Sean {Child} | Killeen child photographer

Oh ya you've seen this little cutie before. Look up there ^ see that little tiny baby being held by his mommy and daddy...this is him 6 months later! Still just as cute and oh so smiley!

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Showcase: Bows by Mia

Bows by Mia is super awesome...if you didn't already know :)
I met Melissa-creator of BBM about six months ago shortly after she had Mia-the adorable inspiration for her boutique. We happen to be in the same play group and every time I saw Mia she had some sort of fabulous hair accessory! Very soon other mom's in the area began to ask her to make some for them and it all took off very quickly after that, but seriously, look at the fabulous products she makes...who wouldn't want one, two or twenty of them?! She makes bows, headbands and yes even hats! Her products can be made in almost any size and will look adorable on anyone :)


Here are a few of my favorites she has

Top to bottom and left to right:
Fancy Blossom Flower
This flower is so gorgeous and full of details! Layers of fabric, organza, and a rhinestone center come together to make the perfect fancy flower. Choose between a black 5/8 inch headband or a lined clip.
 
Mia's Vintage Ranunculus
This beautiful flower comes in red, wine, black, hot pink, soft pink and deep purple! Each flower is attached to a 1/8th inch band. Which makes this such a dainty and adorable accessory. The Vintage add on adds netting and a feather.
 
White layered boutique bow
This bow has many gorgeous layers! You can get this in a small 3 inch, Medium 4 inch or a Large 5 inch. This bow is heat sealed to prevent fraying and is attached to a particially lined clip perfect for clipping into hair or any interchangeable headband.
 
Glamorous Vintage
This headband is handmade with lace, fabric, and feather with a rhinestone center. It's attached to a 5/8 inch soft black headband. This is stunning and perfect for babies to adults, photo prop and more!!!
 
Bowtastic Bear Hat
This hat is crochet and handmade exclusively by Mia's auntie! These come in various sizes and colors! The Bowtastic Bear hat is perfect for the upcoming cold season, photo props and more! These hats are made when ordered so please expect a little longer for delivery!
 
Mia's Vintage Blossom
Mia's Vintage Blossom Headband, another great Photog Prop! This headband is handmade, added feather and rolled with fabric, it's frayed to give it an extra vintage look. This headband is beautiful and comes in two sizes newborn - 1 year, and 1 year to adult.
 
Elegant Vintage Blossom
This headband has 3 beautiful handmade white fabric rolls with feathers and an icy rhinestone center. The Fabulous Vintage Blossom is attached to a blue 5/8 inch soft headband! PERFECT for any outfit, photo prop, and any age!!!!
 
Newborn Vintage Ranunculus Headband
This is a gorgeous addition to the vintage line! Layers of soft pink petals and organza come together to make the perfect headband for newborns to adults. These are great for Photo Props, special occasions and everyday wear!!!! The flower size is approx. 2 inches across.
 
The Dainty Fabric Flower Headband is handmade and so beautiful, perfect for any age!!!! This flower is attached to a 1/8 inch skinny headband. Sizes are newborn- 1 year and 1 year to adult.

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Happy Merry Christma-Hanu-Kwanza-Kah

I love this time of the year :) 
Super dee-duper love it! I love the look on our kids faces when 'Santa' brings them the toy they've been asking for. The look on my husband's face when he realizes I actually do know what he likes. I love when throughout the year I think my husband just ignores me talking about 'blah blah photography' or some awesome gizmo I just 'need' to have only to have him completely surprise me with exactly what I want :)
I hope everyone has a safe and fun holiday season no matter what you celebrate.
Happy Merry Christma-Hanu-Kwanza-Kah
 
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Tutorial Tuesday: Clipping masks and applying textures

This week is a double tutorial since they are both fairly easy.

First clipping masks:








Applying overlays/textures/veils:


Play with the different blend modes to find the look you prefer.
You can also make your own overlay/texture by photographing interesting elements such as concrete, wood, fabric etc. You can make a veil by using the overlay/texture and adding a gaussian blur to it.
Textures from The Coffeeshop Blog  and Sassy Designs.

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Showcase: Mudpies & Pigtails Boutique

I ♥ Mudpies & Pigtails Boutique! Monique-creative genius of M&P is so fabulous, she creates adorable hats and headbands for newborn to toddler size. She uses super soft yarn and create products with wonderful attention to detail, most noteworthy-she is original. She doesn't buy a pattern from etsy and start selling, she actually brain storms and comes up with these fabulous new ideas (I know, she bounces new ideas off me from time to time). I've personally had the pleasure to use many Mudpies & Pigtails creations and I really love them. I have some for props but I also bought some for my daughter that absolutely loves accessories. The quality is outstanding, the reaction from my clients and even the general public being out and about with my daughter is amazing! The ooohs, aahhhs and oh-my-gosh-that-is-so-cute will bring a smile to any photographer or parents face. I can't sing her praises enough, Mudpies & Pigtails Boutique is my favorite, and my personal choice for newborn and toddler photography props.





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Showcase: Easy As Pie

A few weeks ago Pamela Topping had a fabulous giveaway, and I always toss my hat into a giveaway...you never know if you will win :) Well I won Easy as Pie. Needless to say I was ecstatic! I have been battling with pricing myself as an artist as well as my products since I picked up my camera and opened my lens to the public. I wasn't sure how to put a value on what I do, after all there are probably more than 20 photographers in my area and I can only think of three that are priced where we all should be. I know that photography takes a lot of time- to learn, to execute and deliver quality products. I could ramble on for days about all of that but let me get on to my review aka my showcase of EAP.

There I was on my couch with 59 pages to my left, 2 pages to my right, pen in my mouth and computer on my lap (set to my print lab's catalog) when it all made sense.
This digital download is 61 pages of knowledge. It hits you in the face like your best friend saying it, and you have your a-ha moment when suddenly it all makes sense! Not only does it break down everything but there is also a handy dandy 2-page list for you to put your projected pricing down on so you can refer to it later! 

The beginning chapters felt like they were focused straight at me, as I have dealt with these exact clients.
"A cheapie is someone who wants it all but isn't willing to pay for it."
 "The average cheapie isn't easy to spot. They can drive a 1984 Hyundai or a 2011 Lexus. They can live in a tiiiiiiny house or be rocking 8,000 square feet of tricked-out living space. You'll have to be diligent in your quest to spot and then avoid the cheapie wherever you find him or her."

EAP is lined out so that you will know how to avoid dealing with said "cheapie" and to build your business into a profitable and enjoyable thing, instead of working yourself into insanity.
"Without profitability, you have a hobby – not a business."

One of the biggest problems I face is trying to get someone to put a real value on portraits, I'm not talking about a picture snapped by Aunt Sally using her Droid, I'm talking about a properly exposed, well executed image that is wall worthy and will be passed down to children and grandchildren.
 "I value photography, but handbags? No value to me. If Louis Vuitton himself gave me a 90% off coupon to his store, I'd thank him, buy up some goods, and sell them for handsome profit on eBay. I simply don't value designer handbags, and nothing will get me to do so.
Same thing goes for photography. There's no magic formula for getting people to value it!
"

EAP breaks down the pricing and actual cost of goods in a way that makes sense. She shows you how to bring tempting collections to the table for your clients and how to make them sell! 
It isn't a rule book, it is merely a guideline to get you started and to make your pricing your own.
She covers everyone, from portfolio building to those that have experience but still aren't sure on pricing.

All of that being said I would not recommend this to anyone that has a great pricing guideline already set out. If you are making a great profit and not working yourself to death then you aren't in need of this. EAP is for those that change their prices often or just know that their pricing isn't right and want to fix it.

I know in just a few months all of my pricing will be restructured and stay there for at least one year. I will spend the time before that change prepping for it to make mine and my clients experience together so much better.

To tempt you a bit more go read the first chapter for free over at EAP.
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Jenny {Maternity} | Killeen maternity photographer

I had a fabulous maternity session with a friend of mine today. 
{J} I hope you enjoy your preview :) I will have your gallery up soon!


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Digital files

I have had a very common question from my last few clients. "On my CD why does your watermarked image look better than the one without?"
The answer to that is simple...sort of.
First let me explain a few things.
1. People can and do steal images, I want to protect you and me.
2. On-line networks such as FB resample your images that you upload if they are larger than they allow.
3. I give you at least two files of each image.
4. The non-watermarked files aren't cropped to allow you to print to whatever size you desire without compromising the image.

So here we have the full resolution image without my watermark at "actual size"
This is the image you are able to print at almost any size.

This is the watermarked and websized version of the same image at it's "actual size"
This is as large as the image will go without becoming pixelated.

If you try to stretch that same watermarked image to the size that the full resolution image is at you will get an image that looks like this..

See the difference?


Next we talk cropping. I do not crop your full resolution files since the aspect ratio of the sizes of prints are different.
They aren't just different sizes but different shapes.


If I cropped all of your images to 8x10 and then you wanted only a 4x6 you may end up cutting off a head, feet, arms etc. Whereas if I had left it uncropped you would be able to print at any size without cutting anything important out.


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Reed {Family} | Killeen Family Photographer

Just a little tease :)

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Allcock {Family} | Killeen family photographer

I ♥ this family!

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Tutorial Tuesday: (M) Shooting in manual

I know, it's not Tuesday...I've been behind, and still today I am trying to catch up. Designing 8 logos and just finished editing sessions, before I have more to edit this weekend :) 
So on to the belated tutorial.
This is just the way I shoot in manual, it is not a hard set of rules, merely guidelines and showing how I do it. There is often no reason to my madness other than it works great for me, and makes sense in my head.

Aperture: The main function of a camera lens is to collect light. The aperture of a lens is the diameter of the lens opening and is usually controlled by an iris. The larger the diameter of the aperture, the more light reaches the film / image sensor.
 I set my aperture based on my subject: One subject I try to keep my aperture no higher than f5.6  for small groups up to 4 I love f5.6-f7, for larger groups up to f11.
The lower number means a larger aperture. What that means is the little number lets in a lot of light. The higher numbers let in less light. 


ISO-What ISO denotes is how sensitive the image sensor is to the amount of light present. The higher the ISO, the more sensitive the image sensor and therefore the possibility to take pictures in low-light situations.
 The lower ISO number the less noise and less light you will be letting in.
The higher ISO number will produce more noise and let in more light.

Natural light outdoors: I've taught myself to read the light, I can tell the strength of it just by observing the area. There are a few types of light outdoors, open shade, sunrise/sunset, full sun, overcast. Learn to read the light and it will save your sanity. By reading the light you can set your ISO.

My ISO:
Full sun- 100
Overcast- 100
Open shade-200
Sunrise/sunset-400
Natural light indoor-200-400
Studio-100


Shutter speed- represents the time that the shutter remains open when taking a photograph.
Slower shutter speeds let more light in, there is also a higher chance of motion blur.
Faster shutter speed lets in less light, less chance of blur.



Now that you know what each setting is, now to put it to use.
 My manual set up:
Natural light: I set my aperture based on my subject(s), set my ISO based on lighting and adjust my shutter speed to properly expose my images.
Studio lighting: set ISO to lowest number, set shutter for sync speed (I suggest 125), adjust aperture to properly expose images.

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Family from a Magazine

I've been asked to photograph a few large groups, families and extended family mostly. Usually when you place 10 people ranging in age from 2year old twins and older it usually doesn't happen that you get the great group shot on the first try....but hey not everyone is like a family from a magazine.

Group shot 1:
It is possible :) No head swapping or major changes, just perfect on the first go...love it!

Of course if you know me or have ever worked with me, I believe that breaking it into smaller groups is necessary to commemorate the occasion, whatever that may be.




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Klontz {Family} | Killeen family photographer

I absolutely ♥ ♥ ♥ referrals, they are the BEST compliments someone can give me...or any type of artist for that matter. It means they truly love what you have done for them and want their friends to experience it too. This seriously adorable family was referred by one of my favorite clients, and I am so happy to have met them. I warn you though: Serious Cuteness Overload!
It was so great to meet your family Momma {S} all of your kiddos were a pleasure to work with...yes ALL of them :) I have lots more adorable images to get through to put your gallery together but I hope you enjoy this sneak preview while you wait!



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Adjusting the white balance using levels

It can happen!
You have everything set...and then you take THE perfect shot and it has a horrendous white balance :|
No fear, you can fix it. 

So on this I had a perfect white balance in camera BUT for this tutorial I made it horrible and fixed it.

This little trick will save some serious sanity time :)

Open your bad white balance image that you love ♥ and make a levels adjustment layer. Get out your gray dropper...and for the trick, the corners of the eyes are a great spot to get your gray.
I click on the various spots until I get that perfect color I like.


Photographer: Morgan Kervin
Edit by: Morgan Kervin
Model: Amelia
Bow: Petette
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Wright {Family} | Killeen family photographer

I hope you enjoy your preview and good luck to both Momma {W} and Daddy {W}, I wish you both a safe and successful journey throughout the next year. I always enjoy photographing your simply adorable family!




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Weekly challenge 1 Winner: Thankful

The winner of this weeks challenge is J&R's Photography

Thank you all for entering. I will draw the prize winner one per month out of the weekly winners of that month.
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Tutorial Tuesday: My workflow

This is my BASIC workflow
No cloning, or real touch ups. 
My clarity action does most of this plus it has a layer to make the skin creamy, to add warmth, no-harm dodging and burning, and take the red out.


From camera to finished files my workflow is the same for every session.
Once I have completed a session I plug my camera into my computer and save all the files from the session in their own folder. I also save them to my external hard drive and a CD.
To comb through the images I open the folder and use my windows photo viewer.

I go through first and delete any with terrible exposure, horrible faces or any with a bad angle or distractions


Once I delete all the blatantly bad images I pick my five favorite and edit them in Photoshop.
Once I do that I go through the images again with a more critical eye and any that really don't work aesthetically I delete.
Edit next five favorite in Photoshop
Go through images again and delete those with bad composition
Edit next five favorite in Photoshop
Go through and pick the last five best images from the ones left and edit them in Photoshop.
Doing this allows me to get the cream of the crop from the session to my clients.

Now to my editing workflow
Select my favorite image and open the RAW file in ACR

I adjust my blacks to 12-15, vibrance 20-30 and saturation 10

Then in curves I adjust the highlights +10 and shadows -10 for a small S-curve

Then I adjust the noise reduction

I am now finished in ACR and going to make adjustments in PS
First I do a levels adjustment
I have a preset of my grey card so I select that then flatten my image
Next I am going to highlight details such as the eyes, nose, mouth and hair start by duplicating your image.
You will apply a high pass filter
Set to 10, you can see the outlines it will highlight
Set the layer to soft light or overlay (your preference)
Then you want to add a layer mask that hides the effects of the high pass filter so that you can use a white brush to reveal what you want defined.
Check to make sure all of these are correct.
1. Layer mask is black with a white line around it which means it is the active layer
2. You have a white brush selected
3. The brush is soft
Now use your soft white brush to apply the definition to the eyes, nose, mouth and hair and flatten.

Now to brighten up the eyes
 Use a brightness/contrast adjustment layer
Set both to 100
I know it looks crazy right now, but we'll fix it :)
Now you want to change the blend mode to luminosity which will allow the brightness and contrast without effecting the color of the eyes.
Then you want to fill that white layer mask with black, I just use my paint bucket and set my swatch to black.
Then use the soft white brush on the black layer mask to paint the effect onto the iris and pupil
Bring the opacity to taste. For lighter eyes I use 20-30, for darker eyes 75-85
Flatten and duplicate the image.

Then on the duplicated layer I apply a screen layer blend mode change
Then adjust the opacity to taste

Then I want to make it more colorful for the last step by applying a vibrance adjustment layer

I usually put it around 50


Now you can have fun making it your own :)
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