Wednesday, February 3, 2016

The Northern Cardinal long awaited arrival by this Maine Photographer

The northern cardinal.
I have waited two and a half years for a male cardinal to come visit my birdfeeder, which is strategically placed near one of my windows.
I hear him, many times...but he's never visited.
want to hear him?

My wait is over.
This male has been visiting for a couple of weeks now.
He usually visits alone, and stays awhile.
He doesn't seem to mind me.
He inspires me.
I love his visits and I love photographing him.
These photos all taken through a window, with my long lens (70-200) and a monopod.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Inspirational Countdown. A Maine Photographer

In 7 days I will attend Inspire.
I attended last year and blogged about it here.

Last year, to attend Inspire I borrowed money from my son's college fund, the same money I had taken out of my 401K just a few months earlier.  I was convinced that if I found inspiration my business would be busy enough for me to pay back the money I was borrowing.

I was inspired
Still am
...and a few weeks after attending Inspire I picked up a part-time-customer-service-completely-unrelated-to-photography-position so I could pay back the money I borrowed and take some of the creative pressure off my plate.

Yes, a year later and I am still working the part-time-customer-service-completely-unrelated-to-photography job...but it is because of that job that I am able to return to Inspire this year and surround myself with other creative professionals and get inspired!!

I thought it would be fun to share a 7 day countdown with you.

Random photos and moments this past year that brought me inspiration.

Last week I photographed a group of  ladies in my studio.  Private party, hair and makeup artist, some wine...some Rum Chada :) and a bit of a cross between glamour and boudoir.  We were all out of our comfort zone.  The ones in front of the lens...and even I...the one behind the lens.

Again, that is why I am going to Inspire.

So, every single one of those ladies was inspirational to me.

Each and every one.

I am not sharing those inspirational photos with you today.

My family.
Big inspiration.
My husband and my boys.
But for now, this is all I'm sharing for photos.
When I ask..."please...can you please come into my studio and let me test my lights out on you...pretty pretty please?"

I hope you will come back again tomorrow...I will be sharing inspiration right through the week!

Sunday, January 31, 2016

A Day in Boston with Friends from a Maine Photographer with Friends

Holy Moly it's been a while since I've written here.

Time to change that.
Out with 2015.
In with the new!

Yesterday I spent the day in Boston with some of my old friends, and some new friends.
All was perfect.
Here's my story, I hope you like it :)

if for any reason you cannot see the video above you may view it at this link

Friday, October 30, 2015

Family Photos. A Subject Near and Dear to my Heart. A Maine Photographer and Mom

I would like to propose a new tradition with the upcoming time change.  Take a family photo!  I would love to do this for you, but I know it's just not possible to photograph everyone, so, might I suggest a family selfie?  You know, time change for us here in New England occurs twice a year, and it is suggested that you change the batteries in your smoke detectors at time change to ensure this gets done on a regular basis.  I propose that you take a family photo at time change...because, time changes everything.

Two years ago one of my friends lost a son.  He was murdered.  There is no easy way to say that.  Those of us who live locally know this story, and it is why I have chosen to do these 15 minute family photo shoots that I do.  I donate my time and the cost of the photo shoot to the Matt Rairdon scholarship otherwise known as Westbrook Strong.

Six years ago I was hired to photograph Matt's family for a 50th wedding anniversary gift to his grandparents.  It was the very first family photo shoot I ever did.


I made some mistakes...and for a professional...I couldn't look at these photos without seeing what I could have done differently.


Now I look at this photo for what it is.  A beautiful memory that will never be repeated.

Even as a professional...I no longer see mistakes.  I see love.

I encourage you to capture your family photos as often as you can, and if you are like many folks, your family may need a little encouragement.

I have chosen this Sunday, November 1st in the Riverton Trolley Park in Portland, to do some 15 minute family photo shoots.  It is "fall back" Sunday, and we benefit with the fall time change by being gifted with a whole extra hour of time.  I cannot think of a better way to spend some of this hour with family making a memory.  The cost is $50.  You will receive a jpeg file of your choice, perfect for Christmas card making and sharing as gifts.  You will have the opportunity to purchase photos at special pricing from this event.  I still have timeslots available for this Sunday morning, please contact me at to reserve a slot.

Why 15 minutes?  Because that is all we need, and besides, who can say no to giving 15 minutes of time up for a forever memory?

Also, for those of you with college kids or out of town family, I will do another morning of 15 minute family photo shoots on the Saturday after Thanksgiving, Saturday November 28th, at my home.  If you would like to reserve a slot, please email me.  The following photos are samples from last year.  The snow photos were done after Thanksgiving :) Also, for those who would like to do a 15 minute photoshoot on Thanksgiving day, that can be arranged.  The fee is $100, and again, $100% goes to Matt's scholarship.


Friday, September 18, 2015

Mindfulness. A Maine Photographer

Mindfulness is the intentional, accepting and non-judgmental focus of one's attention on the emotions, thoughts and sensations occurring in the present moment,...

Instead of letting your life pass you by, mindfulness means living in the moment and awakening to experience.

Mindfulness.  Buzz word for 2015,

I am a Wife
I am a Mother
I am an Employee
I am a self employed Professional
I am a Teacher
I am a Volunteer
I am a Daughter
I am a Friend
I am a Woman
...and I often feel like the photo above
...and the one below...

I know I am not alone in the feelings I experience this time of year.
For me, it's because of what I do and who I choose to work for.
September through December.
Year after year.
I bring myself to this place.
I carefully choose which plates I knowingly can keep spinning in the air without compromising my health and well being.
I schedule carefully.

I now know what I can handle... is the unexpected...the unscheduled that I struggle with...

The unexpected care taker issues of a parent.
The death of a friend...

That email, the one addressed to 100 other people, begging for parental participation in order to keep the program your child is involved in going...
that one little additional guilt trip email...the one that I see as though it is addressed to just me...

and I start to sweat...

...and then I literally feel short of breath...

like I'm crazy close to the sun...

...and I just need to breathe!

...and not take the world around me too personally.

...get things in focus...

...slow down...

...say "no" when necessary...

and remember to be mindful of myself.

fair warning...I have found lately that I am incapable of finishing a sentence.

...that is what happens when I fly too close to the sun...or in other words...get too many plates spinning at one time.  No one wants to see me crash and burn...including myself.

Be kind to one another.
Be kind to yourself.
Please do not judge.
Some of us are are beginners at this mindfulness stuff.

Live in the moment.
Live for today.

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Taking Your Own High School Senior Portraits. A Maine Photographer

A few years back a friend of mine asked me to take her sons' senior portraits.  She shared with me that when referring me to her friends she was kind of shocked and saddened to find many families were forgoing the past tradition of having senior portraits done professionally and were doing it themselves.  This friend viewed senior portraits as a right of passage, something you do with your child prior to their senior year, no matter what.

I'm grateful that some families still think this way, a little job security for me :)

But I also know, for many reasons, why some folks choose to do it that is why I thought I would publish a few DYI tips right here on my blog.

Last month I talked about photographing your child in good light...not too much sun...avoid dark shadows and squinting, and best of all make sure you can see their eyes.

Today I want to offer a few more basic tips.
If you find a nice shady spot, be sure you don't have sun speckles all over their face.  These can be fun, but personally I believe in keeping the senior portrait a bit more sacred.  So, although this example is a nice photo of my son, he does have distracting sun spots on his face.
Big advice next.  Pay attention to your background.  I think this was one of the hardest things for me to learn.  When I first started taking photographs (for money) I was so focused on my subject and making sure I got that part right, I may not have noticed the tree branch going right through his head. Some backgrounds can be distracting and compete with your subject.
See what I mean?
Doesn't it look like that door hinge is about to stab him in the head?

In the next photo below I pulled him away from the background, I also centered him off the backdrop so he wasn't near the distracting hinge, and I opened up my aperture to blur out the background a bit.
I do teach all about aperture in my digital photography class starting September 16th, so please, if this is something you are interested in, sign up at this link!

if you don't know how to use the aperture on your camera yet, you can use the little portrait symbol on your scene mode.

 the scene modes on your camera are there to help your camera understand what type of photo you are taking.  If you pick the portrait mode...that's the lady with the hat, then the camera knows what is most important in the photo is the person, and the settings used in the scene mode soften the face and blur the background, as much as is possible with the lens being used on the camera.

In my first example below I have moved my subject away from the background and blurred it out a bit to emphasize my subject.
in the next example there appears to be a branch traveling through his head...but because it is blurred, I think it looks kind of cool :)

A couple more notes about backgrounds.  Be careful of brick walls...unless you move your subject away and blur out the background, there can be some pretty good competition between your subjects face and the lines between the bricks.

And one last trick.  Sometimes a photo might seem completely ruined by a distracting background.  Before you toss it out...try making it black and just might be surprised by the results.

Friday, July 31, 2015

Senior Portraits Chelsea. A Maine Photographer

I recently posted on my Facebook page Minor Moments Photography that I would start a blog series here about how to take your own High School Senior Portraits.  Over the next few weeks I am going to share some easy, very basic tips on how you can take a better individual outdoor portrait.  I also want to share with all of you who may be interested that I am going to teach another basic digital photography class this coming September, for 5 consecutive Wednesday evenings beginning September 16th at the Westbrook Community Center.  Lastly, I want to let you know that I would love to photograph your high school senior for you if this is a subject you have absolutely no interest in at all :)

First basic tip.  Avoid photographing in the hours the sun is the brightest.  Best time to photograph is before 10am and this time a year I would hold off until after 4pm.  Find some shade.  Watch out for sun speckles on your subjects face.  Make sure you can see your subjects eyes and that they are not hidden in a shadow.  Don't make your subject squint.  If it's overcast outside then rejoice and go out and take photos...that kind of light is the best!  No squinting and no harsh crazy shadows :)

So, today Chelsea and I had a date to do her senior photos.
We were so happy the weather was going to cooperate.
When you do this for a living you can't reschedule because the sun is too bright...that would be crazy right?
I told her to bring a variety of her favorites to wear.  We were photographing at her grandparents house.  I had been there before and I knew it was a photographers dream...

but...I was breaking so many of my own rules!
We started our session at 9am...but already the sun was so bright.  There was not a cloud in the sky, and shade was hard to come by.

We had a blast.

Chelsea, thank you for being such a good sport as I fiddled with my cameras, my flash, and my reflectors all morning long, conquering the sun and searching for the perfect shot.  I hope you love them as much as I do!

Beautiful location, beautiful Chelsea, happy happy I could do this all-day-long Joanne :)



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