Friday, May 29, 2009

Friday Site of the Week!

Okay, okay. I will put out a disclaimer on this one. It is Friday, and I am going to give you a link, but really this whole post is just because I am so super duper excited (enough to actually type super duper) and I want to tell people about it.

So, here is the link.

What's it for? The Joe McNally workshop that I just got a spot in for later next month! Can you say excited? So much great stuff to learn! Of course, I will give you all a review of it after I get back and put up lots and lots of great pictures. (At least they better be great or else I won't speak to myself for weeks)

Anyway, spend your weekend trying to find something that makes you as giddy and excited as this makes me and I will be thinking of everyone while I am hanging in Savannah, GA with some pals and hopefully taking cool portraits in the historic district. Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Da Grip: Courtesy of Joe McNally

If you follow me on Twitter you got a heads up about this post already. I am in the process of reading "The Hotshoe Diaries" by Joe McNally. The book is great and so far it has given me a lot of things to think about and ideas for stuff to try, but when I ran across this technique it was on the level of epiphany. I wanted, no needed to tell someone about it. Unfortunatly for me, all of my friends just think I am slightly strange when I get this excited over holding a camera and give me the smile you get when someone is backing slowly away hoping that you are not about to loose it. "Isn't she so sweet when she gets all crazy about silly camera stuff, bless her heart.."

Anyway, first it was nice to know that I am not the only one who is right handed and left eyed. I feel more normal already. The technique does mean that you will need to use your left eye, but it is easy after you practice it a few times. Playing with this in my living room the other day I got a tack sharp picture of my lovely cat Lily with the 50mm at 1.8 and hand held at 1/6th of a second. It is amazing. You can adapt the grip to a vertical hold too, if you just grab your right wrist with your left hand while keeping the elbow tight to the chest. I thought about recreating this myself, but why bother when Joe does it so well? Check it out here.

Try to keep dry and have a good Wednesday!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Wedding: Baxter and Taylor

As promised, I have the rest of the pictures from the wedding that I previewed a few weeks back.

The first time Taylor ever heard of Baxter it was when his dad told her "You should meet my son when he gets back from his punk rock tour in Canada." She wasn't really so sure about going on a blind date with him, especially when he described himself as "the guy with the crazy black hair that usually is wearing black." But, she gave it a shot and they met up for First Friday and now a flat and two dogs later, the rest is history.

Here are a few of my favs from their big day...

Friday, May 22, 2009

Friday Site of the Week!

Hey guys, well it is Friday (!) and this is also my 50th blog post. Kinda exciting - hopefully for people other than just me...yes, I am fishing for comments. If you'd like to leave some feel free.

Today's site also comes with an announcement that if you follow me on Twitter (MollieTobias) you already heard about. I have signed up to lead a local Sandhills area chapter of Scott Kelby's 2nd annual worldwide photowalk! What is the worldwide photowalk? Glad, you asked. It leads us to our link for site of the week here.

Go to the main site to read what the photowalk is about, see pictures from the winners last year, and sign up to be part of a walk (like mine). Wait, did I say winners? You mean, like, they have prizes and stuff? Yes, that is exactly what I mean. After the walk you upload your pictures to the worldwide photo site and then winners are selected from each location and there are also winners selected overall. They even give out prizes. What prizes, I have no idea because they have not posted them yet, but it does say that the overall winner - as picked by Scott Kelby - will get a mega prize pack. I'll have to keep you all updated.

If you happen to be in the Sandhills area and want to sign up for my photowalk you can do so at Hope everyone has a great Memorial Day weekend!

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


I mentioned on my twitter (MollieTobias) that I was doing some architectural photography for a client yesterday.

It is a great house in the Village of Pinehurst, but the only problem was that no matter what time of day you go there the glare is incredible. Maybe it's just the string of bad weather we are having here, but it wasn't raining yesterday so the shoot was on, less than ideal sky and all. This is a great example of taking less than ideal conditions and making them work for you.
This is my original exposure. I made sure to bracket my exposures and this is the one that I decided to work from. The foreground is obviously overexposed to keep detail in the sky. You should always expose for the lightest part of the scene because it is a lot easier to recover information that is too dark. Once something overexposes to white, there is no coming back.
First thing that I did was added a Levels adjustment layer to lighten the house and masked back in the sky using a soft black brush on the layer mask. (anything on a layer that is painted in black reveals the layer below and anything white on a mask hides the layer below). I painted in black at 50% opacity along the tree line to blend the color in naturally.

Next I applied a hue/saturation adjustment layer and masked off everything but the sky to make it a little bluer and more vibrant.
I did the same thing for the brick warming up the color a little.

Lastly I created a blank layer and set its blend mode to "Color". I then selected a patch of green using the eye dropper and the 5x5 average setting. I painted the green on the blank layer over any dull areas of grass to perk them up. Using this layer setting affects only the color but leaves the texture intact.

Here's the final product again. This whole process took me less time that it took to write this blog post. Once you start using layers it is amazing how easy editing images becomes. Hope this gives you some food for thought!

Monday, May 18, 2009

Picture Monday!

I booked the plane tickets to Kallispell, Montana for our July trip to Glacier and I am super excited! That put me in the outdoorsy vacation frame of mind so I decided to post this photo today. It was taken of my husband (probably the only picture of him you will ever see here so enjoy) in front of Half Dome in Yosemite National Park. A nice example of how to use shilloutettes for interesting portraits.

Have a great Monday (if that is even possible, I know.)

Friday, May 15, 2009

Friday Site of the Week!

I have been sick all week this week with this awful will-sapping cold and I have to say that looking at the weekend forecast that calls for rain, clouds, and thunderstorms is not really making me feel that much better!

The site that I have for you this week is some nice rainy day viewing. I don't know why, I think it is in the photographer dna, but I'm pretty sure that we all like old, broke down things. I don't remember where I heard the quote but someone said something along the lines of "looking at an old building in disrepair is like seeing the reflection of the young girl she had once been in an old women's face". It brings to mind the good old days, and love lost in a melancholy sort of way.

You can visit the site here and as far as I can tell it is a German man who (sometimes not legally) visits and photographs old places. There is great use of light and a good mix of general and detailed information about the places. I really feel like he is telling the stories of these old places.

The whole thing is vaguely horror moviesque but more in a Tim Burton sad twisted horror love story sort of way that I find slightly uncomfortable yet fascinating at the same time. Hope that some of you like it too. Have a good weekend!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Going Pro: Getting all your document ducks in a row

Today I thought that I would talk a little bit about the forms you need to file to officially start your business and register it with the state. DISCLAIMER: I am neither an accountant nor an attorney and the following in no way should replace the advice from either, so be sure to consult with your team and let them help you decide what is right for you.

Now that is out of the way, the first thing that you need to decide is if you need and Employer ID number (EID). If you plan to operate as a sole proprietor and do not plan to have any employees you probably do not need one.

Next, you should apply for state tax permits and registration (sales and use). This allows you to not pay sales tax on products you buy that you are not the end user - like albums. Only one person should be paying sales tax on each finished item, so if the client pays sales tax on it in the end transaction, you do not need to pay sales tax when you purchase it for resale. Like I said, I'm not an accountant, but this is the gist of the concept as I understand it. If I am wrong, please correct me in the comments then we can all learn something new together.

After that, you should check to see if there are any State Licenses or Permits required in your jurisdiction. In the State of North Carolina you are required to apply for a Photographer's Privilege License prior to setting up shop. The license year runs From July-June and are NOT prorated. Just something to keep in mind.

Next, check if there are any local licenses or permits required. These could be business licences, building permits, health permits, occupational permits, signage permits, alarm permits, or zoning permits to name a few. My local jurisdiction does not require a business permit, but does have regulations concerning the size of a home-based business relative to your houses gross square footage and signage restrictions so it pays to read the local guidelines or make a visit to their office.

After that all is left is to select your business structure (which I will not get into here) file for a DBA (doing business as) if necessary, and check on employer requirements like W-4 and W-2 if you have employees. A good place to find additional info and the forms you will need for the above are your state's Department of Commerce website or your local Small Business Association website.

Have a good Wednesday!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Picture Monday!

As promised, here are some pictures from the JLMC fundraiser this past Saturday! It was a fun event with a great turnout and a big "Thank You" to Mister P's for the great food. It looks like we met and hopefully exceeded our fundraising goals with this event so we will have plenty of resources to go towards next years Sandhills Community College Scholarships and the 2 Academy for Success sessions. Have a great Monday!