I’ve really enjoyed reading all your comments on yesterday’s post. The contest ends at noon today…so if you didn’t comment yesterday do it before it is over. Winner to be announced tomorrow.

Here’s a little mini photography tutorial. I took all of these with my P&S (point and shoot camera). It use my dslr 99% of the time but I know most of you that read this may not have a dslr. So…I created this little post to hopefully help you a bit with the camera you have. I took the first shots on automatic to show what your camera will want to do, then I took a second shot to show you ways to change it. The first thing I’ll touch on is your ISO. I am not going to get into what all this means, but just a few blind tips to help. If you look on your camera you will either see the letters ISO on the back or you might find it in your menu.

The picture below is taken fully automatic…which meant my flash came on. You can see my brother-in-law Eric and the SYTYCD stage…but not so much the crowd.1109autosettings-01

By turning my ISO to HIGH, you can tell the crowd is more visible, but the picture is also more grainy. It makes for a fun shot though. If you don’t want to use your flash in dark settings, you can play with making the ISO number higher.1109autosettings-02

My daughter sleeping near a window…on fully automatic the camera forced on the flash.1109autosettings-03

Again, I increased my ISO number to HIGH and the flash didn’t come on. She is near a window for lighting.1109autosettings-04

Now I’ll touch on “Digital Macro”. Most cameras come with this as a setting. Again there is a window behind me for some light.

I was trying to take a picture of the Lego Man below on automatic, but my camera wouldn’t focus on the man no matter what I tried.1109autosettings-05

By switching to the Digital Macro mode, I was able to focus on the Lego Man…and the bite marks covering his body.1109autosettings-06

Again this is on the fully automatic mode. I was trying to capture the row of Lego shirts. The camera kept forcing on my flash at this angle.1109autosettings-07

And another one using the Digital Macro mode…much better.1109autosettings-08

Sometimes I think people assume photography is based on how great your camera is.

Though camera quality is a factor…understanding how to use your camera is the greater factor.

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  • Rebecca - I loved this post and here is why.

    I am not a professional photographer but so many people think I ought to become one because of the photos I take. I only post “good” photos to my blog and so I get discouraged by the many “BAD” shots that fill up Picasa-the ones that I see. This post is heartening that I am not a total loser and that real photographers have some trash shots too. YAY!

    Thank you for showing your “less than ideals”…not many people do and I was beginning to get a complex! :-)

  • Alba - thanks for the tips. I always wonder what was ISO about, but “obviously” never touched the manual ;-)

  • Carrie - Very helpful!!!!!

  • Meagan - This is a really helpful post, Ashley! Thank you!

  • Susan - I love ANY & ALL photo tips! Thanks.

  • Ashley Cangelosi - Thank you! I plan to give ths a try today!!!

  • robyn - Great tips… I should probably read my manual. I tried your tips and saw IMMEDIATE results. Now, I need to practice so I can make quick decisions, so as not to miss that “kodak moment”

  • becky - Thank you! Good tips until I can get my own dslr

  • Georgia Davis - Thanks for the tip. I need all the help I can get.

  • PamperingBeki - I love this! You are so right.

    And can I just say that I love that you, as a photographer, posted that horrible flashed out “snapshot” of the baby sleeping. Haha! Adjusting the ISO is such a simple tip that can make a difference in everyday photos, with or without a “nice” camera.

    Great tip, Ashley!

  • trish - AMEN!!!! to your last comment. big step that most people miss. i will be reposting this awesome quote by AAP if you don’t mind ;)

  • Melissa - These are great, Ashley! Thank you so much! But what is Digital Macro? Is that a little picture on my dial on top of my camera? Like the little profile face or the flower?

  • amanda torres - Thank you so much. I am still not ready to invest in a dslr (or whatever it’s called) camera. LOVE to know how to use my point and shoot. Simply because that’s all I have done…point and shoot…and hope for the best. You rock!

  • Jill J - I’d really like to know WHEN to use the flash. Every time I turn it on the pictures turn out terrible!

  • Megan Taylor - Oh wow, Ashley. I have to admit I rush home in an attempt to catch it on Wednesday nights (sometimes to no avail), but Sean isn’t a huge fan. I didn’t start watching until the tail end of last season. Hope you enjoyed it!

  • Mrs. Dunbar - These are really great tips. What type of point and shoot camera do you have? I am in the market for a new one… my car went through the car wash a few weeks ago and when it came out, the P&S camera that I normally kept in my diaper bag was gone, but the case was still there. I know how you feel about your lil’ girl’s hat.

I did not intend to post any costume pictures from the weekend because:
1. I had 45 minutes to come up with 4 costumes and the end result was a bit hideous

2. I saw too many cute costumes like these…and these…and all of Martha Stewart’s

3. There is a false assumption that I would be totally into coming up with unique and cute costumes. The reality is I have no time for that…and I am too cheap to spend much money on it either.

4. I feel very sorry for my daughter…she looked the worse of them all….

However, there are some aunts and grandmas that wanted to see pictures. So here you go. Like I said I had about 45 minutes to come up with something. Chris was gone so that meant I had to find stuff around the house – instead of carting all the kids to the store. Well surprisingly we had all we needed for our very own 80s Punk Rock Band: a little bleach for holey jeans, hair dye and authentic 80s iron on t-shirt transfers….1009rockers-1

Our church invited kids to wear the costumes on the Sunday prior to Halloween. I added tulle to Sister’s bow to make it bigger and more 80s. After about 5 minutes in the church several people asked me where I bought the bow and commented on how they had never seen her so dressed up for church. It was then I realized they didn’t know she was in a costume…they thought that was how I dressed her! Did they not see the clashing puff paint cactus and flipflop 80s onesie? Quickly the bow was removed, the tutu taken off and I carried her in a blanket!:)

These are their “rocker” faces:1009rockers-2

On Halloween Biggest Brother said real rockers have beards…so he asked me to paint some on them.

They had wanted to be Lego Men and were already bummed I said “no” to that…so painted beards they got.1009rockers-31009rockers-4

Really….this does look like a costume doesn’t it? Granted the tutu is cute, but paired with everything else…not so much.1009rockers-5

Because this is how I actually dress her….much more toned down!1009rockers-6

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  • Aunt Sandy - I love the hair on the boys, way cool dude. Poor little Breese, she looked like she could care less and she looked so cute. Love the pic of the boys and you, and as usual, Hudson steals the show. lol

  • Jaimie - As long as the boys liked it! And it looks like they did!
    Your kids are so precious- how old are they?

  • Alba - they look really 80′ and your daughter looks better in her normal dress, well, I like it better.

  • christina larsen - You wouldn’t feel so bad if you saw what my daughter wore for her costume. About 2 hours before trick-or-treating she asked if she could paint the word ‘costume’ on one of my shirts. I said, “NO”. So I compromised and went to our fabric stash and cut out the letters and safety pinned them on a shirt. Granted she is 11 years old, but it was a crazy, low-maintenance halloween. I was going to get creative with my son’s but at the last minute he decided he would wear a costume he already had.

  • Sarah - Everything is better with face paint!! LOL They looked great!!

  • Shannon Phillips - Too cute! I think that they all look pretty RAD!

  • ashlee - that is hilarious!! i LOVE the painted on beards…too cute. i say you did pretty good for 45 minutes!

  • Meagan - Um, they could not be “hideous” if they tried! This post did give me a good laugh, though! So cute! Love the new Lou and Lee headband! Jealous!

  • the inadvertent farmer - I think they are all darling…way better than those scary costumes I see all over. The baby looks precious! Kim

  • Casey - they look adorable and they would look adorable no matter what they wore! And I agree I love those costumes more than the scary ones!

Several months back I received a beautiful email from a mom about her daughter. From the email I could tell this was a mom that deeply loves her daughter and is tremendously proud of her. It has been a while, but I am pretty sure I cried reading it. Well that email led to this senior session this GORGEOUS senior session. I sure don’t remember high school girls being so beautiful when I was there….

Ashlyn, it was an honor to meet you. I hope these pictures live up to your high expectations! Congratulations on your senior year…I had so much fun with you and your mom doing this session!

Big Brother was watching me edit these and stopped me when I got to the ones below. He said she looks just like a princess.1009ashlyn-08

Ode to my friend Shannon who is the master of ‘laying in the grass’ pictures!1009ashlyn-091009ashlyn-101009ashlyn-111009ashlyn-121009ashlyn-131009ashlyn-14

Before anyone sends me an email…no I am not currently booking sessions or weddings. I do still have a few on the books from WAY back.

There is a tab on the top of the blog “info”, under that tab is a listing of local photographers. Sorry.

We did this session on a very overcast day – which typically people think is terrible for pictures. It made me think about doing a post sometime on taking advantage of the automatic settings on your camera for those of you that do not know how to shoot manually. Is there an interest on that?

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  • Kate - I am a brand new follower – so inspired, so in love with your ability to capture amazing-ness (that’s a word, right?!) :)

  • dana - Beautiful Beautiful. My favorite is the b&w close-up where her curls just look so soft and frame her face perfectly.
    YES to any info about using automatic settings!

  • hildegunn - I am VERY interested in automatic settings tips :-)

  • Leigh-Ann, Freckled Nest - incredible!! i love the hood one most, but they’re all stunning!
    :) LA

  • Susan - Wow! Stunning! Definitely interested in any tips on any settings! I’d love to know the settings of the first pic- :-) You are so talented…

  • Bernadette - addit: she looks like the beautiful emma watson!

  • Carissa - I am cracking up about your comment “before anyone sends me an email…NO I am not booking sessions.” You are asking for trouble when you post pictures this gorgeous. Amazing job as always. My favorite is the b&w with her fur hat on. Beautiful! Where do you take these by the way?

  • Carissa - P.S. – Can I go ahead and book a session for 15 years from now….Emmy’s senior pictures and then another one for her wedding???? :)

  • katie - yes, please do!!! I want to learn all about it!!

  • Genevieve - You are an AMAZING photographer and that girl is gorgeous! Wonderful, magical shoot (love her clothes!)

    And yes, any photog tips you could provide would be much appreciated :)

  • crystal - yes, yes, yes…please!

  • Jeannette Swan - Those are magazine pictures! She is beautiful and you captured it so well!

  • christina larsen - She is beautiful. Great pics as always.

  • Courtney Connelly - Stunning!

  • Tess S. - Ashely- your blog (along with a few others) inspired me to get a new camera to get great shots of my kids, and of my friends children.
    This senior session is AMAZING! what a beautiful subject.

    I’d love some tips for shooting on an over-cast day.

  • Emily Beaty - BEAUTIFUL!!! I love the field, and my fave is the one with the furry hood. Gorgeous. :)

  • Alison R - Wow! Fabulous work here! What a beautiful girl too! I love all of these!

  • Kim - Your photos are so inspiring!! Yes to the automatic settings!! How did you take that one with her in the red vest sitting on the chair in the field?? Was that editing or filters? I love it!

  • Ee Wen Ting - I love love love this photoshoot. You are so talented!! I am an aspiring photographer and am taking some photography classes now. Any good tips for portraits and lighting for portraits??

  • sheridan - I love looking at your session shots b/c it helps me become better! Thank you for sharing and they are awesome!

  • bopha - wow, she is gorgeous. those pictures are great, good job.

  • Shannon Phillips - She has got the most beautiful eyes and I think Carissa is right, you are asking for trouble when you post a session this amazing! Thanks for the love on my grass photos. :) I had no idea that I was the master of this.

  • carrie - You knew I was going to ask!!!!! Is the disclaimer for me??

  • Faith Buss - I’m always interested in tutorials! Great shots.

  • Lindsey P - These are amazing. Gorgeous girl! Do you have any digital camera recommendations for those who can not afford a DSLR? Or should I just bite the bullet and splurge? :)

  • Rachel - Absolutely beautiful!! With pictures like that….she will be happy to get that yearbook out no matter how old she gets!

  • carrie @ brick city love - I’d love some tips, tricks, & instruction!! Yes.PLEASE!

  • ashlee - those are amazing!!! what actions did you use on the one in the chair…BEAUTIFUL!!
    and yes please tell us more about auto settings!!

  • Emily Lusk - Wow those are great!! If I were her I would not be able to pick my favorite one because they are all great! Love the train picture I need to take Brody there, he would love taking his picture by that big train!

  • patti - gorgeous photos – thanks for sharing! oh – and living in california…i always take advantage of the overcast days – otherwise i’m constantly battling the hard sunlight.

  • Kathy Rabago - I just found you blog, and I love your pictures and your comments on daily life. I’d love to hear your tips on shooting in manual!

  • abbey - I would love some tips and these photos are awesome!

  • Elizabeth - Wow, she is gorgeous, and you captured her beautifully! New to your blog, and always looking for tips :)

  • Ashlyn - These turned out so great! You totally exceeded my expectaions! I had so much fun with you and it was an honor to get to know you. Thanks again! :)

  • Rebekah Jean - Wow…these are so amazing. I love the field ones, especially the 3rd from the bottom…the colors, the texture, everything.. I LOVE it. You’re awesome as usual! and she’s beautiful…love the bottom one as well. They are all gorgeous!

  • Melissa Wagner - Great photos! And a gorgeous model! :) I’d love to hear more about overcast and settings and non-auto camera usage, lol. Ever since I went digital I’m terrible at just letting my camera do all of that itself and I should learn more about how to use my camera and all of it’s features. :) Auto or not. ;)

  • Nakole - I just found your blog. I think you are amazing in more ways than one. I love your pics. love your style, and you sound like an amazing momma.

  • Meredith - OMG, she is gorgeous!!! The way you captured her eyes is genius. Congrats.

  • Kristin - Beautiful. I only wish I could take pictures half as wonderful, I’d be happy!

  • Jolie - gorgeous!!! And yes please for automatic setting tips…I am trying to learn the manual operation but it is slow going from a book! Thanks!

  • Mity - The pictures are absolutely amazing! What a beautiful girl with an even more beautiful spirit and personality! (Her aunt must be so proud! :-)