I’m nearing the end of photo shoots for 2013. I still pinch myself that I get to do this job. I put a post on instagram that I have clients as friends and friends as clients. I guess that’s what happens after almost 6 years in the area! I and truly love each of you. I see family after family that love each other AND has style to boot! Life is good, friends!
Photoshop Tips and Tricks
Don’t forget to go to the new location of Rascals to Rebels (10680 Los Alamitos Blvd) for Halloween photos this year! It’ll be Saturday Oct 26 and it’s a drop by event. So, just bring your kids in their costumes between 3 and 5pm. It’s just $20 for 3 digital photos (emailed 2 days after the event). Looking forward to it!
Doing photo shoots at the beach is tricky business (which is why one might need a few tips for beach photography). To be honest, when a client books, I tell them unless you LOVE the beach, don’t do your photo session there. It’s sandy and windy and not a static location. Meaning, if you like perfect hair, it won’t happen here. BUT, if your kids love the sand and the water and you feel at home hearing the crashing waves, this is your place.
So, how does a photographer make the beach work for them instead of struggling against it? Well, this list is by no means exhaustive, just a few helpful things I’ve learned in the five years that I’ve lived next to the beach and done countless photo sessions there.
1. Find a beach that has more than sand and water. If it’s possible, look for a pier and maybe even some grassy areas or a cove. One of my favorite beaches has an old wood pier and I never get tired of its rustic beauty. PLUS shooting under the pier is the best light you’ll find.
2. Bring some shells. I wish I could say that you can actually find shells on Southern California beaches, but I think you’re more likely to find a candy bar wrapper. I bring a bag full of shells and hide them before the family arrives. It helps create those natural moments where kids are just exploring.
3. Use the horizon. The beach is about more than just the water. When the sky is impossibly blue, incorporate it! For these photos, I found a little dune and laid down on the ground so when I’m shooting up it makes the jumps look even higher.
4. Timing is everything. Not only the time of the photo session (I like 9am and about 2 hours before sunset), but the time you let the kids near the water. Don’t let an outfit be ruined by a rogue wave. I’ve made that mistake before and if they don’t have a back-up outfit, the session is over. No one likes to be sandy and wet for long. So, at the end of the session, we make our way down to the water and play in the waves. If someone gets wet, it’s okay!
5. Close-ups are important! I think every mom wants to see a close-up of their child’s face and for these shots, I find indirect light. Sometimes it’s under the pier or for these ones I used a close-by grassy area. While sun flare is awesome in wide angle shots, for close-ups I want to see the color of their eyes and every detail on their face. So, I make sure to get at least one close-up out of the direct sun.
Another great idea is to shoot at the bay instead of the beach. In Long Beach we have so many and I love the lack of wind and waves for little ones. It’s such a serene location. Click here to see more photos session and the bay in Long Beach.
Today, I wanted to share a photoshop tip with you that I learned years ago. People sometimes comment about the way the eyes pop in my photos. So, I’d like to share how to get eyes that ‘pop in a photo.’ But, first, I want to start off by saying a few things…
A. I’m not a photoshop guru. My philosophy in editing is that there’s more than one way to skin a cat. I am self-taught, so just because I do it this way, doesn’t mean it’s the RIGHT way.
B. There’s no substitute for good light. You want to light your subject’s face with clean indirect light. If it looks great to start, it’ll look amazing with a few tweaks. But, you never want to try to ‘fix’ a photo.
Here’s the secret…the dodge tool. The tool can be found in your tool palette and it looks like a lollipop! At the top of your toolbar, select the midtones in the range option and set the opacity to 30%. I dodge once or twice right in the middle of the eye. Don’t over-do it, you can get an ‘alien look’ very quickly. Play around with the settings for different eye colors.
I wonder who came up with the term comfort food? It perfectly describes the way food makes you feel. It warms your belly and makes you feel all cozy. This stew is comfort food in every sense. Maybe it has special meaning because a very sweet lady from church made it for us when we had our first baby. We came home from the hospital in an ice storm and she had a big pot waiting for us on the stove.
Later she gave me the recipe. It’s unlike any stew I’ve had before. The ingredients are simple and the flavors are bright. The beef doesn’t get bogged down with heavy bland flavor. As we transition to fall, make a big pot of this stew, get yourself a crusty loaf of bread and get cozy!
Beef Cider Stew
from Linda Richardson
2 large onions, diced
2 lbs. beef, cut in small chunks (I used tri-tip)
2 cups apple cider
3 large potatoes, peeled and cut into small chunks
4 medium carrots, peeled and cut into small chunks
1 1/2c. green beans
Brown onions in butter (in a large stock pot). Set aside and brown meat in the same pan. Combine flour, salt, pepper and thyme. Stir gradually into the meat. Stir in cider and ketchup. Add potatoes, carrots and green beans. Simmer for an hour, or until meat is tender.
When people ask me about my business and what it takes to make it (ie. make money at it) as a photographer, there’s no real easy answer. Where I live, everyone is a photographer. With so much competition how do you set yourself apart? Again, so many answers to this question. Like being yourself, playing to your strengths, communicating your brand effectively. But, one thing so many people skip over is so elemental, it’s easily missed.
Doing what you say you’re going to do. And doing it WHEN you say you’ll do it.
I’m a big fan of under-promising and over-delivering. Which means, I’ll tell my clients they will view about 35 fantastic images after their photo session, the reality is they will view about 50. If I ever find myself in a situation where the photo session is a challenge, I know FOR SURE that I can get 35 fantastic images. That’s my bottom-line. But, I know my average photo session will yield about 50. It’s a pleasant surprise.
Same thing goes with time-line. I promise the photos will be delivered in 2 weeks. That’s if everything in the world goes wrong. 99.9% of the time I have them back in a week. Again, the client is pleasantly surprised.
These very simple things will do so much for your business. If you tell someone you will email them the paperwork tomorrow, do it. If you promise you will call in the morning. CALL. IN THE MORNING. You’ll gain the trust of your clients and you’ll just feel better about yourself, knowing you’re someone who is trustworthy.
Slight change of subject…doesn’t being a parent make this so much easier!? If we tell our kids we will be going out for dinner tonight, we better make sure that is going to happen. They won’t forget! They don’t forget when the friends are coming over or when you promised to play basketball.
This is Jillian and I on a fun girls night out, that I promised we’d do.
I don’t normally just leave the blog empty for a whole week. We got back from a two week trip and I headed straight to my photo sessions at Rascals to Rebels. I hit it with full-force! The kids that came had tons of energy and it was a rare visit of sorts! I had 2 newborns, a set of twins and a set of triplets! The photo sessions are only 15 minutes long, all back to back, so be amazed at how much cute was squeezed out of a mere 15 minutes!!