aly dawn personal · momma bee

Letters to My Little One | 30 Weeks In My Belly

AlyDawnLetterstoMyLittleOne-2

Thursday, April 20, 2017

To my little peanut,

This month is the month I start going to the doctor twice. Then May I go twice, and then June is every week. We’re so close, it’s amazing. But can you believe we only have 10 weeks left? I certainly can’t. I’ve enjoyed our 30 weeks together so far. Of course there’s been up and downs, like how I was sick for the first trimester. Or how for the second one I was just plain tired. And now that I’m in the third one, I’m tired and sore! You’re growing so fast, I’m amazed. You also kick harder (gee thanks!) and you also like to move a lot more. I love feeling your little movements in the morning. Sometimes it distracts me from my work. I’m just so proud and happy you are moving so much and getting so big. I absolutely love you so much. I can’t even describe it.

I’m amazed at what my body is doing. You’re a miracle. Last night I was laying in bed and you were moving around so much. When I looked down I could see every movement you made. It was amazing to see. And it made daddy and me smile.

I really can’t complain about my pregnancy. I feel like I got it pretty easy. I was sick for the first trimester, but after that I feel pretty good. I’m tired a lot. But, I tried taking a nap one day last week and was so wired I couldn’t go to sleep that night. So, I try to avoid naps now. Other than being tired and can’t sleep, it’s been a pretty good pregnancy. As far as psychical changes to my body, I almost don’t have a belly button. It’s just flat. But I love it!

Your favorite thing is music. I can tell because anytime I have music on, you are squirming like crazy! It’s so cute. You especially love it when the song has a good beat, when I play the piano, and when I sing along (I’m so sorry!). I hope you love music when you’re born, as well. Other things you enjoy is when I eat (you act like I’m starving you!) and car rides. You also like to keep mommy up at night with your big kicks and movements.

30 weeks down, 10 weeks to go. 10 weeks! In just 10 short weeks, we’ll meet face to face! You’ll meet daddy and your aunts and uncles and your grandparents! In just 10 weeks. So, as always, grow little one. Grow and stay healthy. We’ll see each other soon enough, and then a whole new adventure will begin.

I love you so much!

Love, mommy

photography tips + tricks

3 Tips to Get Started in Macro Photography

I don’t claim to be an expert in macro photography. But it is definitely one of my favorite genre’s of photography. It’s very soothing and relaxing. I also love the beauty of nature and I love capturing that. I am that crazy person that is always outside scouting out beauty in my own backyard. I am that lady that asks for flowers when someone asks me what gift they should get me. And I am that lady that steals your flowers (sorry mom!). But I don’t only find beauty in flower. I love buds, grass, leaves, anything nature. Just give me my camera, macro lens, and nature and I’m good to go.

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So first and most important is your equipment. Sure, you can take pictures of nature with a normal 50mm 1.8. But you won’t be able to get that detail and that texture you so crave with just a simple lens. You’ll need a macro lens. The one I have is an older version, Nikon 105mm 2.8, it doesn’t have the nice vibration reduction (VR) like the newer lenses have. I will one day upgrade to a lens that does have VR. I’ve heard that they are so much easier and nicer to use. Now, if you’re not sure you’ll like macro photography (like me) and don’t want to spend a ton of money on a macro lens only to find out you really don’t like it, I would suggest buying macro extensions first. I bought them first and decided, yes, I really do enjoy macro photography and then moved on to buy my Nikon 105mm 2.8 lens. I will point out that macro extensions do not work as well as macro lenses. They don’t get you the clarity a macro lens would. But they do allow you to see if you really want to splurge on a macro lens.

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1. don’t be afraid to change your aperture

I’ll be first to admit that I love wide open images. Even in macro photography. But just like in your normal everyday photography, I would suggest experimenting with different apertures. The image above is shot at an f stop of 8. That is quite a bit higher than what I would normally do. But as you can see, since it’s a macro lens and the compression is greater than a normal lens, the background is still blurry. Experiment and see what type of aperture you like best. I do a variety of apertures to get different effects. If you have a wider aperture (lower f stop number) you’ll come to find it a little challenging to get what you want in focus, but it can create a beautiful effect that I sometimes go for.

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2. add water droplets

I have a squirt bottle that my husband got me as a gift (us photographers ask for the weirdest things!). And I love using it for my macro photography. I also love going out in my backyard right after a rainfall to capture the beautiful natural water droplets. I love adding water because it gives you something else to focus on. It adds texture and dimension to your macro work.

3. use a third hand

If you don’t have one already, I highly recommend going out and buying a third hand. I use it when I get flowers and for when I just want to isolate one flower. It is so great. Plus you can move your flower to any background you want, it doesn’t have to be the bouquet of flowers that came with it. Like the image above, I used a third hand to isolate the flower and get it with a plain background to really exaggerate the flower and water droplets.

Macro photography, once you start, is very addicting. It’s one of my favorites things to photograph. So, I dare you to start. You’ll be forever grateful that you found such a beautiful genre of photography.

 

 

aly dawn personal · momma bee

Letters to My Little One | 28 Weeks In My Belly

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Thursday, April 6, 2017

To my little peanut,

Did I really just write April? Your due date is approaching so fast. This week was mommy’s birthday (daddy’s was last week!). I woke up on my birthday with a ton of kicks from you. I could even see you move. It was a great birthday present and I will cherish it forever. Thank you, little one, for that nice wake up call! Daddy felt and saw you move, too. He’s so proud of how big you are getting and how strong you are getting. I was recently looking at a phone picture I took of myself when you were just 13 weeks along…my how we both have changed! But I love it so much, little one. You truly are a miracle.

My next doctor’s appointment is the glucose test. I am not looking forward to it at all. But I sure hope I pass. I am excited to once again hear your heartbeat and see how you’re doing. Since this week marks 28 weeks, we now officially only have 12 weeks left. That’s 3 months. I can’t believe how fast it’s going. I cherish the little moments we spend together on a daily basis. I know that once you get here, time will go by so quickly. That’s one of the main reasons I started photography. I wanted to be able to capture my kids and hold on to memories that way. I hope I don’t annoy you with always having the camera in your face!

Your daddy and I are (finally) going to IKEA this weekend to pick up your crib and dresser. I’m so excited! I received some baby clothes from my wonderful cousin and don’t have a good place to put them yet. Come Saturday, we will! Everything is starting to fall into place and I am so excited.

Up until this next doctor’s appointment, I was having them every 4 weeks. Now it’s going to be every 2 weeks. I really can’t believe I am already to that point in my pregnancy. I also can’t believe it’s the fourth month of the year and you come the end of the sixth month!

As I am typing this right now you are hiccuping like crazy! It’s really cute. I love that you are developing and getting bigger. I can tell you are growing. You are stronger. Your kicks are stronger. Your movements bigger. You love to move in the morning. So much that you make my stomach move and I love that so much. Your aunt gets so annoyed with you because I say you are moving and she tries to feel my stomach to feel you move and you immediately stop. It never fails. It’s so funny, you’re already driving your aunt crazy. I am just extremely happy you don’t do that to your daddy. I honestly think you like it when your daddy talks to you and touches my belly. You always squirm the most when he’s around.

Little one, you are loved. There are so many people helping your mom and dad prepare for you. I hope I never forget the love and help I have received from people already in my pregnancy.

I love you so much!

Love, mommy

photography tips + tricks

3 Ways to Capture Spring

I was born in spring time (actually, today is my birthday!) and it is my favorite time of year. It’s almost like the new year. It’s a time of rebirth. It’s a time to reflect on how the year is going. It’s a time a beauty. It’s a time of nicer weather (FINALLY!). It’s just a beautiful time. I love the way spring looks and feels. I love the feelings I get when spring time gets here. I love spring cleaning. I love the smell of spring. I just love spring.

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1. capture the gorgeous colors

Spring is full of color. From pink to blue to red to yellow. There is color everywhere. I believe the beauty of spring comes from it’s vibrant colors. So make April an all color month. No black and whites! Pick a color and do a photography project of all the colors of springs. There are so many different ways you can capture the colors of spring. And on the plus side, they’re ALL beautiful. Embrace the color, the bright color. Because that is what spring is all about. Bright beautiful colors.

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2. capture the light

Finally, the light is beautiful again. When it’s not raining (because, it’s spring, there HAS to be rain) go out and find the light! The weather is beautiful and the sun stays out a lot longer, it’s much easier to find the light. For me I find anywhere form 5-7pm is beautiful light. Find the light and make it work for you.

3. capture the details

There are so many details of spring. The flowers. The bugs. The rain. Pick a detail of spring and focus on it. Focus on the new life all around you. Take out that macro lens, dust it off, and start capturing the little things. Spring is a wonderful time to get inspired in your photography. Try something new.

Embrace the rain, also. Because there will be rain. But that can also be beautiful in your photos.

photography tips + tricks

Why I Switched to Back Button Focusing

I must admit, when I first switched to using back button focusing, it was really hard. It wasn’t clicking for me and I quit after about 5 mins. I went back to my old ways for a while. But I kept missing focus, I kept missing the moment. And I knew something had to change. I decided to switch once again, but this time I was determined to figure it out. I have loved using it ever since. Back button focusing is super easy once you get the hang of it. But, like anything in photography, you have to practice.

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So, what is back button focusing? It’s when you assign a certain button (in most cases, I believe it is the AF-L button for Nikon and AF-ON button for Canon) to be your ‘focus’ button instead of having the shutter be your focus button. I use my thumb to focus, and then my finger to take the picture. Sounds weird at first, doesn’t it? Why would you want that? Keep reading to find out why I wanted to use back button focusing and how it could actually improve your photography. (For a more detailed guide on how to switch your camera to back button focusing, read this article from ClickinMoms).

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refocusing isn’t an issue

You know how you hold the shutter button down half way, it focuses, you take a shot. Then you go in to take another shot, and it has to refocus again because you pressed the shutter button down half way? It’s super annoying and sometimes makes you miss the shot! The reason I love back button focusing is because you can focus using your thumb (usually the AF-L button for Nikon users!) and then press the shutter speed. If you stay in the same position and your subject doesn’t move, you don’t have to press the AF-L button again to refocus, you can just press the shutter button. This allows you to be quicker at taking photos, and helps you miss less shots. Win win in my book.

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recomposing is easier

So, I know for Canon users, they recompose a lot. As a Nikon user and one who toggles her focus points, I don’t do this little trick very often. But I definitely do it more now that I use back button focusing. Recomposing simply means you focus on your subject, and change the composition of your shot afterwards. This can come in handy if you want to just leave your focus point in the center, and then recompose to get the composition you want. For me, I usually toggle my focus points, though. But it’s a personal preference and something you should practice and figure out which method you like better. I recompose A LOT for my dog images.

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locks focus

It locks focus! I think I have touched on this a little throughout this blog post, but once you press the AF-L button and lock focus, you can take all the pictures you want with pressing the shutter button and never once will your focus change. This is PERFECT for self portraits, and I mean perfect! I simply stand where I want to stand, focus on my tripod or where my camera will be, lock focus using back button focusing, then set the camera on the tripod. I don’t have to switch my lens to manual focus, because the focus is locked. Then I can press the shutter button (again, focus is locked, I don’t have to worry about it refocusing on me!), after turning on self timer mode, run to where I was standing, and I’m in focus. It’s simple and easy. (I wrote another blog post about self portraits that you can read about, Because You’re Important Too).

miss less shots

Since I started using back button focusing, I have missed less shots. Of course, I still get some shots where I miss focus (please tell me I’m not the only one!) but since switching, I have noticed a significant difference in the number of shots I miss focus on. Back button focusing is perfect for action shots. Instead of having your index finger do all the work, you add in your thumb and will be able to press the shutter button quicker, resulting in an in focus shot.

If you haven’t tried back button focusing, I seriously recommend it. It does take a little while to get used to. And you might get frustrated (like I did, when I first tried) at first, but don’t give up! In my opinion, it is worth it. The number of missed focus shots I get has gone way down since using back button focusing.

What is one reason you’re hesitant to use back button focusing? I’d love to hear all about it in the comments below!

photography tips + tricks

Setting Goals : Why it Will Improve Your Photography

I am a goal setter. I love setting goals and completing them. I am constantly thinking about goals in my mind. But, if I just think about my goals, I tend to have a problem with never completing them, or worse yet, forgetting about them completely. So, my new secret to staying on top of things is writing my goals down. Yes, it’s really that simple. I bought myself a planner and it is amazing. I love it! In my planner I write yearly, monthly, weekly, daily goals. It keeps me motivated and inspired. Let me share with you why setting goals is so important to your photography (and life, even!).

2017-03-26_0001Taken with Nikon 50mm 1.8

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

All images in this post were taken with my Nikon D610 and the Nikon 50mm 1.8.

setting goals give you focus

Sure, you could just go around and photograph whenever you wanted, whatever you wanted (and you can still do that with goals). But setting a goal will help you focus on something specific. For example, I set yearly goals, monthly goals, and even weekly goals. One of my yearly goals this year is to complete a 365. While one of my monthly goals would be to focus on light. Or composition. You get the picture. A weekly goal could simply be that I get 7 images that week. Looking at the 365 head on sometimes terrifies me. But if I look at it as a weekly goal, it’s much more manageable. The 365 goal is for me to grow and develop as a photographer this year. All of my goals have purpose and reason behind them. And they all help me focus on something so that I can grow and develop even further.

2017-03-26_0002Taken with Nikon 50mm 1.8

setting goals holds us accountable

Ok. You can’t just set goals and keep it to yourself. Share with your photography friends. Share on your blog. Share with your family. Then make those people hold you accountable. Then, you’ll actually do it! Setting goals allows you to put yourself first. These goals are you for you. No one else. But still enlist the help of your family and friends to hold you accountable. If you’re like me, you like writing down goals so that you can cross. them. off.

2017-03-26_0004Taken with Nikon 50mm 1.8

setting goals gives you motivation

I know I’ve sat there before thinking, what should I photograph? That’s where my weekly and daily goals come in handy. I know I am going to take a photo every day. That can seem daunting. When I really try to focus on a specific thing that week, it makes it easier. So I will set a goal for the week. Like, work on getting in the frame more this week. Then that week, I will really try to be in the frame in every image, or most of the images. That helps me work on my 365 while also working on my self portraits. I am no where near perfect in this category, hence the reason for my goal!

Other goals for the week could include…

  • focus on a certain color (example, yellow for the month of March)

  • work on your compositions

  • work on your side light

  • work on your back light

  • work on your self portraits or portraits

The list, literally, goes on and on. This really helps motivate me weekly to get my photo in for the day! I try to start out on Monday with what I want to photograph for the week in mind.

settings goals encourages success

Of course it does! You are working towards something. It doesn’t matter if the success is big or small, it’s still success. Did you complete one of your small goals? Mark it off and celebrate! Did you complete one of those big goals? Mark it off and DEFINITELY celebrate! When you set goals, write them down, and cross them off, no matter how little or big the goal is, that’s a success. And if you’re like me, you like crossing that goal off your list.

I am a total believer that goal setting will help you improve any aspect of your life, and not just photography. When I started this photography journey I didn’t set goals and it took me awhile to get to a certain point in my photography. I was taking snap shots for a long time. When I finally plunged and decided to learn manual mode from Clickin Moms, I learned the importance of goals. My photography quickly became what it is today, and it is still evolving into something even greater. Goals saved my photography. Literally.

So, go write some goals.

 

 

aly dawn personal · momma bee

Letters to My Little One | 26 Weeks In My Belly

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Thursday, March 23, 2017

To my little peanut,

 

My stomach is getting more + more round. And it’s all thanks to you, little one! I just bought some more maternity clothes, I feel like I’m running out of things to wear. But, that’s OK. It’s all worth it, because you’re worth it. You have definitely gotten stronger. I feel you kick constantly. You love waking me up at around 6:30-7am. But that’s OK! Sometimes if I hold really still, I can see you move my stomach.  Those little kicks and punches are so amazing to witness. I can’t believe how strong you are getting. And trust me, you are getting so strong. Sometimes you make me jump by how strong a kick is! But I love it so much.

I’m working on your registry, little one. I am making sure we have everything we need for when you make your big arrival. From clothes to toys to a stroller, you’ll be covered. We still have a lot to prepare for. Like buying your crib and making it into a co-sleeper! And buying a chest of drawers to put all of your cute clothes in! But don’t worry one bit, we will be ready when you come into this world. Along with all those other things, we were worrying about getting a rocking chair for you. My grandmother on my mom’s side (Grandma Gay) gave us a rocking chair. It was a burden lifted and I love that I now have something from my grandmother.

Growing a baby is beautiful and tough work. I can’t believe how much my body has changed since I found out I was pregnant with you. Clothes that used to fit loosely now fit snug. I’m amazed at all the changes my body is going through to prepare to bring you into this world, and to also help you grow. I’m amazed at the fact that MY body, MINE, is growing a little human being. It’s growing you, little one. And that to me is absolutely amazing and beautiful. I’ve started getting more and more tired. It’s not that I don’t have energy to do anything, per se, it’s just that my body is tired. My stomach is stretching and aching. I’ve recently found that doing yoga and walking around the neighborhood helps with my energy levels. I can’t wait for you to get here so we can go on walks together. And trust me, we will go on a lot of walks!

As we prepare for your arrival (which is still 3 months away), you’re getting bigger. You’re preparing for your arrival, too! My baby app tells me you now have cute little eyelashes. I can’t wait to see them in real life, little one! Your father and I often ponder what you will be like. What kind of person will you be when you grow up? What will you look like? What color hair will you have? I believe you’ll probably have blue eyes, if I remember my science classes correctly. 😉 Will you have curly hair like your father, or straight wavy hair like me? Will you have hair at all when you’re born (I sure hope so! But I know you’ll be cute no matter what!)? We have 3 months till we find out these answers, and it is so worth the wait. I can’t believe that it’s only 3 months left! I remember the day I found out you were there. It doesn’t feel like that long ago.

You’ll be here before we know it, snuggled up to us and getting used to life here. Keep growing. Keep kicking hard. Keep getting bigger. You are loved, little one. Don’t ever forget that.

I love you so much!

Love, mommy

photography tips + tricks

My Favorite Time of Day to Photograph

When asking a photographer what their favorite time of day to photograph is, the usual response is “GOLDEN HOUR!”. I absolutely love the golden hour, and when I first started this photography adventure, that would have been my answer. No questions asked. The golden light that comes from golden hour is to die for. It was usually the only time I had available to photograph, due to working a full time job. But, after experimenting with light and learning how to use it a bit better, I’ve come to realize that golden hour is not my favorite time to shoot. I still love every shot I get from my golden hour sessions, don’t get me wrong, but I’ve come to love a different time of day. That time is from any where from 10am-12pm.

2017-03-13_0001Taken with the Nikon 50mm 1.8

I still find myself photographing mostly in the golden hour. But that is because I get home from work around that time. If I stayed home all day, I would definitely photograph more in the 10am-12pm slot. There are just so many different pictures you can get. And I feel I am most inspired around this time. Here are a couple of reasons why I love this time frame to photograph in. All images in this blog post were taken in that time frame.

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

All images in this post were taken with my Nikon D610 and the Nikon 50mm 1.8 or the Sigma 24 1.4.

2017-03-13_0002Taken with the Nikon 50mm 1.8

the light

I love the light that goes on in my home at this time. It inspires me a lot! I also tend to love this time in other people’s homes. The light inside is ideal. There are catchlights, pretty highlights, nice definition. I just love it and I am drawn to it. I can create depth from the light. I can add shadows or highlights, just by messing with blinds and curtains. There are also usually some pretty light shapes going on at this hour. I love the brightness this light can bring, but also the shadows I can get. This hour is especially good for natural light, which is mostly what I use in my images. I just turn off all artificial light in my home and watch as the light changes (and it changes so fast!). It always inspires me when I see light leaking in from the window at this hour!

2017-03-13_0003Taken with the Nikon 50mm 1.8

the comfort

I find photographing inside much more comfortable than outside. For one, it’s not hot or cold. You can be in your pjs for all anyone cares (been there, done that). And you don’t have to wait for that perfect light like when shooting at the golden hour. You can sit back, watch some tv, and just observe the light, and then once you are inspired by it, photograph it. Then you can go back to your tv watching! I just love this time of day because it’s easy and comfortable. This could definitely be the lazy side of me, but I will admit first hand that I prefer comfort over almost anything. Plus I find this time to be best for indoor sessions with clients. The clients are usually awake, but relaxed. They haven’t had a long day yet. The kids aren’t completely crazy yet. They’re comfortable at this hour.

2017-03-13_0004Taken with the Sigma 24 1.4

sunny or overcast – it doesn’t matter

This time of day is great on a sunny day or an overcast day. Yes. That’s right. It really don’t matter what the weather looks like. The light will either be soft and creamy, or slightly harsher. You can even photograph this time of day outside (I prefer overcast for that). I can’t seem to find a limit to this time. Outside, inside, sunny, overcast, cloudy, it doesn’t matter! You can still make beautiful images at this time of day no matter what. And for me, that means that this time beats the beautiful golden hour any day.

If you don’t normally photograph at this time of day, go do it right now. I’m serious. Go experiment with this time of day! It’s fun. The light is awesome. The subjects aren’t tired, they’re usually comfortable, and it doesn’t matter what the weather is like!

What is your favorite time of day to photograph? I’d love to hear all about it.

photography tips + tricks

5 Tips for Photographing Pets

I find time after time photographers have a hard time photographing their furry friends. I don’t have children (yet! Little guy is on the way!) so I’ve had to practice on my dogs. Photographing dogs has it’s challenges. For one, they are constantly moving (I’ve heard this is true for toddlers, but I wouldn’t know!). For another, they have long noses. Which makes getting their whole face in focus difficult.

Want some inspiration on dog photographs? Check out my dog project I did all throughout 2016.

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Dogs can be so fun to photograph. They are so honest and they show you exactly how they feel. If they’re bored with you, it shows. If you try and use a treat (which I very rarely do), it shows. They give that camera an ‘ok I’m looking at the treat’ look. It’s totally obvious. But there are ways around this. I think the number one tip I can actually give is to let them warm up to your camera first. I get so many outtakes of my dogs because they like to come see what my camera is. I let them sniff it, I let them look at it. Whatever makes them comfortable. After a little while, they walk away and do their own thing. And now when I pull out my camera, they don’t even care. The tips below will hopefully get you on the right path to start photographing your dogs honestly, and move away from the posed shots.

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

All images in this post were taken with my Nikon D610 and the Nikon 50mm 1.8.

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1. photograph them playing

There’s nothing more honest than a dog playing. They LOVE playing. They love playing with each other, they love playing with people, they even love playing by themselves. Photograph them doing it! Let them first warm up to the camera, and then just wait. They’ll start chewing on that stick again. They’ll start rolling in the grass. They want to do what’s fun most of the time. Let them do it. Make sure you have a high shutter speed. The lowest I ever go on my dogs is 1/200. Any lower than that and I sometimes get blurry images. Playing or being still, I try to make my shutter speed at least 1/200.

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2. be patient

If you can be patient, you can get any shot of your dogs. Simple as that. I sometimes find that when I try to photograph them the way I want them to be photographed (in a certain pose, doing something, etc.) that I just have to patient and they will do it themselves. I sometimes find the prettiest light that I want to photograph them in. I lure them to the location, tell them to sit, and then just watch and wait to see what they will do in the pretty light. Most of the time, they end up laying down and relaxing. Completely being themselves. Sometimes, they just walk away, and play somewhere else. And I’m OK with that. I don’t want to force them to do anything. But by being patient, I usually get the shot I am after. It usually takes a while, but I think it’s worth it.

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3. photograph them with you

I think just like getting in the frames with your children, it’s important to get in the frames with your dogs. They are definitely part of the family, and I know you want to remember them later on. I sometimes have my feet in images, I sometimes have pictures of my kissing on them. I have pictures of us playing together, because I do a lot of that during the week. In the image above, I was trying to get some pictures of my baby bump, and my dog wouldn’t leave me alone. So I played with her. There are so many different ways to get in the frame with your dog. Pick up the little ones. Sit down with the big ones. Show your feet and their heads. Just get in the frame with them. It might be fun!

4. use creative comps

You don’t always have to get their faces in the image. I often times like to photograph just their paws. Their tails. I try to mix it up. I get their whole body in the image, just their face, or just their paws or tail. There are so many different comps and angles you can use when photographing dogs, just like in humans. Try something different and I know you’ll love the outcome. Your photos will start to look natural.

5. let them be themselves

I’ve mentioned this above, but I cannot stress it enough. Let them be themselves! Don’t force them to sit. Don’t force them to look at the camera. Don’t force them to do anything. Let them be themselves. They do the cutest things all by themselves. Just watch them and photograph them. They are very honest creatures. And when I say that, I mean, they show all emotion. If they are bored, they show it. If they want that treat you’re using to bribe them to stay still, they’ll show it on their face. If they don’t want to sit in that pretty light for you, they’ll move. Photograph them being them, and you’ll always love the photos you come up with. I promise.

What are some ways you photograph your dogs? Do you get in the frame with them? I’d love to know!

editing tips + tricks

3 Tips for Cloning Out Objects in Your Images

I really strive to get things right in camera. I like getting the settings right so that little to no editing is required. I like cleaning up my surroundings so that everything in the frame is exactly what I want it to be. However, there are times where this just doesn’t happen. Or where I feel like the chaos doesn’t add to the story of the image. There are definitely times when it’s OK to clone things out + there are times where it is hard or unrealistic to clone things out. I have found that following the three tips below really help in my cloning and in cleaning up an image.

clone-copy

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1. clone out areas in shadows

When thinking about taking a picture that I know I will have to clone things out later, I always consider trying to make those objects in shadow. If I know I can’t move the things right then and there, I try to use light as my friend and put those things in shadow. Because of this, it is easier to clone out the chair, trash can, and table in the image below. Consider ways you can use shadow to your advantage to get rid of objects, and to make it easier in post processing.

2017-02-28_0001Taken with the Nikon D610 + Nikon 50mm 1.8.

2. know when not to clone

There’s a time and a place for cloning. If you have a distraction in your image and you try cloning it, but no matter how hard you try, or how long you stare at the computer screen, it just doesn’t look natural….let it go. It’s OK. Not every image has to be perfect. In fact, sometimes the things we desperately want to clone out could actually add to the story of a chaotic life. Whether that was what you were going for or not, embrace it. Not everything can be cloned out. Accept this fact and move on.

3. use photoshop

I am a Lightroom user. I find that the cloning tool in Lightroom works for me 90% of the time. But there are occasional photos where I need more help than what LR can give me. When this is the case, I take my images into Photoshop where the cloning tool is easier and better. One of my personal favorite tools in Photoshop is the Spot Healing Brush Tool, it makes it so easy to get rid of unwanted objects and to polish up your image.