Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Must be Willing to Get Dirty {New Braunfels Photography}

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
Today I thought I'd share a photo of a couple of my favorite kiddos. This was one of my Christmas card sessions. By now my clients are starting to figure a few things out about me. One of those little things is that I don't tend to stay on the pavement. Present me with a manicured lawn or park and I usually tend to go out into the edges, where the grass is not mowed and the flower beds are not maintained. Meet me at a lovely little quaint setting and I'll probably drag you out and down the hill where the wild things are. I've started wearing boots to my sessions whereas I used to wear sandals. Getting my toes bit by fire ants and poked by sticks has taught me to expect the rough and tumble. The rough and tumble, as it turns out, is where all the best shots are.

I've started beginning many of my sessions with the phrase "is it okay to sit on the ground in that outfit." In family sessions I make a mental note of which people are ground people, which are knee people, and which are standers. I take note of who's wearing sandals, who's wearing white slacks and who's afraid of snakes. All these things play a part in deciding how to proceed with the session.

Brides are always the most particular about cleanliness. At least before the wedding. Once those vows are exchanged there's an immediate change in the stress level of keeping that dress clean. That's when the best images are captured.

The children of my sessions love my untamed set-ups. I tell them we're going exploring and that they are adventurers. They giggle with excitement as they traipse into the long grass with their Sunday best on.

Life is not clean and neat and tidy. Portraits about life are not either. But if they must be, Photoshop is excellent at removing stains. Now, who wants to take a walk in the woods?

Sunday, November 28, 2010

And so the season begins {New Braunfels Photographer}

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
I'm taking a deep cleansing breath now. It seems the big Christmas card rush is subsiding. Most families have had their session, ordered their cards and prints and are now working on getting those cards out before the end of the year. I can take a bit of a breather.

The photo I'm sharing today was taken on Thanksgiving morning. It's one of the few times this family could get everyone together so I didn't mind shooting it on a holiday. Plus I really like this family! They're a lot of fun so it's not like it really feels like working.

I also had a chance this Thanksgiving weekend to chill out and catch up on quality time with my own family. I ate until my pants got tight and didn't feel guilty. I love this time of year. I love shopping for my loved ones. I love getting presents. I love eating. Notice how I didn't say cooking or baking, but eating. I'm an expert cookie taster. When my mom used to bake Christmas cookies for all the parties we went to growing up she would let me eat the ones that broke while I scraped them off the cookie sheet. I managed to break a lot of cookies back then.

We managed to get the tree up this weekend as well. I moved the pumpkins off the front porch where they'd attached themselves to the pavement in a moldy, sticky way and scraped the remains of the jack-o-lantern from the sidewalk. The Christmas lights are going up on the eaves -- the ones that were actually taken down from last year that is. It's always a nice surprise to find that some areas still have their 2009 decorations up.

Now I'm enjoying a nice cappuccino while I listen to the sounds of children squabbling over toys in the living room. Not to worry. I have Santa on speed dial and I'm not afraid to text him any time of day or night. It's the trump card when it comes to empty mommy threats. I love this time of year.

Here's to a pleasant holiday season.

Monday, November 22, 2010

I'm Thankful for .... You!

Christmas Cards
Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
Thank you! It's the time of year for us to give thanks but that's not why I'm writing this blog -- I'd be writing it no matter what time of year it were. I'm taking a break after an extremely busy weekend to write a little thank you note to you. My friends. My family. My blog readers. My clients. Thank you for supporting me in my dreams to run my own business and be successful. I could not have done it and not continue to do it without you.

Most of you know I retired from the world of journalism and photojournalism roughly 11 years ago to stay at home with my babies and be a full time mommy to them. It was a tough choice to make, but one that I've never regretted. I picked up the camera again two years ago with the intent of going at this full time once my little boy starts kindergarten next fall. The response I've received lately has been overwhelming. My weekends are filling up with sessions faster than I ever thought they would and I recently expanded to weekday sessions to allow me to make time for everyone who wanted a session. Thank you. I can't thank you enough for referring me to your friends and for trusting me to photograph your family. I know it's a huge honor. Whether it's been to photograph your wedding, your pregnancy, your babies, your event or your family -- it's an honor and a responsibility that I don't take lightly.

Much of the business side of Lisa on Location has been learn as I go. I have developed friendships with many photographers who I admire and have taught me a lot. If you are one of those -- thank you. I've met with some of the most brilliant marketing and business experts in the field and am amazed at how much I still have to learn -- although I feel I've learned so much already. If you are one of them -- thank you.

I'd especially like to thank my husband who has taken up the slack for me playing the mommy and daddy roles when I was buried deep in mountains of work. I'd like to thank my children for their patience with me and for understanding that mommy has dreams to fulfill too. Their maturity in supporting Lisa on Location has filled me with pride. I'd like to thank my friends and my family for helping me with childcare -- you know who you are.

But mostly I'd like to thank YOU. Every time you allow me to photograph your family you are helping me achieve my dreams. Every time you pass out my card or my website address to your friends you are helping me achieve my dreams as well. I couldn't do this without you. From the bottom or my heart, I thank you.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

I love my camera {New Braunfels Photography}

ISO demo
Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
Have I mentioned lately how much I love my Canon 5D Mark ii? Well I do. I want to draw silly doodles on my notebook "I *heart* my camera" and "Lisa plus Mark ii = luv 4/ever."

I love it when I shoot a wedding or event and the videographer drools over my equipment. I love it when I bring it along to my kid's school functions and people move out of my way and part the crowds. "Let her through, she's a professional." They'll say. Yes, I *heart* my camera!

I thought I'd make a little demo photo to show some of my students in class when we talk about ISO and camera quality. And I'll admit, my demo photo loses a lot of it's impact when shrunk down to web size and put in the blogger. But it's really amazing to me and will be amazing to the students who can get up close and really look at it. Go ahead and click on it and bring it up to your full screen.

I dusted off Jayme's old Rebel XTi with it's crop body and 10.1 megapixels to shoot a little demo. It's a good camera. A large percentage of my students use this camera or one of equal quality. I like this camera for what it's worth. I also pulled out my little baby -- the Canon 5D Mark ii with it's full frame sensor and it's 21.1 megapixels. To be fair I used the same lens in both shots -- the nifty 50 (50 mm, f1.8), and the same settings -- ISO 1600, F1.8, 1/320. I didn't feel like setting up an elaborate shot so I just used the window for lighting and shot the centerpiece on my table. It's a bowl full of fall ornamentals arranged so delicately by my 9-year-old. It's not an ideal set-up, but it'll work.

The top is the shot taken with the Rebel -- I enlarged a piece of the center and slapped at the top left corner so you can check out the noise in the image. The bottom I did the same with my 5D. The first thing you'll notice is the colors. The colors from the 5D are so much richer and vibrant. The second thing you'll notice is the noise. The fact that there's pretty much the lack of any noise in the image taken with the 5D while there's quite a bit of it in the Rebel image.

Canon has made a lot of improvements in the Rebel line since this camera. Among others, the T2i is making lots of waves in the camera world right now. This newest model has 18 MP -- still in a crop body camera, but much better noise reduction in higher ISO settings. A lot of my students are starting to come in with these later generations of Rebels and I'm very impressed with their abilities.

Before long, they'll make a camera that will steal my heart away from the Mark ii. I'm mature enough to admit it's not a forever love affair. But no matter what the future of the camera industry brings, Mark ii will hold a special place in my heart. What was that I just heard -- a Mark iii is coming out next year. Hmmm.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

A word or two (or 200) about family: {New Braunfels Photographer}

Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
I had a rare honor on Saturday. I was able to photograph two different families in two very different stages of their lives. The similarities between these two families was amazing -- love, happiness, togetherness, a little sibling rivalry and horsing around. And the differences were vast as well -- like say a few decades vast.

The first family was this young family in the image I'm sharing. They are so excited about adding a son to the family that already includes them and their darling little girl. Mom is due in just a few weeks and they can't wait to meet him. The other family I photographed included mom and dad celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary and their three grown children -- all in their 50s.

Like I said, these families had so much in common, mainly love. It was easy for me to picture the mature family 50 years ago. Mom and dad probably had their hands full with three children. The world was a different place back then. But the family unit was the same. A group of people tied together by relation, a blood bond or an adoption and love. It was also easy for me to imagine the young family in 50 years. The memories of this photo session preserved forever in prints. What kind of adults will these babies be in 50 years. What will they do with their lives, laid out before them.

As I write this I stare at a photo of my own family. Three beautiful children and their parents -- that would be me and Jayme. We aren't the young family I photographed Saturday morning, and we aren't the older family I photographed Saturday afternoon. We fall somewhere in the middle. My children are no longer tiny babies, but I still have my hands full. We squabble and fight but we love each and take care of one another.

I am thankful for family. Not just my own, but yours as well. Families are what keep us human. They drive us crazy, they annoy us, but they also hold us together and support us. Happy Thanksgiving to all my families and yours!

Monday, November 15, 2010

What exactly is Huzzah anyway? A weekend at the Renaissance Festival.

Renaissance Festival
Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
Almost 16 years ago I had my last first date ever. I went with the man that would later be my husband to Scarburough Fair in Waxahachie. It's a smaller version of a Renaissance Festival -- but similar to the one near Plantersville that runs every fall. Since Scarburough takes place in the blistering heat of May, we often prefer the mild temperatures at the Renaissance Festival. And because our relationship started at one of these silly festivals, we feel the need to return every year and traipse through the pine trees speaking with bad English accents and sampling the tastes of the Renaissance including the Ye Olde' Bloomin' Onion and my personal favorite Ye Olde Funnel Cake. Where the mead of the period is served in plastic Dixie cups and if we pay through the nose we can even wear a ring of plastic flowers around our head.

I don't mock it lightly. I enjoy it. Where else can you dine with Kings of olden days and still take a call on your cell phone from your mother in law.

I gave each of my kids a set amount of money to spend, which I find quite generous yet they still snicker at. It doesn't go as far as I'd like at 3 dollars -- excuse me 3 pounds -- per ride. They boy (pictured above) opted to spend half of his cash having a dagger painted on his cheek. It lasted as long as bath time last night. The rest he blew on a tambourine -- which sounded lovely all the way home -- and a trip through the king's confusion -- a maze of purple fabric. He also got to whack his daddy mercilessly with a pillow and push him into a pile of hay to declare himself king of the log. But I paid for that little thrill.

Another of the other thrills I get to have is to check out the camera equipment of the people around me. I can't help it! I see a DSLR, I gotta get a closer look. Rebels rule the show I have to say, they're everywhere. My husband and I enjoyed wowing at some of the professional equipment with the guy running around with 1D and snicker at the people using the Olympus to take the Ye Olde Time Photos. Camera nerds need their fun too. And it's cheaper than the big pirate ship ride.

If only someone would hire me to shoot a wedding at the Renaissance Festival. I can hope for next year! Huzzah y'all!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Road Tripping on a School Night -- Yeah I Roll That Way

Lost Maples
Originally uploaded by lisablaschke

I hit the road yesterday with my man and my boy for a little sightseeing. We've been talking about hitting Lost Maples this time of year but weekends are just out of the question with the crowds they see. So we both took a day off and hit the road while the girls were in school. We took our time and stopped along the way to shoot whatever caught our attention. The Medina River is absolutely gorgeous any time of year with miles and miles of Cypress Trees lining the banks.

The drive along FM 337 from Medina to Vanderpool is absolutely breathtaking. And the apple pie and ice cream at the Apple Store in Medina made the perfect mid afternoon stop for a snack. The whole day felt lazy and care-free. We haven't enjoyed that feeling for quite some time. It's like therapy for your soul.

I've just started taking a look at what I shot but I thought I'd share one that jumped out at me first of all. I think I'll add a few to my little art gallery. I'll post a link later!

Monday, November 8, 2010

Thou Shall not Steal

Don't steal
Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
It's a pretty basic request. Whether you believe in God's laws, man's laws or both. It's spelled out pretty simply. So how could something so simple turn into such a huge misunderstanding on the part of one magazine editor who has just learned what happens when you ignore this simple request.

If you're a writer or a photographer -- or both -- you've probably seen the news online. A magazine editor for Cooks Source Magazine -- an editor with 30 years experience who certainly should have known better -- is learning the hard way that writers and photographers don't like to have their work stolen from them. To get you up to speed, take a look at this article from the Washington Post.

So a writer finds her work in this magazine and thinks -- "that's funny, I didn't get paid for this. I didn't even give them permission to use this." So she shoots off an e-mail after attempting a phone call and has a couple of simple requests -- say you're sorry and make a donation to a prominent school of journalism. What she gets in return is an e-mail that sent the internet into a tizzy! The editor claims anything on the internet is public domain and she can copy and paste anything she darn well wants to and publish it in her little magazine.

Their Facebook fan page jumped from a handful of fans to more than 5,000 within a few days time. Not so people could admire the magazine, but so that they could send this editor nasty messages. "Cooksourcing" has become synonymous with "plagiarism" seemingly overnight. Upon further investigation, it seems that pretty much every article this magazine has ever run and probably almost every photo they've ever run was stolen from the internet. Sadly, it seems writers and artists have an awful lot of time on their hands to search the internet and compare articles found in Cooks Source with articles published elsewhere online. Unfortunately it's because many of them are unemployed because editors like these refuse to pay for their services.

As a journalist I am offended. As a photographer I am offended. In this editor's mind, anything we write, anything we photograph, if uploaded online, is free for her to sell and from which to profit.

Not only did this editor steal the words and photos of others. She thumbed her nose at the entire creative community with her reply e-mail that says among other things "you should compensate me" for editing the article. I think she's learning the hard way that the Internet is not public domain.

One of the things a lot of my client's ask me during a shoot is "my face isn't going to end up on a package of yogurt in Switzerland is it." Well, maybe not word for word. But there is a concern that their face could be sold and used out there for someone else's profit. I have gone through every step I possibly can to prevent that. My site is locked meaning it's not possible to download an image. I have my logo splashed across each image. I don't sell my portrait images commercially -- at least not without specific written permission of the client. I can't say it's impossible, however. As long as there are people out there like this Cooks Source editor who think the creative world is their own little private domain, there will always be that fear among me and every other writer, designer, photographer out there that their work could be stolen.

That's why I'll be watching this case pretty closely. This editor allegedly stole from Martha Stewart, The Food Network and Disney. These places have the money to take this magazine to court. The last I heard, the magazine's advertisers were pulling their ads and subscribers were dropping like flies. I hate to hope for the downfall of any publication. But a publication who refuses to play by the rules and pay for what they take does not deserve to profit.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

To Blog or Not to Blog: (New Braunfels Photography)

John and Sarah
Originally uploaded by lisablaschke
"You need to blog." This is the only sentence in the e-mail I get from my darling husband every few days. He nags me to blog. I like to blog. I really do. But some days there's simply nothing to blog about. And other days there's so much to blog about that I can't decide which to do and I end up doing nothing.

Today is one of those latter days. I went to a wedding on Saturday at the lovely McNay Art Museum in San Antonio. It's a popular spot for portraits as the dozens of people wandering the grounds with cameras, tripods and reflectors would attest to. It's also a lovely spot to get hitched. John and Sarah exchanged vows in the gazebo and posed for a few portraits before heading off into the sunset to celebrate. I was honored to play a role in their special day. They were married the day before Halloween, but there was nothing scary about this beautiful couple.

Halloween evening was another story altogether. It's the one day a year I let my children gorge on candy. I tell them enjoy it while it lasts, because come tomorrow, your bucket of candy will be gone. My middle daughter ends up finding out the hard way how little her tummy can handle and throws up before the day is up, my oldest daughter proves how sneaky she can be by hiding it throughout her room to pull out in secret later in the week, and my boy tries to test how many chocolate covered eyeballs he can fit into his mouth at one time. The answer is seven. In the end, I usually toss the kids trick or treats into the stash by the door and give them out to the late night trick or treaters who seem to come until much later on a school night than I find appropriate.

I did manage to save far too many peanut butter cups for myself and intend to send the rest of the candy to the food bank. They actually like to hand out little sweets to some of the kids at Christmas.

Now I set my sites on a busy month of senior portrait sessions and family Christmas sessions. I still have a few slots open for the month, but they are filling fast. Let me know when you're ready for yours!