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5 Awesome Gifts for Photographers

Need some help buying for those picky creative family and friends of yours? Here are some of my favorites for the season. If all of these aren’t under my tree this year, I’m writing an angry letter to Santa.

Camera mug camera_mug

I’ve had this on my Holiday list for two years now and no one has listened….maybe the dogs will buy it for me this year. I do not think there is anything more necessary then a hot steaming mug of coffee while you edit. It’s a bonus that you can toss this one in the air and freak out your friends since they’ll think you’ve just tossed thousands of dollars worth of glass all willy nilly.

Camera tape dispenser camera_tapedispenser

If my husband reads this then he will know what to be getting me for my stocking this year, because I’ve been coveting this item for about a year. Fill this baby up with some cute washi tape and your creative editing skills will flow like lava.

Apple rechargeable batteriesapple-rechargable

Am I the only one that has to change out my mac mouse and keyboard batteries like every 2 seconds? Okay, maybe not that quickly, but with the price of batteries it’s ridiculous. This puppy will keep a rotation of six rechargeable AA batteries (included). And seriously it’ll pay for itself in probably a couple months.

Gift certificates to: creative marketcreative-market

This place is amazing. Need a cool font for that family holiday card? Need a grunge sky overlay for your recent session? Check and check. Most of what I buy on there is under $20, usually under $5 and you can buy credits and save when you buy in bulk. Bonus, if you sign up for their newsletter you’ll get a link to the current “freebie”.

WG Print shop “oh, snap!” printoh_snap!
Self plug, no shame. I mean but really, how cute is this black and gold print? Hang that beauty up by some clips above your desk and you’ll be “oh, snapping” all day. It’s a digital download so you get your instant gratification fix for the day. Plus, add some real gold glitter over the “oh, snap” font and turn that piece of paper into a 3D design. You’re so creative.

IMG_4183After completing her degree specializing in Photography at the University of Missouri, Emylee moved back to her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma in hopes of capturing the memories of those around her. Outside of the photography business she can be found with a coffee cup glued to her hand, eating brunch with her hubby, painting every room in her house, making frequent stops to the local Flea Market and taking an obscene amount of Instagram photos of her dogs, affectionately referred to as “my fur babies”. See more of her work on her website, Willow & Grey Photography, and her Facebook page.

  

Be Featured: Amy Bethune | Amy Bethune Photography

Amy Bethune Photography | Facebook

This session makes me long for the warm summer months again! Charley is an amazing Irish dancer with an infectious youthful spirit. We spent a few hours walking, talking, and dancing around a local park on a hot and steamy summer evening. It was incredible to capture Charley soaring through the air as she demonstrated her jumps. I often ask my seniors to dance a bit during their sessions to loosen up a bit and begin enjoying themselves (I love how that brings out their natural laughs and smiles). I can safely say that gets the award for best dancer yet!

Equipment used: Canon 5d mkii, Canon 50mm f/1.4, Canon 100mm f/2.8L

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Photo credits: Amy Bethune

  

In Which We Speak Of Watermarks

Let’s talk watermarks for a bit, shall we? Whether you’re a seasoned photog or just starting to upload photos to a Facebook page, the thoughts of watermarking have come up. I hope you’ve done some research on selecting the proper watermarking for you and I hope to goodness that you haven’t come across the advice that I’ve found on the Internet that suggests that you shouldn’t watermark. I don’t know when or how this very bad advice started, but please don’t follow it. P.S. if you’ve not been watermarking and your photos haven’t been stolen and you’ve gotten millions of shares then by all means continue not watermarking; however, you are the exception, not the rule.

First, let’s address the “do not watermark” rumor that’s floating around. You may read that if you watermark you come across as arrogant or it ruins your photo or people won’t share watermarked work. This. Is. Bologna. You watermark to protect yourself from thievery, to market yourself, and continue to showcase your brand. Watermarking not only shows that you are for real a business that people can come to in order to get similar work done for themselves, but it also shows that you take photography seriously. It shows to other photographers and potential thieves that you mean business. This is your work that took you time and money to create and people need to respect that. Period. This is all.

bad-watermark-photo-2 – source http://www.herviewphotography.com/2013/02/28/how-to-watermark-photos.html

All of that said there are some simple guidelines that should be followed in the process of watermarking your work. In the purpose of continuing to showcase your brand your watermark should represent you and what your business feels and looks like. It can be the name of your business, your website domain, a symbol, a paired down version of your whole logo, etc. It should not take away from the photo or overpower it in any way. The watermark shouldn’t be the first thing that clients notice, but when they do see it they should like it and it should make sense. It should also be placed in a spot that can’t be easily cropped out. Should it be placed over the subject’s eye [the above photo is a what-not-to-do]? No, but don’t just toss it in the far corner either.

graphic-watermark-photo-2– source https://www.facebook.com/katiebrockphotography/photos_stream

In the photo above the photographer has used symbols that you can find on her website and other work to tie everything in together. It fits her brand, it’s cute, small and discrete. However, the type of watermarks that I love and what I’ve recently implemented in my own work are super simple and domain only text. It’s usually white or grey, depending on the gray scale of the image, but it’s always small and with a low opacity.

simple-watermark-photo

Here’s a great tutorial to get you started on creating your own watermark in Lightroom. It’s super easy and the best part is, super flexible. If you’re not feeling a certain look feel free to mix it up. Just find something that works for you and stick to it.

IMG_4183After completing her degree specializing in Photography at the University of Missouri, Emylee moved back to her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma in hopes of capturing the memories of those around her. Outside of the photography business she can be found with a coffee cup glued to her hand, eating brunch with her hubby, painting every room in her house, making frequent stops to the local Flea Market and taking an obscene amount of Instagram photos of her dogs, affectionately referred to as “my fur babies”. See more of her work on her website, Willow & Grey Photography, and her Facebook page.

  

It’s Okay To Use Your Kit Lens! (And How to Use it to Your Advantage)

If you’re a budding photographer chances are you’ve shot, or may still be shooting, with your ‘kit’ lens. Unless you have a money tree – please invite me over if you do – then your first ‘real’ camera was bought in a bundle starter kit. And no shame, because hello, this is the most practical and economical way of getting your feet wet in the photographer world and come on, it’s not your iphone. As this wonderful budding photographer that you are I’m sure you’ve scoured the inter-web for affordable lens upgrades and may be feeling a bit overwhelmed at the options and a lot overwhelmed at the prices.
So here is where you take a deep breath and kind of chill out a bit and learn that it is really okay to be using your kit lens. You really can get good photos with your kit lens. And in all actuality this kit lens can help you get a grasp of basic camera techniques, a grasp at nailing down your personal style and the confidence that you can’t really mess up with it.
I shot my entire first 18 months of “okay, yeah, I do want to start this photography business thing” with my kit lens. I shot my entire first Baby Love Session (newborn to first year) with my kit lens. I shot my first in-home studio newborn session with my kit lens. I shot my first outdoor “oh my gosh, these people really trust me to follow me into the country” couple maternity shoot with my kit lens. My kit lens taught me the real style and imagery I wanted to go after. I was able to rely on it to be my wide angle (set at 18mm) and my close up (set at 55mm) all-in-one lens without having that fluster of changing lenses in the middle of the shoot (why isn’t it locking??).
By looking at your kit lens as an all-in-one lens or rather a two-for-one lens and setting it to either 18mm or 55mm (i.e. not using all those in-betweens) you can establish the type of imagery you’re after. Do you like wide angle-big sky-little people shots? Or do you prefer super close-sharp eye-half a body shot? What kind of story do you like telling? Your kit lens will get you through this. But let’s take a look at what my Nikon D3200 24.2MP Digital SLR with its 18-55mm VR kit lens can do.
I think the photos produced from this kit lens prove well enough to get you through and get you started and even as a basic backup. Will it provide super creamy bokeh or a unique fish eye view? No, but it will save you hundreds of sweet dollars until you figure out if either of those looks are something you want part of your brand. So click on that kit lens and shoot proudly, girl.
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This photo shows the bokeh that you can achieve with your kit lens. If you open that aperture real wide and have a background that is pretty far away then you’re in the zone for that soft blur of a background.
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This photo shows that you can get tack sharp baby blues with your kit lens. Set your focus right on those pupils and click. P.S. there was no post editing on the eyes for this one!

IMG_4183After completing her degree specializing in Photography at the University of Missouri, Emylee moved back to her hometown of Tulsa, Oklahoma in hopes of capturing the memories of those around her. Outside of the photography business she can be found with a coffee cup glued to her hand, eating brunch with her hubby, painting every room in her house, making frequent stops to the local Flea Market and taking an obscene amount of Instagram photos of her dogs, affectionately referred to as “my fur babies”. See more of her work on her website, Willow & Grey Photography, and her Facebook page.

  

Be Featured: Rita Zlatnik of Lolography

Lolography | Facebook

On a perfect sunny afternoon, Rebecca and Chris hopped on a train and traveled to the countryside, just right out of London, to celebrate their engagement with some delicious bites and drink. They like spending time together in the countryside, walking hand in hand, enjoying good food and having lots of fun.

With the ever so unpredictable English weather I felt so lucky at their engagement session. The sun was shining so warmly and we all enjoyed a little breeze touching our faces. Photographing such wonderful people is always icing on the cake! Their love is so special, it was exciting to see the joy and sparkle in their eyes, the happiness they shared with each other and to watch their relationship unfold in front of my camera…

Their glowing personality was shining through the entire session… loads of smiles and hugs all around. They are such warm-hearted people and definitely a very creative couple. I was really amazed by the props they brought to the session. Just look at the sweet series of photos asking the big question “Will you marry me?” where childhood photos represented ‘you’ and ‘me’! They also brought a bottle with photos on it and the text said: The answer was…”Yes!”. These are such cute things to make their special day even more memorable.

Equipment used:  Nikon D700, 24-70 mm 2.8 and 50 mm 1.4 lenses together with a giant reflector to bounce back that gorgeous warm light.

Makeup by Alex M Makeup.

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Photo credits: Rita Zlatnik