What Is It About Eyes?

I love shooting portraits. I love all forms of photography, including landscapes, still life, etc., but there is something about photographing people that I love.

I’m not sure I can provide an answer for you as to why. I just really like it.

I love the way light plays in people’s eyes. If you light your subject just right, you can get an incredibly glistening gleam in their eyes that you cannot help but be moved by. There is something about the eyes that are beautiful, that reveal something that seems to be hidden in there.

I don’t believe that thinkers of the past were wrong when they made claims about being able to see into people’s souls through their eyes. Although I can’t, again, give reasons for it, there is definitely something meaningful there. Ask the young couple who simply can’t help but stare into each others’ eyes. We all know it’s true.

So I pose the question to you, the reader: What is it about eyes? Let’s have this discussion in the comments. I want to know what you think?

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Little Cowboy!

Whenever you have a client who tells you that their little one is really into cowboys and horses, you do a little jump for a joy inside! When Anna and Joel arrived for Anna’s maternity session, we had to do a little set of Joel (the little one!) with his rocking-horse! These are two of my favorites.

I placed Joel just inside the shadow from the barn to the right in order to get as much as I possibly could from the sun while still keeping the background and subject as evenly lit as possible. With a shot like this, the trouble is making sure you have enough light on the face while still trying to minimize the highlights in the background — in this case, the columns winding their way behind him. I had to do some Photoshop and Lightroom work in order to make sure that I didn’t lose any detail in those columns. You may not be able to tell, but I had to do some Selective Leveling, for sure! The image straight out of my camera had those columns all hot and bothered!

Something else that I did was add a couple different tones into the Shadows. If you look at that column in the extreme right of the shot that’s engulfed in shadow, you can see what I mean: there are definitely blues added in there, and that was to cool down the shot. The grass was EXTREMELY green once I uploaded this into Photoshop, so I toned down the highlights in the greens as well as added in some cyan into the shadows of the greens, so that they wouldn’t pop quite so much.

All in all, I’m very pleased with this one! The other side of the barn was COMPLETELY shaded, so from a technical perspective, that would have been the most logical place to shoot. But I REALLY wanted those rustic columns that you see in this shot. So I sacrificed a little bit, knowing I was going to have to do a little more editing on it, and I’m really pleased with the result.

Let me know what you think in the comments!
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First Editing Video

Facebook Live has taken the world by storm (or so it seems), and the possibilities of what can be accomplished with it are undoubtedly still in the freshest stages. Such an awesome new medium tends to get us all excited and bouncy about what it can do — sort of like the latest gadget.

In the spirit of Facebook Live’s ingenuity, I created a [very not-ingenuous] video of my photo-editing process in which I put on full display exactly how I edit a typical portrait. Below is the finished image from that editing video._MG_9705 copy
If you would like to check out the video in full, you can take a peek at it here: http://facebook.com/timothymarseephotography. Make sure you like my Facebook page as well as click the “Turn On Notifications” button so that you can keep up-to-date with my goings-on!

Happy shooting (and editing)!

I LOVE Returning Clients!

I absolutely LOVE it when I get clients coming back over and over again. It gives a sort of confirmation that what I’m doing is pretty ok! Why would someone come back to a photographer that they didn’t like?

Unless they were the only one available, and in our iPhone-inundated world, we know THAT’S not the case!

So, thank you, Heather, for continuing to allow me to create and capture memories of your baby girl! She’s amazing, and I’m humbled that you continue to trust me to work with your family 🙂

I hope that we get to work together far, far into the future!

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Mommy + Me Mini Sessions

Mother’s Day is upon us once again! Before you frantically run out to buy some roses — notice I said “after,” not “don’t buy her roses;” by all means, buy her roses — consider booking her a Mommy + Me Mini Session!

She gets 30 minutes of shooting time with her little one and five fully edited high-resolution image downloads, all for $100!

To take advantage of this offer, visit http://timmyphoto.com/bookme, and in the “How did you hear about us?” dialog box, type the code MOMMYANDME. And while you’re there, check that box at the bottom to subscribe to my email newsletters. You’ll get exclusive offers, and you’ll hear about these sorts of opportunities before anyone else!

There are a limited number of slots for this offer, so take advantage of it soon! It will end this Sunday, May 8th.
Happy shooting!

Timmy

To Wear or Not to Wear?

When it comes to clothes for toddlers, I sort of regret our past. Those of us who were born in the ’80s and grew up in the ’90s all have some things in common in most professional photos taken of us (I’ll only talk about dudes here, since that’s my experience!):

  1. Knee Socks. No need to go crazy here, but for all those ’80s moms out there — WHY? Didn’t you like our cushy leg rolls? Why cover them with two feet of thin, itchy lengths of the thinnest material known to mankind? It’s not like my legs are already super short. Why emphasize it? Sheesh.
  2. Giant Collars. Ok, this one was kind of cool as far as it went. But I’m not talking about those ’70s collars with the bright purple paisley print. I’m talking about those neck-wrapping deals that looked like they came right out of a painting of Henry VIII. Were those in style?
  3. Shorty Shorts. No need. Just no need.

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See what I’m saying? I have some questions to ask my mother…

Little boys today have it MADE! Just walk into any Janie & Jack store to see how awesome little dude clothes have become. I admit, I’m a little jealous.

And I’m so happy to have had the opportunity to photograph a couple outfits for one of these awesome-outfit stores! Lucy & Leo is based out of New York, and they make wonderful outfits for kiddos out of recycled materials! Here’s a blurb straight from their website:

“Lucy & Leo organic clothing is known for its soft color palate and classic design with a modern twist. As our brand grows, we stay true to our vision of creating unique, adorable and comfortable outfits for your child in an eco-friendly fashion. We are proud to be one of the first organic and USA-made clothing brands in the children’s industry.

Our mission is simple: to provide your child with the finest, highest quality clothing on the market. Our garments move and breathe, are durable and very comfortable.

Lucy & Leo garments are designed and manufactured in New York. We are committed,  to bettering the world. We do that in three basic ways. We manufacture in the USA to support our local economy. We use only environmentally sensitive and organic materials, and for every garment purchased, we plant a tree with Trees For the Future.”

So there ya go! It was my pleasure to photograph Amos, who was adorably representing Lucy & Leo in this styled shoot:

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The Pose You Can’t Do Without

 

When I shoot maternity, I have one pose that I always do. I’m not sure if it’s my absolute favorite — “absolute” is a very strong, absolute word — but it’s certainly up there.

I call it: (*drum roll*) The Heart of Warmliness.

I know, it’s a cheesy name. But I’m a cheesy guy. But that pose is timeless!

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See how the outlines of Mom’s arm, their heads together, and then Dad’s arm makes a heart shape?

I love it. And I always shoot it.

I’ve even told myself, Nah, I’m not going to shoot it this time. I always do it. But then, I do it. And I love it. Every time.

I don’t even need to explain to you how to pose it. It’s so simple, elegant, and easy to do.

So go ahead. Get out there. Put that Baby Bump in the middle, surround it with Mom and Dad, and rock that Heart of Warmliness! In fact, I would LOVE to see your interpretations of it! Please post them to my Facebook page (http://facebook.com/timothymarseephotography).

And below, I’ve included a slideshow of some more of my favorites from this session with Noel, Andrew, and Hattie.

Don’t forget, subscribe to my email updates to get exclusive features, news, and offers! There’s free stuff in it for you. Sign up here: http://timmyphoto.com/bookme

Happy shooting!

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Just Sit Still!

Today, I’m going to deal with something that most of us deal with. I say “most” because if you don’t photograph kiddos, then this may not apply to you.

This difficulty in photography can be summed up in one word:

TODDLERS.

Did you just shudder? I actually had to stop and take a deep breath before typing it. But why is it that some photographers — particularly newer ones — struggle and stress over photographing these tiny humans? Here are some of my reasons:

  1. They’re Emotional. Look at things from their perspective: this world is HUGE! Why does it have to be so big? And what’s even worse, toddlers are so SMALL! And to add to their troubles, everything is so NEW. I’m not saying that these aspects of the world around us are to blame for all of their little explosions of emotion, but knowing them beforehand can help us to have empathy toward these little subjects of ours.
  2. They Just Can’t. Have you every tried to tell a toddler to sit with their legs crossed, their head turned to the left with their chin slightly toward the horizon line, only to have them get up immediately and start chasing that cat that keeps coming around during your shoot? Here’s some relief for you: that’s SUPPOSED to happen. Some toddlers can sit well, but many, MANY, many can’t do it. And that’s ok. It’s ok, because they’re normal and you can chill out a bit. And it also helps us with our creativity…

With brings me to the HOW-TO of this post!

  1. Just Let Them Be, with Limits. That toddler is most likely going to get bored with that pose pretty quick. So you need to have all your settings on point so that you can get their giggle, release that shutter, and move on after three or four shots. Then, follow them for a little bit (unless, of course, they’re heading toward danger. PLEASE stop them!). What are they interested in? What’s captured their attention? The image that I’ve featured in this post was one of those shots where I had to be patient. I posed him next to a fence, and don’t get me wrong: those fence shots were cute. But then, he became mesmerized by these dandelions! And he DESTROYED THEM! And it was ADORABLE! If I had not have had my camera settings ready and my eyes up, I would have missed it. So follow their interests. Watch their eyes dart around and become interested in what has captured their interest.
  2. Be Patient. Your best shots will most likely come when you don’t expect them. Pose them, but don’t be a slave to that pose. If they aren’t going to sit, then let them stand a bit. Just make sure you don’t take a ton of shots of their backside. Get to where their eyes are. This will require some hustle and sweat on your part, but it’ll be totally worth it!
  3. Shoot with a Telephoto Lens. This is simply my opinion, but when I have a good distance between my subject, myself, and the background, the images are a THOUSAND times more lovely. When I photograph toddlers, I put them roughly where I want them — which is usually a field of grass or flowers, if I’m being honest — and then back off and photograph them with my Canon 70-200mm f/2.8L lens. This separation allows them to be more natural, in my opinion. Big smiles aren’t always what we want. Let them be a little, with limits (remember: DO NOT ALLOW DANGEROUS SITUATIONS!). Those sweet moments happen better that way.
  4. Your Settings Should Be Ready Beforehand. I can’t emphasize this enough, no matter what type of photography you do. If you’re sitting there fiddling with your settings in the middle of the shoot, your clients will eventually get annoyed. You need to have those settings ready to go before you start to shoot! And make sure to do plenty of variety in each location. When you move into a new lighting situation, you’ll need to adjust your white balance, shutter speed, etc., accordingly. In a future post, I’ll explain how I meter on my camera before I even take a single shot. But if you’d like to know before I get that one published, send me a message or comment! I’ll be glad to divest some wisdom! 🙂

Please be patient with these sweet little ones. Clients who see how you care for their children will be all the more impressed with you and super thankful. Think about what those parents went through to get that toddler up from bed, fed, dressed, entertained, and then transported to that location for their portrait shoot. Have a large dose of empathy, and above all:

BE A SERVANT.

If you would like receive exclusive content, receive our monthly newsletter (which contains lots of sweet little tidbits, including how to save money on your future sessions), please visit http://timmyphoto.com/bookme to send us your email address!

Why Photography, Anyway?

When I was first trained on a Canon 20D ten years ago, I had no idea that I would still be in the photography game a decade later. Originally, I applied at the studio where I got my first experience simply to be a salesperson. I was in my first semesters of college and needed a job. My next-door neighbor in the dorm where we lived on campus was applying, and he invited me to join him. I got the job. We had some down time one afternoon, so an elder employee trained us both on the cameras. And we started shooting… and shooting… and shooting…

And a monster was created.

Yep, I’m talking about myself. Of course, “monster” is simply a hyperbolic term that I intend to mean that someone was created that day who obsesses over photography.

“Geeking out” would be another way to describe it.

And I reflect today on why I do it at all. Why not something else? Why is it that putting this metal box to my face really gets my motor running in the heat of the moment during a session?

And I’ve come to a conclusion…

I don’t think it has anything to do with cameras. I like them, don’t get me wrong. I’m fascinated by both digital and film, and I’ve toyed with the rather expensive idea of buying a box camera and experimenting with silver nitrate, glass plates, and all that fun stuff.

But that’s not really it. I mean, if it were, then I would just hoard as many cameras of as many varieties as I possibly could, much like I do with books (all those who know me well will be nodding heavily in assent at this point).

While studying photography seminar videos, which I do from time to time (especially if they’re free on YouTube), one of my favorite photographers said something profound with which I can relate, and therein lies the secret of my obsession with photography — why I keep returning to it over and over again.

In describing why he loves it so much, Australian wedding photography guru Jerry Ghionis said, “I’m absolutely obsessed with light.”

And it clicked.

I’m obsessed with light! Now, you may be wondering what that means, so let me allow you into my reflective brain for a few quick moments, and I’ll try to explain as best I can, with the hope that you’ll be coming away from this blog post being absolutely amazed by the world that God has created.

Our eyes — and all our senses, really — are drawn to beauty. I’m not going to go into the details of what beauty is or whether it’s objective or relative to the viewer, etc., etc. But what I will do is explain how God has not only created the sun, moon, stars, and fire in order to create a lit world, but He has also created the manner in which these lights illumine their subjects. There are perfect angles for creating moods, and there different qualities of light that change almost in an infinite number of ways to create different aspects of someone’s appearance. You can use harsher light close to the subject and just above the brow line in order to create an old-fashioned, “noir” look. You can use a plethora of candles on a table below someone’s face and get a yellow-ish orange glow that electric light simply can’t mimic. And despite what many photographers say about shooting outside, you absolutely can point someone’s face into direct sunlight, have them avert their eyes, and get a quality of light that you find produced in fashion magazines everywhere.

The possibilities are limitless, and I love exploring those!

But what amazes me even more is that even in our fallen state, God allows culture to thrive. And He has inspired individuals to use these tools — these qualities of light, these different types, different times, different angles, etc., etc. — to mold and fashion them into beautiful, artistic wonders. Michelangelo created sculptures that change their mood when the light around them changes. A simple iPhone portrait can be just another “selfie” (jeez, I hate that word) or a beautiful piece of art, depending on the skill of the person “sculpting” with the light. Ansel Adams would camp out and wait for that PERFECT moment to occur when the shadows fell in just the right places so that he could shoot just one amazing landscape that put the glories of God’s creation on full display.

Sure, you can take a subject outside and just shoot around to see what you can get. Or you can learn about how light works, and you can begin to take incredible photographs that you never knew were possible.

I consider photographers and artists to be explorers, in a sense. God has given us tools. We think, we feel, and we mold our surroundings with these tools. We explore the possibilities. And every time we do it, we put a little chunk of ourselves into what we make.

And for the visual arts, the secret lies in “light:” what it is, why it does what it does, and why it’s amazing.

It’s my desire to instill this passion for light in others. I want to teach you to use light to its fullest in order to transform a normal photo into something that you wouldn’t have believed you could create.

I’m exploring the possibility of teaching some seminars and classes on this, specifically. If you have a basic understanding of cameras, you can shoot. But if you have an understanding of light, you can really begin to take your shooting to a new level and create some beautiful pieces of art.

But I’m not sure how many would be interested in such an undertaking, which is why I’m exploring at the moment.

If you’re interested in learning about light and how to use it, shoot me an email at tmarsee530@me.com…

Comment on this post…

…or send me a message on my photography page on Facebook (http://facebook.com/timothymarseephotography).

I’m really excited to share this with you. I’ve been experimenting with it and trying to perfect it for a number of years, and I think I finally have something worth sharing!

The Cahills

I thought I would use this snowy day indoors to continue updating all of you on some of my sessions from 2015! It’s my goal to blog about each one that I haven’t written about before, so if I miss anyone, feel free to send me a message.

These are the Cahills, and they called me to photograph their newborn baby boy, Frankie. I fell in love with their session, and I hope you enjoy these highlights! If you’re interested in having your family’s memories captured, send me a message on Facebook (http://facebook.com/timothymarseephotography).

Have a great snow day, everyone!

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