Jul 28, 2011

Questions and Answers {Featured Photographer}

A few weeks ago we asked our facebook followers what they would ask an amazing natural light photographer?   Well we sent your questions over and I am excited to share the answers!! This is definitely one to read!   Stephanie of Bellini Portraits, yes the amazing photographer who shoots for the measure, was kind enough to take time to answer your questions and share some of her beautiful work. So with out hindering you any farther....enjoy!! 

Name:  Stephanie Piscitelli

Business name: Bellini Portraits

Website/blog: http://www.bellinipics.com/ / http://www.bellinipics.com/blog

Facebook pagehttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Bellini-Portraits/112009414309

Area you work: Boston, North & South Shore and Cape Cod

How long you have been photographing?  Full time professionally for 4 years, "on the side" for 10+ years and aspiring since I was in my teens!

What Camera do you shoot with? Canon 5D Mark II plus a bunch of L series lenses; 50mm 1.2, 85mm 1.2, 24-70mm 2.8 and 100mm 2.8

What is your fav. lens? It's a total toss up between the 50 & the 85! Love them both!!

I generally use backlight with portraits because i'm afraid to use directional lighting, are there any good tips on directional lighting ( if that's correct terminology haha! In others words facing subject towards the light)?

(Asked by Nichole Buckner Crowley)
I'm a backlight shooter as well. Very seldom do I ever turn my clients into the light UNLESS I have open shade or if it's at the very end of the day when the sun has gone just below the horizon or, of course, if I'm shooting indoors using window light. When shooting outdoors, try to get your clients in a doorway, on a porch, under an overhang or within the shadow of a tree. This will keep them shaded and out of the harsh sun but will allow ample light to hit their eyes, giving those gorgeous catchlights, producing a great result!

How do you use the light to your advantage when it's the middle of the day and the sun is directly on top of you causing shadows and squinty eyes?
(Asked by Melissa Copeland )
This is pretty easy to control.  Just turn your clients so the sun is hitting the back or side of them. Always be mindful where you might have hotspots and keep turning them until their face(s) are completely free of any harsh shadows and glaring hot spots. Shooting mid-day is never ideal but this is a great way to get around it!

Best times to schedule outdoor shoots! and when and why to use flash outdoors!
(Asked by Michelle Prano )
The general rule of thumb is just after sunrise and 1-2 hours before sunset. Getting your clients to commit to an early morning session is usually difficult but the results can be stunning. Unlike the warm, golden tones of shooting late afternoon you get soft, cool blue tones during those early dawn sessions! As far as when to use a flash outdoors, personally I never use a flash. It's just my preference in style and general aesthetic however I do understand that there are some times when fill flash will come in handy. This might be when you are shooting in mid-day sun and want to POP your subject with the flash vs. overexposing for their faces when shooting without the flash resulting in a washed out, hazy look. Perfect segue into the next question....

How and what is the best way to expose a photo to get that hazy look shooting into the sun? Like when there are rays of light behind the subject?
(Asked by Brittany Ostrov  )
Ahhh, my favorite! This can be achieved by shooting into the light. This works best when the sun is lower in the the sky, versus directly overhead, positioning your subject so the sun can be blocked by their head or shoulder. Then you will make small movements around your subject until the sun is just sneaking around them. Too much and you'll completely blow out the image but when you hit it just right it can be magical! Shooting without your lens hood will often get you that delicious sun flare as well!

I second the tips for mid-day. I have some clients who in spite of my best efforts to get them to choose a morning/evening session, seem to want to shoot mid-day. Obviously, we look for open shade, but other than that? Any tips?
(Asked by Cara Genton Harrison  )
When your client WANTS to shoot mid-day versus NEEDS to shoot mid-day it may be just a lack of technical knowledge on their part. Try explaining why it's best to shoot during those optimal times. Often times they will defer to you for your professional opinion. If it's because of necessity and there is no working around their time constraints then I would suggest shooting the same way I explained above for using light to your advantage with mid-day sun. Always keep the sun at their back, make sure there are no harsh shadows/hotspots on their faces and expose for their faces. Good luck!!

Thank you so so so much!! Stephanie for taking the time to answer our questions!
Your work is such an inspiration and I am sure all of us learned something from reading your answers!!
Make sure to leave Stephanie some love below and check out blog/website and fb page!
Now gigi and I are off to get ready for our first gathering tonight!!
Don't worry we will post pictures!!!

Jul 27, 2011

wednesday's {eye candy session}

I first came across this session by Kara while browsing around Sweet Violet Jane's facebook page.  It caught my eye and I was immediately brought back to my childhood and my young imagination.  Who isn't a fan of "Where the Wild Thing Are"?  It was a brilliant and unique idea to bring it to life through pictures and I can't imagine how much fun it was to do so.   I hope you enjoy this childhood fantasy eye candy as much as I did and walk away with some amazing inspiration.

Name: Kara May

Business name:  Kara May Photography   
Website :  www.karamayphotography.com 

Blog:  www.karamayphotography.com/blog

Facebook page:  www.facebook.com/Kara.L.May

What Camera and lens was the session taken with:  I shot this session with the 5D MarkII and I used my  24-70 L 2.8 lens as well as my fish-eye lens.

Any venders from props used:  The Boy's Crown was made by 'Sweet Violet Jane'

Thoughts behind the shoot:  When I received this crown from Sweet Violet Jane to photograph, I immediately thought of one of my favorite childhood books, 'Where the Wild Things Are' by Maurice Sendak.  My mind immediately started spinning with ideas.  This session was super impromptu (I work best if I don't over think things and just go with spur of the moment ideas).  We used just a couple of props and we spent 40 minutes in an abandoned lot playing and acting out parts from the book.  My son really got into it, and I loved every minute of this session.  We stayed at the empty lot after our session so the kids could run around.  We played till the sun went down.

Jul 25, 2011

good morning mondays {inspiration}

who couldn't use a little visual java on a monday morning...just enough to get you excited about the week ahead?
here is some deliciousness from flickr...can you tell what they all have in common?
leave your guesses in the comments below.

{good morning mondays}

1. peach intoxicate me, 2. Untitled, 3. girl with apple. and pumpkin., 4. Untitled, 5. {her again}, 6. Untitled, 7. *Enjoy Camera Life, 8. barefoot dust, 9. Untitled, 10. Untitled, 11. Untitled, 12. Untitled, 13. winged being, 14. simple joys, 15. she holds his heart in her hands., 16. Untitled

Jul 22, 2011

happy friday

wow. i'm sitting here thinking about how lexi's tiny teeny little statement/idea of, "wouldn't it be cool if we could get a bunch of photographers together for a little get together. you know...meet each other, have fun, talk, share..." has turned into just that (our first gathering is just 6 days away!), then a fb page and now a blog with an agenda full of goodness to share and inspire us all.
well, the truth is, it's that simple. that's how thoughts come into being. it starts with the seed of an idea and then, if watered, grows.
we are beyond delighted that so many of you are joining in and playing with us at lemonade and lenses.
we hope that you loved, learned and were inspired by what was shared with all of you this week.
it's only the beginning, we have so much more to come.

so, for our very brand new first week we want to say...

we will spend the weekends with our families and we hope that you will do the same.
happy weekend!
lexi and gigi

Jul 21, 2011

Questions and Answers {Featured Photographer}

we weren't kidding when we told you we had lots of goodness lined up!
one of our goals for this blog was to come up with some new and fun ways to share, inform, educate and, of course, inspire.

'wednesday's eye candy'...was one, where we feature over the top, amazing sessions and have the artists themselves share their thoughts/processes/inspirations behind that particular session. if you missed yesterday's...be sure to check it out here.
today's post is another idea we had.  we thought...as much as we love to read straight interviews of featured photographers, what if we let everyone know
(in advance on our facebook page) what the topic and/or who the featured photographer will be and then let you post (on our facebook wall) your own questions. love it!

last week, we asked the question, "what would you like to ask a wedding photographer?"
there were some great questions and thank you to everyone who wrote in.
we collected them all and sent them to
our featured photographer who did an amazing job of answering all the questions!
so, are you wondering, yet, just who the fabulous wedding photographer is that answered all your questions?

we want to welcome jessica freely!

The Introductions:

Business name

Jessica Feely Photography



Facebook page


Where are you located

Sacramento Area (just moved from Seattle)

How long you have been a photographer

4 years total- 3 in business!

What Camera do you shoot with
Nikon D700 and hoping to upgrade if Nikon ever gets a replacement out.

What is your fav, lens
50mm 1.4 + 35mm f/2


The Questions:

How did you become a wedding photographer? 
(asked by Casey Rose Photography)
I was asked to shoot a wedding and thought, what do I have to lose? If I can take portraits, then I can do a wedding.  After that first wedding, I decided I was never going to do weddings again. Too stressful. Then I booked another, and the rest is history. And by that I mean, I love it!

Did you second shoot with a local photographer before you started? 
(asked by Casey Rose Photography)
I 2nd shot with one local, but she was as new as I was. I pretty much have learned everything I know on my own. I have only 2nd shot a handful of times. I prefer to take on my own weddings. 

How did you build your portfolio? 
(asked by Casey Rose Photography)
I built my portfolio by doing bridal shoots, and by 2nd shooting. When meeting with brides in person, it was weird to show them an incomplete wedding. As second shooters, you don’t get everything, only bits and pieces. That is why I decided to build up my portfolio from my own weddings. 

And what would you have done differently now? 
(asked by Casey Rose Photography)
I wouldn’t have changed a thing. 

Is it better and easier to have a second shooter?
(asked by Jessica Mays) 
From a head photographer’s point of view, yes. I feel a lot of the stress is taken off of me for the wedding day. I know they have my back and are there for whatever I need. Plus, its great having the company!

How do you delegate the duties of a second shooter and how do you prepare for the day?
(asked by kiwi street studios) 
I usually let the 2nd shooter grab detail shots when I am working with family or bride and groom. I take on the most important events in the wedding, and I make sure that my 2nd shooter is covering me where I can't be. Basically, if I am needed in two different places, the 2nd shooter does it for me. For example: Bride and groom getting ready, I let the 2nd shooter always shoot the groom while I shoot the bride. Especially if they are two completely different locations.

What lenses are your favorite for weddings and which lens does you prefer using for the ceremony, reception, etc.

(asked by TornPaper Studios)
 Believe it or not, but I love mostly primes for weddings. I use a lot of 50mm, 35mm, 85mm, and my go to wide angle that I keep on my camera is the 17-35. Its an amazing lens and it is a must have. Each wedding is so different with lighting that I use different lenses. For a wedding I had in LA this year, the ceremony was SO dark that I couldn’t use my 70-200mm. I opted to use my 50 1.4 and 85 1.8 lenses. I was literally shooting wide open.  

How do you go about getting good reception shots? and what type of flashes do you use?
(asked by Shawna Roberts Peto)
IF I use a flash-right now I have my sb600. I also own a couple AB-800s that I plan on using more at weddings. A lot of my weddings don’t need flashes because they are outdoors and its still light outside. I think having a plan and knowing in advance what the lighting will be like is extremely important. I always ask and find that info out. 

What is your work flow like after the wedding is over? How do you efficiently get everything organized, edited and delivered to your client?
(asked by Michelle Prano)
After a wedding I back everything up in several locations. I back up to my main iMac, then my laptop, then my external hard drive and then DVDs. I wont erase the cards until backed up. I also have online backup which has been amazing.
I like to wait a few days to look at the photos. I usually am so tired after a wedding that I need a break from everything. Once I open the images, I start sorting them in ACR. If the images aren’t good enough- I trash them. Everything else gets batch edited and saved in a final folder. I take my favorites from the wedding and do a harder edit on them in Photoshop and post those to my blog.
All wedding clients get their images on a custom cd + case! I like to throw in some unexpected goodies too. 
The key is to do it all in one editing session. I find it harder to stay organized and focused if I am continually interrupted. 


thank you jessica for being a part of our lemonade and lenses family and for sharing so openly with everyone!

lexi and gina

Jul 20, 2011

wednesday's {eye candy session}

happy wednesday everyone!

we have chosen wednesdays (sprinkled here and there) to be our eye candy day...with a twist.
we will not only share an amazing, crazy inspiring session we have come across...you know the kind, where you're eyes are glued to the screen, your mouth is open and you're thinking...omg!!!
...but some of the thoughts and processes behind the session.
beauty + brains. perfect.

i am so excited to start our first wednesday's eye candy post with a photographer who captured an almost
'i can't believe it' family session that i came across a few weeks ago.  i think you will agree...amazing on every level possible.

first, lets talk a moment about...family sessions.  how many of you cringe when you know you have one to shoot? be honest. i think we can agree, they can be...hard, posed, uncomfortable, stressful...
i'll stop now.
but, have you ever stopped to think why? what is it about them that makes them so difficult?
when you see the images from the session below,  i think you'll immediately see what made this family session so amazing and out of this world and hopefully ignite some new ideas and inspiration into your next family session.

so, who are we talking about here?
her name is sarah wert and well...she is amazing! a little side note...she already had me when i first saw the images, and then when i saw the session was shot on film...unbelievable.
i'll let sarah tell you a little bit about herself and share some of her thoughts with us on photographing family sessions.

welcome sarah!
About Me:
Hello, my name is Sarah and I own Modern Kids Photography. I live in San Francisco with my husband, Joe. I'm a portraiture photographer but I also shoot commercial and editorial kids photography. If I wasn't a photographer I'd probably be a chef. I love food and San Francisco spoils me! Right now, I'm obsessed with Pinterest because my husband and I are renovating a house.

My approach to family shoots:
I adore family shoots. They aren't always easy but they can be very rewarding. There are a few rules to live by in making them go as smoothly as possible:

Gain trust quickly: It's incredibly important to gain the trust of the kids and the family as soon as possible. I like to briefly say hello to parents and bigger kids then do my best to spend time with the little ones (secretly I'm also taking note of light in the home and looking around a bit). I will almost immediately drop to my knees to be at a child's level and follow all of their cues on how comfortable they are. If they still seem a little shy I'll back off and talk to the bigger kids for a bit. Every child is different so respect that. Also, avoid making wild gestures or being too loud with a child right away. I often find myself talking a quiet voice and sometimes I'll even whisper. I will also sometimes ask the kids to give me a tour of the house so they are immediately engaged with me. If you win the little ones over the rest of the family should already be quite relaxed.

Make sure everyone is engaged: For the Blair Family I was particularly worried about photographing such a large family. I've done it many times before but you really need every family member on board otherwise the energy can crumble. I quickly realized that the Blair kids are exceptional and incredibly sweet and hospitable. They were genuinely interested in me being there and were well prepared for the shoot by their parents (which is another important factor). Also, I think my American accent helped as well since they were used to everyone speaking French. I was immediately familiar to them. If the kids aren't quite prepared to take direction from you, then involve them in the process. Talk to them about what you're doing. Show them how to take photos and have them do your meter readings. You will quickly win them over.

Try new things, fail quickly, and move on: Once you gained trust with everyone the real hard work begins. Family shoots require quick thinking because you're in varied lighting scenarios (indoors, outdoors, shade, full sun, etc.). You have to be constantly going over the photography compromises in your head (e.g. do I have enough light to pull my f-stop up so everyone is sharp, where to meter, when to direct and when not to, etc.) all the while maintaining a rapport with with family. For instance you may have a large group and it's important to find the best light quickly. Do not be afraid to make mistakes and correct quickly. If the light you chose is not working do not be afraid to say "Never mind, I like this other spot better" instead of shooting through bad light. Move everyone along to the next spot. You can't always be right when shooting. Photography is a game of constant compromises and the best photographers I know try new things but move on if things aren't working.

Good luck and have fun on your next family shoot!

thank you so much sarah for taking the time to share you insight and approach with us.
and now...the gorgeous images from the blair family session that took my breath away.
{get ready...there are a lot!} 


i love how sarah captured everything from a sense of place, to individual shots, playfulness, quiet moments, details, and of course, the coveted group family shots.
thank you, again, sarah.
simply lovely.