Monday, November 29, 2010

The Best Camera is the one you have with you

Chase Jarvis spoke this wisdom at his keynote speech. You might have the best camera money could buy (I wish I did!!!) but if it's sitting home when you see something beautiful, then even a disposable one can still capture what you are seeing better than nothing!  That is why I'm trying so hard to always have my camera with me everywhere I go.  
But I didn't have it with me the other day and the sky was so gorgeous, so I snapped a few pics on my phone!!
I thought they turned out good, considering!
I just took them on the phone played with some of the settings and sent them to my email.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


Tuesdays are the days I work on finding actions online, and learning how to use them in Photoshop Elements.
I took this picture the night of our campfire, right before the guys destroyed our flames by adding rubber!

In PSE, I used the clone stamp tool to get rid of the tractor's roll bar and then used Lustrous Pop and also because I am experimenting with actions, I also used a PW action, colorize and dim the lights found here.

Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

An Article I read about Pet Photography by Julie Clegg

I am learning all I can about photography, and this fun article was some great tips on animal photography:

Pet Photography: 7 Surefire Tips for Capturing a Dog’s Personality
Ahhh…dogs. Those lovable furry creatures who make our lives so full of fun and fur. Where would we be without them? They are so dear to our hearts, yet only with us a short amount of time. Who wouldn’t want a million pictures of the big lug, he’s your best pal and he deserves it. While the pictures you are getting for yourself or your clients are great, they don’t always capture exactly what you were looking for. So here are a few tips that I hope will help you capture the true personality of the next dog you photograph.
final1 Pet Photography: 7 Surefire Tips for Capturing a Dogs Personality
1. Who is this furry beast?
Talking to the owners is the best way to start understanding the pup you’re shooting. Every dog has a distinct personality, even if they are the same breed. The owner will know the little quirks and hilarious things their dogs do, so start by asking them. Nothing sells a picture more than that “thing” that only Duke does. Not only will they want to buy it, but more importantly they will cherish that image long after Duke has gone.
You can ask things like what are his favorite things to do (i.e., go to the beach, chase frisbees, lie in front of the fire and gnaw on a special chew toy). Also, ask if he has any favorite words (like walk, kitty or treat) that will get his attention when you need it. Warning though, don’t over use these words without a few treats or he might stop listening to you. Ask if he likes his ears scratched or his belly rubbed. Once you get to know him a little better, he’ll love that you know his favorite scratching spots.
final4 Pet Photography: 7 Surefire Tips for Capturing a Dogs Personality
2. Lets be friends
You can’t just roll right in and bust out your camera and start shooting. Most dogs won’t relax around someone they don’t know, swinging around a huge black object that makes funny noises. Similar to kids, they could be scared by it or even put on their guard. While that emotion may be distinct to the dog, it does not make for great pictures or for a good afternoon of shooting. Even if you know the dog well, it’s best to start off playing a little and getting re-acquainted.
There are many things you can do to get acquainted. Some suggestions are: spend time throwing the ball around if your furry client likes to fetch, or try playing tug of war with one of his favorite toys. It will wear him out a bit and you’ll gain his trust as a friend. Also by playing around, you will quickly learn what the dog loves and can possibly use those items you were playing with as props in some of your images.
final25 Pet Photography: 7 Surefire Tips for Capturing a Dogs Personality
3. Check out my gear!
After a little bit of play time and you can tell he’s feeling a little better about you being around, pull out your camera and just let him sniff it. Don’t try taking any pictures, just leave it out so he can see it and get use to it.
Next, make the shutter go off. You don’t need to point it at the dog, just have the camera make the sound. Did he cock his head? Does he still look interested? Afraid? Let him see it again and soon he’ll be okay. Now, not all dogs are going to be totally okay with you in their face with a camera. That’s okay too, it doesn’t mean the session is over. Bring out a longer lens and just get further away from the dog so they feel less threatened by your gear. Sometimes it’s just having it in front of your face that bothers the them. If they don’t mind the camera but don’t like it once you pull it up to take the shot, try shooting from the hip or the ground. Set yourself up on aperture priority and put the camera on the ground or in the grass or shoot while holding the camera by your side. You can get some great shots this way from a dogs perspective.
final9 Pet Photography: 7 Surefire Tips for Capturing a Dogs Personality
This guy here was so curious and wanted to be by my side. I’d have him sit and stay and when I would get ready to shoot, he’d come bouncing up to sit by me. I shot this with my camera low on my body walking backwards with the dog. Lucky? Probably. Fun? Definitely!
weddingpeepers watermarkjpg Pet Photography: 7 Surefire Tips for Capturing a Dogs Personality
4. So THIS is where you hang out?!
Once your dog is nice and relaxed, try shooting them in their environment. Again, this will go back to asking questions and talking with the owner.
Can you tell this dog LOVES the tall grass at the dog park. This is my girl Bailey, and throwing sticks into the summer grass and getting lost in the jungle is one of her favorite past times. I had to get one of her here. When she is long past her days of running free, I will always remember her at the dog park running in and out of the tall weeds looking for that stick. This is truly her in her element. It took a few tries, but I love how it turned out.
final2 Pet Photography: 7 Surefire Tips for Capturing a Dogs Personality
This dog loves to snorkel for treats by burying her nose in anything to find her delicious snack. This was taken in the fall where she could plow through all the leaves and had a blast doing it. You can just see the spirit coming out of a dog who is doing something they truly love. Definitely something funny and unique that you will want to try to get some shots of.
final7 Pet Photography: 7 Surefire Tips for Capturing a Dogs Personality
final8 Pet Photography: 7 Surefire Tips for Capturing a Dogs Personality
5. Wooo woo woooooo and other fun noises
If you can make a sounds a dog hasn’t heard before you can usually get them to look at you with a curious fun look. Try making a kissing noise or clicking your tongue or using one of those trigger words you know the dog loves.  This pup was so new it was easy to get him to look at me funny. What was difficult was getting him to stay.
final6 Pet Photography: 7 Surefire Tips for Capturing a Dogs Personality
6. It’s all about patience and enjoying the day
Dogs are not always going to give you exactly what you might think you want, but if you are patient enough, you can usually get something amazing. Let them run around and do their thing and be an observer. When the dog feels relaxed around you, they’ll go back to being themselves. That’s where the most wonderful pictures come from.
final10 Pet Photography: 7 Surefire Tips for Capturing a Dogs Personality
For example, I love the way dogs shake the water off their coats when they get out of the lake. But it’s tough to get the light right and background how you want it. So I set up here hoping he would get out and get in front of me and shake. I know right? Sounds unlikely, but with some coaxing and treats and a million dips in the water, it happened. All it took was waiting it out and having plenty of great snacks on hand.
final13 Pet Photography: 7 Surefire Tips for Capturing a Dogs Personality
Some of my favorite sessions are with dogs and their owners. The interaction and love they share is something I strive to get on camera and it always takes everyone relaxing and just being in the moment. The pictures from this owner and her dog were captured from walking on the beaches and getting her dog Jonus to play in the water. It wasn’t all about a big special “photo shoot”, it was about spending a day at the beach with some friends. Once Jonus relaxed and realized we were having fun, it all came together. This can only come from being patient.
final12 Pet Photography: 7 Surefire Tips for Capturing a Dogs Personality final17 Pet Photography: 7 Surefire Tips for Capturing a Dogs Personality
7. Final tidbits
Photographing dogs is one of the most wonderful things I could think of doing for an afternoon. Go in with an open mind, a lot of patience and be ready for a lot of fun. Get amazing treats for your new friend, a good squeaky toy for distraction and take these few tips with you and I am sure that the furry mug on the other side of your lens will be showing his true personality in no time.
All of the examples posted with rounded corners were created using the MCP Actions Rounded Blog It Boards. They are fun and easy to use and my clients love the new storyboards they are getting!
final14 Pet Photography: 7 Surefire Tips for Capturing a Dogs Personality
About Julie Clegg
I am currently living in the Seattle, WA area, and work full time chasing dogs and kids around while expanding my photography business. When not shooting for clients, I regularly shoot for iStockphoto and Getty Images and am a contributing photographer for CityDog Magazine. I was most recently voted 1st runner up in the Best of Western Washington for pet photography. For more information about my work and booking a session, come visit me at JCleggPhotography or come over and “Like” me on Facebook!

If you play with're going to get cool pictures!

Friends invited us over for a big Bonfire...
I pictured s'mores, campfire songs, and a cozy evening around a fire.
What happened instead was way more fun to take pictures of, but it was slightly illegal and you couldn't get within 50 feet of the blaze! The s'mores would have tasted like rubber, so we opted to eat uncooked marshmallows, and the same geniuses that made the bonfire decided to use the rest of the marshmallows as mini-grenades!! Ouch!

 S'more anyone??

Friday, November 19, 2010

Pop gives me mixed feelings

Well, my blog's premise is "what makes a picture worth a thousand words?" 
I would like to think that it is what I, the photographer, am learning with my camera
 that makes each photo more valuable and "wow!"
So I have mixed feelings with the use of Photoshop and other programs, it makes it very accessible to heavily edit and totally change pictures...
With what could be a click of the shutter button for a nice shot can now be a mediocre shot and a click of the mouse. I guess this is just another form of art in photography, an evolution of the digital world we are in, but part of me hesitates to embrace editing because now what you see isn't always what you get.
All that to is amazing what my new action "lustrous pop" did.  It took the above photo with somewhat dull color and gave me this:

*With mixed feelings!*

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Now you see it, now you don't!

Well, the last few days I have been reading a book about PSE 7 (my new editing program, the initials stand for Photoshop Elements 7). Along with just clicking around in there and learning as much as I can, I have been learning how to install actions- which are basically edits you can load into PSE that you can click and they will magically "do" one or a series of edits for you. They are really amazing! You can pay lots of money for actions, or you can find free ones, or you can just learn the hard way and make your own actions.

Well, today I thought I would fool around with the "clone stamp" which basically means you highlight one area and then just brush over what you want removed.

So, I had fun with this one.


So, then we went out and cleaned the yard.
Ha ha....just kidding.
This is much easier than that!
I just clone stamped the back yard and removed all the construction, and here is the after:

Pretty cool, huh?
Posted by Picasa

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Shape Collages

I found this cool, and FREE program online where you can easily select photos and make them into collages.  You can have their pre-set shapes, or you can even create your own custom shapes using clip art or even a photo you've taken.  I thought it was just a fun program: Here is the link to it.

These are all of photos of my neice Keren, so I chose the letter K and it filled in the rest.

Kittens!!!  :)

This one I found a NY sillhouette on google and made it into a custom shape of my NYC pictures.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Photo Challenge for Today~ Blue Eyes

The cats in these pictures are Ragdolls.  All ragdolls have blue eyes, but it can be challenging to photograph them if you don't have really nice natural lighting, because with a flash they have red eyes and with out enough natural light, their pretty eyes don't "pop" like you want them to.
Today I got some nice shots of two of our 8 month old kittens, Opal and Catalina.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Today's Photo Challenge was a "Quack"

I was teaching for almost ten hours today, so I wasn't sure if I'd get my photo challenge in.  But I grabbed my camera "just in case" because I have learned to always have it with me. On my long drive, I was enjoying the beautiful sun shine, thinking how it's a rare thing for this time of year in NY.
Well, I was driving past Irondequiot Bay and the beautiful colors and scenery caught my eye, so i was happy I had a couple spare minutes before and after my first lesson of the day. 

None of these photos are edited, by the way!  I love the colors that my camera captured!

When I first pulled in the ducks were sending strange warning sounds to each other, and swimming away as fast as their cold little feet would take them. 

 I am aware that ducks don't have feet, but can't remember what they are called at the moment! 
 Maybe they are called feet??? 

 Love the water drops on the duck's head, and the water falling out of his mouth!

Anyway, by the end of my short time with the ducks they bravely swam closer and closer to me and were muttering new sounds which, obviously I am not duck expert, but I believe translated into them praying for a miracle for my camera to turn into bread. 
(If you are skeptical, notice them all praying in the picture above, except the seagull. Figures!)

Again, this isn't edited, but I got it to look like a watercolor by slowing the shutter speed way down!
And saying...Quack! (Cheese wasn't working ;)