Sunday, March 31, 2013

Spoiled Easter Pups

My parents came over earlier today to celebrate Easter with us, and they brought Zoe and Lexi some Easter presents. So, of course I had to take some photos of them tearing into them! The dogs have so much fun opening gifts.

Waiting patiently and jumping in...


The race is on to see who will get the goodies! This is about the only time that Zoe beats Lexi!...


Back off, Sister! These are mine...


Zoe checking out a new toy...


I found this little series of photos amusing...


Hmmm... Did I miss something over there...


Another one?! (I love Lexi's tongue sticking out in the second photo!)...


Another new toy...


Tearing apart the bags is the best part!...


Love her ears in this one!...


I hope that everyone had a wonderful Easter holiday today! Thanks for stopping by.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
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© 2013 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Saturday, March 30, 2013

Snippets + Snapshots | March 2013

Snippets + Snapshots from the past month...
nap hour | horses | with mom | losing at the races | me and my love | movie night in | date night out | with photos at dinner | what should they wear? | DQ delivery boy | all ready for head shots | decked out in green | listening | botanical garden trip | happy tourists | dad's birthday lunch | shadow fun | dad's birthday dinner | happy girl | making dad's cake | spoiled | major camera porn | rose are bloomin | arm candy collection | blue toes | cuddle bugs | waiting on the hummingbirds | substitute cuddle buddy | bored at the day job | cloud porn | silly girl | cute hubby | pouty face | more bloomin buds | good morning, papa | a night at the theate

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 | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


© 2013 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Friday, March 29, 2013

Photo Project | Playing With Smoke

At the workshop I attended at the beginning of the month, we learned the lighting set up to take these awesome cigar photos.  Since I recently purchased new lighting equipment that would allow me to take them, I decided to give them a try for this month's photo project.  I asked on facebook if anyone would be willing to volunteer to be my subject, and I was thrilled when Josh agreed to help me out.

Here are a handful of the images from our session...



  This is definitely a favorite!...




So is this one...




Love this one, too!...


And this one...




Who am I kidding? I love them all! It was so much fun experimenting with this technique, and I would love to do it again. I might have to consider shooting weddings after all, just so I can start taking these shots at the receptions. :)

Did you miss some of my past photo projects? Clicking here will take you to all of my photo project posts.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


© 2013 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Daryan's Sneak Peek

I am so excited to share Daryan's senior photos on the blog today! Daryan is graduating high school an ENTIRE YEAR early! Miss smarty pants. So, I met with her and her mom a few weeks ago to capture some photos before her graduation in a few months.

We started our session at Thunderbird Park, which is one of my favorite places to shoot. Daryan was relaxed in front of the camera and excited about her photos right from the beginning, which made her so much fun to photograph. She saw this huge tree and asked if she could climb it and pose for some photos.  Totally cute, right?...


This is one of my favs, especially in black and white...



This is another favorite. I just love that bridge...


Hello, gorgeous!...


I love both of these images, also. Daryan, you are so pretty!...


After graduation, Daryan will be attending film school! It was so much fun listening to her tell me all about the program and about everything she is going to learn. I am so excited for her. What an awesome thing to do! So, in honor of Daryan heading off to film school next year, we had to capture these photos...



I just have to say that I am insanely jealous that Daryan's high school color is purple. PURPLE! Mine was red. How boring.


Daryan has THEE BEST personality. She is so much fun! Here she is mugging a bit for the camera in her cap and gown. I thought all of these were just so cute, and couldn't narrow it down, so I went with a little collage instead...



And back to that bridge for one more...


We then headed back to Daryan's house for a quick outfit change and a few photos with her kitty, Ravenclaw...


We then headed to a nearby waterfall for some more photos. Is that dress not to die for? I just love these two photos, especially the black and white. STUNNING!...


Daryan's dark hair is absolutely gorgeous, and I love how it stands out in this one...


And just a little bit of that fun personality peeking out again. I love it!...


Daryan, thank you so much for spending your Friday evening with me and allowing me to take your senior photos for you. I hope you have a wonderful end of your senior year, a great summer, and an amazing time at film school. I want to hear all about it, so you better keep in touch and tell me how it goes next year? Deal?

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


© 2013 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Saturday, March 23, 2013

Phoenix School of Law | Student Head Shots

Several of my husband's law school classmates have been asking me about having professional head shots taken in the school library. After enough requests, I finally contacted the school to see if they would give me permission.  The school agreed to allow me to come in one day during Spring Break, when it wouldn't be too much of a disturbance.  Of course, the last place most students want to be during break is the school library, but these guys made it out for photos.  That's what I call dedication!

So please allow me to introduce you to these handsome, and dedicated, future attorneys.

Meet Charles...



Marcos...



Josh...



And Stan...



What a great looking group of future lawyers, huh?  I'd hire them!  Wouldn't you?

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter
© 2013 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Equipment Doesn't Matter Or Does It?

I've been meaning to write this post for a while, but when I read another article about this today I was finally spurred into motion because I think it's high time someone set the record straight.  If you live in the world of photography, you become bombarded with the phrase "equipment doesn't matter" over and over and over again.

And I'm here to tell you that is a big fat lie.

Now before I get crucified for that statement, let me be clear.  I am not claiming that you can put high end gear in the hands of someone who has no clue how to use it and get amazing photos.  Nor am I saying that an awesome photographer can't take incredible images with a cell phone camera.  But what I am saying is that many in the industry spout off "equipment doesn't matter" like it is the end all be all golden rule of photography.  But it's not, because let's be honest here...  If the same image quality could be obtained with a cell phone camera verses a high end DSLR, pro photographers wouldn't be spending thousands of dollars to purchase them, and if a single lens could do an incredible job of capturing every photo imaginable, pros wouldn't own more than one.

Equipment does matter.  It matters a lot.

All this phrase does is confuse those beginners who are just starting and leave them wondering why they can't get tack sharp images and amazing bokeh with their 18-55 mm f/5.6 stock lens that came with their entry level DSLR camera.

Three years ago, I was that beginner.  

As I sat in my first photography class surrounded by more advanced students who owned better equipment than I did, I constantly wondered why my images didn't look like theirs.  No matter what I did I couldn't get my photos to look as in focus as theirs, nor could I get a gorgeous out of focus background behind my subjects like they could.  Then I bought my 70-200 f/2.8, attached it to my camera, and BAM! tack sharp images and amazing bokeh first time out.

For years, I admired a favorite photographer's indoor photos of her family, especially the ones taken in very dim lighting.  Then I bought my DSLR camera and repeatedly failed to take similar photos.  I had no idea why I couldn't make my images look like hers did.  Then I bought my 50 mm f/1.2, attached it to my camera, opened it to f/1.2, pointed it at my dogs with nothing lighting the room but a single lamp, and BAM! great images.

Today I understand that the optical quality of the glass in that stock lens is not equal to the optical quality of the glass in my high end lenses, so the clarity of the images isn't going to be the same.  Today I understand that the blurred background behind my subjects is created by the depth of field which is controlled by my aperture setting, so a lens with a widest aperture of f/5.6 is never going to create the same image as one with a widest aperture of f/1.2.  Today I know that in a dimly lit environment my camera is going to produce very noisy images at ISO settings of 800 and above, so the only hope I have of shooting in dim light is with a very wide aperture or on a tripod with a slow shutter speed.  Back then I didn't know any of those things.  All I knew was that since equipment doesn't matter I must just suck.

And that didn't feel very good.  Not good at all.

These days I am a bit smarter.  Recently, I've been struggling to master a technique that I have been practicing over and over with zero success.  So finally, I asked another photographer about it who does have it mastered.  I showed him what I was trying to do, and simply asked, "Why can't I do this?  Is it me or my lens?"  His answer, "Your lens."

Awesome.  Maybe I don't suck after all.

And neither do you!  If you're new to photography and struggling to create an image, it is possible that your equipment is limiting your ability to capture the photos you are after.  So before you get completely frustrated or even worse, give up, seek out a friendly, more advanced, photographer and ask for help.  Because that "equipment doesn't matter" thing really needs to be taken with a grain of salt (and maybe a shot of tequila and a lime, too).

And just so we are clear...

I am absolutely not suggesting that an individual must run out and spend thousands on equipment to be an awesome photographer.  Instead what I am saying is that you need to become the master of everything in your bag.  You need to know what each and every piece of equipment you own can do. And what it can't.  So that when you do purchase new equipment, you understand the limitations of what you already own and what you need the new equipment to do for you.

If you made it the end and are still with me, thanks for sticking around and reading my long winded post.

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter
© 2013 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Saturday, March 16, 2013

Self-Portrait | March 2013

At the beginning of the month I attended a workshop where off camera flash was a large part of the focus. When this topic was covered in the first workshop I attended, it was just too much for me to take in along with everything else I was trying to learn at the time  But, when it was covered at the second workshop I was all ears!  So much so, that I immediately walked out of the workshop and bought myself some new equipment and started experimenting with it.

The thing about photography is that the learning is never ending.  The second you master one technique there are ten more waiting in the wings for you to get started with.  It's one of the things I love so much about it.  I think most of us are that way.  I can't think of a single photographer I know who doesn't turn into a complete geek the second you put a new piece of equipment or technology in their hands.

For my March self-portrait, I wanted to see if I could put a twist on one of the amazing things that we learned how to do at the workshop, which was to photograph cigar smoke.  I can't wait to try that one in a few weeks when I will have someone to pose for me and help me out.  But cigar smoking and I are never gonna be BFFs, so I opted to play around with some glitter instead.


I have to admit that this is one my all time favorite self-portraits!  My back yard is now completely covered in gold glitter, and the dogs are going to be dragging it into the house for weeks but it will be so worth it knowing that it helped me capture this fun photo.

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.
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© 2013 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Picture Perfect Pups

It feels like it's been forever since I've been behind the camera, so I decided to take some photos of Zoe and Lexi this evening. Surprisingly they both were content to sit and pose for me with very minimal prompting, and I think I got tuckered out before they did. Once again, I shot these photos with my 50 mm lens because the clarity of it just can't be beat.

With just a few exceptions I preferred all of the images in black and white, and decided to go for uniformity instead of adding one or two in color.  The irony is that I hemmed and hawed for a long time over the color of their scarves, and then it didn't matter after all.  Figures.




Getting a dog to position themselves just right and hold still to catch rim light around them is virtually impossible, but like I mentioned, the dogs were content to pose today for some reason.  So, I managed to get quite a few of both of them with it...





I usually post portraits of my fur babies, which fits Zoe's lazy personality just fine, but really doesn't capture Lexi's.  These last three photos show off Lexi's personality a little better....


Especially this one (which is my absolute fav of the bunch!) of the little goober barking at me.  I'm sure the neighbors were loving the fact that I was letting her howl as I snapped several sets of photos of her...


Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area.
Visit Michele's Website | Like Michele on Facebook | Follow Michele on Instagram | Follow Michele on Twitter


 © 2013 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC
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