Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Orange is the new red

The front door is (mostly) painted with SW Obstinate Orange!  Here is the before:  
Yes, this is a very boring builder special door.  But for now, it has to do.  Unfortunately, I did a very very stupid, very bad thing.  I thought since I bought fancy Sherwin Williams paint - Resilience Exterior Satin - that I could just sand well and paint.  
Yeah, well that was dumb.  The parts that were painted tan still looked....tan.  Oh, and the paint I got is completely underwhelming.  It was runny as hell.  Don't buy Resilience!  This picture show two more coats.  Oh my gosh, this project will never end!!
I even started just putting coats of orange on the insets where the tan paint helped a little, but the whole door still needs another coat.  For awhile we had a lovely orange and green combo. 
We had to replace the green door, the glass insert was ugly with a beveled design around the edges, and we didn't have a screen.  The door itself was a weird brand I've never seen before, so I couldn't easily buy just a screen.  And I didn't want to paint out the green!  I called a contractor that only installs storm doors and he picked up our new doors (one for front and back), installed them, and hauled away the old ones for $125 each.  After we purchased the doors, of course.  I thought that was CASH WELL SPENT since it took the guy almost two hours for each door!!
Of course now, the stupid new storm door looks PINK.  I knew 'sandstone' would be a little more pink, but next to the body color and the trim on the rest of the house, it doesn't please me.  
I carry my color swatches with me everywhere I go these days, and last trip to Home Desperate I happened to find this spray paint that is almost exactly the same color as our Clarksville Gray trim. 
And when I sprayed a piece of paper to see how the color compared to the door, the difference was subtle, but I think it would look a ton better. 
Now I have to decide whether I should waste time spraying my brand new storm doors, or just live with it.
The farther away you are, the harder to see the pinky beige door.  What do you think?  Is our door too loud?  We have had a couple neighbors tell us they like it, but I think most of them are still a little shocked.  I think once we get our lights and house numbers up, it will look more finished. Still do to: a ton of trim paint, garage door paint, and addressing those lower windows.    

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Sara B Snappin

Wow, it's been awhile since I've posted.  The reason for that is a three-week visit to my home town where I started a new adventure!  While sleeping in my parent's basement and letting my fabulous mom take care of Ashford, I did photo shoots for 21 friends and their families to build a portfolio for my new photography business.  
I know, I know.  Another 'momtographer' who thinks she can start a business because she has a nice camera.  Trust me, I have done that eyeroll a million times.  However, I am taking this very seriously.  I have dedicated countless hours to learning, practicing, researching techniques....and it just seemed like this was the right time for me to see if I had the talent.  
I had never done formal photo shoots before, so I decided to start with friends, just in case I bombed.  I put together a contract and a plan to make it as professional and legitimate as possible.  I never dreamed I'd get so many interested friends!  I was so busy, doing 4 shoots a day some days and I was always up until 1am editing photos at night, it was crazy!
After my first few sessions, I realized a few things:
I need more practice with posing
I need more tricks up my sleeve to deal with kiddos that aren't into photos
I need to be religious about using a gray card or my Expodisc to avoid all the post-processing white balance fixing!  That takes up SO much time. 
I need to have a checklist of poses/activities that I wanted to capture, a sort of workflow that will help me get everything I want, for me and for the client.  
After all the sessions were over, I assessed my portfolio and was pretty happy with the variety and quality of the images.  I am very critical about certain things:
  • Focus.  All of my images must be SHARP (unless the artistic vision is to be blurry/out of focus)
  • White balance.  Skin tones must look like people sitting in the grass, anyone?
  • Interesting light.  A well-exposed image in flat light can be boring.  I try hard to look for and use shadows and sun to make a more powerful image.
  • Poses, or lack of.  I try to capture moments rather than forced smiles.  Yes, I take a lot of posed smiling shots, but I also take a ton of photos with no eye contact. Sometimes (most of the time?) those are the best ones.  
  • Distractions.  If there is a big blue garbage can behind my subject and I don't realize it until I've taken the shot, you bet I will take the time to clone it out in post.  
  • Editing.  I like a clean edit.  I sometimes use the matte finish that is so popular now, but it's rare.  I always have a light touch with my editing, to remember things as they actually were. 
  • Time of day.  I prefer to shoot at sunset, like every other photographer, but during this visit it just wasn't possible to do that for everyone.  So, I've learned to love full sun in the morning and afternoon!  Here are some of my favorites in full sun:

Next steps for me include registering my business with the state, setting up my tax info, figuring out what platform I want to use for my website and blog, the list goes on and on.  But one thing is certain, I'm going to do it right.  (Shaun wanted me to call my business Sara B Snappin because my middle initial is B, but I just couldn't agree to that!  ha)
If you would like to check out my Facebook page, it is Sara Hilton Photography.  I also have to give a shout out to the forum that has given me the confidence to pursue this, Clickin Moms.  Their tutorials, advice, and wealth of information have been so instrumental to my growth!  
So, that is what is taking up all my time lately.  However, I did get some work done on the house...mainly a new color for the front door.  Here is a teaser of the color painted on some cardboard (SW Obstinate Orange), full post coming when I get the last coat on!  It's awesome!