Windsor

S & G | Colorado Mountain Wedding {Fort Collins & Denver Wedding Photographer} BlueHaus Studios

{Fort Collins Wedding Photographer} BlueHaus Studios specializes in wedding & portrait photography in the Fort Collins/Northern Colorado area and beyond. We love meeting new clients, and hope you enjoy this blogpost. If you have questions or would like to book a consultation or session, please contact me at ashley@bluehausstudios.com. Thank you! I can't get enough of mountain weddings. The beautiful views, the mountain air, the blue skies; beauty is always greatly enhanced while in the mountains. I was lucky to take part in this wedding this past summer at the Chapel in the Pines in Red Feather Lakes, CO. The location was phenomenal, and had to have been a very memorable experience for both the bride and groom. After a touching ceremony and a few couple pictures, we headed to the Ptarmigan Country Club & Golf Course in Windsor, CO for their golf course reception.

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The BlueHaus Office {Fort Collins Photography Studio}

A quick look into my office/studio space.  I will be posting a more detailed video sometime soon.  Come visit us :). [embed width="650" height"450"]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9066qayfXrI[/embed]

Fort Collins Maternity Photographer {Emilee & Drew}

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At the beginning of June, I got to shoot maternity photos for Emilee & Drew close to the Poudre River trail and Old Town Fort Collins.  They are expecting a little girl in the next couple of weeks, and I am VERY excited to be shooting newborn photos as well!  Let me just say, I LOVED this maternity shoot.  Emilee had requested we do more of an "engagement" style shoot, versus focusing on the typical "belly shots."  It was super fun, and I think I like shooting the engagement style almost more because it captures the relationship during such a monumental time.  You see the personalities come out, like Drew constantly trying to poke her belly.  Emilee also had some great ideas for the shoot, including incorporating a chair in a field, baby shoes, and adding a CSU baby bib since both her and Drew are CSU Alumni.  I appreciate it when my clients can think outside the box and help make their session unique to them. What a fun summer evening!

Shooting in Manual: Breaking the Automatic Bond

shootinmanual

When I first started to get into photography, I only shot in auto mode.  That’s what you do when you are not familiar with the power of your camera.  It’s a time where you start to experiment and get comfortable using a DSLR, and are amazed that you can take these amazing photos with your 18-55 mm kit lens.  The image quality is good, and you start to develop an “eye” for great images.  All photographers go through this stage. Auto mode gives you a real taste of what you can do with your camera, and  when you become addicted to learning as much as you can, that is when you will make the most improvements.  There is no shame in shooting in auto mode; heck I still really like some of my images from those days.  However, when I started to learn how to shoot in Manual mode, the quality of my photos greatly increased (as well as purchasing some higher quality lenses).  Here are the basics of shooting in manual, hopefully, in laymen’s terms.

Nikon-Viewfinder

{Light Meter} This helps you determine what you need to adjust in your manual camera settings in order to have proper exposure (i.e. not too dark, not too light).   If you look into your camera and press the shutter half way down as if you were focusing, these images will appear in your viewfinder.  You want your exposure to be at the “0” mark, or slightly higher or lower by a notch or two.  If it doesn't show up on the scale, you will notice in the viewfinder whether you are way over or under exposed, and will need to make the appropriate adjustments with your shutter speed, aperture, and ISO.

{Shutter Speed} This determines how long the shutter is open for, which basically equates to how much light you are allowing into the photo.  Long shutter speeds (1/20) are usually only used when you have your camera on a tri-pod and don’t anticipate any movement from the subject. Quick shutter speeds (1/2000) are used for sports photography or where you need to capture something in action. You can also modify how light and dark your photos are.  If your image is overexposed, you can bring your shutter speed down (i.e. 1/2000) which would darken the image, or if it is underexposed you can bring it up (I.e. 1/20) which would allow more light into the picture.  I rarely have my shutter speed that high or low, and normally stay with the 1/160 (minimum to reduce camera shake)-1/800 range;  1/160 for low light or poorly lit areas, and 1/800 for bright, sunny days. However, sometimes you need to max out your shutter if it is really bright outside and you want to keep your depth of field where it is.

{Aperture/F-Stop } This determines how wide open your lens is.  When you buy a lens, there are numbers written on the side with your aperture settings. On the Canon 18-55 mm lens, the aperture is f/3.5-5.6.  This lens is “wide open” at 3.5 where it lets the most light in, and maxed out at 5.6, which keeps light out.  Within these bounds, when you’re “wide open” you can only focus on a small portion of the subject, versus when your at your maximum aperture, you can keep the entire subject in focus.   You want to be at your minimum aperture setting (3.5) when you are shooting in low light and want good Bokeh (blurry background behind your subject), and your maximum when you’re shooting in bright light and are capturing a group photo (so everyone will stay in focus).  This is where the quality of your lens can make a difference, and buying lens with apertures as low as 1.2 is ideal for both artistic and adaptability reasons.

{ISO} Your ISO setting determines how sensitive you want your light sensor to be.  You want a very low ISO setting (100), and only increase it when you have to (Last setting to adjust and only if needed).  If you can’t do much to adjust your shutter speed and aperture, then you may have to resort to using your ISO to properly expose your photo.  When using a lower grade DSLR, you will notice a significant deterioration in your images (noise-aka grainy photos) when you pass the 600-800 ISO mark.  High quality DSLRs, however, can go up to an ISO of  6400+ without showing much noise (around 32000ish is the max I like to go though and prefer not to even go that high).  The Canon 5D Mark III has max ISO settings of 102,400,  where the Canon Rebel T1i has max ISO settings of 12,800.  You can only imagine how much their performance differs in lowlight settings.

{Tip} I recommend shooting in RAW format, which lets you adjust all of those settings manually on your computer after the fact if you messed up the picture a bit.  RAW format basically stores all of the information from the image, instead of compressing it like a JPEG would do. It does take up more memory card storage.

This post doesn’t cover every manual setting, however, it does detail what I would consider to be the most important settings.  You can also manually adjust your white balance, focus points, or shoot in shutter priority or aperture priority mode which can help breakdown the learning curve of adjusting your shutter speed or aperture settings.   I will cover all of these at a later point in time.  This guide should get you started, and through some experimentation with your camera, you will begin to tell a huge difference in your photos.  Just remember, Practice, Practice, Practice!