Thursday, May 31, 2012

Kelly Moore Camera Bag Review by a New Friend :: Mamatography Lessons World Wide

I recently had the pleasure of befriending a mega talented, fellow photographer in South Florida. Her name is Tricia Krefetz of Click. Capture. Create. It was a chance meeting via the ever astounding social networking world of where else? Facebook. Her work is everything that my students and I aspire for as "Mamatographers". She specializes in custom portraiture.

I am particularly a huge fan of her underwater, nude maternity work-there's just nothing like it PERIOD. As photographers, we're driven to create a niche for ourselves. Tricia has done that and for all of us it's a journey that doesn't happen overnight. So, cheers to to you Tricia for seeing the "light" and refreshing the eyes of so many, my self included. I am fascinated by her take on motherhood through her lens though she is not herself a mother. I suppose it's not really all that ironic. I wasn't a regular shooter of anything "Mother" until I became one, that's no secret to my clients. It's an interesting juxtaposition to chat about.

How lucky was I to have Tricia sit in on a Mamatography workshop and "capture" some shots of me teaching..always an interesting perspective to catch yourself mid-sentance EEEEK. This class had a strong energy brought by a great group of Mamatographers and Tricia's added input to my Photo Basics lesson plan.

Tricia brought with her a Kelly Moore camera bag and RAVED about it until we were all envious!
Hers is the 2 Sues bag in Mustard seen here...

So much so, I added a few from her collection to the Mamatography discount photo gear store:

Here's what Tricia had to say about her Kelly bag:
          "I had been drooling over the Kelly Moore bags for a long time now, and I finally decided to treat myself to the Two Sues bag.  I had a hard time deciding which one to buy at first because all of her bags are so beautiful and functional.  I ultimately decided on one of her mid-sized bags I could use while shooting my portrait sessions on location.  This bag is so beautiful, I even use it as a purse when I want to bring my camera with me anywhere I go.  It's padded, so it's super protective, but it's stylish, too. I get compliments every time I bring it out.

As pretty as it is, the best thing about this bag is the functionality!  It was carefully designed by a photographer for photographers.  I LOVE the pocket on the back that has pockets for 12 memory cards, along with slots for my license, credit cards, etc.  It has removable padding, so it can be configured for your personal gear.  It comfortably holds my Canon 5d Mark II, my two favorite lenses (50mm and 85mm), my ipad and all my miscellaneous equipment - batteries, chargers, phone, keys, etc.  And, it also has room for my laptop. 

Overall, I cannot say enough great things about this bag. It's worth every penny - and more!  I may buy another of her larger bags to accommodate even more gear, but this bag is perfect for my on-the-go shooting needs.  I highly recommend it to anyone!

Bag images are from the Kelly Moore website. She's just ANOTHER Fem-Photog kickin ass and taking names! She offers a MONTHLY giveaway which she announces on her blog. Here's the link to this FREEBIE OP:

Happy Shooting, Vicky

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Keepin it Natural with Mamatography in Panama :: Photography Lessons for Moms

In keeping this a Working-Vacation, I thought I should capture some snapshots of Safi in our home away from home here in Rio Mar, Panama. After a special day-just me and my girl-of playing on the beach and learning to swim at the pool we came inside to the a/c and just chilled.

As most photo ops occur, I was simply putting away laundry in my room while Safi roamed around, as she does. I noticed something's about my new space...the natural light is perfect for catching indoor candid shots without using flash (and I'm a total FLASHER ; ) The sun in Panama is intense which makes for better indoor shooting possibilities than most locals back in the States.

For this short but memorable shoot, I made my Aperture the priority while utilizing Spot Focus. 

Here's how...
First-ALWAYS first, set your camera's ISO. I chose a relatively low ISO of 320 to keep the grain low which can be noticeable when solely working with natural light.

Next, I set my camera's Aperture (aka Fstop) using Aperture Priority. You can do this by using your camera dial-AV for Canon or A for Nikon. Both stand for Aperture Priority, meaning you choose the Aperture and the camera chooses the Shutter Speed

I recommend this often for portraits but it doesn't always work with toddlers as they're always on the move!

Now, utilize your spot focus buttons on the back of your camera. Depending on your model, you will likely have to tell your camera internally to shoot using Spot Focus rather than what I call Dynamic Range Focusing which tries to pick up on all points in the frame. In comparison, spot focusing lets you choose the precise area to focus on. In portraiture, it is critical for the eyes and face to be sharp in focus. So when you are pushing the back buttons, align your internal focusing point for the eyes-that's what I typically do.

Poor baby! I didn't even realize her hand was stuck until editing these pics..I know, child abuse! But that lip didn't turn into a cry so we were cool!

Here were my light sources: a sliding glass door and 2 windows.

"Read to me Mommy!"

The view outside..I know, I hate me too.

If any of the above concepts are foreign to you, no worries mon! Pick up the Mamatography Photo Basics and Beyond ebook to help you grasp photography fundamentals.

Happy Shooting, Vicky

Saturday, May 19, 2012

Sunrise Photo Session Lesson & Contest :: Showcase Your Mamatography

Happy Saturday Mamas! I took this shot this morning overlooking Panama City and thought, hmmm? I'd like to see what others see at sunrise! If you dare to wake up before your kids, I promise you it's kind've refreshing, then PLEASE SHARE your point of view at sunrise.


(This technique calls for shooting in Manual Mode-"M" on most camera models)

First, as with all shoots, set your cameras ISO. I recommend a low ISO i.e. 200 so that you do not have any visual "digital noise" or "grain". You want a nice smooth, sharp image.
Next, use a tripod!
When you are capturing a sunrise or later sunset you will likely want to use a photographic technique called a "long exposure". To do so, you must have a tripod to stabilized your camera so that shake is not visible, which occurs by hand holding your camera. A long exposure is when you adjust your camera settings to shoot at a long Shutter Speed.  With a fast shutter speed, you likely would have an image that is too dark (under exposed). This is because the shutter did not stay open long enough to capture what little natural/ambient light exists at these tranquil times of day. I recommend starting at a shutter speed of around 1" (that's 1 second).

After you've set your ISO, put your camera on the tripod and choose a long shutter speed, you'll have to follow your camera's internal light meter to guide you in choosing the correct aperture for this "exposure". Ideally, you'll want a very small aperture if you are shooting a land or cityscape as I was above. By using a small aperture, i.e. f11, f16 or "smaller" you'll retain the detail of all the subject matter in the frame giving you a professional touch! (Think Ansel Adams) Be sure to follow your light meeter while adjusting your aperture until you reach what looks like +/- 0.

Now that you know how to shoot a sunrise...Let's make it a contest! 
Here it goes:

First, Upload your Sunrise Shots to your Facebook, Flickr, Pinterest, etc. pages. Then share a link to your image by commenting below to this post with a short description of your location and technique for capturing your early morning images, plus your first name and last initial. If you have a blog where the image is posted, share that too!

Next, Follow this Blog by email (on the right of this page) to track other's submissions and stay afloat to the winner announcement which will be at random on June 1st. With the winner's permission, your image will be displayed on this blog with credit to you.

2-LIVE 1 hour Photography Webinars with a copy of the Mamatography Photo Basics & Beyond ebook!

I can't wait to see what you come up with!
Happy Shooting, Vicky

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Summer Shooting Tips Begin from Mamatography :: Photography Lessons for Moms

Here we are, back in the country where my little seed sprouted into a kicking, thriving, crying, playing, talking BOO BOO (thought I’d never say that one in public) to then be born back in the states.

Panama, Panama-a city of life, a country of bounty’s and beauty’s.
It’s good to be back! Finding these few minutes to write and post my shots has been a challenge but I made it down to the hotel bar, at 9am (sin Bacardi’s), to share what’s up with Mamatography.

Yesterday, after all my trips down here, I drove for the first time on my own with a toddler en tow. Not too bad. If you haven’t been to Panama City-COME DOWN HERE! It’s beautiful chaos, a Latin American gem.

I was determined to get out of the city to somewhere scenic and capture a few shots of Safi. So I thought of just the place, Costa del Este. I knew of a wide open park amongst the skyscraper condominiums that stretches for miles with hills and lush trees, and best of all, no sounds of horns as in the city parks.

It’s been a while since I took some actual portraits of Safi and at 17 months she’s changing like lightening, she’s becoming a little lady. (Though she could use an etiquette class or two.)
Architecture in Costa del Este

Now, down to business…
I’m anxious to share some quick tips for your summer travel shooting To Do List.

First of all- set your ISO low low low, WAY low when it’s sunny.

Shoot in Continuous mode rather than Single Shot mode. This is one of the first settings I cover in my Photo Basics classes. Whatever camera you’re shooting, this setting is usually a button on the camera body OR within the menu that looks like square pages stacked on top of each other. I don’t see what use single shooting would be to a mom or any candid photographer. If you want to catch moments as they happen, you must keep shooting, DON’T STOP until you get the shot you need. {Even if your husband is nagging you to call it quits!}

Next, time of day scheduling
As a mom, I’m sure you struggle with scheduling anything but nap and snack time if you have a little one. So, shooting at a particular place at a particular time of day isn’t always realistic. For this shoot it was 12 noon, the worst possible time for any shoot and I’ll always advise students to shoot in the morning or early evening-the “Magic Hours”.
This tactic was created for many reasons, one being the sun creates intense shadows as well as squinting will occur from your subjects mid day. In the Magic Hours, the sun produces a soft, warm glow that is visible in your photos-both in color and “exposure
To counter act this no no, I sought shade, common sense, right? Well try keeping a toddler posed under a tree for over a few seconds or from stumbling down a steep, cement staircase. Don’t try what I did at home, have a spotter!
Just a fun shot: "MOM, LOOK! Mystery muck!"

Over yonder.

DVF wedges for babies? Who knew?!

And she's on the MOVE!

Tip numero cinco: Correct and retouch lightly. Preserve your memories as they really happened, consider easing up on the presets and actions, just a thought.

Alright Mamas, enough information overload. Signing off from somewhere near the Equator!

Happy Shooting, Vicky & Safi

Monday, May 7, 2012


The time came this week for me to step up my game and connect with the Heavy-Mama Hitters of cyber space. So, I attended my first conference as a company, the MOM 2.0 Summit. The partakers of this event were seamless and un-catorgorized and yet everyone’s first question was "Are you a blogger?" ME: "No, but I think I want to be?" I get that to reach Mamatographers on a worldly scale I MUST blog. But where to begin with a (thankfully) busy local mentoring business, a new book in the works, my own photos always on the back burner and OH YEAH, that naggingly-adorable toddler living in my house. So in seeking clarity and direction I shamelessly pleaded with baby-daddy to splurge on, or shall we say invest in, a not to be missed event for any Mama-trepreneur. The event was 3 days of knowledge and sun absorbance in one of my fav South Florida destinations, Key Biscayne. I was fortunate that the summit was relatively in my own backyard but ironically I was one of just a few locals that I met.

Day 1 started with me playing hooky from my daily mom duties and checking in for the first time to the Ritz in Key Biscayne, about an hour south of my home. Ahhhhh an ocean view all to my self, long awaited! After frying like eggs do by the “adult pool” and drinking obnoxiously priced pina coladas, it was time to get to work, physically. Myself and a small hand full of early arrivers headed out on a HIKE (only 4 miles) to the lighthouse on the end of the key…what’s it called again? I was too busy chatting with new friends including Marlene-the "Bossy Cuban" and the sponsor of the hike, Dale from Storymark, a new photo app, to listen much to the tour guide..oops. 

The Storymark app really caught my attention. Though I can’t use it on my dinosaur of an iPhone 3G, I can use it on my iPad and I love the photos that awkward gadget takes.The scoop on this cool new tool is pretty amazing, especially the way Dale tells it.
Create movie files with pictures from your iPhone/Pad/Mac library and create a mobile slideshow with “Story”telling voiceovers from anyone. Their best example is the suggestion of interviewing an elderly family member.
Ask them for photos, sit with them and use your device to record the stories behind the photos at hand. Then later, scan the old photos to your photo library and utilize shots taken with your device as well by importing them into the app from your library. Simple! Genius!
It’s obvious how much heart was put into this product and I can’t wait to sit with my grandmother again and test out their memorable idea.

That night was the infamous "White Party". The Facebook page group for the Summit was on fire with "WHAT TO WEAR" controversy. I had an easy score, a $17 semi-trendy frock from my local Marshall's shhhh. Honda sponsored this first of 3 parties and DAMN IT I drank too much champagne to take a test drive, but I'm set on a new Odyssey anyway. I think I only shot one photo that night..oh, but I didn't shoot it, HA, that felt good. Conferences, "Summits" events galore was my gig in another life so it felt good to ditch the gear for a change just to mingle and ENJOY.

The next morning, still feeling the champagne, the MOM 2.0 Summit began. The day started with a social "Al Fresco" breakfast overlooking the blue ocean of Key Biscayne, can I get another Ahhhhhhhh?

The seminars rang in with high estrogen and we listened to stories of failure followed by huge success. I felt I could've used a little more instruction on there slogan "What's Next" like what's next in media, networking, etc. But in all fairness, I did dip out for a bit to sun on the sand BAD MAMATOGRAPHER!

The event continued in my absence because I had a very cool workshop Saturday on SoBe, great work Robyn!

Following, was the Mom-2 finale party at the one and only Versace Mansion! The BIG GIRL cam came out for this one, not an easy task in 4 inch heals.
Here's a look inside Mamas....
Versace's infamous 10,000 mosaics pool-

I squeezed back into my pre baby bandage dress for this one and it felt great! I was lucky to be joined by a great group of women for this memorable pose.
Shower for 6 anyone?

I ate dinner on this sexy couch!

I commend this Mama for braving it with a baby en tow!

The end of the night came in literally a blink! I think I heard sobs when our fearless Summit leader Laura Mayes made the announcement.

It was an evening that won't soon be forgotten and a conference I'll be attending for years to come.
Happy Shooting, Vicky