Getting sharp / in focus photos

It's been a long time (long time)
I shouldn'a left you (left you)
Without a dope beat to step to (step to)

LOL yes..... its been a loooong time since I've blogged.. anyhoo I do really want to blog more but I've been so busy lately with Xmas coming up, shooting a friends wedding and another's engagement its just been so crazy! leaving for Sydney next friday and am SOOOOOO looking forward to some good quality R&R. Not sure if that will be possible with my friend Rata haha.

Anyway I came across this video about getting sharp images.. some of it I already knew but I just thought it was soooo helpful and wanted to share with all of you! It's in simple, plain english so if you are familiar with most photography terminology you will find it easy to understand. I just thought it was great to get tips like these which are really hard to figure out yourself starting out in photography.  So here you go. Watch and learn like I did! =)

How to get sharp images (My top 10) from James Beltz on Vimeo.

Photowalk #18 - Rotorua

So we had our photoclub photowalk last week in Rotorua and it was sooo much fun! We all went down just for the day and visited 3 sites down there.  Wow it was soooo much fun to finally go on a roadtrip.  I just love roadtrips and going down with friends makes it 10x MORE fun.  I definately wouldn't have had such a great time if I wasn't down there with my photog mates :)  I really enjoyed the redwood forest, boy those trees are huuuuge!! It was a damn shame I didn't have a lens with me that could shoot wide angle.. but I made do anyways ;) here's a shot I took just stitching the pix together :) If you are wanting to do the same, just make sure you are shooting manual so your settings don't change from picture to picture ;) I just use photoshop to stitch it together.. its really easy using photomerge. Click on the photo to see it a little larger ;)

I loved Hangarua Spring too.  It's just amazing!! The water of the spring remains sooo clear because it's contantly releasing so much water the dirt just doesn't get a chance to settle. It pumps out approx 4.5 million litres of water every hour.. amazing right?? Here's Doug looking down on it haha >>

On the way from this 2nd location to the 3rd, Steph (our leader person :) ) stopped her car and we were like huh is something wrong?? nah she just wanted to stop and take pix of the railway hehe. Which was cool with us :) I took some funny pix of Doug at this spot.. it still cracks me up :D

This is why I love him, he constantly makes me smile. <3

And just to make the post complete, here's a few shots from the 3rd location.  All locations were free how choice is that? :P I especially liked the larger mud pool.. there was heaps of steam there.. made some nice shots :) 

Doug again with his craziness lol

Till next time, happy weekend guys! :D

Photo's from Justin & Julie's Wedding

So I wanted to share a few of my favourite shots from my first wedding shoot that I did back in July :) It was very last minute and was done as a favour to a friend :) They did end up giving me a koha which I didn't expect at all! But was very nice of them :)  Thanks guys!!

Overall the experience was great!! I was SOOOO nervous though.  Even though it was a cool day I was sweating bullets!! I just really wanted to do a great job for these guys :) This day was a long time coming too.  They have been together for 15 years before they finally decided to get married ! :)  It was awesome to see Justin wear his cultural attire too :)   Enjoy!

Next wedding is coming up in November!!! Am really looking forward to tackling another big challenge, and a longer shooting time too.  I was only able to stay for the ceremony for Justin & Julie but for the next I will be there from the bride getting ready through to the reception!! So will see how I go !!!  If any of you out there have some tips for a novice wedding photog please do leave us a comment :D

The bride gets ready :)

So my lovely friend Lily got married in Wellington a few weeks ago (15th May 2011 to be exact). Boy was it fun to go down and be part of it!! I was not only chosen to be the maid of honour but also to take pictures as she got ready on the wedding day too. So I was a little nervous as I had ALOT to do! haha. But it all turned out perfectly in the end. It was just so great to see two families come together and have a great time. The emotion felt on the day was soo great. It was awesome to see my friend walk down the aisle in her dress. It was certainly dramatic!  And what an entrance she made. It was my privilege and pleasure to be apart of it!   Here's just a few of the shots I was able to get :P

Isn't the tiara pretty!

check out this dress! (and there's me in the mirror haha)

So happy for you my friend.  :)

First engagement shoot - Cornwall Park

I'm always kinda nervous just before a shoot but once I get going it's all fine!! These two were great in front of the camera and made it very easy for me. They seemed very natural and I am really happy how the photos came out! here's one of my favourites!  Meet my friends Poko & Pearl :D

On top of the World

WOW., what a day.  Just finished watching the Royal Wedding in London and I really didn't think I would get all caught up in the hype but I totally did!!!   Just watching all the programs before hand re-telling of Royal weddings in the past and the history behind all the buildings etc etc, wow it was just awe-inspiring.  Now more than ever I am looking forward to Doug and my wedding Day ! So exciting !! The dress was simply amazing.  It was traditional but I think Kate pulled it off brilliantly.  She looked amazing and she had the amazing body to do it.  Her sister was a knock out as well.  Kate just looked stunningly natural and beautiful.

The whole thing was just amazing, the venue, and I especially loved the trees lining the red carpet in Westminster Abbey. That was amazing, the bright fresh green contrasting with the red carpet made for some amazing video shots.

Anyway this is another short post because I totally can't sleep because I'm still buzzing over it all! I also thought it was super cute how Will and Kate kissed twice on the balcony at Buckingham Palace.  I totally missed the first one anyways haha it was too quick.  And then another one!! Just shows how in love they truely are.. Real love.  <3 aww warm fuzzies all round ... 

oh ok, so this photo totally doesn't relate.  hmm what can i say to make it relate lol.  I suppose these people are having a blast feeling on top of the world just like Will and Kate felt today.  The look on their faces was pure happiness.  Wishing them all of God's blessings in their marriage.  :) 

I can't wait till I get to have my turn to be on top of the world :D

Oh and please, if you haven't already, don't forgot to vote on my photo here.  The instructions are on the description of the photo.  Doug and I are in a competition to win a photographer for our wedding.  We are still in the lead!! Thank you so much to everyone who has voted and are continuing to spread the word for us.  It means so much to us!! 

Apartment Living

Living in an apartment is cool.  Its small., but its cool. . . I love the view.  will miss it when I eventually have to move.. :(  Hope you all enjoyed your Easter weekend!! Another short week.. wooooo

Oh I just wat to quickly add in here - Doug (my fiance) and I are in a competition to win a photography package worth $2,500 for our wedding. We're really trying hard to win because I mean, come on that's a pretty awesome prize =)  We're currently in the lead but we need as many votes as possible to win it!  So please, if you haven't voted yet.. please go to this photo, read the caption for instructions and like =).  You'll need to like the TZ Studios page first. 

But yeah - the support so far has been amazing!!  Thank you to everyone who has already voted!! xx

Are you engaged? Holla at me :D

Ok, I just want to say I am obsessed with Jasmine Star atm! I know it sounds creepy but omg I looooove her work =)  And even more than that I love the way that she does business.  She's all about the Jasmine Star experience.  How friken cool is that? haha.  And even though she's wildly successful, she still responds to those who email her.   I know , because she responded to me.  ^_^ :O!  I enquired about how much she charges (wondering if I could ever be able to afford her for my wedding :P)  I really appreciated her getting back to me, and unlike alot of other photographers I've enquired with, she was pretty up front with her prices which I thought was cool.  Too bad though its Waaaaay outta my budget but if I did have the money, this is the chick I would choose to shoot my wedding.  She's amazing you must check her out.  Here's her website.

You probably already guessed - but if you didn't know, Jasmine Star is a well known wedding photographer from Orange County, California.  She has an amazing blog, which I have been glued to this week.  She takes her inspiration for her work from magazines and fashion.  Could I love her anymore? Don't think so!! Everytime I read her posts or browse her photos I'm like, this is soooo me.  I'm sure we would be best buds if we ever met.

If I ever could become a professional, I think I would like to be like her.  I love her style.  It's very crisp and she mentions she's a big fan of prime lenses to help her achieve this.  That's it, now I gotta go out and get one ha ha.  Sigh.  *dreams*

She's also very generous with the knowledge she's gained over the years from growing her business into what it is today.  I have already learned so much from her blog and also from a recent online streaming of a workshop she held on  I could not leave my computer, I was so glued to the screen   - I just wanted to grasp each little tip and trick as she openly shared for free.  I couldn't believe it!

After watching that creativelive broadcast I just felt so motivated! I've been asked to shoot a couple of weddings for friends and I thought yusss, now I'm gonna channel my inner Jasmine Star WOOP haha.  But as much as I love her work, I love what she said in the live stream and that was to be the best version of you.   Something that she said really hit home to me and that was that if you try to be the best at this type of photography or that type of photography, its extremely likely that there will always be that someone who is better.  But if you go out there and rock "you" and your own "unique" style, no one can duplicate that.  Wow, light bulb.   Why am I always so nervous thinking this person or that person is SO much better.  All I should worry about is myself and my own growth :) I am on a journey to find my own unique style :) And I'm so inspired I just want to get out and practise!!

SO, if you know anyone that's engaged, let me know if you want to volunteer to be my models so I can "practise"!    Linda and Tua, you're first on the list LOL.  :) Hit me up if you would like a free engagement session ^_^ Don't be shy! It'll be fun. :D

OH, and if anyone has suggestions for photographers in NZ that have reasonable prices please let me know =) I'm still on the lookout for our wedding photographer for next year.

AND, cause this has been alot more writing than I expected when I started this post :/.. here's some photos to spruce up the page.  They were only taken with my point and shoot but I still love it for the versatility.  And if you're wondering how I took em, I simply attached it to the car window with my joby gorillapod and used the "party" setting with a 10sec timer.  Oh how I must look strange to passers by, but that has never bothered me :P  As long as I get my shot *cheesy smile*

For as long as I can remember, this has been my favourite thing to do, spend time with those I love and take photos! xo

Oh and this photo was taken by putting the tripod on the ground ha ha ha. But I like the angle in this one :)  Sorry bout it Doug.  xx lol yesss this is my handsome fiance :D well done babe well done :D

Stay cool guys :D

Twitter pic

If you're on my twitter you would have already seen this picture as my avatar =). Haha and I know it's photoshopped to the max.. but hey lol.  Sometimes I like to live out my dreams on the internet lmao ummm ok awkward lol!.  I just love the light I get from our apartment windows.. creates pretty catch lights!!

It's a killer week at work this week for me with year end... :S  just gotta suck it in and get it done!! 
But to get me through the week I am looking forward to hanging out with Linda and Tua this weekend (old school mates).  They too are engaged and we are all gonna go and check out the Grand Wedding show at Sky City on Sunday.  My first one so will see how it goes! Hopefully will get some good info and maybe even some deals to mull over =)

Have a happy week all , whatever you may be doing! xx

My Sister

Ok I just wanted to share this edited pic of my little sister I took this week.  Isn't she gorgeous!! She takes after her older sister.. ha ha ha WHAAAAT!? lol.   My friend Steph suggested I take clone out the background and it made a huge difference! Thanks Steph =)  Planning to print this to display =)  I curled her hair before hand.  It seemed to really boost her confidence for our little impromptu photo shoot =)  And I just love the lens flare coming off her hair.. just gorgeous =) Front page material! xx

Engaged =)

I know I haven't posted in FOREVER.. SORRY!!! .. if you didn't know, I got engaged last month so have kinda just been a bit swamped with all the excitement of being engaged! But yeah, Doug and I got engaged on Valentines Day. awwwww.... it was so very romantic.. few tears were shed but a very happy moment =) =)

and here's my lovely ring =)

Anyway I just saw this short video on Youtube by Nigel Barker with some quick tips on group photos.. thought it might be helpful to share =) 

Kinda getting bored with this layout on my blog.. might look at changing in the near future.. watch this space. =)

Waitangi Weekend =)

Such a beautiful weekend here in NZ! It's Waitangi weekend but unfortunately we don't get a holiday this year due to the day falling on a Sunday. Darn it! But it was a beautiful sunny day here in Auckland and I was just grateful to get out and about without worrying about the rain! 

Doug and I decided to take a lil ride around the bays this morning and it was soo picturesque.  We went in the morning to try and avoid the midday heat - which we did.  I was glad coz all afternoon it was incredibly  muggy.  Reports suggested around 80% :S

Anyway I got this software a few months back that enhances your photos and I bought it because I don't have a full version of photoshop yet and just wanted to experiment with post processing in a different program.  It's quite fun but the adjustments can seem a little too "fake" for my liking but it is quite fun to see what you can do with it.  You can adjust the sliders to reduce how fake or realistic you want a photo too look so I tend to not just use the preset, but tweak it.    

It works with iPhoto also which makes it really easy and fast.  (I like)  The program is called Adjust by TopazLabs.  The reason I couldn't use it for a couple of months was because it kept crashing on me.  So I emailed the support crew at Topaz Labs and they gave me a different version to download which seemed to fix the problem which I was really happy with =)  I only use a couple of the functions on it so I don't know if I would recommend anyone to go out and purchase it.  But if you do like to enhance your photos alot or like to make your photos look like paintings, there are a few options you might enjoy.  

Anyway here are a few photos I've been taking this weekend.. really been enjoying the sunshine and I think I got a lil tan!! wow go Kirsten haha (whitey).  I did use the program on all of these to give them a lil pop.   By the way these are all taken on my compact =)

Have a happy week!

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Auckland, New Zealand, New Zealand