3 Tips to Create Awesome Photos!

Have you ever wondered why some photos look mysteriously better than others?  Anyone can take a better picture.  All it takes is insider information and practice.  With 3 Tips, I’ll show you how to start creating awesome photos … right away.

Whether you use a cell phone or fancy DSLR camera, focus and composition are key.

Tip 1  ~ Focus

On a CELL PHONE, tap &  hold on the screen where the subject is located in your image. There will be an indicator that auto focus [AE/AF*] is on.  Depending on your phone, you may need to back up or step forward, zoom in or out.  You can also adjust the lighting by swiping up or down on the exposure indicator.    *Auto Exposure/Auto Focus

On a DSLR or SLR camera, press the shutter button halfway down, let the camera auto focus, and then click to take the picture.

Be intentional about focus.  It’s the basic foundation of a good image.

Tip 2 ~ Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds is the first and most basic composition element.  This simple principle will help you to create well balanced and interesting images that are pleasing to view.

Start by dividing your image into three equal sections both horizontally and vertically.  Place your subject on one of the lines or where two lines intersect.  Place landscape horizons on the top or bottom horizontal lines. The choice of placement will be determined by whether the top or bottom 2/3 is more interesting.

The placement doesn’t have to be exact.  Just close. 

You can also crop the image to create a Rule of Thirds, but do your best to create this in-camera as you take the photo.  This will allow the use of as many pixels as possible, creating a more clear image.

Tip 3 ~ Leading Lines

To enhance the engagement of the viewer, the second important composition element is the capturing and placement of lines. Actual or implied lines will lead the viewer’s eyes  throughout the image. Lines can be straight, curved, or even spiral.

Take a look at this picture of a mountain road.

Do your eyes begin at the bottom, and then travel up and to the right?  Do you wonder what’s around that curve?  By using these familiar converging lines, you as the viewer are now engaged with the image.

Now look at the shell.  Where do your eyes start and end? In the center on in the corner? It doesn’t matter where they start, but that they are moving through the image.

. . . . .

I hope these 3 Tips help on your journey to create awesome photos!  Reach out if you have questions.  I want to encourage you to see beauty in the world around you, capture it in photos, and share your images with others!

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I am a Southern California based Portrait, Fine Art and Commercial Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography

Let’s Chat! (714) 746-2418
Or send me a note. Donna@DonnaEdmanPhotography.com

I sure look forward to seeing your photos!

Who Do You Look Forward To Seeing?

After this time of social distancing and staying at home, who do you looking forward to seeing?

I would guess it’s being with the people you care about.  Perhaps it’s your friends, your parents, your siblings, your kids who are away from home.  If you’ve been overwhelmed balancing working at home and schooling your children, you might even look forward to seeing those pesky co-workers.

What I’m most looking forward to is being with my kids and grand kids.  I’m used to seeing The Littles twice a week after school, helping with homework and simply playing together.

I’m also looking forward to the joy of photographing families.  I just love being around kids.  I think it’s to experience the joy they see in simple things ~ when they have the freedom to be themselves.

Let me share a few images from a recent session with this fun family. The girls were having a ball and the parents enjoyed the time as much as they did.

During “play time” we captured portraits of them simply being themselves.

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Tell me who you are looking forward to seeing.  I’d like to know!

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I am a Southern California based Portrait, Commercial and Fine Art Photographer who enjoys seeing the world a bit differently.

 

You can view more of my work here
DonnaEdmanPhotography

If you’d like to schedule a Portrait Session, I’d be honored.
Contact Me

How Will You Be Remembered?

During this time of uncertainty, many folks react in basic lizard brain fear.  I’d like for us to do something different.   Let’s think about this question:

How will you be remembered?

Will you be remembered as the one who made “just checking on you” phone and video calls to friends, relatives, colleagues and clients?

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Will it be that you tried your best to balance work at home, teach your children, and still have giggling cuddle times?

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Will you be remembered by your hours of dedication to sew masks, put care packages together for our health care workers, our first responders, our grocery store workers?

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Will you be remembered as the one who went grocery shopping and made deliveries for your fragile neighbors?

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Will you be remembered as the one who collected and delivered art & crafts supplies, games and puzzles for your local charity?

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Will you be remembered as the one who participated in honoring teachers, children’s birthdays, graduating seniors with drive by, honk as you pass, community outreaches?

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Will you be remembered as the one who made the decision to CHOOSE JOY?

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Starting today, I’m going to post something beautiful on my Facebook page, just for you.  I hope this will balance the negative news of this time.

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Click here for your Daily Dose of Beauty.

 

I want to be remembered as the person who brings joy and who reminds us all that there is still beauty to replenish our souls.

Let’s figure out how each of us can be of service to others.  What are your personal and spiritual gifts that you can share?  I’d like to know, so please share your thoughts with me.

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I am a Southern California based Portrait, Commercial and Fine Art Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

 

You can view more of my work here
DonnaEdmanPhotography.com
DECommercialPhotography.com

If you’d like to schedule a portrait session or a project, I’d be honored
Contact Me

 

7 Tips to Look Your Best in Online Meetings

We are well into the world of online meetings.  Have you noticed how some folks look like they’re ready for business?

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Here are 7 tips to look your best in online meetings:

  1.  Lighting.  Ensure the light is on your face.  Having light to the front and side of your face is even better.  If you sit in front of a window, you’ll simply be a silhouette.  This is great if you want to roll out of bed for that meeting, but you’ll have more impact as a professional when you are seen.  If this location is your only option, close the blinds.
  2. Camera Position.  Set your camera so it is positioned slightly above your face.  When you are looking up at the camera, it opens your eyes a bit and reduces any “extra” chin.  This position is also more flattering than an up your neck to chin and nostril shot.  If you use a desktop computer, set the camera on top of the screen.  If you’re using a portable computer at your desk, set the computer on top of a stack of books or a box to raise it up.
  3. Position Yourself.  Once you’ve positioned your camera location, sit back.  Position yourself so you are seen with your head and shoulders.  We’ve all seen the eyes and nose to top of head and ceiling shot.
  4. Sit up.  Whatever is closest to the camera will appear the largest.  Most likely you’d rather that not be your stomach to chest, up to your neck, to finally a little face.
  5. Background.  Consider what’s going on behind you.  People walking around, making tea, using the restroom (!) can be distracting.  Do your best to position your computer so there is something still and pleasant for your meeting participants to look at.  Even if that means hanging a sheet behind you to hide that messy bedroom you converted to your office.
  6. Dress for Work.  Most of us would not go into work in our pajamas and not groomed.  Get up, take a shower, do your usual grooming and get dressed …  at least to point where you’re seen.  OK, yoga pants and sweats will still work on the bottom half.
  7. Relax with Kids.  You look your best when you’re relaxed.  We all know there may be kids with some meeting participants.  If you are a parent of small children, do your best to prepare them before the meeting.  Start them in an activity that they can work on themselves.  Let them know you can’t play now but will later.  If they come into camera view with you, realize it’s life right now.  Enjoy experiencing this personal side of you and your coworkers.

Those who are new to working from home are experiencing an adventure in balancing work and home life.  It’s good to realize that how you are viewed online can represent how professionally you are doing your job.  Let me know if these tips help you!

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I am a Southern California based Portrait, Commercial and Fine Art Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

 

You can view more of my work here
DonnaEdmanPhotography.com
DECommercialPhotography.com

If you’d like to book a project, I’d be honored > Contact Me

Relaxing Colors ~ Pink

In this time of chaos, let’s find ways to positively affect our mood.  Color can do just that!

In recent blogs, we looked at blue and green.  Today, let’s look at PINK.  Here are a few of my fine art pieces as examples.

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Pink is color that promotes tranquility and peace. In fact, Feng Shui believes pink soothes various energies in a room and keep them understated. Pink calms and reassures our emotional energies.

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Although pink is considered a feminine color, commonly seen in a baby girl’s nursery room, the right shade of pink can look beautiful in just about any room.

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At home or in the work place, pink calms and reassures our emotional energies.

Is this a good time to add colorful artwork to your home or office?
Just let me know!  Contact Donna

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I am a Southern California based Portrait, Commercial and Fine Art Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

 

You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, I’d be honored > Contact Me.

Together, we can Capture YOUR Life, One Image at a Time!

Life, Love and Memories

Let’s make history

A picture might be worth a thousand words, but a few well-chosen sentences can turn a simple photograph into a living family history.

 

Memories are forever

Legacy Books are way of preserving the past. If your old family photos are torn or a bit worn, they can be re-photographed. By professionally printing and adding photos that are languishing in shoe boxes and your smart phone, we can turn a scattered timeline into a beautifully bound book that will be treasured and passed down to future generations.

 

If you have stories associated with the people and treasures, you can hand write messages identifying your loved ones or add vintage pieces or other mementos to help tell the story. Was your uncle in the armed forces? Why not use his dog tags, other medals and memorabilia to bring that time to life.

 

Don’t know much about history

If you walked through you parent’s house, would you know which items they were attached to? And I’m not talking just about what’s considered valuable. I’m talking about their collections and personal items; things that meant something to them.

 

It’s important to preserve the memories attributed to these seemingly worthless treasures, no matter how little they may be worth from the world’s point of view.

 

Here are some ideas on how to “capture” time:

 

  • Visit your parents and ask them about their treasures and the stories behind them.
  • Make an appointment for a family photo session.
  • Bring the treasures, old photos and written sentiments you would like included to be used as props during your portrait session, and to be use in your Legacy Book.
  • We’ll assemble these treasures into a cherished family heirloom.

 

All buttoned up

After my mother passed, I visited her home and noticed a jar of buttons sitting on the shelf. My mother collected buttons of all shapes, colors, and sizes. When we children lost a button from our clothing, our mom always had the perfect replacement in her jar.

 

There’s no monetary value to these buttons and nowadays clothing is easily replaceable, and we don’t really need to sew on buttons very often.

 

Well, I took that jar of buttons home with me and it now sits on one of my shelves. When I look at it in passing, I’m reminded of my mother and how she took good care of us.  A smile comes to my face each time.

 

Now, I can’t put a whole Mason jar of buttons in a memory book, but I can take a picture of it and set it next to a photograph of my mother. By doing this I not only get to see my beautiful mother, but I’m reminded of the joy her collection brought to her.

 

A well-crafted Legacy Book will give you moments of pleasure when remembering those special and perfect days spent with your loved ones. So, for the next generation, leave your legacy by collecting, identifying, and organizing those images hidden in a shoebox.

Your family will thank you for the heirloom.

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I am a Southern California based Portrait, Commercial and Fine Art Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

 

You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, I’d be honored > Contact Me.

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7 Things Toddlers Say about Being Photographed

1.  Don’t tell me to say, “Cheese.” 

Unless you want pictures of me with all teeth and squinty eyes. 

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2.  Don’t make me sit still.

OK, I’ll sit still for maybe one or two pictures.  Let me run, jump, twirl and be silly.

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3.  Let me play.

Let’s play tickle, let’s play peek-a-boo, let’s play tag, let’s race, tell me a silly secret.  I’ll play along and you’re going to get some genuine smiles.

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4.  Don’t bribe me with food.

I know what you’re doing.  If I need a break, give me a break. Let me explore on my own a bit and you just might get some pictures of me enjoying being me.

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5.  Don’t feed me crumbly, gooey foods.

You know they are just going to land on my shirt and stick to my face and my teeth.  Do you really want pictures of that?

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6.  Give me something to do.

I like fiddling with my favorite toy, I like chasing bubbles, I like dancing, I like giggling at funny things you say and do.  Let me do things I like and you’ll see my eyes light up in the pictures.

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7.  Don’t Stress.

Hey … I’m a kid.  Let me be me for an hour.  Don’t get upset, don’t raise your voice, just relax. When you’re relaxed, we’ll have fun together.

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Parents,

Are you putting off creating Family Portraits because you think your kiddo won’t behave? Are you afraid to invest your time and budget for a Family Portrait session when your kids will not sit still?

There is a time for portraits when everyone sits still and smiles at the camera.  Imagine those traditional wedding photos.  Perhaps now is the time in your family’s life for casual, lifestyle portraits that allow your kids to be … kids!

When you look back at these treasured portraits you have created now, you’ll smile when you see the true personality of your family.  What’s most valuable are the portraits that show your family during all the important stages of life, and yes, that includes when they are little run-about bug-a-boos.

Call me. Let’s come up with a session idea where all of you will have fun, and special portraits to remember the time together.

Donna-Edman-BLUE -hiRes Lrg - FIRST NAME Signature

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I am a Southern California based Portrait and Fine Art Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, I’d be honored > Contact Me.

Together, we can Capture YOUR Life, One Image at a Time!

A Gift to Say, “I Love You”

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Everyone has a different and specific type of gift that rings their bell. Some are material, but other “gifts” can be intangible, like an idea or a feeling. Gary Chapman, in his book, The 5 Love Languages, broke down five ideals on how we give and receive love.

Below is a sampling of his work, but his book is an excellent read and can be found here: https://www.5lovelanguages.com/5-love-languages/

red-heart  Words of Affirmation

Affirmation 2The old saying, actions speak louder than words, isn’t always true. Letting a loved one know you are thinking about them and appreciate them with words of affirmation means more than any physical gift. A simple statement of “I love you,” and hearing the reasons why they are special to you feeds their soul.

red-heart  Acts of Service

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Easing the burden of responsibilities can be the greatest gift of all to some. Whether it’s cooking a meal, mowing the lawn or merely hanging a picture on the wall, there are those of us who think an act of service is better than the most fabulously wrapped present.

For this type of person, words of affirmation hold no meaning and actions speak loudly. Let’s say  you vacuumed the living room. There’s a treasure chest of gratitude for the recipient of this gift of service.

red-heart  Receiving Gifts

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Most of us love to receive gifts. Many like the joy of discovery. The anticipation of opening a wrapped package is something that has been instilled in many of us since childhood. Birthdays, Christmas, weddings and anniversaries, receiving gifts has become an expected and exciting part of life.

When considering a gift to someone who has this love language, it’s not just the gift, it’s the thought you put into it. Last-minute flowers from the local 7-11 may not float their boat, but a hand-picked rose from your garden would be mightily cherished.

red-heart  Quality Time

togtherWe all know that time is in limited supply. There are only so many hours in the day, days in the week and weeks in the year. Setting aside time to spend with someone special can seem like a trivial thing but is often the hardest gift to give.

Is this your special someone’s love language? Then turn off the TV and the iPhone and give them your full attention. You’ll make them very happy.

red-heart  Physical Touch

touchPhysical touch is a very up close and personal gift. If this is your love language, the perfect gift would be hugs, a pat on the back or simply thoughtful touches. These can communicate safety, love and warmth.

For those who prefer physical closeness, diamond rings and “Attaboys” won’t communicate love more than a touch.

. . . . .

Arranging a Portrait Session with your loved one is a gift of service.  During your creative session you will have quality time together to say “I Love You.”  Each time you see your portraits, you will remember the experience and it will be a treasured gift for a lifetime!

I would be honored to create loving portraits for you.
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I am a Southern California based Portrait, Commercial and Fine Art Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, I’d be honored > Contact Me.

Together, we can Capture YOUR Life, One Image at a Time!

 

A True Love Story

“In one lifetime you will love many times but one soul you will love forever.”
~ Julie

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During their engagement session, Julie told me her and Mike’s heart warming love story.

“It was summer in the 1960’s, my grammar school days.  The favorite annual trip was to our grandparent’s, Grandpa Herb and Mimi’s.   This was always a fun visit.  Life back then was not the typical way of life now.  When youngsters got restless or rambunctious, they were sent outside to play and that’s what happened when my brother, Charles, became summertime buddies with the neighbor, Mike.

My brother and Mike would swim in the pool at Mimi’s and Grandpa’s during the day and play hide-n-seek after dinner (really it was ring and ditch, but you couldn’t tell the parents that).  I often tagged along and eventually had a crush on Mike.

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During one summer visit Mike stole a kiss from me, the first for each of us, that set off the spark of sparks.  Each summer that spark was rekindled, but life happens.  Mike and I were growing up.  As my mom decided that I shouldn’t be distracted in my young years by  romance she sent me to boarding school.  Mike and I were not able to keep in touch and consequentially went our separate ways.  We each married in the late 1970s and life went on except for one thing … that spark remained.

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Some forty years later, with the help of social media, Mike and Charles reconnected on Facebook.  Mike inquired as to my status and asked if Charles would let him know that he was interested in hearing from me.  It took about 30 seconds for Mike and I to get back in touch.   Since then, now both unattached, we haven’t looked anywhere but forward.

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Mike and I have many common interests including horses and horseback riding, animal rescue and animals in general.

After forty years of foraging separate trails, Mike and I found that the spark never went out.  Today we are here not with a spark but with a flame, one that burns for each other fully.  Mike and I are alive as soul mates … forever.”

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Julie and Mike, wishing you happiness together for the rest of your lives.
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I am a Southern California based Portrait, Commercial and Fine Art Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, I’d be honored > Contact Me.

Together, we can Capture YOUR Life, One Image at a Time!

What to Wear ~ Know Your Color Palette

Do You Shine Like a Diamond?

Not every color looks good on every person. Have you ever looked in the mirror when you’re trying on new clothes and your skin appeared green? The reason for your skin color transformation was due to wearing an unflattering color, according to your skin’s undertone.

So the next question is: Do you know your color palette? You may be a cool, a neutral or a warm. The first step to determining which of the three you are, is to discover your undertone.

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While skin overtone can change based upon factors such as sun exposure, illness, or blood pressure, your undertone is defined by genetics and will never change. A simple test to determine if you’re a COOL or WARM is to put a dab of pink-based foundation on one cheek, and a dab of yellow-based foundation on the other. Spread the foundation evenly on each cheek, creating a thin layer. Check the mirror for which foundation blends in versus which one appears painted on. The one that blends is your match.

Pink means COOL and yellow means WARM. Easy peasy. If your husband or son won’t sit for this foundation test, read on to discover other ways to find undertones.

Hair Color

We are talking natural hair color, here.

If your hair is colored, let’s hope your stylist has helped to find a color that goes with your skin undertone.

You cools might rock very dark brown or black hair to sunny blonde. You have skin with a bluish undertone ranging from the fairest of the fair to very dark.

If your hair is dirty blonde, blonde with ashy streaks or warm-toned browns with highlights, these are all considered neutral. Skin tone for those of you who are true neutrals can be difficult to determine and is variable from warm to cool.

You’re probably a warm if your hair color is in the dark brown to dark blonde shades. Skin tones for warms range from greenish to yellow undertones and some have an olive complexion.

For those sporting red hair, the shade of red lets you move between color palettes, but you’ll typically roam within the Neutral Undertones.

What to Wear?

Cool Undertone

color pallets - cool

  • Cool colors will include bright to royal and sapphire blues, emerald greens, and moderate to deep purples, like amethyst or shades of lavender.
  • Warm colors might include ruddy hues, such as rose and reddish pinks to tomato.
  • For neutrals, your best bet is pure white, navy and grays.
  • Don’t you dare do oranges or yellows.

Neutral Undertone

color pallets - mix (neutral)

  • You look fabulous in peachy hues, and jade green to muted turquoise.
  • Pinks, such as soft rose and blush-toned pinks are your BFFs.
  • Icy blues should also be included in your fashion choices.
  • Burgundy and fire engine red (don’t be shy) will look amazing on you.
  • Taupe, grey, and off white, like eggshell and ivory, are super when you want to go neutral.
  • Bright (red is the exception) and vibrant colors can overwhelm neutrals.

Warm Undertone

color pallets - warm

  • Your best warm colors are oranges, reds, golden yellow, amber, and honey gold.
  • Cool colors that work equally well on warm skin tones are greens and blues.
  • Olives, deeper turquoise, green moss, fern, pesto, red purples like magenta and orchid are also good choices.
  • If your chosen portrait scheme is more neutral, stick with taupe, light chocolates, off whites and wheat.
  • Colors to avoid are light blues and jeweled tones.

 

Color is fun to consider in your wardrobe.  However, it is important to keep comfort first. If you are dressed comfortably, you will act more naturally during the photo session. By focusing on colors and styles that look best, you will confidently enjoy the process and the portraits will shine…like a diamond.

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I am a Southern California based Portrait, Commercial and Fine Art Photographer who sees the world a bit differently.

 

You can view more of my work here > Donna Edman Photography.
If you’d like to book a session, I’d be honored > Contact Me.

Together, we can Capture YOUR Life, One Image at a Time!