Sunday, December 25, 2011

MERRY CHRISTMAS!! - Studio 310 Photography

Merry Christmas!! Thank you to all my awesome customers for a great year. Have a wonderful Christmas day!

the angel said to them, "Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for all the people. Today in the town of David a Savior has been born to you; he is Christ the Lord. This will be a sign to you: You will find a baby wrapped in cloths and lying in a manger." Luke 2:10-12

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Baby H's Christmas Session - Smithfield, NC baby photographer

This little guy came to the studio this week for his 6 month portrait session and some cute photos in his little Christmas suit. Merry Christmas!!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

i heart ___.


1. Ginger Cookies

I'm loving ginger cookies this season. Gingerbread cookies and ginger snaps had never been one of my favorites in the past. (When I was a child, I really disliked them. I think that might be because I had them when I was sick one time.) But in my adult life, I didn't totally hate them, they just weren't my favorite. I don't know if they've just grown on me, or it's the pregnancy hormones making things taste different, or because my brother and his new wife served Moravian ginger crisps at their wedding, but this year I love them. I haven't made gingerbread girl cookies yet, but sometime before Christmas, I will.

 2. Andes Peppermint Crunch Baking Chips

I made some chocolate peppermint chocolate chip cookies a couple weeks ago that were delicious. But, I used crushed up candy canes in the batter. They were good, but the candy cane pieces were a little sticky for my liking. A couple days ago I learned about these awesome baking chips, when my friend Katie brought cookies that looked like the photo above to our Bible study fellowship. Now, hopefully I can find these baking chips, and I'll try them in that yummy cookie recipe. (I have lots of cookie baking plans.)

3. Cranberry Jello Salad

I found this festive photo on the Taste of Home website, but their recipe doesn't match how I make this Christmas-y jello salad. Jonathan's family has fun Christmas Eve traditions including supper with Wild Rice Soup and Jello salad. Last year I switched up their salad and took this cranberry jello salad. It seemed to be a hit, so hopefully they'll let me continue to contribute this. Here is my basic recipe (I think. if I decide this isn't right, I'll fix it here too):

1- 6 oz (large) package raspberry flavored jello mix
2 cups boiling water
1- 16 oz can whole berry cranberry sauce
1- 8 oz can crushed pineapple, undrained
1 cup chopped celery
1 cup chopped pecans or walnuts

Stir the jello and boiling water together until the gelatin dissolves. 
Mix in the cranberry sauce, pineapple, celery, and nuts. 
Pour the jello mixture into a serving dish. (I like a 9x13 pyrex)
Refrigerator overnight.

I usually stick with this recipe, but you can use different jello flavors--strawberry, orange, lemon, cranberry etc. If you have the smaller size gelatin packages, you can mix it up with a couple different kinds. Also, you could experiment with different fruits like mandarin oranges, apples, cherries, or grapes.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Christmas Gift Idea: Photography Class - NC Family Photographer

I'm setting up several photography class options for early 2012. This is the perfect companion gift (or treat yourself) for someone receiving a new camera for Christmas this year. OR have you had your camera a year, or a few, and still don't know how to use it the way you want? Sign up or give a photography class as a Christmas gift.

Beginning Photography Class: Saturday, January 7th, 9:30-12:00
The usual details: the class is $100 per person and must have a minimum of 3 participants.
Each person will receive a textbook to keep as a reference. The class will last 2.5 hours and will be limited to 3-5 people.
I will help you learn more about your camera and take better photos of your kids and friends. Here is some of what we will discuss:
- 10 tips for Taking Better Pictures
- Introduction to Exposure
- Shutter Speed
- Aperture
- Using your Camera's Basic Settings
- Lens Overview

NEW! Advanced Photography Class: Saturday, January 14th, 9:30-1:00
the class is $175 per person and must have a minimum of 2 participants.
The class will last 3.5 hours, will be limited to 2-4 people, and includes lunch. The first part of the class will be devoted to hands on teaching and learning. You will observe me shooting, then you will practice your photography shooting a model. We will have some basic instruction on editing followed by a brief critique. The last part of the class will include lunch and a question and answer time. Some of what this class will cover:
- hands-on practice photographing in different lighting situations
- basic editing including: 
     color correction
     adjusting lightness/darkness
     retouching minor flaws

Students should have previously taken the Beginning Photography Class or have a good understanding of exposure and their camera's basic settings (as outlined in the Beginning Photography Class).

One-on-One Photography Classes 
One-on-one classes are great for people that would like to learn more about their specific camera or photo editing software. This class can be geared for a beginning or advanced student. A three-hour one-on-one class at your home or mine is $295.
Email me to book your spot or ask questions. 
(all students' participation is at the discretion of Studio 310 Photography. ie: in fairness to my local photographer colleagues, I can not teach other professionals with a photo business in Johnston County, NC.)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Callie M's Maternity Portraits - NC Maternity Photography

I shot these maternity photos almost 2 years ago; but I enjoyed looking through them recently for Callie, so I thought I should share. I don't remember posting any from this session before on the blog. Of course, I have a baby on my mind all the time now, so it seems extra appropriate. 

Monday, October 31, 2011

Happy Halloween!

This little pumpkin stopped by the studio a few days ago for her 9 month portrait session. I'll share more photos from that session soon. Happy Halloween everyone!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Nia's Bridal Portraits - North Carolina Bridal Portrait Photography

This is my new sister-in-law, Nia. She and my brother got married Saturday!! (I look forward to sharing some wedding details soon.) I photographed her bridal portraits a couple weeks before the wedding on her family's farm near Lexington, NC. Here is the beautiful bride:

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

i heart ___.

1. my baby

Yep, this is a photo of me, 16 weeks pregnant. The baby is due in late March, but I'm counting on early April. I would post an ultrasound image, but I haven't had an ultrasound since week 8, and at the time, the baby was an 11mm butter bean with a beating heart. I'll have another ultrasound soon, so I'm sure I'll be sharing that--and the baby's gender. Weeee. 

I'm starting to feel better, so hopefully the blogging will get back to being a more regular thing. 

The photography business will be a little different next year. This probably deserves it's own post, but I'll go ahead and share. I'll continue to shoot portrait sessions--engagements, bridals, families, and babies, but I am not shooting weddings in 2012. It's a tough decision now, because I'm not holding a baby yet, but I know it is the right decision for our family. You are still welcome to contact me about wedding photographers though. I have a couple great photographers that I've been recommending, and I'm happy to pass their info along.

Stay tuned for some blog updates from recent portrait sessions and baby news too.

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Baby EC at 6 Months - North Carolina Baby Photography

We had EC's 6 month session recently. We took some traditional photos to go along with her 3 month photo session, and we took some fun casual photos too.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

i heart ___.

1. Ben's new tag from Make Your Dog Smile by Hattie Rex

Yall remember those cute garden and farm tees I shared a few weeks ago? That artist, Beryl Lynn, hosted an etsy giveaway on her blog a few weeks ago, and I won the prize from Hattie Rex. I got a credit to the Make Your Dog Smile etsy store, so I picked out this cute copper and nickel star tag and had it personalized with Ben's name and our phone numbers. I deleted the phone numbers from the photo--Jonathan doesn't need a picture of his phone number roaming around the world wide web.

In normal little boy style, Ben was more excited about the box. He stole the box off the kitchen table and ran around the house with it--that's what he does when he gets hold of something he knows he's not supposed to have. I retrieved it, and put it up until Jonathan got home and could see the whole package. After Jonathan had a chance to see it and made a plan to attach it to Ben's collar the next morning, he put it all on a table in our den. Ben stared at it and danced--he can be very poodle-y sometimes. So we gave him the box, much to his satisfaction.

2. carrots from my garden.

This was my first carrot growing experience. If my parents ever grew carrots, it was before I can remember. I started them with my spring garden, and probably would have needed to harvest them a lot earlier, but since my garden is getting over watered this summer, the spring fruits and veggies are still thriving. I planted a variety, hoping for lots of purple carrots, but I ended up with mostly white and yellow. It turns out, the white and yellow aren't my fave. I much prefer the orange and purple ones, so that's what I'll try next time.

This website is full of healthy, fun recipes and photos. There are several recipes I use regularly, a few I've tried out, and sometimes the website is just good for cooking inspiration. I was thinking today, I cook and bake almost everything from scratch, and it's recipes like these that make it so doable!! 

If you have kids, you can check out how they can help you out in the kitchen. If that isn't something you're used to doing, I can imagine you're thinking about how they'd slow you down, or make a mess; but it will be worth it for them to learn. My siblings and I helped my mom bake (sweets) and watched her cook when we were growing up. She taught us how to read recipes and measure ingredients. I don't know that I ever prepared an entire meal until I got married, but I knew how! My cousins are great cooks too, and I credit it to us being in the kitchen--occasionally--with our moms and grandmothers. 

Here are some of my favorites:
banana nut mini muffins (i make lots of muffins--i have other recipes too)

and here are a few I want to try soon:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Tracy & Jeff - Smithfield, North Carolina Family Portraits

My cousin Jeff and his family came into town to visit last week and asked me to take some photos of their family of four, with a baby on the way. So exciting.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Photography Tips & Tutorial - Raleigh, NC Photography Classes

My most recent photography class was a couple Saturdays ago. I had some great students that brought some good questions. We got a lot more technical than I expected, but I thought it was awesome they wanted to learn so much. I still seemed to be in my instructor mode last week, when one of my friends who is interested in improving her photography, asked me about one of my photos from a recent blog post. I almost wrote her a dissertation. I thought that was a good idea for a blog post, though, so I'm going to try it out--hopefully without too much wordiness. 

I'm going to try to give you a little tutorial about the technical side of how I photographed and processed a portrait. I'm starting with a pretty basic setup, and if this works well, I may move to explaining more challenging situations in the future. Here we go:

Let's start with some context; shall we? I took this photo at a spring photographers' retreat this past April. It turned out to be chilly and windy, and the light condition was constantly changing with clouds getting blown in and away again. When I did the guest blog post at Great Smitten a couple months ago, one of my tips for improving your photos was "use natural light," and seek shade: "In the middle of the day, look for shady spots like under trees or awnings to help cut down strong contrast and squinty eyes." And that's exactly what I did for this photo. (if you haven't read through that post, you should click over to check it out. You'll get some good tips.)

I shoot with my camera in manual mode for everything, all the time. I was using my Canon 5d, and 50mm 1.4 lens. I had the aperture opened all the way up to f/1.4, with a shutter speed of 1/640 of a second, and an iso of 100. This combination of settings allowed me to have the proper exposure for the photo--not too dark and not too light. It's really important for me when I'm taking photos, to get as much right in the camera as I can. That saves me time and energy later in post processing.

I used Lightroom to crop and rotate the photo. I adjusted the color balance for cooler skin tones. The red brick wall was casting red light on everything--the model, the floor, ceiling--so I needed to get that red out for more pleasing and accurate color. 

I exported the photo and opened it in Photoshop. For this photo, all I needed to do in photoshop was soften the skin with the blur tool, and soften the lines on her face with the clone stamp tool. Finally, I sharpened the image for printing using a photoshop action and saved it as a jpg. If I thought I would want to do more work to the photo, I would have saved it as a psd, but that wasn't necessary this time. 

Here is a higher resolution comparison of the model's face, so you can see more detail of what I did.

And for fun, I'm including a similar photo in black and white. 

If you want to learn more about how you can improve your photography and better enjoy using your camera, you can sign up for the beginner photography class. And if you didn't understand any of the terms I was just talking about, that's totally OK!!!

If you want to take it a step further and learn more about the things I'm describing in this post--manual mode, editing photos--an advanced photography class is in the works to include some shooting practice and photoshop elements work (maybe elements, we'll see). You'll see more info on that soon.

As always, I'd love your feedback. Let me know what you thought about this post, or things you'd like to see me discuss in the future. If you have any questions about the Beginner Photography Class I'm currently offering, or the Advanced Photography Class that I'm planning, please let me know. Send me an email or leave me a comment.

Monday, July 18, 2011

i heart ___.

1. the BEACH

I love it. I enjoy going with my family and hanging out on the beach all day. This photo is from Oak Island, NC. It has a good balance of being not too crowded, but still enough people for some good people watching.

2. little girl footprints in the sand. 

these were still on the beach hours after my little cousin-niece left the beach. precious.

3. custom TOMS. 

my oldest cousin-niece (no, that's not a technical term. i call my first cousins' children my cousin-nieces and cousin-nephews.) anyway, my oldest cousin-niece has these cute custom TOMS she had painted at the Style you Sole Party, at Marsh's Surf Shop at Atlantic Beach, NC.

To view the Studio 310 Photography portfolio, client proofing, pricing info, and learn more about Amanda CLICK HERE.