Playing With Available Light

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Recently, I became inspired by an amazing Photographer – Kayla Maltese, she is by far my favorite lifestyle photographer out there! After seeing her work, I was curious how she did it!!! How she captured so much emotion, not just with her subjects but with the lighting. When I asked her if she had any tips on available lighting she shared this article with me –
http://www.kaylamaltesephotography.com/tips-shooting-low…/
Once I finished reading this, I was determined to work with my ISO and see what I could create.

The photo above is our cat Lilly, she is sitting on the kitchen floor, under a bar stool. The lighting is provided by our stove range-hood, nothing else. I shot this with a 50mm prime, f./stop 1.8, ISO 6400. Editing was Moody B&W action + watermark; no further editing. Not wanting to compromise the point of this shot – to see what I could get with only available light. Besides the obvious composition mistake, I am otherwise happy with the results. It is very sharp for being in such low light circumstances and not nearly as “noisy” as I thought it would be @ 6400 ISO.

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Another photo playing with the same rules; high ISO and only available light. Something Kayla talks about is the direction, to wait for your subject to look in the direction of the light. Though this may take some waiting and possible guidance, our dog Charlie seemed to nail it! She just happened to look directly up towards the light fixture while I was trying to snap a photo of her. This room is not very well lit at night, the warm light bulb covered by a fogged glass plate, really is not the best set up for taking pictures. However, here it really looks as though I had an external flash but since starting back up with photography, I have actually yet to purchase another one. So this to me is very cool!! This excites me to a degree that most would think is crazy. But it’s so interesting to learn new things, and actually put them to use.
I shot this with a 50mm prime, f./stop 1.8, ISO 6400. Besides toning down a bit of yellow, this is almost SOOC (straight-out-of-camera) and is sharp as a tack! 

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Last but not least, in fact this might be my favorite! This is our cat Murray, the Boss! This one was a much easier shot to capture, mainly because of the natural afternoon window light. This was again shot with the 50mm lens,  f./stop 1.8 ISO of 3200 and shutter speed 1/800
Very light editing, color correction and watermark.

Check out Kayla’s work, it’s sure to inspire you!!
https://www.facebook.com/KaylaMaltesePhotography/    

Here are a few more that I took during the day – I’m happy the cats don’t mind… lol

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Let Me Explain

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   Grab a coffee, take a seat and settle in… this is likely to be long winded. My hope in writing this, is to gain your understanding. For those of you who have wondered why, or have maybe even just given up on me. I will be truthful and allow myself to be exposed, for the sake of your understanding. You don’t have to like what I say, or even believe my every word but I do hope that you leave from reading this knowing a little more than you thought you did.

I will begin this by saying one simple thing – I have grown.


           Here is a photo of me, taken in September of 2011. A few short months before everything changed, both personal and professional – thus leading to my two year break from photography, years later. As you can see, besides being grossly thin, I am otherwise looking very healthy. Well, pictures can lie. Without knowing it, I was actually falling apart both mentally and physically. Between the overwhelming amount of stress and the crippling effects of anxiety, my body was shutting down. Just to help paint a picture here are only a few things that were going on at the time.         


Dealing with a nasty divorce involving children, therefore custody issues.
Running a VERY busy photography business with hundreds of clients, wedding and family. Meeting, or at least trying to meet several overlapping deadlines.
Overcoming a deadly disease, which had taken hold of my life yet again.
Anxiety, to a point of hourly attacks.
Desperately trying to keep on top of bills, not having groceries or anything for Christmas…
– Just to name a few.


 

          With everything, I crashed, completely just turned off; like a computer overloaded. I became lethargic at the best of times, my kids lost their mother to stress and anxiety. In relation to my photography business at the time, this took an immense toll on my professional career. Clients understandably, became annoyed with waiting, pissed with their service and a lot had demanded refunds. Which as you guessed, was nearly impossible, considering I was already broker than broke! Becoming financially, emotionally and mentally destroyed had resulted in my very long ICU hospital stay, where my kids had to go without their mother for months and months. Obviously while in the hospital, near death I was not doing photography, or anything remotely related. Leaving my clients, weddings and many others in the dark. – Where were their photos? Where did their money go? Is she going to honor this $130 gift card?? Of course I wanted to fix everything but couldn’t. Instead what happened was, procrastination caused by severe anxiety. I just put it off, I ignored people, even deleted my Facebook profile. Hiding in shame and fear, I chose to run!! I was terrified of people being angry with me and not understanding. I lost MANY clients over the next few years, understandably; even I can put myself in their shoes, I would be furious! Especially with absolutely no information as to what was going on.

From 2011 to 2014, I went from being one of the most well known photographers to one of the most KNOWN photographers. I gave up trying to fix everything in early fall 2014 – I sold every single piece of photography equipment to try and pay bills. I moved in with my dad, went on income assistance and began a life I never thought I would get out of.
*Did you know that income assistance, gives a single mother of two, less than $500 a month – this is to cover everything; rent+ utilities, food, clothes, medical, school costs and everything else.
Then something else happened in the winter of 2015, because of my failure as a business woman, I was also about to fail as a mother. During a long, very drawn out court battle my kids custody arrangements were changed. I no longer had them living with me 50% of the time; where were they going to go, on my dad’s sofa? So understandably they would go to their dads. Things have changed now, but still… It was a horrible thing to have to go through. Consequently 2014-15 was the beginning of a two year break. I was broken and needed to fix myself before I could even begin to fix anything else.

            Taking a deep breath, I will finish this post with how things have changed. How I have grown. With everything said here, it’s clear who is at fault – Me. I do not, nor have I ever denied that. I may have hidden from the truth and shied away from any conversations regarding past photography clients, I  may have even dodged them in public due to my overwhelming fear of what they might think of me; what would I say to them? Which BTW I miss so many of them, there are some I photographed their kids from babies to 5 years old. You grow attached to people, or at least I do.

            I have learned not to take on so much, to not sell gift cards unless photographing is scheduled within a few weeks time of the purchase. To not spend client money until I have completed the service. Even if I need it for a bill – This actually helps motivate me to edit sessions faster. Of course limiting the amount of weddings I book to only 5 and no more! I used to take on almost 5 a month, I remember one month there were 7! I need to keep in mind that I have a family and they need me more then the world needs me to take photos. I love photography so much but I am no good to anyone if I am in the ICU or worse…

            So yes, I have grown leaps and bounds! I am now starting over, slowly and trying my best to be more organized for myself and my clients. I plan to keep working towards making things right between myself and past clients. Even if all they will accept is my sincerest apologies for my unprofessional behaviors. I do still have a few clients whom I owe gift card monies too, I have not forgotten. It’s like anything else, it’s going to take time and I have learned communicating is key.

           Thank you for taking the time to read this post, I enjoyed writing it. I hope all who do read this are left with a little more understanding – if nothing else a lesson for yourself. Don’t take on too much, don’t run yourself into the ground like I did. It will likely take me another 5 years before I get to where I dream of being. But, I’m ok with that because good things come to those is due time. I want to earn peoples trust and earn the respect of clients and fellow photographers. It’s not something I take lightly, I look up to many different photographers out there. Maybe someday, someone new to photography will look up to me.

        To all of you wonderful people willing to read this, Thank you so much!

A few Reviews from clients since coming back to photography!
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Welcome to the NEW BLOG!

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First of all – Welcome to my brand new Blog! With this, I will be able to share even more of my passion for photography with you. Looking forward to posting here every week – even if it’s just to say Hello!

As I embark on this new journey, I imagine myself becoming addicted to posting a new Blog every second I can! So watch out for a flood of new posts, promotions and personalized editing tips.

My first big Blog post will be a very long and in depth. My intention is to clarify a few things, about the past. Why I have 12 years photography experience, yet here I am, starting out again after a two year break…
Watch for it on my Blog sometime this week. It will also be linked to my Facebook page – “Let Me Explain”