Monday, March 31, 2014

Inspiration Monday...Featured photographer

Today's feature is sweet as can be. It is different than any lifestyle i've shared before. I instantly fell in love with it the moment I opened up her email. I won't keep you any longer. Please take some time to read about Sarah of Sarah Hudson Photography

 How did you come up with your business name? 

It came to me in a dream. ;)  Actually, I took the easy way out and just used my name.  I’m not very creative. 

 What brought you to photography? 

my kids, and then a need to find myself after having kids.  I needed something that was just for me. 

What do you like to shoot?

my family, other people’s families.  I would really like to start photographing more of the older generation.  We often focus on capturing moments when our babes are little, but life should and needs to be documented later in life, too.

 who is your favorite muse? 

my kiddos, for sure.

 What is in your camera bag? 

5d mark iii, 35mm, 50mm and 85mm,  although my 35 is my workhorse lens.  The other two collect dust. 


 What type of camera bag do you rock? 

a beat up epiphanie lyric in mustard and a Lowerpro backpack that I use for sessions.  

 photoshop or Lightroom? 

both, but lightroom is my main squeeze.  I do about 95% of my editing with LR.  I really need to tackle photoshop soon!

 Jpeg or Raw? 


 In three words only how would you describe your photography style? 

I have a hard time describing myself in any area of my life and this was no exception, but I’ll go with natural, fun and hopefully (at least occasionally) emotive.

 Top 2 favorite photographers and why? 

So hard to pick two because there are so many that I love, but I really adore Molly Flannagan for her lifestyle work and Katy Tuttle for her poetic imagery.  

Favorite season to shoot and why? 

I don’t know if I have a favorite, but the evening light in late summer and early fall is lovely.

 what is your non photography related down fall? (example:  chocolate, soda..)

this time of year. . . cadbury creme eggs.  I can never get enough!

 What is your most embarrassing moment at a shoot to date? 

I fell in a lake during a family session.  I saved my camera, but had to shoot the remainder of the session soaking wet from the waist down. Oy!

 What is your one best piece of advice to give someone just starting out?  

It is not a race.  I have to remind myself of that sometimes.  I have a long way to go and it can be frustrating, but it is a journey and one that I realize (and hope) never ends.  I’m trying really hard to see value in my work at EVERY stage even though some of it makes me cringe! :)

 If you weren't a photographer what would you be, any dream careers?  

Own a record shop!  I used to work at one in college and, although the pay was crap, the music and the people were fantastic! 

 What is your goal for photography for the next 3 years?  

My kids start school full time next year so I’m going to give it my best shot and go full time.  I have a lot of changes to make so that it will work, but I’m excited to try!

To keep up with Sarah's work follow her Facebook page Sarah Hudson Photography Go show her some love. Until next time, XOXO

Friday, March 28, 2014

Outdoors winner and top 9

What an amazing week we had. So many amazing outdoor images that came in. A huge thank you to our guest judge Ginger of Ginger Unzueta Photography she really had her work cut out for her. She did a fabulous job choosing her favorites. So I won't keep you any longer. Here are a few words from Ginger about her judging experience with us...

"This week I really enjoyed seeing all the outdoor images. I love watching my children explore and play in the fresh air. Living in Florida allows us to be outside year round which is truly a gift. I had such a hard time picking the images this week. They were all fantastic and showed such a variety in the world around us."- Ginger

Winning images....

A few words from ginger about why she chose this image as winner...

"This week I chose the winning image from Sonja Stitch, because it immediately made me stop. I love the details of this image. It was such a beautiful picture of childhood outdoors. I also really loved the conversion." - Ginger

Top 9 in no particular order...

A huge thank you to Ginger for guest judging. until next time, XOXO

Free lensing....Expanding your creativity.

Do you feel stunted? Like you're stuck in a rut and not happy with your work? Feel like you just cant be any more creative then you already are? Well, I have a suggestion for you that has helped for me. 

When I feel like I am bored with my work and feel uninspired. I try something new. Any time you try something new your brain works on over drive and you will naturally feel inspired and creative. One of the things I have tried and absolutely fell in love with is free lensing. 

When I first tried free lensing I just wasn't happy. My images were not what I was looking for or what I have seen around the photography community. I took a break from it and went back a few weeks later and tried again. After doing a bit of research. I quickly found out I wasn't doing it the suggested way. I'm sure you don't have to do it this way but this is the way that worked best for me. 

First, I set my lens on manual focus and turned it to focus infinity. If you aren't sure what that means heres a link that will help. focus infinity After you have your lens on focus infinity detach your lens from your camera body and hold it up in front of your camera. To start, put it in where the lens would naturally be as far as you can get it in the camera body and then look through your view finder and slowly pull the lens away from the camera body. You should see when it hits focus. Pull it back in and then try it again until you know about where it hits focus. After you get used to that start moving your lens side to side slowly, twisting it and turning your lens after you pull it away from body and hit focus. Take some shots. have fun...

Now the fun thing about free lensing is you don't have to hit focus every shot and images can still be so beautiful. I purposely miss focus when free lensing. The more you play with it and turn and twist and figure out what your lens does. The more creative you can get with it. The looks you can achieve with free lensing are endless. Theres so much you can do. Something fun I do. Is stand above my subject so I am looking down with my camera when the sun is high in the sky. so once your lens is away from your camera body it allows for some amazing light leaks. Like this image below. I stood above him and shot down so the sun went directly into the lens as I pulled it away from the body and made a pretty light leak. 

Free lensing has really brought my creativity back. I feel refreshed and inspired. Every image is different. So take your camera out and get yourself out of this creative rut you have been in. Here are some more images I free lensed...

A couple great lenses to free lens with are the 50mm and the 85mm. My preference is the 85mm. So I use my 1.8 that is much cheaper than any other lens I have. The 85mm is so dreamy to free lens with. but the 50 is great to. I just prefer the 85. Some photographers actually use a cheaper lens like the 50 1.8 and rip the back of it off so you have more room to move around. Here is a link to see what I am talking about. modifying 50mm for free lensing I shoot canon but this was a great nikon tutorial for modifying your lens for free lensing.  Remember you do not want anything getting in your camera. So be very cautious when you are free lensing. Don't take a break and forget to put the lens on. Don't leave your camera wide open for too long. Take breaks often and attach the lens. Be smart, be careful but have fun... Thank you for reading I hope you this helps some people with it. Once you catch on to how it works you will not want to stop. It is addicting, you've been warned...until next time, XOXO

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Inspiration Wednesday...Featured Photographer!

You are in for a real treat today. You are witnessing some serious magical work. Sit back and read a bit about Julie Mcgann of Julie Mcgann Fine Art Portraits Her work is a real treat. Absolutely amazing imagery!

How did you come up with your business name?

My business name used to be Julie Marie Photography, until I realized that there are a million other Julie Maries in the world.  I wanted to stand out from the rest, so I decided to go with my own name...Julie McGann. Since I create a more unique style of photography, I decided to go with Fine Art Portraits.  So, that is how I came up with my new name of Julie McGann Fine Art Portraits.  

What brought you to photography?

Although my formal educational background is in music education and music therapy, I have always been interested in the visual arts. It wasn't until my children were born that I realized just how much I loved taking pictures. Not only did I enjoy photographing my children posing for me, but I began to chronicle their daily activities. That is when I got my first DSLR camera and really began the process of learning about photography.

 What do you like to shoot?

I am drawn to magical storybook fairytale-like photography from reading many books to my children when they were little. I loved the stories portrayed and how my kids would want to be friends with the characters. Since childhood, I have approached life in a positive way. When I make portraits of children, I like to channel my inner little girl, because it brings me back to a happy place. I love seeing the joy in each child's face when they describe the details of their most fascinating fantasies! 

I bring children's imagination to life worldwide through Illustrative Portraiture. Each picture is completely different and custom made to the child's imaginary vision. The possibilities are endless! I love to share the child's imaginary idea on Facebook, so everyone can see how we worked together to make their very special portrait! The photo sessions we have together are the most unique sessions they will ever experience! The best part about my job is that I can offer these unique portraits to any child in the rest of the world through use of their personal photos! 

I create whimsical fantasy portraits for newborns, babies, toddlers and young children. I create nursery art from the imagination of parents for their newborns and babies. The toddlers and young children are the ones that tell me their wildest dreams and I make them come true! This is the age when they have the greatest imagination ever!  I am always open to special requests.  Recently, a request came from a pet owner who loves her dogs as if they were her children. She really wanted to have a portrait of her dogs having an elegant tea party, so I made that happen for her!    

 who is you favorite muse?

My children are my inspiration! They have such vivid imaginations when they are little and I just wanted to capture their adorable thoughts at that moment and hold onto them forever! Soon they will grow older and realize those dreams were a fantasy and can't happen, because they are not real. I decided to write down their thoughts and ideas and turn them into whimsical fantasy portraits that can be revisited for a lifetime. Children are dreamers and I really wanted to find a way to make their fantasies come true just once by capturing the art of childhood. 

 What is in your camera bag?

My Canon EOS Rebel T2i. Believe it or not, for most of the pictures I take, I only need to use my kit lens, because I create backgrounds from various pictures blended together. So, all I need is a nice sharply focused picture. However, if I am taking traditional portraits, I absolutely love my 50mm 1.4 lens. 

 What type of camera bag do you rock?

A Crumpler 3 Million Dollar Home Camera Bag

 photoshop or Lightroom?

I use Photoshop only! I love Photoshop! 

 Jpeg or Raw?

I use RAW and jpg, because I tend to be a worrier. This will make absolutely certain that I get that perfect shot!

 In three words only how would you describe your photography style?

Whimsical Storybook Fantasy

Top 2 favorite photographers and why?

I love the childlike whimsy of Barb Uil from Jinkyart Photography's portraits. I love how she adds animals to some of her pictures and her zebra picture is one of my favorites! I however, can not afford to rent a zebra, which gave me the idea of doing composite photography. I could then create whimsical photography with animals, like the zebra, without the need to spend a lot of money on props, renting and all the problems that come with safety around animals. My pictures always include an animal in some aspect, usually doing something unusual!
That is when I started learning about composite photography and photo manipulation. I came across Cindy Grundsten on DeviantArt, on which I am also a premium member ( HYPERLINK "" I was immediately impressed by the breathtakingly beautiful imaginary world she created in each image involving children and animals. It was then that I decided to create my own imaginary whimsical world for children with animals.

 Favorite season to shoot and why?

My favorite season to shoot would most definitely be Spring!  My style of photography is Whimsical Fantasy Portraits. I bring children's imagination to life through Illustrative Portraiture. Part painting, part photograph, my portraits have a pastel watercolor feel so that children can see what they might look like on a page of a storybook.  Springtime is an amazing time for capturing those pastel shades of nature.  

 what is your non photography related down fall? (example:  chocolate, soda..)

Oh definitely Cheez-Its and Ghirardelli Dark & Mint Chocolate Squares!

What is your most embarrassing moment at a shoot to date?

I would have to say my first shoot doing this style of portraits outside my family would be my most embarrassing moment.  I was not fully prepared with the idea that a small child thought I truly was going to bring a zoo animal to their house.  She was terrified when I entered her home, thinking I had an enormous creature.  Eventually, she understood that we were just pretending, but now I like to make sure they know, in advance, that we are really just making a super awesome pretend picture!  

 What is your one best piece of advice to give someone just starting out?

Once you have discovered your passion for photography, be sure to test out every area. You need to have tried everything to find your niche! Once you find what you enjoy, learn as much as you can about it. Take workshops and learn from online tutorials. Find a photography style that sets you apart from all the other photographers in the world. 

 If you weren't photographer what would you be, any dream careers?

Before becoming a photographer, I was a K-12 Special Education Music Teacher for children with Emotional Behavioral Disability. Music served as a calming source to soothe anxieties and stimulate non-verbal communication and self expression. In return, they show improved self esteem. I enjoyed bringing smiles to children's faces in the midst of their emotional turmoil. I feel the same way with my photography.  I can make the impossible possible for children...just as I brought on the smiles for these children. Photography is my dream job!  I couldn't imagine doing anything else!  

 What is you goal for photography for the next 3 years?

Because my style of photography is so different from anyone else out there, my goal is to find out where I belong and how to take my photography to the next level!  I am super excited about finding my niche!  It brings me great joy making these pictures for children. I hope to bring smiles to each child's face when they see their impossible dreams become realities on paper! I want to capture the art of childhood...make a keepsake that parents can cherish forever. Kids are only little for a short time before those imaginations become less spontaneous and free. I find joy in being the one to document each child's early fantasies as a keepsake for the entire family. 

To continue to follow Julies work her Facebook page is the place to be. Julie Mcgann Fine At Portriats Go show her some love. Until next time, XOXO