Thursday, February 7, 2013

Photo Project | Getting Creative With Motion

A few years ago, I read Bryan Peterson's 3rd Edition of Understanding Exposure (which is an amazing book if you are looking for a resource to help get you started with using a DSLR in manual mode). In the book, there is a chapter discussing shutter speed and implied motion. He suggests that one way to get creative is to hand hold your camera at slow shutter speeds to induce motion into the subject. His example photo really caught my eye and inspired me to give this a try.

I briefly experimented with this last year while I was working on the motion post for my tips and tricks series (which I need to get back to!), but I wanted to spend some time playing around with it a little more to see what fun images I could create.  As you know, I love bright, bold colors in photos so I decided to experiment with taking photos of some of my patterned clothing.

I basically set up a place to hang the clothing outside on a rare cloudy day, and photographed different ariticles of clothing using different shutter speeds and corresponding aperture and ISO settings.  Here is an example of the same item photographed with three different shutter speeds. As I slowed down the shutter speed, the movement resulted in a more abstract appearance to the photo.  I fear looking at the first two for very long might result in a headache (or perhaps a seizure) but the last one is kind of fun...

I also experimented with moving the camera in different directions to see how it affected the images.  Of course, how fast or slow I moved the camera also had an impact on the results.  Here is a series of images taken of the same item while I tried moving the camera in different directions...

As I was experimenting I found that some of the patterns required a slower shutter speed than others to induce the kind of abstract blurriness that I wanted to create.  It was also interesting to note the type of pattern played a huge role in what type of image the motion created.  In general, the larger the pattern on the item the softer the blur was in the resulting photo.  Here are a few examples...

While the clothes that had smaller patterns on them resulted in more linear results in the photos.

I'm sure this experiment could be done with just about anything, but I wanted to see what kind of bright abstract images I could create here. I don't think any of them are exactly frame worthy, but fun and interesting never the less.

So far I am really getting a kick out of planning and photographing these monthly photo projects.  I enjoy getting to stretch my mind a little and do something outside of my usual routine. It's great fun to ask myself, "I wonder what would happen if ...." and then to grab my camera and try it.  Permission to try something new and different, without fear of failing - that's what these photo projects are all about for me!

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.
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© 2013 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Foray Into Flash Photography {Take 2}

As I mentioned yesterday, I finally got up the nerve to get out and experiment with my new flash a bit this past weekend. I used it to take a handful of photos of Kevin Friday morning, and then I asked Kelly if she would be kind enough to pose for me while I practiced again Friday evening.

You may remember Kelly from her session last fall.  I asked Kelly to model for me because she is awesome in front of the camera and requires almost no direction to look amazing in photos.  I knew that she would be comfortable to do her thing while I attempted to do mine, as I fumbled trying to find the dials and adjustments on a new piece of equipment that I had no clue how to use.

We decided to venture to the top of a parking garage so I could get some experience using the flash in the changing light conditions of the setting sun.  I took the opportunity of having a willing model to try my hand at varying the intensity of the flash and the distance I was standing from her to see the affect on the lighting of the photo.  I know I have a long way to go before I will master using my new flash, but after getting a little practice under my belt I'm no longer quite so intimidated by the process!  I honestly don't know how much the flash will become a part of my routine with clients, or if it will be mostly reserved for the personal event photography that I had in mind when I originally purchased it.

Regardless of where I decide to take my flash photography in the future,  I had an absolute blast photographing Kelly again and creating what I feel are some really fun and amazing photos of her.  Of course, when you have a model as stunning as Kelly, awesome photos are going to be a given!  So, other than sending a HUGE thank you out to Kelly for taking time out of her insanely busy schedule to pose for me, I'm going to quit with the babble and show off her photos...

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

Monday, February 4, 2013

Foray Into Flash Photography {Take 1}

Back at the end of November I purchased a new flash for my camera, and it's more or less been sitting in the box intimidating the daylights out of me ever since. I finally worked up the nerve to get out and experiment with it over the weekend.  So, I begged and pleaded and twisted Kevin's arm asked Kevin to get up at the crack of dawn to let me experiment with it on him before the session we did a few days ago.

I'm going for full disclosure here and am going to admit that the first several images I took with the flash were absolutely horrid.  I was trying to take photos when it was still completely dark and the only light in the environment was coming from some overhead street lights.  I couldn't manage to get the white balance correct no matter what I tried and the photos were atrocious.  Luckily, once it started to get just a tiny bit of light in the sky and we moved away from the street lights my success rate sky rocket.

I love this water tower not too far from where we live, and I was playing around with getting as much of it into the frame as I could by shooting from below.  The perspective is obviously a bit unusual, but I kind of dig it for something different.  That's the awesome thing about photographing Kevin!  I can amuse myself with trying new things and he is more than willing to just stand there and let me.  And since he agreed to love me for better or worse, it doesn't matter if my ideas totally tank.

I have to admit that I was STUNNED at how powerful this flash is!  At the time I took the above photos the sky behind Kevin was still extremely dark, and in these photos it is fairly over-exposed.  I actually really like the effect of how well Kevin stands out against the bright background here, but this was a lucky accident as opposed to a creative decision.  But at least it was an eye opener, and I made sure not to repeat the same mistake during my second practice session. (Stay tuned for those photos very soon!)

Once it got a little bit lighter out, I had a much easier time using the flash and felt like it was much smoother sailing.  I was basically using it to just fill in a little light to brighten up my subject, instead of trying to use it to light most of the scene.  I really love this first photo of Kevin.  He's one of the few people who can pull off serious photos really, really well...

I love this one of my sweet hubby, too. This is such a Kevin face!  His smile without smiling look...

By the time I took these last two photos, I really didn't even need the flash but I was in my grove and didn't notice how light it had gotten while I had been shooting away. So, I snapped a few last minute photos before switching off the flash and letting the sun do my lighting for me...

Michele Whitacre is a portrait photographer serving Phoenix, Arizona and the surrounding area. 

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© 2013 Michele Whitacre Photography LLC

Sunday, February 3, 2013

Happy Birthday, Baby!

Today is my husband's birthday, so I wanted to take a moment to wish him a very happy birthday and an incredible year.  His birthday is one my favorite days, because it's the day that brought this amazing, wonderful, caring man into the world.  He is the center of my universe and I cannot imagine spending even one day of my life without him next to me.  I am so incredibly blessed to share my life with such a kind, compassionate, intelligent person!  Happy Birthday, Baby!

I hadn't taken any photos of Kevin since summer, so we spent a few hours on Friday taking some new ones.  Of course, he's already seen these, and in fact, he picked out most of the ones that I edited and posted.  If these photos were of someone else's significant other, I'd probably be writing and saying something like, "Kevin is so handsome, isn't so-and-so the luckiest girl in the world?"  Only this time it's me who is the lucky one! :)

I've taken A LOT of photos of Kevin over the years, and I think this batch is my favorite to date.  This is the first time we did photos of him in a suit, and these photos look the most "him" of any I've ever taken.  He looks in his element and comfortable for a change!  (Even if I did drag him out of bed super early to take these.  But at least I didn't make him do it ON his birthday.)  I think my husband is the only man in the world who would rather be in a suit than in jeans and t-shirt most of the time.

So, photos of my wonderful hubby...

I decided to include this last one just because it was so different from the rest.  It was taken before it started getting light out while I was gaining practice with my new flash. (More on that soon!)

If you have a moment, leave a comment below or swing on by my facebook page and wish Kevin a happy birthday! I know he'd love it. :)

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