Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Tech Geek Christmas Freak

In my quest to learn to love "the blog" and to let you guys get to know the person behind my camera, you should know that I LOVE technology, gadgets, and software. I mean, I'm really quite the geek! I hope you all are ok with that. I can't really change.

I love buttons, and keyboards, and touch screens! I love the smell of new electronics, though, in reality, it's likely toxic (I also love the smell of new shoes--that's another topic for another day), but I digress... 

New software ranks right up there. Having a program that makes something easier and better is like candy, only not fattening, which is even better!

So, when I found this video creation software, that does amazing videos, I was thrilled! With this software, I can create incredible videos of client images for them to share, and I can create really cool promo videos for my own business. Yay!

I want to show you the one I created for my landing page, if you haven't seen it already. By the way, if you haven't seen it already, you should be spending a little more time on my website and Facebook page. Priorities! :) Just kidding, but I do really appreciate it when you do visit and sign up for my newsletter.

Anyway, here is the cool new video that is now on the landing page for HoiPolloiPhotography.com. Take a look and let me know in the comments if you like it.

What is great, is that I can use this same software to create videos of client shoots and even better, create virtual Christmas Cards for clients who book Christmas Mini Sessions! Along with being a geek, I am also a Christmas freak. A large portion of my life was spent working in, and being a buyer for a Christmas Shoppe. I could do Christmas 365-days a year!

Now you guys can benefit from my Christmas-y-ness. (I don't think that is a word, but I've seen weirder spellings in other blogs, so what the heck!) I go all out for Christmas, and I have some neat props and great ideas to make really special Christmas portraits.

The plan for the Christmas Mini Sessions is Nov 28, the Saturday after Black Friday, when you've just kicked off the official Christmas Season and are in the spirit. I will be giving out more details soon, but if you want in early, send me an email to info@hoipolloipx.com, and I'll give you the details, and let you go ahead and book your spot. Spaces are limited, so I'd like my loyal readers to have first dibs.

Combining cool tech and Christmas glitter into my photography allows me to create things you guys can treasure and share!

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

5 Ways to Make Better Family Photos - Without Holding Hostages

We’ve all been there, especially if you are a mom, you get the camera out and everyone whines, frowns, or runs to another room. You have to resort to threats just to get everyone on board, and then they are not exactly happy in the photo. Resorting to things like, Smile or I'll take away your video games, isn't going to get that sweet face you know and love. It’s really hard to capture those special moments when your subjects turn into Sean Penn dealing with the paparazzi. As a matter of fact, I have been dubbed “the momarazzi” in our house, on occasion.

I know, you long for those photos of your family that look like magazine ads, photos that you can put on Christmas cards that leave that snobby girl you went to high school with completely green with envy! But how do you get them?

There are a few tricks to getting those Kodak moments, when your family isn’t a perfect group of fake actors hired as fillers for frame packaging. 

1. Don’t Fake It

First of all, fake smiles aren’t special. Real laughter and real interaction is priceless! As a photographer, I have to figure out what makes people laugh. As a mom, friend, or family member, you already know, so you are one step ahead of the game!

Think of a story or something that always makes your family laugh when you talk about it and use it. Toss it out there a few seconds before you hit the shutter button and get everyone in a real laugh. I always love photos of my kids really laughing and sharing a moment. One day they can look back at this image and tell their kids what was so funny. There’s no story, if the smile is fake.

2. Be Quick About It

I was scarred as a child by a mother, who would get out the camera and insist that I say cheese, then a couple of minutes of fiddling with the camera later, would make my picture, well after the “cheese” had spoiled and my smile devolved into some sort of painful grimace.

My cheese smile had a short shelf-life.

The moral of that story is: be quick on the draw, especially with younger children. Attention spans are typically even less than they used to be a few years ago, and that goes double for little ones. 

3. Approach It as Wildlife Photography

My favorite way to photograph young children is to just let them play. Parents forcing little Jimmy to stand still and smile DOES NOT WORK, unless you want photos of little Jimmy with red eyes from crying because getting his picture made is not what he had in mind for today.

Turn them loose, let them be kids, and instead approach it as wildlife photography. Let them forget that you have the camera and grab those real expressions.

4. Keep It Moving

For family portraits with little ones, I’ve discovered that having parents walk while holding them is an easy way to get group family photos. Young children do not like standing still, so having mom and/or dad carry them creates much less stress for everyone. 

5. Find the Light

Good lighting is also essential in getting that family you’ve always dreamed of in the photo. Make sure you aren’t in bright sunlight or weird shadows. Open shade works great for this, or try to make sure you have a nice background that isn’t too busy. You don’t want everyone looking into the sun or your family will look like they are all struggling with an eye exam. If you don’t have open shade, shooting the photo in morning or evening light works great, too!

Use these tips to get those photos you dream of, lose that “momarazzi” title, and get the family in on creating meaningful and beautiful family photos you can rub people’s noses in….I mean cherish.

Thursday, October 15, 2015

Do I Really Have to BLOG?

But, I don’t want to blog! 

Why does every business class and marketing seminar all tell me I have to blog? Yes, I am stomping my feet as I write that. No matter what business I’m in or what I am selling, it seems like blogging is a necessary evil.

Now, I'm also a journalist, so it’s not like writing is something I don't enjoy or struggle to do. The struggle comes with me being a literary snob. The connotation of the word blogger is far inferior to the feelings of being a writer, journalist, or author. I feel like blogging is the ugly step-sister of informative and well-written articles or reports.

I see the blogs out there. Some have god-awful spelling and grammar, and some don’t even make sense! I’m not professing to be perfect, by any means, but please proofread or at least run a spell-check. Know the difference between to, two, and too; your and you’re; and their, there, and they’re. My English teacher would pass out from some of the horrible butchering of the written word that I have seen in these things!

Can I get over this hump? Once I have blogged, what the hell am I supposed to do with it? Here’s some stuff I thought about today, now please buy my book. Really? Does anyone really care what I have to say? When I write a news article, it gets published and people who are looking for more info find it and read it. It’s a factual piece of work and the details are nailed down.

Maybe that’s why it’s so difficult for me to blog. I’m a get-to-the-point kind of girl. Cut out all that fluff and get to the meat of the story. For goodness sakes, my book that I am marketing with this very blog is called The Simple Guide to Great Photography, because I can condense, baby! As a matter of fact, I condensed the book into a helpful quick reference chart at the end.


I love reading F.Scott Fitzgerald (way before the latest Gatsby movie made him popular with the younger crowd), he can write descriptions that Hollywood can only dream of recreating, but not me. Take for example, this passage from The Great Gatsby:

The only completely stationary object in the room was an enormous couch on which two young women were buoyed up as though upon an anchored balloon. They were both in white, and their dresses were rippling and fluttering as if they had just been blown back in after a short flight around the house. I must have stood for a few moments listening to the whip and snap of the curtains and the groan of a picture on the wall. There was a boom as Tom Buchanan shut the rear windows and the caught wind died out about the room, and the curtains and the rugs and the two young women ballooned slowly to the floor.

My version of the same:

Two young women sat on a big couch and their dresses were blowing in the breeze, until Tom Buchanan closed the window.

See, right to the point! So, you can see why blogging is going to be like pulling teeth for me. Will you all really read it? Will you really care? Will you really buy my book, if I tell you about my day?