Elf on the Shelf – Day 4

I’ve written at length before about how much I hate having my picture taken. Truthfully, I don’t even think that “hate” is a strong enough word. I mean, I know everyone goes through an awkward stage, but come on! Between my television screen-sized glasses and a couple of bad perms gone wrong, my awkward stage lasted far too long and resulted in far too many photos like these haunting my childhood…

lori school photo 1987

lori school photo 1989

lori in ne sweats xmas 1990

I guess I can always blame the 80’s, right?

Even so, I was always more comfortable behind the camera than in front of it. I remember having a cheap plastic 35mm film camera by the time I was 10 years old. Mom and Dad were good about buying me film and letting me snap away when we went on vacations or visited family for the holidays. In high school, I finally got my hands on my first SLR camera in the Photography class I took with my Newspaper teacher Mr. Buck. The old Pentax K-1000 just felt right in my hands, and I fell in love with it, and with the magic of seeing my vision come alive in a bath of chemicals in the Holdrege High School dark room.

My Uncle Harry and Aunt Jean were always two of my biggest supporters, cheering me on and hanging my framed photographs of old barns and windmills in their home. They even gave me one of the greatest gifts ever one Christmas, when they sent me my very own K-1000 that they’d found in a pawn shop in Dallas.

I can’t even tell you how many photos I’ve taken since. If I had to wager a guess, I’d say I’m probably closing in on a million. Maybe more. Thank goodness I made the switch to digital photography. Otherwise, I’d likely be living penniless on the streets from the cost of developing all that film.

Yet, whether I’m shooting film or digital, and seeing my images come to life in an old-fashioned chemical darkroom or a digital darkroom like Photoshop, there’s nothing quite as satisfying as seeing that little piece of life I captured and knowing that it has been preserved, timeless, forever.

For the longest time, I feared that Cadence would likely suffer from what so many photographers refer to as Photographer’s Kid Syndrome–a debilitating disorder that makes kids highly allergic to having their pictures taken and causes them to turn and flee whenever they see a camera. to make matters worse, Cadence also had a 50/50 chance of either being a photophobe like her Momma or a total ham like her Daddy.

Thank God her Daddy’s photo genes prevailed.

It’s much more fun to snap photos of a willing (and patient) subject than to have to chase her around and pray that I get one shot out of a couple dozen. And it’s even more fun now that she’s starting to get interested in taking pictures herself. The little digital camera her Granny, Pawpoo, Aunt Whitney and Uncle Collin bought her last year for Christmas has certainly gotten a lot of good use already. And I guess Cosette wanted to get in on the action because last night after sending Cadence off to bed and giving another good day’s report to Santa, Cosette gathered up some of Cadence’s stuffed animal friends for a little photo shoot of her own…

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She took some portraits of Brian…

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A few pet portraits with one of the Pound Puppies…

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She set up an engagement session with Rango and the Sock Monkey…

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Took some portraits of Marvin the Martian…

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And helped Animal update his photos to advertise his band…

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And then a few group shots of everyone before wrapping up the session for the night…

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This morning, Cadence came down for breakfast, and was surprised to see what everyone was up to…

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And of course, she wanted a little time behind the camera, so she asked Cosette if she could have a turn…

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Yeah, that’s my girl! 🙂

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And I have to say, after taking a look through the photos from Cadence and Cosette’s sessions, these girls definitely have the “eye” for photography!

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Take Cadence Picture

Many photographers joke around that their kids suffer from PKS–Photographer’s Kid Syndrome. Sure, all kids go through phases when they hate standing still for the camera, but I have to say, I do believe that photographers’ kids often taken their camera loathing to a whole new level. For the longest time, trying to get a decent picture of Cadence was one part comedy routine, two parts acrobatics. I’d chase after her, sing songs, repeat lines from her favorite movies, make fart noises, climb park benches and playground equipment, dive in front of her in the grass–anything I could think of to make her stop and look at me long enough to fire off a couple of shots. Sometimes they were blurry. Sometimes her eyes were half-closed, or half of her face was out of frame. But sometimes, it was magic.

These days, I’m happy to say, that things have taken a turn to my advantage. Suddenly, instead of constantly running and trying to hide from my camera, Cadence seems to have taken a keen interest in Mommy’s work. She likes playing with her toy camera, and sometimes even picks up a random object (like my old voice recorder) and pretends it’s a camera and walks around the house taking pictures of things. Even better, she loves, LOVES, having her picture taken. Anytime I pull my camera out, she immediately starts chirping, “Take Cadence picture? Mommy? You take a picture of Cadence?”

Who can say no to that?

It’s funny though, as a lifestyle photographer, I never tell my clients to “Say cheese.” Instead, I do what I can to capture natural expressions in my work. And Cadence seems to have picked up on this the few times she’s been with me when I’m on a job, because she never pulls out the cheesy smile in front of the camera. In fact, I’m not sure she even knows what a cheesy smile is. I love it because I get to snap photos of my favorite girl exactly as she is, and exactly how I’ll always remember her. The poor folks from Lifetouch who took her pictures at preschool though, they didn’t quite know what to do with my sweet girl who won’t smile on command.

Here are a few of my girl I snapped back in August when we were in Colorado taking my sister Whitney’s senior pictures…

Having fun and getting dirty playing ball with Granny and Uncle Collin
Collecting pretty rocks, just like her Momma loves to do
She’s gotta get her picture taken everywhere Aunt Whitney does
Love that face!
My baby looking like such a big girl
Climbing the mountain with Uncle Collin
Take Cadence picture, Mommy
My little nature girl

Silliness

In the midst of the craziness of working the past couple weeks, I decided I needed to test one of my lenses. For some reason, my 28-75mm has been hit and miss with focus, and I wanted to make sure it was in proper working order when I headed out to shoot my first Red Thread Session.

It was a little soggy outside after the thunderstorms, so I figured I better stay in the house or else have to deal with a very muddy child. After several test shots, I got the lens back in working order, but decided I wanted to test it out on a moving target, just to make sure it could lock quickly when I needed it to since my RTS session was with a family of 5 young children.

Electra was in her spot on the couch, passed out and snoring as usual. If you’re wanting to shoot still life, she’s usually a safe bet. A moving target in the Romano house, though? That’s easy. All I have to do is take the lens cap off my camera and point it at Cadence and she takes of running, jumping, bouncing, hopping, skipping, dancing, crawling, scooting, and shimmying through the house, laughing and teasing me as she goes.

Little turd.

You know, she’s pretty cute when she stands still long enough for you to actually get a look at her.

It took the better part of 45 minutes, chasing her through the kitchen and sunroom, dropping down out of sight and then ambushing her when she came around the corner to get a couple good shots. But it was worth it. Not only did the lens pass the Crazy Running Child test, I also managed to get a couple good shots of my favorite girl and capture a few of the expressions that crack me up on a daily basis.

Here are a few of my favorites…

The chase is on!
Trying to climb away from the camera
Oooh fishy light
Digging through the shoe pile
Taking a break to make a quick phone call
Haha, Momma’s so silly
My favorite, the “Gasp! He’s here!” face leftover from Easter and the sneaky Easter Bunny visit

Excavation 2012 – Day #46 – The Great Photo Organizing Extravaganza (part 1)

Long before I was a professional photographer, I was a photo fiend. I’ve always loved photographs. My own. Other people’s. Simple snapshots or gallery worthy. I love holding them, flipping through them, looking at them, studying them, trying to imagine the moments that led up to the one frozen in time, and trying to imagine the moments that came after.

Today, as I headed down to the cellar to see what new treasures I could find and dig through, I came across this dusty old bag…

I don’t remember exactly where the bag came from (could have been one I picked up somewhere, or maybe it was Mom’s), but I had no idea what was in it. Mom brought it to the house several weeks ago, along with the stack of bins and boxes from her basement. Since then, it has been sitting in our basement, quietly waiting its turn. And here’s what I found inside…

I thumbed through the contents of a few of the envelopes, finding all sorts of old photos in no particular order. Knowing that we have several boxes and bins of photos that we have been meaning to get in some sort of order for several years now, I decided it was probably wiser to tackle the project when I was properly prepared. And prepared means finding the photo boxes we purchased nearly four years ago at Ikea, but have still never used.

Brace yourselves, people. Tomorrow, the Great Photo Organizing Extravaganza begins. Until then, I’ll leave you with this…

Proof that, at one time, I was both cute and willing to wear a dress. 😉 Tune in tomorrow to see what else I dig up.

365 Project – Day 258 – Kassie & Jeremy Engagement Session Sneak Peek

So, usually I do my sneak peeks for clients on my business blog, but I’m in the process of building and updating my website and, well, I just didn’t have a whole lot of time to come up with anything for today’s 365 Project blog post. I spent part of the day babysitting my nephew Odin, and the rest of it working on the photos from the Engagement Session I shot with my sister and her fiance over the weekend. I already posted a couple photos on my StoriTyme Photos Facebook page, but I wanted to make sure I blogged an official sneak peak before Kassie and Jeremy leave to go on Jeremy’s birthday cruise.

I’m nowhere near finished with the photos from our sessions. I shot hundreds of photos during our two-day, four-session marathon. The best thing about Kassie and Jeremy is that they they both have a great sense of humor and that they were pretty much up for anything during the sessions. Oh, and did I mention, they are a beautiful couple? They were a pleasure to work with, even if it meant getting up at 4:30 in the morning to catch the best light. They bought me iced coffee, and as long as there is coffee involved, I’ll get up anytime you want.

So, here are just a few of the amazing photos we captured during our sessions together. I can’t even say these are my favorites, because there are just far too many fabulous shots to choose from. These were just a few that caught my eye and made me smile, so I thought I’d share them with you.

Enjoy.

This is definitely one of my favorites. Early morning at Freestone Park in Gilbert, AZ.
This one definitely speaks to my natural photography style. I was adjusting my camera settings, and just happened to catch this candid moment. Love it! The Grove, Gilbert, AZ.
This photo looks great in color, but I love the B&W conversion. Freestone Park, Gilbert, AZ.
Again, I was adjusting my camera for the bright lighting and caught the lovebirds in the picture perfect pose. I snapped quick before they even knew it. Scottsdale, AZ.
We were starting to lose our Golden Hour lighting, but I absolutely loved their expressions in this one. Freestone Park, Gilbert, AZ.
I've always loved the old downtown area in Florence, so I was excited when Kassie said she wanted to try this shot. Another one of my favorites. Main Street, Florence, AZ.
Jeremy had some awesome ideas for photos. We never did get one of him tackling Kassie, but the credit for this shot is all his. Definitely one of my favorites! Florence, AZ.

Tonight’s 365 Project entry is dedicated to Kassie and Jeremy. Thank you both for the wonderful weekend!