Tuesday, July 31, 2007

last of the q and a's

Let's get down to it! LOL!!

From Karen: For action pictures, do you use the auto focus on one-shot, AI focus or AI servo? Or do you just focus manually?

Karen, I keep my camera in AI servo almost 90% percent of the time. Since I shot mostly kids, I have to be on my toes because they move around so much. I rarely shoot in one-shot AF and I need to try AI focus, since using AI servo, it works great for me, so I haven't switch over. LOL!!

From Rebecca: I am wondering what camera and lens you use, who your web host (template too?) is and also who you use for your prints. Also, I have Photoshop Elements and am wondering if/when you will have Actions for that in the future? Thanks a bunch for everything!

I promise soon Rebecca for the PSE actions. =) My camera is a Canon 20d and I have 3 prime lenses....30mm 1.4, 50mm 1.8 and the 85mm 1.8. My website template is from Winklet and I host through Go Daddy. =) I use a bunch of different labs for my prints, cards, canvases and all the other stuff between. Certain paper brands pick up or loose color, hence the reason I use a bunch of different companies. =)

From Megan: When shooting younger kids, how do you get them to not notice that you have a camera in your hand? My daughter is just over a year old, and the minute I get the camera out, no matter how sneaky I am, she crawls right up to me, and grabs for the camera.

LOL Megan...and Sam was just the opposite! She would take off or turn away from it. =) When I'm at a session, I don't shoot right away, I get down and play and talk with them first. I do have my camera out so it's not like they don't see it. If they seem interested in it, I let them touch and look at it (I'm holding it of course). If they are older, I let them take a couple pictures (again, I'm holding it) and let them see what they took. That usually works for me....they have such a short attention span, something usually grabs their attention 3 minutes later and they completely forgot about it. LOL!!

From Teresa: I wonder what kind of stuff (props, etc) brenda brings on a shoot.

I think almost every client as ask for me to bring the angel wings (which reminds me I need to get another pair). LOL!! I'll bring my pettiskirt and tutu if I've got little girls booked. That's it....I bring my reflector but usually forget to use it and I've brought fun blankets and baskets too but only to a couple. =)

From Marie: would you recommend(sp?) the sigma 30mm1.4? I already have the 50mm&85mm and i love them both but i need something wider.. and i'm not sure if i should go with this one or the canon 35mm or 28mm... ok so basically what i'm asking is if you can tell the pros and cons of it, etc. thanks =)

I LOVE that lens Marie.....I honestly can't think of a con for it. It did however get some getting use too because I used my 85 all the time. It's a wonderful lens and I got it just for the reason you mentioned. I don't think that you could go wrong with any of the ones you're looking at....it's just a matter of playing with it. You'll love it not only for families but for indoor shots like kids playing in their rooms and you want the full shot of the room. Also for those as I call "peep-hole" shots...like when you're standing above your subject and it looks like something you see when looking through a peep-hole. One thing it does as I'm sure all of the wide lenses do is if you're to close to your subject, it will give you a lens vingette. I actually like it but I know others don't. =)

From Kendra: My question is about black and whites...seems I've been working on mine for about a year...I've been working with your b&w actions, which are great! But I still struggle to get the quality you get in your black and whites...creamy skin tones, real depth, jump off the page kinda black and whites. Any advice?thanks!!!

Kendra, I think that if you shoot wide open, that may help you with what you want. If you close it, everthing will look like it's on the same focal plan but if you open up you aperture, you will almost have that 3-D look. =) I rarely go below 3.2.
With my action, there are so many things that you can do with it. I sometimes will add a curves adjustment layer and click on the blackeye dropper first and go to the box at the bottom (which indicates your shadows) and bring that line down a tad. I then will click on the white eyedropper (this indicates your highlights) and go to the top of the box and bring that up some. And last of all and I don't do this all the time, it just depends on what I'm looking for, I'll click on the gray eyedropper (your midtones) and either bring that up or down. Your goal is to creative a slight S-curve. This will give you some awesome contrast. =) Also, running a vingette is a great way to acheive what you're looking for and I will also burn and dodge areas too. =)

From Sarah Bear: For your process you said you burn a DVD then put all the good ones to a folder and batch them to be resized at 5x7 - then do your post processing. What happens then if a client wants larger images (which of your shots they probably wish they could have wallpaper)? I know I probably misunderstood something, but if you do all your work to a 5x7 then do you have to do it all again to the original that is at a higher resolution?

Sarah, nope, I don't have to redo it. In my info to my clients I have an example of cropping ratios so they know that if they go larger, it will not look like the 5x7 they are shown. And I save all my images as 300 dpi at 5x7. Now, if I get a large print and the crop looks off and I did have extra room in the original, I will go back and use that one....it really depends on the size. I know some people prefer to crop in 8x10 at 300 dpi but the 5x7 crop works great for me. =)

From Pure Expressions: How did you make it so that when you right click on an image on here, it wont allow it?? I LOVE that feature! And would like to apply that to my photos as well!

Well, the wonderful Tiffany told me about this and sent me the code...I hope she doesn't mind me sharing. Tiffany, let me know if you want me to take it off. =)

Opps, blogger isn't allowing me to post it because of the tags. If you just email me I'll send it to you. If you have a Typepad account, I'm not sure how you install it.....sorry. =(

That's it folks...thanks for the questions and hopefully I was able to help out some. =)

Monday, July 30, 2007

a brand new week......

I'm hoping for mircales here! LOL!! Hopefully my site will be live....HOPEFULLY is the key word here! =)

Before I start to answer some more questions, here's a couple more of Miss G. I've been shooting a bunch of her lately, with my time off....it's been great! =)

I adore this last two....especially the last one, she was really working the camera! LOL!!

Ok...now onto some questions. =)

From Melissa: I too live in the dallas area (irving to be exact) and wanted to know where your favorite places to take pictures are? also, besides your own actions, what is your favorite photo enhancing tool in photoshop?
Melissa, I usually just go to my client's homes....I LOVE indoor natural light and I find great pockets of light and some fun bgs there. And if we go outside in the backyard, I use textures like the wood fence, grass and bricks......I'll have them lean up against it or lay down it in. =) But I have a fav park that a fellow photog (Jen Weintrab) told me about....it's called Davis Park in Highland Park....it's absolutely beautiful. The last set of photos that I posted (the flickr mixer).....that's were we went. =)
Hmmm....I guess my fav enhancing tool in PS would be curves....honestly, that's all you need IMO. It added contrasts, bumps up the exposure, add color and corrects color. I think the sponge tool would be my second...I use it when I really want some saturated colors. =)
From Destiny: Do you ever use a reflector? And how do you get your subjects to open up for you?
Destiny......I'm so bad, I don't! LOL!! But I do look for things that will reflect light....like light garage doors, concrete, car bumpers, water....all sorts of stuff. =)
I'm really a shy person...and when I get nervous, I tend to just talk and ramble on and on. I think kids think that's funny.....it's amazing how they pick up on things. LOL!! I just get down to their level, talk to them, ask them questions and stuff. I don't start shooting off the bat...I want them to get use to me. I'll have Mommy put on some music so we can dance all goofy and sing. With boys, I ask them to show me their muscles, it works like a charm. LOL!!
From Pam: I wanted to know where you have your photos printed. I remember you saying how you opened them up and was so happy with the results. I have always printed at home and have not been all that happy with the results.
I use a bunch of pro labs Pam.....one for canvases, one for cards, one for prints and one for my bright color prints. It's just a matter of finding one (or in my case, a couple) that works for you. And customer service is a must....with the number of orders that I do, it's important for me to be able to talk to someone ASAP if I have a question or problem. =)
From Megan: What I want to know is how do you pronouce your last name? Maybe a dumb question, but when I see it, I always wonder, "Am I saying that right?" :o)
LOL...oh, believe me Megan, you aren't the only person that can't say it....it's crazy! LOL!! It's pronounced A-coon-c-us. LOL!! Were you saying it right? =)
From Barbara: how much time do you spend in post-processing per photo? mac or PC? and when are you going to have those elements actions?
Barbara, I've really cut my proofing time down a whole bunch....I've learned that correct/or the best exposure is a must. That's the key that can save you hours and hours in proofing. If I had to guess, I would say maybe 2 minutes at the max. Now that's not including cloning....I'll do things that are noticeable but not every little thing. If my client orders it, then I'll go back and clone out the imperfections and stuff. =)
I'm still on a PC....I'm not sure if I'll ever switch....but never say never right? I'm quite happy with my set-up now. =)
Soon....I promise soon.....I learned a couple of things recently that will help me out a bunch. It's just a matter of getting them loaded and seeing what version they work best in. =)
From Teresa: How do you upload your pictures and keep them so large. Also what is your process in PS and how do you save things. It seems like to take way to long editing on one picture.
Teresa, I use photobucket to upload my photos...it just works best for me with the boards that I belong to and stuff. Blogger does some wacky things to photos when you upload them....and since this is my business/fun blog, I needed my photos to look good. LOL!! I just upload them to Photobucket, grab the URL address and just paste it in the post box. =) I also pushed out my sidebar so I could get large horizontal photos on here too. =)
My workflow is pretty simple. I first save all the images to a dvd, then I open up a folder and put all good ones in there...I size them all to 5x7 and batch them. I'll run my actions on them and just go through each of them and see if they need a little something else like a vingette, burning, etc. I then run the Protouch Action on the ones that need it. (I wait to sharpen and run a bit action on them until I send them for printing.) I then open another folder and name it proofs. I will then take the previous ones, size them for the web, sharpen, and add the proof #. =) That's it. =)
OK....just one more day of questions and I'll have them all answered. =) WHEW....that was a long post! Hopefully you guys made it all the way to the end. =)
OH...and for those who have asked about RAD actions....you can find them

Thursday, July 26, 2007

flickr mixer photos

here's a couple more from the flickr mixer....we had a ball, the kids were cute and sooo funny! =)

OK...on to more questions. =)

From Stacey: So, here are my questions...raw or jpeg? And, what about wb? Do you fix it later or custom wb before and with what? Thanks!

Stacey, I've done both but I actually prefer jpeg. I like the sooc from jpeg over raw a tad better. But if I'm shooting in very difficult light, I'll shoot raw so I can adjust exposure. And I leave my white balance usually on auto. The only time I change it is if I need a bit more red in the photos.....like when I'm outside with tons of green around me, I then change it to sunny and it works great. I learned that from shooting in Gracie's green room. =) If I need to add or take away some color....I work in color balance or curves in PS. =)

From Tiffany: Can we see the whole scene of the swing? =)

Ha Tiffany.....my hubby came home and said to take a photo of the swing because you wanted to see it....I promise I will or he will. =) Thanks sweetie!

From Becky: My question is do you ever get any pictures of your girls together? Do your girls fight a lot.... is there jealousy? My girls are 5 and 2 1/2 and I have trouble with all of the above

Becky, although many people think that Sam was mine since I plastered pictures of her all over my blog, she's not...she's my niece. I use to watch her 4 days a week but I don't have her anymore which explains why you don't see her on here very much. =( I did get a couple of her and Gracie together but it was getting harder and harder because Sam could get up and exit the room. LOL!!

From Teresa: I do have a question.... do you have a certain way you enhance the eyes. Also have you taken any classes on light or are you self taught?

Teresa.....with Gracie having dark eyes, I really have to watch to see if I get light in her eyes. Now, I'm going to say this because I know there are so many out there that are sticklers for catchlights.....it really makes no difference to me. Of course I like getting light in them, but if I have a photo that I love and there's no light in the eyes....who cares. It's art, it's subjective and if you love it, that's all that matter. =) When people ask me how I learned it all, I tell them that you need to learn it all and then you can toss some of the tech stuff out the window. Photos don't have to be perfect all the time....do what you like to do and that's all that matters.

I don't do anything other than run Rad's Protouch action and lighten the eyes. I don't do it all the time but it's really awesome how it brings little specs of light out that you don't see. =)

I'm all self-taught....well, not self-taught because I learned tons from boards and other photogs, but I didn't take any classes if that's what you're shooting at. LOL!! Honestly, if you just practice with light you can get it....front lighting, rembrandt lighting, backlighting.....it all takes some practice and honestly, I'm still hit or miss on it but each time you do it, you learn what and what not to do. =)

OK....until tomorrow girls! Thanks!!

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

time for answers...

OK girls....I'm going to split these up over the couple of days so it's not one massive, long and boring post. =)

From Adrienne: "I have a question for you.... unsharp mask. Do you have 'settings' or do you play with it on each different picture? I just got a new computer and reinstalled photoshop, and lost the settings I had set for it, which i really liked. Now I can't figure it out again!! THX! :)...also..what was your inspiration to be a *natural light* photog?"

Adrienne, I play with the USM setting on each photo because sometimes SOOC they are sharp as a tack and other times, they are a bit soft. With full resolution photos I start with #'s of 100, 2, 3 and tweak from there. With web-size photos, I start with 50, .02, 0 and work from there. =) You'll be able to tell if you go to far by seeing halos and almost a double-vision look. =)

My inspiration for being a natural light photog was Amanda Keeys. LOVE her stuff. When I first saw her work, I knew what I wanted to do. Everything seems to come at ease for her and you can tell she just connects with little ones. =)

From Ellen: I'm curious what lenses you use. Thanks!

Ellen, I'm a prime junkie though I'm really eyeing the 24-70L lens. LOL!! My lens that I use are the Sigma 30mm 1.4, 50mm 1.8 and 85mm 1.8. They work well for me because I've got a great portrait lens and a good wide lens and one in between. The f-stop number is what I look at first when buying a lens....because I work indoors, I've got to have a fast lens that works great in low-light conditions. =)

From Michelle: my question is what camera are you using and what is your favorite lens? thanks!

Michelle, I have a Canon 20d and honestly, I haven't taken the 50mm 1.8 off my camera in a while. I know some people hate that lens but for the money, it's awesome. =) I would probably have to say my fav lens out of all 3 of them is my 85mm. It's SWEEEET!! Plus it was my first lens I bought when I bought my camera so it's got some senimental value to me too. LOL!!

From Nancy: My question is how did you learn photoshop? Did you take a class or are you self-taught? Also, do you swtich lenses often or do you have one that seems to work best for your typical photo shoot?also, just a reminder that many of your fans are eagerly awaiting your actions in PSE 5.0-compatible form!

LOL Nancy, I know! If you guys haven't learned from me by now, I'm always behind! I need to take some time-management courses! LOL!! I did however learn today from a photog that my action does work in PSE5.0 up until the last stop and then it erases everything. So, it's just a matter of working it all out and stuff....I promise I will get them for you all though. =)

I learned basically on my own. I had PS 5.5 so I couldn't run any actions on it so I had to learn it all....well not it all but a workflow. It was a blessing and a curse at the same time....a blessing that I had to learn it, I had no choice and a curse because it was time-consuming to work on photos. LOL!! I do tell people not to be afraid of experimenting with PS, you CANNOT mess up your photo. =) Also, Scott Kelby has a wonderful book out that easy to understand and funny to boot. It gives you some wonderful starting points and then you can build from there. =)

With my lens, if I'm shooting family, I'll switch from my 30mm when shooting all of them together and then to my 50 or 85mm if I'm just shooting one or two of the kiddos. =) It can be such a pain in the rear to switch in the middle of a session but what I recommend is shooting the entire family first and then the kids and then candids. It will allow you to not have to switch lens in and out as much and the kiddos by the end they just want to play and they are pretty much tired of your camera. LOL!!

OK....oh and thanks Julie! What a small world! =)

I'm going to end this post and tomorrow I'll come back and answer a few more questions for ya. =) I'm leaving you guys with one of the sweetest pictures....I had the pleasure of meeting some fabulous photos on Monday. We got the kids together and had some fun. I'll put the links to their websites and blogs in tomorrow for you guys to check them out. These two were like 2 peas in a pod, they connected within minutes....plus they have the same name too. =)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

website sneak peek....

Here's a quick sneak peek of my new site....think Summer and Spring! Full of color and fun. =)

I'll keep the questions coming and I'll start answering them next week for you. =) Other than that, you all have a great weekend. =)

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

just a swinging.....

Grady made Gracie a new swingset and she LOVES it! =) The thing is sooooo darn sturdy, nothing is going to bring it down...ok, well, maybe me and my big booty swinging on it. LOL!! Here's the first official pictures of her just happy as a clam swinging on it. =)

This one, she was trying to kick me....little turd! See, she's not so nice and sweet as most of you guys think. =)

And one from yesterday...

The website is taking a bit longer than I thought...sorry guys. I'm trying to finish some other stuff up for clients but I promise I'll post a sneak peek tomorrow for you. =)

Also....I've been getting a bunch of emails with you all asking questions so I thought like I did a while back.....why don't you guys post your questions here and I'll answer them for you. That why we can share the Q and A with everyone. =)
So ask away.....

Monday, July 16, 2007

a couple of things.....

First of all, my dad wanted me to pass on a little note to all of you that were praying and thinking of him through his surgery a couple weeks ago....here's what he wanted to say:

"I would like to thank everyone for your concerns and prayers during my short stay in the hospital. When I was in the operating room, I did not know who the prayers were from, but I knew they were there."

Thank you again,
Richard (Brenda's dad)

And thanks again from me too....the outcome could not have been any better and I know it had something to do with all the well-wishes sent his way. =)
Now drumroll please..........

I know you guys are just dying too see Sam...be prepared, she's not a baby anymore....(sob, sob)

And check out those chucky legs! LOL!! With grass included....

We had so much fun at her party...it's funny because she's trying to hard to "hang with the BIG girls!" And YES....she has hair! It's almost a strawberry blonde too....totally from her daddy. =)

Thursday, July 12, 2007

it's a birthday palooza!!

Guess who turns 2 today??? Just guess??? If you guess the little stinker that runs everytime I take my camera out and who is the absolute cutest little angel ever....you guessed right! =)

It's Sam's birthday today!! Happy birthday little one!!

And also, a shout out to Leslie too.....today she turns.....LOL...I won't say your age Leslie though you don't look a day over 25! Leslie is my great friend and wonderful client that I take pictures of with the hats. Go check out her site....I think she has some new stuff up or she's getting it up soon. She's also revamping her site as well...it must be in the water! LOL!

I'm hoping (knocking on wood here) to have mine done at the end of the weekend. So keep checking...a bunch of new and exciting stuff coming. =)

Anywho....HAPPY BIRTHDAY to you two.....have a wonderful day and eat cake for breakfast! =)

Psst.....this is Gracie giving a shout out to the birthday girls! =)

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

splendor in the grass.....

Don't you just love going back to old photos and reworking them? I do....I do it way to much though. LOL!! This one was taken back in OCT but I wanted to work with in in color and I'm so glad I did....I'm a b/w gal but sometimes color is just does it for me. LOL!!

A couple new things at Brenda Acuncius Photography. I am going to add a print minimum on all orders but if you have booked prior to this going into effect, this doesn't effect you. =)
I'm going to add packages as well as more a la carte prints, so stay tuned. I'm hoping the new site will go live by the end of the week. =)

Also, I am going to start offering custom framing. I said to myself, I would never do this but when I came across these, there was no way I could not. So, that being said, I am only going to offer frames from Saratoga Frame Co. These are fantastic frames...so unique and sooo awesome and I'm sure you will find some that you just can't live without.

Check them out here: Saratoga Frame Co. or click on the picture link in my sidebar. =)

They are a wholesale company so you photogs that visit here, don't delay, sign up with them and start showing them off to your clients. LOL!!

Saturday, July 07, 2007

"always polish your toes..."

Isn't this the cutest? I bought this canvas at the same place I bought the "G" hanging plaque. I'm redoing Gracie's room into a "big" girl one and thought this would work great...soooo divaish (if that's a word)! LOL!!

Say goodbye to the green walls....I'm thinking either robin's egg blue or a dark pink.

Oh and thanks for the heads up on the subscribe thing...I don't think I have it installed correctly so I'll work on that or either do a different one. =)

Friday, July 06, 2007

4th of July...

Here's a couple from the 4th....I'm always late on posting...can you tell? LOL!!
She came prepared didn't see...she wasn't going to miss anything. =)

I've seen this done before and have always wanted to try it, I took it from my mirror in the front seat....that look she's giving me doesn't look good! LOL!!

The lighting and colors were BEAUTIFUL over the lake! I took this as we were driving across the bridge to park and plant our tushies to what the fireworks. WUB, WUB!!

And I wanted to try this too with Gracie but she didn't want any part of it so this guy had to do! LOL!! I should have tried it about 15 minutes earlier so I could get more of the warm sun colors in it.

OK...you guys that signed up for the email subscribe list, can you let me know if you received an email of the update? I would sooo appreciate it...I don't think it's working but just want to check. I'll have to go back and figure out what to do. =)

Have a great weekend everyone....it looks like we might get a small break from the rain..WOOHOO!! We really need it...the lake that we drive over is looking BAD....boats use to be able to pass under the bridge but now the water is right at the bottom of the bridge...I've NEVER seen it that high before. The park off the lake is flooded and the parking lot too....they had to close off the frontage road off the highway there because it's completely flooded. It's crazy!!!

Thursday, July 05, 2007

checking to see....

if my new subscribe feature works! =) Hopefully it does! It will send you an email when I post so you don't have to check everyday....I'll let you know if it does. =)

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

changes coming soon!

I've been hard at work making some changes to my site and also I'm going eco-friendly too. No more information packs to send out...everything is being changed to the internet. It will be sooo much easier for you, for me and earth friendly too! =)

Keep checking back for the revamp site to unveal. =)

And all you guys have a fantastic 4th of July! If it doesn't stop raining here, we are going to need an ark....we'll float away! I think we are going on day 9 of rain and still counting...it's crazy! LOL!! Hopefully it will gives us a break so we can watch the fireworks...Gracie is excited to see them this year. =)