Thursday, March 27, 2014

...and Babies Don't Keep.

Once upon a time, I stood on the rocky shores of York, Maine and took photos of a wedding.  It was a cloudy day in Autumn, and I fell in love.  I fell in love with the stunning house that stood beside the pounding surf.  I fell in love with the bride and groom, who were absolutely adorable, and so obviously, deeply in love with each other.  I fell in love with their family; they held hands and laughed and cried.  They had lost loved ones, but they remembered.  And at the reception, I fell in love with their Red Sox/ Yankees family feud... 

Some time later, I was honored to visit the family again for another beautiful Maine wedding.  More tears, more smiles, lots of hugs, lots and lots of laughter, and of course, confetti and New York, New York.  

You can't imagine how excited I was when I found out "my" Mr. & Mrs. O. were expecting.  I actually got a little teary when I was asked to take pregnancy portraits.  



See?  They just make your heart melt.  

Of course, I have three little ones (three and HOLDING)... and I remember well how wonderful these moments are.  Life runs at a frantic pace, and it's incredibly difficult to stop and savor moments that are soon lost.  

This is why I love photography.

And also, why this poem by Ruth Hulbert Hamilton is one of my very favorites about parenting.  It's called "Song for a Fifth Child,"  and I quote excerpts of it below.

Mother, O’ Mother, come shake out your cloth,
Empty the dustpan, poison the moth.
Hang out the washing, make up the bed,
Sew on a button and butter the bread.

Where is the mother whose house is so shocking?
She's up in the nursery, blissfully rocking.
 
 
The shopping's not done and there's nothing for stew,
And out in the yard there's a hullabaloo.
But I'm playing Kanga and this is my Roo.
Look! Aren't his eyes the most wonderful hue?
  
The cleaning and scrubbing can wait till tomorrow,
But children grow up, as I've learned to my sorrow.
So quiet down cobwebs; Dust go to sleep!
I'm rocking my baby and babies don't keep.

So whether you're a mother, father, grandparent, auntie, cousin, friend... whatever - spend time with your little ones. Give those babies of yours extra hugs. (And take their picture!)  They're changing and growing every day.  What they are now will soon be gone.  It will be replaced with something else wonderful, but as we all know, we can't turn back time.  

We will only have the comfort of knowing we savored what we could...
and yes, we'll have the photographs. 

So keep smiling :)  

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Take a Better Selfie

I'm going to start out by saying that I HATE selfies.

Not of you, darling.  I hate selfies of me.

Of course, it makes sense; I'm the one who stays behind the camera.  Don't get me wrong; I don't have low self-esteem.  I don't think I look fat. I just would rather have a naturally-happening photo taken of me than one I posed and took myself.

That having been said, I think there are times you've just got to take a self-snapshot.  So, I'm going to share some tips with you (and some photographic examples) on how to take a flattering, non-obnoxious, outside-the-box selfie.

What got me thinking of this?  Well, I was looking at my friend Alaisha's selfie today.  (She has this irresistible spunk and unexpected gorgeousness... and she's also a successful portrait photographer!)  You know what struck me about this photo?  It's different.  It's real.  It captures HER.

Here it is:
http://www.coffeeandkidsphotography.com/
Oh my gosh.  Look at how her nose crinkles.  It's adorable.  There's so much LIFE in this picture.  xoxoxox

My first tip for taking a great selfie is to not take yourself so seriously.  You don't have to act like a moron, but lighten up a bit... and please, PLEASE... give sexy a break.  You want to think of expressions we need more in self-snapshots?  Irony.  Mystery.  Mirth.  Subtlety.  

Give me joy instead of duckface.
Show me charm instead of cleavage.

Well, you get the idea.

But from a technical aspect, what kind of things could you be doing to make a better selfie happen?

  1. Get in some great light. Seriously... phone cameras are getting better and better, but as a general rule, the lower the light, the grainier the photo is going to be.  Granted, we're not necessarily going for portrait quality, but a decent photo should have SOME detail.  Some of the most flattering light you'll find is near a window on a sunny day.  Put your face toward the light.  
  2. Position the camera lens slightly above eye level.  Notice I said SLIGHTLY.  The snapshot-from-above makes the subject look vulnerable and small.  Tiny Face With Doe Eyes may be the pose of choice when you're a freshman in high school, but we're moving past that.  
  3. Mind your background.  A cluttered background will detract from the subject: your face.
  4. To make the best expression, think of someone who makes you laugh, and remind yourself of why.  Or try imagining physical pain (fingernail being ripped off is a great one) while remaining your composure.  The slight eye squint may be all you need to take a flattering picture.  Finally, as the immensely talented Nigel Barker says, imagine chocolate melting in your mouth.  (If you love chocolate!)  Your eyes are already smiling!  
  5. Experiment, but limit yourself.  What do we mean?  Go have fun, take lots of shots.  Try new things! But limit yourself in the amount of selfies you have online at one time.  After all, a selfie is inherently, well... selfish.  If you have 200 of them on your Facebook profile, others are likely to get the impression that you're a bit self-involved.  
I would love to see what selfies you come up with after reading this article. Feel free to post links to your self-snapshots and share.

Keep smiling!
Gretchen


Saturday, December 7, 2013

Holi Powder + Love

Take two high-school sweethearts, put them in freezing-cold Portland Maine weather, and let them throw holi powder at each other... and you get absolute fun.  
Can't wait till these cuties get married next year!











Monday, July 15, 2013

I'm so far behind!

Oh my heavens!  As a business owner, I have to keep up with all my social media platforms, and I have to admit, my blog has been suffering.  I am SO busy with shooting the past 6 weeks or so, and it's not about to let up.

SO!  Here are a few shots from Randi & Matty's wedding, which I happen to be in LOVE with.  These two were so stinking adorable, I couldn't stand it.  This is what I'm saying, dear readers... love looks GORGEOUS on camera.  I love what I do :)


















Thursday, June 6, 2013

Annie & Deven

Look at how adorable these two are.  I'm so glad we got to beat the oncoming storm tonight and make time to fit an engagement session in.

Can't wait for their September wedding!










Can't wait to finish editing our session together... more coming soon!  :)