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Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Tuesday Tip: Back-lighting

YES! I am continuing with understanding light in our Tuesday tips!
It is by far one of the biggest reasons for images not turning out the best that they can!

 So - what is Back-lighting? Simply put it is where your subject is in front of a light source. When shooting in Program or Auto your camera can be "fooled" into thinking "there is plenty of light, I don't need a flash, which is where it all goes wrong for your image. Your camera bases the exposure (aperture and shutter speed) on the light it DOES see, not always the light on your SUBJECT.

This is a very common image, when your subject is in front of a window. Another would be outside, where your subject falls to shadow because of the direction of the light behind them. Luckliy this is an easy fix. There are LOTS of ways you can solve this back light situation. Depending on your camera, skill level and of course... gear. The first, and easiest would be - Command your flash ON. (make sure your camera is in a mode that allows this, such as PROGRAM (P) (difference between P and Auto click here)

Your flash doesn't change that your camera is seeing all that light, but it does put enough light on your subject to be able to see them. It also, adds light to the rest of the frame... burning out the outside window as well. Depending on what you "want to see" in your image... this is the easiest solution, as well as the most common. Since I don't care about the grass... but I do care about the two friends sitting together - this works for me.

Another option for you could be utilizing your camera "preset" modes. Sometimes these modes are on a dial, like the one shown typically on DSLR... other times they could be part of a menu system that you would need to push a selection button and hold as you arrow through different options. Check your manual if you don't know your camera, all consumer and most "pro-sumer" (mid-level DSLR's) have these options... somewhere.

This one adjusts the shutter speed (typically) to expose for a background as well as the foreground with a flash. It is best used for Christmas lights in the background, and people in the front. PLUS you REALLY need a tripod if your shooting in darker conditions such as that, as your shutter will be open to expose for the background, then have your flash fire, THEN close... if you want your lights to be clear - you must have a tripod. Now depending on your camera, you may have additional options in your presets, that will do better for outdoors during daylight, or window scenarios. You tend to have more presets in point and shoot camera's the more advanced your camera the less of these you have. You can still use this mode for daylight, but depending on your presets, you may have a better option.

However, if you have a Dslr, or a upper end point and shoot you should have the AE-L button. On most SLR styles its a button around the thumb area on the backside of your camera. It is the Auto Exposure Lock button.  You use this button when you want to shoot without flash, but control how your camera sees light.

So here is our starter image... beautiful subject right? This is straight up no editing etc.
Now, to use your AE-L All I did was point the camera at a shaded spot and push and HOLD the AE-L button (in this case it was the shady wall below the window, if your subject is big enough you can fill the frame with them by walking up to them push and hold your AE-L button and then return to where you want to take the image from (still holding the button, thats the secret). Basically, your telling your camera to expose for THIS lighting situation (the shade) NOT the light coming from the window.

Now, if you want to get "snazzy" you can get into your manual mode, and adjust your aperture, and shutter speed till you come up with the right combo as well. (don't worry if your not there - I personally love the AE-L option and it does a great job!)

So... there you have several solutions to that pesky window and basic back-light issues! Personally, if I can shoot without the flash, especially next to a window or wall where I am likely to get a shadow I prefer the AE-L or Full Manual mode.  However, in the end it is up to you, your camera and what your comfort level is. Just remember, go and practice this now... so you don't have to "think about it" when you need it!

Monday, October 22, 2012

And the Winner IS.....

If you remember when I first started this blog I offered an UNBELIEVABLE $100 product photography gift certificate prize giveaway. If you have been with us since the beginning you know that Kim over at Chronically Kim - The Queen of overdoing won that prize. She was so sweet and excited and after looking at her designs in her shop at Bluebird Bijoux Designs I was equally thrilled! I couldn't wait to do some killer photography for her shop!

After talking to Kim, I learned that she was looking at opening a sweet shop, and wanted to know if she could use her credit for that... I must admit I did a little happy dance! Not only would I get to do some great photography, help out a new shop opening... but I would also get to be one of her taste testers as well!!!! YUMMMM-O

Kim, over-doing it yet again, has put together some rather scrumptious treats! As I sit enjoying my coffee I have pulled out my box of "goods" now that the shoot is over and I get to enjoy them... all by myself! *happy dance* - now it wouldn't be very polite of me to have coffee with you and not show you some of these treats, now would it! Here are a few from the product shoot I did for her shop.

Oreo Stuffed Chocolate Chip... super sweet and everything you love about both!

Key Lime Spritz - These are delicate and just enough key lime flavor to remind you of Key West!

Chocolate Crinkles- This is a serious tie for BEST cookie ever! Its like the best brownie ever... only a cookie!

Covered Pretzel Rods- I had this with my coffee and seriously I want a TUB of these! This one has a layer of caramel then chocolate, then drizzled chocolate... so sweet, salty, gooey... GOODNESS!

I have to tell you... heavenly does come to mind! Plus, since I am not much of a baker - I know have a connection for those treats for school bake-sales, and presents... and I can NOT tell you how excited that makes me!!!!

Plus, added bonus for both Kim and myself, even with creating some custom props - which will ONLY be used for her shop, photography, edits, watermarking and all.. She STILL has $$ left over with me for MORE photography! (and that means I should be getting more goodies as well!)

I am going to finish my coffee... and maybe two or three more samples! But, if you liked these photos - do me a favor and check out Kim's new shop it opens TODAY, and I know you will LOVE her treats! 

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

A surprise hello!

A few weeks ago I had the surprise pleasure of being a winner on the September giveaway hosted by my good friend Kristina at The Streeters Ultd 

I won a fantastic set of note-cards from Brittney, the fabulous owner of the Yellow Umbrella Design Shop. BLOG II   SHOP II   FB   II   TWITTER   II  PINTEREST  Brittney was wonderful and contacted me that same day to ask for my contact information, and even what colors I would like. Even sharing with me that she used to live in my neck of the woods and offering help on finding my way around! HOW SWEET! I LOVE that!

With such attentive service I wasn't surprised at all when I received a bundle from her just days after. And when I opened them, I found she had selected the sage color - which obviously I love!

However, it was a COMPLETE surprise that she had gone one step beyond and also included every other color I had mentioned - browns, blues....

I must say... I am thrilled with Brittney's service, helpfulness and overall generosity. She is certainly on my short list of vendors to shop and recommend to others! I hope you take a moment and visit her blog and shop her store! I know this wont be the last thing I get from her!  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Latest Coffee Mug Swap

First a big shout out to Heather from Heatherly Loves who put together this great mug swap that I was lucky enough to get an invitation too. If you don't know Heather, shes super fun, and crafty and I highly recommend you check her out, and get to know her via her blog, pintrest or even twitter. 

I really enjoy doing these swaps... not just because I get a new mug, but because I learn so much about the person I get to send something to. AND I must say it is always interesting to me to see what is selected as a mug that fits my personality and interests.

For this swap I was partnered with Megan from Whimsically Homemade

Since this was a partner - I sent something to her, and she back to me! Which I LOVE btw!

For her, I was very thoughtless and completely forgot to send her a note with her mug. So Megan, I am sorry for that! I was so proud of myself for getting it shipped early - I ran straight from the store to the USPS store and didn't think of it again until I saw your SUPER cute card!

I had been to the Whimsically Homemade blog before, and it stuck in my mind due to the owl theme. Which I thought super cute to start with... but as I dove in as a stalker, I found there is so much more to the gals on that blog. But when I came across your mug in the Halloween section, I couldn't resist it! If you want to know what I found - check out Megan's post on Whimsically Homemade

For those of you reading so patiently to me ramble on - Megan more then out-did herself on finding just the right mug for me! As I mentioned it came with a super cute card and handwritten note.

Go Green - in French... how adorably perfect! I don't know where you found it - but I cant think of anything that would have been better! Thanks so much for being so thoughtful!

 If you enjoyed this reveal - you should check out the others on the Reveal Link Up!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Something to Talk About!

I must start by saying I wish I had thought of this! 
My good friend Kristina  has created a super great way of not only promoting products and women she loves but a way to introduce you to them AND give you a chance to WIN some fantastic items!  I know and have shopped several of the shops myself - and I promise you will LOVE them! Kristina's A-list members not only kick out great products, but also have GREAT customer service! Below is her posting and information about the giveaway - I really hope you all take advantage and enter to win! (don't forget to click her name and visit the "real" post and follow her as well!)

I talk about how amazing each one of my A-list members are quite frequently, and frankly friends, they are at it again.  In a recent email I made mention about having an exclusive A-List giveaway and was curious about how many would be interested in participating. Oh my goodness, the response was overwhelming! So, here it is - the EXCLUSIVE A-LIST GIVEAWAY, the ONLY Giveaway you will be seeing on the blog for the entire rest of the month!

Here are the beautiful faces you have to thank for this awesome giveaway today!!

That means there will be LOTS of WINNERS - so get to entering and feel free to spread the word!!

A $25 Gift Certificate from Verte Photography - it can be used toward product photography services, or in her upcoming shop to launch this winter!
**2 Up for Grabs!**


Your Choice of iPhone 4S Lace Ombre Case from Debonair Bandit


Your choice of a NON-Custom Print from the After Nine to Five Shop
**2 Are up for Grabs!**


This Trick or Treat Monster Tote from Lu & Ed



One long 30 inch necklace, featuring a 40mm turquoise donut, laced with leather cord and amber beads from Whispering Sweet Nothings.


A 7" bracelet with 4 strands of different colored beads from Eloping Designs!
(can be customized to any length)


A handmade stretch bracelet containing your choice of colors. The bracelet will be made with high quality metal/silver beads, glass beads and Swarovski crystals. This bracelet will include 1 charm from the Bluebird Bijoux Designs Shop.


This sweet, little, padded phone clutch: Orange typewriter, by Aubrey Plays


Halloween Fabric Bow Set from The Mollie Shop


 This Vintage Pleated Pouch by Sand and Starfish



A $25 Gift Certificate Towards a Custom Designed Rhinestone Shirt of your Choice by Sparkle Me



A $10 Gift Certificate to Sweetsies 




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Looking for a shop swap?

I have been thinking of a fun way to promote and meet some new bloggers, and shop owners so I thought I would offer a service swap and review!

I will provide reviews on my blog, and promotion on multiple social media outlets, AND free product images with a full release for your use, for up to 5 items. As part of the swap, I would love a review, and similar promotion on social media and your blog or website of my services. Products will be returned to you unless you specifically tell me otherwise. Unfortunately, I do need to limit the amount of people that I offer this too... so I have placed a limit right now of the first 10 NEW CLIENTS.

If you need a few new images of holiday items or new items you are working on this is a great opportunity. Not only do you get great images for FREE - but you get promotion as well! In case you don't know about my services you can check out my website here.

I offer multiple  images of each product. Plus, your items are typically photographed and posted for your preview/approval on a secure site 1-2 days after I receive your items! This phototrade is a $50 value for each person, with nothing but shipping and a bit of space on your blog! Plus, if you would like to add additional items to your package, we can discuss a discounted rate, or trade for extra items! Just send me an email or message to discuss the details!


I can't wait to see some new products! I will update this post with a ***closed promotion*** tag when it is no longer available!

Friday, October 5, 2012

Flaunt It: The Tiny Diva
I have been working with Amy from The Tiny Diva since she started in 2010, 2 years later I am happy to say that I still LOVE her. She is a great mom, loving wife, and in addition to that and a Full-Time position as a therapist she makes the BEST hand crafted, custom bows for kids, teens, bridal and events! I am super excited to showcase some of her items so you can get to know her this week! Here is a small peek into Amy's life

Amy started her business in 2010 because she needed to bring in some extra money for her growing family and could not work at the time. She is a fully time therapist and enjoys working with teenagers!
Amy offers custom hair accessories for all ages in addition wedding sashes, tutu dresses and other fun children accessories. When I asked Amy "What Inspired you to Open a business?" She told me"My daughter was born with a cleft palette and lip and I needed to not work due to all of her surgery’s, so I got creative and loved it!" She draws inspiration from EVERYWHERE from local teens to magazines! 
The best part about The Tiny Diva business is that Amy offers custom bows for you! You can send her a outfit, or idea and she always comes up with something creative, inventive and beautiful, handmade, just for you! 

Want to try The Tiny Diva's services? Here is a special offer just for Capture Life readers: Enjoy a By one get one free custom clip by simply contacting Amy at thetinydiva.etsy.com or from her facebook page /thetinydiva

Want more? Enter to win a Free custom wedding sash if you post on her Facebook page.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Tuesday Tip: The Difference Between Auto and Program

Buttons, buttons, buttons.... I tell you these camera's should come with instructions! Oh wait... they do! You know that book that has like 6 languages and makes NO sense to you? I know, who wants to read that... it is not what I would call "instructional" maybe functional knowledge... but not easy unless you are just looking up something for reference. It is not the way to learn photography, or your camera in my opinion!

So lets talk about the most basic choice you can make to improve your images. I said in an earlier post that the best thing you can do is get out of that "auto" push here dummy mode. I stand by that statement. If you want to take better images, that is the first step, learning what other options you have, where to find them, and when to use them... well that's why you have me!

First lets look for your camera mode options. In many camera's this will be on top of your camera and located on a dial, kinda like what is shown here.

If you don't have a dial, then you typically have some sort of menu system where you push a button and go up or down to make a selection... sometimes you have to push the same button down multiple times to achieve different "modes" if you are unsure send me a message with your camera type/ model and I will be happy to help you specifically.

AUTO: Common symbols: Green Square, Green Camera, or as shown above a camera with the word auto above it.
  • Good for: "oh my gosh my child is walking for the first time and I dont want to miss this" if you have been playing with your camera and want to take a shot without fail, this is your "safety mode" it works - more or less for any situation, but its not the "go to" after you learn a few simple things. 
  • Functionally: This gives full control over your camera settings to your camera. It says when it will flash, adjusts aperture, shutter, and everything else on "auto"
  • Drawbacks: It gives full control over your camera settings, to your camera! Camera's do not have BRAINS! 
"P": Common symbol: a "P" sometimes a white camera icon
  • Good for: Important photos I don't want to miss, but I want to be sure I get the best image I can quickly and easily in situations I understand.
  • Functionally: It allows the camera to set the best aperture and shutter speed, while you remain in control of Flash, WB, ISO and several other things (don't stress if you don't know what those letters are standing for... we will get there. The important one while your learning is Flash)
  • Drawbacks: This can still be tricked and not always the best for every situation. It is "generally" a good option.
Now, for the purpose of making this a basic post, and not TOO long, I am going to dive into some other must know about buttons later. This is something I see so many people confusing and asking "why do I have two buttons that are the same thing" all the time. I wanted to clarify the differences for you so you have a leg up on everyone else!