting signs, menus, and people you see along the way. Don’t be afraid to use an interesting angle rather than simply head-on shots only. Pictures are often more interesting when you can catch people in candid, un-posed moments, so keep your camera handy and let the camera tell your story!

Have a great trip… and don’t forget to make extra copies of your great pictures to share!