September 30, 2015


Hey there photographer friends. Yes, I'm talking to you. :) I have had a lot of questions about blog photos and lots of you have shared with me that you want to take better blog photos. So, today we're going to break down how to take brighter photos for your blogs. And if you're not a blogger, don't you worry, these tips and tricks are for you too, because it's always beneficial to know how to get better light in your photos.
The biggest thing about creating brighter photos is having plenty of light and being able to reflect the light. Reflecting the light isn't to hard to accomplish. Pick up a few white foam boards from the store and you're good to go. But before you can reflect the light you need a good light source. So, first things first, find a good window that lets in a lot of light. I shoot at the same window every time. On over cast days I can shoot there any time. When the sun is out I stay away from shooting in late afternoon hours because the sun directly comes in and creates hard shadows. Once you feel good about the light that's coming in through your window, set up your white foam boards. You can see above that I have white foam boards on all but two side of my set up.

The most important thing about your camera settings is getting a proper exposure. When I shoot inside I have to pay special attention to what the light is doing. Because we live under a canape of trees a lot of the light that I'm getting is diffused and sometimes I'm not getting a lot of light at all. I compensate for this by taking advantage of my tripod.

Shot Details: Nikon D700 + 50mm
ISO: 250, F-stop: 2.2, Shutter speed 1/160

For this particular shoot I didn't have to use my tripod, but don't be discouraged if you run into dimming light, grab your tripod and give it a go. Also, let's talk about ISO really quick. If you're wanting brighter photos you can always pump up your ISO, which increases your camera's sensitivity to the light, but with an increased ISO you can run into noisy or grainy photos. So give both a try. With low light, grab your tripod or bump up that ISO.
I want to point out two different things about the photos above. First, when shooting with one direct light source and reflecting the light, pay attention to shadows. The photo above to the left has a shadow casted by the cooking bag.  I tried a few different layouts to see how the styling would look the best and I stayed away from having the cooking bag on the right side of the books because the shadow. Placing the cookie bag on the left side of the books produced more even light.

On the right you'll notice lots of shadows and far more uneven light. In the photo to the right I took away the white foam boards, meaning there wasn't any light to reflect back on the products. As you can see the image is far more dark and overall less visually appealing.
So what can we take away from today? First up, find a great light source, a window or a sliding glass door would be perfect. Grab your reflectors, and pay attention to the details of your layout. Lastly, set your camera for good exposure. When in low light, bump up that ISO or grab your tripod.

Friends, I would love to know if these tips are the helping you. :) Give me a shout on instagram or in the comments if you would like me to take a look at your work. What have been some of your lighting tricks that have helped brighten your photos? 

related: How to Set the Stage for Mood Lighting. Understanding the Exposure Triangle.

September 29, 2015


A few weekends ago we celebrated the last days of Summer. We went to the lake and oh gracious, it was so lovely. I could spend every day at the lake, on the water, next the water... I love the lake. Not only did we go the the lake, but we were able to squeeze in one last summer inspired style shoot. We had nice warm days the weekend right before Fall was here, and it was a perfect weekend to celebrate the last days of summer with bright bold colors and my favorite camera strap.

Guys, I have super rad friends for a few reasons. One, they encourage, challenge, and help me to achieve my dreams. They help me brainstorm ideas, the pray with me thorough the hard times, and they send me the sweetest gifts, like my custom Fotostrap. Here's the thing, I've looked through tons of different photo straps and I always come back to Fotostraps. One main reason is because Tyler and I both use each of our cameras, so I like to have straps that are male and female friendly. It wouldn't really work to have a super girly strap that would look silly on Tyler. I love straps that look great and girls and guys. So, let's keep going with this and chat about the benefits of a great Fotostrap.
Okay, guys, let's be real. I used the strap that came with my camera for years and it's not the most uncomfortable thing ever. It works, right? It does what it's supposed to do, its hold your camera around your neck, ha! But guys, custom photo straps are so much more comfortable, and Fotostraps are so so comfortable, with a leather shoulder pad and a canvas strap.

Who else carries their camera cross-body? Yes, me too. Fotostraps have an extra long strap which makes them so much more flexible and user friendly. The straps that come with you camera are pretty short. I love how long and flexible the Fotostraps are. They are the perfect length for both, Tyler and I, which is great since we often switch cameras. I love how easy they hang cross-body and how I can easily swing it around to snap a photo.

I had never really thought about this one, but I love how easy you can brand yourself with a great photo strap. For one, you can get you own monogrammed logo with Fotostrap. Second, if your out shooting locally, your Fotostrap will become apart of your brand and people will start to recognize you by your Fotostrap.

At first the thought of a Fotostrap may not be subtle, but removing the strap that your camera came with and swapping it for a Fotostrap means that your not sharing with the world the type of camera you have. Think about this when your out traveling or in a busy tourist area, you never know who might be eyeing the crowd for something valuable to steal. I know, I might be being dramatic, but hey, you really don't want to publicize that you're carrying a thousand dollar camera around your neck. 

From a girl who likes to save her pennies, I'll be the first one to say that purchasing a great Fotostrap is an investment. It's something that you'll purchase, but that you won't have to purchase again. Once you have one you're good to go. So, take the plunge and treat yo'self. Or give one as a gift. It's a great, great gift for photographers.

SHOT DETAIL: Nikon D700 + 50L
ISO: 250, F-stop: 2.5, Shutter Speed 1/200

SHOT DETAIL: Nikon D700 + 50L
ISO: 250, F-stop: 2.5, Shutter Speed 1/200

Guys, what are some of your favorite camera straps? I totally want to know. What are some of the favorite things about your favorite straps? 

related: Style: Past and Present.

September 28, 2015


Hello dear friends! I decided to it would be fun to share some favorites from this month. Favorite posts from here on Elah Tree and favorite posts from around the web!

I had so much fun going through all of my archived photo shoots to share with you 5 ways to shoot with the 50mm lens. You can do so much with this lens and we have experience so many different life adventures with the 50mm capturing all of our memories. My favorite thing by far is shooting portraits with the 50mm.

Over the summer during one of our style shoots a little deer pocked her head out and we were able to have an impromptu photo shoot with a deer. It was so dreamy and so fun to snap away at something so beautiful.
We do a lot of photography on the go. And to be honest I have had to warm up to it. But it is such a great experience to practice photography in all types of circumstances.

We brought photography and hiking together friends. This post and these types of experiences are my favorite, by far. There are lots of things to consider in a photography hike and in this post I covered 9 great tips to get you started.
Friends, Katie takes the most amazing photos, I love how bright and beautiful they are. She tells such great stories in her photos taking you on all her adventures, and for this particular adventure she takes us on a cruise to UTO Island.

I love home tours, I love seeing before and afters, and I love seeing new life brought into old spaces. I was so excited when Emma shared her empty house tour. I love hearing all of her plans and I can't wait to see it come together.
Beth shared some really sweet and encouraging words. One's that I have wrestled with before and it's always refreshing to hear words of truth when the internet and world are so loud. Words that husher in the beauty of slowness. Words that husher in a need to simple be in the presence of Jesus. Nothing else matters, but Jesus.

Alright friends, make sure to read this post, because I believe it can hit home for all of us. It sure hit home for me. I love reading Jess Connolly's words, because I believe she opens herself up to being used by Jesus, she opens her self up to be His vessel. I love these words she shares,

"And now, I'm taking myself out of the running.
I am throwing my hands in the air and telling the Lord, the world, myself, 

and the enemy of my soul - I am crucified in Christ. 
It is not longer I that live, but Christ in me.
I am exactly where I'm supposed to be.
The goal of my life is not to be the best anything,
but to worship the only One who is the best.
I do not have time to be in the running for anything
other than the race God has called me to."

So, if you've ever struggled with comparing yourself or living up to whatever the world has told you to be, then hop on over and find encouragement in her words.

Alright friends, cheers to September as we only have few more days until October. What are some of your September favorites? Please share with us so we can see what's been encouraging you lately! Cheers! 

September 24, 2015


Hi guys! Welcome to our tiny house! I hope you feel like you've stepped right into our home and are getting your own personal tour. We've spent the last few months making this tiny space home and aside from some tiny missing details things have finally come together. For those who are just learning about our tiny space, I'll share a few details. We live in a 325sqft tiny house in a tiny little village named Pleasantville.

When ever I say 325sqft, our tiny house no longer feels that small. It has turned out to be a perfect space for us and we have worked hard to utilize all the space we have. Within our 325sqft we have been able to create 5 different spaces; a living room, a bedroom, a work space, a dining space and a kitchen. We think we're doing pretty good. :)
Our living space consistent of two main pieces. Our couch and our TV cabinet. We spent a lot of time thinking about couches and our space. We were hoping to find a couch that included some kind of storage sleeper, but was also small. That turned out to be more difficult then we hoped. We found a cute good size love seat at Ikea and we were good to go. We also found this cabinet at Ikea. We stumbled onto it in the kitchen department because technically it's considered an "island" but we knew it would be perfect for our living space.
One of the first things we built for our tiny house was a custom storage bed. We have one closet and we knew that one closet would house all of our clothes, including all of our coats and winter items. We didn't want to have any dressers, so we worked hard at getting all of our clothes in there. Because we only had one closet we knew we needed at least one another space for storage, so we decided on creating a storage bed. We wanted our storage bed to not only provide storage, but also include shelving.
Everything about our work space had to be custom because we were creating in a small space and we also needed to create storage. We started by building a standing desk. I'm all about standing desks so Tyler built one custom to my size. We had different pieces we wanted to incorporate into our work space, so we got creative and used our vintage crates as drawers. Tyler also built us a custom cabinet with drawers.
Our kitchen and dining space are opposite the "bedroom." The kitchen was one of our favorite things about the space. With granite counter tops, nice new appliances, and tons of storage, there wasn't much more we could ask for. Our dining bar came with chairs which was nice and we love the hanging lights. We also really loved the cedar back splash.
I feel like I should have more to say about our tiny house, but things are pretty simple. There are only so many things you can talk about with 325sqft. One thing that I am most proud of is that everything we own is in our tiny little house. We spent a lot of time going through items and purging things we didn't need and we're still not done.  We have plans to keep going through our stuff and continue to minimize.  All in all we really do love our tiny house.

Have you been in a recent move? Are you trying to put your space together? What are your thoughts on tiny living? 


September 23, 2015


When creating images we are working with three main elements; shutter speed, aperture, and ISO, all which create the exposure triangle. As photographers our hope is to master the exposure triangle, giving us the skills we need to create master images. Each of the elements of the exposure triangle work together to bring your desired result.

Before we talk about the specific components of the exposure triangle I want to point out that the exposure triangle comes together through the reading of your light meter in your camera and each camera's light meter is different. Each meter will have it's own level of sensitivity and it's own sweet spot.
Apertures is how wide or open the lens is inside.  The aperture does two things; creates a wide or narrow depth of field and lets in more or less light.

Low f-numbers create a greater opening in the lens letting in lots of light. Most people find themselves shooting in with low f-numbers because they are drawn to the blurry bokeh backgrounds. The tricky thing about these low f-numbers is that they have to be well balanced to create sharp images. If your shooting with a low f-number and your the subject is far away, then you may end up with an image that isn't as sharp.

High f-numbers create a smaller opening in the lens letting less light in. When the opening is small, you are able to achieve a greater depth of field. These high f-numbers allow for more of the picture to be in focus. A lot of landscape photos are shot with the high f-numbers, that way you can see all the beautiful details in the photo.
Shutter speed how how long the shutter stays up, allowing for more or less light to reach the sensor. Faster shutter speeds (higher numbers) allow for less light to reach the sensor while slow shutter speeds (low numbers) allow for more light to reach the sensor.

Faster shutter speeds (high numbers) are often associated with stop motion. If you want to capture fast moving subjects and have sharp images you want a faster shutter speed (high number.) Capturing movement in water is a great example of the use of a slow shutter speed (low number.) The shutter is open longer allowing for the sensor to receive more light and capture the movement in the water.

ISO is your camera's sensitivity to light. Out of each of these elements ISO took me the longest to add to my exposure triangle. There are two ranges in ISO, a high sensitivity to light and a low sensitivity to light. The lower your ISO the less sensitive, the higher the ISO the more sensitive.  Generally when I'm outside I use a low ISO. If I'm inside where there is less light I use a high ISO. The one down side of using a high ISO is that that higher your ISO the more grain/noise can be in your images. Some may like added grain for a more artsy look, but if you're trying to stay away from having grainy photos stick with a low ISO.
Let's chat about balancing all three. First determine your ISO. Are you outside with lots of light? Are you inside where light isn't as present? Are you sitting around a campfire where the light is dimming? If your outside with lots of light choose a low ISO. There have been times when I have chosen the lowest ISO setting possible when outside on a sunny day. If your inside with less light or outside in the evening choose a higher ISO. Your camera's ISO will have it's own range, start anywhere between 400 and 800 and take a few test shots. If there is too much grain or noise in your photos, dial it back a few numbers.

Next, choose your aperture. What are you taking photos of? Are you taking portraits where you want to bring out your subject? Or are you capturing landscape? If your shooting portraits start with an aperture of f2.0 or f2.2 and play around to see what you like best. If you're shooting landscape start about f11 or f16. Shooting landscapes are not my forte, so check out this article for more details of the best aperture for landscapes.

Last, choose your shutter speed. By this time, you've determined where and what your shooting and your aperture and ISO. With all these elements in place it's about dialing in your shutter to allow for the amount of light you need and the sharpness of your image. This determination will take place while reading your camera's meter. Keep in mind that your shutter speed will determine the sharpness of our image so you want all these elements to come together to create a beautiful image.
Whew, we did it! We took apart the exposure triangle and how all three elements work together to create an amazing image. Understanding the exposure triangle is a great place to start when beginning your photography journey. It gives you a great jumping off point to start creating great photos!

Guys, I would love to see if your using these tips for your photos! Hashtag #ElahTreePhotoTips if you do so I can check out your amazing photos!

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