“Autumn.... the year’s last, loveliest smile.” ~ William Cullen Bryant
Recently, an old friend came over unexpectedly to spend the night at our house. This particular friend and I, we’ve know each other since grade school, she’s always been the ‘outgoing and outrageous’ one who wasn’t afraid to speak her mind or do crazy things (uhm, hello stripper she hired for my bachelorette party), she oozed confidence, and I’ve always admired her ability to live life fully and freely.
what’s inside: 5 PRO TIPS the beauty of backlight 8 THE MOMTOGRAPHER’S SURVIVAL GUIDE get it off your list
Sadly, on this particular night she was grieving a bad breakup. Her confidence shattered, our house was her safe place to land, my shoulder was hers to cry on, and we were a welcome distraction. As we sat up late that night reminiscing about out past, she shared some heartfelt words with me that left me speechless. She shared just how proud she was to have had the opportunity to watch me ‘come out of my shell’ over the last 20 years and emerge as this radiant version of the person she’s always known. WOW.
10 A DAY IN THE LIFE heading back to school... in pictures
If there’s anyone who knows just how much I’ve struggled with self-worth and confidence during my lifetime, it’s her.
13 STORY BOARD storytelling with photography 15 THE MOMTOGRAPHER’S JOURNAL we go photography mythbusting
And she’s right, for the first time EVER I feel like I’m finding my true voice, finding my footing, and rediscovering exactly who I’m meant to become.
21 JUST FOR FUN an autumn scavenger hunt
In big part I have my camera to thank for getting me here and the lessons I teach in Momtographie Magazine are the same ones that have helped me rediscover ME.
23 COME LEARN WITH ME class offerings at berylaynyoung.com 24 SCRAPBOOK scenes from our apple picking adventure Momtographie Magazine | 2013 all content and images © Beryl Ayn Young unless otherwise noted
I know how becoming a mom can bring on an immediate sense of pressure to be a positive role model for your kiddos. You want to be that example of confidence, the mom who is happy, who isn’t afraid to follow her passions, and who makes time to have fun and do what she loves. I’ve been there. Motherhood left me not knowing who I was anymore. I began to doubt EVERYTHING about my life, my
work, my interests, my hopes, dreams, etc...you get the idea. I was a far cry from that mom I wanted to be and was re-living my old stories of lacking confidence and feeling unworthy.
With camera in hand I began documenting, preserving my mama moments, clearing my head with long walks outside, and over time my perspective shifted. As my photography improved so did my confidence. The camera helped me discover new passions after becoming a mom, and I’ve found happiness in gifting our family with photos that will be cherished throughout our lifetime. I hope you enjoy this fall issue of Momtographie Magazine. A culmination of stories, photos, lessons, and activities that have been part of my own introspective photography journey.
xo Beryl PS: I’d love to know what you think of the magazine. You’re my inspiration, so if there’s something you’d like to see in future issues, please let me know!
photo: past student, Sheila Hancock
BACKLIGHT Here in Virginia we are gearing up for the approaching transition from summer to fall which means a few very important things: cooler weather, the return of Pumpkin spice lattés, the leaves changing color, and the sun setting earlier. Although I despise the sun setting before dinner time begins, it does also open up an opportunity to get my daughter outside for some awesome backlit images before her early bedtime.
Which is precisely what we plan to do sometime this fall. She and I have not yet gotten out to play this season. However a few weeks ago I had the pleasure of playing around just before sunset with this gorgeous pregnant mama to-be. If you’ve been wondering how to create the magical ‘golden hour glow’ in your own images, here are five tips to get you started with capturing beautiful bursts of light and warmth in your fall photos.
1) PICK THE RIGHT TIME When shooting during the golden hour, there is a limited
amount of time you’ll have to get the ‘just right’ light.
Be sure you don’t head out too early. You’ll want the sun to be pretty low in the sky to get the best images possible. 2) SEEK OUT SHADE Even though sun is key for beautiful golden hour backlit images, you’ll still want to pose your subject(s) in open shade if possible. The shade will ensure that their faces are evenly lit. 3) FIND A LIGHT BLOCKER If the back lit sun is too direct with how it enters your lens, you’ll get a lot of haze, flare, and/or softness in your images.
One of the best ways to shoot in backlight is to use trees in the background to help keep some of the light hidden and less harsh. 4) HAVE PATIENCE WITH FOCUS The more direct the backlight is, the harder time your camera will have focusing and finding your subject. To combat this
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issue, I try to hold my camera with one hand and then use the free hand to block the light just before I shoot. Once the camera locks in focus (beeps) I move my hand away to finish the shot.
5) TRY SPOT METERING One other challenge with backlighting is getting the exposure correct. If you are a bit more ‘tech savvy’ with your DSLR and shoot in manual mode, give spot metering a try. In this mode your exposure is determined by where you focus point rests. Be sure to have that dot resting on the cheek of one of your children before you set your meter.
This will ensure their skin is what gets exposed correctly and beautifully in your images.
WANT EVEN MORE PRACTICE AND GUIDANCE WITH GETTING BACKLIGHT IMAGES JUST RIGHT EVERY TIME? My signature class, Momtographie Online, will be returning once again in early 2014. Get out there now and begin practicing this fall. Then bring your questions and frustrations and let’s continue working together as I teach you how to develop the perfect recipe for your photographic success early next year!
Take me to Momtographie! Drop me your email and be the first to know when Momtographie Online returns in February 2014. Just click here!
-8the momtographer’s survival guide
CROSS IT OFF YOUR LIST streamlining our new school routine BY MEGAN FLATT
Megan Flatt is a Mama Strategist and a wellness expert. She helps busy moms rediscover what fulfills them, and then find the time and energy to pursue that passion…without the guilt! She believes as moms, we can give our kids the world, without giving up our own. She would like to help you Find Your Mama Groove in her 6-week ecourse, beginning September 30. Its time to get out of your rut, and into your
My son started kindergarten this year and there are a few things I spent the summer worrying about. • • •
“Will he make friends easily at a brand new school?” “Will his teacher be supportive and inspiring?” “Does he need a new box of 64 crayons?”
But at the top of my list of concerns… “How are we going to get out of the house 45 minutes earlier than preschool?” I am happy to report that three weeks into school, he is making friends, his teacher is amazing (aren’t kindergarten teachers a special breed of humans?!?!) and no new crayons have been required.
But getting used to our new school routine is still taking a little bit of practice.
Learn more about Megan and
I am tackling the change in our schedule the same way I tackle all my concerns…with a list.
her upcoming course here.
My first step is to streamline our morning routine. I started by making a list of everything that has to happen before we can leave the house—everything from our morning milk / snuggle / cartoon ritual, to eating, to not forgetting any schoolwork. My second step is to eliminate as many of those items off my list as possible! What could move out of the morning or eliminate all together? IDEA #1: LAY OUT A WEEK’S WORTH OF CLOTHES ON SUNDAY NIGHT Now I admit, this one came out of a bit of laziness when it came to putting away clean laundry. Why put it all away, just to have to get it out each morning right???
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On Sunday night, I create a layered stack of clothes on my son’s dresser; pants, top, socks, underwear, pants, top, socks, underwear, etc. This way, I just grab the top items each morning and we are ready to go! IDEA #2: PRE PACK LUNCHES I try to pre-pack lunches the night before as I am making or cleaning up from dinner. I not only pre-pack my son’s lunch for school, but I “pack” my toddler daughter’s lunch at the same time (and sometimes mine!). That way, if we decide to head to the park, it is all ready to go, or if we are eating at the kitchen table, it’s one less thing I have to do during the day! Inspired by my success with these ideas, I thought of other ways I could streamline our routine. IDEA #3: HAVE ASSIGNED BREAKFAST MENU EACH DAY OF THE WEEK I borrowed this idea from a friend. Actually, I teased him about his method before I had kids of my own. As a single dad, he had assigned a breakfast item to each day of the week; • • • • •
Monday: Toast or waffle with peanut butter Tuesday: Eggs Wednesday: Yogurt and fruit Thursday: Oatmeal Friday: Breakfast meat
I thought this idea was a little over-the-top controlling and unnecessary until I had to ask my kids over and over again what they wanted for breakfast, only to have them each want something different and then change their mind after I served them. Now we have assigned breakfast days too! Could I carry this elimination method beyond our morning routine? IDEA #4: THINK OUTSIDE THE TO-DO LIST On the first day of kindergarten, I begged, pleaded and bribed my son to let me take his “First Day of School” photo. After promising him chocolate, I was able to snap a few pics on my phone before we rushed off to school.
Your kids get brand new back-to-school supplies. Why don’t you treat yourself, too? They make list making much more fun!
Later in the week, I saw adorable “first day of school” photos posted by a friend whose kids hadn’t started school yet! And they were smiling!?! What?? The day before school started, she took them to their new campus with their cute outfits, backpacks and no new school jitters and captured some adorable shots of the kids. I did the proverbial hand-to-head slap and remembered the advice Beryl had given me about taking holiday photos before Christmas morning. You want cute photos and all your kids want to do is open presents. I am already planning on actually following this advice for Halloween. I’m not going to even bother trying to get them to pose before we head out trick-or-treating, because I am going to take the costume photos before Halloween night. I am going to eliminate the photo-vs-candy power struggle all together. Now, if I could just eliminate the mom sneaking the candy after the kids go to bed power struggle too!
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BEAT THE SCHOOL DAZE
It’s not always easy—back to school is emotional for momtographers, too—but taking a few minutes to plan your back-to-school images will result in a fantastic story you and your kiddo(s) will always treasure.
“I’m so glad I live in a world where there are Octobers.” ~ L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
- 13 the storyboard
- 14 the storyboard
n each issue of Momotgraphie Magazine, I bring you a new photo storyboard idea. Since it’s autumn, I’m sharing the story of my daughter’s first pumpkin patch adventure!
Although I love candids (hello Instagram!) I really love telling stories through my photography. Before I pick up my camera, I think about what images will make up the “plot”: how will I introduce the adventure? How will I capture all the main points? How will I conclude? Does the story have an epilogue? (This one does: we went trick or treating!) Here are some tips: 1. With each story telling photo session, challenge yourself to take as many images as you can. They’re not all going to turn out.. but you miss 100% of the shots you don’t take! 2. Snap pictures of your child, but don’t forget to capture the details surrounding them too. 3. Think about the mood you’re trying to capture. Is it light hearted and giddy? Playful? Contemplative? Use that mood to add depth and texture to your images. The emotion will shine through every time!
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moms can ignore When my photography journey began four years ago and I started the long road to teaching myself technical photography, I was inundated with blogs, forums, websites, videos, and classes that offered a lot of conflicting information! I was often overwhelmed by what mode to try next, what light source to use, and what settings to change when to take the best photos. One person would tell me how important flash was and next would tell me to turn it off. One person would tell me to stay in Aperture Priority Mode and the next would tell me I needed to advance to full on Manual Mode. All of these conflicting opinions required me to carefully weed through information overload and find the techniques and settings worked best for ME.
photo: Kristen Kalp
If there’s one thing I’ve learned over the past three years, it’s that there is no one right answer for everyone and we all have different tastes, styles, and goals with our photography. The way a nature photographer shoots an image is going to be much different from the way a mom takes an image, and that’s OK. But, that may leave you wondering how should a mom use her camera to take the best images possible? Unfortunately there are no hard and fast ‘rules’ that I can give you to help you feel comfortable with you camera and it settings. The way I chose to learn my camera might not be the best way for you to learn.
right: I love Instagram. It gives me the freedom to capture candid moments and experiment with composition, which boosts my confidence when I get behind my “real” camera.
But, there are some common photography ‘rules’ that I encountered on my journey that I either perceived in my head
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as necessary or ones that I found over and over again online that just didn’t work for me.
MYTH 1: KEEP YOUR FLASH ON I NEVER use flash in my photos anymore.
I’d like to share a few of those so called ‘rules’—to me they’re more like myths—and tell you why I think a lot of moms can ignore them altogether.
But, with my first point and shoot camera I believed that in low light a flash was required to produce a bright enough photo. I
- 17 the momtographer’s journal
was often frustrated with washed out photos and red eyes that made my images look horrible! It’s true that an external flash, when used correctly can produce beautiful images. But, as a busy mom looking to take photos of my kiddo I didn’t want to have to learn or lug around additional equipment. With the right lens, the right ISO settings, and a bit of patience I turned off my flash three years ago and haven’t looked back since. MYTH 2: SMILE AND ‘SAY CHEESE’ If all you had were smiling photos of your child, your albums would probably look really really boring. But, “Say CHEESE!!” is that infamous saying that even I have guiltily said to my daughter on more than one occasion. We all want the smiling pictures to print and frame for Grandma. But don’t forget all the other stories you have to tell of your child with your lens too. Capture the details of their tiny fingers and toes, capture them stuffing their face with pancakes for dinner, capture them in deep thought while they work on homework.
is taken to give it that professional polish and allow it truly shine. I recommend the free website PicMonkey to make your editing magic happen. MYTH 4: THE BIGGER THE CAMERA THE BETTER YOUR PHOTOS Not true. There actually IS one major benefit I have found from investing in a bigger camera. That was being able to take clearer pictures in low light photos without a flash. They say a camera really is only half as good as the momtographer behind it. If you don’t know how to work your camera and use the light to your advantage, no matter how big and bad your camera may be, you’re still going to struggle to take decent photos. I’m a firm believer in celebrating with an upgrade as you learn more and only if finances allow for it. I can tell you each time I’ve upgraded my equipment it’s been because I knew I had more to learn and I was being limited by the equipment I already owned. MYTH 5: IF YOU HAVE A DSLR YOU NEED TO GET RID OF THAT KIT LENS, PRONTO No way José!
Tell the story of their life to help you both remember down the road what it really was like during this time. MYTH 3: TO SHOOT LIKE A PROFESSIONAL, YOUR PHOTOS SHOULD LOOK PROFESSIONAL STRAIGHT OUT OF THE CAMERA The truth is most images straight out of camera will look a bit duller than a professionally edited photo. When I got my hands on my first DSLR I was under the impression that I’d take it out of the box, point, shoot, and “Voilà,” an incredible bright and vibrant image would appear. I never thought much about the amount of work that goes into editing a photo after it’s taken. Even though it is important for a mom to learn to use light and camera settings to take a well exposed photo, it’s absolutely NOT cheating to apply editing treatments after the photo
I do absolutely believe that if you can afford it, you should invest in a 35mm or 50mm prime lens (one that does not zoom). The clarity of that lens and its ability to handle low light is well worth the cost. But, for the longest time I only had my 35mm lens and a kit lens that zoomed from 18mm-70mm. For me that kit lens was my lifeline when I needed the ability to zoom into kids at a sporting event or zoom out to capture a wide angle of a room setup for a birthday party. You should embrace and learn to use your kit lens. It’s absolutely possible to take gorgeous pro quality portraits (including that blurry background we all want to achieve) using your kit lens too. MYTH 6: RAW FILES ARE BETTER THAN JPEG If you don’t know what a RAW file is, take a deep breath. It’s
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okay. In plain English, it’s a super large file size that will take up a whole lot of room on your computer’s hard drive.
control that comes from being able to manipulate your camera fully in manual mode.
The benefit? It does allow you some extra leeway in recovering a bad photo that was take too dark or too light. But that’s if the dark and light is just slight. Again a bad photo is a bad photo and can’t be recovered no matter how much we try to edit it.
MYTH 8: ONCE YOU FEEL CONFIDENT IN YOUR SKILLS YOU’LL NEVER NEED TO HIRE A PROFESSIONAL AGAIN
When I had a children and families pro business I did shoot RAW images of my clients, just in case I needed to tweak them later in editing. But as a momtographer taking my family snapshots, I’d rather shoot in JPEG and save the extra space on my computer for more and more images of my precious kiddo. MYTH 7: YOU NEED TO LEARN MANUAL MODE TO BE A GOOD PHOTOGRAPHER Confession time. I don’t always shoot in manual mode. Sometimes the lighting is constantly changing and I don’t want to play with my camera settings on the fly. Sometimes I’m feeling lazy. Sometimes I just don’t care. Although I don’t switch back to full AUTO mode anymore ever, I do LOVE Aperture Priority mode. That’s typically where I default back to when I’m having a day where I just don’t have the mental capacity to deal with Manual Mode and all its settings. However, don’t let this myth excuse you from ever mastering the big “M”. There is a whole new level of confidence and
I thought becoming a professional photographer would mean I’d save ALL this money because I wouldn’t need to hire someone to take my family photos for me. The truth is, now that I know how to create beautiful images I want them for my own home that much more. Even though I have the technical know-how to take beautiful images, I am hardly ever in them! Now, I make it a point each year to schedule a photo session for my entire family with a photographer I know and trust and respect. These days I have a whole new appreciation for photography as an art and as a career and it’s important to me that our family owns images that include all of us. I think as moms it’s SO important that we are supported and nurtured as we are learning to cultivate and capture our memories, not be weighed down by a laundry list of rules and myths that make us feel like we’re doing it all wrong. Hopefully these myth busters will empower you to experiment and feel a bit more confident that your way of learning is the right way. Happy snapping!
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â€œDelicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.â€? ~ George Eliot Summer 2013
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ready, set, go! itâ€™s an autumn scavenger hunt
f you're lucky enough to live in a place that gets seasonal transitions, now is the PERFECT time to be getting outside with your kids and family and taking some incredible photos. From color changes, to the cooler brisk weather, to pumpkin and apple picking galore, fall is a beautiful time of year and it deserves to be captured.
To jumpstart your own fall family fun, I've included this scavenger hunt to get your whole family out and enjoying the magic of this season. How many items on this list can you find and photograph?
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ILLUMINATE (FREE) Self Study Iluminate was designed and developed in honor of our first daughter, Bella Rose, who didn’t live after the 20th week of pregnancy. A completely free, 4-week, self-study class, Illuminate is for women who are grieving the loss of a baby who has died during pregnancy or infancy. Illuminate breaks down the healing tools I used on my own grief journey and offers a creative outlet for women to process their emotions, remember their baby, and find healing behind the lens of a camera. RADIATE will return in Fall 2014 The Radiate e-course will take moms on an incredible 12-week photography and editing journey by re-discovering their inner glow through the lens of a camera, any camera. Layered into the Radiate experience are concrete photo editing skills and techniques that will take photos to an entirely new level and allow moms to rediscover their passions post motherhood. The skills taught during this e-course will open up a whole new world of feeling at ease and confident behind the lens of the camera and invite moms to do some much needed soul-searching, connecting, creating, and editing images that will make their heart radiate with joy. MOMTOGRAPHIE DC/MD/VA October 20, 2013: 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. • Hyatt House, Dulles VA This is my popular jumpstart DSLR class designed with moms in mind! Momtographie DC/MD/VA is customized for families in the Washington Metropolitan area with DSLR cameras who want to take better photos of the special kiddos in their lives. Designed for the busy mom, dad, grandparent, aunt, or uncle on the go, this 4 hour jumpstart course will deliver the basics to get that camera out of AUTO mode and working in any situation. MOMTOGRAPHIE ONLINE will return in February 2014 Momtographie Online is a mom’s 6-week recipe to photographic success. It’s designed for both the beginning and intermediate Momtographer alike and will help them to understand the basics and get out of auto mode for good, or perfect the basics and reach a new level of understanding with how a DSLR camera works. Moms who are frustrated by photos that are blurry, too dark or light, out of focus, or that don’t capture the candid natural looking shots of their kids and family will love having clear direction and guidance for mastering the technical settings of the camera. We’ll breakdown technical photography into easy to digest ingredients that we will slowly incorporate together in a perfect photographic recipe. Are you ready to capture those beautiful professional quality images you’re after? Then let’s get cooking! RESONATE limited availability Your opportunity to work with me one-on-one is here. Spend four weeks on exactly what it is YOU need to grow in your personal photography journey. Are you a mom who just purchased her DSLR camera and has no clue where to begin in learning how to use it? Or are you someone who has the basics down but is longing for more (perhaps you’re finally ready to test out that dream of building your own business)? Or maybe you’re excited about your photos but you want some extra guidance in editing them to give them that extra POP after you’re done. Your Resonate experience will have you going from feeling unsure about where to go next with your photography dreams to having your camera easily become your best friend. You can find all my classes online, here.
Here’s hoping you and yours are able to enjoy all the best that autumn has to offer. ‘Til the next issue of Momotgraphie...
Wait... before you go! Please, don’t be a stranger. I love to hear all about your Momtographer adventures. Join our Facebook group, shoot me an email or even hit me up on Twitter. And let me know what you think of the magazine. After all, it’s inspired by YOU.
Published on Sep 11, 2013