Styled Stock Photography

BLOGGER PORTRAIT SESSION + QUICK TIPS

I am jumping in super quick before jetting off again, whew. We got home late Tuesday evening, I spent most of yesterday unpacking and making our house look normal again, haha! Now I'm packing again, man oh man. 

For the last two weeks, Tyler and I were away for Christmas. Going home for Christmas is one of my favorite things. Long story short we spend every moment possible with friends and family that we hardly get to see. During this particular trip I was able to meet up with Courtney, of A + Life. I've actually known Courtney for a long time. She and I met through blogging, but I finally set up a time to meet with her and do a photo shoot. Blog friends are the best of friends. 

I love doing photo shoot with bloggers because they always do great in front of the camera. Courtney was so fun and sweet to work with. She did phenomenal at taking direction, which was super awesome, because I don't always feel super great at giving direction. And she looks absolutely beautiful, don't ya think? :) 

TWO QUICK TIPS

Since today is quick I want to leave you with two quick tips. One, keep your body engaged toward the camera. When you face the camera, lean in toward the camera or take one step forward. Look at the second photo in this series. Courtney is standing against a wall, but I asked her to lean in toward me with her left shoulder, twisting her torso toward me.

Two, keep your chin down. Don't look down, but keep your chin down. By nature we always want to look up or tilt our head back... I do this too. But do your best to keep your chin down, it will help define your face. 

That's all for today, can't wait to share with you from this next adventure we're off too! xoxo. Samantha 


ADDING SUNSHINE AND GLOW TO YOUR PHOTOS

One thing I absolutely love is when I can create and see a huge difference in my post processing. This is always different per session as lighting really dictates how my raw images come out. In todays session you can see a huge difference in my raw file and my post processed file. I get a little giddy inside when I've made such a difference in my photos. 

This session was apart of the the mountain photo session we did in Colorado. You can see Beth's here and Meg's here. My goal in processing this session was to create the same kind of lighting and ethereal feel that I had done in Beth's and Meg's session even though the overall lighting was different. Amy's session took place at the end which meant the sun was considerably lower in the sky, meaning her photos were a little darker and far more green then I wanted. 

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WHITE BALANCE & TEMPERATURE 

For this set of photos I went through these 8 steps. In short I adjusted my white balance and temperature. For these photos I needed to warm them up and remove a lot of the green and blue tones. This is easily done by adjusting the white balance and making the photo a little warmer. To remove the green tone I adjusted the temperature and increased the magenta tone in the photo.

From there I increases my exposure and brightness. Adjusted my contrast, clarity, and vibrance. And occasionally I'll increase my blacks to increase my saturation. 

ADD A GRADIENT 

Now let's talk about how we can add the allusion of a little bit of sunshine. I haven't always used gradients in my photos, but I have been using them more and more for all sorts of things. For these photos I wanted to add the allusion of a little bit of sunshine streaming into my photos. Not a lot, but enough to add a little bit of glow. Both Photoshop and Lightroom have a gradient tool so you should be able to play around a little bit to become more comfortable. 

Below you'll see an example of adding a gradient to photos. With a gradient I can adjust the exposure, brightness, contrast, saturation, and clarity of a specific area of my photo. See my gradient below? I knew where the sun should be streaming into the photo so I added a gradient to the top left portion and increased the exposure and brightness in the top left portion of the photo. The gradient works so that the increase in exposure and brightness fades into the photo. 

Look at the two examples below. I added a gradient in the first example but I didn't feel like I was getting enough "sunshine" in the photo as I wanted. I adjusted my gradient in the second example and you can now see how it looks like more sunshine is streamy into the photo. Adding gradients is a perfect way to add a pop of sunshine to your photos. :) 

Processing and editing photos is journey and a real learning experience. I edit photos completely different now then I did when I first got started. Editing photos is also very subjective. My style of editing can be completely different then another person style of editing and they can both be beautiful photos. We all have our own style and preferred way of editing. It's all about finding our own groove. xoxo. Samantha 


CAPTURING REFLECTION IN YOUR PHOTOS

We're back with another quick tip Tuesday! One type of photograph I have always wanted to capture was one like you see above. I would see others capture beautiful photos with amazing reflections and for some reason I just never figured out how those types of photos actually happened. I actually look this same photo last year, however it did not look like this. The first time I took this photo I used the same techniques I used when shooting portraits and it just didn't work.

Most mornings we drive by this view. One morning I decided the next time I drove by I would have my camera. So there I was camera in hand, blue cloudy skies, and beautiful Fall colors. Within about 10 minutes I had a handful of beautiful Fall photos with the reflection I had always wanted. 

"THE WATER HAS TO BE STILL" 

The following day Tyler and I drove by again, but there was no reflection. My brain just didn't connect why I could't see the reflection, so I asked Tyler, "why isn't there a reflection?" He replied, "the water isn't still, for you to be able to see the reflection the water has to be still." And that's when it all clicked. There were too many ripples in the water for me to see the reflection. 

Are there other factors that go into taking a great photo with a reflection?... absolutely. But the main factor of actually seeing and capturing that reflection is the stillness of the water. 

Every time we pass by this view I look to see if I can see the reflection. Sometimes the water is still and the reflection is crisp and clear. Other times there are ripples in the water and I look to see if I can see the reflection through the ripples. xoxo. Samantha


MAKING THE MOST OF YOUR PHOTO SHOOT LOCATION

Alright friends, lets talk about location and how great it is when a location gives us more then we bargained for. :) Something I love about locations is when I can do an entire session there but walk away with lots of different photos and backgrounds. This session is a great example of that. We were at Loyal Coffee and every where we turned there was something distinctive  about each background making it easy to capture different photos. Let's break down this session.

BRICK WALL 

We were working with the cutest wood table and a brick wall. It was perfect for casual lifestyle photos. We could do things as simple as sitting and drinking coffee or we could have thrown a few friends in and made things really fun. Either way were were able to take great photos in front of a beautiful brick wall and add variety to our session. 

GREY STONE WALL

What I really loved about this grey wall was that it was great for contrast and added a little moodiness to the photos. Beth is effortless in front of the camera and this grey wall made her teal shirt really pop. Whenever I shoot against walls I almost always ask for my subjects to take a few steps away from the wall as well. You can get a variety of photos with the wall more in focus and when they step away you can get photos with the out of focus as well. 

OPEN BACKGROUND

This is my favorite photo from this session. What stands out most about this photo is what may or may not be going on in the background. The openness makes it light and airing. Right behind Beth you can see a few drinks... this makes us wonder what might be going on back there... maybe friends having coffee? I also love how the background is blowout, there's what looks like a tree back there and other tables and chairs. There's plenty of depth in this photo which I love. 

Where are some of yor favorite places to take photos? What is it about those locations that you really love? xoxo. Samantha