Stephanie's Year in Review

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Ladybugsteph's picture
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977
Stephanie's Year in Review

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:

carsonweb by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

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.

carsonbwweb by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

My try at a "cute" shoot with Carson and the dog. Fail.

buddies1web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

I quite like pet photography, and would love to get the opportunity to try my hand at it some time.

baileyweb by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

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!

IMG_7770-4web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

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!

20 by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

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!

IMG_8091-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

IMG_8044-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

IMG_8037-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

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!

IMG_8167-2blog by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

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.

IMG_8171-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

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.

IMG_8217-2blog by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

First family shoot! I found out I loved families....and photographing little girls! Wink

IMG_8449-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

IMG_8467-2portrait by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

Though, I still need some help with full sun in the morning. I definitely needed a better location.

IMG_8521-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

Working more with indoor stuff. Another favorite:

IMG_8654-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

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!

IMG_8855-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

(and not realizing that I was going WAAAY too bright with the skin!)

IMG_9118-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

Bam! Directional light! Still had to use an object to get the shadows, but at least I was happy with myself Wink

IMG_9131-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

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.

IMG_9172-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

Taking a step backwards. Caught myself looking at the scenery only and not the lighting as well.

IMG_9787-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

Jackson started not minding the camera around this time (March).

IMG_9845-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

IMG_9763-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

This is where I finally learned about masking. Though, the skin is still way too bright Wink

IMG_0003-2editweb by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

Easter shoot with my boys.

IMG_0201-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

IMG_0181-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

It was around this time that I started trying to pay attention to my head chops.

IMG_0641-2bwweb by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

First maternity shoot. Had a hard time with this one, as I realized I liked doing family shots more than the maternity ones.

IMG_0939web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

IMG_0917web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

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...

4 by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

I finally started addressing the skin brightness issues I was having. Huge thanks to Amber for all her help with it.

IMG_1028-3web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

Still love me some backlighting!

IMG_1064-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

It's May, and I still can't get this outdoor directional lighting thing down pat!

IMG_1341-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

Realized the importance of connection between the people.

IMG_1473web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

Hmm...too far with the skin?? Wink

IMG_1386-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

Still have to use something to create directional light outside.

IMG_2054web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

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.

IMG_2080-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

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.

IMG_2395-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

Made me feel so good!

IMG_2304-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

IMG_2355-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

I finally had my ah-ha! moment!!! Got the directional outdoor lighting after following a thread over on ILP.

IMG_2561-2editweb1 by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

IMG_2839-2bwweb by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

IMG_2881-2blog by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

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.

IMG_3369-2blog by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

IMG_3644-2bwweb by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

These had looked so much better in my head than they did on the screen Sad The sun was halfway behind the trees making editing difficult with the top half in sun, and the bottom half in shade.

IMG_3744-4web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

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 Wink

IMG_4025-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

We have this amazing window in our dining room that I love to put the boys near for some photos.

IMG_4065-2bwweb by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

Starting to get a bit comfortable with my property.

IMG_4301-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

I've really been trying to look at my environment, even when taking snapshots:

IMG_4317-2bwweb by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

IMG_4467-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

IMG_5804-2fb by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

IMG_4615-2blog by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

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.

IMG_5134-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

IMG_5060-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

Favorite shot from Disney. I should share the video...

IMG_4981-2fb by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

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.

IMG_5795-3web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

IMG_5775-4web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

Trying out some deep shade. Not happy with the light...or the focus for that matter!

IMG_6133-3-2web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

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!

IMG_6068-3web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

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 Wink

IMG_7061-5web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

I've finally started using my reflector. I'm going to use it more often!

IMG_6984-3web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

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 Smile 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 Wink

9 by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

10 by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

21 by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

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.

IMG_7997-3web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

IMG_8146web by Stephanie.Miller, on Flickr

EL2's picture
Last seen: 2 years 12 months ago
Joined: 12/05/07
Posts: 1665

Stephanie - I must say you have grown leaps and bounds!!! You are a great self-learner and strive to understand what you are doing. Keep at it. I know once you get the FF camera you will have lots of room to grow. Great year!

sadieruth's picture
Last seen: 1 hour 4 min ago
Joined: 06/09/05
Posts: 6259

Yes, Steph you have improved SOOOOOOOO much! I too love that you set your mind on learning something new. I struggle with certain things and I think this new year, I need to work on it. Great job! I have to say my favorite all together is the Woody pic. It melts my heart into a million pieces! Smile Also, I wanted to say that making a client cry is the best compliment EVER! My client cried on two of my pics and it made me feel good. THAT is the main reason I love photography!

TracyF's picture
Last seen: 2 days 21 hours ago
Joined: 08/14/06
Posts: 2536

Always so great to see your progress, because like others have said, you make such a concerted effort to learn/improve, and it really shows in your work. You're just fantastic! TFS, Steph!

AmberBella's picture
Last seen: 3 years 1 month ago
Joined: 02/15/07
Posts: 1831

My goodness Stephanie...this has been a HUGE year of growth for you and you're photography. Your images are starting to get really consistent and beautiful. Figuring out light makes such a big difference.

I also have to give you major props for being so open to CC! I'm so glad you were open to suggestion and glad I was helpful with the skin issue. Addressing that has made a huge difference as well.

Awesome work...can't wait to see what you do next year!

shadow_grey's picture
Last seen: 1 year 5 months ago
Joined: 05/03/12
Posts: 581

Great work Steph. You have come far

KatieWillis's picture
Last seen: 2 years 6 months ago
Joined: 07/01/07
Posts: 1441

I always love your work, Stephanie! You've definitely grown a lot this year!

Ladybugsteph's picture
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

Thank you all for the kind words! AND, thank you for all of your help and CC! I always appreciate getting your feedback Smile

Jeffininer's picture
Last seen: 3 years 2 months ago
Joined: 11/07/07
Posts: 1796

You have made amazing improvement this year!! I love how it's just visibly noticeable as you scroll through the images. I need your dedication to learning and shooting!

Last seen: 15 min 26 sec ago
Joined: 10/26/01
Posts: 3599

I would say this has been a fantastic year for you! You are really coming into your own style now. Your use of light to create emotion and drama is one of those things I admire most about your work. I also really love the clean, crisp, and vibrant processing style you are settling into.

I can't wait to see how much further you will grow in the next year!


Muddee's picture
Last seen: 1 year 9 months ago
Joined: 03/13/08
Posts: 2119

I saw some great improvement over the year and you capture some really wonderful moments, thank you for sharing.

Ladybugsteph's picture
Last seen: 1 year 4 months ago
Joined: 06/21/06
Posts: 2977

Thanks everyone!!