Friday, November 14, 2014

Most Beautiful

I've said it before but I'm going to say it again:  I am not a photographer.  I really love to take pictures of my family and our adventures, and I consider it to be a hobby, but that's it.  My little family is as far as I'll ever go with picture taking!  I don't even know what to call my hobby, "photography" sounds silly to me because I'm really just a klutz with a camera.  I just want to be clear about that because I have some amazingly talented friends who are actual photographers, and I will never measure up to their talent!  And I guess I'm worried about being judged.  So to my awesomely talented photographer friends that might be reading this... please be gentle on me.

Our annual Christmas card.  I have been obsessing over this thing all year, and once this year is in the books, I'll start obsessing over next years Christmas card.  I had an idea of what the perfect Christmas card would be in my mind and knew that Isabelle needed to be on the front of it.  And then I got the funny idea that maybe I could be the one to take her picture!  So, true to my obsessive nature, I have been spending the better part of 6 months scouting out different locations for taking a picture of a beautiful girl that would be front & center of a Christmas card that has been making my brain itch for almost a year now.  

As you can imagine Germany is gorgeous!  Germany is gorgeous all year long but my favorite is in the fall, so the options for a gorgeous backdrop were pretty overwhelming.  And, true to my obsessive nature, I was already overwhelmed with thinking that I would be able to get a great photo for our Christmas card... I mean, who's the genius that thought of that?!  I know well enough to leave this sort of thing to the professionals!  But, when I get something in my head I have to finish it!  So by gosh that was what I was going to do!  
With an already overwhelming project and an overwhelming number of incredible backdrops I decided to make things a little easier on myself, so I thought of Isabelle and her punky style, and ultimately opted to take her pictures at an abandoned building not far from where we live.   

It might not be "Christmasy" but I thought it was perfect!

I don't know much about photography, but I do know that lighting is the key to getting good pictures.  Lighting can make or break a picture, and wouldn't you know, that just happens to be the trickiest part of living in Germany.  The sun almost completely disappears during the fall and winter behind dull, gray skies, and there is fog most every morning-  for someone that will not use a flash (not at this point, at least) and completely depends on outdoor lighting, the sun quickly became the bane of my Christmas card's existence!
I knew enough to know that the morning would be the best time for lighting at this particular building.  It took me three tries before I got a morning where the sun was out and Isabelle wasn't at school!  And by out I don't mean that it was bright and beautiful, I just mean that it was not gray/foggy/raining/all of the above.  When I saw the sun coming out through the clouds I woke my daughter up for an impromptu morning photography session, and promised Isabelle that if the 3rd time wasn't the charm we would just send e-cards and eventually learn to live with my itchy brain (and the bratty attitude because of it).

Alright, so with my Christmas card vision in mind, Isabelle awake and halfway being a sport about the whole thing, and a teeny bit of sunlight.... I was ready!!  Off we went!  

I am so new to this picture taking thing that I am still just trying to figure out my camera.  I am not at a point where I can pose someone!  And don't forget that I have absolutely no creativity.  But hey, what I lack in creativity I have an abundance of in ambition!  I just figured I'd concentrate on my camera and let Isabelle do whatever 11 year olds do.  Isabelle kind of had an idea what I was hoping to get and stood in whatever way she was comfortable.  

What do you think?  Be honest.  

None of these pictures made it onto our Christmas card.  I'll wait to show you that one a little closer to Christmas.  I tried a few shots where she was straight on, but I didn't like how they came out because we were under an overhang and the sun wasn't bright enough.  But for my first ever photography attempt, I'm kinda proud of myself.  I am a perfectionist but I went into this with realistic expectations and while I have so much to learn still, I don't think I did a terrible job....?  I know there are a lot of things I could have done differently, but I'll take 'not terrible' any day!  Of course it helps that Isabelle just happens to be the most beautiful creature on this planet!  I'm quite certain it's her beauty that makes these pictures what they are.

I may not be creative, or a professional, but I think that someone who is could have a field day at this old abandoned building!  With the graffiti, the old doors, the stairs, the was really perfect!  The entire building was wide open and there looked to be a plethora of options for pictures inside, but it was dark, I don't use a flash, and Isabelle and I were too spooked to explore.  

After three tries for good weather, lots of obsessing and worrying I managed to get a picture for our Christmas card!  They are ordered and should be on their way in the next week or two!  I accomplished a major project and I'm really happy about it!  I'm tempted to keep practicing my picture taking, but my OCD needs a break for awhile.....  


  1. like the first one : ) where have you bought her glases -brand ?

  2. Thank you :) Her glasses are fake ones that she picked up at Claire's, I think. She has perfect vision but she likes to wear different glasses sometimes.