Online Resources by Little Story Studio
20 Page E-Book for You
Want to take your photography to the next level, but there just isn't enough time in the day? I made this e-book just for you! Learn how to focus on one thing at a time and improve your skills through the self-issued challenge.
E-book + education Videos + Bonus Materials
Coming June 2017! I have been pouring myself into this new resource for photographers who are seeking to tell deeper, more concise, and more memorable stories. Learn how to make your characters & setting come alive, as well as how to identify themes in your work and build upon it. $25 for early birds, and $35 regular price.
Storytelling Tutorials from Little Story Studio's Blog
I shot this image today, on one of the first warm days of 2017! Everyone wanted to get outside and so we went over to visit Mimi and Pap we schlepped out allllll the toys. Everyone was playing with different things at the same time. (Isn't that what happens at your house when the weather breaks and all the kids and adults shed their winter bonds?)
Of course, because everyone was playing with different toys at the same time, I have a camera card full of one child flying a kit, one launching a helicopter with pap, etc... A while it's nice to have images of these memories, in the end, I like to pick one image for my 365 project (and eventually for printing). Because I know one image will be printed, I prefer to choose the one I feel will best help me hold onto the essence of the day. Today, this was the image I chose because it captured a few stories at once.
Earlier this week, my little superhero was coming to my aid as he likes to do. This time, making my coffee. He was sitting up on the counter alone and even though I knew he was big enough to sit there without falling, when I shot the photo at first, I was in a rush because I wanted to make sure he was steady up there. So my first image wasn't very thought-through and this how it looked:
You can probably tell that an image like this is all about perspective. I set my camera on the table and, using a low aperture, shot through all the layers on the table. I purposely framed him so that he would be on the right hand third of the image, because I wanted him to look like just another thing at the table: glass, salt shaker, boy, glass...
I'd been trying to get a nice picture of my son sleeping for a while. He is right on the edge of growing into his big boy face. Soon there will be no more of those sweet baby cheeks. I was on a time crunch. I was on a mission.
The problem I was facing was the light source. When you photograph a sleeping child, you usually need to add a little light to the scene (unless, of course, your child needs lots of light to sleep already).
Photography education post showing two images and discussing how a small change in perspective can make a big impact!
Only a couple week until the Winter Solstice, and you know what that means! Time to put away your camera till spring? No way! Time to get creative with your indoor light sources.
If you were stranded in Alaska during the winter with only your camera, could you survive? Ask yourself, how can I become an indoor photography survivor like Kristina? What light sources could I take advantage of this winter?
My family and I stopped at the playground one chilly evening after daylight savings. The sun set much more quickly than we were prepared for, but it made for gorgeous fall skies. I had my Lensbaby Edge 50 on my camera because I was playing- mostly shooting sky and nature pictures. In case you're not familiar, Lensbaby lenses are completely manual focus and produce interesting, surprising effects, but the learning curve is a bit steep if it's not something to which you're accustomed.
When is the last time you took your camera out to play? When was the last time you shot for yourself? Not for your wall. Not for your family's memory book. Not for a client. When I spend some time shooting playfully, I feel like I just had a good belly laugh-- lighter, happier. Kind of the way I think my kids must feel when they play peacefully all morning in their pjs.
No time, you say? Nothing to shoot, you say?
Try these 3 tips for playful shooting:
Welcome to my October Storytellers Blog Circle post. Since we are in the thick of fall, pumpkin-everything, and soccer every weekend, I decided to pick this image of my youngest son, entertaining himself during his older brother's soccer game a few weeks ago. I picked it because I like the story it tells about our Saturday mornings right now, but I also picked it because it's sort of a rule breaker in the way I exposed him. Let's talk about it!
Have you arrived at that point in your photography journey where you find yourself confident in your technical skills, but not consistently happy with your artistic skills? Good composition is a skill you must strengthen by daily practice. But it can be stressful to practice it during a paid photo session or when you are in a familiar, cluttered environment, such as your house.
In the past, I've recommended photo walks for relaxation, breaking out of a rut, and new learning. (Yes- I really like photo walks!) Now, I'm going to suggest another reason to take your camera and hit the road.
Halloween is one of those holidays that makes me happy I'm a photographer. The photo opportunities abound - before, during, and after the big night. My oldest especially loves to make his own costume, which makes it especially meaningful for me to capture.
Here are 3 of my very best Tricks and Treats for capturing Halloween!
I shot this image at my father in law's birthday celebration a few weeks ago. The goal was to get a shot of the way the three little ones "help" with the birthday candle tradition. I'm always drawn to photographing the things in my kids' childhoods that are becoming traditions and/or things they'll certainly remember when they grow up and have kids of their own. And I'm pretty sure this is one of them, because I remember sitting on laps and offering my expert assistance to my own aunts, uncles, and grandparents... perhaps more than blowing out my own!
Well, I said I would keep my Lensbaby Sweet 35 on my camera for a week, and I did it! (It was hard, but I did it!) The lens has such a unique look that it was a real test to leave it on for all occasions and genres of shooting. On the other hand, what an awesome challenge that opened my eyes to possibilities I hadn't previously seen!
This week, the boys and I met a friend at Twin Lakes Park in Westmoreland County, PA for a leisurely walk and bike around the lakes + photo practice. My talented and driven friend is learning photography - she has just reached the point where she can confidently shoot in manual, and so I thought, what better way for her to practice than on my energetic 3 and 5 year old? Like any kids, they don't stop and wait for you to change your settings and they certainly don't oblige your light preferences.
Listen. We all have the very best of intentions. But life is big and messy and busy and we can't possibly master everything under the sun in our short time here. For me, it's sewing. How I would love to not just sew simple things but big, beautiful quilts! Photography falls into this category for most - many of us would love to learn every dial on our cameras, but as it turns out, it's not as easy as Step 1, Step 2, Step 3. Like any craft, it takes years and years to master (most say 10,000 hours +, if we want to get specific :-)). But luckily, 99.5% of us have a powerful, high quality and above all SIMPLE camera in our pockets and purses all the time!
No one is immune. Even as someone who has shot every day solid for upwards of 500 days in a row, I was still susceptible to falling into the dreaded artist rut. It happened at my least inspired time of year: the beginning of summer. No dreamy snow, twinkle lights, autumn leaves, warm fire, moody indoor scenes. When summer hit this year, I took a big hit. I stopped bringing my camera to family events and outings. I admired the breathtaking golden light of summer evenings, but I didn't run for my camera.
I think that too often, photographers and non-photographers alike talk about people having a "good eye" instead of attributing their successful images to a strong understanding of composition. Composition is most simply, the arrangement of visual elements in the frame. Composing a frame in a city or in a building can often be a little more straight forward because you have so many lines and shapes with which to work. But stick your subject in the chaos of nature and often it isn't so clear cut. Here are four ways to thoughtfully compose a clean frame in nature. It's ok to go with your gut, but a little planning and purposefulness goes a long way too!
One of the best ways I know to remember certain phases, ages, and stages is by periodically doing full day Story of a Day session with my own family. There's nothing like revisiting a day in my life from morning till night to immediately trigger memories - of tantrums, milestones, emerging independence, favorite toys, and beloved rituals. These are the things that are envelope us when we are living it, but then quickly fade into one big generalization of life at that time.
Do you know how sometimes, you visit a place and you just feel INSPIRED? Inspired to write, inspired to sing, inspired create, inspired to plant, inspired to shoot? That's just how I felt a few weeks ago when I visited Arona Road Greenhouse in New Stanton PA. I went for flowers and came home with a box of them, but it only left me wanting to hurry back as quickly as I could with my camera! Because oh, the COLORS! (Not to mention the lines!)
"we are what we repeatedly do. excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit." - aristotle
If you can believe it, we are already a third of the way through 2016! Because this is my second consecutive year of shooting daily, getting "The Shot" has finally become an ingrained habit and a natural part of my everyday life. Would you believe me if I told you it took me about one full year to really make that habit feel easy and unforced? It has!
If your house is anything like mine, Easter and springtime mean bubbles! But those see-through little orbs are so elusive to photograph, right? I've pulled together 5 tips so that if the Easter bunny leaves bubbles in your child's basket this year, you'll know where to start.
How many times have you gotten out your camera for a special occasion, hoping to come away with pictures that tell the story of your day and you come away with a few awkwardly posed shots of your unhappy kids + some random happenings from the day that don't flow? I know I have! I find that something that helps me is to create a very loose "shot list" in my head before the day so that I'm organized in what I'd like to capture, as well as how I might go about it.
To show you what I mean, here's my possible shot list for this Easter 2016:
The light is back!
But did you know that it's not just a matter of light/no light? The light in your home makes its appearance in different rooms and at different angles all through the year. In my Mom's Story class, we cover the topic of knowing the light in your house- most basically, where the sun rises and sets. But if you've mastered this in your own home, you're ready to start a more seasonal observation of light.
At the beginning of February I set a goal to take 29 "good" No People photos during the month. I ended up shooting hundreds of No People frames and being happy with 39! Success!
Setting this goal enabled me to be more aware of opportunities around me to shoot still life images, and where I saw no opportunity, to more actively seek them out.
I'm big on challenging myself. When I'm feeling uninspired, when the light is less than ideal, when I don't feel like picking up my camera, a simple, self-issued challenge will sometimes snap me out of it.
The weather report for today and tomorrow is full of rain and clouds, I haven't taken a good picture in days, and all I want to do is drink coffee. Time for a challenge!
Here are 5 shots for a Gloomy, Rainy Day + ideas to keep you inspired on your less than inspiring days:
One of my favorite places to photograph my kids is in their bedroom. Why?
Why NOT? Their bedrooms are like an extension of them. What they read, play with, hang on their walls, set out on their shelves... all tell a story about who they are now and who they are becoming. As you read the rest of this article, don't forget about older children and teens. It is at every stage of your son's and daughter's childhood that you will find satisfaction in this process.
It was 4:00pm and it was that Time of Day. Every day by that time, my feet ache, my nerves are frayed, the kids are tired, I'm hungry, etc. etc. etc. But with only an hour until dinnertime, collapsing onto the couch is the last thing I have time to do. Plus, there's always the chance that if I sit down I'll never get up!
On this day, I shuffled into the kitchen, still a little foggy-headed and craving a nap after reading to my oldest from his favorite chapter book series. I dug the chicken out of the refrigerator and turned around to see an overflowing and cluttered countertop. Every part of our day had contributed to the overwhelming mess in front of me.
Just as a writer fleshes out the setting with sensory and time details, when you are showing the setting, be sure to include....
When you are storytelling, one of the simplest things you can do to tell all of the story is think about perspective. It is incredibly easy to fall into the trap of standing in one spot like there is glue on your feet and ending up with 30 frames that are so similar you have play the "which thing is different" game to decipher which one you want to keep. To avoid falling into this trap, think: