Sun Flare – Winter Lighting Challenge Week 22

Here it is, the last week of the winter lighting challenge, and I am so excited to be able to say I completed each week, within the time frame allotted. I am maybe more proud of that getting it done than of the images created, but I really love some of them. And the lessons learned! Huge! Pushed outside my (natural light during the golden hour) comfort zone, this old (ish) dog learned some new skills (tricks are for kids). Lighting is really everything in photography, so feeling confidant using sources other than natural light is invaluable and, it turns out, fun!

This week’s challenge was sun flare – the sort of lens refraction that used to be considered a mistake, and has been wildly popular the last few years. At first I stayed very far away from sun flare, as with anything trendy that dates my work. Over time I have warmed to it – while I still object to an entire session heavy with sun flare, I became intrigued by the challenge and like the variety it can add. I thought it would be a BIG challenge this week, as we were expecting rain all week, but this morning I woke up to lovely sunshine (now gone), and tried to make the best of it. Here are some I took today and some examples from a wedding I photographed last May, a pet photography session, a few high school senior portrait sessions, real estate photography and a family session.  Flare on, sun, flare on.

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Four Foot Photography, Mary Eklund, Kitsap County Photographer, Lifestyle Photography, Real Estate Photography, Portrait Photography, High School Senior Portraits, Family Photography, Wedding Photographer, Sun Flare, Winter Lighting Challenge, Port Orchard, Gig Harbor, Bremerton, Silverdale, Kingston, Poulsbo, Bainbridge Island, Belfair

Winter Lighting Challenge – Week 21

This week’s challenge was to use an umbrella to diffuse artificial light – as with each previous task, I found trying something different to be *illuminating* {sorry, bad photographer pun}. It was also the perfect opportunity to introduce a juicy new (to me) macro lens, perfect for ring shots, should you be thinking about getting your wedding on! My models tonight came out of my china hutch – the tea set was one of about 5 things my Grandma Jacobson kept for my sister and I to play with when we visited, and I have always loved stacking dolls, maybe I have two sets… I had a little depth of field fun with the dolls as well.

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There are only a few weeks left in the lighting challenge, and I will miss participating! It has been such a fun way to add techniques, I do love to learn just because, but many of these skills will be great additions to my image making.

Four Foot Photography, Kitsap County Photographer, Mary Eklund, Port Orchard, Personal Project, 2014, Winter Lighting Challenge, Shoot Through Umbrella, Week 21

Winter Lighting Challenge – video light

This week’s lighting challenge was to use a video light – my models grow weary of my lens, and were not buying into my concept of the shoot, but the video light looks a LOT like a light saber, so I had plenty of volunteers to assist, even if they were not terribly cooperative!

The last image, “A “Boy” and His “Dog”” is done in natural light, so you can see the difference.











Port Orchard Photographer, Kids and Families, Natural Light Portraiture, Video Light, Lifestyle Photography, Four Foot Photography


Studio Work at Cindy’s Grooming Styles – Kitsap County Photographer ~ Four Foot Photography

This week I was delighted to be asked by a middle school student if she could job shadow me. The specific day was Friday, my plan was to edit and work on taxes – a realistic view of my workday, but not something I thought would be too exciting for a 13 year old! The weather did not allow for outdoor shooting, but Miss S’s mom happens to own Cindy’s Grooming Styles, which has a large area for doggie daycare (and some beautiful wall art by Four Foot Photography)! We have talked about doing some limited edition sessions in the shop for Cindy’s clientele, so this was a great opportunity to do a dry run. Without much time to put out a model call, I decided to work with my own four foots – unfortunately, my wingnut Bichon was still several weeks from his next grooming appointment, and I really haven’t worked with our rescue pug that much. To that end, Cindy agreed to work Fabio in to get him camera ready, and I thought I would set up my mobile backdrop and bring Gladys along for a realistic study on how it can be to work with an animal who doesn’t have much experience at posing or isn’t particularly trained (Gladys is quite deaf). We had a lovely day – Ms. S is a bright, eager learner, Cindy did a beautiful job on Fabio, and Gladys was a pleasant surprise. Over the past several years I have been looking for the words to explain how the process of having your pet (or family) photographed can be very validating to the strong connection people have with their pets (and each other) – and also it is so FUN! The shared experience brings an emotional element to the images that is reinforced every time you look at those photographs. This was first called to my attention by the fabulous Stephanie Wright, whose rats I photographed my first year in business (Click here to see the images). She told me later that the evening after the photoshoot she just couldn’t put her girls down, seeing them through the camera’s eye she fell completely in love and just sat and cuddled them. This was the best compliment, and after photographing Gladys Friday, I got a taste of my own medicine. We loved her right away, stinkiness and quirks and all, but I am now SO IN LOVE with her adorable little head tilt! Here are my babies!

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I genuinely prefer to shoot in more of a lifestyle format and natural light, but this really got my studio juices flowing! Miss S had an opportunity to photograph as well, I will add some of her shots in the next few days (I REALLY have to get my taxes done!).












Four Foot Photography, Mary Eklund, Pet Photographer, Kitsap County Pet Photographer, Dog Photos, Cindy’s Grooming Styles, Port Orchard Photographer, Pets and People, Portrait Studio, Bichon, Pug

Candle light

This week’s lighting challenge was not as technically difficult as some, just meant to get us thinking outside the box. Candle light photos of course would be great for WEDDINGS, ENGAGEMENTS, BIRTHDAY PARTIES…since none of those was on my radar for March, I thought I would do a project with my boy, who got a new set of Legos from his Auntie Jessi this week. They are Avengers – Captain America on the motorcycle, Ironman in midair, Loki launching missives from the boat, Redface in the vehicle, and some other ugly dudes (I thought I was doing well to have paid that much attention). We had some fun!

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Kitsap County Photographer, Lifestyle Family Photographer, Mary Eklund, Four Foot Photography, Kids and Families, Photography Awesomesauce Winter Lighting Challenge, Candle light, Kitsap Wedding Photographer, Pet Photographer, Real Estate Photos, 2014

SKWLL Vandals – Port Orchard Child and Family Photographer

I feel like my son won the coach lottery this year – his basketball team just finished up their season, and it was a great one!

The lighting challenge this week was dragging the shutter – using a slow shutter speed and second curtain sync on the flash to show motion. This is often used at a wedding reception, but since I didn’t have one of those handy, I thought it would be fun to try at a basketball game.











Kitsap County Photographer, Sports Photography, Child and Family Photographer, Port Orchard Photographer, Photography Awesomesauce Winter Lighting Challenge

Winter Lighting Challenge – Catchlights

Catchlights are the little reflection of light in the eye that give spirit to a photograph, bringing it to life. This is especially true for pet photography. Animals have such dark eyes, it is very important to capture the light and avoid the dreaded “shark” or “dead” eye. For this week’s challenge (easy peasy, right?), I thought I would photograph the kids and the dogs together – yeah, no. Not gonna happen. So then I thought I would do each of my babies – two footed, four footed and finned (ok, I don’t really think of the fish as one of my babies, but I have managed to keep him alive for 14 months now!). Well it seems NO ONE was in a cooperative mood, so what I got was kind of silly, but I love them all the same.

I think perhaps Batfish was the most cooperative…

Port Orchard Photographer, Mary Eklund, Kitsap County Photographer, Kids and Pets, Winter Lighting Challenge, Cat Photos, Dog Photos, Lifestyle Photography, Gig Harbor Family Photographer, 2014

Winter Lighting Challenge – Spotlight

This week’s winter lighting challenge was shooting in the dark with a spotlight – super cool! I used a flashlight app on my phone, and had a story book concept – unfortunately my daughter has a bit of a cold, so we only had a few minutes, but it was fun to play with the spotlight for some extra drama. She has enough of a sense of humor still to give me the crazy eyes – wait for it…The “boom boy” holding the spotlight was my son, best photography assistant ever! I give you “Red Riding Hood and The Big, Bad Wolf”:


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Four Foot Photography, Mary Eklund, Kitsap County Photographer, Photography Awesomesauce Winter Lighting Challenge, Port Orchard Photographer, Children’s Portraiture, Red Riding Hood, Spotlight, 2014


Fun with the kiddos Kitsap County Photographer ~ Four Foot Photography

My models work cheap – the two foots for pretzels and the four foots for Zukes! Once again, here they are helping me with this week’s lighting challenge, which was Off Camera Flash Daytime Portrait. I had a hard time choosing just one for posting in the group – luckily, no such constraints here, I can post my top 5 (or so…). Because I appreciate their cooperation and want them to have fun, they have a lot of input into what we do. Today, we started with a stick horse and it went all Lone Ranger from there.

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I have never been a huge fan of flash, but am digging it off camera with the triggers!








Four Foot Photography, Kitsap County Photographer, Lifestyle Photographer, Port Orchard, Kids and Families, Mary Eklund, Photography Awesomesauce Winter Lighting Challenge, Week 13 Off Camera Flash Daytime Portrait

Painting with Light

Ooh, this week’s lighting challenge was a fun one! Way to fire up the creativity – I enlisted the help of my 8-year-old, and we have great plans to do this again! He had some great ideas – moustache! octopus! stick figure! and enjoyed getting to trigger the shutter for once. I know this post is heavy on the psychedelic lightsaber battle, but they had trouble choosing a favorite. The 6-year-old liked having Princess Leia hair…

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Four Foot Photography, Kitsap County Photographer, Winter Lighting Challenge, Painting with Light, Week 7, Gig Harbor to Bainbridge Island Photographer, Child Photographer