A Disney Dream… Wedding that is!

Hi all!  I am so excited to share this post with you!!  As you know, I’ve spent months planning, researching cameras and equipment, practicing with my new gear, and trying to learn as much as I could about Disney Cruise weddings so that I could capture these images as my big sister walked down the aisle.  For anyone that knows my sister, Ashley, she has had a love affair with Mickey Mouse since she was a toddler, so I couldn’t imagine a more perfect way for her to tie the knot with her real life prince charming than with a Disney wedding!

This was my first real solo adventure as the official wedding photographer, so while everyone (especially the bride) was really laid back, I still felt the pressure to get great shots.  My new brother-in-law, Nate, is an renowned video game art director and is a photoshop wiz to say the least.  As my sister put it “as long as you get a few shots that are in focus with decent lighting, we can make it work”… ha!  But I’m happy to report that there was minimal photoshopping needed (well, except to whiten everyones teeth of course)!

Biggest challenges… bright tropical beach sun and oddly lit reception space… lets just say the cake shot is the only reception shot here for a reason, though I couldn’t leave out our family photo that another guest kindly took for me!  Still kicking myself for not making everyone go outside on the deck where there was perfect lighting (by the time I realized that, everyone had split to go to the beach or buffet, lol).  But despite the challenges, I’m really happy with how they turned out and hope you all enjoy.  Cheers to Ashley & Nate, thank you for allowing me to capture this special day for you, love you guys!!!

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 3.3 Elizabeth Makeup

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4.4 Ash Ty Walk

 5.1 Ceremony Girls

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6.0 Mickey

6.4 Hobie

6.3 Beach Pose2

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9.6 Cabanas 3

6.6 Elevator

9.1 Guys Chairs2

10.1 Smokestack 2

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6.7 Life Boat

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Spring is Sprung!

What is that bright thing out my window?  And what is this strange sensation… warmness?  Can it be true… is spring really here??  It feels like it’s been such a long cold winter, it’s hard to believe we’ve finally turned a corner!

It’s been such fun taking the new camera outside without freezing my fingers off or worrying about dropping it in the snow.  I’m loving the Sony, though I’m still learning some of it’s quirks (I mean “features”), like when you’re in Portrait mode and take a backlit photo… it automatically goes into some sort of HDR mode where it takes multiple shots at different exposure bracketing and merges them (at least I think that’s what it’s doing?).  It freaked me out when this first happened, but the shots turned out remarkably nice!

I’ve also been playing with my external flash (Nikon SB-510), which I love!  As a natural light lover, I never thought I’d say “love” and “flash” in the same sentence, but being able to bounce a speed light off the wall and create soft fill light or cast shadows is really cool (check out the one of my baby playing, it almost looks like window light).

I probably won’t be back to blog for a couple weeks, but when I do I will hopefully have lots of good material!  Vacation and a wedding in the Bahamas… bring on the sun!!DSC00537 DSC00485DSC00526 DSC00565 DSC00551 DSC00505 DSC00500

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Waiting and Waiting and…!!!

A couple of weekends ago I made a special trip to Dallas with my baby and my new baby (camera that is) in tow, to visit my little brother who recently returned from his first deployment in the Army (so proud of you Ty)!  I was hoping that while there I would get to meet my new nephew who was due any day, but he kept us waiting and waiting until it was time to fly home and there was still no baby Ben.

While we patiently waited, I was able to get some shots of my beautiful sister and her doting husband at my mother’s house.  I was hoping these would be the last photos taken before baby Ben arrived, but he waited a whole week and a half more to make his debut!  I’m so proud to be his aunt already, and I can’t wait to make it back to Dallas to meet him and take some photos of their adorable little family =)

BTW…I’m still loving the Sony, every time I pick it up I’m amazed with the clarity of the images and how smart the controls are!  My favorite part about these photos is the lighting, I love how soft and dramatic window light can be.  Stay tuned for my next post… I’ll be playing with my new 24-70mm lens and external flash =)

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New Camera, New Possibilities!

My first post with my new camera, so exciting!  I’m very happy to report that I’m already in love with my new Sony A7II and my Zeiss 35mm lens (thank you Jen & Natasha for the recommendations for a fixed lens)!  I have yet to try out my new 24-70mm or the external flash, but one piece of gear at a time =)

After carefully unpacking everything & charging the battery, I did a quick perusal of the owners manual then tossed it over my shoulder and gleefully started snapping away… only to realize there were so many features that I was just getting in my own way.  So I turned to YouTube videos to walk me through the menus and settings options (such nice people who post free tutorials!) and in short order I was back on my way.  Here is a quick review of the A7II…

Love the compact body design!  The lack of mirror saves size/weight, and the electronic view finder is pretty awesome (at first I complained that it lagged between shots, only to realize I had a “feature” turned on that would display the last photo taken for a moment, just had to turn it off).  I love being able to see exactly how my shot is going to look without having to snap/glance at the LCD/adjust settings/snap again/repeat…  The smart settings are definitely proving to be smarter than me.  No matter what adjustments I made in manual mode, I always ended up liking the way the shots turned out more on the smart settings (favorites so far are Portrait and Sports mode… great for capturing fast moving toddlers)!

And true to my style I already have a backlog of photos, but I’ve come up with a new work flow process that I think is going to work a lot better for me… (1. Save raw files to hard drive & backup to external, 2. Import ones I want to edit to Lightroom & edit, 3. Export high & low res final images, 4. Backup finals).  I also came up with a new filename structure to better stay organized.

One note about post processing… I upgraded to Lightroom 5! I was previously using a combo of Aperture & Lightroom 3 (I liked the organizational ease of Aperture, but my libraries kept crashing and I liked the editing features in Lightroom better), but LR3 wouldn’t support Sony’s RAW file structure.  I’m doing the free trial of LR5 right now, will decide later if it’s worth the purchase!  My only big complaint so far is that auto tone (my go to feature for quick improvements) seems to be creating a lot of noise in my images, so I ended up doing a lot more manual adjustments.  This yielded better results but was much more time consuming (see if you can tell the difference on some of these… my first batch of editing used auto tone, I might go back to the RAW files and start over on some of them)!  But so far I’m loving the quality of shots from the new camera that overall very little post processing seems needed, hooray =)

Here are some of my proudest moments with my new camera… from home & from a trip to Dallas to visit family last weekend.  My next post will feature maternity photos of my sister… hopefully they’ll get posted before my nephew arrives!!GiGi Giggles Bookstore Silly Daddy Snow White New Camera Selfie That Face Go Outside?

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It’s been a long time Baby!

Hi all!  I’m so sorry it’s been so long, years in fact.  I’ve been a bit busy… a big promotion at work, followed by pregnancy, and a year of being full time work & full time mom, have left my blog (and my camera) a little lonely.  But I’m hoping that is about to change!  Resolved to take more photos of my precious girl, and motivated to clear the cobwebs out of my shutter prior to a very important gig (my sister’s wedding) next month, I’m back to blog all about it.

In very exciting news, I’ve just upgraded all of my equipment.  My trusty Nikon D60 has been with me since my first photography class at the local college 7 years ago… (I got it cheap as a floor sample from Best Buy… I didn’t want to spend much only to decide photography wasn’t my thing), and I’ve taken some wonderful shots with it.  But it’s now a little worse for the wear, is lacking a plethora of cool new features that are now standard on so many cameras, and I’m ready to move up to a full frame camera.  After much hemming and hawing, I ordered the Nikon D610.  The day after placing my order I found myself with a huge case of buyers remorse… and it hadn’t even been delivered yet!  I know that Nikon & Cannon are the gold standard of the pros, but I found myself dissapointed that I had just spent a small fortune on a camera that didn’t have some of the key features I wanted (wifi being one… because the models with it were out of my price range), and one that was bigger and heavier than my current one (when I know any camera I owned would get used far more if it fit in my diaper bag)!

So the very day my order arrived, I shipped it back to B&H (after taking the hit for shipping & insurance, ugh) and ordered the SONY A7II mirrorless full frame, along with 35mm & 24-70mm lenses.  I’m a little nervous about learning a new system, but I’ve had a couple of Sony Cybershots over the years and loved them, so I’m hoping the interface won’t be totally foreign.  Overall I’m very excited, and will be reporting back how I like it once I’ve had a chance to play with it!

I haven’t taken a total hiatus since I last blogged, but instead of trying to do some major catch up, I’ll leave you with a few of my latest pictures of my favorite subject… Enjoy!

Outdoor Girl

Outdoor Girl

Snow Angel

Snow Angel

Tutu Cute

Tutu Cute

Bright eyes

Bright eyes

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Baby Fles is on the Way!

So today’s post is out of order! I still have many photo’s from my ski trip to Tahoe last month to post, but was too excited about this latest batch to wait. I had the honor of taking maternity photo’s for my good friends last weekend (and had to get them edited in time for the baby shower today!). For those of you that follow my photo’s you may recognize some of the scenery… my friend Jonnie let us use her family’s farm as the backdrop, which is where I took her engagement photo’s (one of my first ever photo shoots!).

We don’t know yet if they’re having a boy or girl… any guesses?











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Costa Rica 2012

Once again, it has been far too long! Lots of traveling, lots of work, the usual excuses =) I had the privilege of going to Costa Rica yet again this year and as always it was incredible. Probably the best/closest monkey encounters yet, new hikes with incredible scenery (and bugs… but no pics of those…), and breathtaking waterfalls. Enjoy!

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