The Blog

Hi!! I have been meaning to blog for what feels like years, and I am finally doing it!! I really want these blog posts to be helpful, so if there are any specific topics that you guys want to hear about, please just let me know!!

As it is, I thought a good first blog post would be a behind-the-scenes look at a few images. These really encapsulate what I want my photography to be- magical, whimsical, soft, storytelling. I will admit to being a bit of a control freak when it comes to planning out a shoot and I try to make sure that every aspect of my image serves some kind of purpose—it is either telling part of my story or adding somehow to the emotional impact of the image. Location, props, clothing, posing, and lighting all play a huge role in creating emotion and telling your story.

“Keep Me in Your Heart”

There is no place that I love shooting more than in the woods and forests near my home. Undoubtedly influenced by my upbringing in rural Massachusetts, the woods represents childhood to me… a place of endless adventures and magical stories. Forests are the birthplace of fairytales, a place of imagination and beauty and home. That is what the emotional side of me sees when I look at a woodland. The photographer in me sees leading lines, endless texture, beautiful color, well-placed framing, and amazing potential background compression. Forests really have it all for me, so it’s probably no surprise that a lot of my images are set in a woodland of some kind. Now, I am not saying that everyone should head to the woods to capture magical images. Quite the opposite, actually. I strongly believe that you need to find what speaks to you—what you have an emotional connection with—and THAT is where you will find your own magic. The best way to capture magic is to feel it yourself… you will be able to inject so much more emotion into your images if you really do feel that emotion as you are shooting. And that connection will come across to your viewer.

Pullback for the “Woodland Magic” image

So, onto the WHERE: these images were both shot in two different forest locations. For me, just placing my subject in a forest already adds emotional storytelling. It also gives me a location with a lot of potential for both foreground and background compression, which I really, really love (just a tip: for that wonderful, yummy foreground compression, shoot using a long lens–135mm, 200mm, etc– wide open and get as low to the ground as possible). I looked for a spot that had some open sky (on both days it was very overcast, so the woods were very dark, but I didn’t have to worry about having hotspots or dappled lighting as the clouds really act like one big diffuser). I also looked for texture (moss, ivy, etc) to create visual interest in the scene. Don’t dismiss what might look like a boring location to your eye. Try to see the scene as your camera would see it, and what’s more, what editing potential is there. Both of these locations look pretty boring and standard as they are. You as the artist need to look beyond that and see the possibilities present with which you can craft, manipulate, and create.
CLOTHING: I love texture in my images, both in my location and in the clothes. Knits, lace, suede, faux-fur, tuelle—wherever and however I can get it, I want it in the clothes that my clients or my models wear. I also really love neutral colors: creams, whites, greys, tans… these colors don’t distract from my subjects, and I think they also compliment the woods environment that I love so much. When I selected the outfit for these images, I wanted something that looked almost like pajamas for my model to wear… something that looked warm and cozy. My gray hooded knit romper completely fit that bill for me!

PROPS: I love this little teddy bear, it features in a lot of my images. Not only is it the perfect size for little children, but it has a lovely vintage feel that I LOVE for my images. He is simple and sweet and the perfect little companion. I love Winnie the Pooh, and I think that having this little teddy in an image adds to that whimsical, childhood, fantasy feel.

LIGHT: Because the woods are dense where I live, and the days are very overcast this time of year, it makes for some pretty dark conditions when shooting. I tried not to go too deep into the woods, so light was coming into the scenes from the road, and because I was shooting in a little bit of a clearing, it gave me overhead light as well to helped to illuminate my subject.

LENS: For both of these images I used my 135L lens. I usually shoot with my 200L, but that lens is an absolute beast. It’s massive, and because it is so big I have to keep my shutter speed up very high to avoid camera shake. This means my ISO, unless I’m shooting somewhere really bright, also needs to be high. Combine that with underexposing slightly to compensate for skin tones and it’s a recipe for noise, noise, and more noise. My 135L has become my go-to forest lens. It’s light, it’s sharp, and the compression it gives is just dreamy.

MY EDITS: I knew for these edits I was going to want something magical and whimsical looking, and for me that that means softness and lovely light. I really love subject isolation with an illuminated subject, so I also usually edit so that my backgrounds are darker and my subjects lighter, which allows them to pop a bit more and grab the viewer’s attention.

Here are the straight out of camera shots for the images:

SOOC Woodland DreamsSOOC Keep Me in Your Heart

I also knew that I wanted to get a shot of my son pointing up at something, so that later I could add some light and dust motes. He is too young to be able to really follow directions (actually I’m pretty positive that he understood exactly what I was saying to him, but in the grand tradition of two-year-olds, his current favorite word is “No”). If you have a specific shot in mind and your little model isn’t cooperating, there are usually ways to go about manipulating the situation into one that is advantageous for you. I try to avoid bribery where I can, because it can set up a precedent from which it can be hard to break (when they’re little it’s easy and a square of chocolate will do the trick, but the older they get the greater their understanding of supply and demand!). I generally try to keep the situation calm when I am shooting, because I want that calmness to come off on camera. But sometimes breaking from that mould is the best way to get a reaction!

Before and After Blog
Annnnd here’s a pullback of how I (or rather how my husband) managed to get him to point:

pullback for blog 2

I hope this has been helpful (or at least a little bit interesting)– let me know if you have any questions at all and happy shooting, guys!!

24 comments
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  • IanJune 4, 2015 - 2:22 pm

    Hi I’m a photographer form Durham (in the North East of England). I mainly photograph people (all ages).
    I stumbled across your web site and was blown away by your photographs. They are truly exceptional.

    Would like to attend any workshops you are running or buy any training videos you have.ReplyCancel

    • Julie SultzbachFebruary 11, 2016 - 12:31 am

      Hi Katrina, Love your images and have been following you for awhile. As someone who is just getting started I love reading and very much appreciate your blog. My question is, what is your process to create the blur in your backgrounds for your images and do you offer any workshops or webinars? thank you so much, Julie SultzbachReplyCancel

      • gparry77@btinternet.comFebruary 11, 2016 - 6:40 pm

        Hi Julie, thank you so much for your message! I do offer online editing classes, and will be holding an in-person workshop in London this summer (specifics have not been confirmed yet) if you are interested 🙂ReplyCancel

  • Nancy zeringueJune 4, 2015 - 8:56 pm

    Look forward to your blog posts and classes!ReplyCancel

  • AnnaFebruary 10, 2016 - 5:56 pm

    Great first Blog Katrina. It was great to see your pullbacks and behind the scenes images. You take such magical images!ReplyCancel

    • gparry77@btinternet.comFebruary 11, 2016 - 6:41 pm

      Aww thank you!!ReplyCancel

  • Cindy BlumensheinFebruary 10, 2016 - 10:53 pm

    Love your work and am signed up for your class:)ReplyCancel

    • gparry77@btinternet.comFebruary 11, 2016 - 6:41 pm

      Thank you so much Cindy! I can’t wait for our class!!ReplyCancel

  • Pati de la GuardiaFebruary 10, 2016 - 11:43 pm

    hi… Love your work… Im a photographer frim Panama would love to get sime help with soft edits like yours… Amazing!!ReplyCancel

    • gparry77@btinternet.comFebruary 11, 2016 - 6:40 pm

      Thank you so much!! 🙂ReplyCancel

  • SOFIAFebruary 11, 2016 - 12:48 am

    Hello,

    I would love to have your newsletter and some tips and techniques as your heart allows to share. There are so many video tutorials and very few are worth watching.

    I’m a concert photographer but sometimes I get hired do family portraits, weddings, and commercial events.

    Best regards,
    SofiaReplyCancel

  • LauraFebruary 11, 2016 - 3:13 am

    Absolutely beautiful images as usual but so interesting to read your thought process, hoping it may help me taking images of my uncooperative little man! Thank you 🙂ReplyCancel

  • IarmilaFebruary 11, 2016 - 5:38 am

    Your photos are so fantastic, they make me despair (OK, a little exaggeration) mine don’t even look like your sooc photos, that would be a step up. They look like more like your placement photos, The ones marked I am here, subject here etc. I was going to ask you about your photoshopping, but then I saw that you will have a tutorial coming out soon. I am following you on facebook and I really enjoy your images. Thank you for sharing.ReplyCancel

  • Beth BellairsFebruary 11, 2016 - 1:59 pm

    Can’t waitReplyCancel

  • KikiFebruary 11, 2016 - 5:07 pm

    Love this, Kat! Looking forward to reading more and following along ??ReplyCancel

  • Colleen ArcherFebruary 11, 2016 - 6:59 pm

    I love your blog!!!! Have been loving your photographs for some time. Thanks for sharing some of your artistic process!ReplyCancel

    • gparry77@btinternet.comFebruary 11, 2016 - 7:49 pm

      Oh thank you so much!!ReplyCancel

  • Sunny WellsFebruary 12, 2016 - 6:31 am

    This is sooooooo cool!!! I especially like the behind the scenes. ?ReplyCancel

  • Robin BakerFebruary 12, 2016 - 2:46 pm

    Love your new blog! Thank you for being so open and for sharing what inspires you!!! Your work is beautiful!!!ReplyCancel

  • Islam MansourFebruary 22, 2016 - 8:45 am

    Amazing work.
    Can wait to get a one-on-one session with you. Expect me sometime next month 🙂
    Looking forward to read me of your amazing blogging.ReplyCancel

  • IsaacMarch 22, 2016 - 10:16 am

    katrina im branching out into child photography and come across your work. Im so inspired by your beautiful images and thankyou for sharing your btsReplyCancel

  • OlessiaMay 19, 2016 - 11:50 am

    Thank you so much for sharing!
    Love your work!ReplyCancel

  • peggy quallsMay 30, 2016 - 5:13 pm

    I am so wowed by your photography !!! This is just the look I am going for with outdoor photography of children. I am currently a grandmother/wishing to be photographer. I have 5 little grandsons. It goes without saying outdoors works best for us. I am so hoping that you will share a tutorial or help with what you do in the editing process. I currently work much better in LR 5. Darker, mysterious background with a highlighted subject is what Iam hoping to learn how to do. Feel free if you have time to critique my fb site of my grands.
    anxiously awaiting your response. Sincerely, Peggy QuallsReplyCancel

  • Melissa DonaldsonJune 10, 2016 - 5:17 am

    Fantastic blog! great tips!! Love this!ReplyCancel

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