Welcome to the blog home of the Pixel Chicks! :)

We're so happy you've found us! Come back often as we have big big things in store, including contests, giveaways and of course, photography... lots and lots of photography!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

The Importance of the Right Attire

When I first opened my business, when clients asked what to wear, my standard reply was: jeans or khakis, solid-colored shirts, no logos, stripes or bold patterns. I still think this is solid (general) advice, especially for large groups, but I have to admit, after awhile, it makes me yawn a little. In reality, I love color! I love funky patterns, striped skirts, wild tights or hats on kids and bright colors, ripped jeans or trendy dresses on teenagers…I love whatever it is that shouts: this is ME! I love those character-identifying pieces that give me a glimpse into the person I’m photographing – that show me their fancy side, their down-to-earth side, their wild or outrageous side, their funny side, their wistful side or even just their wishful side – something they wouldn’t normally wear but positively float in during our session.

These are the sessions I open in post-processing with a sigh of anticipation, wide eyes and a giggle or two of pure delight. And, more often than not, these are the sessions I find parents doing the very same thing when viewing their images later. The truth is, clothing can make or break a session. It can bring out true character, promote fun and laughter, bring color and light, or it can distract, overwhelm, or turn what could be a beautiful image into a flat, dull reflection. I didn’t understand this when I first started out. I thought by telling people to dress by a set of standard rules, I was obeying one of the basic principles of portrait photography which is: the subject is/should be the focus. While that’s true, what I didn’t realize is that clothing is as important to bringing out the character of the subject as the subject themselves. Therefore, in my opinion, clothing should be looked at as an extension of the person.

Again, with large groups, coordinated color or the old solid-colored shirts with jeans or khakis is a good rule of thumb to follow…unless you enjoy going cross-eyed while viewing a family photo of fourteen who all choose different patterned shirts to wear. But with babies, children, seniors, individuals or even small families – toss it out! Have fun! Be bold! Find out who your client is – what colors they love, what outfits they adore, what funky accessories they harbor in their closet. Have a list of recommended stores for shopping or for collecting outfit ideas. Encourage them to have fun too and help you create images that will color their world for years to come!

Below are a few photos from a recent session in which I think mom totally rocked the outfits and accessories.

Written and posted by Laura Stetser of Laura Lynne Photography.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Your questions answered...continued

Thank you again to all of you who have sent questions to be answered. These are the last 2 questions we will be posting for awhile, we have enjoyed this and we hope you have as well. Remember to check back from time to time because although the question has been answered, other chicks may add to the answers if they do things a little differently :) So you may get a few different takes on how to do things :)

Q: "I've been looking at all the websites and blogs of you pixel chicks, and my pictures just aren't measuring up. They are lacking that pop!... that 3D effect... depth...etc. Is this something I should be looking to Photoshop to help me with, or is it the lens? or maybe the light?"

A: (From Alli Gaulin) This is a super loaded question! There are so many factors that go into getting an image to pop. The most important factors are going to be light, exposure, clarity, and color. When you are able to create an excellent image straight out of the camera (aka sooc) then you can take that image into Photoshop and enhance color and contrast to give it an extra pop. My advice would be to read "Understanding Exposure" by Bryan Peterson and work toward getting the very best images you can SOOC. Then you can begin to explore different options in Photoshop that will help those excellent images pop right off the page.

Here is an example of an image sooc and then the final image. I shot this in open shade, the light was great, there was vibrant color in the chalk on the driveway, in her clothes, and behind in the green shrubs. But the image was boring as is, it needed some extra zing.

To get that extra zing here, I increased contrast slightly then added a soft light layer. After adjusting the opacity of the SLL to my liking, I then took the saturation sponge set to about 25% and brought out the blue in the pavement and further brightened the chalk drawings. This image was relatively simple to PP, but there are many methods that are more complicated and bring out color and detail in different ways. Just keep experimenting until you get the right combination for the look you are going for. It takes lots of trial and error, and remember, every image is going to be different, requiring different techniques to create that perfect pop.

My tech info for this shot:

Canon 40D

24-70L lens @24mm

ISO 200


SS:1/250th sec

Manual exposure, center weighted average metering

Q-How do you deal with customers that want to see on your camera's display the pictures you are taking? I had a mom try this while I was taking pictures of her daughter. I would snap away, then look at my display to see what kind of composition, lighting, etc I was getting, and she wanted to look at them with me. I really felt uncomfortable.

A-Hi this is Hayley. I have not ran into this issue, so I may not be the one who should be answering this, but I will give it a go. I think if you try NOT to draw attention to your LCD during the session that might help you. Checking it here and there is okay but try not to stop the session and draw attention to it. If you still have issues with it, maybe politely say something like The LCD does not really do any justice to the images and you would prefer that they wait to see them when they are proofed. You may also want to add that you don't want to miss any moments you could capture by stopping to show the images on the LCD. I have found that showing kids there pics on the LCD is a great way to engage them though in a session. Kids seem to love that :) Hope that helps a little, like I said, I have not encountered this, so I am hoping another chick will pop in here!!

Saturday, April 19, 2008

And some more...

And here are a couple more Questions we have received and the Answers from the Chicks :) Remember to check back from time to time because although the question has been answered, other chicks may add to the answers if they do things a little differently :) So you may get a few different takes on how to do things :)

When taking pictures of a newborn without a diaper on, how do you keep everything clean?

Hi this is Hayley...When working with newborns you just have to expect messes. I have wipes close by as well as a burp cloth for spit ups. Just be prepared that messes will happen and assure the parents that it's absolutely OKAY. Everything you take is washable so no worries there....just be prepared that it can and will happen :)

Hi this is Cindy... When I read this question my thought was well " YOU DON'T " :) I will never forget my first little boy newborn session. He was beautiful and I put him in a wooden bowl knowing it would be an easy clean up and that little rascal wet everything !! You really need a sense of humor. I have tried to keep a thick folded washcloth and place the baby on his or her tummy and place the washcloth just under their parts so it is some protection for a beautiful chair. There is nothing more beautiful than using a newborn as the perfect house accent on a georgeous peice of furniture.... I have even cut up peices of a doggy wet pad and placed it under them to protect a nice peice of furniture. Good luck and just laugh a lot ! A precious new life is always more important than any old piece of furniture but if we can prevent ruining clients things or our own props that is a great idea !

I'm looking into handheld light meters. Any tips and suggestions?

Hi this is Julie, I really like the sekonic 358. You can get a card in it so it'll work with the pocket wizards to fire your strobes. It's a flash and a light meter, so I can use it in the studio, and also outside.

Friday, April 18, 2008

More Answers :)

Thank you again to all of you who have sent questions to be answered. Here are a few more Questions we have received and the Answers from the Chicks :) You may want to check back from time to time because although the question has been answered, other chicks may add to the answers if they do things a little differently :) So you may get a few different takes on how to do things :)

Q-I'm having trouble keeping my subjects in focus, particularly fast moving children. What are the appropriate camera settings to use? If I need a slower shutter speed to let in more light and don't want to increase the ISO, what else do I do?

Hi this is Denise...Photography literally means "to paint with light". Light is always your most important consideration. If you aren't willing to raise your iso, you will need to find more light. Whether that means opening shades or curtains, finding a better location, or using supplemental lighting such as flash or strobe,your job is to find the light. At all times, your shutter speed needs to be at a minimum of 1/125 if you are using natural light to capture moving subjects. Higher is better. In order to achieve this shutter speed, your options are to open your aperture, raise your iso, or use flash. While flash is a complicated subject deserving of more in depth explanation, you can easily mount a flash or speed light to your camera and bounce the light off of the walls or ceilings to give you enough light to freeze your subjects. We recommend checking out www.planetneil.com for some great information on using your flash. For flash diffusion (to avoid that "flashy" look, we recommend the Demb flash diffuser - they are inexpensive and do a nice job)

Hi this is Hayley, I just wanted to add, that I am strictly a natural light photog and completely agree with all the advice Denise has given you. But since I use only natural light I do not use a flash (which Denise is great at) so my advice in addition is DO NOT be afraid of raising your iso. It is there to help you in low light situations and if you are a natural light photog, you will need to venture into that area of your camera settings eventually :)

Q-What is a good f/stop to get everyones eyes in focus as it relates to DOF?

Hi this is Alli Gaulin-For keeping the eyes all in focus in an image where there is more than one person you can use an f/stop of 5.6 or above. I typically do not shoot groups at any less than 5.6, however, this is not always possible- you may be shooting in low light and need to open your aperture as wide as possible. In this case, I would try to make sure that all faces are on the same plane, then open your aperture up as wide as it will go.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

The Answers Part 1 :)

Thank you to all of you who have sent us questions to be answered. We are going to start posting some of the answers. Some of them might have more than 1 chick reply because we all do things a little bit differently in certain areas :)

Our first question is...

What dimensions do you crop an image to if you are not sure what the final print size will be?

Hi, this is Hayley here...My suggestion is to not crop your images until your customer places their order. I do all my editing to the un-cropped image which would be the (sooc crop) and save a copy like that. Then when they place their order you can crop it to whatever size needed. If I know my customer might be ordering something like a 4x6 proof album in advance, I will make a separate album and crop each image that I am proofing to 4x6's at 300dpi as well and put those in a separate album called "proofs", but again make sure you save the sooc crop completely edited for when they place thier order.

Friday, April 4, 2008

"Ask Us"

So here's your chance to ask away...

The chicks are opening up a Q&A for photography related questions. If there is something you'd like to know how to do or something you would like to ask any of us...then here's your chance!! Just leave your question in the comments section and one of us chicks will get back with an answer :) If your question if for a certain chick be sure to include that in your question.

We will post the answers to your questions in another post!!

Wednesday, April 2, 2008


No man has the right to dictate what other men should perceive, create
or produce, but all should be encouraged to reveal themselves, their
perceptions and emotions, and to build confidence in the creative spirit.

Ansel Adams

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Getting to know us - Meet Cindy

My name is Cindy. I choose to concentrate on relationships with my photography for a very good reason. I truly believe that a marraige can be saved with ONE special photograph. I have a passion for creating images for your family that help you truly see on a peice of paper what you hope is true in your heart. We need moments to stand still and soak up the best part of this life. The people we love and those that love us back. It isn't what car we drive or the house we live in that really matters but who we love and how we love them. I hope you see an image on my site that makes you thankful for the realtionships in your life. I can't wait to meet you and spend some time with your family. I can make the sweet moments last just a little bit longer....

A Few Favorite things you may not know about me...

* I eat something chocolate EVERYDAY..
* I Love the smell of the rain in the summer before it starts raining..
* I Love the sound of the Orchestra tuning their instruments before a concert.
* My favorite sound is the sound of my children when they sing together.
* The only scary movies I can watch are scary sci fi because they could never really happen.
* Children always amuse me.
* I totally am an addict about learning new things.

Thanks for listening.. If you are in the Atlanta area and are looking for a photographer.. I would love to meet you!

770 547 1018

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Getting to know the Chicks - Part 1

This Photo was taken by the Divine Miss Laura Stetser!!

Well I am the first one in line to tell a little about myself. I just want to start out by saying it is an honor to be a part of this community of wonderful photographers. Here is a little bit about me.

I have loved capturing life in photographs for as long as I can remember. Life goes by so quickly sometimes too fast. I know that the important moments are not always the ones that are planned out. When I photograph your child/children I try to capture the little things about them, the goofy grin, the way they look when they are learning something new, the individual personality, the thoughtful way they approach a flower. It is these moments that I strive to capture, so that the photos will speak to the person viewing them and years from now you can remember what they were thinking. I love what I do and I try to have that show in everything I provide with my business.

Now here are some little things to know about me as Megan, not the photographer.

* I have an amazing husband, he rocks! I was so smart to say YES that day…

* My children can make me laugh and cry all in the same moment. I love them to pieces and I am very proud of the people that they are growing up to be.

* I LOVE chocolate chip cookies, but only when they come right out of the oven. I could care less about them after the first day. However that does not mean I don’t eat a PILE of them.

* I have a French bulldog, Ramona. I confess that I spoil her rotten, I cannot help it, those huge eyes, huge bat ears and her snores, how can I resist?

* I am scared of the dark, but I am getting better at it. I used to sleep under the covers but now I only have to cover the ear that is closest to the door. Weird….

* When I was 17 NEVER in a million years would I have thought that I would drive a mini van, BUT I do, and I like it!

* I love my Burt’s Bees chap stick, LOVE it!!

* I, hands down, love to laugh with my friends. I am very lucky, I have some GREAT friends who happen to be hysterical.

* I cannot start my day without a cup of PG Tips tea with raw sugar and milk.

* Oh yeah, one last thing, I am not a writer. In college, I was terrible in English so please excuse my run on sentences and such.

copyright notice!

All images and materials on this blog are copyrighted by their owners and are protected by Federal Copyright Law! DO NOT COPY (in any way, which includes downloading) any of the images on this blog without express written consent!