Country Wedding

Country Wedding

Last weekend I had the opportunity to dust off my cameras and revisit my love of wedding photography. Really its more that people are generally happy and pretty for weddings. That’s my personal honesty secret. I love photography of people when its fun, and people are pretty. Not pretty in the “look at those magazine attractive people” type pretty, but the natural glow of content people enjoying life. The ones happy to be where they are. That is what I enjoy capturing.

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Subjects I don’t really enjoy? Maternity, babies, large groups. Why? Lets start with Maternity, I don’t have the heart to tell women that the beautiful woman in the magazine is not only air brushed and perfected lighting, and spent more energy and time then they really want to, they are usually about 6 months pregnant. I try to encourage early shoots, but even then, pregnancy is miserable. Yes, you “glow”, and are sooo blessed and happy, but your legs/feet hurt, your hips hurt or feel awkward, you waddle, clothes rarely fit right, and all the other things women don’t say out loud often about being pregnant. Yes, sometimes its great, and the photos turn out awesome, but often its exhausting, and I’m not good at making it “fun”. Other people rock at this, I don’t, so I stay away from it.

Babies? Real newborns, like still sleepy and don’t care what you do new born, I like that. I just want to be warm and snuggled, don’t make me be naked newborn, that sucks. They tip, they roll, they cry, and they can’t hold up their own head. I stress all the way through. SKIP IT. I only do my own, and as for anyone else, not until baby can look around.

Large groups? This is like the “lets do a big family Christmas picture” type large group. The one where there are 8 kids under 10 that don’t want their picture taken, or at a minimum don’t want to take the picture the way mom and dad want them to. Throw in at least 5 adults, 2 of which are reprimanding kid behavior, no thank you. This also includes the groups of 4+ kids under 6 – I don’t herd cats either. Just an FYI.

Those 3 topics are why I have no interest in really getting into portrait photography. That’s what we all want want, all the shots I just complained about. I love the happy shots, and the emotion shots, that’s my passion behind a camera.

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Like catching a kid enjoying post rainstorm puddles.

So when my friend was asking around for someone that could do photography on short notice, I made sure to start with “what would it be for?” As soon as I heard small wedding, I said, “Why yes I do know someone available”,  “Let me show you some past work”.

 

All weddings have confusion and crazy times, I just love getting to capture that and the love behind it. The prep time, the one-on-one time…..

For example, working with kids. What do I do when they just won’t cooperate? Start snapping, and see what you get.

Maybe even throw in a fun filter.

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I actually have to work to not get caught up on the couple and make sure I get the family shots too. You’ve gotta include Grandma!

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But the couple is by far my favorite:

 

And the oops moments, like struggling with the garter:

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And every now and then I re-write history:

Before: Fishes

After: Just 2 beautiful women – thank you Photoshop

And throw in a couple shots of the decor for good measure.

It was great to break back out the camera(s). I like having 2 so I can have 2 different lenses at the ready. Normally I would just have the one, but for a wedding its pretty handy. My fear is if something happened to one God forbid. I’ve heard horror stories of cameras getting dropped or stolen mid shoot.

I have had such a great time with this though, I realized I really need to take time to give myself a little artistic outlet.

Maybe I’ll work on doing a photo challenge series.

Plank Photo Project

Plank Photo Project

Over this last year my sister has been slowly updating her home. As the sister, I get the privilege of being the main artist on her walls, and I try to make sure that whatever I give her won’t be something that is hung up out of pity. I prefer not to be the creator of the “look at that” art. The new look of her home is what I would consider rustic / country charm. She was interested in a print I did a couple winters ago, but I wanted to give her something more unique and fitting than a basic poster type print.

I saw an art print at Ranch and Home and really liked the reclaimed/rustic look of it. It seemed simple enough and of course I instantly thought “I can do that”. Sometimes I seem to have an inflated view of my abilities. But either way, I searched the internet (okay, let’s be honest, I searched Pinterest), and found a few posts on how to transfer pictures to wood. Again I thought, “see, can’t be that hard”.  So I make my list, take tips and tricks from a variety of “how to” blog posts, and set off to Lowes.

I wanted to make a plank board wall hanging, and I couldn’t find anything on how to do what I had in mind. I picked up a pack of wood planks, & some finishing nails (apparently my box of nails & screws is hiding somewhere with my hammer, and mutli-tool screw driver). I had some scrap wood I planned to use for backing, and hubby has clamps I could klepto (one of his auction finds – you can read about that here). I had the photo printed by Staples, I opted for the blue print option for printing. The best paper choice is as close to inkjet printer you can get.

As I start building the wall hanging for my project, hubby starts giving me the “you’re going to regret doing it that way” look and grunts. So of course, I respond with the standard “what?” To which he replies “where’s the wood glue?” You are using wood glue right?”

“Um, I wasn’t planning on it. Can’t I just push these together, and nail them to some boards so they stay together?”

“You can, but I wouldn’t. It’s not going to work like you think it is”.

This is where I remember his “your projects always become my projects” line, which in fairness, they do, but it’s because he is better at this stuff, and I tend to learn as I go.  But either way, I wound up going to Lowes for wood glue.

In the end, here was my process:

1. Line up planks as desired (here is what I bought). Then put a bead of glue in the grooves between each plank, and put them back as desired. Then clamp to hold in place for drying.

For diagram / printable directions click: how to – Wood Plank Photo Print 

2. Once glue is dry (the bottle will tell you how long it takes to set”, flip so the back side is up (choose which side will give the best result for your picture – try to choose the side with the cleanest surface- see step 3). Nail each precut support board approximately 3 inches in from the edges. The length will depend on the size of the board you choose to create.

3. Flip the board so it is face up. If there is any glue spots, try to sand them off, the ink doesn’t transfer well to dried glue.

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4. Coat with “Gel Medium”, it’s really called exactly that. I went into Joanne’s looking for this and really wasn’t sure what to expect. Here is a picture of what I used. Put a good coat on, think of paper mache, too much and the paper will get all nasty and tear, not enough, and the ink won’t transfer.

5. Put the print ink side down onto the boards, and smooth out wrinkles.

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6. Let dry overnight. If you’re in a hurry, you can wait just as long as it takes for the paper to be completely dry, but it’s similar to putting on a temporary tattoo, so if it’s not dry it will peal up.

7. Using a wet wash rag, scrub the paper off. I suggest getting a bowl, or small bucket of warm water, and have it sitting there to rinse the rag as you work. Another trick is to get the paper a bit extra wet like you would when putting on a temporary tattoo, and then try scrubbing. It seems to help pull the paper off better.

8. Once you believe you have all the paper off, let it dry, and re-evaluate. I had to go back a few times as paper would become noticeable again once it dried. The sky and light areas were the hardest for me.

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9. Optional: Once you are sure you have all the paper wiped off, coat with modge podge/ decoupage glue.

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Lesson’s learned:

  1. Ink won’t transfer onto wood glue
  2. Pencil will be seen through the picture – not sure how I didn’t notice it before moving forward and putting the gel on
  3. If you don’t get all the paper off, and then you coat it with modge podge, it will seal the picture, make the white paper EXTREMELY obvious, and you won’t even be able to sand that crap off. – start over
  4. If you want an exact image as you see when you took it, don’t forget to flip the image, otherwise it will be a mirror image
  5. When using the planks, keep in mind that there will be lines / gaps in your picture – placement may look funny depending on the print. You may not want lines / gaps through your loved ones face.

Print directions here: how to – Wood Plank Photo Print