Saturday, July 28, 2012

Snippets + Snapshots | July 2012

Apparently this is the time of year that I decide to introduce new content to my blog!  It was around this time last year that I decided to make some changes to the blog and start adding more personal content.  It was also around this time last year when I decided to begin my self-portrait series.

Since then, I have been searching for another monthly feature to add to the blog but I kept drawing a huge blank.  The problem was that I needed to find something that I was interested in doing on a repeat basis to keep me motivated to do it each month.  I also needed to find something that would be easy to incorporate photos because this is a photography blog after all.

The answer came in the form of my recent Birthday Bucket List item where I took a photo a day for 30 days.  The exercise of taking those photos was really good for me, and got me back into taking more photos of my personal life!  It also made me realize that not every photo I take has to be a masterpiece.  The important thing is to capture the moments happening in my life while they are happening and preserve the memories for tomorrow.

In the past I've always shied away using my camera on my phone to take photos because the image quality isn't all that hot and I tended to make prints of most of my photos.  I didn't want all of my photos to be blurry, grainy cell phone camera images, so I opted to use a "real" camera.  These days the quality of cell phone cameras has significantly improved and the number of photos I actually turn into prints has significantly decreased.  Plus it's hard to dispute the convenience of always having a camera in hand on my phone.  All of these things add up to me deciding that it's about high time I jump on the bandwagon and start capturing my daily life with my iPhone.

I know that I will never have prints made from the images I capture with my phone, and will continue to use a "real" camera for the big, important life events.  So, I decided that the perfect thing to do with my iPhone photos is to upload them using Instagram, and create a collage to share on the blog every month.

So, I give to you Snippets + Snapshots from the past month...

love note from the hubby | puppy love | celebrating Kevin making law review | adorable little twins | sunset gorgeousness | Lexi craziness |  free cookie goodness | dating advice from a baby | monopoly marathon | puppy cuteness overload | date night at the movies | lunch date | gorgeous drive home view | allergies, allergies, and more allergies | Batman movie marathon | haboob | first ulta experience | gorgeous sunset | winning at bowling :) | spoiled by the hubby | bird in flight | more sunset goodness | saying goodbye to the old rental

If you want to see all of my Instagram photos, you can check them out online here or search for me on the app - my user name is michelewhitacre!

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Jessi's Family Sneak Peek

Yep, Jessi's back!  She's starting to feel like an old friend isn't she?  First you got to see her solo session, and then you got to meet her brother.  Now she's back for another fun-filled family session with her cousins.

As soon as Jessi learned that her family would be visiting her in Phoenix this summer, she contacted me to schedule this session.  After months of planning, we finally settled on an early morning session the morning after her family arrived into town.  The session location was a last minute change to a gorgeous park not too far away from Jessi's apartment.  I have to admit that I fell in love with this location the moment I saw it, and I'm very happy we ended up making the switch!

Our goal for the session was to capture some fun family photos of the six of them without passing out in the insane Phoenix summer heat.  So, I did everything I could to prepare for the session and plan out the shots ahead of time, and enlisted Kevin to help me stay on track.  By the end of the session we were definitely all hot, sweaty, exhausted, and starving, but the kids were total troopers and managed to hang in there long enough to get some really great photos.

So, I once again give to you the fabulous Jessi.  And I am pleased to introduce you to Darren, Libby, Bailey, Kate, and Braxton!

I thought it would be fun to get a photo with some of the Phoenix buildings in the background, so we started out our session with this one.  I really love it in black and white (but that's nothing new!)...

I had already planned on taking some group shots in front of this door, but once everyone arrived and I saw their outfits I knew this was going to be a perfect location!  I just love the contrast of the black shirts against the white door.  I adore how Libby and Kate are holding hands and how Braxton is leaning into Bailey. Too sweet!...

Here is another fav in black and white! I have to admit that Braxton was a tough customer, and just might win the award for the toughest kid to get a real smile out of ever! Luckily, cousin Jessi was there to get Braxton laughing for this set of photos. I asked Jessi to stand right behind me and talk to Braxton to get him to smile, and she did a great job! Thank you, Jessi!...

Jess with all the kids...

How about a gorgeous photo of each of the kids by themselves?

Braxton, once again with the help of Jessi in the background...

Kate, who was nothing but smiles the entire session!  I didn't mention it to her during the session but Kate is my all time favorite name EVER.  If I could have named myself I would have picked Kate, so it was so much fun getting to meet someone with my fav name...

And the gorgeous, Bailey!  From the first moment I meet Bailey, I kept calling her Ashley. I felt bad for constantly confusing her name, and kept apologizing to her over and over. She final told me not to worry about it and she would just answer to Ashley for the day. Isn't that just the sweetest thing ever! ...

It just wouldn't be a Jessi session without a little bit of fun and craziness! I can not describe how much I love this one!...

Jessi, thank you so much for allowing me to capture these photos for you, and for single handedly keeping me in business this past month.  :)  Everyone else, thank you for spending a few hours of your vacation with me and allowing me to take your photos. And a huge thanks for getting up at the crack of dawn and hanging in there with the Phoenix heat during our session. I hope you enjoyed your visit and your time with Jessi.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

Self-Portrait | July 2012

Kevin and I got engaged three years ago this month (July 23, 2009 to be exact), so for July's self-portrait I decided to look back and remember this special time in our lives.  Our engagement wasn't exactly typical in that we decided we wanted to get married, picked a wedding date, booked our wedding cruise (yep, we got married on a cruise ship), purchased my ring, scheduled engagement photos, planned an engagement party, and then officially got engaged. Because seriously, who wants to be normal anyway?

Obviously, I wasn't too shocked when Kevin proposed to me. He opted to pop the question at a Cheap Trick, Poison, Def Leppard Concert, which also came as no surprise since Kevin is one of the hugest music fans on the planet!  So for July's self-portrait I decided to take a photo of my hands, showing my ring, with the tickets from the concert and the photo on my iPhone that we took immediately after making our engagement official in the background.

I also decided on this for my self-portrait this month because I have always been drawn to photographs of hands.  There is just something so personal and intimate about hand photos, and I wanted to create an image of my own hands for myself and my loved ones to look back at years from now when my hands no longer look like this.

I really want to start capturing images like this for my clients, as well.  I often think about it before, yet I never seem to remember during the session, and then I kick myself for it afterward.  It about killed me when I realized that I did this when I photographed my parents back in April.  Before their session, I told myself over and over to take some photos of their hands, and then I completely forgot while I was shooting.  I guess it's just an excuse for another session with them in the near future. 

I also have to say thanks to my wonderful hubby for actually taking this photo. This would have been a very tough one for me to set up using the tripod and the remote, so Kevin was kind enough to help me out. So, thanks honey! :)

Did you miss some of my past self-portraits?  Clicking here will take you to all of my self-portrait blog posts. Clicking here will take you to my self-portrait Facebook album.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Puppy Love

Kevin and I are gearing up to move soon, so I know that my opportunities to photograph Zoe & Lexi in our huge backyard are getting numbered. Last night I took them out and snapped a handful of quick portraits of them since I had a few free moments and the light was perfect.  It's been a while since I posted any photos of them on the blog, so I thought I'd share a few.

I love this first one! I was focusing on Zoe's tongue because she was panting up a storm and I managed to catch her just as she licked. It cracks me up how her tongue curls up like that!...

This little session was just the opposite of last time, with Lexi being the angel who sat patiently posing, while I took as many photos as I wanted, and Zoe being a little turd and not wanting to sit still for more than a few seconds at a time.

One of the very few photos I captured of Zoe....

And another of sweet Little Lexi Lou. When I see photos of her, she always look so sweet and calm, but anyone who has ever met her could tell you that's not really the case! She is sweet, but she's a tad on the crazy side!...

Thanks for stopping by, and allowing me to show off my sweet fur babies!

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.

Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Jessi + Cole's Sneak Peek

I have been bursting with excitement to share a sneak peek from Jessi and Cole's session last weekend! It's been killing me to keep these photos under wraps until I had time to blog their session today.

Jessi contacted me about a month ago and asked if I would have time to squeeze in a session for her and her brother while he was in town visiting.  She said her step-mom's birthday was coming up and she thought some photos would be the perfect gift.  (Don't worry, I cleared it with Jessi before posting this.  I didn't want to ruin the surprise!)  I said sure and asked what she had in mind.

I knew from the instant she described her idea for these photos that they were going to be fun, but I never could have imagined just how incredible they were going to turn out.  Watching Jessi and Cole together was so awesome.  I am totally in love with how these photos capture their personalities and show the amazing bond between these siblings.  This was by far one of the most fun sessions I have ever had the pleasure of photographing, and it was such an honor to be able to capture these moments for Jessi and Cole. This right here is why I love my job so much.

I admit that I went a bit overboard with photos for this sneak peek because I just couldn't bring myself to narrow it down any farther.  Plus, these images were crazy easy to edit, so I was able to crank them out in no time.  And with that, I'm going to hush up because the photos really don't need any commentary.  In this instance a photo (or eleven) really is worth a thousand words.

So, I give to you Jessi + Cole + A Whole Lotta Paint....

Jessi and Cole,  Thank you so much for allowing me to take these photos for you!  It was a blast capturing these memories of your time together.  I hope your step-mom likes the photos as much as I do!! :)

P.S.  If Jessi looks familiar to you it is because her solo session was just featured on the blog a few weeks ago!

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.

Monday, July 9, 2012

BBL 2011-2012 | Take a Photo a Day for 30 Days


Why did I include this on my Bucket List?

I've kinda been dreading writing this, and perhaps that is why it has taken me so many months to get around to marking this one off of my list.  But I guess it is confession time.  I didn't include this one because it was something I wanted to do. I included it because it was something I needed to do.

I used to be that annoying person at every single social function with a camera in my hand snapping a million photos of every tiny detail. Then I bought a DSLR camera, and stopped taking pictures.

Say what?!

I wasn't one of those people who purchased a "good camera" and then proceeded to use it in auto mode. Nope, not me. I purchased the camera, turned the dial to manual mode and never looked back.  That sounds great in theory, but not so much in reality.  In the early days, I encountered many situations where I had no idea how to properly choose my settings using manual mode so my solution was to simply not take any photos.

As time went on, I managed to master manual mode and then I decided to go pro with my photography.  Once I started my business, I felt like if I was calling myself a professional photographer every single image I took had to be professional quality.  I was no longer allowed to take crappy, out of focus, poorly composed, over or under exposed, glowing red-eye, point and shoot or cell phone snapshots.  And I didn't.  It was DSLR or bust, baby.

For a while, I lugged my DSLR around with me and tried taking photos with it all the time. However, it seemed that no matter which lens was on my camera, I always found myself wishing I had a different one with me.  Sometimes, I found myself spending most of my time protecting my camera instead of enjoying myself while in crowded environments.  Other times, I felt like my attention was constantly fractured between trying to stay engaged in the social environment around me and trying to ensure my settings were correct while taking photos and I ended up feeling detached from the people around me.  Eventually I just gave up.

Then one day I was looking through photos, and was shocked to see the drastic decline in the number of photos in my archives over the past few years.  I didn't really make a conscious decision to stop taking so many personal photos.  It just slowly happened over time due to all of these reasons.

I decided enough was enough, and added this to my Bucket List in an attempt to break the cycle and get back into the habit of taking more personal photos.

Was the experience what I had hoped it would be?

It was, and it wasn't. After 30 days of taking photos using nothing but the camera on my iPhone, I do feel like I have broken though the silly idea that every photo I take has to be perfect. I recently purchased a new point and shoot camera and I do think that I will start using it to take photos in circumstances where I don't want to lug around my DSLR. However, my daily life just really isn't all that exciting and many days I struggled to find something worthwhile to photograph. Since there really weren't any fun social events to take photos of during the 30 days, I don't know how much of an impact this project will have on reinstating my habits of taking photos at every social event I attend.

The details...

I decided that I was going to use my iPhone to take all of these photos since I always have it with me. I felt like I wanted a theme to help me stay focused on taking a photo a day and decided on "actions" as my theme. So, I tried to take a photo a day of something that represented some kind of action. I published the photos each day on instagram, and then put together a collage of all of the images to post here...

I enjoyed taking this set of themed photos and have been toying with the idea of continuing with it for a while longer. This project has also sparked an idea for a new upcoming monthly feature I want to add to the blog. But more on that later.

Do you want to see my entire 2011-2012 Bucket List? You can find it here.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Kevin's Impromptu 4th of July Photo Session

Saying that my world is kinda insane these days would be a bit of an understatement. Between agreeing to work extra hours at my day job, searching for a new rental house, and planning for multiple back to back photo sessions, I've just about lost my grip on my sanity.  So, I was caught completely off guard by the fact that the 4th of July was just around the corner.  It wasn't until Tuesday evening when Kevin mentioned that he was off of work and class for the holiday, that it actually registered on my radar.

My plan was to spend my day catching up on laundry, bills, and editing.  However, I quickly threw all of that out the window when we woke to a cloud covered sky and temps hovering in the 80's.  By mid-morning, I began salivating at the amazing weather conditions and just couldn't let the perfect photo session opportunity pass me by.  I'm a sucker for the yummy diffuse light produced on overcast days!

I would have LOVED to use the amazing lighting for a client session, but of course I didn't have one scheduled on a holiday, so I had to settle for the next best thing - photographing my hubby! Surprisingly, he readily agreed to some photos with no arm twisting!  We decided on a session location, but by the time we arrived it had started to rain. Boo!  But the good thing about Phoenix is that the rain never seems to last for very long, nor does it seem to rain all over at one time.  So, we opted to drive a few miles across town until we found an area without any rain falling.

I know I said it the last time I posted photos from a session with Kevin, but it is so much easier for me to select and edit photos of him than of clients.  I can fly through the shots and pick out my favorites of Kevin in a matter of minutes, while I often spend days agonizing over which photos to select and edit for clients.  I guess it's because I know him so well, so it's easy to spot the images where he looks like "himself" in them.  Here are the shots that I picked from our impromptu session to share:

This first one is my absolute favorite!...

I know they are a bit of a cliché, but I don't care! I absolutely love railroad track shots...

I absolutely love this one, too...

I had fun playing with all of the graffiti on the buildings where we took these photos...

How about one in black & white?...

A rare smile for a photo!...

A huge thanks to my sweet hubby for indulging my obsession and letting me take these photos of him!

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.

Tuesday, July 3, 2012

José + Katherine + Rayne's Sneak Peak

I'm excited to introduce you to José, Katherine, and Rayne! I had the honor of photographing this adorable family this past weekend.

If you're not familiar with Phoenix, let me tell you that this is a tough time of year for sessions. The temperature is well over 100, and we don't observe daylight savings time so it gets light insanely early. Therefore, sessions either take place in the scorching evening heat or crazy early.

For José, Katherine, and Rayne's session we opted for crazy early, and met at a local park on a Sunday morning. As soon as they arrived, Katherine admitted that Rayne was less than thrilled with the fact that she was up and at 'em at that hour, and was going to be tough to win over.

When photographing families, I often start out by having them hold hands and walk towards and away from me.  I think it helps everyone to relax when the session starts out doing something instead of immediately jumping into posed shots.  Plus, I just love how sweet these photos are with the kids holding their parents hands while walking along.  So this was a definite must for this session, since Rayne needed some time to warm up to me and the camera.

Adorable, right?....

After walking along, Rayne still wasn't too sure that she wanted anything to do with me or the photos. So, we stopped to take some photos of the ducks swimming in the ponds in the park. Then she helped me to set up some of the photos by picking where everyone should stand, and before too long she decided that maybe it wasn't so bad after all.

After that she opened up and was all smiles!  I just love this photo of her with José...

And this one with Katherine...

Are those not just two of the sweetest photos ever?  I just can't get over how cute they are!

Rayne is in dance class, so she modeled some of her dance poses, and then decided that maybe it would be fun to sit down and pose for a few photos all by herself. I had a hard time picking which photo to post, but opted for this one because I felt like it showed more of Rayne's personality...

Earlier in the session, I was telling Rayne where to pose by asking her to put her pigtail against mom or dad's cheek.  So for this photo she kept wanting to put her pigtail right against mom's face like before.  We had a hard time convincing her to keep her head in the middle of mom and dad, but we finally managed and got this sweet photo of the whole family...

José and Katherine, thank you so much for allowing me to take your portraits!  I had so much fun spending my morning with your family, and meeting Rayne.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. Visit Michele's website at Become a fan of Michele's work on Facebook. Follow Michele's updates on Twitter.
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