I was recently approached to try out the new Strike a Pose workflow preset package for Adobe Lightroom and offer a review of it. I took several images from previous sessions to play around with. Some of them were in the studio, and some were taken outdoors.

My first impression of the Develop presets were that they were a bit heavy, especially on the studio images. They were less offending on the outdoor images, where there are more tones to work with, but I still didn’t like most of them. The only ones that I liked at all were the base-tone and single-item-tweak presets. Since I lean towards a very natural edit style anyway, that’s not surprising because most of my personal presets are only one or two adjustments per click.

However, where I really started having fun with this workflow was with the adjustment brush presets. I love the blush, eyeliner, and eye-color enhancement brushes. I even played around with some of the toned-haze brushes on the outdoor images.

I don’t think I’ll ever be satisfied with Lightroom skin adjustment options since it messes with the skin’s texture too much to make me happy, and Photoshop has so many great ways to preserve that texture, but the facial tone and detail brushes are definitely staying in my Lightroom arsenal now.

 

(Please note, I have not been paid for this review; I have received the product in exchange for an honest opinion.) If you would like to check them out yourself here, or follow their Pinterest Board for some editing inspiration. If you’d rather let them do all the work with the work they also offer an editing service.

I have been much more active on social media lately than the blog. I blame sleep deprivation. My brain is functioning much better in images and short sentences. The perils of being a working mom! Or, you know, just being a mom. (Those little buggers of mine are too stinking cute though!)

So, I thought I would pop in here and update a little bit about some of my favorite images from the past few months, starting with Taylor’s GORGEOUS set!

Professional boudoir and portrait photography in Richmond, VA

I mean, how lovely is she??

I know Taylor personally as she is my cousin Adam’s girlfriend. We recently got closer when we spent time together at my cousin Sam’s bachelorette weekend, and I have to say, she is an intriguing person. I mean, someone THAT stunning just *has* to know it, right? But, like the rest of us, she has her doubts. So, when I wanted to do a fun session to update my portfolio (since so many of my lovely ladies prefer to keep their images private, which is perfectly acceptable!) this beauty is one I wanted in front of my lens.

Now, Taylor is an esthetician, which means she *knows* beauty. But she isn’t confident in her own. I’m hoping this set helped. And seeing someone, anyone, bloom in front of my lens, and lessen their insecurities as the session progresses is part of why I keep coming back to photographing boudoir.

So, when you’re ready to see yourself in a new light, give me a call!! I promise you won’t be disappointed. :-)

Portraits-72

Here’s a quick shout out to Lusti and her beautiful family, who I got to photograph on their wedding day last January! I say “their” because I feel like the creation of a blended family is really a marriage between all of them. It’s many people becoming one unit, and it makes for some great pictures when the kids are happy witness the ceremony that marks the joining!

Ceremony-108

Funny thing about Virginia, on their actual anniversary date last week, we were preparing for a blizzard, and as I write this post, I am enjoying a 60 degree day through my open office window. Last year, we had little problem getting these bridal portraits done outside in her strapless lavender gown. Just shows, you never know what will greet you when you step outside here!

So, happy anniversary! May the days always be bright for you!

Portraits-21 Portraits-14

Hello! I hope this year has treated you well, dear reader. In this time of round ups, wraps, countdowns and reviews, I decided to take a peek at what I’ve been up to in this crazy year that’s about to end. And now that I’m looking, I’m kind of amazed.

Most of my work this last year has happened in just the last 6 months! In July, I signed the lease for the studio and was hired by Bella Baby Photography (in the SAME WEEK 😀 ).

So, in 2015 I got to:

Shoot at 13 College/University Graduation ceremonies (and a sorority Bid Day),

Open, setup, decorate and photograph in MY VERY OWN STUDIO,

Capture 4 giddy weddings,

See both my Little Sister and my Little Cousin absolutely SHINE at their own weddings,

Photograph 12 stunning beauties in boudoir sessions,

Play with the first dudeoir images I’ve created in a decade,

Photograph 4 lovely couples (aside from my beautiful wedded clients) and one burgeoning family,

Cover one corporate anniversary event and update 2 people’s headshots,

Get my Bon Seqours hospital badge and train with Bella Baby,

Make pretty pictures for 230 of the beautiful families whose babies were born in Richmond,

See one of my Bella images win first place in the National Contest, and 4 images place in the monthly finalist pack,

Be named one of Richmond’s Top 5 Photographers by Thumbtack,

Be named a Best of 2015 Photographer by Wedding.com,

Watch one of my images go INTERNATIONAL as one of my clients’ blogs went viral.

In 2015, I got to fall even more in love with photography, be excited to go to work everyday, come home happy to my well loved babies and I got to drag my long-suffering supportive husband along on my roller coaster.

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.

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Yup, it’s been a heckuva ride! I can’t WAIT to see what happens in 2016.

See you around the bend. 😉

 

www.thealbumcafe.com

www.thealbumcafe.com

Well, Summer is here and things are finally slowing down a *little* from my spring-time-chaos. I got to shoot at some lovely universities for graduation season. I’ll be starting a new job in a few weeks creating newborn portraits for Bella Baby, and I can NOT wait to capture all that newborn snuggliness!! I have also opened up an official STUDIO SPACE for Metcalf Photography!! So yeah, I’ve been a little busy. But now that things are starting to come together in the space I can share some after pics!

DSC_0501 2015-06-10 15.44.41 DSC_0503 DSC_0502

 

I get to start shooting in the studio this week and trying out some new off-site locations near the office. So if you want to see the new space, just let me know!

“My friend has a nice camera. She’s going to take some pictures for us.”

Every wedding photographer has heard this line at some point. And that’s ok, I guess, if the person actually knows how to use their nice camera. Off of Auto. Because the camera doesn’t take the picture, the person holding it does. And if the person holding the camera doesn’t know how to set up a shot, or what moment to keep an eye out for, what you’re going to get isn’t professional wedding pictures, you’re going to get snapshots from a nice camera.

A while ago, the Professional Photographers of America ran a campaign showing the difference between a snap shot and a professional photo, assuming a friend taking a snapshot on a nice camera wouldn’t have access to full editing tools. I really liked the idea of showing the difference side by side.

Well, I now have an opportunity to do one myself. During the reception at Lucy and Mathew’s at-home wedding, I noticed the sunset was turning out some lovely colors and really wanted to catch that part of their day. So, we gathered our things and stepped oustide for a quick portrait. I set up the camera first, adjusting my settings to expose for the colors in the sky then set up the off-camera lighting. My first test shot turned out nothing like it should have. Apparently I had bumped my camera’s nob while setting up the flash. Since I was also just taking a quick shot to check exposures, I didn’t set up a proper framing either, so it looked much like a snapshot. What I got from that first shot was this:

 

A Snapshot

A Snapshot

 

As you can see, their faces aren’t properly lit and you can’t really see the colors in the sky. No worries, a couple of quick adjustments, and a few seconds later I was getting some better images. After editing, the final product is this:

 

So much better.

So much better.

And this, folks, is why you hire a professional. <3

 

This wedding was one for the books! I have never seen a small at-home wedding done so well! The paper flowers used to decorate the alter space turned out beautifully! They were made by the bride and her mother. The neighborhood provided a perfect park for some lovely portraits. And the weather was just lovely, even providing a wonderfully colorful sunset that I just HAD to bring the couple back out for a few more portraits.

 

These two were so cute together!! I have known Lucy for a few years now, having practiced Aikido (a Japanese martial art) with her down in Petersburg. So, I have to admit to being a bit of a bad influence when I mentioned pretending to cut the cake with her katana so we could get a picture to send to our sensei. The look on the guests faces was priceless!

 

How nice it was to get to meet her new husband and help make a big deal of their big day together!

I was contacted by a blogger friend recently for a headshots session. She needed them as soon as possible because her blog and current campaign is suddenly getting national attention (if you’re at all interested in sexual health and/or depression self-care, please check her out!) We had planned for a nice outing to the Canal Walk in Richmond but the day was cold and a flare up of Fibromyalgia forced us to stay inside. Luckily, she had a clear spot in the house to work with and we got some great shots!

 

 

 

After publishing Emily’s engagement post, I realized that I had never made a post for her last session with her then-boyfriend, Cameron. We went down to Old Towne Petersburg where there is a good variety of settings in a short distance of each other. This set was much more along my usual style, which is a bit more high contrast, especially on the black-and-whites. Because of a scheduling snafu with Daylights Savings Time, we ran into dusk earlier than we had planned for. SO, it was time to pull out the extra lighting and play around (because I like using my family as guinea pigs)!

The lighting came out wonderfully! I loved how the late dusk time-range played right into the high contrast style and added a lot drama to the images.

 

Richmond, Virginia couples and engagement photography

Metcalf Photography–Richmond, Virginia Photographer

Richmond, Virginia couples and engagement photography

Metcalf Photography–Richmond, Virginia Photographer

Richmond, Virginia couples and engagement photography

Metcalf Photography–Richmond, Virginia Photographer

Richmond, Virginia couples and engagement photography

Metcalf Photography–Richmond, Virginia Photographer

Ok, so I’ve been a little busy lately, and the blog posts have gone by the way side, but fun things have been happening!

One of those is that my little sister Emily got engaged to a great guy! So, of course, they wanted engagement pictures, but she wanted a warm and airy style, which is a little out of my normal edit techniques. So! The great thing about family pushing your boundaries is that you get to use them as guinea pigs! HAHAHAHA

Even though I hadn’t done this low contrast edit style before I had a lot of fun playing with the pictures and we got some GREAT images. Since they intended to use these for Save the Date cards, I made sure to give them plenty of options with open space.

Richmond Virginia engagement photography

Emily and Cameron engagement photography

Richmond Virginia engagement photography

Emily and Cameron engagement photography

Richmond Virginia engagement photography

Emily and Cameron engagement photography

Richmond Virginia engagement photography

Emily and Cameron engagement photography

Richmond Virginia engagement photography

Emily and Cameron engagement photography

Richmond Virginia engagement photography

Emily and Cameron engagement photography

Richmond Virginia engagement photography

Emily and Cameron engagement photography

Richmond Virginia engagement photography

Emily and Cameron save the date