Mini photoshoot with a home made backdrop…

Firstly, I will apologize for the lack of blog posts so far this year. I am still knocking around. I promise I’ll try to do better, and will try to write more regularly in the future.

Recently I’ve been reading at a lot of articles about making DIY Backdrops for my portrait sessions. Articles such as this one from itsalwaysautumn.com or this one from jonanderinstewart.com

Well I eventually came across something involving disposable table cloths, which give a lovely streamer effect that I just had to try out.

Streamer backdrop made from plastic tableclothsThank you Patricia Sharwarko for the tutorial.

I used three tablecloths, Orange, Yellow, and Ivory for the miniscule sum of €6.00. If you need a wider backdrop, just make another.

Let me know what you think. Should I make more of these or try something different? There are so many different colour combinations available.

Craig Lucas

Streamer Backdrop

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Happy New Year…

Sunset, orange, glow, end, sun

As the sun sets on 2014, I’d like to wish everyone a very happy new year. I hope that 2015 brings you joy and happiness. If you have a camera in your hand, it probably will.

It’s been used so many times before, but I love the sentiment, so I’ll add it here:

Always FOCUS on what’s important,
CAPTURE the good times,
DEVELOP from the NEGATIVES,
and if all else fails, TAKE ANOTHER SHOT.
Also, try not to EXPOSE yourself in the process

Best wishes from

Craig Lucas

“For no mere mortal can resist, the evil of the thriller…” ~ Michael Jackson

Pumkin, Halloween, Nightmare Before Christmas, Jack Skellington, Candles

I know, overly dramatic title. Halloween always makes me think of Michael Jackson’s Thriller, and Vincent Price narrating at the end of the song, “Creatures crawl, in search of blood, to terrorize y’all’s neighborhood…” I bet you’re already singing “Cause this is Thriller…”  Good luck getting that out of your head.

I thought that today would be a great day to share my number one tip for photographing  a carved pumpkin.

I left it fairly late in life, but last year was first proper attempt at carving a Jack-o-lantern, I went with something simple, Jack Skellington from the Nightmare Before Christmas. See the image above.

This year I went with something a bit more spooky. Photos below.

So have you guessed my number one tip yet?

Candles.

Yes, candles. If you take a photo with your camera on auto the flash will fire and you’ll completely lose the spooky effect and the flash will shine off the pumpkin’s skin.  Unfortunately I can’t show an example of this as I never use flash on a pumpkin. Trust me, it just won’t work.

I can however show you what  it looks like to leave the camera set to auto, but with the flash off.

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It’s okay, but it’s really just a disembodied face, there’s no references to turn this into a picture. Most of the photos you’ll see online will be like this, but add a couple of candles…

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Isn’t that better? You can still see the glow from the candles inside the pumpkin, but the ones outside have added a reference point. You can see the surroundings, you can see that it’s a pumpkin and if anything, I feel this looks a little more sinister.

I also shot these in manual mode. The camera’s auto exposure will make the scene too bright, and will also try to give a really long shutter speed to achieve this, which introduces camera shake. If you switch to manual mode, aperture as wide as possible, (f1.8 in this case as I used my 50mm prime) and a shutter speed of around 1/30th sec, and a fairly high ISO ( i used ISO 800) then you should be fine. Always experiment. Take a few shots and choose your best.

Finally, it’s also worth taking a picture without having the lantern lit up. Just to show how different it looks in the natural state.

What do you think? Any other tips you could share?

Craig Lucas

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Location, Location, Location…

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As you may have guessed from my photos, I love taking pictures outdoors. I am always looking for new places to photograph, and locations for photo-shoots.

With a very hectic work and family life, I need places which are near to home, about an hour’s drive is about my limit, especially if I bring the kids as their patience runs out in about half that!

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Yesterday I visited the picturesque village of Moone in County Kildare. The girls had a great time in the playground there, and we also visited the Moone High Cross, a place I’ve  heard quite a lot about since we moved to the area eleven years ago, but I had never gotten around to visiting.

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Both the village and the High Cross are bursting with photographic opportunities, so I’ll definitely be heading back that way again soon.

Craig S Lucas

Make it fun!

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Back the hazy days of summer, you know, that good weather we had two weeks ago, we planned a barbecue for Sunday just gone. Well the weather let us down in a big way, so all the outdoor entertainment we had for the children was off the table.

Fresh from the Sam McCauley’s Photo Day in Bunclody on Saturday, I decided to arrange an impromptu mini photo-shoot at home. I had my bag of props still handy, mostly  a selection of hats and sunglasses, so all I had to do was say the words “Dress Up” and the kids were completely on board with it!

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Now getting kids to pose for photos can sometimes be a chore. It’s no great experience for the children who are being told to “do this,” “stand there,” “say cheese,” “do as you’re told,” and million other things we want them to do for the camera. And it’s no fun for us to be always telling the kids what the have to do, only to end up with photos which lack something, because lets face it, we can all spot a fake smile from a mile off.

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Well all kids love to play, and dressing up is always a hit. It’s a great way to get some fun, natural looking photos which are a bit different. I usually throw in a few questions to distract them too, like “what’s your favourite TV show?” Or “what did you have for breakfast today?” That moment when they are thinking of their answer and not about the camera in front of them, is pure gold.

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Do you have any tips for photographing children? If so, leave a comment…

Craig Lucas

A Satisfying day with Sam McCauley’s…

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A very busy day at St Aiden’s Hall in Bunclody today, but very satisfying too. I got a lot of lovely photos and we had a good bit of dress up fun along the way.

A big thank you to the lovely Niamh for all the help she gave me during the day.

Here is a small sample of the images taken today, the The Sam McCauley’s photo-shoot was so successful we are already talking of doing another!

Craig Lucas

 

Things You Should Know About Introverts

I read this article and realised that it describes me perfectly. I think it’s true that a lot of artistic types would be introverts too. Maybe it’s because we find it difficult to talk to people we express ourselves in other more solitary ways. I’d love to hear what you think.
Craig Lucas

Playfully Tacky

From MeetTheIntroverts.com From MeetTheIntroverts.com 1) We need to recharge alone.
This right here is the cusp of the entire introvert v. extrovert debate (if there is one, anyway) – Introverts need to be alone to recharge. We tend to get completely worn out by socializing. This is basically what it means to be an introvert.

2) We don’t hate being around people, but we probably hate crowds.
I love being with people, but if you drop me into a large crowd I instantly feel like I’m alone and invisible. I try to avoid situations where I feel that way, so I may decline your open invitation to some random event. It doesn’t mean I don’t like to be around you, it just means I like to have more control over my surroundings.

3) We don’t mind silence.
I can sit beside you in silence and not think we are having a bad…

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The Photoguy hits Bunclody…

This Saturday 9th August I’ll be in Bunclody, County Wexford. Another of the Sam McCauley’s Photo Portrait Sessions which I’ve mentioned previously. IMG_0331bw

I’ll be setting up early for a 9:30 start and I’m told I’m fully booked for the day! Great news, I’ll look forward to seeing you there.

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I’ll have my bag of props with me too, so plenty of fun photos to come…

Craig Lucas

Eureka! The G11 Moment…

I have a Canon G11 which I picked up cheaply a while ago. I’ve never been particularly impressed with the results. No matter how I set it up I’ve always been disappointed with the final image.

We went to the beach recently and I decided to bring it along as I didn’t want to risk my DSLR getting sand or sea damage along the way. The G11 being a camera I thought I could afford to lose if the worst did happen.

While were out, I had my “Eureka” moment.

It occurred to me that I had the wrong attitude to the camera. I had been using it as a smaller version of my DSLR, and was trying to obtain results of a similar quality.  In fact, I needed to think of it as an advanced Compact camera.

I adjusted my settings according to that mind set. I left the camera in P mode (Programmed Auto), although I still shot in RAW so that I could correct things later if they went wrong. Then I just kept snapping, My Dad called it “the machine gun approach,” fire enough bullets and you’re going to hit something.

I was quite pleased with what I got out of it in the end, the G11 is not the lost cause I originally thought.

Craig Lucas

 

Equipment checklist: Camera, zoom lens, old mattress…

Recently, we decided that our youngest daughter was getting a little too long for her junior sized bed. We also noticed how the springs on our eldest girl’s mattress were in danger of coming through the cloth in the not to distant future. I’m surprised she was able to sleep at all with all the lumps and bumps in her bed.

So there was a fairly complicated shuffling of beds, with our elder daughter have the new bed and a redecorated bedroom, and the younger, inheriting the older bed but with a new mattress. Both girls are now sleeping better than ever, which gives Mummy and Daddy a lot more peace in the evenings…

 

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The question is, how to get rid of a knackered old mattress? Well, we didn’t. We threw it in the garden and let them jump on it. It’s a very cheap trampoline. Also a great photo opportunity, as you can see the effect on hair is pretty amazing if you capture it at the top of the jump.

 

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I simply put my long zoom onto my DSLR, switched to continuous, kept my distance and started snapping. After about 400 photos I went through them all to find a few hidden gems…

 

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The best part of of doing this was watching the kids have so much fun with something so simple. I can’t wait for the next time.

Craig Lucas

A day after the Communion…

Eileen asked me a month ago, to take photos at her son’s communion, but as I had already committed to another client for the Bennekerry communions on the 10th May, it was out of the question, I only get one Saturday off work per month you see.

She contacted me again recently to see if I could manage the Sunday instead for a photo-shoot and this time I was available.

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The photo-shoot was held at her home, and I found it far less stressful, and much more relaxed than trying to get everything done after the ceremony, at he church, when everyone just wants to leave and go back to whatever celebration has been organized. I think in future, this is the way to go…

Click on the photo above to see the full gallery

Craig Lucas

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The Forgotten Joys of Longhand Writing

I know this article is not about photography, but art is art. As someone who used to not only write letters by hand, but also used a fountain pen, I thought this was a lovely post and I too feel the loss of the handwritten letter. Saying that though, I used to draw too, and I haven’t had the time for that in fifteen years!

Nillu Nasser Stelter

The Penman's Blood by arnoKath The Penman’s Blood by arnoKath

I have a confession to make. The content of my email inbox, with the exception of pictures of my nephews and the blogs I subscribe to, is uninspiring. My virtual letterbox tends to be filled with bills, receipts and reminders. Emails save time and money, yet still I long for days past. I’d like to cut down on the amount of missives I receive, and replace them with more satisfying ones. I’d choose fewer but longer emails over the perfunctory electronic communication of today in a heartbeat. What a joy it is to pour over rare long emails, the ones filled with delicious titbits of news and sensual descriptions of new experiences, reminiscent of the letters of old. Snail mail is even better. How wonderful to sink into a sofa, tuck your legs up under you and tear open a letter from afar, to see…

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Communions in Bennekerry

Saturday 10th May, and the weather was rotten. The dry weather we’ve had for the past month didn’t fool me, and I had been purchasing umbrellas at every opportunity. I chose plain but bight colours thinking I could make use of them as a feature of the photos if necessary.

I arrived at the St Mary’s Church at 11:30am plenty of time to scout the area, and get a few snaps of the church.

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Just as the communion finished and everyone exited the church, the rain eased off and we had about half an hour of breezy dryness. Two of my clients for the day were photographed in the churchyard, before the rain began again in earnest.

A quick visit into the National School to finish up. This Link will take you to the full gallery: http://wp.me/P3XBcM-70

Only one of my umbrellas was used, and that was only for the effect! Were the others a waste of money? In Ireland, I very much doubt it. I’m sure I will have plenty of opportunity to use them the next time.

Craig Lucas

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Let sleeping kids lie…

Today I collected my youngest from pre-school, then went straight into town as I had a few things which needed to be done. Killing two birds with one stone as they say. I always try to time my trips so that I’m not double tracking. The only thing worse than wasting money in my mind, is wasting time.

When we got home she went to watch some TV and play, while I went to make myself a cup of coffee. I returned to this:

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So I did what any self-respecting photographer would do, I grabbed my camera and fired off a few shots, then posted them here for the world to see.

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I don’t care how you feel about puppies, kittens or baby hedgehogs. There is nothing cuter than seeing your own child sleeping.

She gets half an hour and I’ll wake her. As cute as she is, we still want to sleep tonight!

 

Craig Lucas

Sarah’s photo-shoot happens at last…

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I have been trying to arrange a photo-shoot with the lovely Sarah since October last year. Every time we have it organized something has come up and we’ve had to cancel for one reason or another; injury, sickness or most commonly bad weather.

Well, on Easter Sunday we finally got to go ahead with our shoot, the weather was lovely, and although Rathwood was busy with the Easter Egg Hunt, we managed to avoid the crowds of children running around.

There was a particular photo I was desperate to capture, involving Live View on my DSLR and a tripod. I have seen it done many times on the internet with sunsets and landscapes, but I really wanted the shot with a pretty girl on screen. I took the image with my old film SLR, the Canon AE-1, and it is everything I wanted it to be. Thank you Sarah for your patience… Doing something new always takes longer to set up.

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After Sarah’s photos, I met up with Sandra and Amelia. What a character! With a 2 year old as spirited as Amelia, there wasn’t much chance at planning my poses. All I could do was keep snapping and hope that something worked, which thankfully it did. We got some lovely ones.

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Well, I’ve been bitten by the bug again… I can’t wait for my next portrait session.

Craig Lucas