The mountains are calling….
You wake up every morning and glance at the majestic mountain range to the west as you drive to work. You’ve seen the pictures and post cards that promote their beauty and magnificence. You hear the wild call of the mountains and say to yourself, “one day, one day, we will make time and go”. Make one day today. Experience and capture the beauty of the Rockies forever with a mountain session your family will never forget.
Whether you are traveling to visit the Rockies, or live in the Foothills, these limited sessions in the Banff and Kootenay areas offer a wonderful way to capture your family session in one of the most spectacular parts of the world.
The mountains are calling….will today be the day you answer?
I very rarely post before and afters, mostly because its my belief that post processing isn’t the answer and there is a lot that goes into making an image appealing that no amount of “fixing” it in Photoshop will cover. Getting it right in camera is far more important that spending hours in front of a computer. That being said, I wanted to share the series of pictures that I took last night of my son playing his violin with you, to illustrate how I use Photoshop and Lightroom to put the final touches on my vision.
The first photo is straight out of the camera (SOOC), with no editing. Because I photograph in RAW files, my SOOC are flat and unappealing, but you can see that really, not much was changed on the picture, but the editing. Compositionally, I pretty much nailed it right away (this was the third picture I took), and I waited until my subject had the movement in the shot I was looking for – feet placed a certain way, bow up so it caught the light and echoed the lines of the fence, the head of the violin not breaking the line of the fence, leading lines to my subject, subject placed perfectly using rule of the thirds, etc. The only small change I made was the decision to crop it using the golden ratio right where the bow hit the strings to strengthen the viewers eye and my subjects gaze to the same spot.
Let’s take a look.
Yup, see what I mean. Flat and gross. But what did I see in this location that I knew would contribute to the final picture in my head? Tones play a lot in my work, and I love to play with the tonal harmony. I stopped by the road here because I knew the red tones of his hair, his red shoes, and the red bushes in the field, as well as the mahogany in the tree line and the violin would be something that would all help to create the tonal harmony. Truth be told, his shoes were a little too red for me, but they went well with the ripped jeans which gives the subject a little edge. Another big factor for me was the light. It was dusk and the sun was low, but I saw from the way the light hit the fence and wrapped around it that it would be really quite lovely to work with and wrap around my subject the same way.
Edited in Lightroom.
I always do global edits in Lightroom and make the most changes there. Right away, with only a lens correction, white balance, tonal curve, lifting the shadows, and slight changes to the HSL sliders, you can see a big difference. All the tones I saw in my final vision (and in reality that were there) are brought to life in a few seconds of work.
For my finishing touches, I always pull my images into Photoshop where I take off small “flaws” (like all the dog hair I found on his coat!), stray hair fix, a few curves and levels adjustments, skin tone check, a little softening of the tree line in the background, and I took out the body of water barely visible to the left of him because I found it distracting.
There you have it. Most of this wouldn’t have worked if I hadn’t looked for and used elements in the environment or known what to look for in lighting or composition. Editing simply brought out what was already there, and really didn’t take long at all.
I have been blessed by an abundance of newborn sessions to kick off my year right. I photographed this sweet family as my first session of the new year here and I couldn’t have been more honoured that they asked me back to photograph their new little one.
Between lots of baby snuggles and playing with an active toddler, I loved the soft and sweet feel to this newborn session at home, especially when I got to use elements like great grandma’s antique mirror as well! I think that’s one of my favourite things about using client’s homes for sessions – you really get to incorporate elements that mean something to them and tell the story of their family, and their history.
And my absolute favourite part of newborn sessions? Baby feet. I love photographing baby feet.
Thanks for having me.
Hug your family for me,
“Babies are like little suns that, in a magical way, bring warmth, happiness and light into our lives.”
I have been blessed this year with a number of newborn sessions and they among my favourite kind. I was lucky enough to meet little Quinn earlier this winter and spend the morning in a in-home session with her and her family. She slept almost the entire time and was such a joy to work with. I think I managed to catch the only time her little eye peeped open briefly for a bit before she drifted off again
Sigh…baby sessions really are the best. Little girl. Big World. It was lovely to meet you little Quinn. Welcome to the world…
These pictures are old. Almost two years ago we went to Hawaii and I realized how few of them I showed. And while going through all my vacation photos might be boring unless we are really good friends and you care, I did want to show a few that mattered to me the most, and brings me back emotionally to that place and time like it was yesterday.
To me, these next few moments really explain the relationship my two older sons have and how our oldest, who just turned 16 last week, helped his younger brother, and in turn, helped me as I tried to get a shot. The shot never did turn out as awesome as it was in my head, but the moments I got between them, candid and unexpected, those ones are still my favourites.
It’s made me realize how little I am sharing. Of my knowledge, of my thoughts or of my ideas and how much I have to share. I am going to work on changing that. Watch out for a newsletter update if you have sign up for my newsletter, and get signed up if you haven’t!
I am leaving soon for Hawaii and I cannot wait to share our experiences there. You may want to follow me on Periscope for this one @jenniferkapalaphoto.
Since I just finished up photographing their newborn session, I wanted to share Katherine’s and Casey’s amazing afternoon winter session at Bebo Grove. I love when clients are willing to explore places and knew from talking to them, that they both loved the outdoors. Although the timing wasn’t great for the mountains, I wanted to choose a place the represented the beauty that only Calgary has to offer and a little reprieve in the middle of the busy city that feels as special as their little one does. In case you are wondering, this is the same couple who won my end of the year give away and I cannot wait to see the final display they put together with the maternity and newborn sessions!
A few of my favourite games from our time together – thanks for trusting my vision and for allowing me to capture such an incredible time in your lives. I cant wait to share some more of little Quinn :).
I thought I would start my new year off right by posting my first session of the year! I spent a few hours with the sweetest little family soon to become a family of four and I cannot wait to meet the newest little one :). Thank you for having me. I am so blessed to be able to do what I do.
A few from our time together…
Just before christmas, I found out that the two pictures I entered to the Black and White Spider Awards received a nominee award! As always, I am thankful to the judges and organizers of these awards as I know its a lot of work and I truly value the time they have taken. And a huge congratulations to my fellow winners – there is such talent in photography that I am always amazed and inspired.
The Official Press Release:
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE:
10TH ANNUAL BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS HONORS PHOTOGRAPHER JENNIFER KAPALA FROM CANADA
LOS ANGELES December 23, 2015 – Professional photographer Jennifer Kapala of Canada was presented with the 10th Annual Black and White Spider Awards Nominee title in the category of Children of the World at a prestigious Nomination & Winners PhotoShow webcast Saturday, November 21, 2015.
The live online gala was attended by over 10,000 photography fans around the globe who logged on to watch the climax of the industry’s most important event for black and white photography.
10th Annual Jury members included captains of the industry from Bonhams, Random House, Aeroplastics Contemporary, Stockholm City Museum, Annenberg Foundation, Leo Burnett, FTM Art Advisory and Fratelli Alinari who honored Spider Fellows with 505 coveted title awards and 943 nominees in 31 categories.
“It is an incredible achievement to be selected among the best from the 7,686 entries we received this year,” said Basil O’Brien, the awards Creative Director. “Jennifer Kapala’s “,”Falling” and “The Boys of Summer” exceptional images entered in the Children of the World category, represents black and white photography at its finest, and we’re pleased to present her with the title of Nominee.” Jury member Diane Ruggie from Velocebella agency added, “The gallery of winners and runners up has true stopping power.”
BLACK AND WHITE SPIDER AWARDS is the leading international award honoring excellence in black and white photography. This celebrated event shines a spotlight on the best professional and amateur photographers worldwide and honors the finest images with the highest achievements in black and white photography. www.thespiderawards.com
What’s a post without the pictures?? Here they are – thank you again to the judges and organizers. I am incredibly honoured.
“The Boys of Summer”
Happy Holidays from our home to yours! Wherever in the world you are, wishing you the brightest and best of the holidays!!!
I just returned from a trip to Madrid where I was asked to teach a class and speak at the Babyf congress. It was an amazing time, and I cant wait to give a full blog post once I am finished processing the images. While I came home with a full heart and head, I also came home renewed. The trip made me realize a lot of things that have been swirling around me for a while. How much passion I have for this incredible field of photography, and how much love I have for the craft and art of it, and for sharing that passion with others. For me, creativity is a well where the more you use, the more it fills up, and the more you have and I certainly had a lot of inspiration coming home. The image below was my first inspired by my trip to Madrid where I spent an afternoon slowly falling in love with Spain at the Museo de arte Thyssen-Bornemisza. While I love all art, old world paintings, rich in meaning and symbolism, are some of my favourites. I definitely was going for a painterly feel, reminiscent of my first love, oil painting and also wanted to try a technique in water to add to the feel. Of course, the medieval reference, a nod to my history background, is there as always ;). I am all about pushing limits and trying new things in my work. For me its the only way to grow and stretch, and I would encourage everyone to do the same. There is no fear in failure if you define success by your effort. And it doesn’t have to take forever either. All of these materials were around my home and the total session lasted no longer than five minutes and was taken just before I headed out to another session. I am a firm believer in being creative on the spot with what you have on hand and drawing on your inspiration and your vision. As a bonus, I was very honoured when this image was recognized by Child Photo Competition Inspiring Monday.
As the new year approaches, what will be your goals and growth areas? How will you push yourself?
I would love to hear your thoughts….