Thursday, September 27, 2012

Taking time off…Kay Graham Photography

I am taking a break from photography.  :(  We have had a rough time the last couple of years and it has taken it's toll on all of us.  We moved out here hoping for some great things to happen in our lives.  Room for the children to roam and enjoy what was left of their childhood because time goes by so quickly.  My oldest had just turned 14 when we moved in.  He is now almost 16.  Two years that could have been different.  We have managed to enjoy our time, but most of it is not at our home or this house.  Yes, I had a dream of building a studio after my kids moved out and we had more space and I had more time.  That was really last on my list.  What was important was ROOM!!!  I told my husband, "let's just do it!"  "Move!" "Sam is already 14 and Ryan will be there before we know it and we have been stuck in this neighborhood without anywhere for the boys to really get out and move and roam. They need to be free to just be boys!"  So we left our neighbors, who were wonderful, for some land for the kids to "roam."  Without going into detail, it has not been what we thought it would be.  We felt safer in the other neighborhood where there were break-ins occurring more and more often.  I honestly would turn back time and go to our old home if I could.  Sometimes you don't see what you have until it is no longer there.  We had great neighbors, that were our friends.  We did for each other, we borrowed butter from each other, we babysat and dog sat for each other.  We stood on the sidewalks or driveways and chatted for hours while our kids played. We hurt for each other when bad things happened in our lives.  We were there for each other.  Two things that are more important than possessions or any "room to roam" are relationships and peace of mind.  Since we have moved here, the best times we have had are when we invite our old friends and neighbors out here to visit.  So we have get togethers as often as possible for sanity and enjoyment.  We vacation for sanity and leave our home, that is more like just a house, for sanity and peace.  I wish I could explain what I am talking about so I don't sound nutty, but even if I could it is just too much.  I am going to step away from my work for now.  I will not be doing photography for awhile.  If I come back to it, I will let you know!  I cannot work due to some health/stress issues now and need to take time off to relax and get better. On a positive note, we have found a new church and Sam has made the Youth Ministry Band.  Ryan seems to be happy there, although he misses AWANAS a lot.  We miss it too, but we really like this church!  The preacher is great.  It has been a hard two years and I wish that time had not been stolen from us, but it is what it is and what you make of it and we are constantly trying to push aside the stress and focus on anything good and searching out fun, peaceful things elsewhere.  Please pray for our family and for things to get better.

Friday, June 29, 2012

Summer Concerts!


This summer has started out amazing!  I have had the great opportunity to see two amazing bands play here in the DFW area.  The first concert was Foster the People.  What a great performance.  The opening artists were Kimbra and then the Kooks.  Both were wonderful.  Kimbra has an amazing unique sound and entertains well.  The Kooks, to me, have a more traditional sound and are amazing.  I really enjoyed their music. When Mark Foster opens their act by energetically dancing his way on stage with the song "Miss You," you can't help but get to your feet.  Well, I couldn't.  That is one thing that astounded me. With as much energy and amazing songs that this band played, the majority of my section (upfront) remained seated.  It was a bit annoying to see them only stand at the end when the band's most radio played song, "Pumped Up Kicks" was performed.  It did appear that the rest of the audience was on their feet.  Their entire album (CD) is great.  One of my favorite's is Helena Beat.


Then my latest concert….Oh!!!!!! Coldplay.  That was truly amazing.  I cannot say enough about this concert.  Black lights, huge bouncing balls, confetti showering down on you like rain in florescent colors, and light up Xylo bands that made you become part of the show.  The atmosphere was incredible.  It was beautiful.  I had the best time.  I had such a good time that I went to the second show on Saturday as well.  Buying tickets at the last minute is very expensive, but I must say that this show was worth it.  My husband and I went the first night and my 15 year old son and I went the second night.  Chris Martin and the band played a song in the audience and then ran back to the stage and finished up with "Fix You," (one of my favorites) and "Every Teardrop is a Waterfall."  I had to sneak my camera in the second night to videotape some of it.  It would have been nice to have a monopod, but I think I would have had to pretend it was my cane and hopefully I'm not old enough for that to pass.  :)  I need a MEDIA/PRESS PASS!!!!! Their opening shows were pretty good.  Wolf Gang was really pretty good.  I had not heard them before.  I had also not heard of Robyn, who was their second act.  I did hear a lot of mixed opinions about her in the bathroom.  Some loved her, some just thought she was weird.  I must say that I enjoyed her performance.  She was British, she was unique and yes, a little strange, but so are most musicians.  She reminded me of a late 80's early 90's techno band.  She had a great voice and gave a great performance with TONS of energy.  If you haven't been to this concert, you might think of traveling to see it before the tour is over.  It is like no other.  Just amazing.  What a high you feel even through the days afterwards.   I have some video on my blog of the concert.


Thursday, June 7, 2012

Photographing Newborns

Photographing newborns can be great fun or can be a tiresome workout.  Most of the time it is a little bit of both, even when it goes smoothly.  It is however, one of my favorite shoots next to a Bridal.  There are several things to keep in mind for your newborn session that I have learned mainly through experience.  First is safety.  This should be your main priority.  Next is the room temperature.  Newborns still have a hard time regulating their own body temperature.  Then there is trying to be creative and maneuver the baby while keeping them asleep or happy.  When photographing newborns, I usually keep mom or dad right at newborns side and have them remove a hand before I shoot.  I have a lot of nice soft blankets and a vibrating almost flat device for them to lay on.  If I can get mom to nurse, feed or slip in pacifier, they will usually fall asleep before laid down.  You can also lay them down with pacifier and pat back on the surface that you are about to use.  I play very soft soothing music.  I also heat the room where they are comfortable, but we may be sweating a bit.  During the winter months, I do this with just upping the temp a bit and using a couple of space heaters.  When parents come in with lots of props that I am not prepared to use, it sometimes throws me off a bit, but we work them in.  I usually can do what they are looking for with what I have available.  I pick props that are safe and use tables that are safe.  I never allow baby to be more than an arms length from mom or dad.  You do not want a newborn to fall just to use some cutesy prop.  Safety first.  Get a classic standard picture first and then work from there on extras.  The baby can only handle so much maneuvering before they become fussy and just want to be left alone.  So the less moving the better.  Pick 3 or 4 set ups after your simple first pose.  It is best to capture these sleeping, calm pictures within the first two weeks.  After that they are sleeping less and ready to go!  One of my favorite poses is the baby asleep on inside of dad's forearm with no clothes.  Besides having an accident or two it is an easier pose to do.  Dad gets baby to sleep while holding the baby (maybe with mom's help:), then simply turns baby around to rest on forearm.  If doing naked shots have plenty of blankets to rotate through, especially with boys.  Another two favorite poses are baby bare on daddy's bare chest or head on mom's shoulder with mom's back towards camera, with full view of baby's face and side profile of mom. 

Monday, June 4, 2012

Do you need a scrim? Yes!





WESTCOTT SCRIMS
Lens Flare

Scrim held to the right before sunset.

Little left on boys hand, but over all even lighting.
Do you need a scrim when doing outdoor photography?  It is very important to pay attention to those little spots of light coming through tree branches onto your clients clothes and faces.  Sometimes it's nice when you capture it just enough from behind and to the side to make a nice hair light. It looks even nicer if that light is diffused with a scrim.  Some think that they can simply turn on that flash and get rid of those spots.  A flash might brighten your subject and make those sun spots a little less noticeable (sometimes) BUT they are ALWAYS STILL THERE.  If you are just taking fun candid photos and not looking for a portrait, then have fun and I wouldn't carry a scrim around.  Sunlight coming through trees can create a beautiful effect as well.  You can have a nice lens flare.  Lens flare is when non-image forming light enters the lens and hits the digital sensor.  This can and often does lower the contrast and details of the picture.  It can be a beautiful effect though.  You can reduce lens flare with a lens hood as well. I will post an example of lens flare. I am posting an example of a family portrait taken using a scrim at a beautiful time of day when the sun was soft and not high in the sky .  But if you are shooting midday and have that hard light beating down on your subject, then a scrim of some sort is absolutely necessary. And don't be afraid to shoot on an over cast day!  Those clouds are just a big scrim.  You can always add some warmth to your photos later if needed. Westcott has many scrims and sizes to choose from.

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

End of the School Year

Yay!  We are almost there.  This is the last week of school for us.  My oldest has made a huge adjustment being home schooled (not really by choice), and has done well.  My little one has made a little progress in his writing skills and has accelerated at reading and mathematics!  I am so proud of both of them.  We have all been through so much the past two years.  My nephew lived with us and then back with his mom.  We miss him. My mom found out she had breast cancer for the second time and had a double mastectomy.  We sold our home and had to find a new one quickly.  So quickly that we didn't see the warning signs of issues to come with this neighborhood (or the one behind us). My dad's alzheimers disease worsened and he had to be moved to a nursing home.  Then, he died last month.  I never really knew him.  I met him when I was 28 and he already had dementia by then.  I did visit and tried to help him and get to know him through the years.  I just hope I see him again someday in a healthy body with a healthy mind and he truly sees me then.  My friend from college lost her 15 year old daughter to Diabetes.  Same age as my son.  Makes you realize how short and precious life is.  Another friend from college, Robert, had a heart attack and died a few months ago.  Made me realize that I need to take the time to see people and visit while they are here and I am here.  Life again, is too short.   This picture is of my dad and me.

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Friends and Family

I attended a few different colleges, but the best and my favorite by far was McMurry University in Abilene, TX.  I was born and raised in Abilene.  My whole family is there.  My main goal in life growing up was to go some place other than Abilene and do something huge.  As you get older, your ideas of what is important sometimes change.  I live in the Dallas area.  I have lived briefly in Fort Worth, Austin and New Mexico.  I have lived in the busy parts of Dallas and I now live out in the country, where life is a bit more quiet and slower paced.  I visit my family in Abilene as often as possible.  I have become reacquainted with some friends from college that still live in Abilene.  If my husband could make even half of what he makes here, I would love to move back to Abilene.  My business is becoming more established here in the Mesquite, Forney, Rockwall, Rowllett and Garland areas.  It would be hard for me to start over in Abilene as well.  I miss my family and I have recently forcibly been made aware how important it is to keep in touch with friends.  Life is short.  You need your family.  You need your friends.  I had a friend from college pass away last weekend.  He was a great guy.  I am not sure why I did not contact him when I went to visit.  I spoke with him occasionally on Facebook.  I kept up with his life through his posts.  He did so much for me and was there for me, when no one else was.  Not even my family.  I had a bad boyfriend, a crazy roommate, a uninvolved mother, and an unorganized sometimes self-inflicted hard life.  He took up for me with the bad boyfriend and the crazy roommate.  He drove to Dallas to pick me up when my car hard broken down.  He had to actually leave his shift at the news station for that.  He let me sleep on his couch and allowed my two dogs to live in his house as well for almost a month, when I had nowhere to go.  One time, I had not had time to watch and analyze the full movie that I was supposed to lead a discussion over for Film in Society (or Film Appreciation) class.  I think it was Easy Rider.  He knew I had not.  He was in the class with me.  I briefly started out the discussion and it was weak.  He picked up the pace and kept saying things and making it sound like it was coming from me.  Almost everything that was discussed was from him.  He led me in to each question with an answer already given.  He was brilliant.  At the end of the class the professor, who was really hard, thanked me and told me that was a great discussion.  I had no idea really what had just taken place.  But he had yet again, saved me.  He was like this for so many people.  He was kind and had a huge heart.  He was a good guy.  I will miss him greatly and regret that I did not see him before he died.  He had a dog named Katie that he had adopted at a shelter at 3 months.  She was his life and spoiled rotten.  She went to work with him at the News Station and she went everywhere else with him as well.  She never left his side.  She needed a home after Robert died.  I already had TOO MANY dogs, but I knew I had to take her.  She is the newest member of our family. She mourned for him. She waited at the front door.  She cried in the middle of the night.  But she is getting better and is definitely feeling more at home.  She is playful and licks us all over the face.  She is getting a long with the other dogs as well.  Our Golden Retriever is quite fond of her.  I felt like I needed to do this for Robert the day I found out that he had died.  I went to his funeral last week in Abilene.  That is a terrible way to see your friend that you have not seen in years.  I had tell him goodbye after he was already gone.  I suggest not waiting that long.  Friends are important, take the time to care.  I have his precious Katie though and I will love her and do this for him.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Back To Work!

We had a wonderful week of relaxing on a cruise, seeing the Mayan Ruins near Progresso, and swimming in crystal clear water in Cozumel.  The entertainment on the ship was excellent.  Last cruise-not so much.  We had Mutzie from New Orleans as our Cruise Comedian and Keven and Caruso from Las Vegas for an incredible Magic Show.  The weather was wonderful, our kids got along (for the most part), and we escaped the craziness of our lives for a brief moment.  We are back and that means back to work and back to school!  I am going to finish this year doing photography, but at a slower pace.  I will not advertise as much.  I am going to start sports photography out here in Forney instead of just the Mesquite area.  I am looking forward to that.  My team sports has picked up a lot in Mesquite in the last two years.  Mainly soccer, but some football and basketball as well.  My CURRENT SPECIAL that you might want to pass along is a good one and I have 3 spots left. Family/Individual Photo Sessions at the Arboretum in February and March. Free Admission up to 4 people. 11x14 and CD of 10 edited images. $150. 8x10 and 5 edited images $100. 4 dates available. Contact me for details and to set up an appointment!  Kristi@kaygrahamphotography.com  http://www.kaygrahamphotography.com/