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fall portraits | {Encinitas Photographer}

I don’t know what it is about the fall, but I become obsessed with getting the perfect portraits of my kids. The air is dry and crisp. The sky is a pretty color of blue. Even though the leaves don’t really change here in SD, the colors in the trees become more varied. And the light takes on a magic quality in the fall. It’s the perfect time for family portraits!

Here are a couple shots of my little ones on a recent scouting trip. There are so many wonderful places for pictures in North County!

robin - Great shots!

Tami - Your kids are gorgeous and the light is amazing!! 🙂

Kerri - Your children are gorgeous! Such beautiful eyes!

Kelley - These are great. I wanted to pick a favorite, but I can’t!

they grow up too fast | {Carlsbad Photographer}

One of the best things about my job is that I can do a photo session with my kids at any time and for any reason. Today’s reason was that my son lost his first tooth! He lost it at school while eating an apple. He was so excited! He was showing everyone that would look. He told all his friends that since he lost his first tooth at age 5, it would be another 5 years before his next one would fall out 🙂  but he already has a second one that’s loose. He decided he’s not ready for the tooth fairy to take it yet, he’s been sleeping with it for a couple nights to make sure she doesn’t get it lol! I love this age! and I love that I can document every moment because they pass so fast!

Nate D - Yes, these moments are precious!

We are so thankful that we chose you as our photographer to capture our family’s precious moments. I love the picture you took of our two year old son hugging our nine month old daughter. Our son never seems to smile for us when we take pictures but you did a great job getting him to smile and have fun during the whole shoot.

You rock!

Nicola - Oh wow, beautiful pictures! What a handsome young man! Beautiful brown eyes like my son has 🙂

Jamie Loomis - Beautiful job and handsome subject!

Amber - What a handsome little guy! Great shots! <3

Kelley - What a great smile! Nice job.

Becky - ADORABLE!

a really nice camera and two cute kids | {San Diego Custom Portrait Photographer}

I’ve had this blog post in the back of my mind for a while now. You see, when I show people my work, or when I tell new friends that I’m a professional photographer, one of the most common responses is:

“Oh, those are amazing photos! You must have a really nice camera!”

People often want to compare megapixels, and they’re shocked when their point and shoot has more megapixels than my huge dslr! I also frequently have people ask me to come to an event and bring along my camera, expecting photo magic even though their event is at noon in full sun. Or worse yet, ask if they can use my camera, believing shooting with it will give them beautiful photographs.

Think of it this way, after a delightful meal, you would never tell the chef, “Wow, that was a delicious dinner! You must have a really great oven!” Well, we all know that ovens don’t magically make great meals. Because if they do, I need to find the owners manual for mine!

This is the same in photography, it’s approximately 20% equipment and 80% skill. I do use an amazing camera, and more importantly amazing lenses. And without at least moderate equipment, I would not be able to produce professional quality images. But it’s not a magical camera. My camera doesn’t automatically know how to expose for difficult lighting or better yet find good lighting. My lenses don’t automatically know how to focus on the right spots while blurring the background.  I am the one BEHIND the camera that knows how to work in manual mode and how to find good lighting.

It’s kind of embarrassing, but before I got into professional photography, I believed that really great photographers used special filters or special lenses to make skin glow. I thought they had special equipment that was able to deal better with difficult lighting. That their cameras could somehow expose for bright light and shadow at the same time. Because if the camera wasn’t doing it, how else did it happen? And if only I could buy a better camera, my images would be amazing too! But experience has told me that the camera has very little to do with it, and it’s the photographer behind the camera who controls the lighting and how it’s used.

To illustrate my point, I took my dear husband and 2 little ones out to Old Town San Diego one evening during golden hour. The hour where the sun is low on the horizon and the light takes on a warm dreamy color. It’s the easiest time to shoot, but you still have to look around to find pretty lighting. So our experiment went as follows: I handed my camera to my hubby on fully automatic mode and asked him to shoot 5 different photos/locations using our kids as models. Both he and the kids took their paycheck in Jelly Beans, so I figured it was a good deal. So he took the following photos (unedited, only resized and sharpened for web):

I love my hubby dearly. But with a Ph.D. in Chemical Engineering, photography has never really been his primary interest. As far as snapshots, his photos are great! The colors are pretty. The kids are having fun, and the memory of the evening is captured. The problem is that the camera is not magical. It doesn’t know to increase exposure when the subject is in the shadow and there is bright light in the background. It doesn’t know how to turn the kiddos so their faces are not in half sun/half shade. It is an amazing camera, but it doesn’t make amazing portraits with a few simple clicks in auto mode. I’m already planning another blog post where I can suggest ways he could have improved his photos for those looking to take better snapshots, but I’ll save that for another time.

So after he was done with his session, I took a few. Same location, same lighting, same gear, same models. Though the Jelly Beans were starting to send them into crazy mode lol! Here are my 5 favorites (also unedited, only resized and sharpened for web):

Now if you want to say: “You take amazing photos! You’re kids must be really cute!” Please go ahead, but my camera has very little to do with that. I set the kids up in pretty light and I watched my light meter and exposed for their skin. I watched my composition to avoid distracting details in the background. And I set my camera settings so both kids are crisp, but the background is blurred. These are things that don’t happen in auto mode.

The next (and actually more time consuming) part of professional photography lies in the editing. Remember the photos above are all straight out of the camera. Photo editing takes a well exposed photo with good lighting and makes it a professional quality portrait. Editing cannot “fix” a bad image. It only enhances what’s already there. Just for fun, here are my 5 images after a little editing in lightroom and photoshop.

Though hubby’s pics were good, it is amazing to see the difference.  So no, my camera is NOT magical.  I have just spent countless hours practicing and educating myself.  And that is what I want to do for you.  I want to capture the best photograph I can of you and your loved ones and edit them to make them EVEN more amazing!

Stay tuned, in a future blog post, I’ll highlight suggestions for taking better snapshots with your own camera, and some quick fixes hubby could have done to turn his snapshots into portraits…

xo

Kendra

 

Naomi - Kendra really knows how to make pictures Magical!! Her photographs are ALWAYS so AMAZING! She really knows how to capture the light and feeling behind the moment!! LOVE, LOVE, LOVE her work!

Maria D. - Great post and so completely true!

Candace - Thanks for sharing this! It is so, so true.

Rebecca - This is all very true! And a little bit scary because someday I will invest in a better camera and will also need to take some classes to learn about ISO, shutter speed, etc.!

Although, your kids are EXTREMELY cute!

Heidi Howard - What a terrific idea! I love this so much. thank you for sharing. =)

LZ - I just came back from a trip and heard this all weekend! I know people were complementing my photos, but it certainly does sound funny, right?

Aoifa - YES!!! I just may email this to my cousin who says this ALL the time! (Cute kiddos btw!)

Michelle - This is such a great post! So, so, so true! Your children are adorable and your pictures are amazing!

Kristin - This post is perfect. I love the comparison between your hubby’s pictures and yours. I can’t wait to share this post!!

Lucy - Love this! Can’t wait to share!! 🙂

Kattie - BRAVO! And so very, very true! What a fun way to not only demonstrate, but help others to recognize talent when they see it!

Jodi - I absolutely LOVE this blog!

Jessica Scheuler - What a great article and amazing photos!! Your kids are adorable! I just had someone comment to me last night that I must have a great camera. It makes me sad that it is such a common misconception that the camera does the magic, and we just click the button. Thank you for writing this article to help people to see the truth 🙂

D Family Photos | {Carlsbad family photographer}

I just adore the D family! Momma and I are besties, and their kids are adorably cute, so you may see them here on the blog lots  🙂  We had all sorts of fun adventures finding her the perfect location for her family session. We settled on this beautiful property in North San Diego County with an old barn and grassy fields. Hope you love the photos, I had so much fun shooting them 🙂

 

Naomi - You are AMAZING at what you do Kendra!! I am always in AWE of your work! Thank you so much for capturing the perfect picture for us! This is going over the fireplace ASAP!! <3

Amber - Beautiful shots! <3

mary - these are SO very adorable!

Kellie - What a fun location, and I love the dogs!

Carla - What a beautiful family. Kids and their dogs are the best! Good work.

Susy - What a GORGEOUS family! You did an amazing job with this session!

Abbe - These are gorgeous!!! Love the colors and love the black and whites too.

Kelly - Oh my gosh I want that couch. Beautiful images.

Jamie Loomis - Gorgeous! Love all the images!

Shanna - Where is this location at in north county.? So stunning.

Best Friends – {San Diego newborn photographer}

Wow, my first blog post in almost 2 years!!! Time has flown by since my own little one was born, and I’m ready to get back at it! I had the pleasure of meeting and photographing these adorable little ones this summer. Boy/girl twins… what could be better as a first session back at work 🙂

Amber - So cute!!! Beautiful work! <3

Nicola - Oh my, such precious pictures <3

Kellie - Beautiful babies! Nice work 🙂

Carla - Awe – nothing better than 2 little babies! So sweet.

Susy - TWINS!!! Adorable!

Abbe - Oh so cute! They are precious. Great work!

naomi - What cutie pies!! LOVE these pics Kendra!! Amazing shots!

Kelley - Eek, twins! Love the one of them cuddled together!

Jenn - ohh my gorgeous babies! beautiful.

Becky - So sweet! Love these images of twins – just beautiful!