It’s Officially Official: We Are Asheville-Bound!

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As I’ve alluded to in a few previous posts, some BIG CHANGES were afoot. I am pleased that I can (finally!) announce that my husband, my cats, and I are moving to Asheville, North Carolina! Although this move has been in the works for several months, it has always felt like it was perpetually two months away. Now, all of a sudden, the move is staring me in the face. My husband is moving in a week and I’m heading out in two. My mind has been absolutely consumed with details: hiring a mover, updating our address, visiting as many friends as possible before hitting the road. We have both turned in our notices at work, and my husband already has a job waiting on him in Asheville.

But the best part? Thanks to a lot of saving, and the endless generosity and support of my husband, I am going to be a full-time photographer! (I feel so pretentious saying that, but whatever.) I’ve rented a little studio in the River Arts District of Asheville, and I’m going to work for myself. This has been a dream of mine for years, and it’s still something I can hardly believe is actually going to come true. I hope to build up a nice little business with good clients and have the opportunity to explore more with my fine art: not only my macro images (which I have some big plans for), but also to experiment with drawing and painting and maybe even combining those mediums with my macro photography. I also want to really buckle down and study graphic design and build up a nice portfolio, in case this whole photography thing does not work out. I am at a point in my life in which I crave change and I really want to follow a different path, just to see where it leads.

I will be back soon with pictures of my new studio, as well as information on where you can find me in Asheville. In the meantime, it’s back to endless packing, endless phone calls, and tying up a few loose ends. Please wish us luck!

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My New Smart Phone – Or, Why I Love Technology

So, I finally joined the 21st century this week and bought a Smart Phone! There are simply NO WORDS to describe how much I love this little device. Although I stay away from Wal-Mart on principle, I simply could not resist their StraightTalk plan, and ordered an LG Optimus Q from them. For $45 a month, I get unlimited data, texting, and voice on a really awesome Android phone. Previously, I was paying $55 a month for limited voice and texting, so I’m actually saving money with this better phone!

A few months ago, I managed to snag a 16GB HP Touchpad for $99 during their fire sale. My friend Brett was kind enough to root Android on it (Cyanogenmod 7), so now I have two amazingly fun Android devices. I cannot say enough about how cool this operating system is! There are so many fun, quality apps to die for, many of which are free. All of the apps I downloaded on my tablet are automatically available on my phone as well, and I’m having a BLAST with all the functionality.

One of the cooler aspects of my new phone is the cool little camera included with it. It’s only 3.2 megapixels, but according to what I read online, I can still print photos taken off this phone at 5 x 7, and even 8 x 10 in some cases! Amazing! I’ve downloaded several neat photography apps, and one of my favorite is Paper Camera. It features real-time cartoony effects and the images you can get out of it are so cool! Of course, I’m taking lots of pictures of my cats, so I wanted to share a few, all of which were taken with Paper Camera. Enjoy!!


Second Shooting at Liz and Jay’s Wedding

The fantabulous Amy Carson (remember her? She did my engagement and wedding pictures!) was kind enough to ask me to second shoot for her at the wedding of Liz and Jay, two of the most delightful people I’ve ever met, in Tuscaloosa this weekend. How could I say no to such an offer? It was so much fun to spend the day taking pictures with Amy, and when you have a couple as nice and warm and welcoming as Liz and Jay, it’s difficult not to have a good time. They and their family were so genuine and lovely and I am so happy for them all! Amy has shared some photos on her own blog, so now I’m sharing a few from my point of view. I bow to Amy’s talent and hope one day to be half the photographer she is!




Tips for Taking Maternity Photographs

If you know anything about me, you know that I don’t take pictures of people. Like, almost never. When I go on vacation, I will take the requisite photograph of my traveling partner and me once or twice (maybe three or four times if I’m feeling randy), but other than that, I focus completely on the buildings and the scenery, finding them endlessly more fascinating than yet another photograph of me standing in front of some landmark. I suppose some would say that makes my photographs slightly impersonal, but it’s what I do and I don’t plan on changing that any time soon.

However, in a desire to challenge myself a bit, I offered to take maternity photos of two of my closest friends who are expecting their very first baby in a few months. There was very little pressure: I did the photos for free, and I figured that if nothing else, I was certain I could get a handful of decent shots out of the session.

We met up at Aldridge Gardens two Saturdays ago (turns out I would get engaged that night, although I didn’t know it at the time!) and spent about half anĀ  hour traipsing about, although not too much as I didn’t want my friend to go into labor then and there!

A few things I learned:

  • Think hard about the list of poses you want to shoot, because chances are, when you get to the scene, you will have completely forgotten what you only slightly thought about beforehand.
  • Ensure that your subjects (makes them sound like science projects, no?) wear solid colors. Fortunately, I remembered to ask my friends to do so ahead of time so this wasn’t a problem.
  • Don’t shoot in the middle of the day. Okay, I knew this already so it’s not like I learned it the other day. The “golden hour” is always, always your best bet, but let’s face it, it’s not always possible to shoot at this time. To work around this (it was 2 in the afternoon when we had our photo session), I tried to remember to have my friends not face the sun as much as possible, because when one faces the sun, one’s face tends to get scrunched up. I found myself laying on the ground several times to get photos in which my friends weren’t staring directly into bright sunlight, or covered in very harsh shadows. Work with the light you are given.
  • Don’t be afraid to tell your subjects to stand a certain way or to put their hand on someone’s shoulder, for instance. Get the shot and make it good. Don’t regret afterward that you didn’t tell them to stand differently.
  • Tell your subjects how great they look, because they do! It’s scary being in front of a camera lens, and since most of us aren’t professional models, it’s up to you as the photographer to ensure that they are relaxed and natural.

That’s it! I’m hardly the person who should be giving tips out on things like this, but I felt like I did learn a lot about photographing people from that one session! Now, if I ever choose to do this again, I think I will be much more prepared as long as I keep the previous bullet points in my mind!


Better Engagement Ring Pictures

I couldn’t leave you with that bad engagement ring picture from before, so I took about five minutes out of my lovely Saturday to take new pictures of the ring! These pictures were all taken with my trusty Sigma 105mm 2.8 macro lens. I cannot say enough about how much I love this lens! All of my floral macro shots were taken with it, and it is wonderful to use for portraiture, and, apparently, engagement ring shots! Feel free to click on any image in the above gallery to see it in a larger size.


Things Not to Photograph

I came across this humorous post on The Oatmeal the other day and wanted to write about it because it got me thinking about things I photograph all the time that I quite possibly use as a crutch, unconsciously preventing me from exploring a subject from a new angle or point of view. I decided to make a list of things I photograph that are tired, or that prevent me from enjoying something else. Enjoy!

  • Concerts – I almost always take my camera to concerts. I love capturing fun images of performers bathed in brightly colored lighting as they play their instruments. The only problem with this is that I tend to spend most of my time with my face pressed up against a camera, instead of actually enjoying the event I was so looking forward to! I have not brought a camera to the last few shows I’ve attended, and I enjoyed them so much more. Sometimes, I think it is okay to just leave the camera at home. The Oatmeal summarizes this one very well, I think.
  • Rust – What can I say? I like rusty old decrepit things. Show me a rusted out door hinge or padlock, and I’m there, thrusting my camera upon it. That’s not necessary a bad thing, but sometimes when I go through my photographs, I am amazed at how many rusted items I see.
  • Flowers – I enjoy taking pictures of flowers more than most things because I find them to be so beautiful and complex. (Hey look! There’s one in this very post!) Do I use this as a crutch when I can’t think of anything better to photograph? YOU BET I DO. Is this bad? I’m not sure yet.
  • Artwork – I always used to bring my camera with me when going to an art museum, much like I did with concerts. I found myself taking endless photographs of artwork hanging on walls (no flash used, of course), then coming home and wondering what in the world I was thinking. Yes, I’ve taken literally hundreds of pictures of pictures.
  • Endless Pictures of the Same Thing – If I find myself on vacation or in an interesting, unfamiliar place, I end up taking a zillion photographs of the same thing, only to delete nearly all of them when I get home. Why do I take ten photographs of the same thing, from the same angle, with no changes? I have absolutely no idea. None whatsoever. All it ends up doing is annoying me when I’m sorting through my photographs at the end of the day.

What do you take too many photos of?