Tip of the Week: Ready - Set - MCP Actions!!!!!!

This weeks tip is: MCP Actions!!!!
if you haven't checked out this blog you are missing out on a wealth of photographic information!  on top of giving some great advice, tips, and reviews on the blog, the shop is full of great actions and tutorials to help your images come alive!!!

right now MCP is creating something new to make me swoon, Lightroom Presets!  i'm so excited. Lightroom is quickly becoming my software of choice, and i'm thrilled to have a new tool to maximize my workflow!

in conjunction with the launch of their Presets, MCP is having a giveway and contest.  there are 3 chances to win:  "like" MCP's Facebook Page, sign up with your email, and create an editing Blueprint using MCP actions. 

(so i just saw that i spelled After wrong, since i'm a mom of 4 it'll stay.  you get the idea.)

i love that i can use MCP actions to give a little "pop" to my photos.  here's what i did to take this one from good to great!

1) opened the image
2) ran MCP's Mini Fusion (the free version of an action set i'm saving all my pennies for)  get it here
3)added both cloud nine and pink cadillac
3) used a black brush at 30% to take of some of the cloud 9 layer from the skin.  i wanted to keep those deep brown tans!
4) flattened and saved as "after"
5) ran MCP's 2 image top and bottom
6) added "before" and "aftrer" (ha!) text
7) flattened

viola!!!  now i have just what i wanted, a great relaxed portrait of my girls.  the colors are slightly bolder and brighter, but the girls look natural and fresh, not heavily edited.  i can't wait 'til i can get the full Fusion set, there are so many options to creatively edit your photos! 

Wardrobe Wednesday - AZ family photographer

again, i realize autumn is coming upon most other parts of the country by now.  and here in AZ, we're feeling the drop in temps as well.  so long, 110 degrees!!!  it's even dipped down in to the 90's on some days. 

so with that in mind, this weeks wardrobe suggestions are still in the "summery" category.  but i still feel like the color palate is adaptable to fall. 
mom's got the print, and the colors for the rest of the family come from there.  turquoise for lil' sister, burnt orange for dad, and i love the denim/khaki combo on brother.  if you looking for a more autumnal portrait just take this same basic look and layer!  mom gets a gold or pink cardigan, long sleeves instead of shorts on the boys, and little sis can have a sweater too, or maybe even warmer looking dress in turquoise. 

Andrus Family - Newport Beach Family Photographer

when i announced my CA trip and photo day, i was so excited when my good friend and neighbor wanted in on some family photos! 
first, her family is beautiful!  so i knew i was getting some eye candy to shoot, and second, they are awesome and i knew they'd be lots of fun!!!

 i mean when you take 2 good lookin' poeple who clearly love each other, your bound to get a lovely familoy full of happiness, love, and fun!!!

 i love getting my lens on cute kiddos.  and this time i got 4!!!
i mean they're just beautiful!

 the boys gave me the best expressions:

 little CoCo was a little concerned about those crashing waved behind her, but we still got some smiles too!

 love this one:
 even though we were shooting mid-day, we still got some shots with that beautiful beach sunset! (wink)
thanks Andrus clan for being so fun!  not only at our shoot but for the rest of our beach weekend!  so much fun!

tip of the week! just shoot it! - AZ Portrait Photographer

with a brand new baby, timing a shoot right can be challenging.  let's face it, we often face challenges when we're shooting for that "golden hour" light.  i was determined to do a "back to school" shoot for my daughter, so i planned to shoot in open shade right after lunch. 

on my way to the predetermined shady spot, i saw this brilliant little nugget.  a perfect back to school location!  my first reaction, "i am so coming back here in the right light!"  my second thought, "get real!  you aren't gonna be back any time soon."  i was so right the second time!  so i jumped out and set up a few shots! 

obviously, the light is not optimal!  and when she opened her notebook, the reflected light was insane.  but i was so happy i played a little.  first, i have a great little shot to show a great back to school location for some mini sessions.  and second, i challenged myself a little shooting in a less than perfect spot. 

the shots i got here are not technically perfect, but i love the feeling they emote! 

tip of the week: if you see something you like, just shoot it!  you may not get the perfect shot, but you just  may learn something!

back to school portraits - Gilbert, AZ Children's Photogarpher

on my way to my previously decided location, i noticed this little awesome gem:
 i adore this rustic apple.  it was perfect for a back to school session, but the lighting was all wrong at mid-day.  we still tried a few shots:
 Anna brought her old notebook and wanted a picture with her favorite drawing:
 finally, we made our way over to the original location:

 i love this first day of school outfit!  thank you H&M!

 caught this cute little hair-flip while adjusting my settings:
 if she had it her way, this would be the pose for every shot!  what a ham!

love my little kindergartner!!!

wardrobe wednesday - Gilbert family photographer

the rest of the world may be feeling the first brisk breeze of autumn, but out here in AZ we still have triple digit temperatures.  what i like about these wardrobe suggestions is the color palate works for both summer and autumn.  again Mom is the one in the print, the soft peaches, blues, and plums are echoed in the clothes of the rest of her family.  this really is the epitome of simple and sweet! 

Welcom Colin - Gilbert Newborn Photographer

you may have heard the news: after 3 darling princesses, we finally welcomed a baby prince to the family!!!
i was thrilled to finally design for my own baby boy, and i got these in the mail this week!

it's always good times taking the family out for a quick session.  we did these when Colin was fresh home from the hospital.  my mom graciously helped me lug the table and chairs across the field.  the balloons were not that easy to wrangle either!  thanks mom!  the girls were super sweet and well behaved, but baby brother started crying about 2 seconds in.  here are a few of my favs:

we are  loving our newest angel!!!

tip of the week! shooting at home - arizona children's photographer

i love shooting outside, it's my favorite.  i rarely shoot indoors except for newborns. but, i live in Arizona.  summer is HOT!!!  indoors is often the only option.  this poses a big problem in my personal life.  Anna's birthday is July 1st, we live in AZ, this year i had a 4 week old. 

 i decided to take the challenge and shoot at home.  i probably faced the feelings my clients do when shooting in thier homes.  i looked around, didn't see the Pottery Barn catalogue and said to myself, "where are we gonna do this?" 

here's the tip: you only need a little well lit corner, and low apeture to make a great portrait at home.  for the below image i placed Anna in front of, and slighly to the right of our dining room window.  i sat opposite her at the table and fired away:
i think the SOOC (straight out of camers) shot is pretty good.  her skin was a little under exposed, so i lightened it up a little, dodged and burned the eyes to give them a little sparkle, and voila!  a sweet little 6 year old gets even sweeter!

wardrobe wednesday - arizona family photographer

perhaps universally, the most asked question of photographers is "what should we wear?"

it's a question i have struggled to answer since starting out. when i get family portraits done, i want to look like us. so, i think you should look like you!  that being said, most people want/need more. so think you, but better, polished, and coordinated with the rest of your family. remember that word - COORDINATED. there is a marked difference between "matching" and "coordinated". matching is a thing of the past, think white polos and khakis on everyone. coordinated is a more modern, pulled together, comfortable, and classy approach to the family portrait.  let's delve:

my favorite rule to follow is dress yourself first.  moms, i'm talking to you.  i remember all too often my mom laboring over making her 6, count 'em, 6 children look their best; only to turn around 10 minutes before we had to leave and realize she hadn't given thought one to her own look.  this makes mom even more stressed.  do yourself a favor moms - dress yourself first.  pick the sassiest, date-worthy outfit you can get, glam it up with shoes and accessories, and work everyone else around you!

in the above example mom is in a flirty printed dress.  the pinks are picked up in the little girl's tank.  keep dad neutral and manly in grey, and brother looks adorable with a pop of yellow.  give everyone a little flair, jewelry for the ladies, a hat for little bro, and voila! you - but better.

real world example:

here, little sis gets  the print, but the same principles apply!  when mom looks this great, everyone else is bound to shine.  make the day go even better and get a sitter after your shoot.  why waste that great date night outfit?