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GONE WITH THE LENS Summer 2013 1


INTRODUCING R

ACHEL AND CHRISTIN: we are two best friends, who also manage our own separate portrait photography businesses. After more than a year of talking about putting together a photography magazine, we finally decided to make it happen! We loved the idea of having a magazine that features beautiful images, “behind the scenes� peeks, tips and tricks, and interesting articles for both the beginner and the professional photographer. When we each started our own businesses we typed countless searches into Google, watched hundreds of YouTube videos and spent hours upon hours reading the ins and outs of digital photography.

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GONE with the LENS Our goal in launching Gone With the Lens is to help lessen the time put into creating your photography business by developing an inspirational resource and a wealth of information on photography for you to enjoy all in one place. Often the two of us will throw together a fun shoot to help each other stay inspired and to keep out of what sometimes can be a stagnant pool of routine sessions. We think doing these type of shoots is key to renewing the spark that sometimes gets lost when you get too busy with your photography business. Be sure to check out a couple shots from our latest joint photography session (p. 58), and enjoy the inspiration throughout these pages from brilliant photographers just like you!

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12

18

40

6

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in this issue

Summer 2013

Cover Image: Allison Wheeler Poetry & Prose Photography

2 editors’ notes 6 featured session: Maria Alexandra Maria Alexandra Photography

12 tips & tricks: Making the Switch to Manual by Rachel Southmayd of Pixy Prints Photography

18 Lifestyle Photography with Linsey Wilt Photography

30 featured session: Solene Lombardo Dare to Believe Photographie

40 tips & tricks: Starter Lenses by Christin Szczesniak of Cloudy Day Photography

44 Welcome to the Circus

Sam I Am Photography

56 goners: Everyday Ramblings

with Christin & Rachel

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Photo Credits: Maria Alexandra Photography


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Manual

making the switch to

by RACHEL SOUTHMAYD of Pixy Prints Photography

S

ome might hear the word “manual” and cringe at the thought of what that might do to their comfort level in photography. Or some of you may have already made the switch and are in LOVE! Taking your camera off of auto mode doesn’t have to be scary though. The benefits of switching your camera from auto to manual by far outweigh the downsides. You can choose to have your camera on a partially manual setting or a full manual setting. For the purposes of keeping this article simple and not too overwhelming, I will only cover full manual mode for now. So why is manual better, you might ask? It’s kinda like paint-by-numbers. That’s fun when you are just learning the skills of painting, but as you get older it becomes boring. Who wan’t to be

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told how to make their art? Sometimes it’s fun to mix your colors together to make new ones and get a little creative! Choosing to shoot in manual mode is the same. If you are the type of person who likes to have control over what you create and maybe paint outside the lines on occasion then learning how to operate your camera on your own is

Don’t let your camera decide for you what your pictures should look like! worth it! Don’t let your camera decide for you what your pictures should look like! Before you can really make the switch though it’s important to understand the camera basics and what settings and changes the camera makes for


you when you shoot in auto mode. There are three basic things we will talk about today that will set you on the right foot to shooting in manual. Each of these three things have very specific jobs, but work together to expose your image just the way you want it. ISO Back in the day prior to the invention of digital cameras, film cameras had an ISO (or ASA) setting. The ISO was what determined how sensitive the film was to light. On a digital camera, there is

no film but instead an image sensor. The ISO setting on a digital camera determines how sensitive your image sensor is to the light, just like it used to for film. Most cameras have an ISO range of at least 100 - 1600 but there are some (generally more expensive) cameras that will go much higher than 1600. The lower the number, the less sensitive your camera is to light. Lower ISO settings are used in well lit areas and higher ISO settings are used in dark or poorly lit areas. GONE WITH THE LENS Summer 2013 13


However, there is a sacrifice to using high ISO settings. A higher ISO setting means you will have an easier time shooting in a dark room, but the image also becomes grainy-looking and the quality of detail can start to look less than desirable. Each camera will handle these factors in a different manner, and generally the more expensive cameras do a better job keeping the images looking nice (i.e., without grain) at higher ISO settings. Shutter Speed When you press down the button to take a picture, you will most likely hear a noise. The sound you hear is the sound of your camera’s shutter opening and closing. The shutter is the part in your camera that opens to let light onto the image sensor. You can control the speed that it opens and closes by adjusting the shutter speed.

By choosing the shutter speed yourself you can change the look of the picture entirely! Look how crisp the water is in the lower image using full manual vs. full auto in the top image. This was accomplished by using a higher shutter speed and lowering the aperture.

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The longer the shutter is open, the more light it will let in; while the shorter it is open the less light it will let in. It also controls movement in your image. As the shutter speed increases the more blurred the image will become and the less it’s open the sharper the image will be. This can be used to create different looks for your images.


Aperture Aperture is the size of the opening in the lens when you take a picture. You might see the letter “f” followed by

opening and a larger number results in a smaller opening. Aperture plays a huge part in the depth of field (DOF). A small aperture (big opening, small number) will give you a more blurred

numbers when looking for lenses (f/2.8, f1.4, f/4 etc.) The “f” stands for f-stop, and the aperture is measure in f-stops. The number, or size, to which you set your aperture determines the size of the opening in your aperture.

background and a larger aperture (small opening, big number) will give you a more in focus background.

Perhaps the most confusing aspect of learning to use aperture is that a smaller number results in a larger

Now, if you aren’t confused enough already...brace yourself! Well, ok, not really. But it does get a bit more

Using ISO, Shutter Speed, and Aperture to Shoot Manually

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confusing! Now that you understand the ISO, shutter and aperture and what they each do, you will need to learn how they work together. Generally the ISO setting is something you set at the beginning of your session and leave the settings unchanged until the amount of light around you changes, like going from indoors to outdoors or as the sun sets, etc. My opinion (and I’m sure there are people who will disagree) is that you should always set your ISO to the lowest number possible and if after adjusting your shutter speed and aperture to the settings you want, you find the image is

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still underexposed, then and only then bump it up to a higher number. The shutter speed and aperture on the other hand should get changed very frequently! If you area visual person, make a fist with your hand and hold it over your eye. Now open and close your fist and think about the light. As you open your fist bigger the brighter it gets and as you close your fist the darker it gets. The same is true to your aperture. Now, do that again and play with how fast your fist opens. Open it very slowly and then very quickly. The speed also changes how much light hits your eyes! It is very important


to understand that the shutter speed and aperture work together as one! They both control the amount of light that enters the camera and because of that, if you adjust one...you must adjust the other! If you choose a lower number for your aperture this will let in more light and to compensate, you can increase your shutter speed so the image isn’t over exposed (too bright.)

adjusting your aperture though you are controlling the DOF. Maybe you like that soft creamy background? If so, you will want a low number for your aperture. Just remember if you have group of people who aren’t all exactly the same distance from the camera and you choose a low aperture number, chances are half the people will be out of focus!

The reason they each have their own settings though is that they also control motion (shutter) and DOF (aperture). By adjusting your shutter speed to a higher number you can freeze a person running in an image and make them perfectly clear, even though they are moving or by choosing a lower number for your shutter speed you can capture the blur in movement. When

Maybe this article helps you and maybe I just confused you even more! But hopefully you enjoyed reading it. There is so much more that I could cover on the camera settings but hopefully this is just the right sized bite to munch on for a while. The only way to really understand your camera though is to go out and try it out! GONE WITH THE LENS Summer 2013 17


LIFESTYLE PHOTOGRAPHY with

Linsey Wilt 18 Summer 2013 GONE WITH THE LENS


LINSEYWILTPHOTOGRAPHY.COM

Linsey is a wedding and children’s portrait photographer based out of Denver, Co. She lives there with her husband and four beautiful children.

I

AM THE GIRL that had tried every creative outlet known to man. I am not very graceful. Actually I’m a full-on klutz…so dancing wasn’t my bag. I made it through art with a B+ and my teacher giving me the “that’s interesting” type of looks when I presented my masterpieces. I won’t even go there with the vocals, let’s just say my husband has been known to ask me to stop singing…nicely, of course. I pretty much gave up and decided the creative world was better off without me. Then I picked up a camera. I had found my creativity, I had found what made me tick…and I have been smitten ever since! When I was twelve I purchased my first point and shoot film camera with my hardearned babysitting money. My baby sister became my favorite model...poor thing. I dressed her up in her very best and had her sit pretty amongst mounds of stuffed animals. Sort of looked like a scene out of E.T. I guess photography has sort of been there all along for me, it was just a matter of me waking up and realizing it. It turned into a real passion for me after my youngest was born, and since then I can’t imagine my life without it. GONE WITH THE LENS Summer 2013 19


My favorite time to shoot is sunset. I have played around with sunrise a little this year, but not because this anti-morning person was so eager to chase the sun with one eye open on one still in dreamland. It’s because I’m doing my first ever project 365. A few days this winter, when the daylight was short, I had to get my shot in before the kids went to school. We were already up and I took advantage of the ten extra minutes we had before the bus came. I have to say, I love sunrise, it’s gorgeous light. But, I don’t plan on converting to a morning person so therefore I will still

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say my favorite is sunset. If I don’t have the luxury of that golden sunset hour, then I will make do. Open shade can be your best friend, just make sure not to stick your subject deep into the shade, keep them just on the edge of it. I look for highlights in the hair, if I’m getting them then I’m in a good spot. Also if you are shooting with the sun still high in the sky then place your subject with their back to the sun, shoot at the top of their shadow and expose for their skin. For me it’s all about capturing those real-life moments and documenting


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memories. I don’t know about you but the memories I have are not perfect, far from it. My memories are messy, real and full of life. That is why I am in love with lifestyle photography, especially when it comes to children and families. I have to say it has been something that has evolved over time for me though. In the beginning it was all about perfect. I would edit out any and all blemishes and make sure all the details were thoroughly thought out. All the new information I was taking in was teaching me how to create the “perfect” portrait. I was always drawn to those perfectly imperfect photos, but didn’t think they were what others wanted to see. I didn’t want to post them because I was afraid they would take away any and all credibility of being a professional photographer. The day I realized that I didn’t have to shoot for perfection according to others standards was the day I finally felt like I owned my work; like I could finally shoot what made my heart sing. I realized that the saying is so true,

“First learn all the rules and then figure out how you can break them.” I still struggle at times with “what is perfect” especially when I start to compare what others see as “perfect.” A lot of

Want to see more? Follow Linsey Wilt Photography on Facebook. times in our industry we get bogged down, depressed, insecure because we are always looking at what “we are not” rather then letting “who we are” shine through. This principle has really impacted my journey as a photographer. When I start to feel overwhelmed by all of the “I’m not” thoughts, I remember that I have my own, “unique voice,” and let that be what shines. When I set out to shoot with “lifestyle” in mind I sort of just let the moment unfold. Sometimes I go with an idea in mind, but typically that idea will transform itself into something entirely different. It’s those in-between moments that I’m going for... the real

Photo Credits: Linsey Wilt Photography

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“I don’t know about you but the memories I have are not perfect, far from it. My memories are messy, real and full of life. That is why I am in love with lifestyle photography.”

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smile, the somber look, or the way the wind is catching the hair. With all that said, I still very much set the stage. My #1 goal with any shot is to capture the light. I find the light, set the stage, and then let life happen within that. There are those times that a perfect moment will be unfolding, in perfect light (that I didn’t set-up), that’s when my heart skips a beat and I run for my camera. Other times I will tell the kids, can you

go do that over here (moving them into the light). You could have the most perfect moment happening in horrible light and it will fall short. Then you can have an okay moment, in gorgeous light and it will be your most favorite photo ever! I shoot with a 5D Mark II. My favorite lens would have to be my 50mm 1.2. And a very close second would be my 85mm 1.2. I also have a 70-200 2.8 and a 24 2.8.

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Solene is the mommy of two lovely girls (Diane, 9, and Lise, 7) living in the South of France. This is a session from the beginning of April, in the orchards near their home. Photo credits: Solene Lombardo - Dare to Believe Photographie

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Starter Lenses

suggestions for buying your first Canon lens

by CHRISTIN SZCZESNIAK of Cloudy Day Photography

“Lenses, lenses, lenses!”

I

s it just me or does this thought go through your head every time you start browsing online to figure out which lens to buy and why? Never ending blog posts, internet forum

do our best to highlight some Nikon equipment for our next issue.

battles, zoom, L lens, prime lens...?

series of top-of-the-line lenses) and they are wonderful and very expensive, but right now I am focusing more on the beginner photographer on a budget.

PORTRAIT LENSES I am going to talk about some great starter lenses for portrait photographers. I shoot using Canon equipment, so for this article I will only be covering lenses compatible with Canon equipment, but we will 40 Summer 2013 GONE WITH THE LENS

Keep in mind that there are many fabulous L lenses (Canon’s professional

Canon 50mm f/1.8 Canon’s entry-level prime lens is probably one of the most common initial equipment purchases made by


beginning photographers. This little lens (and I do mean little!) is supercheap, running somewhere around $125.00 new, and $80.00 used. This was one of the first lenses I acquired, and while it isn’t the best lens in the world, it’s affordable, fairly sharp, and a great option for use when practicing shooting portraits and the use of a shallow depth of field.

Sigma 50mm f/1.4 If you are on a slightly larger budget I highly, highly, highly (enough highlys?) recommend the Sigma 50mm f/1.4 lens for Canon. I still shoot with this lens, and it is fantastic, and very reasonably priced. I fell in love with the Sigma line of lenses for Canon recently, and haven’t been disappointed yet. This 50mm lens is very sharp, very creamy, and amazing for portraits. Sometimes lenses can be finicky at wide apertures, and harder to take sharp photos, but this lens is both sharp and accurate when wide open. The colors it produces are also wonderful, very lifelike and beautiful. Honestly, I am perfectly happy with this baby, and so is everyone I’ve recommended it to.

The 50mm f/1.8 Canon lens has a nice wide

Canon 85mm f/1.8

aperture of 1.8, which means that you will get that wonderful creamy background on your portraits.

50mm lenses are commonly known as the lens that is most like the human eye, because it will capture a shot in the same way your eye would see it, not narrower or wider, which is another reason 50mm lenses are great ones to use for portraits. Canon’s 50mm f/1.8 will do allow you to do this on a budget.

This next lens is probably the most common reasonably-priced favorite for both amateur and professional photographers. Canon’s 85mm f/1.8 is well made, sharp, and fabulous for portraits. As an 85mm, it has a slightly longer range than the 50mm lenses, and is thus one of the most popular ranges for portrait photography. This lens runs around $400.00 new, and will definitely be one you won’t want to take off of your camera. GONE WITH THE LENS Summer 2013 41


There are other 85mm lenses to consider, but in my opinion you will be perfectly happy with this lens, without breaking the bank. WIDE ANGLE LENSES To finish up, I’m going to touch a little bit on wide angle lenses. One of my favorite range of lenses to shoot with is a 35mm. You will get a nice wide angle, especially on a full frame camera, without a whole lot of distortion.

Canon 35mm f/1.4 L The most popular 35mm lens is Canon’s 35mm f/1.4 L lens. This is a thing of beauty! This lens is exceptionally sharp and just lovely. It is expensive, generally listed in the $1200-1500 range, but well worth the price for what you can accomplish with it. Sigma also recently came out with a 35mm f/1.4, and it appears to be giving Canon’s L lens a run for its money.

This photograph was taken using the Sigma 50mm f/1.4. It was shot wide open at an aperture of 1.4. Note how the model stands out from the background - using a wide aperature (which results in the shallow depth of field seen in this photo) is a classic way to remove distractions and highlight your subject. Photo Credit: Cloudy Day Photography

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I have heard fantastic things about Sigma version, and have been waiting for a chance to try it out. Rokinon 35mm f/1.4 For wide angle portraits, I use the Rokinon 35mm f/1.4. While this lens may not be for everybody, due to its lack of auto focus and focus confirmation, I

have to recommend it as an affordable alternative, because it competes with the Canon and Sigma 35mm lenses but at a much lower price point. I love it! It’s sharp, the colors are amazing, and it has continued to be one of my favorites. I shoot with a 5D Mark II. My lenses include the Sigma 50mm f/1.4, Sigma 24mm f/1.8 Rokinon 35mm f/1.4, Rokinon 85mm f/1.4.

Starter Lenses LensIn thisMiarticleni-Guide Brand

Range

Aperture Price

Characteristics

Canon

50mm

f/1.8

$125.00

Affordable, lightweight

Sigma

50mm

f/1.4

$450.00

Lifelike portaits, most like the human eye

Canon

85mm

f/1.8

$400.00

Longer range, sharp, creamy backgrounds

Canon

35mm

f/1.4

$1300.00

Wide angle, very sharp

Sigma

35mm

f/1.4

$900.00

Wide angle, very sharp

Rokinon

35mm

f/1.4

$450.00

Wide angle, manual focus

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with

Sam I Am Photography GONE WITH THE LENS Summer 2013 45


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image credits:

Samantha Scott Sam I Am Photography GONE WITH THE LENS Summer 2013 55


Everyday Ramblings with Christin & Rachel MEET CHRISTIN: Cloudy Day Photography Age: 28 Height: 5 ft 9”

Biggest Confession: I never grew out of my horse obsession, “Such a drama and still binge on queen! Maybe I junior high horse should take up books ;) acting...”

MEET RACHEL: Pixy Prints Photography Age: 29 Height: 5 ft

Biggest confession: I lied... I’m actually only 4ft 11-3/4” :) “This photo is WAY too serious! I should have some embarassing look on my face!”

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Christin:

Are you working today?

Rachel:

I’m stuck at home today with no car

trying to finish editing up

Christin:

How’s your editing coming?

Rachel:

Good! I’m buckling down I’m making

great progress and I’m hoping to get 100%

caught up today!

Christin:

Yay!

Rachel:

I’m two cups of coffee in... hehe

Christin:

Haha! I’m already ready for more coffee!!

women behind

I’m on this blue cheese salad dressing

Gone With the Lens.

kick! I’ve eaten half a jar in a day!

Rachel:

hahaha

Christin:

With salad, of course.

Rachel:

Hehehe....this is why I don’t get things

text talk Tidbits of converstations between the two

They are real. They are weird. They are freinds!

done!!! [sends picture]. . . Blue cheese overdose!

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image credit:

Christin Szczesniak Cloudy Day Photography opposite page:

Rachel Southmayd Pixy Prints Photography 58 Summer 2013 GONE WITH THE LENS


This is one of our spontaneous photo sessions. We called up a friend to model, snatched a fan from home and found a parking garage at sunset! - C & R

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Gone with the Lens Issue 1 - Summer 2013