Experiment: Getting Catchlights Indoors

Okay, this was a quick experiment.  As in, I told my kids it would take 5 minutes, but it maybe took 3.  They had been fighting, so they owed me a few minutes of cooperation.

I’ll preface this by saying…quite often I look at beautiful blogs done by moms and I get envious.  I wonder how they do it all.  They have prettily styled homes, beautiful photos, they craft and do three million and one things that always turn out great, and they look good while doing it.  How do they do it?!  I know they probably can’t, but they sure make it look like they can.  This post will pretty much sum up that you can’t think that about me.  I can’t do it all and I can’t fake it.  And I won’t.  If I’m spending time with my kids, the bed is unmade.  If I’m taking photos, I don’t do my makeup (well, I rarely wear makeup).  If I’m painting the bathroom, then my bedroom is a disaster.  If I’m washing slipcovers, then they’ll be drying in my house.  I can’t do it all.  So please excuse the not styled photos I’m going to include here.  I know blogs are suppose to have pretty photos and look good, but I’m not going to lie.  This is real life for me and probably others.  And yes, I didn’t make my bed.  I was just going to sleep in it again and no one was coming over.

Well, after that long explanation where I think I needed to explain myself (and I probably don’t), let’s get on with the experiment.  I’m showing a couple of different ways to get catchlights in eyes while indoors.  Did you happen to catch the post on catchlights?  That one has way prettier pictures than this one.  That one told about catchlights, this post is showing how to achieve them in different ways in my home.  You’ll have to try your home and see what you get.  This was all with natural light, I’ll save flash light for another experiment.


My daughter was my model.  My son was the “behind the scenes” photographer.  He got way too many of my rear, which I’ve promptly deleted.  I’m going to show the pullback photo first and then show you a close up photo of my little model so you can see the catchlights in her eyes that occurred from the scene.  I’ve even put in little white arrows for your viewing benefit.  This is a full-service photo rambling blog here, I roll out the red carpet with lights.  All of these photos are straight out of camera (SOOC).  No editing.  Well, except for those arrows.

First up: My south facing bedroom.  I love that window.  The girl is facing the window.


The results: Gorgeously big catchlight in her baby blues. Sniff, sniff.  My baby lost a baby tooth on the top.


Second: Facing away from the window, towards a wall.  That would be backlighting.


The results: Not much.  No discernible catchlights.


Third: Facing away from the window again.  This time with a white reflector.  (I used the gold side to see where the light was hitting her face and then flipped it to the white in the same position).


The results: Eh.  A little bit of a catchlight, but nothing that really stands out at you.  Same camera settings as before and you can see how the skin tone has changed with putting a white reflector up.  It puts more light on her skin.


Fourth: Facing away from the window again.  This time I had the model hold up a white foam board.


The results:  Look carefully.  You’ll see a rectangular shape at the bottom of her eye.  That’s the foam board reflecting and making a small catchlight.  That looks funny to me the more I look at it.  We should have tried it up to the side, but the model insisted on holding the board.


Fifth: Dining room/kitchen.  A large west facing window on her left side and a bank of windows at her face.  Yes, the blackboard still says “Happy Father’s Day.”  We’re not quick around here.  And apparently the flash went off on our point and shoot camera, I can see it’s reflection in the window.


The results:  Zowie!  Lots of catchlights, maybe too many!  Can you count them all?  Oh my, I really should cut her bangs tomorrow.


The winner: Well, that’s up to you.  The beauty of photography is that it is art and art is in the eye of the beholder.  So what you think is a winner might not be what someone else thinks is a winner.  I personally like the one in my master bedroom, that’s probably why I shoot all my indoor photo sessions in there. I like that big catchlight.  The one facing away from the window is the worst.  That just goes to show you, if you can’t get a catchlight…use something as a reflector.  You don’t need a fancy photographer reflector …grab some foam board, a poster board, those car sun blocking shades, something to bounce light back.

And for all you parents who just want to take a better photo of your kid to send to Grandma…..Have the kid face a window.  It even works with a point and shoot camera or your cellphone.  That’s the lesson learned from this experiment….face the light.  Now I need to remember that tomorrow.

How do you get catchlights with natural light?  Anyone else going to experiment in their home?

Portrait Preview: Fabulous Family of Four

There’s nothing like wonderful parents, adorable children, and a beautiful day in the mountains.  And getting stuck in one lane traffic while trying to get to the picnic grounds on the mountain…oh well, that’s life!

I am so honored and flattered and almost rendered speechless when others ask me to take portraits of their families.  Being able to capture a moment in a family’s life, to capture that spark of beauty that they bring to the world, it’s a true honor and blessing.  And I often feel that I’m not adequate enough to capture it.  Seriously, the beauty and love in a family is a powerful thing and it’s a privilege to be able to capture that in photos.  Plus, family portrait sessions are delightful.  This family was so fun to photograph.  I still smile thinking about it.  Kids are kids when it comes to photos and I love to try and capture those kids in their silly moments and the moments that moms want to put up in frames.

I was worried about the late morning sun (it was so high), but I think this family rocked every place I made them hike around to (and even dance in the grass in to try to avoid most of the sun spots).  I tell people 15-20 photos with a full session…if they happen to get more, it’s because I couldn’t pick my favorites.  Take a peek at a few that were hard to pick out.

Portrait Preview: Fabulous Family of Four | Chrissy Martin Photography
Portrait Preview: Fabulous Family of Four | Chrissy Martin Photography Portrait Preview: Fabulous Family of Four | Chrissy Martin Photography Portrait Preview: Fabulous Family of Four | Chrissy Martin Photography Portrait Preview: Fabulous Family of Four | Chrissy Martin Photography Portrait Preview: Fabulous Family of Four | Chrissy Martin Photography Portrait Preview: Fabulous Family of Four | Chrissy Martin Photography Portrait Preview: Fabulous Family of Four | Chrissy Martin PhotographyPortrait Preview: Fabulous Family of Four | Chrissy Martin PhotographyPortrait Preview: Fabulous Family of Four | Chrissy Martin Photography

Both of those kids had the prettiest eyes.  By the way…notice the pretty lashes on that adorable girl?  I asked if she would trade eyelashes with me.  I kinda figured she’d turn me down by batting them ever so prettily.  Yes, she truly has skin like a doll.  I didn’t do any skin touch-ups or softening on her.  Color me envious.

To the Fabulous Family of Four: Thank you for taking a chance on me with your portraits.  I truly enjoyed my time taking your photos and feel honored you asked me.  You all rock!

Kids With Cameras: Learning to Focus at the Zoo

This summer, once a week, my kids and I have “Fun with Mama Day.”  I mean, everyday with me is fun, though my kids may not always think so.  Isn’t room cleaning day fun?  So once a week…we make a day extra fun.  Last week it was a trip to the zoo.  We wandered wherever the kids wanted to (pretty much the whole zoo), ate a picnic lunch, fed the ducks, and didn’t worry about time.

I never pack my camera on “Fun with Mama Days.”  The most I do is snap a photo or 2 with my cellphone.  I just give my kids 100% of my attention and focus.  It’s a fun time.

I let the kids use our small point and shoot camera at the zoo.  They had a great time taking turns.  Oh my…come to think of it…they never fought about whose turn it was to use the camera.  Amazing.

I did work with each of them for a minute to show them how to focus the camera properly.  I had them hold the camera and then I put my hands over their hands and helped them push the shutter button half-way to focus and then all of the way to take the picture.  I’ve told them how to do that before, but I think actually helping them made it click!  One of the children use to mash the button and the other would do the process, but still not realize you had to get a green square if your photo was in focus.  They did better after their lesson, though there were still some fuzzy photos.  Zooming in too much makes for fuzzy photos.  Focusing on the cages, rather than the animal, makes for a fuzzy photo too. Oh well.

Kids With Cameras

We saw a lot of peafowl and the kids were fascinated with getting photos of the peacocks, peahens, and peachicks.  One peacock was in his full feather regalia and dancing his tail feathers out for a female and she paid him no attention.  We were impressed, even if she wasn’t.  The kids thought it was great.  They got photos and a movie.  Oh, they loved taking videos.  That was their favorite.  We have about 10 videos of different animals now.  Fascinating.

Kids With Cameras2

It’s nice to just be present in the moment and enjoy my kids without the camera in front of my face.  I try to remind myself to do that more often.  Though I’d also like to get my camera back out and just capture the everyday things at home again.  I haven’t done that much this summer.  What about you?  What are you doing with your camera this summer?  Anyone else letting their kids use cameras?

Printing Photos: Canvas on Demand

It’s almost embarrassing to say that I’ve had some of these photos ready for a blog post since March of 2013.  Almost a year and a half ago.  Seriously, sometimes I need a kick in the pants.  Or just to slow everything else in my life down.  Well, I’ve gotten my third set of Canvas on Demand canvases, so it’s about time I talked about them.

Printing Photos: Canvas on Demand | Chrissy Martin Photography

To sum up my feelings about Canvas on Demand canvases: I. LOVE. THEM.

There you go.  I love them. Especially when I get a good deal on them.  Because this girl isn’t about to spend $112 a canvas.  My mind keeps thinking about what other camera goodies I could get.  Like a mirrorless camera.  Any hoo…back to canvases.

Canvas on Demand runs some good deals and sales, so if you can wait…WAIT.  If not, feel free to spend more money.  These are pretty top notch canvases.  Not that I have much to compare these to.  Okay, I can compare them to one other place.  My heart still lies with Canvas on Demand.  It’s the truth and I’m not paid, bribed, or tickled to say it.

The ordering process is pretty painless.  Canvas on Demand walks you through it online.  Just make sure you understand that your photo is going to be wrapped around the canvas, so some of it will be cropped.  They’ll show you that.  Then if you got a lovely good deal, like I did in my most recent order, you’ll save a bunch of money. I’m not trying to rub it in, I’m just pleased as punch when I get a good deal on something wonderful!  And these were pretty recent orders…see the date stamp on my screen shot?  June 2014.

Printing Photos: Canvas on Demand | Chrissy Martin Photography

So let me show you some photos I took way back when in 2013.  My old logo is on them.  Look at that.  I’ve always gotten 2 canvases at one time.  I go for the 2 for deals.  Like 2 canvases for $49 with free shipping.  Oh, sweep me off my feet!  That is a good deal.  Wait, where was I?  Talking about good deals is diverting my plan of attack here.  The canvases!  Canvas on Demand ships them well.  The canvases are packed tightly in a nice fitting box and delivered to my door.  Each canvas is wrapped and stuck with a little sticker of the photo and ordering information.  The time between ordering and shipping is decent.  Not slow and not fast, though I’m pretty sure you could pay for fast.  I don’t pay for fast, so it’s perfect.

Printing Photos: Canvas on Demand | Chrissy Martin Photography

Each canvas has one of those teethed hangers.  For the life of me, what are those things called?  Picture hangers?  No hanging hardware is included, but that’s fine.  My husband likes to use his own stuff to hang photos.  I’ve since been banned from hanging stuff on my own on our walls.  Not that I tried to be banned or anything.  (Hee, hee…Honey, are you reading this?  Ignore that remark.  We both know I put the nails in wrong.)  The edges of the canvas are wrapped really well. The corners don’t have any little bumps or wrinkles.  The canvas is stretched tightly across the wood frame.  My husband remarked that Canvas on Demand uses a cheaper wood for their frame than some other canvases, but that the canvas is so well put together it doesn’t really matter.  A more expensive piece of wood and bad canvas wrapping doesn’t make for a good canvas.  Canvas on Demand canvases are well made.  The wood is straight and sturdy and the canvas is wrapped well.

Printing Photos: Canvas on Demand | Chrissy Martin Photography

I’m happy with the colors of the canvases. They do seem true to what is on my screen and what I envisioned my photos should look like.  They’re pretty sharp being that this is a photo printed on a canvas.  I’m impressed.  I can about count my daughter’s eyelashes.

Printing Photos: Canvas on Demand | Chrissy Martin Photography

I’m beginning to think I need more wall space.  I could get a ton of these things.  When they are on sale, of course.  When I took the old photos, my daughter’s canvas was on her shelf.  I’m happy to report it’s still there.  She chose that photo for it.  She also likes yellow and pink. Especially yellow.

Printing Photos: Canvas on Demand | Chrissy Martin Photography

My son chose his Star Wars photo.  At the time it was just sitting on his dresser amidst a bunch of stuff that my boy puts on his dresser.  Now the canvas is residing on one of his shelves above his dresser.

Printing Photos: Canvas on Demand | Chrissy Martin Photography

I wish I could show you prettily how we’ve displayed the other canvases.  We have 2 in our master bedroom.  One of the kids and I and one of my husband with the kids.  They are in a more yellowy/muted tone.  I liked them with the colors of our room.  I think you can get a glimpse of them in this photo from my softbox post.  Excuse the mess on the dresser and in the room.  I was getting ready for a newborn session.  See the canvases in the left photo near the top?

Printing Photos: Canvas on Demand | Chrissy Martin Photography

Most recently I let the kids choose photos from their “portrait” session.  They each chose to get individual photos.  These ones are now residing on my dresser and waiting to be hung up when my husband is feeling better.  He’s been really sick.  We’ve pretty much determined this is the longest amount of time he’s been sick since we’ve been married (16 years).  So those photos are going to have to wait to be hung. They’ll probably go on the wall in the master bedroom near the other canvases.  My only qualm…disappointment…is that I edited them differently.  The newer ones are a more natural coloring.  I’ve really got to figure out my style and get more consistent in my editing.  I’m all over the board on my personal photos.  Gee whiz, Chrissy.

Printing Photos: Canvas on Demand | Chrissy Martin Photography

Do you have canvases?  Where did you get them from and what do you think of them?  If I see a good deal on canvases, I’ll post it to my Facebook page.  I think I posted the deal I used last time.  Oh, one other thing when it comes to canvases.  Bigger is always better, in my opinion.  I’ve always gotten the 16×20 inch canvases and love the size of them.  An 8×10 is really small in comparison.  If you’re looking for a canvas to fill up a space, use some painter’s tape or cut paper to size and position it on your wall.  See what size you need to fill up the space you’re looking at.

*Nope, I’m not an affiliate.  Just sharing what I love and how I’ve printed some of my personal photos.  I’d definitely recommend Canvas on Demand to anyone looking to print their photos onto a canvas.*

Portrait Preview: Miss K, Senior Portraits

This beautiful young lady was my model to help me try out a new backdrop from Owen’s Originals.  In addition to using the Ulralite backdrop with her, I took some photos of her using the wall in my master bedroom and using a glitter fabric that I taped to the wall or laid on the floor.  In just under 30 minutes, we were able to do 3 different backgrounds and I was able to give her a bunch of photos.  She looks amazing in the photos, a true beauty!  I hope she enjoys her photos, I had a bunch of fun taking them!

Portrait Preview: Miss K, Senior Girl | Chrissy Martin Photography

The collage below is from Miss K modeling in front of the background that was the reason for the session.  Some of these are cropped to fit in the collage and the “real” photos can be found in my post about the backdrop.

Portrait Preview: Miss K, Senior Girl | Chrissy Martin Photography

Thank you again to Miss K for taking the time to come out and be my model!

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