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

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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!

Isabelle’s Portrait Session

I could tell from the get-go that Isabelle was super excited about having her portrait session! She showed up to my home studio in a beautiful white, black, and yellow summer dress with a yellow flower clip holding her hair back and another lovely red dress to model in for later in the shoot. She brought along her little cousin, her mother, and her aunt, who all were very fun and helpful!

Isabelle is my first test model for a flower-girl dress session that I’m going to be doing very soon. You can find details on it here: Casting Call

In this first shot, I had Isabelle’s aunt holding my new Westcott Omega Reflector in front of my off-camera Canon 430EX II Speedlite to act as a diffuser. We got some really nice, soft light.

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In this second shot, I used a homemade light consisting of some PVC pipe and an LED flashlight that provided was really intimate beauty light.

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Both these images were edited by using a combination of a LOT of dodging and burning, Emily Soto‘s Fashion Actions for her skin, and some of Greater Than Gatsby‘s actions for some help on her tones.

Contact me to book your beauty session here: Contact Timothy

The Bugle Family

It’s always a tremendous honor when somebody books you for their portraits over and over!

I had my first session with Megan when she was building her modeling portfolio back in somewhere around 2008 or 2009. If you’re curious, here’s one of the more popular photos from that fateful session: Megan Headshot. There are a couple more from that session right next to it in my Flickr feed, as well.

And then, a couple years down the road, she called me to do her maternity photos! Here’s one of those: Megan Maternity.

And now, here are some sneak peeks from my most recent session with her family! Enjoy!

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Please don’t hesitate to book me for your family’s portrait session! You can send me a contact form here: Timothy Marsee Photography Just visit the Contact page.

Thanks!

Kyle + Heather’s Engagement Session

Tying the knot this November, Kyle and Heather are soon to be husband and wife. Heather and I have known each other for a while, but our friendship history doesn’t compare to what she and my wife have. Heather and my wife, Lindsay, go way back. They have been the kind of friends that no matter where life takes them, they pick up right where they left off. They are always supportive of each other and will always have each other’s backs. Seeing Heather genuinely care for my wife as a friend has been such a blessing. So, capturing these moments in Heather and Kyle’s life and witnessing this journey has been and will be a joy for us. Heather and Kyle are such a fun couple with a vintage flair! They wanted to incorporate the city they love, the team they love, and the canine they love. All this mixed in with the love and excitement they have for each other results in some great photographic moments. Please enjoy seeing some of Kyle and Heather’s Engagement Session. We look forward to capturing more moments in November! _MG_8554 _MG_8555 _MG_8560 _MG_8567 _MG_8584 _MG_8591 _MG_8605 _MG_8611 _MG_8622 _MG_8636 _MG_8638 _MG_8665 _MG_8673 _MG_8676 _MG_8695

Jonathan + Madeline’s Engagement Session

Road trips are always fun with these two. Granted, the only ones that we have been on have involved us driving together to a venue for shooting, but the ride is always worth it! Our conversation goes from marriage, to theology, to marriage, to theology, etc. Those are two of my favorite subjects! So I had a blast, myself.

The first place we stopped was a local park, and you can’t tell from the images, but we were right next to a road where bicyclists and all manner of joggers and walkers were going by! I’m sure they enjoyed the show that these two put on!

_MG_8366The above image is what happens when you tell them, “Throw up your gangsta face!” Anyway… 😉

Here are some of my personal favorites from the start of the shoot at Cherokee Park.

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The only downside (if you can even call it that) was that we wanted to get some images of the clouds in the sky at sunset. That evening, the sky was a beautiful blue, and the clouds formed a large ripple effect against the whites and yellows of the clouds. So we drove over to the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary (my usual stomping grounds) for some shots with not only the beautiful sky, but the red-brick buildings, as well.

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And then, I had some sort of personal epiphany when I noticed these gorgeous red bushes! So I say to Madeline and Jonathan, “Get in those bushes!” And they happily obliged without even the slightest hesitation! Team players, they are. And the image that came out of those bushes was my favorite from the entire session. What do you think?

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I love these guys, and I’m so excited to photograph their wedding this September! It’s going to be fun, so keep your eye on my blog for some beautiful images from their big day!