Memories

I recently found a contest on the Shutter Sister’s website that deals with time capsules. The prize is a 4-week course on how to make your own time capsule in photo/video form. I would love to win this contest, as moments such as the one below are why I am a photographer.

This photograph was taken in Russia, during the year I lived in Tomsk from ‘06-‘07.

 Given the opportunity to make a time capsule, I would take my photos from my experience in Russia and show how those moments still permeate my life today. Russia is still very much a part of me.

The opening sentence of the blog post on the Shutter Sister’s site states that “as a photographer, I’m a memory gatherer…”, which is very true for me. I love to capture moments and to hold on to those moments for a lifetime. Those moments are what make me, me.

Regardless of if I win, I think I will make a time capsule for me…of the time I spent in Russia. Then maybe I will continue making time capsules for the other little moments that permeate my life.

Book Smarts

Book smarts can get you a degree, but experience gets you, well… experience and an education.

I graduated in 2005 with a Bachelor’s degree in Fine Arts and an emphasis in photography. I learned the ins-and-outs of film photography, how to develop film, and how to process the photographs for the next upcoming project.

What I didn’t learn was how to use a digital camera.

I didn’t want to “go digital” at the time. I loved the process of developing my film and could spend hours in the dark room (The chemical smell somehow must have convinced me that I wanted to spend my life smelling in those same chemicals).

Seven years later, digital photographs are in. They’ve been in.

And, at first, I was left in the dust of other photographers who learned how to use Photoshop and other editing software. I got my first digital camera in 2008. So, I was a couple years behind in photography, technologically speaking.

I read an article recently that Kodak went bankrupt. Interestingly,  the article stated that their bankruptcy was caused in 1975 at the moment “they discovered the digital camera and put it back into a closet.”

I’ve learned not to put things on the back burner. And, to never say never.

I thought that film was better and didn’t want to ever change from film to digital. Now, digital is all I use.

I’m learning, taking notes from those who have gone on before me.

Images and Text © Amanda Creek Photography 2012
Please do not copy without permission.

My Top Ten Favorite Photo Moments of 2011

I have had a little time to reflect on 2011, now that we are half-way through the first month of 2012. In regards to photography, I look back at 2011 as an awesome year. It is a year that will change how I approach photography from this time forward. I decided to start my own photography business; that’s a big deal. There are some moments throughout the year that have taught me something, whether that be technical, or about life. I wanted to share some of those moments with you, as well as what I have learned.

1. Location, location, location! I learned that location can be a great source of inspiration. While visiting some friends in the Abilene area, we stumbled upon this amazing place, Fort Phantom Hill. The place was rustic and romantic; it was the perfect place for capturing the above shot. I realized that sometimes it takes getting away from your local area to ignite a spark of creativity within you. If you are blocked in your creative endeavors, get away, even if for the briefest of moments. In my experience, a new place or location will clear the mind and help the creative process!

2. Moments. Photographers are in the business of capturing moments. As a photographer, I have the opportunity to see glimpses of the love that others share, to see the families they have built, and to share smiles and laughter. There really isn’t anything that could be more enjoyable to me, than to get paid to capture these moments. I promise, I will not quit my day job any time soon! ;)

3. If you do not succeed – try, try again. My sis-in-law wanted family photos when I visited home this past October. So, we made plans and were psyched about those plans. When we arrived to the location, however, my nephew was less than impressed. He was not up for photos. Still, we decided that since we were already out there, we would give it a try. It did not go as expected. So, we made some other plans. Finally, I was able to capture a moment like the one above. It is absolutely one of my favorite photos of all time. No, not because I took it. I love it because of the sweet expression on my nephew’s face. He has the sweetest little smile here, as if he has all the knowledge of what is good in this life. :)

4. Tea time! It is fun to try new things, to be creative, and to let the imagination take over. For the shot above, I let my nieces play dress up. They were able to choose the clothes and accessories for the shot. I put a blanket down and we made a little tea time setting. It was peaceful, fun, and great quality time. Time that I wouldn’t trade for anything!

5. Emotion is powerful. It can be conveyed in many different ways, besides by just looking at a person’s face. The photo above is another of my all-time favorite photos. In me, it evokes a lot of emotion. It reminds me of the day that I was married and makes me joyful for the future I have with my own husband.

6. Be ready! The little one in the photo above is very fast! Yet, in this moment he was very unsuspecting. It was the perfect opportunity to catch him- not just his actions (trying to sneak into his birthday presents before it was time), but it allowed me to catch him (his personality!). To really capture the moments of everyday life, as a photographer it requires the camera to be in your hand, or not too far off hand. I have learned from my experiences that it is fun to have a camera with you every where you go, instead of just sitting in the case at home. I have learned that it is good to be observant and to watch for those little moments that will make you smile every time you see them and remember.

7. I love my husband! Just had to sneak that in there. :D As, if my fans couldn’t already tell that from the hundreds of photos that I post of him on Facebook.

8. I love my puppies! Again, had to sneak that in there. I love photographing my puppies. In school, they told us not to photograph our animals, but let me tell you…I don’t care what they said. I love photographing my puppies. And I will continue to do so.

9. Explore, dream, discover. One of my favorite quotes is by Mark Twain (of all people) -

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” -Mark Twain

This quote is something I want to embody this year. I think sometimes we hinder ourselves, hold ourselves back from success, and hold ourselves back from doing the things we love. I’m not sure why others hold themselves back, but I do know that in the past it’s been about fear, at least for me. I don’t want to be at the end of my life regretting what I didn’t do, what I didn’t explore, what I didn’t dream, and what I didn’t discover. I think the above photo represents that for me. My husband and I went to the fair and had a great time, we were little kids again.

Don’t be afraid to live your life. Don’t be afraid of failure.

10. Life is beautiful! Enjoy!

Images and Text © Amanda Creek Photography 2012
Please do not copy without permission.

Senior Portraits- Kieffer -Glendale, Arizona

While in Arizona, I was able to have a brief senior portrait session with this 2012 graduate. He wasn’t wanting anything fancy, which is okay with me. Although, I could find a way to take someone’s portraits all day, if I was being creative and fancy. :) I got the shots I wanted though, so at the end of the day I was happy. I loved the location, it had these really cool Dr. Seuss looking palm trees. If I lived in Arizona, it would probably be one of my favorite places to shoot.

Here are a few of my favorites:

Holiday Vacation Photos

My husband and I just arrived back home from our holiday vacation. I took a ton of photos on the trip, mostly of our little puppies. I still have more photos from our trip to go through, including a senior portrait session and photos of our new nephew. Can’t wait to look through them and share with you all. Happy Monday!

I wanted to share some of my favorite photos here.

My Beautiful Momma

Last month my Mom came for a visit. While in town she expressed to me that she wanted to take a couple photos for a Christmas gift to give my Dad. :)

I just love her. She is absolutely beautiful and such a loving person. I want to be her when I grow up.

Here are the photos from that day:

25 Days of Christmas Photo Challenge

Some friends and family are joining me in Christmas photo challenge. It’s been a fun first day! Here are some photos I took. Enjoy!

Tutorial Tuesday – How To Add a Watermark (or Logo) To a Photo In 3 Easy Steps

Today, I am wanting to share with the newbie photographers out there how to add a watermark to a photograph

It’s not a difficult thing to do, it just depends on how involved you want to get with your time and money.

Here are some easy steps, to get you started:

1. Determine whether or not your watermark is going to be a custom-made logo or just a general statement like “Do not copy”. I personally made the logo for my images. It is pretty easy to make, but took some time for me to navigate all the in’s and out’s of making one. There is a YouTube video for everything. So, if you are interested in making your own, I would just suggest looking up “how to make your own photography logo”. Perhaps that will be my tutorial for next Tuesday. ;) We’ll see.

Another, easier way to do this would be to pay someone to make your watermark. There are people out there who spend all the time and effort to do this, such as the following:

Now any of these logos can be bought (just click on the photo and it will take you to the above sellers’ etsy shops). I am a firm believer in education and felt it necessary for me to learn how to make my own, which is why I went that route.

2. The next step is adding the watermark or logo to your images. Again, this isn’t a difficult thing to do and is pretty much determined by which photo editor you use. I personally use Photoshop Elements (which I like to call “the poor man’s version of Photoshop”). However, if you don’t have the money for this program, there is an online photo editor that I recommend that can be used to do the same thing.

Picnik can be used for free, or you can pay to have a premium account for about $2 a month (which typically is paid all at once for a total of around $24). I pay for the premium account, simply for the fact that I need more than the basic editing tools that are provided for free. Also, I use this program when traveling, since I currently do not have a laptop decked out with the newest version of Photoshop.

In order to add a general statement, such as “Do not copy”, upload your photo and go to the edit tab. It should look something like this:

Then, of course, you go to the text tab, select your text, and push the add button. Voila! You should have text on your image.

The next step is to  move the text where you want it within the picture. This can be done by clicking on the text and dragging it to the spot you want.

3. Adjust the luminosity of your watermark or logo. Finally, you need to adjust the luminosity of the text. Your watermark or logo should never be so overpowering that it takes away from the photo itself. To adjust the luminosity, slide the fade bar to the percentage that seems appropriate for the particular photo. Then you can save your photo!

The steps are the same for adding a custom watermark to your photo. You can play around with the text in Picnik to make your own watermark with the free version.It would basically look like this:

To get a custom logo, you would have to pay for the premium service. With the premium service, you could add that lovely custom logo you just made (or bought) to your photos. The steps, again, are the same. The only difference now is that you would be adding a “.png” file on top of your photo, rather than the text.

The premium account allows you to upload several photos to edit, and stores these photos in the photo basket.

When you have selected your photo that you want to add your custom logo to, you just click on the logo (that you have already uploaded to your premium account) and you drag it to the place you want it located within the photo.

Once you’ve added the logo, you can change the size and the luminosity to what you want.

There you have it! Not too difficult and really easy once you get the hang of it.

I hope you all have a great Tuesday. Thanks for stopping by.

-Amanda

Images and Text © Amanda Creek Photography 2011

Please do not copy without written permission.

Amber & Phil | Abilene, Tx

My husband and I were privileged to catch up with some friends who were in from California for the holidays. We drove to Abilene this Thanksgiving to see Amber and Phil, along with some of our other wonderful friends. While there, we decided to do a mini-shoot with Amber and Phil at Fort Phantom Hill. I was very inspired by the location and wanted to share a few of the portraits from the session. Hope y’all enjoy!

© Amanda Creek Photography

Please do not crop, edit, or print these photos.

And the WINNER is….

I want to thank all of you who participated in my very first Facebook contest. I had a goal of 100 fans in November and surpassed that goal! So thank you very much for your participation.

The winner of this Contest is….drum roll, please…..

Nicole Violette

Please email me at: amandacreekphotograhpy@gmail.com to send me your address.

Upload from January 28, 2012

I’m looking forward to the next few weeks…especially with Thanksgiving coming up. Please keep checking in for new blog posts and other exciting things that I am gearing up for.

Thanks, again to all those who supported me and those who support me each and everyday!