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!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Creative Process Feature 3........ Cindy

Hi... I am Cindy Harter :) I really really LOVE to shoot relationships !! Shooting weddings seem to really suit my personality. I enjoy all the stories going on during the day and capturing the love ! I enjoy the pressure and challenge of getting so many important shots in a short period of time in unpredictable circumstances. I love looking for good light and just having to make something work it is soooo exciting !!!! This couple was sooooo awesome in that they agreed to have a private meeting before the wedding that I photographed so that we would have time during the most amazing light to capture some yummy, romantic, dreaming couple shots. Their meeting was so sweet I was teary :) We had so much fun !!! If you would like to see more from their wedding visit here.

BEFORE: This is what the image looked like straight from the camera

After I played....
Location : Barnsley Gardens

This is inside the ruins. Barnsley Gardens is probably my most favorite place on the planet. It is peaceful, quiet and so romantic. If you haven't been ..... GO !

Camera and Lens : This was shot with my Canon 5D Mark ii and I used my Canon 24-70 2.8L lens . Iso 100 SS 1/125 F 5.6 Focal length 24.0mm

Lighting : This was natural light and my Maggie was holding a reflector to the right of the couple to give more light on their faces.

Creative process : This image was captured during their private meeting before the wedding to allow for more time for couple pictures :) The energy was amazing and they were so excited about seeing each other. I decided on this spot for the meeting because of the arches and the shadow and light. This was taken about an hour and a half before sunset and it was a perfectly clear beautiful blue sky day :) I had the bride wait for her groom and their interaction began in that spot and i moved around getting them from different angles. I really like this composition because I was on the ground trying to stay incognito and they are placed between the door and arches.

Post Process : This image was shot jpeg. I decided to show the SOOC image as well as the edited version. I first ran Kevin Kubota's Vol 1 action Edge burner and then sharpened a bit. I then ran Kevin Kubota's Lord of the Rings everyday to give it a dreamy glow. I bumped up the curves and contrast a bit and there you have it :)

So happy you all are here to visit us !!!!! THIS is a dream job and this group is sooooo AWESOME ... I LOVE MY CHICKS !!!

And the winner is....

Renee Bynum!!! Using Random.org to generate a number for us it selected #18. Renee was the lucky 18th person to leave a comment on the giveaway post!

Renee please contact us at pixelchicksphotography@hotmail.com with your address so we can send you your prize!

Huge thanks to everyone who participated with their comments, and everyone who became a fan on facebook! We really appreciate the incredible amount of support we have received in our first official week! We will have another giveaway, and other exciting stuff coming very soon so keep checking back!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Our First Giveaway!!!

We're kicking off our "new" and definitely much improved blog with some giveaways! That's right... we have bunches of freebies coming so keep checking back. This first one is awesome... a matching hat and bowl-style cocoon made with love by a very good friend, Ellen Tietke, also known as The Crochet Nanny! (*Please keep in mind that the cocoon is a photo prop only*)

What do you need to do for a chance to win? Just leave us some love (comments) here on the blog, and "fan" us on Facebook! Everyone who does will be entered to win the set and the winner will be drawn totally at random next week. Please be sure to leave your full name with your comment so we can identify you! Results will be announced here on the blog next week so be sure to check back!

First... a little interview with "The Crochet Nanny"...

Q. When did you first pick up a crochet needle?

Probably about 35 years ago, as a new bride! My husband's grandmother crocheted all the time and tried many many times to teach me. I was all thumbs, I just couldn't get it, but she was very patient and finally it all came together! I always made the ripple afghan, but after my grandson was born seven years ago, I taught myself to read patterns and attempted little hats, and sweaters, and it just grew.

Q. What do you love most about what you do?

I love learning to make something new and giving things I have made to people as gifts! I love when people like what I make.

Q. We love your biz name! Where did the name "Crochet Nanny" come from?

Well, actually, when my grandson Damien started talking he would identify his grandfathers by what they did! He calls one grandfather Red PopPop because he wore a red shirt for work all the time and called my husband Garage PopPop because he was always in the garage smoking! My grandsons call me Nanny, and in my family grandmothers were always known as Nanny, with an adjective! So we had Fat Nanny, Old Nanny, etc., so I thought Crochet Nanny fits me and thought it would be a cool name for my shop. (And I thought I better grab it before I became Fat Nanny or Old Nanny II!)

Q. Vanilla or Chocolate?


Q. What is your secret indulgence?

Obviously yarn, I cant get enough of it, I have bins and bins and still keep stopping in at AC Moore and Michaels to buy more. Its an obsession.

Q. Favorite movie?

I love movies, it is great to sit on the couch, crochet and watch a movie! One of my favorite pastimes and very relaxing! I think one of my favorites was Between Heaven and Earth with Tommy Lee Jones, Amadeus I loved, but it changes often. Anything that is a good dramatic hearwrenching tale with a moral to it, and anything on Masterpiece Theatre!

Q. What do you do when you're not crocheting?

Cruising the computer, Facebook, blogging, playing games, Bejeweled Blitz, Hidden Object games. This week I'm hooked on Mahjong, and most often I am looking for new crochet patterns or ideas for crocheting. I have a whole box of patterns I have printed off the internet!

Q. If you could go anywhere in the world for a month long vacation ( money is no object here) where would you go and who would you want with you?

I always dreamed of going to Ireland, but lately I have been thinking of seeing the western United States, Grand Canyon, all that kind of stuff and I would love to take my whole family, children, spouses and grandchildren. However, since one son in law is from Romania and one from Portugal, I would also like to visit those countries as well with the whole crew of course! I think I need more than a month!

Q. What is the best advice you've ever been given?

I remember my mother always saying "a day doesnt a week make" and "this too shall pass" - which didnt make sense until lately. My three favorites that I really try to live by are Kill Em with Kindness (from my Uncle Ed O'Brien) and Live in the Moment (which is a variation of something my father used to say all the time), and happiness is a choice I make everyday (I made that one up, I think!) Something I read on a day by day calendar once that I repeat often to others is "the door to happiness opens out"!

Q. What do you most want people to know about you and your products?

Hmmmm... I think that people should know that I put a lot of love into everything I stitch, I think of the person who will be wearing or using it and try to put good thoughts and karma into them. I have a lot of respect for my husbands grandmother and my own aunts who were avid crocheters and feel honored to have many of the things they made. I hope that people will appreciate the time and skill it takes and that perhaps they will be encouraged to learn a craft that they can enjoy and create heirlooms for their own families.

We truly, truly want to thank Ellen for her joining with us for this "grand opening" of sorts. Ellen has lovingly made and donated several more items for future giveaways here on the blog as well. Be sure to check out all the wonderful goodies in Ellen's Etsy store or her 1000 Markets shop! Tell her the Pixel Chick's sent ya!!!

Now get busy - drop those comments and become a Facebook Fan!

The Creative Process Feature 2

Hi all... Hayley here. Glad you stopped by :) This is our 2nd creative process feature, today I will be sharing a favorite image from a recent newborn session and the breakdown of how it was created.

Location: This image was made in the client's home in their living room.

Camera & Lens: This was shot with a Canon 5Dmk2 and Tamron 28-75 f2.8 lens at 35mm. It was shot in manual mode at f4, iso 640 and a shutter speed of 1/250.

Lighting: Lighting was all natural. There was a large east facing window in their living room which is where I set up next to. It was an overcast day making it perfect to work by this large window. There was also a window in their dining room facing the north which also brought in more light to the room I was working in.

Creative Process: The baby loved being snuggled up in these cocoons. I had 2 that I brought with me and he loved them both. I had mom hold the cocoon while I placed baby in. I then layed him inside a large antique trencher (also known as a dough bowl). That is what you see as the wood background. The thing I loved about having him in the trencher, is I could easily move the trencher to create different angles of light and shadow without actually moving "him". I had the trencher sitting on my fake barnwood floor mat so it slid and moved very easily and it never disturbed him. I was able to make different shots with different light plays just by simply moving the trencher.

Post Production: This image was shot jpeg. I then adjusted the levels in CS4 to my liking and added a blur/vignette effect after the square cropping was done. I felt the square crop represented the best artistic composition for this image.

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Checks and Balances

Several years ago when I first transitioned to digital photography I joined several online forums and educational sites. At the time, it was a way to put my work out there and get unbiased feedback. Betterphoto.com was one of my favorite sites. When I first joined it was a relatively new site with a – compared to now – small community of photographers at all levels of expertise. It was here that I met a group of women who have changed my life both as an artist and person and who I consider some of my best friends in the world.

Today that group is known as The Pixel Chicks. Either by luck or destiny or whatever your belief system is – it’s a beautiful thing that we all found each other just as we were all starting our own businesses. Starting your own business is an exhilarating but daunting task for anyone. In the art field, it can be even more daunting because unlike many other professions where price tags and service fees are clear cut and established, in photography there is a wide range in pricing and services. In addition to that, there is branding, establishing a definable style, understanding who your target market is and deciding what equipment best fits your needs and budget. And once you’ve figured all of that out (and this can take years), then there is dealing with actual clients. This is maybe the most daunting task of all because no matter how prepared you think you are there is always that client that will ask you something for which you have no answer, test your boundaries and flexibility as an artist and challenge your knowledge as a business owner.

This year marks my fourth year in business. The last three years have been some of the most exciting and challenging of my life, but I know for a fact that I wouldn’t be where I am today without the support, advice and friendship of The Pixel Chicks. They have held my hand through rough times, advised me on dealing with tough issues, helped me through new technical challenges, and served as my checks and balances….which is good since I’m a girl who tends to run by emotion more often than I’d like to admit.

I’m excited for the renewal of our blog and an opportunity to share some of the goodness this group has given me to other new photographers. If you’re looking for a place of friendship, a place to find tips and advice, win a few goodies along the way, or just share a smile, then you’ve come to the right place.

Welcome to The Pixel Chicks Blog!

- Laura :)

Friday, March 19, 2010

Glad to be a Photographer..It's the only way to press the pause button

I came across this image when I was checking to make sure my website was working well and it sort of grabbed me when I saw it. This is my daughter two whole years ago. Do you know she looks nothing like this now? She has developed her own funky style with funkified 80's colors and wacky combinations that resemble my own 80's stylin clothes. (Seriously, flashbacks daily. Leg warmers! Shoes untied! Skinny jeans and leggings!) But this was her then. Soft and sweet and wearing a dress which she won't wear for anything anymore. I am so thankful for this image that captured her so perfectly at that time. She's new now. She's evolving into her very own person with her own unique style and it isn't anything like it once was. And next year or the year after, there will be another evolution and a new part of her will emerge and this part will be gone. This is why I love what I do. It gives my clients THIS moment. This little piece of my day committed to celebrating her thens and nows and futures. I am so thankful I found this image and revisited it. I never had it printed, isn't that sad? It is on the way to the canvas people right now.

For some technical information:

This was shot with my old camera, the Cannon 40D and a Canon 85mm 1.8
Early evening, May 2008
Manual Exposure, 1/160th sec at ISO 100, f/3
Reflector camera right, shot in open shade
Back then before the stress of the tween years, my daughter had this nice peacefulness, a softness about her that I really wanted to capture. I asked her to get comfortable and just talked to her about the things she liked- back then it was probably Barbies and Ballet. I shot the image when I felt I saw that relaxed peacefulness at it's best.
The image was shot in RAW and converted to JPeg after using Nichole Van's LR preset, Basic Plus Vignette. (I re-edited this image yesterday so i remember exactly what I did!)
I ran Pioneer Woman's Sharpen This action and sharpened her eyes at 20% opacity, then Redleaf's Color Flow action with minor adjustments and Portraiture. It took around 2 minutes to edit this image.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Very, Very exciting news for me.... Cindy

I applied for a spot to be mentored by Michael Oneill. He is an amazing photographer with experience in Wedding Photography for over 30 years. I sooooo LOVE to shoot weddings :) Guess what ? He picked ME :) I am beyond happy !!!!! I got the email today and he offered for me to fly to New York and shoot a wedding July 24, 2010 with HIM :) I will be the happiest wedding photographer soaking up everything he has to teach :) YEY!!!!!

Check out his work www.michaeloneillfineart.com

Have a fabulous rest of the day... I WILL !!!!!!!!

The Creative Process {Pixel Chicks Photography}

Hi all... Denise here. This is a new and hopefully recurring feature we plan to post to the blog at least once weekly called "the creative process" where each of us will take turns presenting a favorite image and dissecting it to give some insight into what went into the making of the image.

Here is one of my favorite images, titled "A Love Like No Other" and a breakdown of the creative process:

Location: This image was made in the client's home in the baby's tiny little nursery.

Camera & Lens: This was shot with a Nikon D200 and Tamron 28-75 f2.8 lens at 32mm. It was shot in manual mode at f2.8, iso 800 and a shutter speed of 1/60th.

Lighting: Lighting was all natural. There was a large window camera right, and another smaller window almost directly in front of the subject. The large window was the main light as the morning sun was shining pretty directly into the nursery.

Creative Process: I wanted to make a very simple image that said something about a new mother's unconditional love. The light in the nursery was gorgeous, and though Mom wasn't crazy about having her photo made, she was comfortable with a shot taken from behind. Her hair was piled loosely on her head and I loved the texture the tendrils created. We decided that the image would work best skin on skin and so we merely pulled down the sleeves of her tank top to get that effect.

Post Production: The image was shot in RAW, so post production included just a quick conversion from RAW to jpeg, and a very basic black and white conversion in CS3.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Full speed ahead!

You may have noticed we have a new look. Don't ya just love it? Thanks to Denise for our new logo!!!! And it's not just a new look we have. The chicks have a fresh outlook. We're going to be posting more, sharing more, and getting out there more! We're going full speed! We're going to be more interactive, too, and are super excited about some major things. For one, we're going to be doing some give-aways. Shhhh. It's a secret for now, but we've got some things in the works. So, check back soon and you'll be glad you did!

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!