Monday, January 31, 2011

A Blog About Pee {New Braunfels Baby Photography}

Baby Matt
Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
Today I sat down to blog about the fun shoots I did this weekend. I had a blast with a 10-year-old girl on her way to stardom. I got some really cool pin-up style images of a beautiful lady in a chef's hat. Did some more Valentine's boudoir, and, finally, got some priceless images of a teeny tiny newborn boy -- see him in the photo above. Isn't he a gem!

So what will the topic of this blog be? Pee. You see, pee is a fact of life for baby photographers. Babies pee. A lot. And if you're lucky, that's all they do. I've never been particularly lucky, so I've had my share of baby poop as well. I shot one session a few months ago where I brought along three backdrops, some fun tulle to wrap baby in, some fluffy blankets and a beanbag. That baby boy systematically peed (and worse) on every single backdrop and prop I brought. I did a lot of laundry that night.

Baby Matt here was an exception. Oh no, he peed as well. But for the first time ever, he didn't get me! He got mom. He got dad. He got his brand new super soft baby blanket embroidered with "I Love Mom." He got diaper after diaper wet. But he didn't get me or my brand new shaggy rug or my brand new super soft brown blanket. Or my backdrop. He tooted once on my blanket as he lifted his eyelid at me and grimaced. A fair warning, I took it. He was showing me he had the power and I thanked him for his polite reminder. But not a drop of pee on my stuff! It was a pleasant surprise. There are typically a few givens I've learned to take when shooting newborns. 1: expect to spend a couple hours minimum because it takes time to get baby to sleep exactly where and when you want him, 2: have warm hands, and 3: expect to do lots of laundry afterward.

So thank you Baby Matt, for that pleasant surprise. And that'll do it for my blog about pee.

Monday, January 24, 2011

On Birthdays and Fairies

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
Fairies live in our backyard. I'm sure of it. I have not seen one, but I have it on good authority that they are in fact back there. Six excited 9 and 10-year-old girls told me about them.

This past weekend I experienced the joy of the pre-adolescent girl slumber party. My baby girl turned 10. I can't believe it. We teased her all week with "I can't believe my baby is 8." She'd reply "I'm not 8 mom, I'm 10." Only to be annoyed with me later when I said "It seems like just yesterday you were born and now you're 9." Followed by "I'm not 9 mom, I'm 10." Eventually we broke down and admitted to her that she was in fact 10. We even put 10 candles on her cookie cake. But it really doesn't seem like it. It seems like she was just a baby in the sling -- attached to me at every moment. But it also feels like she's always been in my life. I can't imagine it without her.

Which brings us to fairies. It's all about fairies now. She made a fairy house and put it in the back yard last fall. She would leave little treats for the fairies and they would take her treats and leave her little notes. They even left her a little bracelet made of tiny little stones for Christmas. She wears it every day. But until Saturday night, they eluded her when she tried to find them. It took a gang of giggling, pajama-clad girls armed with neon glow sticks to finally uncover the fairies so she could see them with her own eyes.

The squeals of delight were heard all through the neighborhood as first one, then two, then three or four of the winged sprites revealed themselves to the girls. I know it was a night that none of them will forget. Before long, grown-ups will try to tell them that they did not see fairies, but perhaps a moth, a dragon fly, or a grasshopper. Eventually, they may start to believe the naysayers. Eventually they may come to believe that there are not fairies living in our backyard. But, I for one, am hoping that at least my little girl will continue to believe in what she saw.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Imaging USA Recap: {New Braunfels Photography}

What do you do when your brain is so full of ideas that they're overflowing your head and coming out your pores!? You don't get much sleep, that's one thing.

Today is a return to normalcy for me. I've been massively cramming information and ideas into my head for 6 straight days and it's starting to hurt my head a bit, but I'm really excited about it at the same time. I attended the annual PPA (the Professional Photographers of America) Imaging USA convention just down the road in San Antonio over the weekend.

I don't have any photos to share with you today, because I haven't touched my camera in a week. I didn't go the photography conference to take photos.

The first three days of the conference I attended special classes for CPP (certified professional photographer) candidates. Remember when I blogged about declaring my candidacy for that a few months ago? Okay, both of you who actually read my blog on a regular basis. So anyway, for three solid days I sat in a classroom and crammed an entire semesters worth of photography study into my brain. Most of it was review for me, but it was review that I needed if I had any hope of passing this highly technical exam. You see, photography is more than just pointing your camera as something and pushing a button. There's so much more at play there: angles of view, magnification, light ratios, apertures, shutter speed, composition, inverse square law, Bellows factors, the way the colors relate to each and create the images we see, etc etc. Not to mention the fact that I'm expected to know both the basics of film and print production as well as digital production. Geez!

So in order to cram all this information into my brain, some stuff had to go. How to do a load of laundry -- that was pushed out. How to fix myself lunch -- pushed out. How to sign a report card and send my child off to school with clean hair and teeth -- that got pushed out too. Thank God Jayme was able to take some time off work to play Mr. Mom for a few days.

So after that class I attended sessions about off camera lighting, studied, attended classes about marketing, studied, watched demos on posing, studied, saw presentations on wedding photography, family photography, infants and tiny baby photography, seniors, and glamour, and then I studied some more. I took the test on Tuesday. Don't ask me how I did. I think I passed. I won't know for at least a couple of months. But even if I didn't pass, there's so much more I gained from the past 6 days and I can always just take it again in a few months. No biggie. I'm done stressing about it.

Time to pick the camera up again and get back to what I really love to do.

I'm letting go of the stress in my head to make room once again for that laundry. And I gotta eat some time. My kids still have school projects they need help with, my daughter's birthday slumber party to plan, a few sessions on the calendar to put together as well as some weddings to book. And there's an awful smell coming from somewhere in the garage that I must track down and put a stop to. I got enough on my plate.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Picture this {New Braunfels Photographer}

Howdy folks! It's Jayme here. Since Lisa's away this weekend at the big ImagingUSA photography conference put on by Professional Photographers of America, I thought I'd take the opportunity to share with you some of the fun things we get to do here that aren't directly wedding or portrait related.

Occasionally, Lisa and myself get inquiries from aspiring models desiring edgy, creative and attractive photos to add to their portfolio. These glamour photography sessions are always fun, because as a photographer, we're allowed to experiment in interesting ways. A while back, I worked with a male model who needed some new shots to freshen up his portfolio. After a number of traditional head shots and poses, inspiration suddenly struck me. "Lay down on the grass," I said, "and hold your hand up toward me like this." A little dubious, he went along with my odd request. To be completely honest, I wasn't entirely sure what I had in mind would work, but nothing ventured nothing gained, right? Here's the final result:

There's a reason Lisa and I don't do this type of photo composite often--it's incredibly time consuming. I used half a dozen different image to piece this together, building each of the individual photo "prints" in Photoshop before layering them into the final image. I also created shadows to give the scattered images the illusion of depth, and went so far as to cut out actual size paper squares so I could try different arrangements and strike the perfect aesthetic balance. Crazy, I know.

I've since learned a variety of tricks and shortcuts that would dramatically cut down on the hours needed to recreate an image like this. But getting there is half the fun, especially if you do so without a road map!

Monday, January 10, 2011

I confess. My name is Lisa and I am a kleptomaniac.

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
I admit it. Every single wedding I shoot, I steal something. I am a person who according to Wikipedia has "an irresistible urge to steal items of trivial value." My only weakness: the little souvenirs engraved with the couple's name and wedding date. You've seen them when you attend weddings. They're keepsakes for the guests to take home and remember the special day.

I've snagged koozies, shot glasses, little bubble containers, little boxes of mints, keychains, napkins, pens. I have an impressive collection. Each one brings back memories of a special couple and a beautiful day.

My most recent addition is a koozie that says "To have and to hold and keep your drink cold." How adorable is that! That was from Erin and Clifton's wedding. Erin is the gorgeous and fun bride in the photo I'm sharing today. The koozies were so cute -- how could I not snag one for myself?

When I finally get my studio set up I'm thinking of getting a display cabinet to show off all my little treasures.

I think my favorite is the little key chain with the little tiny cowboy boot next to a little tiny clog. The couple was a Texas girl and a Dutchman. But then I also really love the shot glass that says "I got smashed at Laura and John's wedding."

Sometimes the souvenirs are edible. In that case I have to eat the chocolate, but save the wrapper. We wouldn't want it getting old and going to waste. I must preserve the integrity of my stash and prevent old icky candy from contaminating my koozies.

I must confess I feel a little silly sometimes -- being sneaky about snagging them. I would never take one if it appeared they would be short and not have enough for all the guests. But I'm considering writing it up in my contract. Line 5 section 3 "All clients must surrender a souvenir bubble bottle or its equivalent to photographer upon request."

Until then I'll continue my crime spree.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A Tradition in the Making {New Braunfels Photographer}

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
Valentine's Day is a little bit more than a month away and, traditionally, it's been a day for men to buy roses and chocolates for their sweethearts. You can't really give a guy flowers and he would never really appreciate the value of a good box of chocolates, other than taking a bite out of each one and putting them back -- except the caramel, which would end up in their stomach.

I once gave my husband an office chair for Valentine's Day. Usually I give him books or something boring and forgettable.

However, recently the trend in Valentine's Day gifts for guys is right up my alley. More and more women are stripping down to their skivvies and posing for private yet tasteful images of themselves to give to their hubby. Normal women. We're not talking supermodels or 20-year-olds. Mothers, grandmothers, teachers, doctors, PTA volunteers, and even Pastors wives are opting for boudoir photography, not just to give to their spouses, but to feel good about themselves as well.

Advances in Photoshop mean it's easier than ever to remove blemishes, hide flaws, and make anyone look like a cover model for Cosmo. Creative posing techniques can disguise areas that make a woman feel self-conscious and bring out the beauty and confidence every woman deserves.

I'm hoping to put together a day of fun for a handful of ladies ready to jump on this opportunity -- I have room for just a few of you. We'll do it January 23 at a location to be announced to the few who book their day of fun. We'll have a stylist on hand to help you with make-up. We'll have chocolate, wine and music.

E-mail me if you're interested in taking part in what's surely to be a Lisa on Location annual Valentine's tradition.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Welcome in the new year, but cherish the old {New Braunfels Photography}

New Years
Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
Another new year is upon us, time for me to sit and reflect upon the last year. Lisa on Location is in a wonderful spot. I'm busy enough to allow me the freedom to have some time that I'm not so busy. I've taken the past week off work and used the time to sit around with the family, hang out, go to museums, watch movies, attend a bowl game, stuff myself with food, and play with my kids.

One of the family activities we enjoyed was a visit to my husband's grandparents. I consider my husband extremely lucky because both his grandmothers are still alive (actually three of his grandmothers are still alive if you count his birth grandmother -- he was adopted). I lost all mine as a teenager and young adult.

Taking a step into the homes they've lived in for many years is like stepping back in time. My husband tells stories of hidden cabinets full of toys (still there full of the same old toys), sleepovers, many many Christmas dinners and lots of cousins to play with. The furniture and decor in these houses are frozen in time. The same lamps, the same end tables, the same tree trunk slice clock, the same photos on the walls -- all frozen in time circa 1960s and 70s. The only thing that's changed is the little ladies who occupy these homes, now older and frailer than ever before.

The new years keep coming. There's no stopping them. And if we're lucky, we'll be like my husband's grandmothers, watching them roll by, watching our grandchildren grow up and have children of their own. If we're lucky, they'll keep coming back to the home we built, keep bringing their children in to play with the toys they once played with.

The photo I'm sharing today was taken at my husband's grandmother's ranch in Nordheim, Texas -- population 323. Most people would look at the old ranch with weathered fences and half a dozen old buildings (former greenhouse, former dairy, former chicken coop, etc) and keep on driving. My children see it as endless exploring possibilities and way cooler than our suburbs.

My hope for the new year is peace, love, prosperity, good fortune and all that other stuff. But I'm also hoping for more frequent returns to the old. Because we cherish the past as much as the future.