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Lightroom 101: October 13

We’re excited to be presenting a workshop all about Lightroom on October 13, 2012 at MEI Secondary School in Abbotsford.  A big thank you to Rick Having, who will be teaching the workshop.

This will be a full day workshop, from 9am-4:30pm (bring your own lunch).  The cost for non MWAC members is just $50 (includes remaining 2012 membership).  There are a total of 28 seats available in the workshop.  Each participant will have their own computer work station for hands on learning. Once your payment is in you will be considered registered.  No payment = not registered. Payment can be given in person to Shari Saysomsack or mailed to 16162 Springside Ct, Surrey, BC, V4N 1S2 (paypal may also be an option).  This is an incredible deal for a full day workshop, let alone one in a computer lab.  Whether you’re just starting out with photography or more experienced, this is a wonderful opportunity!  A course such as this would have been so valuable when I was just starting out, it’s so much better to learn how to do something right the first time.  Therefore, if you’re trying to decide if you should come to this, we whole heartedly would say, “come!”  We are not planning on doing something similar in the future, therefore please don’t wait until next time since there may not be a next time.  This workshop is for everyone!

Wondering what Lightroom actually is?  Check out this short video clip to get a better idea, http://tv.adobe.com/watch/getting-started-with-adobe-photoshop-lightroom-3/what-is-lightroom/.  Lightroom is very user friendly, quite affordable and perfect for the hobbyist photographer.  We will be referring to editing in lightroom throughout the 2013 year. Lightroom will help you take your images from ordinary to extraordinary.
Below you can read a little more about what will be covered in Lightroom
Lightroom 101 :Presented by Rick Havinga and Moms with a Camera

Differences between LR and PS, what are the strengths in both.

Structure and Flow of Lightroom. 

Importing a photos into LR and settings paths and tags.

Understanding RAW format.

Working through the Library Module of LR.

Understanding all the options in the Development Module of LR.

         Using Presets (and how to make your own)

         Manual Editing of photos

         Rick’s basic 5 edits to an average photo.

         Cleaning up facial features with the Brush Tool

         Using the Sync tool in Batch processing.

         Exporting photos

         Working beyond LR with Photoshop

Understanding the Print Module in LR.

Understanding the Web Module in LR.
***We will have several amazing giveaways at the workshop as well!
 Sarah from My4Hens Photography has donated a set of presets for Lightroom (value of $40).  See the attached images to show what the straight out of the camera photo looks like and how it can be edited with a preset from My4Hens.  My4Hens is a very well known photographer in the USA, check her out here, http://www.my4hensphotography.com/ or her fb page here, http://www.facebook.com/#!/MyFourHens
Jessica from One Willow has also donated a set of presets (value of $45) as a giveaway.  One Willow is also a very well known company for presets and actions used by professional photographers. Check her out here, http://www.onewillowboutique.com/ or her facebook page here http://www.facebook.com/#!/OneWillowPresets
Pretty Presets is also giving away a $50 gift certificate for any preset collection.  Pretty Presets also has a wonderful blog with lots of great resources, be sure to check out their site!
For more information about the workshop please email Shari at momswithacamera@gmail.com or call at 604-583-6126
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July Bonus: Urban

When I’m choosing locations to take photos of my kids, I know what pops into my head are places in nature like the beach, a field, a park, by the river, or more simply; the backyard! To encourage you to get out of your photo routine or comfort zone, one of our July photo bonus assignments is “urban.” For my photo I kept my eyes open for locations around downtown that I thought might lend a more urban feel to a photo. I also wanted to keep in mind a location that would be safe enough for my 2.5 year old and I.

It’s probably not always necessary, but for my little one, a distraction of a treat she had never had (a lollipop) slowed her down so that I could snap some pictures of something other than the back of her head as she ran away, or super close-ups as she ran to hug me!  I could have also given her a shopping bag, a balloon, or a toy to slow her down.


If you have a very young child or baby and don’t feel comfortable doing this photo bonus assignment with your own child, you can take this opportunity to take a photo of a friend’s child or a family member!

Some ideas for locations: downtown buildings, brick walls, graffiti walls, alleys, sidewalks, store windows, shopping areas, coffee shops, etc.

Pay attention to the background in your photo.  Because the assignment is all about location, you’ll want to include some of the environment in your shot, so take a step or two back and make sure you take some photos that include more than just your child’s face!

You can use your aperture creatively.  If you want to blur out some of the foreground and background to have a shallower depth of field (area in focus from near to far) you’ll want to choose a small aperture number.  For my photo I used f/2.8.  Or, if you want to have more of the foreground and background in focus, you’ll want to choose a bigger number like f/8.

Also keep in mind some of the other tips we’ve talked about.  Pay attention to the lighting and see if you can get nice light in your subject’s eyes.  If you want to challenge yourself, see if you can use the rule of thirds or another compositional tip!

E-mail your urban bonus photo to mwac.challenges@gmail.com by Tuesday, July 3rd. If you don’t get your photo done by then, still take on the assignment and e-mail it when you’ve got it done!  Also, another friendly reminder to choose only one photo to e-mail.

~Sonja, MWAC assistant co-ordinator

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Going Manual with your DSLR

Do you have a DSLR camera but still have it set on automatic?  It’s time to learn how to expose your photos manually and take control of your ISO, aperture and shutter speed.  Learning how to better take control of your camera is one of the best ways to start improving your photography skills.  Join us on July 19th at 7pm for our going manual workshop.

Please RSVP as soon as possible by emailing momswithacamera@gmail.com

Thank you to Jayme Ann Photography for being available to help out our Nikon girls!

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Photo Bonus: Hands

For the next few months, we are having photo bonuses as opposed to challenges.  If you were at the last meeting, we gave out a new schedule, including some changes to the photo challenges and bonuses.  We encourage you to participate in the photo bonuses by taking a photo related to the theme and e-mailing it to mwac.challenges@gmail.com. The next photo challenge is “hands”. You may interpret that however you wish. Let this photo bonus inspire you to remember to take photos of the details!

Please e-mail your “hands” photo anytime between now and Tuesday, June 5th. Anna will watermark them and post them on the facebook page in a “Hands” album.

Have fun, and think outside the box!

~Sonja

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Planning a Cake Smash

The most popular first birthday photography theme these days is a cake smash.  The idea is that you put a nice cake in front of your little one and let them go at it.  Take some photos of the cake first and then just continue snapping as your child digs in.  The more mess the better.  Just a tip, always go for white cake. Chocolate cake and brown icing smeared all over your little one’s face just doesn’t look very nice.

You could make your own cake or pick one up from a local baker.  The cake in the photos was just purchased from a local IGA.  Some grocery stores even offer free birthday cakes for a child’s first birthday, just inquire at the bakery section to find out.  Oversized cupcakes are also fun and easy.  These photos were just taken in my living room (large window on the left).  If you have a reflector or large white bristol board, styrofoam, etc, I would suggest using that on the other side to bounce the natural light onto your subjects face.

Don’t forget to get some great detail shots of little hands and feet.   Remember the more mess the better.  One of the great things about doing a cake smash photo shoot is that you’re doing the first taste of sweets and all the mess that goes with it before the party.  Therefore there’s no need to feel like you have to give your child a pice of cake at the actual party, followed by a bath and clean up when all your guests are over.  Of course you still can, but you won’t need to worry about getting great photos at the same time.

Try different angles for different perspectives.   For the above photos I was standing on a chair and shooting down; when you do this you don’t include the wall/ background in the photo.   If possible, have your child facing a light source to get some of those great catchlights (sparkle) in their eyes.  If you don’t have any wood/ laminate flooring in your house, you could always get some cheap laminate and pout together a little section or just ask a  friend/ family member to do the shoot at their house.

Print and use the photos as a part of your party decorations.  I made the pink bunting ahead of time so that we could use it in the photo shoot as well as for party decor.  The theme of the party was pink and brown polka dots.  A collage of the photo shoot made great thank you/ announcement cards that were given out at the party.  In the end, we got some great birthday shots and didn’t have to stress too much about the photo results at the party, not to mention great party decor.

For boys, how about a cute baby tie or party hat?  Be creative and have fun!

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10 Things to Avoid in Photography

Here is a list of ten things to avoid in photography.  By knowing some things to avoid doing in your photography, you will be able to take better pictures instead of getting stuck in some common “ruts.”  Some of the following photo examples of what to avoid are actual “mistakes” that we’ve made, and others were created and exaggerated just to make the point really clear!  The “better” photos are in no way meant to be examples of stellar photography, but rather to show how a slight change can make a big improvement in how your photos look.

1) Boring composition (centering everything, always shooting from above, always shooting too close).  If you find that you tend to compose your photos the same way often, make it a project to switch it up, and take pictures of your child from many angles (in front, using rule of thirds, from the side, centered, from above, from their level, etc.)

2) Blurry/Out of Focus photos (shutter speed is too slow, aperture is too wide-depth of field is too narrow )  Make sure to use a high enough shutter speed for the situation.   If your shutter speed is high enough, the problem might be because you are shooting with an aperture that is too wide.  This would mean that your depth of field is too narrow.  If you change your aperture to a bigger number-close your aperture down- your depth of field will be bigger, and more of your photo will be in focus. If you have to, break out the flash.  It’s better to use flash than to have a blurry photo.  The pop-up flash on your camera does create harsh lighting, but if my choice is between a “flashy” picture or a blurry one, I’ll take the flashy one any day!

3) Poor exposure (either by using automatic or semi-manual modes and the camera can’t make the proper decision for your photo, or by using manual mode incorrectly).  Learn to read your camera’s meter, learn to read histograms, and learn how to manipulate ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed to create proper exposure.

4) Having poles, sticks, trees, flowers, branches, flagpoles, etc. “growing” out of people’s heads.  Always pay attention to backgrounds.   If you can’t get away from a busy background, use a zoom lens to cut out some of the clutter, and use a wider aperture (smaller number) to blur away some of the foreground and background.

5) Poor lighting.  Avoid dappled lighting (common in areas with trees, as the sunlight filters through and has patchy areas of very bright light and shade right next to each other).  Also avoid posing directly in bright sunlight.  You will often get very harsh lighting on one side of the face and dramatic shadows on the other side.  Possing in direct sun also will usually cause the “model” to squint.  Either find a spot in open shade or use backlighting and meter off of the skin.

6) Over-processing eyes.  A little bit of an “eye-pop” is nice, but don’t go overboard with it in post-processing.  Always try to get enough light in the eyes when you are taking the photo and make sure the eyes are clear.  Sometimes people get carried away and eyes can look “alien”.

7) Over-processing skin.  People are not barbies, and shouldn’t have plasticy skin.  Take a light approach if you choose to smooth skin in your photographs.  Leave freckles, moles, etc.  Removing temporary marks (scratches, bruises, dried food, acne, makes sense, but there’s no need to go overboard with skin smoothing.  It’s nice to see some texture.)

8) Heavy vignetting.  Over-use of vignetting in post-processing almost always looks a bit cheesy.  Many photographers will “burn” the edges of a photograph in order to bring the eye inward, but usually if it’s done well, you can’t even tell that it’s been done.

Notice how the effect really makes those above images look dated.  Below you can see the original photo.  Notice how the sky at the top edge of the photo is really bright?  By adding a very slight vignette (or burning the edges very faintly) your eyes are drawn into the image, but you don’t really notice an obvious vignette.

9) Selective colouring.  Very rarely does “selective colour” look good in photographs.  You’ll have seen this before where the baby is in black and white, and just the hair bow is in colour.  It often draws more attention to the editing than to what the subject should be; the child in the photo.   Don’t rely on it to make your photos special.

10)  Always waiting for the “perfect photo opportunity” and thus not taking enough photos.  You miss capturing the memories for fear of not being perfect.

We hope this has been helpful!  Any questions or comments?  Please comment on this blog post and we will be happy to respond!

~Sonja