Seth Family April 2014

This was my second session with the Seth Family. This time we also included my client’s sister and her family, and their parents. My biggest group so far, but such fun! Here’s the review Neha wrote after her first session with me in December 2013:

We had a fantastic experience with Tracy! She took some gorgeous pictures of our family of five along with my 6 month old. Tracy was very professional. She gave us plenty of time between shots to change outfits for our baby. And was very patient even when baby was getting fussy. The best part about the whole experience was that the pictures turned out just beautiful. We are looking forward to our next shoot with Tracy!

Here is a selection of my favorite images from the latest session. Click here to see the full gallery.

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For more details about a photo session with me click here.

To book your own family photo session click here.

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2013 Photo-a-day: February Week 4

Day 53

Day 53

Love hearts, a traditional Valentine’s treat. I went outside so I could shoot these in natural light, and tried to arrange them so they looked like they had been casually dropped.

Day 54

Day 54

We’ve had some beautiful weather lately, so I decided to take advantage of it to get this shot. I love the heart shape of these leaves, and the shadow looks great too. To get the shot I had to hold the leaf in such a way that you could clearly see the heart shape of it and the shadow, as well as keeping my hand and the stalk out of the frame as much as possible. I actually tried cropping my fingers out completely, but that made it look like the leaf was floating, and looked a little weird.

Day 55

Day 55

My littlest love is ready for solid food! We’re taking it slowly, and on the advice of a friend we are letting him try things for himself rather than trying to force-spoonfeed him. I offered him some tomato flavored corn chip puff thingies, and he loved them! Although so far he prefers to suck them and then spit out the rest. It’s exciting to wonder what foods he will come to love though :)

Day 56

Day 56

This was an interesting shot, and not what I originally planned this day. I wanted to get a shot of the Chinese symbol for love, but in an interesting way. I also wanted to get a shot of the beautiful cherry blossom which had just started blooming, but couldn’t think of a way that it represented ‘love.’ So I decided to use the blossom to create the Chinese symbol for love. I printed out a large copy of it, then gathered some blossom and stuck it to the paper. My kids helped. It was fun, but we got a little ‘blossom happy,’ and by the end it was very hard to see the symbol at all, it just looked like a mass of blossom on white paper! So I came up with a plan B – I got a nice shot of the blossom and superimposed the symbol over the top. Although it was not what I originally wanted, I like the effect I ended up with.

Day 57

Day 57

My three little loves, also known as the Triple-E ;)  I wanted to get a shot of them together during my love-theme month, because the love between siblings is like no other. Edward looks up to his big sister, and Elizabeth is very protective of her brothers. Edward and Elizabeth both adore their baby brother, and Evan lights up whenever they’re around. I know the three of them will be best friends for life. I originally planned to shoot them sitting up together, as I have done before. I put them all in their ‘sibling shirts’ and got a couple of good shots of them sitting on the tiger blanket out in the backyard. Then I decided to to lay them down and try and get their heads close together. It was unplanned, but I loved those shots so much more that the sitting up ones! They just look so much more relaxed and happy, and I like that their heads are close together. You can’t see their shirts as well, but I don’t mind that. I love this picture so much I’m going to print it and frame it :)

Day 58

Day 58

Showing my body some love by getting out and walking more. I try and walk every day after I drop my daughter off at school, and I also just signed up to walk a 5K in a couple of weeks. I hope to run it next year. Right now I don’t have enough time to train, but as Evan gets older and Edward moves into Kindergarten my schedule will open up a little.

Day 59

Day 59

I started the month with my wedding rings, and I end it with my wedding dress. Every bride knows how important it is to find the perfect dress for the day she promises to love her husband for all eternity. I had mine custom made, and I loved it. My husband said he did too. It’s been hanging in my closet wrapped in plastic for the last 8 years, so it was fun to get it out again. I took it outside so I could get some nice soft natural light for the shot.


And that’s February done! I had a lot of fun with this month’s theme of ‘love,’ and next month should be even funner…the theme for March is ‘Famous Movies Recreated with Tiny Action Figures!’ A bit of a mouthful, but I’m so looking forward to this one! I have my team assembled (see below) and we are taking suggestions. Just leave a comment if there is a movie you’d like to see recreated with tiny action figures :)

Ready for action!

 

2013 Photo-a-day: February Week 3

Day 46

Day 46

Five years ago this little boy came into my life to teach me about the love between a mother and son. Happy Birthday my little Edward! To get this shot I had him lay on his tummy with a big gift bag behind him. Then I cropped so the gift bag filled the frame behind him. The robot was one of his favorite presents, one he’d been asking for for weeks.

Day 47

Day 47

Edward’s first proper birthday party! We always have our birthday parties in the back yard. Edward chose to have a robot party and invited all his friends. We had 10 guests so it was a busy afternoon! They built robots out of junk and had a great time running around the yard. Daddy made the cake, which was delicious :)  I couldn’t decide on just one picture for the day, so I put the collage together in Photoshop.

Day 48

Day 48

For two years I was part of the RCIA team at my church. I’m currently taking a break because I don’t have enough time to dedicate to it with the new baby, but I stay in touch with the team. These are some of the people preparing to show their Love for Jesus by being baptized and received into the Catholic church at Easter.

Day 49

Day 49

With the theme of love this month, I knew I had to get a picture of a heart. I had the idea that I could cut a strawberry in half, and the inside would look like a heart, but I couldn’t find any the right shape. Then I tried laying the 2 halves on top of each other like this, and…perfect! The heart is the universal symbol for love, and strawberries are well-known as a food of romance and seduction.

Day 50

Day 50

My first born, my little girl. The way I looked at love changed forever the day she was born. I have the hardest time getting her to smile nicely for photos. She usually either refuses to smile at all, or does a weird thing where she bares her teeth. Today I coached her a little before we started, and told her we were doing a proper photo shoot. I spread her bed covers over the edge of the bed, then had her sit on the floor looking up at me while I stood on the bed. This was one of the first shots I took. The flash didn’t fire properly, and the image came out dark with a weird color cast. But it was one of the best images, and converting it to black and white solved all the problems and I love the result. My other favorite image is at the end of this post.

Day 51

Day 51

There are many things I ‘love.’ I could have spent the whole month taking pictures of them, but I wanted to find things that represent love rather than just my own personal likes. But reading is one of the top things I love, and when I saw an image similar to this online I had to try it. I love the way it came out.

Day 52

Day 52

My kitty cat, Kishka. She’s big and fluffy, and we all love her. Pets are so full of love for their families too. I got this shot of her licking her nose completely by chance, she did it just as I clicked.

 


Elizabeth

Elizabeth

 

2013 Photo-a-day: February Week 2

Day 39

Day 39

My husband, the love of my life. It was his birthday, and we had dinner with friends. He had already blown the candle out when I took the picture, so I copied a flame from another photo and added it digitally.

Day 40

Day 40

My daughter after participating in Girl Scout’s Thinking Day. This was a day where each troop had a booth to display information about different countries and cultures around the world. It teaches the girls to understand, appreciate and love the diversity of our world.

Day 41

Day 41

One of the cutest little girls on the planet :)  This is the daughter of our good friends, and we were invited to celebrate her first birthday with her. First birthdays are so special, especially when surrounded by people who love you. And cupcakes :)

Day 42

Day 42

My husband bought me this necklace for Christmas a few years ago. I can’t think of a better explanation of the bond between child and mother. As you can see it has been well-worn. To get this image I hung the necklace over the top of my jewelry box with the lid up and shot with my macro lens. There is a mirror inside the lid, so I tried to get the other side of the pendant reflected in the mirror, but I couldn’t get enough depth of field to get it in focus. So instead I switched to a shallow depth of field to completely blur out the background, then just added a second shot of the other side in the corner. I converted the image to sepia for a nice finish.

Day 43

Day 43

Evan, my littlest love. 5 months old in this picture! He’s not quite sitting up yet, so I tipped the chair he’s sitting in back a little to prevent him falling forward. Then I just started shooting, capturing all his funny expressions and poses :)

Day 44

Day 44

“For God so loved the world…” Ash Wednesday. We went as a family to mass in the evening. By the time we got home the kids had already rubbed their crosses off, but my husband’s was still clear.

Day 45

Day 45

Happy Valentine’s Day! Once I got the idea for this shot in my head, I had to do it. These aren’t real roses, they’re fabric ones we were given just after the birth of our first son. But I think with the softening filter I added you can’t really tell.

Money Shots

As expected, life with a newborn has meant everything else has taken a back seat the last few months!

Evan David - 3 months old

Evan David – 3 months old

But my beautiful baby boy is settling in well, and I’m trying to get back to some serious photography and regular blog posts. So on January 1st I will be starting a new photo-a-day project. I’ve done this twice before. In 2010 I documented the whole year with a photo each day. And in June 2011 I started a Grateful 365 project. The plan was to take a photo each day of something I’m grateful for. It went great until I got pregnant, then severe morning sickness put a stop to everything except essential day-to-day life. But I miss the daily challenge, so 2013 is going to be another daily project. This time I’ll have a general theme each month to give me a little more inspiration. I’ll post daily on my Facebook page, and I’ll put a weekly wrap-up post on here explaining a little about why I chose each picture.

In the meantime I wanted to share a few of my favorite shots from the family portrait sessions I did over the holidays. I did 5 shoots in total, including my own annual family portraits, and they all came out great. I’ll start with my own family.

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This is the second year I’ve taken our family pictures myself rather than going to Sears, but the first time I’ve taken them outside. The first picture is the one I chose to print and frame. Other than the look on Elizabeth’s face, I love everything about this picture. Getting her to smile is such a challenge! The second picture was one I originally discarded as no good. Elizabeth and Evan are not looking at the camera. There’s a big gap between my husband and the baby, and my husband’s big boot is in the frame. And yet there is something about this picture that just makes me smile. I ended up using this one as the cover photo on my personal Facebook page. You can see the rest of the pictures from the shoot on my website.

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This was my first professional shoot of the season, and we found a beautiful location (the same one I used for my own family shoot). I cropped the first picture at an angle to give it some movement and take it a step beyond a standard group shot. Babies – oh how I love taking photos of babies! The last shot is becoming something of a signature shot for me: the family sitting casually on the grass looking up at the camera. Sitting, the family are relaxed. With nothing but grass in the background there are no distractions, and looking up at the camera gives their faces a flattering look. This was another family with a child who wasn’t in the mood for smiling! Always a challenge, but with a little time and patience we still got some great shots. Especially with his super-cute and smiley baby sister! See the full shoot here.

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This family of Oakland Raiders fans wanted to use their favorite team as the theme for their Christmas pictures this year. Don’t the girls look adorable?! No problems getting these cuties to smile. The last picture was one of those totally unplanned shots. I turned to see Olivia swinging baby Sofia, and quickly snapped a picture. Luckily it was in focus, and I love it! See the full shoot here. Interesting fact: Olivia is a friend of mine, we were pregnant at the same time, had the same initial due date, and gave birth within a few hours of each other at the same hospital!

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I faced several challenges with this shoot. The family wanted some pictures taken inside, which I usually don’t do, preferring natural outside light. The older boy really wasn’t in the mood to participate, and the baby has severe eczema on his cheeks that the parents asked me to edit out. With all that, though, I was very pleased with the results. One of the reasons I love shooting in the fall is leaves! Gorgeous colors on the trees, which I took advantage of in the last shot. And fallen leaves on the ground make a great setting for pictures of little ones. For the second picture I just sat the boys down in the leaves, then got down low for a great angle. See the full shoot here.

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This was my last shoot of the season, another beautiful family, and beautiful location. The second picture is a variation of my ‘looking up’ shot. The family were sitting on a tree stump. After taking some traditional face-on shots, I jumped up onto another nearby tree stump and had them simply turn their heads and look up at me. The third shot is another where I took advantage of the fall colors to create a gorgeous background. This was my second time working with a pet dog. Obviously they are even more unpredictable than children, but this one was quite cooperative. And finally – this goofy girl! Every time I asked her to smile she did this :)  See the full shoot here.

So that’s it for 2012. Most of the year was quiet photography-wise, but it ended with a lot of fun shoots. 2013 is shaping up to be busier, and even more fun!

Happy New Year :)

Family Maternity Shoot

With just 2 weeks to go until my due date, I wanted to get some family pictures to commemorate this stage in our family history. When I was pregnant with my first child, a friend of ours offered to take some maternity pictures. She did a great job, and you can check them out here. With my second pregnancy I asked my mum to take some for us, but I wasn’t really prepared. We just made it up as we went along. Although we did get some nice pictures (see them here), this time I wanted to be a lot more organized.

To prepare I went online and searched for images that I liked, saving them to my phone so I wouldn’t forget and could access them quickly during the shoot. I also planned what I was going to wear, and exactly where I would take the pictures. I decided to simply use my tripod and the self timer on my camera instead of trying to instruct someone else on what to do. I used the same method last year for our family photos, and it worked well.

The biggest challenge is always keeping the kids cooperative. My son especially quickly loses interest. I promised them an icy treat if they did what I asked, and also split the time I needed them for pictures with times when it was just me or me and hubby. That meant they could run around for a bit, which made them more willing to come back and sit still again for a few more poses.

So we started with a traditional group shot of the whole family.

The first one is pretty standard, nothing special. Although I love the look on my son’s face, my daughter was still a little moody from having her hair combed (something she hates). So I immediately moved on to getting them more involved, as you can see in the second picture.

I decided to continue this aspect of having them focus on the bump, something I had seen and liked when researching images online.

As you can see, the two pictures in each of these pairs are very similar poses. I therefore decided to keep my favorite of each pair in color, and converted the other to black and white for a little variety. The color version of the top pair is one of my favorites. The ones of the kids kissing my bump didn’t come out quite as well as I had hoped, as you can’t really see their faces or exactly what they are doing. If I could do this shot over I would instead have them with their ears to the bump, as if listening to the baby, so you could see their faces. Alternatively I would shoot them one at a time from the side, so you could see that they are kissing the bump. Lesson learned.

We kept the focus on the bump going. I had found a wonderful image online of everyone’s hands on the bump, with nothing else showing, so that’s what I tried to create next.

In the first shot the angle was all wrong. The problem with using the self timer is that you don’t have much time to get everyone into position. However, when I reviewed the picture later, I found that when it was cropped it was actually quite a cute picture of the kids, so I kept it. Once I figured out the right positions for everyone to be in, I got exactly the shot I wanted. I knew it was going to look much better in black and white than color, but the sepia version turned out even better. This is another one of my favorites from the shoot.

We were done with the standing group shots, so I let the kids off to play and took a few of just me and hubby.

The first one was a pose I had planned, another quite traditional ‘couple’ shot, but one I like. The second one was my husband’s idea, and I was happy to comply. Since it was more of a fun shot, I edited it to reflect that. It’s a subtle effect, but I think it works well. The third shot was another version of something I found online, and then back to  more traditional poses in the last two.

Time to bring the kids back in.

Two more of my favorites, and I have a hard time choosing which I like best. The second pose is slightly more traditional, which is why I think I prefer the first one, as I tend to go for something a little different to what you normally see. Both of the kids have to take a family picture to school this week, and I chose the second one for that. Do you like Edward’s robot dog slippers? He insisted on wearing them, and I knew it was easier to let him have his way than argue. Besides, I think they’re pretty cute, and they reflect his personality.

Time to focus on mommy.

This is another shot I found online that I was excited to try. As I mentioned above, I like shots that are a little bit different from the norm, and I thought this was a beautiful way to showcase the bump. I enlisted my husband for this, because I needed more than 10 seconds to get into position! I ensured he took several shots, and I was really pleased with how they came out. As before, since the pose is pretty much identical in both shots, I left one in color and converted the other. This time I converted the one I liked more, and chose sepia instead of black and white. I also softened both the images a little, then resharpened the eyes to make them stand out. I love the results, and I’m currently using the sepia version as my Facebook profile image.

Throughout the shoot I also took a few fun pictures.

The first shot is another that I found online, and I love it. The kids thought it was hilarious. For the next two shots I changed into a t-shirt that hubby bought me during my first pregnancy. For the third one I told everyone to act like they didn’t know I was pregnant until they saw the shirt. Again the kids had a blast acting that out. Unfortunately I caught the sun right on the logo, which makes it a little hard to see. I also wish I was turned more towards the camera in the second shot so that the logo is easier to read. Again, lessons learned.

And that’s it. Overall I was extremely pleased with the results, and I’ve been getting great comments on my Facebook page. I made a collage of my favorite shots and had it printed and framed. Now all that’s left to do is await baby’s arrival. 12 days and counting…