Archive: July 2011  |  View all recent posts

Sun. Jul 31, 2011 by Mary    The Latest

Sneak Peek: Sara & Justin

And now here's the sneak peek from our second wedding of the weekend: Sara & Justin's country club wedding!!

And we're off to brunch!

Sat. Jul 30, 2011 by Mary    The Latest

Sneak Peek: Becky & Roger

Here's a lil' sneak peek of our first wedding of the weekend: Becky & Roger's coastal Connecticut wedding!! And now we're off to north of Boston for wedding #2!

Fri. Jul 29, 2011 by Mary    The Latest

The J&M Just Gettin' Started Course

Announcing the J&M Just Gettin' Started Course!!

This 6 hr workshop will be take place at our home in CT on August 3rd and will cover everything from camera settings, flash, and basic concepts of lighting & posing to a photoshop demonstration on things like color correction, curves, levels, black point, and creating rich color and black & whites showing you exactly how we process our images. This is a day geared toward anyone who wants to learn how to use their camera better, so you do not have to be a professional photographer to attend. This workshop would be ideal for anyone from the photographer just getting started (hence the super creative name :) to the amateur who just wants to be able to take better pictures of their culinary creations, world travels, and/or kids! :) We're going to be breaking it down and bringing it back to basics with the sole goal of making those light bulbs moments go off. If you happen to have a photo enthusiast in your life, we like to think this would make the perfect gift! :)

Investment: $250. If you want to sign up, just fill out the shopping cart below

Thu. Jul 28, 2011 by Mary    Pancake Sessions

Pancake Session: Video Light & Getting Ready Details

Good Morning!

After the sneak peek we posted from Brigid & Josh's wedding, we got a lot of questions about how we're shooting our getting ready details. So....we thought we'd post it up here as a pancake session so everyone can see. In today's post, we're going to be focusing specifically on how the addition of a simple $29 LED video light can really take your detail shots to the next level.

The first thing I want to say before we go any further, is that whether it's all natural light or we're adding in some off camera/video light set ups, our goal is always to shoot our details with directional light. By that, I mean light that is coming in from a side and falling on the subject as we position ourselves at a spot that forms somewhere between a 90-120 degree angle. If that's hard to visualize, just imagine drawing a string from the light source to the subject and the subject to yourself. What kind of angle would that make? Like I said, our goal is almost always 90-120 degrees. Because what that does is create the optimum pattern of highlight and shadow (and therefore every gray point in between) and that gives the image all of that depth and dimension that we want.

A lot of the time, we are shooting our details using all natural, directional light. But more and more, we've been playing with the addition of a second light for more studio quality shots. On a whim a while back, we picked up this $29 video light mostly to use during dancing at receptions. But at some point, Justin started breaking it out during the getting ready portion of the day. And now we don't leave home without it. Here are three ways we've been using it.

1. As a fill for natural light

Like we said, most of the time our main light is natural window light. We set the subject up so that it's mostly facing us and the light is raking across it from the side. But sometimes, especially if what you're photographing is white, that can create too contrasty of a situation. So we can use the video light (which is daylight balanced) to create fill on the shadow side. But because we hold the video light at a bit of a distance (a couple of feet), it doesn't over power our main light and you still get that pattern of highlight and shadow while keeping it even enough not to lose detail in the shadow side. In this set up on the right below, a big bank of window light is coming in from the right creating our main light, and we held the video light on the left and from behind to create just a little kick.

**You may notice that the shot on the left has the window directly behind it. Shooting the perfume is about the only time we'll have the light coming in directly behind because it lights up the perfume and makes the logo easier to focus on.

2. As a fill for off camera light

If we have a rockin' pair of shoes or some jewelry that we want to go a little more dramatic with, we'll set up our off camera light either shooting through a white umbrella or a small soft box and use that as our main light. This creates that rich, dramatic look, but if you're shooting something darker (especially like Brigid's killer black shoes) then you can end up losing a lot of detail in the shadows. So for this shot on the right below, we used our off camera light as the main source coming in from the left, but brought the video light around from the back and to the right to kick a little around the edge of that shadow side. Again, because the video light is never going to overpower our flash, you still get that pattern of highlight and shadow but are able to keep detail in both. And if you want to see the effects of directional light in action, just look at how it makes every fold in that bow stand out.

3. And finally, as the main light.

This one is much more rare for us, but occasionally there will be a piece of jewelry worthy of a little extra dramatic lighting. Like Brigid's bracelet here. For this Justin held the video light mostly coming from above, but still off to the right to create that directional lighting. He exposed for the highlights, and because we wanted to simplify the background he was ok with some of the shadows going darker. But look at what the directional light does to each one of those pearls.

So, I hope that helps! Even if it's just because it gave you a really good excuse to go buy a new photo toy. And, as always, if you have any follow up questions feel free to leave them in the comments below.


Wed. Jul 27, 2011 by Mary    Life with J&M

Weather. Man.

If Justin were going to be anything else in this world, make no mistake about it he would be a weather man.

No wait, scratch that. Not just a weather man.....he would be the weather MAN.

I mean, I'm not talking Al Roker here. I'm talking Bill Paxton circa 1996 in Twister. Hanging out with Helen Hunt. Wearing white tank tops and red bandanas. Saying things like, I gotta go Julia, we got COWS!

He's already a legend in his own mind.

Yesterday as were hanging out at the beach, some storms clouds started to roll in. And right away, J jumped into action. Quick, do you have the Weather Channel app on your phone?

The what, now?

The WEATHER CHANNEL app, woman! Do you have it or don't you?

Oh totally. It's right here next to my app for the periodic table. Let me get that for you.

It was right about then that he started shouting out words like cumulus nimbus, cirrus stratus and shelf cloud. Then he grabbed my hand and pointed to a particularly dark cloud in the sky, and he yelled out they're known for producing level F4 tornadoes. As we ran to the car, two entire rain drops fell from the sky and landed on our windshield. Followed by a torrential downpour. Safe inside the car, he looked at me with a knowing Bill Paxton worthy wink and a smile. Saved your life.

Yes J, it's true. You are the weather MAN.

And on the plus side, at least we didn't hit any cows on our way home.

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