Friday, March 29, 2013

Improve a Portrait by Cropping

I've finally got to sneak out and take some photos! Bree found me on Model Mayhem, and I'm so glad she did! It was my first time working with a real model, and she made it so easy. You can check out some more photos with the hat here and with the shell necklace here.

We wanted to take some photos for Bree's portfolio that wouldn't be too Hawaii-y (since she lives there she wanted something different). Well, since I'm a huge fan of cropping and cropping then some more, we could easily take photos that wouldn't give away the location. Without further ado, I thought I'd share what goes through my mind when cropping photos.

So this is the original photo. Bree's looking all sultry and cute, but I think there's too much going on for the photo to have a punch as a portrait.

Now this is more like it, already you're more drawn to her eyes.

A liittle more, eliminating more distractions in the background.

Some more. This is my favorite crop. I feel that the closer the crop (with both eyes still visible), the closer you feel to the subject in the shot, and can get a better sense of the mood.

Cropped even more! This half-face works for head on shots. I like this since it leaves a little mystery.

Another example:

Original photo. It's cute, but I want her to have more "air" on the side she's looking to, than on the opposite side.

That's better in terms of her gaze. Now she has space to look into, but I've cut out the extra stuff from the right side and cropped a little tighter.

(I bought this shell necklace in Portugal a few years back)

This one I like, since the shells in her hair don't have to compete with the graphics in her dress. 

Cropped even tighter! Not showing the whole shoulder, but still gives her air to look into. I love how Bree looks all Pocahontas-y :)

So there you go, a couple of examples on how just cropping can make your portraits stand out.
 Hopefully this helps you to make the most out of your portraits, even if you've just taken some fun shots of your friends or kids.

Cropping too tight is not an option if you want to show the location (for example, when travelling or documenting a party etc), but adding a few of cropped portraits of interesting people into your travel album will definitely strengthen your storytelling.

More photos with the hat here and with the shell necklace here.


PS: I always shoot in RAW so the quality is high even when cropping tightly (but you need an application that can handle RAW files). And if you don't have that possibility, and the photo gets grainy while cropping tighter, you have to see if the grain adds to the photo, or not, which is totally up to you.

 It is of course better for the quality of the image to crop it while taking the photo (aka zooming or getting closer). Sometimes you just don't know what you want from a photo before you see it on the screen, or already took that one awesome one with too big of a crop because you had a different idea for the photo.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies Recipe

Yesterday I was in need of something quick&sweet. Oatmeal cookies are my favorite cookies, and Husband really really wanted raisins in there even though I was about to pour in chocolate chips. Turned out yummy!

This recipe made 12 fairly large cookies.

Follow the instructions in the picture:

Whisk together melted butter with the sugars.
Add an egg and the vanilla extract.

Mix together the dry ingredients (except for the oats), add them into your mix. 

Blend in the oats and the raisins.

Lift chunks of the dough onto parchment paper (on a oven tray). I made 6 cookies per tray, since they will spread out a bit. You might want to press them out just a little on the tray.

Bake at 375 degrees Fahrenheit.

The recipe I based this on said 8-10 minutes, but mine needed about 14min to get some golden edges on them, so keep an eye on the cookies.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Crave: Gold for Summer

Am I the only one craving golden stuff for summer? Since I modified my ombre top with some gold fabric paint I got to thinking about how gold fits into the seasons. I don't think gold is just for winter glam! Just need to combine it with the right stuff to make it summery. Turquoise is my favorite with gold, it's so fresh and a little bohemian, too.

Gold for Summer

Friday, March 15, 2013

DIY Gold Patterned Ombre Tee

Finally I had time to do something! The puppy is so much work since we still can't go out with her (2 weeks until her 3rd round of shots, then we're off everywhere with her!). Husband has been away on work, too, so it's been crazy here. Sorry for the photos, they are the result of a hectic morning with Husband trying to get to work on time while photographing and keeping a play sick puppy at bay. Anyways, back to the DIY.

If you're like me you got super exited about the ombre pieces that were out there. Well, I'm getting a bit tired of them now, so I wanted to do something about this ombre t-shirt I bought at Forever 21. My leftover Tulip Metallics fabric paint (in Gold) to the rescue!

How to:

Prewash your garment.

Put something in between your garment to protect it from the color leaking through.

Apply the paint from the tip of the tube; I made this little bean stock pattern by making straight lines, and then adding leaves. I chose gold since I thought it would be perfect with the turquoise, a fresh and summery combination.

Let dry flat for 4 hours. Turn, and pattern the other side.

Can be washed after 3 days.

You can't really see the goldness of the paint in the bigger shot, but here you can see how it does glimmer in sunlight.

Friday, March 8, 2013

DIY Hand Drawn Bowls

I made some hand drawn coffe mugs as a Christmas present, and now I wanted to make something for myself. We bought these plain white bowls etc from IKEA when we moved here, and they are screaming for a makeover. Not sure yet if this random stick pattern is the way to go, but I wanted to try it out!

How to:

* Make sure you wash it properly, so there is no grease/oil on. If there is (and it can come there just from your hands), the paint will get spread out a bit.

* Draw your stuff!
I used a Deco Art Glass Paint Marker from JoAnns.

* If you mess up, you can rub the color off with a damp paper towel (at least I could even if it dried for several minutes)

* Allow 4 hours to dry

If you want it dishwasher safe (read the instructions on your pen in case they're different!):

* After the 4 hour drying time, but within 8 hours of drawing, put your pottery into a still cold oven, and then turn oven on to 375 degrees Fahrenheit

* Bake your pottery in the oven for 40 minutes (start timer when 375 is reached)

* After the 40 minutes, just turn off the oven, open the oven door and let the cups cool down.


(The small bowl is from Target, the big one from IKEA)

Stuff I like:

Pottery with Patterns

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

DIY Puppy Blankets

Meet Nova, our little Australian Beast! She's gonna be 9 weeks tomorrow :)

This is barely a DIY, but I wanted to bring attention to the fact that it's easy and cheap to make your own blankets for your puppy. I got these 1 x 1.5 yard fleece fabric pieces for about 5 dollars each (fabrics where 50% off at JoAnn's). Just trim the edges if they got cut sloppily, and you could cut two opposing sides into fringes once your puppy no longer chews the life out of everything :)

Monday, March 4, 2013

DIY Bottle Print Tea Towel

Yay, my wrist is getting better, and our puppy is asleep, so I might just be able to finish this post!

So, last week I bought five tea towels/kitchen towels from Walmart, and wanted to make them into a series of monochrome ones. Last week I made one with a dandelion print, and here's number two!

How to:

Wash your tea towel. Draw & cut out different shaped and sized bottle stencils in a row on some contact plastic.

Adhere the plastic to the nether edge of your tea towel.

Dab fabric paint onto the stencils.

Remove the stencil. You're done!

The paint I used is by Scribbles, it dries in 4 hours and can be washed after 72 hours.

When dry, the painted shapes feel a bit stiff. Maybe they'll soften up in use and after washing?

I had a little help, too: