My Summer Focus…”Thankful for the Moment”

Thank you God for creating such beautiful designs. It amazes me how perfect this dandelion is!

Happy Tuesday!!!  So, I came across something online that inspired me to have a photography focus this summer.  (My inspiration came from this site: www.aholyexperience.com.  I subscribe to this blog.  I love the photos they integrate with words and ideas.  I love all of it.  AND I just ordered Ann’s book “One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are.”  I’m really excited about reading it while doing this photography focus.)  I’m calling it “Thankful for the Moment.”  A journey of hunting for God in the moments of daily life and praising Him along the way.  I’m not going to force myself or commit to taking a picture every day, but I definitely want to try as often as I can.  I want to look for the every day beauty right before my eyes, praise God more, and relish in awe of Him.  It may not be with my good camera all the time.  It might even be photos taken with my little point and shoot that is always kept in my purse.  I’m not going to care as much about that and instead focus on stopping for a moment to “see” the world with a different pair of eyes.  To enjoy the little things.  To search for beauty.  The really cool thing is that this project really started a couple weeks ago without me realizing it.  As I’ve slowed down I’ve been able to see again.  I’ve been stopping and taking photos here and there just for fun.  It’s been invigorating! 🙂

Please feel free to follow my summer journey on Facebook at www.facebook.com/raindancerstudios.  I just posted a new album today titled “Thankful for the Moment.” Check it out.  If you are not a FB user, don’t worry.  You can still access business pages!   Just click on the link.

My tip for you today is to consider having a summer photography focus like this or perhaps create some other goal that will help you explore photography more this summer.  Have fun with it!  Take time to breathe a little deeper…to see beauty…to embrace God’s goodness…to give thanks for the simple things in life.

Don’t allow the passion to be lost…

I love spontaneous photography moments!! This is my favorite from this past week! Feel free to click on pictures to see them up close.

I think the hard thing about being a photographer is that my job does not have a consistent schedule.  Most of the time photographers also stay home with their kids, and maybe some of them are crazy (and lucky) enough to homeschool as well.  Sessions are all over the place from daytime to evening to weekends and sometimes in clusters.  Editing sometimes takes place during the day and sometimes at night. 🙂

The positive is that it’s a very flexible job.  I LOVE that!  The negative is that there is no start and no stop time. 🙂  So, it presents a problem for me from time to time.  Sometimes I have a problem drawing the line.  Do you, too?  I know I’m not the only one!!! 🙂  I love what I do, but sometimes it takes the front seat too much.

If you have a flexible job like that, or if you are photographer yourself, you know exactly what I mean.  Before you are aware of it, your family is being sacrificed because you are too busy…and sometimes even your own self is sacrificed in the process, too.  Last summer I made a big mistake.  I did 5 sessions in one weekend and another 5 throughout the rest of the month.  For me, with consideration of my family situation, photographing and editing 10 sessions within a few weeks of each other was TOO much.  It affected my summer schedule for at least 6 weeks solid.  My daughter and I missed out on fun times together because I had to work too much.  And when I’m too busy, I’m generally frazzled and a bit grumpy. (Sometimes even A LOT grumpy.)  AND my camera does not get picked up for fun leisurely because then it would give me more work to do editing. 🙂

Because of these factors, I decided to raise my prices in 2011 at the start of the year.  I am trying to do less sessions/month and spend more time enjoying my family and other passions as well, like being still with God.  My first goal is to allow for extra space in my life to have quiet moments and to breathe deeply.  I even want to be able to have space in my life to spontaneously photograph things and people more often just. for. fun. 🙂  My hope is that the extra time will also allow me to connect more with each client and spend more time personalizing their sessions. I’m really looking forward to this summer so I can redeem what was lost last year.  I plan on doing less, playing more, and breathing more deeply.

Today, I hope and pray that you will be able to intentionally slow down this summer, too.   Allow some space to intentionally breathe…to enjoy what and who you love…to be still.

Tuesday’s Tip for you…Don’t allow the passion to be lost in the things you love by doing it too much.  Find a way to slow down and breathe deeply.  If you do what you love as a job, take a step back and try to make space to do it leisurely, too.  It’s hard to make space in our busy world, but I’m finding that doing it allows space for passion to burn and grow deeper!

We sat and watched this snail come out and then turn his shell completely over. It was a pretty amazing thing to see! Thankful to have embraced that moment as we were rushing out the door to leave. 🙂

Next DSLR Class- June 11th 9am-1pm

Good news!  I had enough inquiries in another DSLR class that I’ve decided to host another one in June!  This class is for anyone who has a fancy DSLR camera (or other camera that has aperture priority, shutter priority, and manual mode) and doesn’t know how to use it!!!  Feel free to contact me (Jill) for more information or to register via email at raindancerstudios@gmail.com or phone at 374.8713!

Posing Tips

Just a little something I wanted to share with you today.  A photographer posted posing tips every day last week on her blog.  I thought they were pretty good and that you might benefit from them as well!!!  Again, why reinvent the wheel, right? 🙂  Check it out…

http://www.elizabethhalford.com/2011/05/14/posing-101-wrap-up-and-reader-questions/

Also, I wanted to let you know that the Professional Photographer Magazine has a large article on posing groups this month!  It’s by far my favorite magazine if you like to photograph people. 🙂  Pick it up if you get a chance.

Happy photo taking!

I LOVE Prime Lenses!

Happy Tuesday!  So, I’ve been trying to decide what my next lens is going to be.  I’m thinking about getting an 85mm!  I really want the capability of a zoom lens, but I feel they are not as sharp as prime lenses AND the good ones are REALLY expensive, like around $2,000.  Prime lenses have only one focal length and are I really love the sharpness of my 35mm prime.  You have to move your body to get closer, but I love the results so much that I’m ok with that.  Maybe when I’m old I’ll feel differently. 🙂  Until then, I will enjoy the work out of having to move constantly.

Here’s an article I read on 7 reasons to love prime lenses.  I LOVE prime lenses so I thought I’d share this.  Here’s what I love about a prime lens…

7 Reasons To Love Prime Lenses

By Brian Auer • February 13th, 2008

A prime lens is one that has a single focal length. A zoom lens is one that has a range of focal lengths. The each have their proper place in the camera bag and on the camera. But the prime has always been, and will continue to be, a favorite among seasoned photographers using interchangeable-lens cameras.

I picked up my first prime lens nearly a year ago (105mm f/2.8 macro), and over the course of the year I’ve grown to consider that lens as my favorite. In the last few months, I’ve hardly taken the lens off my camera body. But then I picked up another prime lens (50mm f/1.4) and I’m absolutely in love with these things. Here’s why:

1. LOWER COST

For the same quality, prime lenses cost less than zoom lenses. They contain fewer elements, less moving parts, and their design is simpler. For the same cost, you can pick up a half-decent zoom lens or you can pick up an outstanding prime lens.

2. FEWER LENS DISTORTIONS

Zooms are designed to work well at most focal lengths in their range, but the all display some type of lens distortion at some point — usually at the extremes. Primes, on the other hand, are designed to work great at a single focal length. The distortions have been minimized by design.

3. SHARPER IMAGES

Similar to the argument for lens distortions, primes have been optimized for sharpness and clarity while zooms must sacrifice these things in order to offer up the convenience of multiple focal lengths.

4. BETTER DOF CONTROL

Again, for the same price point, prime lenses are capable of a wider array of f-numbers. They’re faster, and they offer more options at the low end of the f-number scale.

5. NICER LOOKING BOKEH

Generally, as you lower your f-number your bokeh becomes more apparent. Primes are notorious for producing crazy bokeh on specular highlights when shot wide open. Primes will also generally have better and/or more aperture blades, thus giving you a better bokeh.

6. LOW LIGHT CAPABILITIES

If you’ve never shot with a f/1.4 (or faster) lens, you have no idea what you’re missing. Indoor shots — no flash, no problem. Concerts — fast lenses are a must.

7. THEY MAKE YOU THINK

I suppose my favorite thing about prime lenses is the fact that you have to use your head. Composition becomes a thinking game. You have to move your feet to get that shot you had in mind, so you really start to evaluate what’s important in the scene. Fast primes also make you think a little harder about your f-number. The DOF can be extremely shallow; sometimes too shallow to produce an effective shot. Not only that, but on bright sunny days, you actually can’t use the lens wide open without an ND filter because you’ll let in too much light and max out your shutter speed.

So if you don’t have a good prime lens, you’re really missing out. Zooms are fine, and they have their place, but a prime will open your eyes to a whole new level of photography.

Here’s a few other articles comparing prime and zoom lenses.  Check it out!

http://www.picturecorrect.com/tips/prime-vs-zoom-lenses-in-photography/

http://www.digital-photography-school.com/prime-vs-zoom-lenses-which-are-best

Want decent prints? Don’t print at a retail store. Instead…

Today’s Tip for you is to stop printing at a retail store. 🙂  If you plan to put the photos in a frame, try printing professional quality prints instead.  If you haven’t ever printed at a professional printing company before you wouldn’t understand, but if you try it once you will see the difference.  I encourage you to do this especially if you pay to have a professional photographer, like me, take your photos and you buy the cd.  Please please please don’t print them at Walgreens.  It’s my least favorite of all places to print at.  They add green hues to black and white pics and darken photos overall.  The coloration at places like that is not good and it’s not as true to the real colors.  This is why a lot of photographers won’t sell a cd of photos.  They don’t want their clients printing crappy photos. 🙂  I still offer a cd option, but I always highly encourage clients who buy a cd option to buy prints from a pro lab.  Obviously, those places are fine for just a quick print here or there or to throw in an album, but not if you want it to be viewed on display as art.

So, instead….PRINT AT WWW.MPIX.COM!!! 🙂

Mpix a pro quality print lab that is accessible to anyone.  Many labs require you to be a pro with a business, but this one doesn’t.  AND the print prices are so incredibly reasonable.  You would be silly to not check it out!!

I read a great article this week that I wanted to share with you.  The photographer actually printed the same photo at different places to show the difference.  Check it out!  http://www.wendylwhitephotography.com/info/?p=481%2F

Hope this tip has been helpful for you!!