Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Oh Those Eyes!

It has been a while since I have posted, but life has been just crazy busy. This is the norm between juggling graphics, photography, family life and being in the heart of volleyball season.

I would like to share some images from a recent Senior Photo Shoot done at Gleason Park in Eau Gallie. There are so many beautiful natural backgrounds there that allowed me to showcase Jessie’s beauty. Here are some cropped shots showing a variety of poses with a couple different outfits.

Jessie has such a natural smile and amazing eyes that I wanted to be sure to highlight in her photo shoot. Prior to the shoot, we discussed the colors and likely outfits that she would choose to wear. This is always a good idea for photographers to discuss with the people that they will be shooting. It gives you a great opportunity to make suggestions to accomplish the overall look that your client is trying to achieve. Now with cell phones, they can send you photos and the two of you can work in a partnership to achieve a successful shoot. 

Post shoot editing gives other opportunities to add styles and effects to create the mood for an image. If you look at the color version, shown in the right hand corner of the grouping above, you can see how different a feel a similar shot from that series has to it when stylized with my black & white allure action. Her eyes, oh those beautiful eyes, become the center of attention.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Selecting the Right Style and Effects for Images

Many people view photography as simply as you take the picture and you print it. Done deal. However, photography is like a terrific recipe, there are a lot of ingredients that go into the perfect outcome. Taste is a subjective thing; so is the world of photo editing. You see, it is not just as simple as clicking the shutter. Post editing offers so many choices for both creativity and enhancement that can truly effect the outcome of a photo. So how do you go about selecting the right style and effects for images? How do you determine which choice is right for your customer?

As a photographer, you cannot possibly make the right choice without first getting to know your customer and what drew them to you in the first place. If it was merely the referral of a friend, then it is up to you to find out what photo styles they like. This can be accomplished by asking them questions about different sample images on your website or in your portfolio. Or if you have a group of actions that you typically like to use, perhaps you can take one image and show them different style choices for that photo. This may be something you may want to do yourself before editing a batch of photos from a session to determine which styles & effects best depict what you envisioned creatively. Let me show you an example of this...

You can see from the example above, how these simple changes to lighting & color can effect the overall tone and mood of a photograph. Now, the choice is up to you to match the imagery both the style of photography that you want associated with your name, and most importantly, creating a finished product that is what your customer desires. My tip is to really ask those questions before shooting so you know going into your shoot what look you are trying to achieve.

For more photo examples visit my website. I hope that this article inspires you to live life creatively both through your lens as well as through your post editing work!

Saturday, August 18, 2012

One Shoot in Adverse Conditions - 3 inspiring results

What do you get on a stormy night, with a bit of drizzle and a lot of enthusiasm? Three concepts for shooting in less than ideal conditions. Here is how you can think quickly on your feet and salvage a senior portrait session.

When we arrived at the park, it was still lightly drizzling with the weather predicting a one hour window before sunset, however clouds were constantly looming and lighting was tricky, so I started out under a large gazebo posing my model, Christy, while I sported an umbrella over my shoulder to protect my camera. Here are some of the images working within the confines of the gazebo.

We then moved outside the gazebo once the rain let up using, at first, a frame as a prop, then a brightly colored umbrella. Yes, mine! I thought, why not work with the weather in this situation and have fun.

For this model, who is a very natural beauty, the umbrella shots were some of her favorites from our session. To think, those might not have even happened if it wasn’t for the weather!

Another amazing outcome was the spectacular sunset that occurred. I used this opportunity to use it as a photo backdrop as well as to experiment with doing some dramatic silhouette, artsy style photos.

So the lesson of the day is, if you can work around the weather, you may be pleasantly surprised by the end result. Let it test your quick thinking, challenge your creativity and inspire new approaches to your portrait photography. For more photo inspiration, visit my website.
If you like what you see here, click the like button on my facebook page or subscribe to my blog for more creative inspiration and tips.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

The Prop Connection

Using props can always add an interesting element to a photo, but when you use a prop that has a connection to the main subject in your photo, it adds a deeper level of meaning. For instance, when shooting senior photos, I like to ask the teens that I am photographing what their hobbies and interests are. I even ask them to bring along a favorite article of clothing or jewelry, something that they have a connection to. One senior wore a necklace in her photos that was special to her. That way, regardless if the necklace was lost or damaged, she would have it forever preserved, photographically, for her to always remember. These props can be an old teddy bear, a heirloom from a grandparent, a favorite hat or a piece of their sports equipment.

The reason for this? When someone is passionate about something they love or even love to do, it typically comes through in the photos I take. My photography is not just about capturing images, it is about creating memories.

When you shoot a photo with a prop that they have selected, it reveals a little bit about that person’s life and evokes conversation and interest. Sometimes, it reveals a personal and sentimental connection. And sometimes, it just is a comfort zone that puts your subject at ease. In having something familiar from their real life in the photo session, it makes them almost forget that the camera is there. Of course, it helps to continue that chatty conversation which also helps to distract and relax them.

In the example above, I thought it would be interesting to bring along an old  bike wheel that had some busted spokes as a fun prop since the model, Kylie, works at a bike shop. It makes the viewer wonder, “why does she have this wheel?” and creates more interest in wanting to know her life story.

Begin shooting with props and exploring ways how you can reveal a little bit about the life of the person that you are shooting and leave the viewers of your photos wondering...what is the prop connection?

For more examples, vist my website or Facebook Page.

Sunday, July 15, 2012

The Perfect Photo Location Could Be Right Around the Corner

Locations and backgrounds can be vital to creating an awesome photo...sometimes, equally as important as the subject itself. The setting can dictate the mood of a photographic image.
This photo, below, almost appears to be a painted studio backdrop, but don’t be fooled.

 I realize that I am blessed to live 7 miles from the beach so opportunities exist for lots of gorgeous shots, however a creative type never falls back on the expected. We are always seeking new locations and cool places to shoot photos. For me, an amazing discovery proved to be right around the corner, one that I have driven by thousands of times over the past 8 years. The farm that backs up to our suburban community is sort of out of place. It sits on the roadside of a fairly busy road. There are horses in the stables and occasional cows in the fields. It is a reminder of my days out in Kansas when we drove to Zimmerman’s farm to pick out our pumpkin and enjoy Fall festivities.

Since I don’t know the owners, I thought about just stopping on the side of the road to start shooting a sunset photo session with my daughter, Kylie. We had plans to go to a park near the base of the causeway, but she agreed to try a few shots. We quickly discovered that there was no need to drive any further than right around the corner. Check out the amazing photos we took and the variety of looks simply by walking a few feet in one direction or the other.

In the shots below, which you can view larger by clicking on, you see the changes in lighting creates different mood & overall feel to the shots. This was accomplished by positioning the model in different scenery with the light falling in different directions. When shooting in manual mode this requires constant monitoring and changing of aperture and shutter speed...and as light diminshed, even changing the ISO for a few of the shots.


After we got just a wee bit too close to the farm and were chased off by some very large, not-so-friendly dogs, we scurried across the street where we saw the perfect fence and scenery for some brighter lit sunset shots...some of my favorites of the day! After applying a few actions and doing some post editing, you can see how different a look these images have. Remember, they were shot all within the same hour, just a change in scenery with actions applied. Pretty amazing, huh? Out of all the pictures we took, both Kylie and I agreed that these were our favorites of the night. Imagine that — my 17 yr. old and I agreeing on something! Pretty special.

So when you are struggling to make your photos fresh and new, a walk around the block may open up your imagination to some new photographic possibilities. Or if you are limited in new background settings, simply change the viewpoint, or position your model in different lighting, to create some fresh new images!

Thursday, July 12, 2012

Drowning in Pictures!

On Monday, I did a double photo session with our youngest daughter, Kylie, who is about to start her senior year. She is also a spokesmodel for my photography business, Cheri Wenger Design Photography so we did a DREAM session...twice the photos, twice the fun!

She and I are both not morning people so I wasn’t sure how waking at 6 am was gonna correlate into getting ANY good pictures, but I think you will agree that we did more than alright! She started off with a cute silky sundress to have a slightly more formal look with plans to change into shorts & a tee.

Living in Melbourne, FL provides awesome opportunities to shoot photos at the beach. We just couldn’t make the true sunrise at 5:30...no way, no how that would happen with either of us! We did some in the water, but she didn’t want to get too wet since we were just getting started. We played with bubbles. Note: it really helps to have an assistant for that shot so they can direct the bubbles while you snap away! We managed to get a photo or two, but I am gonna try that again, like planned, in her shorts and colorful t-shirt, which by the way, we never got to shoot. We'll save that for another more fun and playful photo session.

Hey, you don’t know what a success this really was. We didn’t have even one squabble AND despite sweating our tutus off, there were plenty of smiles and great shots. Now, we took a break at Starbucks for breakfast and some passionfruit lemonades to revive ourselves! Here are some of the shots taken by the Indian River along with a few from the beach session.  

You know, I have always said that I am an evening person and my daughter is just like me, in more ways than one! She comes alive in pictures and I just seem to have more creative ideas for shots, angles and lighting. No, this couldn't have anything to do with staying up late working on design stuff for my business! As you can see by all these photos, I am in picture and editing overload, but lovin' every minute of it! The handheld ponytail shots at sunset are my mommy faves, and hers too!

If you want to see the complete gallery of photos from the a.m. and sunset photo sessions, check out my  facebook page or go to my Cheri Wenger Design Photography website and you will see them as two of the featured galleries. Be sure to leave me a guest book message on my website and to hit the like button on my facebook page! Thanks.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Live Life Creatively: Photo Website Launch & Spokesmodel Search

Live Life Creatively: Photo Website Launch & Spokesmodel Search: Today marks the big day...the launch of my long awaited photography website . Eventually, I hope to have a custom designed website whic...

Photo Website Launch & Spokesmodel Search

Today marks the big day...the launch of my long awaited photography website. Eventually, I hope to have a custom designed website which will join together all of my creative worlds, but this new site is so exciting from a photographer’s standpoint. Here, you can find out more about me, my photo services, and check out examples of my portfolio.

Once you visit the homepage, you will see a slideshow of photos featuring babies, children, teens, couples & families. One unique aspect to my photography business is my not-so-secret weapon, my design & creative skills! As an artist, I bring my creative eye when composing photos, looking for colorful and interesting backgrounds, locations and perspectives. My extensive background in photoshop adds to my editing capabilities as well as the option to offer my customers custom portrait art combining design techniques with their photos. See examples of some art portraits on this page of my site.

I also use some of my own stock photography images to create photo art, both of which will be available for purchase as prints on my site. Be patient with me as I work on building to the stock photography library!


Do you know a local high school senior who is outgoing, comfortable in front of the camera and enthusiastic when it comes to talking about things that they like? Encourage them to enter our Spokesmodel Contest. Note that we will be doing another contest for Juniors in the Spring 2013!
Click here to go to our Contest Website page.

If you pop by the photography website, be sure to leave me a message 
and let me know what you think of it, and which are your favorite photos!
To keep updated on my latest shoots and happenings at 
Cheri Wenger Design Photography, hit the like button on my facebook page.
You can click on the FB button link at the bottom of my website or click here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The Beauty of Textures

This is another photo art creation using photos taken of a bouquet of carnations. I merely wanted to take a picture of them to preserve their beauty so my daughter could remember that Valentine’s day gift. I couldn’t photograph them indoors because the lighting just wasn’t right, but when I simply placed them out on the table on our lanai, magic happened. I was able to photograph them like a painting and convey the beauty that my eyes were seeing. However, in adding Kim Klassen’s textures to the image, really turned this piece into art. 

Beauty Fades
© 2012 Cheri Wenger Design Photography
Photo art featuring textures by Kim Klassen.

To see the evolution, you must see the original photo. 

It has a warmth to it, but I love the vintage look of the finished art 
achieved by adding Kim’s Just Blush texture plus some of my own textures 
and quote to it! Check out Texture Tuesdays challenges with Kim. This is her justblush texture:

Here are the two of my own photo textures that I applied to the image that helped to add that dreamy, watercolor look to the image. For those of you not familiar with photoshop, you can layer photos, textures, text and color over photos in varying opacities with different layer style choices to achieve very dramatic or very subtle effects.

The two photo images above were photos taken of the glass block window in our master bath. The third image, below, was a closeup taken of our textured wall. So you see, creativity exists all around us, just waiting to be used and appreciated! 

In the first image, I changed the hue to a sepia tone look. It includes wispy textures from the floral arrangement that sits on the ledge.These are all colored textures, however you can use b&w textures/photos to create effects. Don’t be afraid to experiment & live life creatively!

Here’s a peek at my layers palette in photoshop so you can see the order of the layers used. 

Thursday, June 14, 2012

Live Life Creatively: Using the Hottest Colors in your Card Creations

Live Life Creatively: Using the Hottest Colors in your Card Creations: ...see if you can guess from these two card samples the latest "in color"!

Using the Hottest Colors in your Card Creations

Yesterday I picked up an issue of In Style magazine and my eyes settled on a page featuring shades of watermelon pink as one of the latest, hot colors to wear. Maybe I am a bit psychic when it comes to picking in colors, LOL, but I just created two cards last week featuring that color. In the first card I have paired it up with a hot coral color and used the technique I shared in my last post for handcoloring your stamp with markers, only I did not spritz this one, I let the markers blend the colors on the stamp.

Another fun thing to try is stamping a verse and cropping it with a punch so it is still readable, yet it works with diecut frame. I used varying circle punches on this example with a diecut frame by Stampin’ Up!®. The result is a clean, simple, yet cheerful birthday card.

Mum’s Birthday

The textured watermelon cardstock used on this card, below, was embossed with a texture. I added interest to my punched scalloped circle by doing the repetitive stamping technique to create light and dark values of ink using this beautiful stem from the Watercolor Trio set from SU. The loopy border punch is from the Martha Stewart Collection. I used multiple embossing folders & punches on this card to create interest and texture, especially on the petals which were created using the 5 petal punch, embossing then cutting them in 2 or 3 petal sections to create leaves. The scalloped circle was raised up using dimensional foam, also allowing the sheer ribbon and petals to be placed underneath.

Strawberry Floral

So before you start your next card creation, take a peek online or in the fashion and home magazines to see what the latest, hottest colors are. It may just give you the creative spark you need to...

Sunday, June 10, 2012

Manly Cards for Any Occasion

With Father’s Day just a week away, you may be looking for some inspiration for making some masculine handcrafted cards. From an easy breezy military themed sample to feeling the coastal breezes, here are some samples to get your creative juices flowing...

For this card I wanted to do something special for my husband who is a terrific dad so I built a scene from stamps and techniques. For this I used a wave and palm tree stamp. For the sun, I used a punched circle and a sponge to define the shape then used markers to color in the sun. The sky was created using pastels. See below for some tips on creating the white ocean edge and shoreline.

Coastal Paradise Card created for Father’s Day
(but is suitable for any occasion!)

I first tore a strip of card stock to create a deckled edge. When stamping the ocean, I stamped over top of the strip to create a more natural shoreline. Then I used the same strip and a blender marker to rub some of the ink over the deckled edge it and onto the card a slight space away from the bottom of the wave. This creates the white foam area. For the sand, I used a combination of colored markers and a to create the spattered look, I used my old Stampin' Up spitzer with brush markers for the ocean spray and to give the sand it's sandy texture. 

Note: I also used Ivory naturals Cardstock as my background which already has some texture to it.

Tip: to extend the surf on each side of the palm, stamp a tree onto scrap and cut out. Use this as a mask with some temporary adhesive when stamping the waves in the background.

I wanted a softer edge, so I used my corner rounder on the 4 corners.

To finish the card, cut strips of coordinating cardstock and arrange in assorted lengths for background. I grabbed a piece of soft raffia from my scrap pile to tie around the art before mounting on the card. Being a tropical state of mind, I wanted to create another card with this palm tree image. I will also share with you my technique for creating the multi colored watercolored foliage stamped in the background along with a tip for putting coffee filters to use in your cardmaking. Read below!

Palmy Breezes Card
(another Father’s Day creation suitable for any time of year)

Creating a watercolor effect with multi-colored foliage:
Turn your rubber stamp face up and color entire image with a very light color marker. Randomly color over top with 2 - 3 other darker shades. Be sure to "clean" your brush marker off by rubbing off any of the colors it may have picked up onto some scrap paper before storing it away! Use a spray bottle of water to mist over the stamp lightly before stamping onto background. This is what gives it that watercolor, washy look.

Coffee Filters aren’t just for coffee!
Take a coffe filter and mist it with colored spray mist. I used a walnut ink on mine. Crumble and fold it, then tear of a piece of it to incorporate on your card creation.

Golden Years Birthday Card
(could also be used for Father’s Day or any occasion)

Sometimes card creating dictates trying things outside of your comfort zone or working with colors outside of your normal favorites. I created this card thanks to the extreme generosity of my stamping friend Ree Nathan, a fabulous SU demonstrator, who shared with me some of the new patterned papers, etc. from Stampin’ Up!®. I was so excited to test out the pack of In Colors and markers she gave me the day we had lunch and stamped...can’t thank her enough! I used some of those new In Color markers on the Coastal Paradise card, too! I got to play with some of the frame dies and new patterns. I wouldn’t have picked this color combination ordinarily, however I do like the end result.

Now it’s your turn...

Let’s slow things down a bit and end with an easy to make card layout. For my starting point, I merely stamped this old military theme rubber stamp into the upper area of a piece of trimmed cardstock I grabbed out of my leftovers stash. I built the card from there coordinating another patterned piece of cardstock and some solids to go with it. To complete the look, I added a pennant, a vintage gold button with thread and a Father's day stamped verse. To give it an aged feel, I sponged and dragged ink over the edges.

Military Style Father’s Day Card
(simply change out the sentiment to use for other occasions!)

Easy, Peasy, right? The rest is up to you! Happy creating and an early happy Father’s Day to all the great dads out there!

Thursday, June 7, 2012

Fish all day...tell big lies!

This fish themed poster is another addition to my Cheri Wenger Design Photography photo art collection combining my photo image with actions, textures and text. It is such a fun way to combine my design and photographic talents. Here is the finished result...

But here is where it all began..

This is a peek at my original photo shot at Indialantic Beach, 
where all my creative thoughts began!

Next I used a combinations of actions and 
layers in Photoshop to create this look...

Then I combined some yummy textures designed by Kim Klassen for 
her Texture Tuesday Cafe. For this effect I used 2 textures, 
revolution and musiclovin, shown below.

Design © 2012 Cheri Wenger Design Photography

I liked the result, but really wanted to add a quote to turn 
it into a fun work of art! I researched some quotes and 
decided on this one by an unknown author to 
finish the artwork shown above.

If you are interested in purchasing a print or canvas art 
of this, contact me by email and I can get you pricing, 
depending upon the size you would like at artz1@cfl.rr.com.