Friday, October 28, 2011


I woke up this morning with a nagging idea to freshen up the look of the blog. I love experimenting with typography. So here's the new header I created above!
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of meeting some new friends through offering free ad space here to get things moving. I reached out to some of my Mom's groups on Facebook and I received tons of feedback!
It's so great to have a supportive community of women in business for themselves.
Also, I wanted to mention the Amazon ad I have here for gear I recommend. This company has saved me tons of money not just on camera equipment but diapers, food, etc. So I am shamelessly presenting my Photo Must Have's available on Amazon. These are products that I recomend to my students all the time. There are items for all shooting levels, and price points. Starting out, you may not need a $1,000 lens so I've given you some 3rd party options that will give you crisp shots on a budget!
Feel free to write to me anytime for a recomendation when shopping around. I shoot Nikon but most of my students have Canon and they offer very fine products as well. I have shot both and both have a touch of a little something different to offer.
Right now they have both been targeting advanced point & shoot models which are great to throw in your diaper bag!
I stand by the unsurpassable quality of an SLR, but to each their own.

Me and Safi are off to "Boo at the Zoo" this morning at the Palm Beach Zoo. The weather's looking a little iffy, but crossing my fingers that I get some fun shots to share here!

Next lesson could be, how to shoot your kids at the zoo in the rain...Stay Tuned!

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Capturing Fall Moments

I have been planning for weeks to take Safi to Bedner's Pumpkin Patch in Boynton Beach, FL.
One of my students filled me in on this once "best kept secret". Well, the secret is out!
I had never heard of this spot before probably because I was living out of the country the past couple Fall seasons and I didn't have a little one for whom I am constantly seeking out shooting spots these days.
This thriving family fun spot was SMOTHERED with Mamatographers! I was so busy with my cranky girl that there was no time to solicit photo lessons ; )

Here are some tips for shooting in a busy pumpkin patch:

1st, don't go at mid day! 
The best light is going to be early in the morning or late afternoon.
I like the technique of a soft gleaming sun coming through my lens so Safi's back was always to the sun.

With that said, I experimented with Flash for filling in shadows. This gave my shots a nice saturation in the sky, pumpkins & her shaw.
**Invest in an external flash, you won't be sorry you did**

As far as beating the crowds...we booked it to the back corner of the farm where they had laid out cucumber plants to serve as imitation vines for the pumpkins. (It's very unlikely to find naturally growing pumpkins in South Florida). I tried to be mindful of my background and avoid capturing other patrons or farm workers in the frame. This gave my shots a feel of peaceful isolation so that the focus was ONLY on Safi.

I brought my Mom with me to help with Safi. Of course she wanted to eat dirt and gnaw on the bright orange pumpkins so it helped to have Grandma as a "Baby Stylist".

Here's some varied lighting examples...

Without Flash~

With Flash~

Happy Fall Shooting!
xo, Vicky & Safi

Friday, October 7, 2011

Depth of Field {Book Excerpt}

Depth of field is that recognizable quality of a photo that many associate with being more "professional". That quality is the painterly blurry background with a razor sharp foreground of any subject. This quality is controlled by your lenses APERTURE/FSTOP.

For portrait purposes, typically, you want that sharpness to include, if not anything else, the eyes of the person you're shooting. This applies especially to babies as they move so much. The true skill lays in capturing those sharp eyes of little ones. This technique is considered as "Shallow Depth of Field". This is controlled by using a WIDE APERTURE/FSTOP i.e. 2.8 or 3.5.

In contrast, if you're shooting, for instance, a landscape, or group portrait, the goal is to create what's called "Great Depth of Field". Meaning everything in the frame (picture) is sharp in focus. This is controlled by using a small APERTURE/FSTOP i.e. 8, 11, 16, etc.
For this example I love to use the photo legend, Ansel Adams as an example. If you're familiar with his work, you should recall his shots pretty vividly because that's what they were, VIVIDLY DETAILED. Every tree branch, every hillside and mountain peak were RAZOR SHARP. 

Here, I depict a more subtle version, two somewhat contrasting portraits of my daughter Safi.

The first, I used an aperture (fstop) of f2.8 (wide) to create a lot of blur of the wallpaper. The next, I wanted to capture just a little more of the wallpaper, a subtle but visible difference, so I used an aperture of f8.

This technique is really the core of portraiture. Remember that the lower the number (i.e. f2.8) means that the opening of your lens is WIDER. The HIGHER the number (i.e. f8, and above) your lens opening is smaller.
Know that all lenses and camera models have a slightly different range of apertures, but I recommend changing them in whole stop increments as I've shown on the diagram.
Don't feel overwhelmed if the numbers don't process right away, they will.
Try it for your self!

Sunday, October 2, 2011

An Introduction to Mamatography

As a chronically inspired and busy new Mama I am always seeking short cuts in learning new skills. I was fortunate to have started photography as a teenager in the former age of film and even so into my professional career. However, there were no quick detours in the darkroom. Every session under the red light was a painstakingly slow process.  I loved every minute of it! With that said, I love that photography has become something tangible and real to REAL people. 

Through my years of shooting, processing and teaching I've come to the conclusion that knowing how to use a camera (well) may be just as important as using a computer, an oven, etc. etc.. It's survival in the modern age of gadgets and social networking. This is why I have founded Mamatography™ Photo Workshops.

Whether you're capturing moments of your little loved ones, selling products on the web or pursuing your own business as a shooter the foundation for any photographer hasn't changed through time. Before the reward comes the process...and the process can be just as rewarding.

Use this blog as a go-to photo guide, or as a companion to my video tutorials, live webinars, or local workshops, to get you where you feel your photography needs to be, lightning faster than the process was for me. 

I'm thrilled to share my passion with other Mamatographers!
Happy Shooting,