Summer 2010-all of 2011 was the time where photography really started to make sense to me. I finally pushed myself out of semi-auto and into full manual. I also switched over to RAW, and never looked back. If you want to track my 2011 progress, I did a 52 week project that you can see here: My Project 52 I absolutely loved doing it, and that lead me to do a 365 project this year: My Year in Photos It's been a lot to keep up on, but I've enjoyed documenting our lives every day for a full year. It's made me realize that not every shot has to be a portrait, and that the snapshots matter just as much as the portraits.
I have a Flickr set for my progress of 2012 that you can view here: 2012 Progress - a set on Flickr
In 2012, I challenged myself to get good directional light, indoors and out. I feel pretty accomplished in that this year. I started out not being able to control the direction of the light outdoors in the beginning of the year, to being able to get what I wanted toward the middle of the year.
One of the first photos of the year:
My love for black and white photos started this year, as well. I found what made a good black and white and really started appreciating black and white photography. I usually don't convert unless I see good lighting.
My try at a "cute" shoot with Carson and the dog. Fail.
I quite like pet photography, and would love to get the opportunity to try my hand at it some time.
One of my favorites of the year. I got some good feedback on this one, and what to improve upon it next time. It really made me start looking at the tiny things, like how I should have had his face toward the light to make it seem like he's "taking on the world". I learned so much from this one!
I started charging for my services this year! This was my first paid shoot. This was the sister of one of my friends. They actually asked me to shoot their wedding for them, but I declined. I wish I wouldn't have had to do that, but my equipment is seriously lacking for a wedding. I would have hated to screw it up!
I loved this shoot with my boys. February showed us mercy and we got some fabulous weather. Normally, in IL in Feb, we're all bundled up and chilled to the bone when we step outside. Not this year!
I also tried out a new watermark that got less than stellar reviews lol! I ditched it and just went back to my name.
It's so important to catch those non-portrait moments. This is another favorite from the year!
First newborn. I did not charge for this. I was visiting my cousin and brought along my camera. I thought that maybe newborns would be for me.
I really started stepping back and looking at the scene and how I wanted to compose it before I even shot. This was a huge step for me.
First family shoot! I found out I loved families....and photographing little girls!
Though, I still need some help with full sun in the morning. I definitely needed a better location.
Working more with indoor stuff. Another favorite:
Back outside. A sorry attempt at getting some directional light outdoors. I started getting really frustrated with myself at this point, since I just couldn't understand it!
Bam! Directional light! Still had to use an object to get the shadows, but at least I was happy with myself
My favorite type of photography. Backlighting. I was really starting to master it by this time. I knew how to get the effect I wanted.
Taking a step backwards. Caught myself looking at the scenery only and not the lighting as well.
Jackson started not minding the camera around this time (March).
This is where I finally learned about masking. Though, the skin is still way too bright
Easter shoot with my boys.
It was around this time that I started trying to pay attention to my head chops.
First maternity shoot. Had a hard time with this one, as I realized I liked doing family shots more than the maternity ones.
The newborn shoot from this maternity session didn't go like I would have liked. I really wanted to try some sleeping baby poses, but she just wouldn't go to sleep! Started thinking that maybe I wouldn't like newborns after all...
I finally started addressing the skin brightness issues I was having. Huge thanks to Amber for all her help with it.
Still love me some backlighting!
It's May, and I still can't get this outdoor directional lighting thing down pat!
Realized the importance of connection between the people.
Hmm...too far with the skin??
Still have to use something to create directional light outside.
Embracing the grain for some good sleeping pics of Carson. I've never been able to get sleeping pics of him, but he was actually sleeping pretty deeply for his nap that day.
My last paid shoot before we moved. I loved the mom of these kids. I hadn't met her in person before the shoot, and was really disappointed I didn't get to know her better before. When I saw her later, she told me that she had this one printed out big and cried when she saw it.
Made me feel so good!
I finally had my ah-ha! moment!!! Got the directional outdoor lighting after following a thread over on ILP.
I had been trying all summer to get this shot. I was so happy when I did. I knew exactly what I needed to do after some trial and error. I was proud of myself.
These had looked so much better in my head than they did on the screen The sun was halfway behind the trees making editing difficult with the top half in sun, and the bottom half in shade.
We moved in August. Everything that I was comfortable with, and had taught myself in my yard was gone, and I feel like I'm learning all over again. But man, we get some gorgeous sunsets in the summer! I can get the technical side of the silhouette, but I need to work on getting something interesting in the shot
We have this amazing window in our dining room that I love to put the boys near for some photos.
Starting to get a bit comfortable with my property.
I've really been trying to look at my environment, even when taking snapshots:
We went to Disney in September. I was really wishing I had a better camera. I wasn't able to get the indoor shots like I wanted. Drew and I started having serious discussions about a camera upgrade leading up to the vacation. I wanted to rent a camera or lenses, but he just wanted to take that money and put it toward a new camera instead of throwing it away.
Favorite shot from Disney. I should share the video...
I really started trying to fine tune my PP. I think that's going to be my goal in 2013. I really need to find my editing style. I'm close.
Trying out some deep shade. Not happy with the light...or the focus for that matter!
The sun is now setting behind the trees in our yard this time of year (October). Finally able to get my favorite kind of shots in our new yard!
Our family picture this year. I set my camera, and my neighbor/friend took this for me. So happy I didn't have to run back and forth with the self-timer
I've finally started using my reflector. I'm going to use it more often!
Over Thanksgiving, I had my first paid shoot since the kids in June. It felt SO GOOD to get back to shooting others. I really missed it. This lady is a photographer in IL, and has been following my work since we met through my cousin back in April. She and her husband were very happy with the shoot Made me feel so good. This was when Drew and I started talking seriously about going into business in the next year and a half or so. He also agreed to a 5D Mark III at this point
So that brings us to now. Really starting to get frustrated with my camera, since I can't make it do what I want it to do. I'm struggling getting my photos exposed properly, even with my flash on. But, like I taught myself this year, it's not always about the technically perfect photo. It's about that perfect moment.