So the theme is yellow...

for Iheartfaces.com weekly challenge.  This image is from an engagement session I did with my daughter that was so much fun with the cutest couple!  You can have a sneak peak of our new website and a stopmotion video of their complete session at an abandoned mansion that was so cool...
at Vintage Modern Photography...Look for the cinema tab to see it.   Heidi and Brett love the movie "Benny & Joon" and that was the inspiration for their engagement pictures.  Here they are in a field of yellow wild flowers.  You can see more images inspired by yellow HERE!


So every spring I buy flowers, I grow flowers...

...and I photograph flowers.  I just can't get enough of the flowers blooming everywhere from my white star magnolia that blooms in January along with the roses (only in California folks) to the full bloom riot of color in April and whatever chooses to pop up each month afterwards, I am picking, arranging, buying and planting flowers.  Here is an arrangement of storebought parrot tulips with homegrown lilacs (that took me 4 dead plants til I finally planted one that liked it here)
I carried around my favorite log vase filled with the pretty blossoms and photographed them all over the house for just the right setting.  I photographed them in my bathroom, in the entry where they sat and then on the window seat where I liked the colors in the afternoon filtered light best.  I added some artistic filters in Photoshop and a texture because I wanted it to look like an old master painting.  I am making a set to print on canvas for my guest bedroom.  What do you think?  

You can see more pretty flower photographs at in this weeks challenge at Iheartfaces.


So I went to a wedding and took a few pictures...AS A GUEST!

posing for the photographer
As you know I am portfolio building and I am a second shooter for my daughter's wedding photography which means I take pictures of the dress, rings, the cake and whatever my daughter might miss.  It also means I schlepp around the equipment, round up the bridal party and family for portraits and make sure the main photographer eats something.  Another part of my job is heading the wedding papparazzi off at the pass in the nicest way possible.

What does that mean?  It means that I watch for those serial amateurs who will flash their point and shoot 30 or 40 times during the cake cutting sometimes ruining our shots.  It means that I watch for those who will get up and stand in front of the photographer to get the shots she has set up.  It helps that I am not a small girl like Samantha.  I just step in front of them and let them know they can have at it when she is done.  :)  There is nothing that can be done for those who stand in the aisle to get the bride walking down about 15 feet away from both of us but right in the way of the shot.  At my daughter's wedding, a zealous budding photographer stood with the photographer at the altar to get her shots.
Murillo boys Look up...it's her! Here comes the bride 
 I have seen the results of these self professed amazing pictures and I am surprised that they don't see the difference between an amateur with a point and shoot trying to get the shot the trained photographer has set up with professional equipment.  Now don't get me wrong, many times the amateurs will catch moments the professional might not get.  As friends and family, they know the relationships of most of the people there.  The wedding is also part of their memories as well and many will never see the very expensive wedding album so it's an important opportunity for guests to get those pictures of their friends and family all dudied up real purty, smiling and happy where big bucks were spent on them to show up at a pretty place.
traditional cake fun
I was recently invited to a wedding of a young man who grew up around our kids.  The family has recently moved away so I knew we wouldn't get to see the wedding pictures.  They also could not invite everyone they would  have liked to so many friends wanted to see pictures of the wedding.  As a guest, I wanted to capture my own memories but I knew from experience photographing weddings that I wanted to stay out of the photographers way.  I brought my midrange dslr with a nice prime lens and another in my handbag.  I left my flashes at home, that would just make me look like the wannabe wedding photographer, right?  We got there late (due to a Starbucks/Krispy Kreme detour) but that always means a seat in the back where I can see most of the action and stay out of the way of the professionals.
singing "My Guy" to her man  first dance
The wedding was at midday outside which is the worst light unless you are an gifted flash ninja cuz' even photoshop isn't going to get the harsh shadows off their faces.  I don't mind them so much because my memories of a beaming young man marrying the gorgeous girl of his dreams colors my images with a rosy glow.  I did take one photo of the photographers set up about 5 to 7 feet behind her with my 85mm lens.  I am sure hers was beautiful because she was countering the harsh glare and shadows with her flash.  But I will never see it, it was a beautiful pose - I wish I knew who the photographer was now.

I hope I was not a wedding papparazzi.  I didn't take a huge amount of pictures, only enough for my memories to share with other friends of the groom...like this great one of the grooms only nephew dancing with himself.
Aidan dancing with himself

Note:  I've been meaning to write this for awhile now...a post by http://www.digital-photography-school.com/ got me to actually do it.  What would be interesting is to hear from the photographer of this wedding.  What do you think?


So what do you do with a fussy newborn?

jake1 the best one of the bunch
...the best you can!  I am portfolio building for a website launch with my daughter Samantha.  We have some jobs lined up and we need to round out our portfolio for a website.  A friend who is also portfolio building (PatriciaEstellePhotography.com) asked me to join her in this photo shoot.

We met at my house, I have a ton of newborn props and setups ready to go.  Little Jake has had a rough start.  He had to go into the hospital for a few days right after he was born because he wasn't gaining any weight.  So although he is better, he was having a hard time if he wasn't right on his mama. 

In that instance, I think photographing the baby in mama's arms is the way to go but she wasn't prepared for that so we did what we could.  The room was toasty warm for him, he was fed but he had a hard time relaxing.  I didn't even get a baby toes shot because he struggled so much to be comfortable unless he was swaddled up tight, poor baby.  
He had his big sister with him so we took a few shots with her while he settled down.
jake (sister) 5 jake (sister) 4
We tried the suspended hammock setup but he hard a hard time getting comfortable even though we had his mother right underneath him rocking him gently (and for safety...very important!)  First we set up our focus and settings with a lettered beach ball then we had mama hold him in her arms in the fabric of the sling as she slid underneath.  He was somewhat still for about 5 seconds and then he just had enough.
jake setup ake in a sling Portfolio Building Newborn Shoot

When a baby is done, he is DONE.  Jake let his mama know he couldn't take anymore so we called it a day.  His mama said she would be happy with one good shot and she wanted the pictures of his unhappy faces.  It was good practice but I was worried about this little guy for a few days.  The mama dog in me wants to make sure all little pups I meet are safe and happy, I hate to see a baby feel bad.  I am sure he is feeling more secure over time knowing his sweet mama is taking good care of him as long as he doesn't have to go back to the hospital (and it looks like he won't have to.)
           jake10 Jake 3 - Portfolio Building - reality of a newborn photo shoot