Archive for September, 2013

Mentor Session: A One-on-One Photo Date

September 25

 

My second disclaimer of the week: This post wouldn’t exist if it weren’t for the photographers starting out in his/her business or those looking to finally take the leap into the photography realm hadn’t reached out to me for advice and for tips in the past. Thank you guys for being brave.

I can remember having so many questions when I started by business. One of the best pieces of advice I was ever given was to ask questions. Ask questions. Oh and ask more questions and especially the ones that seem dumb to ask. The answers will always help you grow.

While I still have so much to learn, I also know I have so much to offer.

Which is why I’m excited to now offer Mentor Sessions: A one-on-one photo date with this girl.

I’m passionate about self improvement and love the idea of fostering the amazing talent around me.

What will be covered?  Consider me an open book. While I’m certain I won’t be able to answer all of your questions, I’m happy to answer what I can.

Will we be photographing anyone? Yes! I will arrange to have a couple or a few stylish kiddos (whichever you prefer) for us to photograph together.

Will there be Chipotle involved? Possibly. At the very least, food.

I’m interested and would love to hear more! Email me and we will chat! Please include “Photo Date” in your subject line 🙂 caitlin@caitlin-sullivan.com

Vivian, Lucy & Johnny: Tips to Photograph Children in an Editorial Light

September 23

Hey guys!

In pulling together these images of my godfather’s kiddos, I had so many thoughts racing through my brain concerning tips I’ve found helpful when it comes to photographing children. In the past couple of years, I’ve really  developed a love of photographing children.  I’ve had photographers and friends comment frequently in the past year on how the families I photograph look like they have stepped out of a magazine. I know a lot of that can be attributed to the STUNNING families and children I’m lucky enough to photograph but the remainder is how I photograph them.

I wanted to share some tips here today for photographers looking to capture their families and children in a more editorial light.

A disclaimer first: I will never pretend to know everything or be the best at what I do. These are simply techniques I’ve found to be incredibly helpful in achieving an editorial feel in my work. As a photographer starting out five years ago, I would have LOVED to know any one of these diving into this somewhat daunting subject matter. I hope I help just one person here. That’s my goal.

A beautiful and scary thing about photographing children: They are on their own agenda. This means that they can listen to you if they feel like it. Sure, the parents are there to help make sure their kids behave but the single most significant lesson I’ve learned  in photographing children is to throw away any roadmap I prematurely have of how and where the shoot will unfold out the window and show up with a smile on my face, ready for whatever…

The reason for this is because the more willing I am to go with the flow and do what the kids want (within reason), the happier the kids will be and thus more authentic the photos will be in the long run.

What kid likes to sit in the same spot for longer than 10 seconds? NONE OF THEM. So, try to keep things moving with the younger ones. They are explorers. They want to discover new things so do your best to appease them. Just as a general rule of thumb, I shot most of the shots with all three of them with a 2.5 aperture and 200 ISO.

I try to always have something fun planned for the kids to do. Whether it’s eating a cupcake as a reward at the end of the shoot, blowing bubbles or playing a carnival game – having something for the kids to look forward to is paramount. Not only are these photos fun and unique to the children, they help keep the morale high on a HOT AND SWEATY day like this one when I photographed the Kings.

Snacks make everything better, right? Kids can get cranky fast so having a backup plan, whether it’s buying popcorn at the carnival or having goldfish on hand, will help ensure your kids have the fuel to make it through their shoot all smiles.

Detail shots are some of  my favorite shots to take. I usually take my aperture way down (between 1.2 and 2.0) to focus in on something special in the photo: like the colorful lights on the left or Vivian’s polka dot shirt and red nail polish on the right. Detail shots help set the mood and paint a better picture of your scene.

That shot on the right? The kids stepped up for this particular shot in the following order from left to right: Johnny, Vivian and Lucy. But with Vivian and Lucy both wearing blue, I quickly put Johnny in the middle to break up the blue and help the color flow. I also asked Lucy (right) to cross her left leg over her right. Subtle touches like crossing legs so your subject isn’t standing there awkwardly or asking a boy to put his hands in his pockets (cuteness overload!) make all the difference in posing.

When I think editorial, I think of clean lines. I think  of simplicity. When I first started out years ago, I remember adding wacky angles to all of my photos. If you’re going for an editorial feel in your work, keep it simple. One of my favorite things to do is take a full body shot  that captures more of the subject’s atmosphere and then move myself in for a tighter shot.

COLOR. COLOR. COLOR. One of the first things I tell anyone I photograph is not to be afraid of color. When I first started photographing families, there would be some that would show up in all white or all black shirts. I was frustrated with my work and it was because everyone started to blend together into one giant white, beige, black blob. Whatever the color may be. Whose fault was that? Mine. I take full ownership. I now make a point to encourage all of my clients to wear lots of color and to avoid matching. Complimenting one another’s outfits is key.

Don’t sweat the small stuff. I could write an 8 page essay on how miserable the dead grass in these pictures makes me feel in my heart but it is what it is. I’m not a Photoshopper, I’m a photographer. I’m not going to go in and add a bunch of saturated green hues – again, that’s just not for me. The shot on the left is exactly how I saw the scene through my viewfinder and that’s how I’d like to keep it. Also, I kept hollering to have Johnny look at the camera but he was fixated on the enormous ride towering over us. His cute face? I LOVE that about this image now. Sometimes when they don’t listen you get your best images! So keep a positive attitude and keep shooting.

Let them be kids. Both of these moments were entirely unscripted and yet some of my favorite moments from this shoot. Giving them tools (food/toys/being a complete moron behind the camera) to help them have fun is key.

Three words that changed my life as a photographer: Cheek to cheek. Telling children to get cheek to cheek gives a more intimate feel to all of your photos. (I always want to spell cheek  as “check”. Anyone else do that? No? Cool.)

You will hit roadblocks. It’s going to happen, especially with children. Roll with the punches and make the most of it. I’m posting this as proof that not everything goes to plan when I shoot. Popcorn photo failure. It’s important to learn from them so you can do better next time. On my next try, I’d try just Vivi and Lucy throwing the popcorn and having them grab a lot more of it so it would show better in the images.

There is an enormous difference between a child smiling for a picture and a child laughing audibly. I usually encourage kids to “show me how your giggle”. When you HEAR them laughing, that’s when you’re seeing their most authentic smile.

King kids – I love ya like crazy! Thanks for being so darn cute.

Hope this helps! Happy evening! -C

Mother Bear’s

September 16

 

 

Who here studied at IU?

Who here studied at IU and is smitten with Mother Bear’s pizza?

Raising my hand.

WHO HERE LOVES WHEN THEY PUT GOLDFISH CRACKERS ON THEIR SALADS?

Standing up and raising my hand.

My mouth is watering just thinking about it.

I think of Mother Bear’s and all kinds of awesome college memories come back to me. Fun Scary fact: I was a Freshman in college 7 years ago.

OK, maybe fun isn’t the most accurate word.

But you can imagine my sheepish grin when I found a package at my doorstep last week from Amy and Peter with this tee and sweet note inside. Thanks, you two!  🙂

Have I mentioned how much I love thoughtfulness? It’s one of my most favorite qualities in a human.

Speaking of, I’ve always wanted to bake cupcakes and drop them off at a firehouse. Someone hold me to it?

Perrysburg, OH Wedding: Danielle & Andy

September 12

Hi all! How are things? Hope you’re all well and enjoying these first couple weeks of September. It’s been hot and sweaty in Indy these past few days. Not so much my cup of tea. I’m ready for fall and let’s be honest, in general people are just more attractive in fall clothes. Right? Boots, scarves, hats adorned with a colorful pom pom on top. Right up my alley. Maybe it’s because I love to cuddle up and be super cozy. This morning I woke up early to moody rain and I’m loving the change of pace. I’ve been pulling this post together while sipping on hot chocolate, painting my nails red and listening to an episode of Inside the Actors Studio with Natalie Portman. I’ve recently discovered IAS on YouTube and I love to have them on in the background while I work. Did you know, as a female, your percentage of feeling bada** is likely to increase by at least 60% when you paint your nails red? Okay I made that up but I assure you there’s some truth to that. This morning I used Essie’s “She’s Pampered”. Whose job is it to name nail polish colors? I wanna sit down over coffee with that gal. She’s got to be interesting.

Of course you are really here to see more of Danielle and Andy’s wedding. I don’t blame you – it was incredible! Where do I even start? I owe this wonderful opportunity I’ve had working with Danielle and Andy to my dear friend and fellow photographer, Gail Werner. Gail and Danielle work together at Ball State and when Danielle got engaged and was on the lookout for a photographer, Gail recommended me. (I am indebted to you for this, G! I am so excited to photograph YOU and your adorable family soon! We missed you that day.)  I met with Danielle and Andy quite some time ago over coffee and listened to them share their wedding plans. I remember Danielle pulling out a palette comprised of their wedding colors on her phone early on in our meeting. I was impressed to say the least and immediately Danielle and Andy felt like “those” people – the kind you wish lived closer so you could grab a beer with them on a Friday night when neither of you has plans. They ‘re incredibly fun, easy going, warm and joyful people. From there we made plans to take their engagement photos in Oxford, OH and somehow Danielle and Andy’s wedding day crept up on us all two weekends ago. I drove up north to Perrysburg, OH to document their big day at the Carranor Hunt and Polo Club. Their wedding? Well, it was pretty much perfect. Between Andy getting choked up during his vows, a tearful gift exchange, the MOST AMAZING flutter-fetti wedding exit of all time – I was just blown away. Danielle and Andy outdid themselves and made for the most remarkable celebration.

D&A – I think you should move to Indy. No I’m kidding. You guys are just awesome, what else can I say? I really feel blessed to know you and call you two friends. I’m sending all my love always for the most amazing and blessed future! I know you two will make history.

With gratitude,

Caitlin

PS Move to Indy if ya want! ; )

Just take a look at this. Danielle is a designer and is responsible for all of this gorgeousness. Are we for real right now?

 

I LOVE a colorful bouquet like Danielle’s!

This is where Andy and his groomsmen hung out while we waited for Danielle and the bridesmaids to arrive.

Danielle had warned me in an email the week leading up to their wedding that Ohio State football would be on that day and that there might be some interest among the guys to watch.

Couldn’t find the Ohio State game but they found football. Oh football – one of the greatest words ever this time of year : )

Check out this sweet watch Danielle gave Andy  on their wedding day! I almost immediately noticed it. I have a thing for watches. I love nice watches. Remember Clark’s awesome watch swag? Anyway, high fives D!

Danielle and Andy had an incredibly sweet first look.

OH LORD! Danielle’s dad – huge fan of this man. He reminds me so much of my own dad. This moment left me teary.

I just – WOW! You two are so beautiful together.

Seersucker suits, bow ties and yellow wedges? IN LOVE, I tell you!

Photographed on Danielle’s great grandma’s hanky.

It was a hot one that day! It was so nice to have iced tea and water in front of the ceremony site.

Danielle, I adore you.

Look, any guy that gets choked up during his vows.. is my friend. Because that’s awesome and incredibly sweet.

Danielle had a momentary lapse during her vows (which were memorized) and slipped, “…and something else…” We all laughed with her. It was an awesome moment.

And then THIS HAPPENED AND MY LIFE CHANGED FOREVER! Maybe a little dramatic but seriously, my brain was going a little crazy from excitement when I saw this through my viewfinder that day. Photographers can attest that these sorts of exits where the guests through something towards the bride and groom can be very hit or miss. One look at this shot and well…HIT! 

A resounding YES to all of this amazing color! (And you’ve got to love that adorable ribbon, too!)

I LOVE this shot my second shooter snapped of Andy and his guys! Thank you so much for all of your wonderful help, Gregg.

I wanted to include this photo as proof that I do take formal family photos on your wedding day. They are important too. : )

One detail I remember Danielle and Andy telling me about when we first met was their plan to have a cheese cake. Not cheesecake. A cheese cake. They both love cheese and I personally love this touch as an added flair to showcase their personality.

That “We’ve decided on Forever” sign… don’t you worry, Danielle designed that as well.

I realized in editing this wedding that I especially loved it because my brand colors were ever so present.

Their reception was a blast!

I’ll end on this note because it further demonstrates how wonderful the day was – from beginning to end.

 

Thanks for being here, guys! I appreciate you. -C

9/11 Never Forget

September 11

Remembering the lives lost 12 years ago today. Always in our hearts. 9/11 Never forget.

Spread some hope today.

XO, C

Brand Boosters

September 9

I recently read on a friend’s blog about the importance of Brand Boosters. Brand Booster is a fancy name for a characteristic or quality about a brand that makes it stand out from the crowd. I thought about what my brand boosters would be and put this board together.

* I am hopelessly addicted to Chipotle. It’s almost a problem. I blame my sweet friend and new mama, Nicole, for this. She took me there for the first time. Chipotle should send Nicole a Thank You card for all of my business. (Did I mention I got $30 in Chipotle gift card money for my birthday last week and it was the best?)

* I find baking cupcakes to be incredibly fun and stress relieving. My new favorite recipe comes from Annie’s Eats – best funfetti cupcakes EVER!

* Running is my thing. That doesn’t mean I’m fast. Because I assure you, I’m not. Nevertheless, running makes me feel AWESOME!

* Family girl here. I am nothing without them.

* I am a Christmas enthusiast to say the least. (I’m that girl that will listen to Xmas music in the summer when I’m sick of sweating from the heat.) Best holiday!

* Huge proponent of self improvement in all areas of life.

Honorable Mention – you’ll hear me mention any one of these things on a daily basis.

* WHY is this show so amazing?! Who watched last night?! MORE EXCLAMATION POINTS!

* Noah George Sullivan – my nephew who is all boy and extra cute these days, If I do say so myself!

* My cat Pazzo. Look, I feel like I’m one of a very small fraction of people left in this world who owns a cat and I’m proud of that. Pazzo is the bomb.

27

September 5

 You only live once, but if you do it right, once is enough. -Mae West

Yesterday, somewhere around 8:30 in the morning, I turned 27 years old. I think 8:36 if my baby book is in fact correct. I like details in numbers. Like birthdays, for example. Birthdays are my thing. They stick.

It was my best birthday yet. Between calls, texts, thoughtfulness, bruschetta, sipping wine with loved ones on the patio in golden hour light – it was perfect.

If I had to describe where I’m at in a word it would be: hopeful. It will come as no to surprise to any of you that I’m the reflective type when a birthday rolls around. 26 was a year of tremendous growth for me wherein the road I’ve traveled took some harsh and unforeseen turns.

Nevertheless, I am so grateful to be where I am today. I am not who I was at 26 – I am better and thankful. For the first time in a while I actually feel really young and this excites me. The possibilities in my life at this age and given my circumstances are positively awesome.

My wish for this next year is to continue to really live and not just exist. This life is precious and I plan to treat is as so.

Thanks for sharing in the ride.

X