My voice began to shake as I heard him on the other end of the line.

Can you come home?
Yeah, what’s up? he replied.

I was sitting in the basement working when I think I heard someone run through the upstairs and then down half a flight of stairs and jump to the first floor! So I quietly grabbed a pair of shoes and the keys and went out the back door.

Where are you now? Matt said with concern.

I am outside… I don’t understand how someone could have gotten inside. The front and back door are bulted with the deadlocks…Matty it was so loud and the whole apartment shook.

Was it the neighbors maybe…are they home? Matt said.

I don’t think so. There are no lights on.

Alright, I will be there in 20 minutes. And Matt was on his way.

I then for the next 20 minutes sat locked in the car…watching the apartment…because to my knowledge no one exited except me.

During that time I prayed, tested the camera on my phone…ya know to see if I could take a picture of the robber from a block away…and I waited.

As Matt arrived home, he peared through the window and then went around to the backdoor. I tagged behind him like a completely clueless sidekick. I mentally played through usless movie-ninja like moves…just in case. And then we entered.

I sounded like Steve Erkle as we walked through our untidy apartment…” I did that…I did that too…yup that was me.”

We searched every closet, and the scariest of them all…behind the shower curtain, only to find a robberless house and all of our valuables still in place.

 

Completely puzzled I finally sat back down at my computer and there I found my “robber.”

That night I called Matt at 7:16pm after I had exited out of our home and down the dark alleyway beside our apartment. And it was reported last night that at 7:12pm there was an earthquake!

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Previously we talked about why turning your camera setting from Auto to Manual is the first step to taking beautiful pictures.

And you now know that you need the right combination of three things: aperture, speed, and ISO to take a correct exposure. Can’t remember what those three things are? Just click here.  We will be talking about each of these three more in depth in the next weeks. And you will be given some fun homework to get you jump started in learning your camera one step at a time! But before we move on, first we need to talk about the light meter within your camera.

What is the light meter?

The light meter is a device in your camera that knows your aperture, speed, and ISO settings at all times. Your light meter will tell you if the settings you chose will give you a correct exposure!

Where is the light meter?

If you look through your viewfinder (like you are going to take a picture), you will see something that looks similar to this:

That little ticker line with the plus and minus signs on opposing ends, that is your light meter…it’s your new best friend!

The light meter will tell you if your picture you are about to take will be a correct exposure or if it will be under or overexposed.

 

Let’s step away from the camera for a second and think about it this way… (Bryan Peterson explains it all so well in his book: Understanding Exposure)

 Imagine your lens opening (aperture), is open to lets say f /11, is the same diameter as your kitchen faucet opening.  Now imagine that your faucet handle is your shutter speed dial and that waiting in the sink below are 200 worker bees, each with an empty bucket. The water coming through the faucet will be the light. It’s the job of the camera’s light meter to indicate how long the faucet stays open to fill up all the buckets of the waiting worker bees below.  The light meter knows that there are 200 worker bees and that the opening of the faucet is f /11. So with this information, the camera’s light meter can now tell you how long to leave the faucet open, and assuming you turn on the faucet for this correctly indicated amount of time, you will record a correct exposure.  In effect, each worker bee’s bucket is filled with the exact amount of water necessary to record a correct photographic exposure.

What happens if the water (the light) is allowed to flow longer than the meter says? The buckets become overfilled with water (too much light). In photographic terms, this is called an overexposure.  If you’ve ever taken an overexposed image, you’ve undoubtedly commented that the colors look “washed out.” Conversely, what happens if the water (the light) coming through the faucet is not allowed to flow as long as the light meter says? The buckets get but a few drops (not enough light). In photographic terms this is called underexposure.  If you have ever taken and underexposed photo, you’ve found yourself saying, “ It’s hard to see what’s there, since it’s so dark.”

 So your light meter will help you record a correct exposure. If we look back at the image above, you will notice that a correctly exposed picture is indicated when the dots below the ticker are right in the middle (underneath the “O”) between the plus and minus signs.

So far it is pretty simple, all you have to do is find a combination of aperture + shutter speed +ISO= that equals a correct exposure on your light meter.  That being said is it safe to say that you can record a perfect exposure every time? Not quite, but you are a whole lot closer…

Now it is time to talk about how to choose the best aperture, speed, and ISO for each picture opportunity. So you not only have a correct exposure, but the perfect exposure.

 

Next week: How to Choose the Best Aperture

 

P.S. Your viewfinder and light meter may look a little different than the image above. If so and you are having trouble, your camera manual will be of great help :)

 

 

 

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It’s going to be a good weekend here in DC with my nephew!

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Today I want to talk about how to choose and coordinate outfits for your family’s session.  A lot of times, I get emails that sound something like this, ” Cassandra, can you take a look at these outfits (iphone pic attached) do they match…what do you think?

As a photographer, one part of my job is styling your session- so your family looks like they just stepped out of a magazine.  So you look and feel amazing. So if dressing your family just adds more stress…don’t worry I will be your personal stylist :)

BUT, if you are like me and love the idea of shopping and coordinating your looks. Here are some helpful DIY tips:

Tip 1: Choose a color pallet. It’s fall so below I chose autumn gold as my splash of color and then stuck to neutrals like- black, grey, and even khaki).

P.S. not everyone needs to wear the splash of gold, some family members can just stick to neutrals.

( Mom shown in: EmersonFry  Baby shown in: Bonpoint )

 

Tip 2: How to match, but not be too matchy.

Choose outfits that have at least 2 common threads of color.  Here Dad and son both have threads of navy, hunter green, and red.  Yes, the little boy also has kelly green, and turquoise alongside the hunter green checks in his flannel, but it works because he already has at least 2 common threads of color. If you want to add another family member, dress them in 2 of the three: hunter green, red, or navy.

(Both shown in: J.Crew)

 

Tip 3: Choose Similar Fabrics

Here each outfit is made from fabrics that look comfy, cozy, and relaxed.

(Mom shown in: J.crew, baby shown in: Bonpoint, daughter shown in: emile et ida)

 

Tip 4 : Match in Style

Here dad and son are both dressed “preppy.”

 

Tip 5 :  How to dress everyone and not get overwhelmed:

Start by finding one outfit you love and then build one member at a time.  I just loved this little girl’s cozy, artistic, grey, black, and pink outfit.  So next I found mom’s outfit and so on.  Each outfit matches in fabric and style- cozy and artistic.  And each outfit has at least 2 common threads- grey, black, or a splash of pink ( everyone does not need to wear your splash of color as shown).

( Mom shown in: J.Crew, son shown in: emile et ida, Dad shown in: J.Crew and Gap)

 

Tip 6  Dress for the Weather and Location

It is better to have smiles than chattering teeth.  One easy solution is to dress in layers.  Lastly, dress for the location…stilettos or white pants are not usually a good idea if we are going to the farm.

 

 

 

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I remember feeling like I was back in 1st grade out on the school playground…wishing she would be my friend.

And now years later and many states apart… she is the one that still makes my cheeks hurt from laughing, still is the one that I can be completely honest with when life seems unfair, still is the one that I hope to call roomie 50 years from now.

Still is the one, that I miss daily…but on this day,her day… no distance could keep me from missing and celebrating the day we talked about when we were just bunk-beds apart.

 

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