New Manual Workshop is Open for Registration! February meeting details and January Wrap-up Notes…

Hello Mamas!

I hope you are having a terrific month and that you’re all out shooting your landscape assignment in this beautiful weather!

Save the date for February’s open meeting!

Mark your calendars, our February meeting is happening on Monday, February 28th at 6:30pm at Studio R! Our speaker will be our very own Judith Fernstrom, check out her awesome blog and website! She’ll be continuing our discussion on composition and how to apply compositional rules and techniques to child and family portraiture. This month’s meeting will be run by our fearless Nikonista, Wenmei Hill!

Mamas With Cameras Level 2 Workshop: Shooting in Manual” is now officially open for registration!

Wenmei and I are excited to announce our latest edition to our workshop series, “Mamas With Cameras Workshop Level 2: Shooting in Manual” premiering on Sunday, March 6th, the day after our introductory workshop! Lots of Mamas have been asking for a follow-on workshop and we are excited to get our mamas together again! It will be a fun-filled afternoon, with hands on exercises and handouts that will get you shooting confidently in Manual Mode!

And for those of you who might have friends with newborns at this time, we will be looking for a couple of live models!

For more information, go to the Eventbrite Registration site. If that weekend doesn’t work out, stay subscribed to the blog for notices about upcoming workshops in late summer/early fall.

Reminder for February Assignment:

Inspired by Natalie Fobes’ incredible landscape images as she discussed composition, this month’s assignment was to try your hand at photographing a landscape (urban or rural), using some of the compositional tools from Natalie’s presentation. You can choose to include your child as part of the landscape photo, it’s up to you!

JANUARY WRAP-UP: Notes from Natalie Fobes’ presentation

Last month, we were treated to a presentation on composition by the incredibly talented National Geographic photographer, Natalie Fobes. I only wish I could license all of the beautiful images she had in her powerpoint to post up on the blog so those of you who weren’t there could see the incredible pics she shared!!

Natalie shoots for a broad range of clientele, including stock photography, editorial for just about every magazine you can think of including National Geographic, documentary photography, portraits & weddings, and corporate clients.

She’s traveled by dogsled, horseback, boat, and has spent weeks living in very hard conditions (eg. eating just bread for 2 weeks!) to do her assignments. She loves to do landscape photography and to add people into the landscape.

The basics of landscape photography are research, composition and light.

Myth=you show up and photos magically appear in front of you.

Reality=it takes research and asking the right questions. When is the light going to be most favorable? She likes to look at postcards of landscapes for inspiration.

-Elements of great photos are: subject, composition, color or texture, light, and the decisive moment of the picture (esp with family & wildlife)

-Composition is your vision and interpretation of the subject using lines and texture.

-The rule of thirds:

The first compositional rule you learn, and the first thing to break as well. If you divide your frame into a grid of nine squares, the rule of thirds states that the points at which the grid intersects will be where the eye is naturally drawn, and where there’s the most visual interest

-“Leading lines”

Lines in your image that lead your viewer through the story of the image.

Diagonal leading lines take your eye through the frame, and are good for portraiture.

S curves are another line that can take you through, you can create these with shadows for example.

-Isolating the subject in the foreground with a shallow depth of field is another technique.

-Repeating shapes create visual interest, like leaves in a pattern, or stones

Looking for Light

Photography is poetry with light. There are different kinds of light: sunset, after sunset, before sunrise- always be looking for the available light!

Create your own light

Natalie uses fill flash, strobes, reflectors, napkins, pavement, car windows, sleeping bags- all to bounce light onto her subject.

-Light conveys a message: harsh light creates a somber/serious image.

-She recommends using the on-camera shoe mount flash, and dialing it down to allow a whisper of light. Mix in fill light with ambient light and always expose for ambient light.

The people perspective

Is your image a portrait of a person/people or of the landscape? People can add perspective to landscape and give scale and interest.

Natalie has a home studio out of her Seattle home. To photograph people, she shoots wide (20mm) or tight, and keeps it simple. It is about getting people into the right position and then letting the moment happen. She uses a 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom for her portraiture.

When you have directional light, use it as a frame. Put it behind your subject or play with shadows.

Other tips from the open Q&A:

-she uses Dynalights for her studio lights

-does a lot of available light with some added lights

-She does 90% of her post-processing in lightroom

-for her portrait work, she uses pro-select

-she does her prints at WHCC (White House Custom Color)

-for local printing she uses Capital Hill 60 minute photo on 12th or Ritz camea

-she never uses auto WB, for outside work, she always uses “cloudy”

I’ll miss seeing you all this month but I know you’re in great hands! Can’t wait to catch up with you all in March!

Happy shooting everyone!



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