Cotton Field

My kiddos had never seen real-live cotton growing in a field until a couple of months ago, when we visited my family in Georgia.  Although cotton was a Georgia staple for many years, I rarely see those fluffy white fields on red GA mud anymore.  As we drove into town, we spied the most glorious cotton fields lining the highway.  My hubby pulled over on the side of the road so we could let the kids see the cotton tufts up close.  The kids LOVED it!!!  I wanted to get some great shots of the fluffy white wonderland, but we had been driving for 8 hours & none of us were in the mood for picture taking.  So the next day, my Mom & I packed the kiddos in the car & drove back to the fields to get some photos.  It wasn’t until we got out of the car & trudged through the red clay field, when, in a classic ADHD moment, I realized that my camera was not in my camera bag :/  SO… we packed the kiddos back in the car & drove back to the house to get my camera… ’cause I REALLY WANTED THOSE COTTON FIELD pictures!!!

Needless to say, once we finally made it back to the field, with my camera, the kids’ enthusiasm for cotton & willingness to cooperate with picture-taking had long passed.  Oh well… I was able to snap a few keeper shots anyway (even though my daughter refused to stop or look at the camera.)

Thanks for stopping by to see my hard-earned cotton field pics… I totally think they were worth it!  :)  -Kathryn

 

Horse country

Ok… so, I grew up in NW Georgia… in the foothills of the Appalachian Mountains.  Despite my full-on country raisen’ (insert banjo music here);  my formative years were lacking of any meaningful horse exposure.  Now, as an adult, I find myself in southern LA horse country… with polo ponies and all.  The beauty and grace of this area of the country and it’s inhabitants is immediately apparent, even to an outsider.  Recently, I was lucky enough to get an insider’s view of the Folsom horse country thanks to Jennifer Rice of www.jenniferrice.net.   Here are just a few of the beautiful shots I was lucky enough to snap that afternoon :)

Lifestyle

My Mom recently emailed me a picture of myself that she took of a 4-year-old me  playing on Christmas morning.  I loved the cheese-ball smile I had on my face, but I  really enjoyed seeing the toys I was playing with and remembering the totally 70s couch complete with groovy throw pillow.  

I immediately remembered what it felt like on that Christmas morning, and then I had a LIGHTBULB moment.  THIS is what I should be doing!  I should be doing lifestyle sessions for clients in their home.

So for the first time this year, I’m offering Dreamy Lifestyle Sessions to clients!!!  I am so excited to be able to do this for my clients… to artistically document the ones they love most in a setting that is most meaningful to them – their home.  Like these images of my daughter (some of my most favorite ever) playing in her room. 

I am now booking Dreamy Lifestyle Sessions for 2013.  Please email me if you are interested in booking your very own :)  dream_big_photography@yahoo.com

 

Beachy

This photo has been submitted to the Rock The Shot Forum’s best shot of 2012 challenge.  www.rocktheshotforum.com

I took this image last summer of my daughter playing on the beach.  The abstract/impressionistic feel was a total accident.  I meant to focus on her, but the autofocus goofed & everything was blissfully blurry.  Once I uploaded it to my computer, I was so glad it wasn’t in focus!  I love the pastel colors & the carefree emotion of the image & I think the blurriness adds a dreamy feeling.  Sometimes it’s what you don’t see that creates the magic!

 

Portrait of a Princess

This shoot started simply as I snapped a few quick photos of my daughter playing with her new tea set while wearing her Belle gown.  Both were Christmas gifts from my aunts, & I wanted to some pics of her enjoying the gifts.  I set up a makeshift studio with a plain white paper backdrop and sunlight from my kitchen window.  After I uploaded the images to my computer, I decided that although white background looked fine, I wanted something a bit more magical.  

I wanted an aged/antique look similar to real portraits of European royalty I’d seen with just a touch of magic.  To get that rich look, I added several layers of textures from Jessica Drossin’s Illumination set http://jessicadrossintextures.blogspot.com/2011/04/introducing-illumination-textures-aka.html.  Not familiar with using textures?  You can read more about how/why photographers use textures to add depth and, well, texture to their images http://digital-photography-school.com/how-to-use-textures-to-enhance-your-photographs  I LOVE how they turned out!  

Follow the light

Every now and then I challenge myself to photograph something technically difficult… to try to grow as a photographer.  Recently, I decided to tackle shooting in low/difficult lighting.  Christmas time is a great time for this type of challenge since so much magic comes in the way of sparkly lights.  

For the most part, to get sharp photos in low lighting, you need either a tripod or something else sturdy on which to rest your camera OR you gotta use a flash.  I like the non-flash, more natural images, so I broke out my tripod & went to town.  Next, you need to set your camera’s timer & let the magic begin!  You need to use either a timer or a remote trigger because at the low shutter speed, even the minimal movement of depressing the shutter button will cause enough camera shake to blur the picture.  

Luckily, my family cooperates with my crazy photog requests :)  Taking these pics was great fun & the memories will last a lifetime!

Family Portrait Giveaway

Everyone deserves great family portraits. Our lives are busy & complicated, and sometimes we don’t take the time or have the resources to have family photos taken. I have been given many blessings and feel the need to pay it forward, SO I am giving away a family session to a deserving family who wouldn’t otherwise do it for themselves.

I need your help!!! If you know a family who would appreciate the gift of a 1 hour family session and CD with 30 digital images, please email your nomination to dream_big_photography@yahoo.com. Include the families name, contact information, and a brief summary of why you are nominating them. Nominations will be taken now through Jan. 1st, 2013. The selected family will be contacted via email or phone. Thank you. Kathryn

Making snow globes

Creating Christmas crafts with the kiddos is a great way to spend time together this holiday season.  My kids and I made these little Christmas tree snow globes I found on pinterest, and I absolutely love how they turned out.  We used two jars I bought at Hobby Lobby & one dollar store pickle jar, several little bottle brush Christmas trees, mardi gras beads, faux snow, white glitter, and miniature deer & lamb figures.  First, I hot-glued Mardi Gras beads to the trees to make little ornaments (I live in NOLA, but you could sub little craft beads if you don’t have Mardi Gras beads lying around).  Next, we needed to get everything all glittery by painting the tree and figurines with mod-podge and sprinkling with glitter.

After everything was super-glittery, we hot-glued the tree and animal figurines to the lids, filled the jars with the faux snow and glitter.

Last, we screwed the lids onto the jar filled with snow and glitter & turned upside down… & voila!  Snowy magic!!!

These little beauties are proudly displayed on my mantle & I’m just as proud as the kids are about how good they turned out :)  Simple.  Beautiful.  Love it!

{dreamy lifestyle photography}

Make your own snow globes with these supplies:

jars: http://shop.hobbylobby.com/products/3-3/4-glass-jar-with-iron-lid-991901/

trees:  http://shop.hobbylobby.com/products/miniature-seasonal-trees-740837/

 

What is lifestyle photography anyway?

Maybe you’ve seen the description “lifestyle” photographer, but never really knew what that meant.  Don’t worry you’re not alone.  I’ve found that most people, including many photographers, don’t truly grasp the concept.  So what is lifestyle photography anyway?  Well, simply put, it is a style of photography that documents everyday real-life events… you know, the good stuff!  I think of it as the photojournalism equivalent of family portraits or the photo documentary of a person’s life in that moment in time.

Even if you didn’t know what to call it, you have seen lifestyle photography.  Like the image above…  it is one of my all-time favorite images of my daughter in the playroom being her goofy self playing in her dolls’ pack-n-play.  It tells the story of our everyday life… messy playroom and all.

This image of my daughter reading a book to her Rapunzel doll – it was a spontaneous moment that I was lucky enough to capture while playing on a Saturday morning.  This is her life right now.  In a few years when she’s more interested in music & her friends and less into playing with dolls, we will look back on this picture and remember this sweet moment of her reading to her favorite doll in her own bedroom <3  <3 <3  We will remember how little and cute she was (well, I am her Mom after all) & remember all the special things in her room & instantly be taken back to that time in our lives.

Are lifestyle photographs all spontaneous & real – well, sometimes :)  The best lifestyle photographs highlight the beauty in your everyday lives, but sometimes I have to recreate moments for one reason or another… like, I didn’t have my camera with me the first time, or I needed to move a plant out of the way, or I had to pry the juice box out of my daughter’s hand (you know, Mom stuff.)

The image below is an example of what I call “semi-spontaneous”.  I knew that I wanted to take a picture of Sarah with her new obsession “li-stick” & I love how the morning light really fills my bedroom, so I decided to snap some pics of her & her lipstick on my bed one Sunday morning.  We had a great time & there is absolutely nothing staged about that little laugh.

Have you ever noticed that your favorite pictures aren’t the ones you planned?  It usually isn’t the group shot where everyone is smiling and looking right into the camera that you end up loving.  It’s that image from your family portrait session that happened accidentally in between planned shots.  It’s the shot that captured that millisecond smirk between Mom & Dad – that tells the story of your life.  I love images draw you in & make you feel something – images that tell a story.  And what could be more important than telling the story of you and your family?

 

This is where lifestyle photography comes in.  This type of photography focuses on capturing life and all it’s beautiful details, so you won’t find any elaborate set-ups or styrofoam easter egg props.  Just crisp vivid images of you and your most prized possessions, your family <3  This is the approach I take with all of my sessions.  I have a few planned shots, but I never stop snapping pics in between poses because I know that it’s the unplanned moments, when you let your guard down, when the magic really happens.

In the next few weeks, I will be posting more information about my new lifestyle packages, which will be offered starting in Jan. 2013, so stay tuned!!!

 

 

 

Commercial clothing shoot

Recently, I dove head-first into the world of commercial photography when I agreed to shoot the Virginial Dunn Spring 2013 line (www.virginia-dunn.com).  I have done a couple of little commercial/product projects here and there in the past, but nothing to this scale.  It was a lot of fun & a lot of hard work.  I quickly learned that shooting a clothing line on spunky little models is quite a bit different than doing portrait shoots.  My beautiful little models were sooooo great!