What to Wear!

Do you feel stressed when it comes to picking out your outfits for a photo session?  Ever wonder what to wear for your photo session?  I’ve been wanting to do a post like this for a long time.  So here’s just a few tips of what works well!!

1. Coordinate instead of matching!!  That’s the biggest tip I have to making a photo really good.  Choose 1-2 outfits (typically one of the girls) that you LOVE.  Usually it’s easier to pick out the girls clothes first!  (I tend to pick out my daughters clothes first, however, last year I picked out mine first and coordinated the rest of the family around me because my color shirt contrasted well with the fall trees!)  Sometimes it even helps for Mom to find the outfit she feels good in first…then coordinate the other outfits.  However, you can choose the males shirt first, too, if you like a plaid pattern!  Then coordinate the other outfits with it.  Don’t have too many people wearing patterns that could clash with each other.  You can instead choose 1 patterned outfit and coordinate with it.

2. Don’t be afraid of color!! Try to get away from all white shirts.  Find color schemes instead.  Or let one person be a little splash of color in the mix.  I would recommend only letting one person wear white! 🙂

3. Think about the colors at the location you are going to.  Find contrasting colors to wear that will make the photo look nice.  If you don’t know what colors contrast, look at a color wheel and find colors that are opposite of each other. Try to stand out from the surroundings, not blend with them!

4. Girls…in the summer, wear a dress or skirt!  Something comfy yet cute!  A dress length and style appropriate for sitting and moving around easily, like knee length!

5. Steer clear of wearing red or bright orange.  It tints everything that color.  And steer clear of wearing too much green for outdoor pics.  There’s already a lot of green from the grass and trees!

6. Add layers of clothing with little jackets or sweaters when it’s cool out.  Add hats to spice up a couple pics…even boots!

7. Vests, ties, and hats make for really cute little boy pics!  Dresses, tutus, hairbands or flower clips, and pettiskirts make for cute girl pics.  Also, don’t be afraid to let them have some fun and “dress up” in their favorite costume.  Add a cape or small detail to the pic!  Let their age and childlike innocence shine through the pics!

8.  Sometimes it is really cute to match kiddos of the same gender!

I hope you’ve enjoyed these tips today!!  Now go set a date for your next photo session!! 🙂


Upcoming Class in St. John, IN on July 15th

Raindancer Studios is excited to announce a 5 hour DSLR/Photo Composition combo class in St. John, IN!  My Aunt and 2 other friends have been asking me to do a class for a year now, so I’ve decided to do a discounted combo class in their honor while I am in town for a wedding.  It may be the one and only class I teach up there since my client base is in Indianapolis and I only travel to NW Indiana a few times a year. 🙂

My style of teaching includes a variety of learning techniques including visual, auditory, and most importantly hands-on learning.  We will read the handbook I’ve created, look at examples, and practice new material through hands-on activities.  As a trained school teacher, I believe you will best understand the material if you learn it in multiple ways.  I always provide guided and independent practice of the skills taught during my classes.

If you live in the region please spread the word by sharing a link to this page with your friends.  I need at least 5 participants to run this class!  Please see details below and feel free to email me (Jill) with any questions at raindancerstudios@gmail.com!  If you are new to my blog, feel free to follow me on Facebook at http://www.facebook.com/raindancerstudios or check out my website at http://www.raindancerstudios.com!  Thank you!

*Feel free to click on flyer below for larger view. 🙂

How to Critique A Photo

If you want to get better at taking photos, you need to learn how to critique a photo!  Pull out a few of your own photos and ask the following questions.  Look at some photos taken by other people online and practice this skill.

Here’s a few of my pics to practice on:

-What do you immediately feel when you look at the photo?
-Is it an emotional shot, a shot that tells a story, or one that makes a statement?
-What would you improve if you shot this picture?

-What is the focal point or center of interest of the photograph?  Flip the photo around to see.
-Does the ‘Rule of Thirds’ apply?
-Are only the important parts included or did the photographer include wasted parts that should have been cropped out?

Artistic Elements
-What elements of photography are used? (framing? line? color? symmetry?  balance?  simplify? space? texture? depth of field? perspective?)

-How does the background add or distract from the message of the photo?
-How is depth of field represented?

Technical Aspects
-Are the subjects sharp and in focus?
-Is the photo exposed correctly?
-What type of light was used?  Artificial or natural?
-Which direction is the light coming from (front lit, back lit, open shade, side light?)

Here’s a couple resources regarding critiquing photographs…Enjoy!
Online video of critiquing someones photo: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X2eCrS4ECdE

Online article and sample critiques: http://www.digital-photography-school.com/the-photo-critique-portrait-edition?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+DigitalPhotographySchool+%28Digital+Photography+School%29

Metering- What’s That All About?

Did you know that your DSLR Camera has 3 different metering modes to use?  It’s one of those things that unless you have taken a class, you may not even know it exists!!!  I want to tell you about the 3 options your DSLR camera has because it is summer time and you just might want to know about spot metering!  Have you ever taken a photo where the person turns out really dark and the sun is shining brightly behind them?  Well, there’s really only 2 things you can do to prevent that.  FIRST…change your setting to spot metering.  You can always use a reflector, too.  But, learn what the metering modes are.  It makes a difference!!!  Portrait photographers have to use spot metering a lot.  So if you are taking pictures of people, you might want to get familiar with that one!! 🙂

So, there are 3 main types of metering. Metering assesses the light in a particular area.  Metering takes place when you push the shutter half way to focus on an image before taking your picture.

1.  Evaluative Metering (Canon), or Evaluative/Matrix Metering (Nikon) –This is the “default” setting on most cameras. It is a multi segment/zone metering. It assesses the light over all the zones and averages them together. The camera sets the metering automatically depending on the scene and subject of the photograph. This is the mode to use for general use and for landscapes. (The red part in the sample pics below shows the area the camera is metering the light from.)

2. Partial Metering (Canon), or Spot Metering (Nikon) – This type of metering is helpful for photographing back-lit subjects. The metering is weighted according to the very center of the shot – a very small area of the frame. Use this mode when you have a very specific area of the photograph that you wish the exposure to be based upon.  This is a very useful mode for tricky lighting conditions where the whole scene is either darker or lighter than the point that you want to be exposed correctly.  Good for silhouette shots and used in portrait photography especially when there is uneven light.

3.  Center-Weighted Average Metering (Canon), or Center-Weighted Metering (Nikon)– This metering setting gives priority to the center portion of the photograph, but also takes the average of the surrounding portions of the shot. Basically, this is somewhere in between Evaluative and Partial Metering. Use this setting when the subject is in the center of the photograph and exposed correctly, so that the subject is not affected by the exposure of the background.  This can be used for portrait photography, too, unless there is uneven lighting.

Here are some GREAT resources for understanding metering modes:

1. A Youtube video showing the in camera view of using each of the 3 metering modes AND it shows the same pic taken with each of the modes.  Awesome for a visual learner. Check it out! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BK9cKMXG_Gs
2. A few articles online: http://www.suite101.com/content/how-to-use-digital-slr-camera-metering-modes-a217314http://easybasicphotography.com/digital-camera-metering-modes.html, http://improvephotography.com/456/how-to-spot-metering-portraits/.


I hope you’ve enjoyed learning a little more about metering today!  Now it’s time for you to break out your camera manual and figure out how to change your settings so you can practice for yourself!!!  Are any of you out there finding the Tuesday Tips helpful?  Hope so!

*The photos shown in this entry come from the Digital Photography School.

Will You See The Invisible Girl?

I want to invite you to join my daughter, Kylie, and I as we seek to “see” the invisible girls in India, to value them as worthy, and to save them from injustice- from murder at birth and from being discriminated against.  I am honored today to share a little piece of my heart with you…and a piece of my daughter’s heart, too.

The Invisible Girl Project (IGP) exists to help people see the invisible girl.  In India, over 50 million girls and women are “invisible”–they are missing from India’s population.  Other girls and women are not recognized or given the value that they deserve in Indian culture.  Please check out their website to see what they are doing to combat this injustice- http://www.invisiblegirlproject.org/. Below are a few of my favorite pics of the girls in India (only pics not taken by me.)  Their beauty shines.  They are worth fighting for.

I invite you to the following:

1. Join Kylie’s Invisible Girl Club!  She has a jar and is collecting money.  She started her club after a few people donated.  I think it’s a great idea and would love if you’d encourage her giving heart!!!  IGP is currently trying to collect 50 million pennies to represent each girl in India that is missing.  If you join her club by donating, you can get an IGP bracelet just like hers!  You can mail donations to us or drop them off in person!  Please email me at raindancerstudios@gmail.com to arrange a way to donate.  If you’d like a pink or gray bracelet after donating, please let me know!

2. Come to the Invisible Girl Project (IGP) Event coming up on June 30th at Champps (Keystone at the Crossing) at 6:30pm.  There will be stories shared by those who have visited India, information regarding the mission and work of this organization, and a great silent auction to raise money for the girls.  There will also be Indian items for purchase as well.  All proceeds benefit IGP’s field partners in India, who bring rescue and restoration to little girls in India, who are otherwise not valued by their society.  Tickets are $15 in advance and can be purchased online at http://www.invisiblegirlproject.org/.  Tickets are $20 at the door.  (FYI-I will be donating a private lesson for you to bid on!! Yay!)  My hubby and I hope to see you there!  Come celebrate the girls with us and claim their worth!

3. Get involved in other ways.  The website gives more information regarding how to get involved from sponsoring girls..to sending girls to college…to providing clean water…to making monetary donations…to buying Saree dolls.  Kylie loves her Saree doll (see pics below!)  She named her Nalani-an Indian name.  They are made by women in India and cost $35.

Thank you for considering this opportunity to join with us in supporting IGP!  I have a huge heart for this organization- for their mission and for the girls in India.  RD and I are advocates of protecting little girls specifically.  We always have been.  And it’s even more dear to me because IGP was started by a very good friend of mine.  Jill & her husband, Brad, are heroes in my eyes as they advocate for the voiceless.  They have both lived and served in India as they worked towards letting the light bleed into the darkness.  I hope you will join their efforts in rescuing the invisible girls in India!  Did you know that $15 in India is enough food for a girl for a whole month?  Every penny counts and goes much further than it does here in America.  Look around your house…got any loose change?

Cut Off Their Head :)

Looking for a new photography tip to try this week?  Cut off people’s heads when you take photos next.  That sounds not so nice, but I promise, you might just like it!!!  Try to notice the little details and narrow in on them.  It really draws attention to the other body parts and splashes in some creativity to your photographs!  What I like most is that it makes the person who sees the photograph think.  I find it forces me to envision the rest of the photo and fill in the gaps in my head.  It makes people wonder. 🙂  Here’s a few “detail” photos from my most recent session.  Now it’s your turn to try it.  Ready. Set. Go!