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CAN'T LIVE WITHOUT: Family. Friends. Hounds. Books. The Beach. Autumn. Cameras. Computer. iPhone. The color orange. Caramel frappucino. The words "dude!" and "nice!". Oh...and world peace ;-)

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25 September 2013

:: Holiday 2013 Mini Photo Sessions ::

Yes! Believe it or not, it is time for the B+N {PHOTOGRAPHY} HOLIDAY MINI PHOTO SESSIONS again! I get very excited this time every year not only because everything is the color of orange, but also because I get to catch up with repeat clients (and see how much their little ones have grown over the year) and meet new families.

This year, there will be TWO MINI OPTIONS to choose from!

1) POSH MINI    | $ 500.00 (offered year-round by appointment)
30-min shoot | private online gallery | 10 digital favorites

2) HOLIDAY MINI | $ 250.00 (offered only once in the Fall)
15-min shoot | private online gallery | 5 digital favorites

The Mini Photo Session is a great option for families with young children and busy families on the go. Believe it or not, we could capture some beautiful, stress-free images in just 15-30 minutes. The fully-retouched hi-res digital favorites would be perfect to use in your 2013 holiday cards, or in holiday photo books as gifts to family & friends.

WHENSaturday, October 26th | 9:00AM - 4:00PM. The rain alternate date will be Sunday, October 27th.

WHERE: Outdoor location kept private for those who register.

HOW: Please email me or call 202.436.2825 for more details and to reserve a time slot.

Reserve your spot soon! Hope to see you there!

24 September 2013

:: Photography Tips + Tricks: choosing a dSLR lens | part one ::

As I mentioned last week, I generally do not recommend getting the kit lens that is usually sold with the camera as a set. Why? Because 1) the image quality is probably not going to be great (unless you are purchasing a pro set) and/or 2) the focal length range and/or aperture range may not be ideal for your needs. By choosing a lens purposefully, you are in control of the style and look of your images.

The two most important properties of the camera lens are the FOCAL LENGTH and the APERTURE.  These values together describe the lens, and are generally printed on the barrel of the lens itself.

The lens focal length (usually represented in millimeter or mm) gives us 1) the angle of view = how much of the scene will be captured, and 2) the magnification = how large individual elements will be.

The longer the focal length = narrower angle of view + higher the magnification
The shorter the focal length = wider angle of view + lower the magnification

Courtesy of Dave Black/Nikon USA

The lens aperture (usually represented in f/stop values) is the size of the opening in the lens diaphragm through which light passes -- larger the f/stop value, smaller the opening; smaller the f/stop value, bigger the opening. For instance, an aperture of f/.2 has a larger opening than an aperture of f/4, which means the f/1.2 will allow more light to pass through the lens, giving more exposure. Aperture size also affects how blurry your background will be. A blurry background will not only direct attention to the elements in focus, it could also help camouflage a messy, cluttered scene.

Nikon USA

The lower the f/stop = larger opening in the lens + less depth of field + blurrier background
The higher the f/stop = the smaller opening in the lens + greater depth of field + sharper background

Nikon USA

If you are someone who wants an all-around good lens that will do well in different scenarios, a zoom lens with variable focal lengths might be the best option for you. On the other hand, you might find a prime lens with a fixed focal length more suited to your style of shooting because 1) it is lighter & more compact, and 2) it will most likely have a lower f/stop value (f/1.2 to f/2.8), which will allow you to shoot in low-light conditions.

Please check back next Tuesday for "Choosing A dSLR Lens | Part II." I will tell you which lenses, I feel, are best for close-up portraits, and which ones are best for images that use the environment to tell a story.

Also, check back tomorrow for details on this year's *HOLIDAY MINI PHOTO SESSIONS*. I am doing them a little differently this year, so stay tuned!

18 September 2013

:: BINKIES+NOSEPRINTS in the Huffington Post ::

Happy Wednesday! Hope you are all enjoying a preview of wonderful Fall weather where ever you are!

Big thanks to generous blogger Jamie Davis Smith, for the mention of B+N{PHOTOGRAPHY} in her latest post on the Huffington Post. It is such an honor to be in the company of successful and creative people in the industry.

If you'd like to learn how to take better family photos for this year's holiday cards, but prefer a more personalized lesson plan and individual attention, please contact me for bespoke photography lessons tailored just for you. I'd love to spend some one-on-one time with you!

Also, I am now booking Fall sessions and Fall Minis. Please contact me for more information. Thanks!

Here's a shot from one of my favorite mini clients :-) :

17 September 2013

:: Photography Tips + Tricks: choosing a dSLR camera ::

If you are reading this, chances are you already own a camera and are ready to 1) make the jump from a point-and-shoot to a dSLR (digital single lens reflex), or 2) upgrade your current dSLR to a model with more advanced features.

Depending on your need, dSLR camera prices range from a couple of hundred dollars to thousands. Canon, Nikon and Sony are some popular brands that offer models for pros, advanced amateurs and hobbyists.

*DISCLAIMER: I have been a Canon girl from the start, so the examples I provide are going to be Canon-centric*

For the hobbyist who is interested mostly in taking photos in social situations and while travelling, an entry-level dSLR will do the trick beautifully. An entry-level camera will most likely have a lightweight polycarbonate housing great portability but may not be as weatherproof and durable as a semi-pro or pro model. My first dSLR is the Canon T2i, which I still bring to shoots sometimes as a backup. The latest iteration of that camera is the Canon T5i, which retails for about  $750.00 (camera body only, no lens). Another entry level Canon that is popular with beginners is the Canon SL1, which retails for about $600.00 (camera body only, no lens). Nikon’s comparable models are the D5200 and D3200, respectively. Sony offers quite a large range of beginner dSLRs that are very reasonably priced.

For the amateur/semi-pro photographer who is ready to upgrade their camera to a more durable body with more advanced manual features, Canon’s 6D is the one to beat in my opinion. In addition to having a durable, weatherproof, dustproof housing, the 6D is Wi-Fi and GPS enabled. You can control the camera’s exposure settings (aperture, shutter speed, ISO) remotely from your smartphone, review images from your camera on a smartphone or tablet, and transfer files wirelessly to a storage device. In addition, you can share images with other Wi-Fi enabled devices (HDTV, tablet, cameras). The 6D also features a full-frame sensor that was previously offered only in the pro models. The larger full-frame sensor (vs. a crop sensor) has the potential to produce richer images with more depth and range. The Canon 6D retails for about $2,000.00 (camera body only, no lens).

Whether you are looking to fine-tune your techniques or thinking of starting a photography business, the Canon 5D Mark iii is, in my opinion, THE camera to consider. This upgrade from the 5D Mark ii features a 61-point high density reticular Auto Focus system that is highly accurate and works well in low-light environments. The only downside of the Canon 5D Mark iii is the price point – it retails for about $3,500.00 (!!!). The Nikon D800, at $3,000.00 a pop, features a whopping 36.3Mp sensor, allowing you to enlarge images up to 23.4 x 33.1” / 59.4 x 84.1 cm at 200 dpi, without sacrificing details and clarity.

One important thing to keep in mind when choosing a camera is this: which camera body you have is not nearly as important as the lens(s) that you use with it – especially when cost is a consideration. In my opinion, investing in a good piece of “glass” is more important than having a fancy, feature filled camera. The lens will ultimately determine the quality, look and style of your images, allowing your creativity to shine through.

So check back next week for Tips + Tricks on how to choose a lens for your dSLR! Why you should just say 'NO!' to kit-lenses!

As always, if you'd rather have some one-on-one time with me, you are always welcome to contact me to schedule a private lesson.

Camera: Canon 5D Mark ii | Lens: Canon 24-70 mm L | Exposure Settings: ISO 320 , 50 mm, F/2.8, 1/500 sec | Processing/Editing: Lightroom 5 and Photoshop CS6

11 September 2013

:: Fisher Family | washington dc family photographer ::

Mom and I go way back...back when we were mere architectural peons. Seventeen years later and two cities apart, we meet again. This time, I had the pleasure of photographing her with her lovely family. A + A are such natural parents who really helped make our session fun and effortless. Not to mention the Little Spitfire O...ready to explore the U.S. Botanic Garden, with a sparkle in his eyes.

Happiest happy first birthday, O!

10 September 2013

:: Photography Tips + Tricks: foreground, middleground, background andperspective ::

Have you ever noticed that when you look at a photograph, your eyes automatically go to the object that is sharpest (in focus) and/or high in contrast? In portrait photography, we could use this to our advantage. By setting the camera’s aperture as wide as possible (at least F/2.8) and using selective focus, you could create sharp, contrast-y portraits with creamy, blurry backgrounds.

Subject in foreground, credenza (to the left), sofa & lamp in the middleground, windows and beyond in the background 
Before taking a close-up portrait, I first try to quickly visually survey my surroundings. I look for a background that is neutral and not distracting. I then position the subject close to the middleground (interesting wall, beautiful vegetation). This allows me to keep my subject sharp (focusing on the eyes) in the foreground. When used with the Rule-of-Thirds and/or Camera Tilt, you can create a more interesting portrait that offers layers of depth, rather than a boring, flat photo.

Subject in foreground, beautifully textured wall in the middleground, lush vegetation in the background

Another related tip that I find helpful when making a portrait, is to use natural perspective lines to enhance the middleground. A defined perspective creates strong diagonals that the eyes are automatically drawn to. For instance, when you place a subject in front of a textured wall, don’t shoot straight on. Instead, shoot from an angle such that the lines of the wall seem to converge on the horizon, toward the background.

Now that we've gone over some basics of composition, check back next Tuesday for some basic tips + tricks on taming that dSLR for better portraits :-)

As always, if you'd rather have some one-on-one time with me, you are always welcome to contact me to schedule a private lesson.

04 September 2013

:: F Family Preview | washington dc lifestyle photography ::

Finally! After much anticipation, I had the pleasure of photographing this adorable little one earlier today. It was lovely to spend a couple of hours with him and his awesome parents, whom I've known for more than 15 years. Thanks for making the trek from Brooklyn, A + A...it was wonderful to catch up and, more importantly, to meet little O!

Here's a preview that I just have to share. More to come soon!

03 September 2013

:: Photography Tips + Tricks: camera tilt ::

As promised, I am back here to share another photography tip/trick. Like the "Rule of Thirds", the "Camera Tilt" is a simple trick that will make the overall composition of your photographs that much more interesting and active.

When shooting candid children's portraits, I often think about how to frame my shots in order to emphasize the movements and playfulness of my subjects. For instance, in this photograph, I wanted to highlight the motion of her skipping down the sidewalk. In addition to adjusting my shutter speed (which I will talk about in another Tips + Tricks!), I tilted my camera slightly so that the horizon in the background is not at 180 degrees; instead, it is slanting downward towards the right bottom corner. As a result, one could feel gravity acting on her landing foot, pulling her down towards the ground. All of a sudden, the photograph is much more alive and full of implied motion.

Another use of the Camera Tilt trick is to liven up a closely cropped portrait. As seen below, I tilted the camera because in addition to capturing the mischief in her smile, I also wanted to emphasize the fleeting nature of her expression.

Try out this trick and let me know what you think!

As always, if you'd rather have some one-on-one time with me, you are always welcome to contact me to schedule a private lesson.