Magnolia Plantation

This weekend I traveled to Charleston, South Carolina for a day trip vacation with my boyfriend. I spent the first half of my day exploring Magnolia Plantation. I wanted to see the plantation because I heard that it was a super beautiful place for pictures and I just wanted to see what it was all about.

While I was here, I noticed tons of other photographers photographing nature, engagement sessions, bridal portraits, and just portraits in general. The entire area was just so beautiful because of the greenery and gardens. The area is famous for its Spanish moss, which is present in almost every tree giving it a unique and charming look. The Spanish moss trees were my favorite. Along with the trees there were many beautiful bridges, ponds (with alligators) and gardens that were picture perfect spots. At the plantation they even have 4-5 different wedding venues available so I loved looking at their wedding pamphlets to see all the beautiful photography. You can see some of the wedding photography at the plantation here. I would love to photograph people and weddings at places like this one day because the entire area is just so beautiful.

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Drink Photography

As a part of my studio lighting final project series, I am photographing southern food. My most recent shoot was based around sweet tea. I knew that for this part in my series I would need to learn about how to photograph drinks. It’s surprisingly extremely difficult. For this setup, I used two lights at the 135 degrees with reflective umbrellas. At the front left 45 I used a white reflector to try and help bounce some light back toward the front of the glass. Getting all of this set up took a lot longer than I thought it would. I found it much more successful to take pictures of the drinks from table level because if I was looking down at them, it was less flattering and you couldn’t see the light coming through.

I like this photo in particular because it has detail and depth to it. In the front is the main mason jar and lemon. It has condensation making it look cold and refreshing. You are able to see the ice in it which helps add some color variation to the dark tea. In the back is a pitcher, which basically absorbed any light. Behind that is a vase of flowers to make it look like it’s set on a table.

Food photography is something I have never done before but it is very interesting to me. I definitely don’t see myself pursuing work as a food photographer, but I think learning about it can be useful and interesting so I have a wide range of skills.

Engagement Photos

This week I was able to take engagement photos of a close friend of mine. I was nervous because I wanted them to turn out super great because I love these guys so much and I was so excited they were trusting me to take their engagement photos. For these photos I used a canon rebel and a 50 mm lens. I’d really like to invest in an 85 mm lens for portraits like these! For this session we went to the South Carolina lace house before we got kicked out after like 20 minutes because it was after hours. Now I know what a beautiful place it is though and I would love to take more portraits there! After the lace house, we went to Riverfront park, which I also did not know about. There were so many other photographers there taking pictures at the same time so it was interesting to see.

After this engagement session, I know that I want to work on coming up with things to tell clients or tasks to do so that they are more natural and less posed. I think candid shots always end up looking much better for portraits like these. Something else I really am trying to work on is developing a style for my editing. I like the bright and light photos but I don’t want them to just seem overexposed. This is also very popular right now and it’s what most of my previous clients have wanted. It’s been hard to find a style that works well and the editing process is taking me too long so my goal is to find an easier way to edit the photos with Lightroom and do most of my color correcting and things in camera first so that I have less to do in post production.

Another thing I learned from this experience is to create a contract and have all my clients sign them before I take their pictures. This is common sense and I should’ve been doing this all along, but just recently my business has gotten more serious and I’ve been booking people who aren’t my roommates or close friends. This situation was more casual because she is one of my best friends, but I still definitely needed a contract going into it. We ended up going longer than planned and then I had the issue of deciding how much to charge her for going over time because we only planned for an hour. I also had the problem of her posting pictures online without giving me credit. So, the day after this photoshoot, I wrote up a contract based off of one I liked that was online from another photographer. In my contract I have clauses about payment, session times, cancellations, additional time, social media, retention of files, editing, copyright, and model release information. I think this will definitely benefit myself in the future and I’ve already sent it to my next 4 clients to sign for their upcoming sessions. I haven’t run into any problems with it yet but I know it’ll protect myself from future complications.

Here are some photos from my session on Sunday!

White Balance

This week I learned about a new tool I want to add to my camera kit for portraits. I had my senior portraits done yesterday and the photographer talked to me about this tool and said it completely changed her life.┬áIt’s called an Expodisc and does custom white balance for photos. She used it each time we changed a location and would put it over the lens from where I was standing pointing towards where she was shooting from. It helps keep skin tones warmer and true to their natural color in portraits and will make the post processing much easier because the photos will have consistent coloring. White balance isn’t something I have adjusted in the past because I thought using auto white balance was enough. Even though I have the ability to use fancy expensive cameras, they aren’t necessarily the smartest and don’t always accurately reproduce colors. I’d really like to use this new tool to experiment with colors and tones of my photos. I think this $50 investment will help me develop a consistent style and color with my portraits. It will probably be the next thing on my list of gear to buy. The warmer, brighter colors are definitely a style that I am trying to pick up in my photography.

Any thoughts?

Here is a link to more about it:

https://www.expodisc.com/pages/about-expodisc-2-0-white-balance-filter

South Carolina Press Association

This year I had the pleasure of working with the South Carolina Press Association for the second time to help prepare for their 146th annual meeting and awards celebration. In addition to designing, I was the event photographer for the meeting and awards at the Spartanburg Marriott on March 17, 2018. This event was challenging to photograph because it was a very long day and the lighting situation within the hotel ballrooms made all of my photos look yellow. I was able to adjust the colors in post production with PhotoShop.

For this event, I used a Canon 5D mark iv with a 24-105 lens, a 70-200 lens, and 2 speed lite flashes ready. I’ve gotten lots of practice recently with using flash and this event was another good challenge. I really struggled a lot with my flash batteries dying quickly. They would get overheated very easily and I felt a lot of pressure because there were things I needed to photograph and I could not miss but it’s stressful when my flash decides to not fire because it’s too hot. I think I handled everything very well and did the best that I could in my situation with the photos. I’m pleased with how they turned out. During the Friday and Saturday that I photographed this event, I took about 1500 pictures. These were of the hotel, contest winner displays, sponsor tables, board meeting, member dinner, educational sessions, awards presentation and luncheon and just overall general pictures of the event and people interacting. Compared to my pictures of the same event last year, I think I have improved a lot with my technical skills. I felt a lot more comfortable with my camera settings and flash this year and was not afraid to take pictures of people. This was a great learning experience for me and I hope I’ll be able to do more events in the future.

fire training photos

Over spring break I was able to photograph a firefighter training session in Raleigh, NC. There is a whole facility where they can practice search and rescues and putting out fires in buildings and cars. When I was there, they were doing drills searching for “people” in a building that was filled with smoke. I was very excited at the chance to photograph firefighters in action. I was a little disappointed that I couldn’t see much “fire” though because that really would make the best photos. For this event, I used the Canon 5D Mark IV that I had on hand for spring break, and a 70-200 lens to help me get closer to the action. I think this lens was great for this topic and the photos turned out sharp. It’s hard to photograph something like this and tell a story because it’s mostly them going in and out of a building. I really liked taking these pictures though and it’s something I would want to take pictures of in the future. Firefighters look so cool in pictures and everybody loves them because they are heroic. Next time I photograph something like this I would definitely spend more time there to try and see what happens throughout the training day. For these photos I was only there for about an hour and a half after lunch, but they did things all morning long as well that could’ve made good photos as well.

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Inspirational People: Demos

So recently I’ve been really getting interested into portrait and wedding photography. One of my favorite photography duos is Amy and Jordan Demos. They’re a couple who specializes in luxury weddings and portraits. What I love most about their photos is their style. Everything looks so simple, clean, and pretty. I love the soft colors and stylization. They have a clear style and theme to everything they do but it all is still unique because they capture the personality of each couple in their photos. They have been featured in People Magazine, Martha Stewart Weddings, E news, The Huffington Post, Style Me Pretty, Brides, and more. They also teach classes and have workbooks available for purchase online to help other photographers learn and I hope to take one of their classes soon. They also have shared a lot of great resources for photographers to use in creating and organizing their business which I plan to use. Here is some of their work from their website:

One day I would love to be able to take photos like Amy & Jordan. Over the past 6 months they have continued to inspire me and make me want to be a better photographer. You can find them on Instagram for more great content here.