Kristen Prelipp-Oguntoyinbo

How to Photograph Tweens

A tween is the stage between middle childhood and adolescence, so from roughly 9 to 12 years of age.  This can be an awkward stage as tweens bodies and minds are changing rapidly in fits and starts. They are not little children and are not yet teenagers. They are busy transitioning in mental, emotional, hormonal and physical ways. My own daughter, Amira, is at this stage. Sometimes she is still my little girl and other times she epitomizes sassiness. I joke that if she continues to roll her eyes at me they might just get stuck that way! Recently I was asked to photograph a tween named Josh Leffler, who is beginning middle school next year. His parents, Donnabeth and Barry, realized that they had many portraits taken of Josh when he was younger but had slacked off in recent years. Many families fall into this trap! They record every moment of their child’s early years and then don’t photograph them again until they are about to graduate from high school. What about all of those years in between? So, I thought I would write some helpful hints on how to photograph tweens. Collaborate with the Tween Before I even came to photograph Josh I asked his mom to consult him about what he wanted to do for his portrait.  I made it clear that this would be best...

Read More

Tip Four – The Colors of Light

Did you know that all light has a color? Our human eye corrects for it, but when light is captured digitally or with film to make a photograph one quickly sees that different light sources have different temperatures, or colors. To become a certified photo geek you will need to know these basic colors, or light temperatures, and a bit about color theory.     The human eye can distinguish about 10 million colors. Not even the folks at Crayola have come up with names for all of those colors! As children we simply learn the colors of the rainbow as seen above. They are red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo and violet. Remember Roy G. Biv?     Color temperatures are measured in degrees Kelvin (K) that indicate the hue of a specific type of light source.  See the chart below for some examples. A low Kelvin number is very warm, or orange, like a sunset. A high color temperature is very blue, like an overcast day.   1000K                        Candles 2000K                        Very early sunrise or late sunrise 2500K                        Household light bulbs 3000K                        Studio lights, photo floods 4000K                        Clear flashbulbs 5000K                        Typical daylight, electronic flash 5500K                        The sun at noon 6000K                        Bright sunshine with clear sky 7000K                        Slightly overcast day 8000K                        Hazy Sky 9000K                        Open shade on a...

Read More

Spring Gardening in Chapelboro

Some gardeners know how to gently coax life out of even the most delicate plant. They study the soil, the available light, the plants specific needs and even give plant food and sprays to keep their plants healthy. My kind of gardening would be opposite of that. It could be called survival of the fittest gardening. I love these plants but once they are in and established they either need to thrive or they will be replaced. I will weed and mulch the beds but I don’t water and I rarely fertilize. So my favorite plants are made for our climate and are hardy as well as beautiful. I want to talk about my two favorite April plants today.   Kerria   Kerria Japonica is not very common. I see a ton of forsythia, which is also yellow and blooms at the same time, but this plant, called The Japanese Yellow Rose, is overlooked. The branches have a weeping willow feel to them and the yellow blooms last for weeks. I have both the “Plenaflora” and the “Honshu” variety, but prefer the former. When mature this deciduous shrub is 3 to 5 feet in height. I have heard that some Kerria plants rebloom off and on all summer long but I have not seen this. Perhaps it is because I don’t baby them enough. They like well-drained soil and...

Read More

Trayvon Martin

Like most parents, I am trying my best to teach my children vital life lessons so they will eventually be equipped to go out on their own to find happiness and success. We talk about self-respect as well as respect for others. I tell them that you are only as good as your word. Even though none of my kids are even close to driving yet, I promise them that if they are ever in a car with a friend who is driving and drinking, they can call me for a ride any time, day or night, no questions asked. We talk about the importance of education. We all see it as their key to getting to do their life’s work. Oh, the places they will go! We discuss taking good care of your body since it is the only one you get in this lifetime. But, it had not yet occurred to me to warn them not to wear a hoodie. The Trayvon Martin case has really shaken a lot of us up. If you have been living under a rock, let me tell you the basics. Trayvon Martin was a 17-year-old African American boy who lived in Sanford, Florida, a community north of Orlando. On a recent evening, he was on foot returning home to his father’s house from a gas station with a bag of Skittles...

Read More

Spring Has Sprung

Spring is my favorite season, for so many reasons. Growing up in chilly Green Bay, Wisconsin, Spring meant the exciting thawing of the dreary snow and ice that had covered everything since Halloween. Since moving to North Carolina in 1987, Spring  now means an overwhelming outburst of daffodils, forsythia, red buds and azaleas, to name a few. And my daughter, Amira, was born on the first day of Spring, just as the sun came up, 11 years ago. Also, my birthday is in April. So you can see I have many reasons to celebrate this time of year. I truly think Spring is magical and always will. This blog post is dedicated to the Spring flowers in my yard and around Chapelboro. Enjoy!   Amira, my Spring baby, in a weeping cherry.   In Chapel Hill, Jeff Erick Essen has a veritable springtime show in his yard! Featured here is an apple-pear tree branch in the foreground with red bud and weeping cherry in the background.   I planted bulbs this past winter and could not believe how many tulips came up. This was the first one to open.   On the left is a close-up of a weeping cherry blossom. On the right are my sons, Roman and Leo, under my deciduous magnolia with saucer flowers. People call these tulip trees because of the shape and bright color...

Read More

Tip Three – How to Compensate for Auto Exposure

I began my photography career as photojournalist for newspapers. At the time it was a field dominated by men who held certain, hardcore values. One of which was that it was a sign of weakness to use a tripod, auto focus or auto exposure. I was young and easily influenced at the time so I tried hard to live up to that standard. Eventually I realized that both auto exposure and auto focus are great tools. When used properly, they can free you up to think more about your image composition and the scene unfolding in front of you. Plus, what good is a great photo if it is improperly exposed? And, I must admit, I even use tripods from time to time now as well. Auto exposure settings vary from camera to camera. I am a Canon user. But it is universal to have these camera settings: –       Automatic or Program (P): the camera automatically sets the shutter speed and aperture to suit the subject’s brightness. –       Manual (M): you set both the shutter speed and aperture desired. –       Aperture Priority (AV): you set the desired aperture and the camera sets the shutter speed automatically to obtain correct exposure suiting the subject’s brightness. –       Shutter Priority (TV): you set the desired shutter speed and the camera sets the aperture automatically to obtain correct exposure suiting the subject’s brightness....

Read More

The Red Hen Turns 5!

On March 3rd, 2012, The Red Hen at University Mall held a birthday party. They are five years old! I spoke with the owner, DeeDee Lavinder, about this big milestone and her hopes for the future. The Red Hen owner, DeeDee Lavinder and her daughter, Avis, 7. The Red Hen, a resale and gift boutique for families, was located on Weaver Street in Carrboro and recently moved to University Mall. Lavinder says that the larger space at the mall has allowed them to increase their offerings. Previously they stocked up to children’s size 6. Now they carry clothing and shoes all the way up to size 16. The new location has also led to more diversity of clients. Previously their main clients were mothers with little ones. Now they are attracting customers from a wide variety of demographics who are looking for a unique gift. Emmett Constabarias, 2, dons an impromptu birthday hat while parents Karen and Adam look on. The Red Hen is very family friendly. There is a large play area at the rear of the store so children can play while parents shop. Lavinder says she is very proud that for 3 out of the past 4 years they have been voted “The Best Children’s Clothing Store” by the readers of the Independent. They have over 6000 unique customers in their database and hope to grow...

Read More

Saving Nelson Mandela

On Sunday, February 26, 2012, Flyleaf Books held a book reading by former Chapel Hill Mayor Ken Broun. His new book, Saving Nelson Mandela, is now in bookstores. I did not know about Ken Broun’s 25-year-history with South Africa, prior to hearing about this book. I am constantly in awe of the amazing caliber of people we have in this great community of ours! It turns out that in 1986, as a UNC Law School professor who often taught trial advocacy, Broun was asked to travel to South Africa to teach through the Black Lawyers Association of South Africa. He has been doing this on a regular basis ever since for 25 years. At the time, only a small fraction of South African lawyers were black, and the majority of those had completed their degree via correspondence. Many of the people that Ken met and taught are now South Africans leaders. This book is the result of five years of research on the pivotal Rivonia trial in 1963-1964. A death sentence was expected for the accusations of sabotage, but Nelson Mandela’s life was spared. He and others on trial were sentenced to life in prison instead. Broun was able to discuss this amazingly complicated trial with three of the defense lawyers, Joel Joffe, George Bizos and Arthur Chaskalson. If you know of another fascinating Chapel Hill/ Carrboro resident with an...

Read More

Walk Towards the Light

pho•tog•ra•phy   [fuh-tog-ruh-fee] noun 1. the process or art of producing images of objects on sensitized surfaces by the chemical action of light or of other forms of radiant energy such as x-rays, gamma rays, or cosmic rays.               As you can see from the definition above, light is EVERYTHING in photography. I first fell in love with photography as a teenager. I attended Myers Park High School in Charlotte, North Carolina where I took my first photography class with instructor Bryon Baldwin. He loved photography and his enthusiasm for it was contagious.   For me, photography was the perfect way to marry my artistic side with my desire to tell stories, both real and imagined. I always felt like I had an artistic soul but was a mediocre musician and wasn’t interested in the traditional ways of expressing myself as an artist, such as drawing or painting. Since elementary school I had loved writing stories and would often lose myself in my imagination and musings. So I grew up to become a professional watcher of light and the objects they illuminate.     I soon realized that to love photography you must understand light and become technically proficient at capturing light as you see it. As a watcher of light you have to learn to record it in all its many forms. Today I want to write about...

Read More

Headshots 101

Many of us are still reeling from the recession. But I have been encouraged as of late by some real signs of recovery. One sign is that I have been contacted by many people who are starting a new business or expanding their current business, and are in need of updated headshots. This is great news! So I thought I would write about how to get a great headshot.   Why do you need a headshot?   No matter the size of your business, when people visit your web site they generally peruse the home page first and then click on the “about us” page. They want to see who are the people behind the business. Humans have a need to connect with other humans. When they are choosing between you and your competitors this first impression of you may be one of the unconscious factors that causes them to choose your business. So think about what kind of image you want to project. If you are a therapist you may want to project a caring, supportive image. Or a lawyer may want to project a confident, trustworthy image. If you have done specific work on what your brand stands for make sure that your headshot reinforces that brand. For instance, if you have decided that your logo features the color red, wear a splash of red in your...

Read More