It's been a while since I sat down and wrote about my first creative love, photography! Through the years photography has played a major role in all of my creative jobs: from my very first business shooting photos locally to selling my art online to becoming a full time blogger and more recently in photographing much of our own books! I can say with certainty that my very first DSLR was the best investment I ever made in my career. As the years go by, I have become more and more interested in photography. I am sure it will be a lifelong learning process.
Today I want to talk a little bit about my thoughts on photography. I consider myself a lifestyle photography enthusiast. My favorite thing in the world is looking back on memories from years past with the people I love. It's so special. Technical perfection means very little to me. My biggest goal with photography is to capture the things that make life sweet, the things that are here today gone tomorrow.Real moments are my favorite. Not that there is anything wrong with a posed and styled photo, as (if I'm being honest) that is most of what we share here on ABM. Real moments are special, rare and much more difficult to capture. I think that is why they are my favorite. When I get a candid photo that captures a person's beauty, a couple's style or a family relationship, I melt.
It's not easy to be tuned in and ready to capture real moments. It's a learned habit that happens slowly, with practice. I feel like each year I am more able to capture moments as they happen without stopping everything and saying, "Wait! Do that again!"Sometimes detail shots tell the best stories. All of these photos take me back to different days where I can clearly remember what I was feeling and what was happening. The photo of the box takes me back to the first day we moved into our new home, and the ice cream photo will always remind me of a sunny day when Jeremy (who is NOT a sweets person) offered to take me on an ice cream date totally out of the blue. It's easy to glaze over detail shots. I often hear people making fun of others who instagram food or coffee. In my opinion, these little things tell a bigger story and they matter just as much as posed portraits or a whole scene. I LOVE details.I love movement and, yes, even blurry photos! With that said, I've definitely had my fair share of accidentally blurry photos that seriously bummed me out. Over time, I've become more open to embracing blurry photos. Sometimes they are even my favorites. They tell a story. Whether your day is busy, crazy, windy or stressful, there are times that the blur can add to the emotion in a photograph. I mean, life really is a whirlwind sometimes, right?Genuine emotion shows through. I love it when photos capture true emotions. So many times it's easier, quicker, and a force of habit for me to just throw on my photo smile. Plus, so many people feel awkward and shy in front of the camera. I love the photo above where Jeremy is NOT into getting a photo with me. This happened when we were at breakfast last week. I don't blame him and, you know what, I think this is one of my favorite photos we've had together in a while, because he didn't put on a fake smile. Real emotions are funny, special and sometimes unexpected. Capturing real emotion isn't easy. It takes lots of trial and error, but when it happens it's magic!
I'd love to hear your thoughts on lifestyle photography. What helps you get your best photos? What are some challenges that you face? xo. Elsie
It's been a few years since I shared my favorite camera gear. Emma and I get a lot of e-mails asking for advice about camera and lens purchases. We keep a pretty simple lineup of gear around here. We don't have a ton of fancy equipment, and we use everything we own almost every day. So without further ado, here's what we use and why we love it!1. Canon EOS 60D I've been using my Canon 60D for the past year. Emma recently upgraded to the same camera and is loving it. I love this camera, because it's high quality but isn't crazy expensive. We actually used this camera to shoot our entire photography book earlier this year. I always travel with it. In my opinion it's a good mix of practical and professional. I would highly recommend this camera to anyone shopping for a solid digital SLR.2. Canon EOS 5D Mark III I had toyed with the idea of upgrading to a full frame camera for the past few years. I finally decided to take the plunge, because I felt we needed a full frame camera for indoor photos. When you are dealing with smallish rooms and limited space, the extra frame space is needed. I am in love with this camera. I've only been using it for about a month (mostly indoors), and it has made a world of difference in my home photos. I love that both our cameras can share lenses, but they capture such different images. If I would have known how helpful a full frame camera would be, I probably would have invested in one years ago.3. Canon EF 35mm f/2 I use this lens most often. If you only want to invest in one lens, I would recommend this one. It's versatile and works great for indoor and outdoor photography. Sometimes it stays on my camera for weeks at a time. It's a staple!4. Canon 40mm EF f/2.8 The 40mm is my newest lens. It was an impluse buy. I think it's great, especially for the price (which is awesome). I don't have as much to say about this lens, because I've only been using it for a few months. If you have notes feel free to add them in the comments. :)5. Canon EF 50mm f/1.4 We love our 50mm lens for portraits, usually outdoor. It produces the most beautiful bokeh and flattering blurred backgrounds. It's also really nice for low lit photos.
*I also own (and love) this wide angle lens Canon EF-S 10-22mm f/3.5-4.5. Before I owned a full frame camera, this lens was my only way to capture full room photos inside our home. It is also helpful for arm's length self portraits, although I usually crop out a lot of the distorted edges!
6. Camera Remote When we don't have someone available to take photos for us, we use a camera remote. It's great for self portraits or group photos when you want to include everyone in the frame. Of course, there is always the self-timer too, but the camera remote really speeds things up!
7. Wacom Bamboo Tablet Alright, now I am branching out from actual photography gear to other items that make our images possible. I have blogged about the tablet in the past (here + here). I use my tablet daily to edit photos, add handwriting and make collages.
Other stuff we use and love: The iPhone. Honestly, I LOVE iPhone photos. If anyone ever asks me which point & shoot camera I recommend I always tell them to just buy an iPod touch (or iPhone). The photo quality is great and the editing options that apps can offer are truly amazing! Photoshop CS (we use CS5 and CS6). We sometimes use actions. We like Totally Rad Actions! as well as Formula Actions. These are mostly used to quickly tweak color in our images. My favorite toy cameras are the Fujifilm INSTAX Wide , the Fujifilm Instax MINI and the Golden Half Camera.
Let me know if you have any other photography related questions, and I will answer you in the comments section! xo. Elsie
I have always wanted a wall in my home that was completely filled with photos! A couple weeks ago I got it stuck in my brain that this wall in our studio was the perfect spot. There were a couple challenges, though: 1. The wall is HUGE. 2. I don't have that many instant photos or film. 3. Even if I did buy enough film to fill the whole wall it would cost thousands of dollars and probably take months (or years?) to take enough photos.
So, I came up with a solution. We "wallpapered" this wall with color copies. The cons: They are not real photos, and they do repeat. The pros: It was done in a couple days, and I can now (slowly) cover the repeats with real photos over the next few years. One more pro: We're in love with it! The photo wall makes our studio room a happier place to work.
Here's how we did it:My brother helped me design 11x17 inch images with 9 Instax wide sized photos per sheet. We then created 4 different sheets with different photos. You could always do more if you wanted to reduce repeat photos! We measured the wall and ordered about 130 sheets on 80 lb card stock. We found an inexpensive local printer that did them for around $1 per sheet, so the entire wall only cost about $130! We got the sheets printed and trimmed. Next, we adhered them to the wall. We started with just sturdy double sided tape strips. This didn't work for our wall, so we started using a staple gun. Obviously, someday we will have a lot of staples to pull, but I am ok with that. I plan to keep this wall up for a couple years, so It was worth it to me. If you have satin paint you may not need a staple gun. I made an instagram collage in our last home using only masking tape. It was up for more than 6 months with pretty minimal curling.
So, we adhered and stapled the sheets to the wall. We had to cut some to fill in the leftover space around the edges of the wall at the end. This took an entire afternoon with Katie and Kinsey cutting and stapling. Not bad considering the size of this wall!
Note: We created the wallpaper to match the exact size of Fujifilm INSTAX Wide photos. We chose this instead of polaroid because the film is fairly inexpensive and accessible. It's our favorite instant camera.Now that it is fully installed I will be covering some of the repeat photos with real Instax photos. I love that I can do this over time and that I don't have to wait until I collect a thousand photos to create the wall! It's so much less pressure. :)Ta-Da! Here's a photo of the finished product! I am super thrilled with the outcome. It has so much personality. I hope that this tutorial encourages some of you to try a photo statement wall. I am completely pleased with the quality, the price and the time it took us to install the wallpaper. It was a fun project and something we will enjoy for a long time. Have any of you created a photo wall? Is this something you would try?