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Concord, Knoxville, TN

Wednesday, July 2, 2008
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I always try to schedule outdoor portrait sessions or wedding photos within a few hours of sunrise or sunset because afternoon sun is just not fun. If you luck out and have clouds then it can be great, but on sunny days it is better to just wait until the evening when the sun is lower in the sky. The light gets warmer (more golden), and you don't get the horrible shadows and squinting that you have in the middle of the day. Unfortunately, wedding schedules aren't always as flexible as we'd like so you have to learn to work with the sun.

On one recent sunny (and ridiculously hot) day, I shot some photos at the park with sisters S&L. We got some keepers, but I also took the opportunity to snap a few shots that show exactly why afternoon sun is not ideal for outdoor photos.


This shot of the ducklings is a good example of one of the problems we face on sunny days. Even when you can find shade, it is often broken up with patches of bright sunlight. While our eyes are able to accurately view a scene like this, the camera can't expose for both the dark shadows and bright highlights. I actually combined two different exposures to get this one that isn't completely over or under exposed.
Fun in the Sun... or not

You can do some cool shots with full sun, but it is really the worst lighting in my opinion for formal portraits. The three shots below are straight from the camera. The first shot is in full sun. If you don't have any shade and have to shoot in these conditions then you would need to use flash to fill in the shadows on the face. Unfortunately, she was wearing white which, as you can see, is way overexposed in the sunlight. Trying to get an even exposure is tricky enough without having to worry about bright white clothing.

The second shot is of her standing in the uneven shade of a tree (notice one patch of sunlight hit her shoulder). I exposed for her which resulted in a blown-out background. She obviously looks the best in this photo, but you lose the beautiful scenery.

I took the third shot exposing for the background, but this obviously leaves our subject in the dark shade. To fix this, I would need to light her with flash or reflector. That scenario would give the most even lighting, and the white shirt wouldn't be as much of a problem.


Fun in the Sun... or not

Flash can help a lot with photos in the sun, but it will have to work very hard and can overheat on a day that's already super hot. To avoid some of those problems on this day, I just tried to shoot with both the girls and the background in the shade. I also used a reflector to help light some of the shadows. We ended up with some nice shots, but if you want to really take advantage of your surroundings and get some great wide shots then it's best to just schedule your outdoor photos for the morning or evening.


Fun in the Sun... or not

Fun in the Sun... or not

L wore a little brown dress that belonged to her grandmother when she was a little girl. I photographed S wearing it when she was 7 as well.

Fun in the Sun... or not


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Knoxville, TN

Tuesday, June 24, 2008
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I often shoot weddings in other cities or for couples that are coming here from other places, and we don't always have an opportunity to meet before the wedding day. Candice and Ryan are one of those couples that booked me without meeting so it was fun to finally put faces with the names and spend a few hours getting to know them during their engagement session last week. They're a great couple, and now I'm really looking forward to their October wedding at Scarritt-Bennett Center in Nashville.


Candi & Ryan's Engagement Session

Candi & Ryan's Engagement Session
Candi & Ryan's Engagement Session
Candi & Ryan's Engagement Session
Candi & Ryan's Engagement Session
Candi & Ryan's Engagement Session

Earlier in the session, I took a photograph of a brick wall with some peeling paint, and I used it as an overlay this last photo to add even more texture.
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Downtown, Knoxville, TN

Friday, May 23, 2008
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Yesterday I met up with Megan and Monte for their engagement session. With Sundown in the City on Market Square, Thursday may not be the best evening to attempt a session downtown, but we did okay avoiding the crowds. We started early because the forecast had called for a cloudy day. As usual, the weather didn't match the forecast, and it was a beautiful sunny day without a cloud in the sky. Hopefully they'll luck out and the weather for their August wedding will be just as beautiful. They're both really relaxed in front of the camera, and we had fun hanging out. I think I may have shot more photos yesterday than at any other engagement session, but here are a few of my favorites.


Megan and Monte's Engagement Session
Megan and Monte's Engagement Session
Megan and Monte's Engagement Session
Megan and Monte's Engagement Session

Megan and Monte's Engagement Session

Megan and Monte's Engagement Session
Megan and Monte's Engagement Session

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Concord, Knoxville, TN

Friday, May 2, 2008
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On Wednesday I got together with Jake and his parents for another session. Kids grow so fast in the first few years, and it's amazing to watch! He was just as sweet as ever, but he's now very mobile and doesn't want to sit still for anything, especially not some crazy woman with a camera. Nothing can keep their attention for long at that age so photos can be a challenge. It's easy to get great photos of the back of his head as he runs away toward something, but I think we were able to capture a variety of expressions while still letting him enjoy his trip to the park.

This kid is fearless! He was very intrigued with the dogs behind the fence even though they were barking and trying to chew their way through the wood. Later he wanted to run straight into the lake at the park.


Jake

Jake

Jake

Jake
Jake
Jake
Jake

Jake
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Sequoyah Hills, Knoxville, TN

Friday, April 25, 2008
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I'm going to be packing and moving for the next few days. Most of my office is already packed up so I haven't been able to burn discs, assemble albums etc this week. Thanks to everyone for patiently awaiting their orders right now. I'm going to have a larger office at our new house so I can be more organized and efficient once we're settled in.

My computer will be the last thing packed, but I wanted to go ahead and get these photos blogged before the big move. Stephanie is an aspiring photographer with plans to attend photography school after graduation. She's already a natural in front of the camera and did an amazing job modeling her gorgeous gown. I had such a difficult time narrowing it down and choosing which ones to share! Leave a comment if you have favorites because I'm always interested to see which photos others like best.  I was so excited that we found some dogwoods still blooming! It's a beautiful time of year for outdoor sessions.
Stephanie's Post-Prom Portrait Photographs
Stephanie's Post-Prom Portrait Photographs
Stephanie's Post-Prom Portrait Photographs
Stephanie's Post-Prom Portrait Photographs
Stephanie's Post-Prom Portrait Photographs

Stephanie's Post-Prom Portrait Photographs

Stephanie's Post-Prom Portrait Photographs

Stephanie's Post-Prom Portrait Photographs

Stephanie's Post-Prom Portrait Photographs
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Welcome to the Nancy Hellsten Photography blog! This is the place to be if you’re looking for wedding ideas and photography promotions or if you just want to view some great photos and see what I’ve been up to. If you or someone you know are getting married, having a baby, or just want some relaxed portraits with the family, please visit my website or contact me for more information. I would love to hear from you. Thanks for visiting and check back often to see what’s new.
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