Short Hiatus- Friday List- Top 10 Favorite Images of 2016

Normally, I would wait until January to write a post about my "Top 10 Favorite Images" of the previous year. However, since my camera is away for servicing, and likely won't be back to me in time to shoot anything new before the new year, I might as well share my favorites now!

I am very proud of myself this year. I shot more of my own creative work (with the help of tons of other creative professionals, of course!) this year than in any year prior. I went outside my bubble socially and artistically. Now, I realize I have tons of room for improvement about the frequency in which I shoot creatively, but that is certainly a goal for 2017!

1. The first Model Monday shoot I did with Sam Antics (@heyprettybeauty) was with two models I had never met. I was nervous and was going to try out a new light I had recently gotten but never used on a human in a portrait setting. Pretty proud of how these turned out. Mary (@mundermonster) was cool as a cucumber, even though I was sweating it!

2. This image was taken the same day as #1 after we did the indoor shots. I just love the ease at which Nancy (@whatanancy) went from high fashion to editorial in a swift 10 minute outfit change. It was also super cold that day and she was a trooper!

3. While I super loved shooting this impromptu shoot with Jen, the editing I did on this one was my favorite part. Jen had worn little makeup, which was fine. I just wanted to see if I could make edited makeup look natural. I think I did a pretty alright job! 

4. I met Becca at the 2016 Zombie Walk and was floored at her character, Giggles. She was there representing Flannagan's Fear Fest and her makeup was done by none other than Sam Antics! (You'll be seeing a lot of her work in my images!) This girl only broke character ONCE, and that was for me to hear her real voice so I would recognize her without her makeup on! I went outside my comfort bubble and asked a practical stranger to let me lay on the ground and have them hover over me for this impromptu backlit awesomeness.

5. I had a VERY hard time selecting a single image from the set with Eden (@edenkush) with makeup done by Willow (@wickedwillowmua). We didn't have a clear vision really for the shoot and just kind of went with it! Eden was a trooper to be so scantily clad because I apparently have a habit of making models be outside in the cold. 

6. This particular image made the list for several reasons. One was that I absolutely adore shooting with Valerie (@modelvalerieg) because she is super easy to work with and the images are effortless wonderful! She's also super fun. Another reason this image made the list is because it is from the Trash The Dress group shoot hosted by Sam Antics and Hey Pretty Beauty and I really enjoy shooting at these events. Also, I chose this image because of the editing I did. I did it all by hand, but I was amused when a photographer on instagram flat out asked me "What filter did you use." I chuckled at that one. 

7. I was really nervous to shoot Jackie. We are friends In Real Life (I know, right?!), but it was nerve wracking for me to get to shoot with Odette Despairr (@odedettedespairr) for some reason! We shot in a sweet spot in Gahanna near Creekside and I excited to have found such a unique location to shoot her. I had a step ladder in the water, my butt got wet but my camera didn't! I'm pretty stoked with how the images turned out, if I do say so myself. 

8. I love this image for several reasons. One is that the subject is my Boo Thang, Nik. I needed this image for a contest (I didn't win. Whomp) and I needed it quickly. The theme was "Fun with leaves" and I wanted to be creative. I knew most submissions would be people playing in the leaves, and I wanted to do something unexpected. I learned a new editing technique to produce this image. 

9. Hunter (@huntman614) graduates this year and these were taken as a collaboration for his senior photos, a family session and the start to his modeling portfolio. Can you tell?! He is on his way to a great career and I can't wait to work with him again and get some more great images for his portfolio in the future. 

10. It seems some of my favorite images come from the most impromptu sets. Willow and I shot this pretty last minute, it was cold and I was having camera issues (sound familiar). I didn't feel well (but photographers can't really take sick days, right?!) and could barely see with my glasses on. I almost fell off the side of the ledge and through a hole in the ceiling. But none of that matters when the image turns out exactly how I had pictured it. 

I was really worried to write this post. I was worried I couldn't fine 10 "favorite images." I am really glad I did this post now... I had a VERY hard time narrowing it DOWN to only 10 images. I can't wait to write next year's post and hopefully have an even harder time whittling down to 10 to share with you! 

Short Hiatus- Friday List- Holiday gifts for that photographer on your list!

BOO! I'm home sick from my day job today! That's the bad news. The good news is that means I have dedicated time to write my very first Friday List post for today! I'm pretty stoked that I have been able to keep with it so far, and I've written 3 posts (including this one) this week! 

I certainly have a dream list myself including a new camera body, lens, studio lights and business association membership. (In my dreams, right?)

Whether you have a cell phone photographer or a seasoned professional on your list, there is always an awesome gift for all of them. You just have to know where to look, eh?

So here are my personal favorites all over the skill and price spectrum! 

1. Every photographer needs this mug for their late night editing sessions! I've been gifted 3 of them. ;-)


2. This map seems off topic, but your favorite photographer could keep track of taking a photo in every state with this scratch off map! 

.3. If you've got that cell phone photographer on your list and don't have any idea what to get for them in terms of gear, look no further than a fisheye lens for their cellphone! 

4. I like to support local business as much as a can and when I can't, I at least try handmade/small business. Etsy is a great resource! I found this adorable lens necklace on etsy.

5. Another etsy find, a personalized camera strap is always a cute idea! 

6. If you've got a hand-me-down gear photographer ready for their own gear, the holidays always bring out the good deals on introduction bundles. Here's one from Canon.

7. As if a photographer needs anything to identify themselves other than their cameras, these nifty lens bracelets would certainly do the trick! 

8. An external (or several) hard drive is a must-have for photographers and there are lots of options out there. The price for a really big drive has gone down significantly. I have this one and this one

9. As mentioned in my first Throwback Thursday post, I have started using my Wacom Bamboo tablet for editing. I have to admit, the first day was a struggle, but it's coming along nicely and I can really see how it is going to help with the editing process. If you have a semi to professional photographer or other graphic creative in your life and on your list, check out the Wacom tablets! 

10. I really want this diffuser for myself, actually! I have a pretty big 5-in-1 reflector, but I can't hold it one handed by myself while I'm shooting, so I can only use it as a 1-stop over head diffuser when I have an assistant to hold it between the sun and the subject. With the rigid handle feature of this diffuser, I could hold it one handed and still hold my camera! 

11. I have to admit, I was going to stop at a round "10" for my list, and then I saw THIS! I oddly already own a backdrop stand (which is ALSO a great gift for your photographer), but I have no backdrops! Sure, I could go practical and timeless with a bone or grey Savage paper backdrop (which I TOTALLY do want!), but when I saw this sequinned beauty, I couldn't resist putting it on the list. Fortunately, or unfortunately, it is sold out even at $375!

I tried to keep my suggestions around 10 ( I couldn't leave off number 11 though!), but if you're still looking for a great gift for your budding to professional photographer gift recipients, make sure to hit me up in the comments below, on Facebook, Twitter, or Instagram

Short Hiatus- Before & After, Thursday Throwback, AND a sort of tech review!

As many of you know, my equipment is off for servicing for the (count with me now!) next 3-4 weeks. In the mean time, I'm focusing on improving my business is other ways. One of ways I am hoping to improve is to blog more (check!). So this is actually my second blog post this WEEK! Wham Bam Thank You Ma'am, am I right?!

Actually, I really am trying to write meaningful content and am asking for input on what you'd like to read or see from me. So, in the comments of this post or on my facebook/Instagram/Twitter pages, let me know what you'd like to see!

Now, back at the stuff I promised in the headline (honesty all around here folks)!

Thursdays may become my "Throwback Thursday," and I do have one of those for you! I chose an image from my shoot back in the summer with Jackie (Odette Despairr), the River Queen. This is a Throwback Thursday, but it;s also a Before & After, with Jackie's blessing, I'll also be showing the SOOC or straight out of camera version, of the image. Lastly, I am trying to learn how to edit with a Wacom Bamboo tablet. Now, I've had this tablet for literally almost a year. I have it on sort of a forever loan from my wonderful Seastar, Maegan. But I was terrified of it and to be honest, I am the worst with challenging myself on the technical size of things. I have a penchant for getting new equipment and not making myself learn how to use it. 

So, in an effort to make myself do so, I'm using this Short Hiatus time to learn my equipment that I don't know how to use. So here goes! 

Below is an image I edited using only the tablet and pen. I applied two gradient maps (the color tint) in a blue and a teal that I created myself, I used the patch tool to remove blemishes, I tidied up the lips and eyebrows using the brush tool, I applied general contrast and levels changes. There is also a slight dodge and burn on the nose, chin and around the eye makeup.

These were all simple edits, as Jackie never does need too much by ways of editing. However, for me, the challenge was doing these all with the stylus and tablet only. 

My next challenge will be to learn the myriad of Photoshop shortcut keys. Everyone tells me the ease of use will be worth the agony of learning the tons of combinations for all of the tools and processes I use in Photoshop.

Let me know what you think of the edit and what else you'd like to see and read about!