Jul 31, 2011

Food for thought...

I've been on a bit of an equipment selling spree lately, having sold a flash, a shootsac and a black rapid strap in the last few weeks.  It felt good to get rid of some things that I thought I'd use, but never really did.  I got so caught up in the purging though that I decided I no longer needed my Nikon 60mm macro lens, since I couldnt really remember the last time I pulled it out of my bag.  I went so far as to list it for sale...  and put it on my camera to test it out and make sure all was well.  And then this happened...

and I remembered how much FUN a macro lens can be!  OMG and to think I almost let this beauty go!!!  So, just a word to the wise... be really, really sure before you sell off something you may wish you had later!

Jul 29, 2011

Reader Photo of the Day

This fabulous photo comes from Jennifer Taranto, who tells me its her all-time favorite family picture.  I can certainly see why!  Fun!!!!!

You can see more of Jen's work on her website at www.jennifertarantophotography.com

Want to have your photo published here????  Like us on facebook and post your photo on the wall for consideration!  All photos should be resized to 600 pixels on the long side.  I look forward to seeing your work!!!

Jul 27, 2011

Reader Photo of the Day

Here's a new feature I'd like to do at least once a week - a photo of the day chosen from the photographs posted on That Pixel Chick's facebook wall.  Go ahead and post yours to be considered for photo of the day honors!

Today's photo of the day comes from Tanya Cremin of www.aynatdesigns.com.au

I love the color, the mood and that bit of sunflare - I'm a sunflare junkie myself! Congrats Tanya!

Jul 25, 2011

Spotlight on... Martha Bravo!!!

I'm so excited and honored to share with you another of my favorite photographers!  I "met" Martha on an online forum and have been admiring her amazing work for a few years now.  Her work is bright, colorful and oh-so REAL!  She captures such beauty in every human being she photographs, from tiny babies to the elderly and does it in a way that makes you want to be part of her world.  Her work is artistic and full of emotion.  I am so thrilled that she agreed to be part of my new blog project!!

Name: Martha Bravo
Business name: Martha Bravo Photography
Website or blog: www.marthabravo.com 

Where do you live?  Tell us what you love most about living there!

Right now I live in Panama City, Panama in Central America. What I love of living here are the different scenarios I get to see every day. Even though I was born and raised in Mexico, Panama is completely different from my Country, especially the people. I lived for 10 years in the States before coming here and the change was brutal, but through my lens I´ve learned to love this Country.
***Martha has been kind enough to share a gorgeous album she created about her new homeland!  check it out here:  Panama Book

Describe your photography style

I think my style is natural, fun and relaxed, i try people to enjoy their session as much as their images so the whole experience is something they would do again.

How did you get started in photography? 

Photography was always my hobby. Both my parents were passionate about it so I got my first camera when I was really young. While growing up i always had a camera with me.  I studied film production so photography was closely related, just before graduating from college I started  portrait and commercial photography studies in a Photo School, but photography remained as a serious hobby. Then when my second kid was born I left my TV production job and started to dedicate more time to my real passion. As everybody else, I stated shooting my kids and close friends, soon after, I was shooting strangers so I opened my studio in 2005. I haven´t looked back ever since. Even though my life had gone through big geographic changes, I always open up shop again wherever I am and dedicate my life to this.

Do you shoot professionally?  Describe what you do and why.

Yes I do. As I said before I opened my studio in 2005.   I do all kinds of photography, newborns, children, families, weddings (just a few a year) seniors or quinceaƱeras and commercial. I believe that a good photographer has to be ready for every assignment, no matter what that is. Sure it is OK to specialize in one kind of photography or another but the possibilities are endless! Why close all the doors and leave just one open?. Truth is I get bored of doing the same over and over again so I can´t specialize just in one kind of photography.

I keep my business and my hobby appart. Even though I spent most of the time shooting for my clients, I still dedicate a lot of time to my personal photo projects. 


What’s in your bag, and what one piece of equipment could you absolutely not live without?

I am a Nikon girl, I have always been since I got my first real camera 25 years ago.  I shoot with the D700. My all time favorite lens is the 70 200 2.8 almost 85% of my work is shot with that lens. Other than that I use the 24 70 2.8  and the 50 1.4  I have a macro too for baby parts and my most recent toy is the lensbaby composer which I really really enjoy to play with.

What is your best post-processing tip?

Keep it simple, fast and consistent. I create my images in camera, I prefer to spend my time shooting than in front of the computer so I try not to do much on postprocessing. I do use textures many times and those take more time.

Was there ever an “aha” moment when you knew you had found your photographic voice?

Photography was always part of my life and I always knew that eventually I wanted to dedicate my life to it. I always knew what I wanted to do: travel and shoot.  Even though I love my portraits studio what I really love are my documentary photography projects.  I had a mentor from National Geographic and i think that with him I discovered my real passion.

What is your best advice for those who are new to photography?

As the quote says, Owning a fancy camera doesn´t make you a photographer. Learn, read, experiment, shoot in manual and then think about opening a business. This is a hard industry and photography is not as easy and glamorous as it seems. You have to work hard to survive.

If you could spend your life doing anything you wanted to do with no financial concerns, what would it be?

Exactly what I do with a little bit more of traveling.

 What inspires you?

All the things that you can see through the lens: faces, bonds, relationships, the beauty of the world.

 Show us your favorite image taken by you! (if you have one)

uff there are so many I love for one reason or another, it is hard to choose. But the ones I have shared throughout this interview are a few of my favorites both from my studio and my personal projects.

Thank you again so much Martha for sharing your beautiful work here!  If you'd like to see more of Martha's photography, you can visit her website at the link above, or check out this video ! 

Jul 22, 2011

Spotlight on... Diana Leventhal of K9 Photography!

Our very first "spotlight"!!!!  Yay!  I actually met Diana through facebook... gotta love the way you can connect to the entire photographic community there!!!  Separated by thousands of miles and several continents, we quickly became friends through our mutual love of photography and animals.  :)   Diana is an incredible artist, with a deep connection to her subjects.  Her work is bright and colorful and playful, and captures the personality of her adorable subjects in a way that just draws you right in.  I am always showing her latest work to my 11 year old son who is one of the biggest dog lovers I know... and it always elicits many ooohs and ahhhhs and giggles.  Another thing I truly admire is her work with local dog shelters... Diana volunteers her time to photograph shelter dogs to assist them in finding their forever homes!  What a wonderful, loving thing to do... something I may get involved with in my hometown as well.  Anyway... I just ADORE Diana and her work... I think you will too!

Name:   Diana Leventhal
Business name :  K9 Photography

                                                image by Life In Bloom Photography

Where do you live and what do you love about it?

I live on the Gold Coast in Australia.  It's a beautiful part of the world!  We are very fortunate because we have some of the world's most spectacular stretches of coastline and pristine beaches on one side and dense rainforest on the other side.

What inspires you?

My inspiration comes from so many places, its hard to pinpoint it really.  I guess my images are born from a combination of the personality of the dog and the location I choose for that particular breed.

Describe your photography style:

 My photography style is very contemporary, timeless and very unpredictable! Dogs are so natural so when I capture an expression or a loving moment with their owners - my work is done!

How did you get started in photography?

 I've had a camera in my hand all my life however I only decided a couple of years ago to study photoimaging and make it a full time career! It's my passion and what I am meant to be doing.

Do you shoot professionally?  Describe what you do and why...

I've been shooting professionally now for only 12 months. I take on 2 to 3 clients a week so I can give my full attention to the quality of my post production work.

Whats in your bag, and whats the one piece of equipment you absolutely couldnt live without?

I'm a Nikon gal! I don't leave home without my D700 and my 24-70mm 2.8 or my 50mm! Dog treats, don't forget the treats!

What's your best post processing tip?

My best processing tip is keep it simple! Dogs don't need a whole load retouching. It also depends on the location. If its country I may lean towards a vintage look or if we are at the beach I may saturate things a little.

Was there even an "aha" moment when you knew you had found your photographic voice?

Yes! When I wasn't afraid to show people my work and my facebook fan page reached 1000.

What's your best advice for those just starting out in photography?

Learn your craft! Take your time and attend workshops. I have learnt that you never stop learning!


If you could spend your life doing anything you wanted with no financial concerns, what would it be?

Exactly what I'm doing right now! I was a legal secretary for 20 years and gave it all up to be a Dog Photographer! I'm living my dream.

Show us your very favorite image made by you...

Oh Gosh! That's hard.  You pick!!!  

Ok... I'll pick!  This image says sooooooooo much about the bond between dogs and people! Just incredible!

Thank you soooooo so very much Diana for contributing your images and your knowledge here on the blog!  Now go check out the rest of Diana's fabulous work at her website link above!!! 

Jul 21, 2011

choosing your first "pro" glass!

First... let me say that I am NOT an expert on lenses, and I am certainly not claiming to be one here.  What I do know is that when you are starting out in photography, the expenses can sure add up.  You need a good, reliable, sharp, fast piece of glass that you can start out with.  Many people choose to use a fixed focal length or "prime" lens for this purpose, and a great choice for ANY photographer is the "nifty fifty"... the 50mm f1.8 lens of your chosen brand.  Whether you are Canon or Nikon, each manufacturer makes a nifty fifty that will serve you well.  They are small, light, inexpensive and very sharp.  Because they have an f1.8 aperture, they let in loads of light and are great for lower light conditions, or when you want to blur out the background when shooting a portrait.  They are a great starting point for your lens collection.

However... the 50mm lens can be limited and you will need to use your feet to "zoom".  This is actually a fantastic way to improve your composition skills, but we'll save that for another post.  :)

So... suppose you just want a good zoom lens?  There are lots of choices out there, but I'm going to talk here about what remains my all time favorite go-to lens.  The Tamron 28-75 f2.8.  There, I said it.  I use and adore several third-party lenses.  Bet you cant tell from my photos though, can you???  The Tamron is my favorite focal length for portraits, and I love it so much you'd have to pry it out of my cold dead hands.  LOL!  But seriously, there's no way I would ever give it up.  I loved it on my Nikon D300, with its smaller sensor, and I love it even MORE on my full frame D700.  Its simply an amazing lens.  This lens delivers seriously sharp images, even wide open at f2.8.  Many lenses need to be "stopped down" (using a higher # f-stop, i.e. f3.2)  but I shoot this one at 2.8 quite a bit and love the results I get.  Its a well-built, professional lens that feels nice and solid.  Some would argue that the Nikon version of this lens, which is a 24-70 focal length and costs three times the price is "better".   It may very well be, especially if you're  a "pixel peeper", but I dare you to really, honestly, see the difference in real world use.  The Nikon is also much heavier, which is a consideration for someone like me with hand and wrist issues.  So I guess the point I am trying to make is to choose your lenses wisely, but know that there are excellent alternatives out there to the super expensive "name brand" glass. 

To illustrate my point, here's an example from a recent session.  This is shot on my D700 with the Tamron lens, aperture f2.8, shutter speed 1/200, iso 400.  You be the judge!

and here's a 100% crop of the eye...

And a full body shot at f2.8. Just look at the beautiful background blur...

and stopped down to f3.5... look at those lashes!

If you've read this far... thank you!  I'm sure there are some who will say negative things about this and other third-party lenses.  I say give them a chance.  If you hate it you can return it, but you may be pleasantly surprised (and save a bundle of cash).  If you'd like more information, leave me a message in the comments and I'll do my best to answer you!

create your own "designer" camera bag

I adore all of the pretty new camera bags that have come out in recent years, and I've owned a few of them too. But generally, they can be really expensive, and I get tired of them easily.  Also, I can be quite hard on them as well with all of the beach shooting that I do, and so I dont always like to carry an expensive bag. So, I've come up with a way to have a new bag pretty much whenever the urge strikes... I make my own!

Here's how:

If you go to B&H Photo's online store you can purchase an insert made by Tenba.

The insert will easily hold a DSLR with lens attached, two additional lenses or a lens and a flash, plus your cell phone, keys, etc. The best thing is when you are tired of the bag, or just want a change, the insert comes right out and slips into a new bag.  :)   Gotta love that!

Jul 19, 2011

call for submissions!

As a regular feature of this blog I plan to showcase the work of many different photographers with different styles, philosophies and specialties. If you have an interesting session to share and would like to be featured on this blog please contact me at denise.snyder@ymail.com I'd LOVE to hear from you!!!

Jul 18, 2011

Its all about capturing the moment...

When I bought my very first DSLR, a Nikon D50, I was an avid scrapbooker, trying to capture and record every moment of my kids lives so I could relive those moments whenever I wanted. They were growing so fast! I soon became frustrated with the lag time on the shutter of my digital point and shoot, and thanks to a generous Christmas bonus from my employer decided to take the plunge into the world of digital SLR photography. From the moment I held that little D50 in my hands I was totally hooked! Now I had this wonderful camera that could literally "freeze time". No more missed shots! It was truly love at first click!

That, of course, was the start of a much bigger obsession for me... and I have since owned a Nikon D200, a D300 and now a D700, my full-frame beast that has exceeded my wildest dreams and has become, truly, an extension of myself... a way for me to record my world the way I see it. I had no idea at the time that I bought that little D50 where it would lead me, or how much photography would change my world... my every waking moment.

If you are new to photography, remember we were all there once, with so much to learn ... struggling to figure it all out. My advice would be to relax, read as much as you can, join some forums, get involved in the photographic community online. You will find that most of us are more than willing to lend a hand. Just remember to take the advice and even the criticism with an open mind... and remember to thank those who help you along your journey. If you have questions or specific areas you would like more information on, please write to me at denise.snyder@ymail.com and I will do my best to cover them right here on the blog.

In the spirit of capturing the moment... my way... I had tons of fun photographing my husband and youngest son while they played in the pool yesterday. These images were all shot with my Nikon D700 and lensbaby composer with the double glass optic. In Lightroom 3.0 I did some very experimental (for me) processing, trying to emulate a toy camera look with lightleaks and color shifts.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on the processing... I've saved them as presets and may offer some of them to you all right here on the blog.

Jul 12, 2011

the first post ...

What else do you title your first post when you have so many ideas floating around in your head and cant decide what to post first? Well, I thought that if I'm going to blog about photography I'd better open myself up first and show a few of my favorite images so you can get a sense of who I am as an artist. Sound fair? So... here goes! These are a few recent favorites that are still on my computer hard drive at the moment:

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