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

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

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.

 

photography tips + tricks

3 Tips to Using Window Light

I love window light. I use it all the time. I use it at different times of day, too. I use it on overcast days and sunny days. There are many different ways to use window light. I love how different the light can look from the same window. I only have one window in my small apartment, and then my doors have windows on them. That’s it. But I am able to use them for different effects.

Have a small apartment but feeling uninspired? Here are tips to photographing in a small space.

2017-02-25_0013Taken with the Sigma 24mm 1.4.

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 Sigma 24mm 1.4.

1. use the window for side light

I love side light. I use it often. It creates shadows on the face that really make the deminision of the face pop. It creates a 3D effect to your images, which is sought-after in the photography world. How you set up side lighting is by having your subject turn 45 degrees away from the window. Sometimes adding in a reflector or another window can help brighten the shadow side of the face some. Even though you are using natural light, you can still control how much light you really want.

2. control how much light you use

Which brings me to tip 2! No matter what type of light you are using, natural or artificial, you can control that light. When using window light, you can control it by blocking some of it with a blanket or blinds. Or you can add a reflector to help brighten the image some, there are really endless possibilities to creating the type of light when you want it.

2017-02-25_0014.jpgTaken with the Sigma 24mm 1.4.

3. look for catchlights

This is probably my go to tip. I always look for catchlights in my dogs eyes. If I see pretty catchlights (that is, a light in the eye) I stop what I am doing and run and get my camera! This can be applied to window light, too. If you are trying to find a good window that has great light, look for catchlights in your clients, kids, spouses, siblings, pets, etc. eyes. It has helped me find the right light, which eventually led to me being able to identify the kind of light I want to use.

What are some ways you photograph with window light? I’d love to hear!

photography tips + tricks

How to Take Pictures in a Small Space

If you follow me on instagram, you’ve probably heard me complain about my tiny apartment. When I say tiny, I mean it. We basically live in something like a studio apartment (only except that sounds way more glamorous than what it actually is!). It has two rooms, the bedroom and the living room, separated by a half wall. The living room also has the kitchen in it, which is just a small strip on one side of the room. The walls are wood paneling. Yes. Like in a trailer home. I also have a nasty window unit, a ugly wall heater that doesn’t work (I attempted to hide it with my tv, but it’s still visible!), and a wall heater that does work (there is no hiding that one!). I like to call it vintage. There’s one window right next to the kitchen. Then my back doors are windows, and on that wall there is another very small window. That’s it as far as lighting goes in this place. Although I may seem like I complain about it a lot, I am very thankful for the time I have spent in my little apartment. I got serious with photography about two years ago and we have been living here for almost three. So, despite being small and not having very much light, this apartment has actually helped my photography. I’ve had to get creative with light source and how to use the little light I had available. I also had to get creative with how to use the small space that I had to get any type of image. I have a few tricks to get you inspired with a small space. This could be your own home or even a clients home. All you need is a little light and you can work any space.

Feeling uninspired because of all the rain or snow? Check out my tips to stay inspired during the winter months.

2017-02-24_0001Taken with the Sigma 24mm 1.4.

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 my Nikon 50mm 1.8 or the Sigma 24mm 1.4. All images were also taken inside my apartment that I described above.

use a wide angle lens

Having a wide angle lens like the Sigma 24mm 1.4 will not only help you with your settings, since it has that lovely aperture of f/1.4, but will also help you not feel so cramped in the small space. Sometimes with my Nikon 50mm 1.8, I feel like I can’t back up enough to get what I want in the picture. For in home sessions, I would recommend definitely having at least a 35mm or wider. A word of caution when using a wider angled lens on clients, make sure you leave enough room on either side for distortion help. Which you can fix in LR if it is extremely unnatural looking. I sometimes like to embrace the distortion, especially when I’m photographing my dogs. It’s a fun perspective. Another great thing about the Sigma (not sure if it applies to other wide angle lens) is that you can also get pretty close to your subject, and still have them in tack sharp focus, which helps you eliminate the background/distractions. This is sometimes helpful in small apartments or houses.

2017-02-24_0005Taken with the Nikon 50mm 1.8.

use windows to change your perspective

I can get so many different images with just one window. Even in my small apartment that has very little in the window department. If you find you come to a clients home and there is only one room with good light, but it’s small, you can totally work it and get different looks with just that one window. Not only can you use windows in your shot, but you can also use the windows for different lighting effects. I love using my window light to black out the background (because there are a lot of ugly things in my apartment that I’d rather not show!). Using light dramatically with the help of a window can really help eliminate distractions.

2017-02-24_0002Taken with the Sigma 24mm 1.4.

move furniture

If I wasn’t pregnant I would do this all the time. Sometimes my couch gets in the way of the pretty light, so either use the couch in your photos, or move it! I can get some nice reflections from my table if the light is right, but my table is up next to my wall and not very photogenic at the current location. I would move it and then photograph it! The same can go if you have a distracting piece of furniture that you don’t want in the background. Sure, you can always clone it out. But why take that extra time when you could just move it and take a few pictures, and then put it back where it belongs later? Sometimes I wait for my husband to get home to move it back for me. Totally an optional step!

2017-02-24_0004Taken with the Nikon 50mm 1.8.

focus on details

Instead of focusing on the big (little) picture of the apartment, focus on some details. Try macro, you can do macro ANYWHERE. It doesn’t have to be a big space at all! Try getting close to your subject to get rid of those distractions! The details of your everyday, of the place you are living right now might not seem important now, but they will when you leave! Get up close to your children, photograph their hair, eyes, little feet + hands. Endless possibilities when we focus on capturing the details. Even in a small space.

clean up before taking pictures

So, this one is something I don’t always do. But a small apartment can seem cluttered and dirty fast. Simplify where you want to take a picture real quick by picking up unnecessary things that don’t add to the story or point of the image. I am not suggesting you go crazy and clean your entire apartment (or your clients entire house!), but just be aware of what’s in your frame. I have gone into a client’s home before and moved things around so that the scene was simple. It just makes for a cleaner image. And less work when you’re processing your images!

go outside

Still feeling uninspired by the small space? There’s usually beautiful light outside, just take your client or your subject outside! I have done this countless times when the light just wasn’t bright enough inside. I have a car port right outside my door that gives some nice soft light. Even on an overcast day I can get some nice light in there. But first, try the tips above!

Do you live in a small space? Do you struggle when a client has a small space? What are some ways you go about photographing in a small space? I’d love to hear in the comments below.

aly dawn personal · momma bee

Letters to My Little One | 22 Weeks In My Belly

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Thursday, February 23, 2017

To my little peanut,

We actually got to see you last week. We had our first (and most likely last) ultrasound to see if you were healthy and moving! And you were! The midwife gave you an A+ for being so healthy. She said everything looked perfect. You looked perfect. I am so proud of you, little one. We also found out whether you were a boy or a girl. And you’re a BOY! I am beyond happy. I got my wish of a healthy baby. Keep growing in my belly, little one. You’re getting bigger (and it’s showing) and I am finally starting to feel you move and kick. While we were getting the ultrasound, we saw you flip over! You did it so quickly I didn’t know what happened. I go back and look at your images constantly. I have them on my phone, I have them hanging on the fridge. I just love the way you look. Your cute little nose and profile are so perfect. And I love your cute little feet.

Nothing much has changed for me physically, except for my cute belly is growing at a constant rate. Your daddy loves it. He loves how big you’re getting. I am also feeling you move more + more! It makes me so happy! You woke me up one time this week because you kicked so hard. You’re getting so strong. It’s so fun to see you grow.

Can you believe that we only have 18 weeks left? 18? I can’t. I can’t believe how far we’ve come! And how strong and beautiful (I mean handsome!) you are getting! Once the 18 weeks are up, we have a life time of joy and laughter ahead of us. I can’t wait for you to get to know us and for us to get to know you. You’re special, little one. You already bring so much joy to my family. You’ll see when you get here just how loved you really are.

Keep growing, little one. Keep getting stronger and bigger. Mommy and daddy can’t wait to meet you, but don’t come any sooner than 18 weeks!

I love you so much!

Love, mommy

photography tips + tricks

Why Taking a Break is Good for Your Photography

I believe taking the occasional break from your photography is good. We get caught up in pleasing everyone that we forget about ourselves. Same thing can be applied to photography. I took the longest break last year after I found out I was pregnant. For one, I was just too tired. But, I also just wasn’t inspired. However, that break did wonders for my photography and I am really glad I took it.

need help getting out of your photography rut? here are 4 ways to get our of your photography rut.

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it helps you realize why you are photographing

When I took my break, I was able to reflect on why I photographed things. What was my goal in photographing? For me, it was so that I could get good enough to document my future children’s lives. For me, it relaxes me and I really enjoy photography. I love the challenge of trying new light, and I love trying new compositions. Photographing different locations made me happy and so did photographing my back yard in different ways. For me, the ultimate goal was documenting. And after my break I realized I wasn’t really documenting my days. Documentary photography is something that is very hard for me, but something that I love. I know I will find it easier when I have a cute little one to document every day.

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it allows you to look at your photography differently

During my break, I would look at my photography and think, “Wow, these are great photos! But they’re not what I want my photography to portray”. I always thought I loved the bright and airy photos. The fake, bright, airy photos. You know, the ones where you envied that photographers house because she had such beautiful lighting all the time and the cutest decor? That was what I wanted. But, deep down, my photography really reflected me. It reflected the imperfection and the darkness, but it also reflected the light I have in my life. After realizing these things, I started noticing a change in my photography for the better. Look at your photography during your break. Figure out if it truly makes you happy.

it allows you to prioritize what’s really important

I am sadly admitting that before my break, I was constantly plugged in to the computer and social media world. Constantly thinking about what I could post to get likes. Who was posting. What new workshops were available. I was obsessed. Don’t get me wrong, be connected is great! I still love instagram and I still love getting on the computer to work on my photographs. But, I also love spending time with my family. With my husband. I made new rules where I would try to limit my social media and computer time to when my husband wasn’t around (and I am mostly sticking to it, but I could always improve!). I find that my photography means more to me when I make time for just photography and when I make time for just my family. It will make you a happier photographer.

 

Figure out what you can change in your photography, and take a break. I took a short break over the weekend. I still shot every day, but I wasn’t focused so much about good lighting and composition. I was totally checked out. But, I have some photos that I will cherish for a long time, even though they are definitely not what I would normally photograph.

What are some ways taking a break has helped your photography? Do you take short breaks or long breaks? I’d love to hear!