alydawnphotography.com is a blog for the

inspiring photographer

a source of inspiration to encourage your photography


 

Blog

A Thousand Words – October

I am really excited to announce that I will be a part of a blog circle each month titled ‘A Thousand Words’. Each month we will pick a quote and take an image to go with it. I’m so excited about this project because I’m hoping it will push my inspiration. I am also excited to see what each of the ladies in my group will produce.

To continue the circle, go here to see Emily’s interpretation of the quote.

What is your favorite part about October? Mine is the fall season, the leaves changing, the beautiful sunsets. Comment below what you love about October!

“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.”

― L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables

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

check out my 6 Things I Did That Changed My Photography For the Better post

_ALY0394-1

image taken by: Nikon D610 and my sigma lens
my settings were: ISO 100 | f/1.4 | 1/4000ss

Letters to My Little One | 3 Month Old

threemonth_ALY0072

Thursday, October 12, 2017

To my little peanut,

This time last year, we found out we were pregnant with you. October will always be one of my favorite months. I cannot believe you are three months already. Time is going by so quickly! But I am so happy I get to spend every day with you. You’ve been here for three months somehow. You are such a blessing in our lives. I don’t know what I’d do without you.

You are so close to finding your toes – it’s so cute. I just wish you’d find them soon so that I can photograph it. You are so patient with mommy and her camera. I hope you’ll thank me for it one day. I love how much you smile. You love people and being around family. You don’t like being alone (like in the car or when you are left in your swing), you would much rather be around people. You are starting to laugh at things. Right now your favorite is fart noises. You are such a boy! You just laugh and laugh at fart noises. It’s the best! I love trying to figure out what makes you laugh. You also laugh at certain faces I make (don’t worry, everyone does!) and when I tickle you.

It’s so amazing to watch you learn and grow. This month you are able to grab on and recognize a toy. Last month you had no clue! It’s amazing and I love watching you learn. You love to shake toys and eat them. It’s too cute! You are so amazing at how much you learn and I am so excited to watch you grow.

Things you love: your mommy + daddy. You love your aunts and uncles and your grandma, too! You love to smile and talk. You talk a lot, and believe me, we all love it. You tell mommy all about your day. You love to take baths. You love to get dressed in the morning. You love having your diaper changed. You love stroller rides. You love to kick and wiggle. You love to stand up and look around. You love to eat (who doesn’t!) and enjoy smiling at mommy. Your life is great!

Things we love about you: how much you smile. I could watch you smile all day (and I do!). We love your little personality that is starting to show. You are so calm and sweet. You are mostly a happy baby. We love the way you look. Your sweet smile fills my heart with joy. I love your hair, too! We can’t get enough of how cute you are. Daddy always comes home from work and giggles and says, “he’s just so cute!”. It’s adorable, really. Life got better once your arrived, little one. It’s sweeter and I have more of a purpose than I did before. I wish I could slow down time and let you stay little forever. But, at the same time, I am so excited to continue to watch you grow and learn and develop. It is so fun to see you learn new things.

I am blessed to be your mommy.

I love you so much!

Love, mommy

threemonth_ALY0034threemonth_ALY0069threemonth_ALY0135threemonth_ALY0149threemonth_ALY0193threemonth_ALY0203threemonth_ALY0226threemonth_ALY0243threemonth_ALY0286threemonth_ALY0295threemonth_ALY0317threemonth_ALY0334threemonth_ALY0335threemonth_ALY0345threemonth_ALY0350threemonth_ALY0352threemonth_ALY0362threemonth_ALY0372

 

read month 1 here
read month 2 here

Macro Photography: How and Why You Should Use a Third Hand

If you follow my blog at all, you know how much I love using a third hand in my macro photography work. Using a third hand is useful in many ways, including, it gives you the freedom to pose your flowers the way you want. It allows you to have whatever background you want (more on that later!) and it also allows you to isolate your flowers. For these reasons alone, you should buy a third hand. They are so handy (pun intended) and I love mine! Also, it’s very affordable. This makes it the perfect gift for photographers. The holidays are coming up, so make sure you get one for yourself or a fellow photographer friend!

need help getting started in macro? check out my 3 Tips to Getting Started in Macro Photography post

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

thirdhand

taken with: Nikon 105mm 2.8
my settings were: ISO 800 | f/5.0 | 1/400ss

the setup

First of all, what is a third hand? It’s this fancy little metal thing that allows you to clip things on it. It has two on each end. My third hand came with a magnifying glass that I just removed (it can get in the way, but it’s really easy to remove!). Once you have your third hand, and a bundle of flowers (I buy mine from Kroger, but I may one day upgrade to something else), you’re ready for the setup. The image below is nothing fancy, I just really wanted to show you how I set up my shots for macro. I have a nice white table (find one similar here) that I took the legs off of and then for added effect and color, I used a scarf I had laying around. That’s one nice trick to do. Use a scarf, a shirt, fabric, anything that can add color to your macro image. You can see my setup in the image below.

2017-10-04_0001

Based on this setup (I also want to point out the water bottle I used, that comes in very handy to add texture to your macro images. And the clothespin, those can help isolate your subject, like in this case where the flowers are on the same stem) I got the image below:

2017-10-04_0002

taken with: Nikon 105mm 2.8
my settings were: ISO 800 | f/5.0 | 1/400ss

get creative

So with a third hand, you don’t have to keep the flowers upright. You can get creative to get different type of shots. Turn your flower upside down. Have it far away from your background, or up close. The third hand is great because it can also be placed on ledges and wont fall off. I really really love the third hand, if you can’t tell. It allows you to get such amazing images at such a small price.

2017-10-04_0003

2017-10-04_0004

taken with: Nikon 105mm 2.8
my settings were: ISO 1250 | f/5.0 | 1/320ss

why you should use one

I feel like I’ve already pointed out why you should use a third hand. But in case you need another push to buy one, here it is. Photography accessories are usually expensive. The third hand is not. It’s under ten dollars. You really can’t beat that. Another reason is because it will take your macro photography to the next level. I definitely believe once I bought and started using the third hand, that my macro photography got about 10 times better. Once you start using the color wheel to your advantage and adding in backgrounds that will help make your flower shine, your images become more professional. At least in my opinion. 😉

Having a third hand will make your life easier. Who wouldn’t want that? So, do yourself a favor and go order one now. Your macro photography will thank you for it. Get creative and see what you can do with it.

What questions do you have about macro photography? Comment below!

Like what you read? pin it for later!

thirdhand2

6 Things I Did That Changed My Photography For the Better

Photography is a long journey of trail and error. But one of my favorite things about photography is that there is always something new to learn. There are so many different photography techniques to learn. There are so many ways to develop those techniques. I think some of the best things I did for my photography was learning to learn. What I mean by that is accepting that I have something to learn, and letting go of perfection. Allowing myself to be taught and to learn from it. Photography is a journey. If you’re ready to take the plunge into the journey, you won’t regret it.

check out my How Instagram Made Me a Better Photographer post

6 Things I Did That Changed My Photography for the Better
6 Things I Did That Changed My Photography for the Better
This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

1. switching to manual mode

Take your camera off auto mode. Manual mode allows you as a photographer to capture exactly what you want, how you want it. It allows you to have full control over your photography, instead of letting your camera be the brains. Let’s face it, the camera is pretty smart, but you’re even smarter. Making the switch to manual mode just two years ago has literally changed my photography for the better. Learning manual mode by yourself can be challenging and sometimes frustrating. I recommend taking a class, buying a book (if you’d like more book suggestions, check out my 10 Must Read Photography Books post), or searching on YouTube how to switch. Learning how to use your camera in manual mode is the best thing you can do for your photography. If you take nothing else away from this post, remember that manual mode is the way to go.

2. join a photography community

I joined a community of photographers called ClickinMoms. You don’t have to be a mom to join, you don’t even have to be a woman! It’s a great community of photographers that lift each other up. There are amazing tutorials, classes, and even just the photo shares can help inspire you. Joining ClickinMoms has led me to so many other great opportunities, like Instagram pods, Facebook groups, and making friends with photographers around the world. They’ve got my back, and I have theirs. Making friends in this business is a great way to learn and to also ask for help when you need one. I highly recommend finding a photography community and joining. You won’t regret it.

3. experiment

You might have a certain technique you love to use (for me it’s back lighting) and those images probably look amazing. But you won’t grow unless you try something new. Try incorporating shadows into your shot. Try a different composition technique instead of a center composition. Use leading lines, a different perspective, or the rule of thirds. Try shooting just the hands. Only include the feet. Change it up! Experiment! Have fun! GROW! I experiment all the time and I find new things that I love. It was through experimenting that I grew to love macro photography.

4. learn how to edit

I started out using a editing system that was free on the web. I am never going back to that! I upgraded to Photoshop in 2015. It was definitely hard to learn and I still don’t know all there is to learn from it. Then recently this year, I switched to Lightroom and I have never looked back. Lightroom is so easy and has all that I need to edit my images. If I ever need to clone something out, or anything else that LR can’t handle, I then upload my images into Photoshop and do some magic there. But, LR is all that I need normally and it doesn’t take me long to edit each image. I highly recommend trying Lightroom. If you need a good book, I recommend this one. It’s pretty cheap and teaches you a lot about Lightroom.

5. switch to raw

Switching to RAW was a big step in my photography journey. I had been shooting in JPEG for so long, when I switched to RAW I was literally amazed at the difference in quality. RAW images come out of your camera, well, for lack of a better term, raw. Your camera does slight adjustments to your JPEG images making them appear pretty when you first upload them. RAW gives you free choice as to how you want to edit you image. It captures so much more detail in each image. I NEVER shoot in JPEG, only RAW. I recommend looking into why RAW is better and decide for yourself if you should make the switch or not. I guarantee you won’t regret it.

6. let go of perfection

I’ll be first to admit that my photography is not perfect. It’s not even where I want it to be right now. But, that’s the beauty of photography, there’s always ways to improve. When I learned to let go of perfection, to accept my photography for what it was, my photography improved. I was able to start photographing for me instead of for anyone else. I was able to enjoy my photography and I was able to accept the flaws in it. I have a long ways to go on my photography journey, but honestly, we all do. So, let go of that perfection, and let the learning begin.

like what you see? pin it for later!

macropin2

Orange Rose by Alyssa Ahern

I did it. I bought myself flowers. I love taking walks and bringing my macro lens with me. I feel like I get some beautiful shots of the wild flowers I find. But there’s just something about buying a bouquet of flowers for yourself and photographing those. For one, I now have beautiful flowers to put on my table. And for another, I love being able to use my third hand. It comes in so handy for shots where I want to isolate the flower. Such a nice tool to use for macro and it’s pretty inexpensive!

Another nice little trick I like doing with my macro shots is adding water. I use a spray bottle and just spray it right on. It adds a nice effect to it. Sometimes, if you get it just right, you can make the water sparkle. I love experimenting with different light and angles. Macro is so so enjoyable. If you need help getting started, check out my 3 Tips to Get Started in Macro Photography post.

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

check out my Macro Photography: What Lenses to Use post

2017-09-09_0004

image taken by: Nikon D610 and my macro lens
my settings were: ISO 500 | f/4.2 | 1/400ss

Letters to My Little One | 2 Month Old

2017-09-09_0001

Tuesday, September 12, 2017

To my little peanut,

So many things have happened in this month! First, you rolled from your tummy to your back like a champ. You did it three times, showing off for your parents. We loved it, of course! You moved right on up to one diapers, too! Your cute little thighs are getting so chunky – I LOVE it! It’s so cute! You’re wearing 0-3 month clothing and almost to the point where you can wear just plain 3 month. You’re getting so big at 2 months old. I really can’t believe you are 2 months old. Somedays, it feels like forever ago that I gave birth to you. But then other days, it feels like just yesterday.

Time is, of course, going too fast. You really won’t stay little forever, will you? It makes me sad, but at the same time, I am so proud of all the little things you do each day. The little things you learn each day. You are growing and maturing so quickly!

You hate waking up in the morning and it’s adorable. I just giggle at you as you grunt and try to open your eyes. Don’t worry, I think we all have those days. Once you’re awake, though, you smile and talk so much! Your little form of talking is just so adorable. You also love to kick and wiggle a bunch right in the morning. Mornings are one of my favorite times with you. You’re too cute.

I’m so proud of you, little one. For all that you are accomplishing. For all that you will accomplish. For all that you’ve already accomplished. You’ve come so far, but you have so far to go. And don’t worry, mommy + daddy will be right there with you, cheering you on. You have blessed our lives for the better. We love talking to you, seeing your big eyes fill with happiness as you smile and laugh at us. And you love talking to us. You smile and grin every time you see us. We can tell how much you love us, and our hearts are full. We love you. We love you so much.

Things you love: daddy! You smile the biggest when daddy is around. No joke. But you talk the most for mommy. You love to blow spit bubbles (gross!). You love to kick. You love to sleep but hate waking up. It’s really cute. You love bath time. You love spending time with your family. You love back time and tummy time. You love taking walks with mommy + daddy. You love talking. You love to lift your head. And of course you love to eat! You basically just love life. You’re a happy baby which makes this mommy happy.

Things we love about you: how much you are talking! After you nurse you sometimes just stare up at me and coo. It melts my heart it’s so darn cute! You do this funny thing with your hands where it looks like you’re trying to fight, it’s too cute. We love the way you look. I didn’t think it was possible, but you’ve gotten cuter. You still have so much hair! That is probably the number one thing people comment on. So. Much. Hair. And we love it!  I love watching you try new things, like rolling over for the first time, reaching for that toy, and even laughing! You laughed this week for the first time and it melted my heart! It was so cute. I love everything about you. Your little thighs, your little toes, fingers, hands, nose, ears, lips….I could go on and on. You are just too adorable, I can’t get enough.

I am blessed to be your mommy.

I love you so much!

Love, mommy

2017-09-09_0003

read month 1 here

Baby Naps by Alyssa Ahern

There’s something so peaceful and beautiful about a baby napping. My son refuses to sleep in his crib. He loves sleeping on me all day every day. Which I love the snuggles, but it would be nice to put him down from time to time! The longest he’s gone down in the crib was ten minutes. I’ll take it. It allowed for me to photograph him sleeping for once, it’s something I want to remember. I want to remember the way he dreams about nursing, his sweet eyes closed revealing his beautiful eye lashes. I want to remember how limp and cute his little body is when he’s asleep. I love the kicking he does during the day, but he’s just so peaceful and calm when he sleeps. I want to remember how his tiny feet and legs curl while he sleeps. I want to remember all the details.

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

check out my Yellow Flowers post

2017-09-06_0005

image taken by: Nikon D610 and my wide angle lens
my settings were: ISO 5000 | f/1.4 | 1/200ss