From One Professional To Another.

It’s a little silly that I didn’t schedule an Ask Away Friday partner this week. It’s silly because I have a long list of people scheduled and I forgot to make a partner for today. It’s ok, though. It’s Des’ birthday tomorrow (three! gah!), and I have strawberries to pick and birthday adventures to attend to, and definitely cookies to eat. I talk about cookies.. a lot.. but I don’t eat them as much as you’d think. Maybe once or twice a month. I’m thinking today’s the day. Tomorrow too!

And maybe even Sunday.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

To compensate for my lack of an Ask Away Friday partner, I’m going to post ten recent photos and ask myself photography-related questions about them. Hence, from one professional to another. From me to me. I hope you enjoy! And eat cookies!

What is #AskAwayFriday? Well…

#AskAwayFriday was created by the amazing Penny from Real Housewife of Caroline County and Amber from Bold Fit Mom, as a way to connect with other bloggers with a great Q & A session of 10 questions and 10 answers, between two bloggers! This is a wonderful opportunity to get to know others while allowing others to get to know you and of course there is also the added bonus of making great friends along the way which is one of the best parts of this online world! Ask me if you want to swap!

Now welcoming our wonderful #AskAwayFriday hosts…

Tamara from Tamara Like Camera,
Tiffany from Mrs. Tee Love Life Laughter,
Christy from Uplifting Families,
Stacey from This Momma’s Ramblings
Echo from The Mad Mommy

Grab our brand new button, follow our amazing hosts, hop through the great link ups and make some new friends!


1. What were you thinking when you took this photo?

professional photography

What a good question, self! I remember this well because it was BEFORE the shoot had started. I had walked into the entryway of the home of the new clients. I didn’t know them at all, at that point, so I was slightly nervous but mostly not because they were super friendly and gorgeous. Then this kid just started being so cute and photogenic and I loved the lighting of the entryway (foyer?). His eyes were aimed at the door so he had great catchlights in them and his hair and skin just glowed. I was also thinking that he looked a lot like his dad in this photo, even though I had just met them both. I put down my purse and camera bag pretty fast and told them I intended to just start shooting.. instantly. They were fine with it!

2. Do you have any tips for shooting in low light?

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Self, why didn’t you ask me what I was thinking when I shot this photo? I was thinking – “Man, my mother-in-law is beautiful and amazing.” Since you didn’t ask, I’ll just say that I do as best as I can because a full-frame sensor camera would be WONDERFUL for shooting in low light. I don’t have one yet but I’m saving up every penny for one! To compensate I use a great lens (50mm 1.4 above) and I am very well-versed with settings. She was in motion for this shoot so I had to use a fast shutter speed. Often a slower shutter speed WILL let in more light but will also give you blur if your hand shakes. So I chose my aperture first (4.0) and then a shutter speed of at least 1/250 and then I cranked the ISO. Don’t be afraid to crank the ISO. On a quality camera, it is meant to sustain a high ISO. You’ll get more noise by underexposing a photo than you will by having a properly exposed photo with high ISO. My camera can go up to 6400 or so pretty comfortably. A full frame can go to 12800!

3. How did this silly/funny/adorable photo come to be? What was your process in posing it?

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Adorable, right? First I laughed at the funny sign they had about their awesome dog. Then I wondered if the dog would pose in front of the sign. The dog would! Then I wondered if both kids would too! The parents helped! It was a mostly candid experience and moment, though. Just great timing, great help from the parents and great natural posing by the kids and dog.

4. What were your settings in this photo?

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

I shot in manual, and it was an ISO of 1600, an aperture of 2.2 and a shutter speed of 1/125. And that’s considerably slower than I usually shoot in! Despite the spotlight, it was a pretty dark venue and my crop-sensor did a fairly good job.

5. Do you do a lot of editing of your photos?

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

No, would you edit these two? They’re way too lovely! Ok, I do edit of course. I shoot in RAW so the digital “negatives” are wild and untamed things! (five dollars if you get that reference) RAW files are exceptionally large – and they haven’t had any contrast or sharpening added to them. So I have to add such things and convert them to jpegs. Then I like to make my own actions in Photoshop to correct white balance, get rid of color casts or strange distractions (but not strange dogs), or to add a little glow when needed. This particular photo (above) needed very little of my time. It just worked well out of the camera.

6. Do all photos convert well to black and white?

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Actually not! If I have a black and white photo, either shot in the camera (less likely) or converted in post-processing (more likely), it’s because it looked better in black and white than color. I really love color, so it’s rare for me to convert. I’ll either convert to convey the emotional component that black and white adds.. or… to be honest, it’s because I screwed up the color in the camera. I also find that backlit images or images taken on cloudy days outside convert well. I like b&w texture!

7. What are your tips for posing family photos?

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Composition and style-wise, I just let the family lead the way. If that includes or heavily features the children/animals, so be it. I gently suggest poses or changes to the parents, unless the kids are old enough to take direction, but that occurs AFTER the family has already gathered together because I like to see which ways they naturally fall together. There aren’t really rules. A client can go on Pinterest and choose 20 different poses that they specifically want. That’s ok too. We can work from that. I like when the clients suggest and I like when I direct, and vice versa. Posing is not easy, but it’s natural.

8. Do you only do natural light photography, or do you use lighting?

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

There are definitely a lot of photographers who ONLY use natural light and of course I’d love to be one of them, but it’s not realistic. There are rainy day shoots and overcast shoots and nighttime shoots indoors. You can’t rely on the sun, or even the lighting inside your venue. I carry umbrella lights, an external flash, diffusers and reflectors to most shoots, and I’m always happy when I don’t need them. Ultimately I think my future full-frame camera will help me utilize low light potential so I’m so excited about it and I can’t stop talking about it. I will most likely still need my lights, though! They can be beautiful.

9. If you could make a meme or motivational poster out of this adorable black and white photo, what would it say?

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

I don’t know. Readers, what say you?

10. Do you have any tips for pet photography?

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug

Yes, do it! Just do it! That said, I used to think animals were easier than humans, if you can believe that. Even though they can’t take direction, or so I thought because most animals listen better than babies/toddlers, the gift is that they don’t get self-conscious when you point a camera on them. So I say to relax and enjoy. Let your focus fall on their eyes and expressions for portraits. Get rid of clutter, get down and shoot at their levels (or above/below) and follow the light. Bribery is best too – like treats or food. In this above photo, I find that the baby is really the subject of the photo I used, but the cat is darn cute.

Photo & Video Sharing by SmugMug


Be sure to check out our Facebook page “AskAwayFriday” for a great place to meet up and send out a #BuddyRequest if you need a partner to swap with or to just talk about anything #AskAwayFriday!

Would you like to join in on the #AskAwayFriday fun as a co-host? Click on the link below and fill out the form!

By adding your email to this link up, you will be added to email correspondence that may be sent by one of our hosts, you may opt out at any time.

Hosts reserve the right to remove any links that do not pertain to the #AskAwayFriday theme.

Similar Posts


  1. Happy Birthday to aides this weekend and hope he has great weekend celebrating. By the way, I love the way you approached this today. And on a side note, still need to hire you for new family photos!! πŸ˜‰

  2. I’m loving this because I have so much to learn when it comes to photography. I have the camera but not the skills. I’ve actually signed up for photography at my local college for the fall semester so I can get better at what I do, which isn’t good at all. πŸ™‚

  3. I learned a few picture taking tips from you today, Tamara! You take such beautiful, colorful pictures. That young boy in the first photo has the most beautiful skin and golden locks. I thought of Des’s rosy complexion just like yours, and his awesome hair right away. That darling young boy and his dog are pictured in photo # 9. The meme that I thought of would go something like this as our boy whispers to his dog…. “I just took two cookies from the cookie jar. I’ll give you one if you don’t squeal on me.”

  4. I love this so much because you know I aspire to photograph like you do! I find myself drawn to natural light and don’t like to edit my photos, LOL! Happy Birthday (early) to Des! Three is a fun and challenging age! I wish you well! Also, your mother-in-law is amazing!

    1. As they say, threenagers! I remember three being very challenging with Scarlet. There were no terrible twos, but three to… five.. were a bit rough. Who knows? Des is still so darling, but he’s loud and messy too!

  5. Ah, that’s so sad you didn’t have a partner! And I swear – next summer, on the way to the cape, I’m stopping so you can photograph my kids!

    1. I had a list of partners and didn’t think to ask one to do this week! Oh well!
      We’ll be at the Cape next summer too, so maybe beach family photos are in order.

  6. I love that you asked yourself questions! I love listening (reading?) to you talk about photography even though I don’t understand half of it! But it’s been something that I’ve always wanted to learn more about. And happy birthday Des! 3!!

  7. That cat looks like a leopard! Wowza what great photos! You are the master of catching people in their “real” environment. Happy Birthday to Mr. Des! I do believe cookies for the next few days added into every meal is a most perfect and acceptable suggestion.

    1. Thanks! He had a great birthday!!
      I had the same desire since childhood, but the actual learning of it has been hard. Steep learning curve!

  8. What a great candid/outtake (the first photo)! Great light and great expression. So adorable the shot with the dog. The sign is cute!

  9. First speaking of cookies, I FINALLY finished the ones I won last week. After I had also shared them with Sam and my parents. They were delicious but I realized I had to eat them really spaced out.

    That picture with the dog and kids is absolutely amazing. It looks like it should be on a poster, it’s just so adorable and hilarious and perfectly composed. I realized I will never be a photographer, at least not of humans. I definitely appreciate the work that you and others do because you make it look so easy and beautiful when it’s hard!

  10. Well, happy birthday Des!!!! All these photos are so beautiful – of course. There is always something so magical about when photos work without much post-processing. You’ve clearly got the know-how to make that happen. No matter what I do, I jus seem to keep messing things up whenever I try to shoot in manual. Enjoy those cookies this weekend!

    1. Shooting in manual can be hard! At first I was intimidated by it and now I feel like it makes such a huge difference.
      I can’t even remember if I ever did eat cookies this weekend.. I think I did!

  11. It’s your long-lost blog fan! I’m on a break from school and wanted to catch up–your pictures are lovely as usual. Hope all is well, and happy happy birthday to Des!

  12. Wow, I’ve learned so much from you today! All the photos here are gorgeous as usual. Asking yourself questions and answering them is such a great idea. PS: I just ate cookies today and Happy Birthday to Des!

  13. Happy Birthday to Des, THREE!!! OMG your MIL is hot! =) and all your photos are gorgeous, I am still scared of my camera and all the setting, lol my photography would probably get so much better if I would just get down to business and really learn it all πŸ˜‰


    Oh, how I just love all these pics!!! WOW. Just absolutely gorgeous family and children in those shots!! And your MIL dancing? PRECIOUS!!! Such great shots!! I didn’t know she was a dancer! SO cool.

    The caption for that one adorable pic? “Best Friends” πŸ™‚

  15. This post made me so happy. I love looking at your photographs – and there were cookies! Hope you’re having a great birthday weekend with your little boy!

    1. It’s just the best. If I had a photographer come here, I’d want them to photograph our pets! Although I don’t think our cat would be as willing as this one was!

  16. As always, your pics are amazing. I wish I understood what you were talking about so I could take amazing pictures like you. I hope you have an amazing weekend with Des. I will be following your birthday adventures on FB!!

  17. Very resourceful to ask yourself questions! I know NOTHING about photography, but I know those pictures are awesome! Hope Des had a wonderful birthday weekend!

    1. Well thank you! I like what you know!
      He had a great birthday weekend. And got to celebrate at daycare yesterday so he’s loving life.

  18. Oh I love your photos!! Thanks for the mini lesson! Two of my cats I find to be very photogenic, mainly because they are black and white and I always have nice contrast. And they often find themselves in silly positions that are perfect for photos. I love that pic of the dog and the little boy. I’m not good at memes but if that was my kid, that picture would be framed in our house!

    1. Yes, our cat is black and white! I usually take phone photos of her for some reason. She cuddles with me but it’s too dark to take good photos.
      I appreciate what you said about that photo! I hope they did print it and frame it!

  19. I think Friskies should pay you for that free advertisement. Lol. Wonderful photos! I love when you talk photography, it’s kinda hot. πŸ˜› I’m sure Cassidy would agree LOL. I saw the photos of Des on FB! He’s SOO freakin’ adorable.. Hope he had the BEST third birthday EVER!!! <3 Idk for that meme I'd say from the boy's perspective "NO IT'S MINE!" From the dogs perspective: "Kid, I got all day". Lol. πŸ™‚ Happy Sunday Funday Tam Tam! -Iva

    1. ha! Yes. Friskies – did you hear that??? You need to hire me out.
      Des is awesome. I wish you could meet him! Do you think he’s cuter than a puffin, or maybe the same?

      1. Yes they do! That’s a great photograph πŸ™‚ Des is so adorbs I definitely need to meet him at some point. I’d play with his hair all day LOL he’s going to mean mug me half the day hahaha I’m not kid-friendly though in that cursing is my primary language. I try my best but I think I fail more often then not. Oh he’s definitely cuter than a puffin although if they’re together I might explode. LOL πŸ™‚ Let’s make this happen.. LOL Are puffins viscous like llamas or more friendly?

  20. Happy birthday to Des!! YAY DES! Yay you and yay cookies!!! Also I feel like I need to take a photography class. Maybe the lack of editing or knowing what I’m doing in the first place is my problem. Sigh.

    1. That’s often a problem. For many! Even me at one point. So I get it!
      Come here and I’ll give you free lessons and a free photo shoot. How could you say no?

  21. Happy birthday Des! I’d like to get a cool T-shirt or three in your honor. For myself. You have enough.

    1. Kids and pets are a photo opp just waiting to happen. The stranger the pet (and the kids) the better.

    2. I’ve found I tolerate pics of myself easier in black and white. I don’t know why.

    3. Motivational message for that last photo: “Never Give Up Your Fight For Your Half of the Corndog – Even Against Those You Love.”

  22. the strange dog shot is absolute perfection. I bet they loved that.
    I got nothing for the meme shot because I can’t tell what the dog is grabbing from the boy…. is it a stick?
    ugh, nothing.
    I’m disappointed in myself.

    hope the birthday party was a super success (ha!) – and I am going to go eat a Girl Guide Cookie because you said so.

    1. Thanks! It was a team effort.
      It’s a stick, I believe. What a great dog, though. Not a mean bone in his body.
      A Girl Guide cookie? Is that like what we call Girl Scout cookies? Also, do you have flavors we don’t have here? Special ones? I have a passport and I’m crossing the border!

      1. yes, same as Girl Scout. We only have 2 flavours here and it’s so disappointing!! We get the mint thin ones in Fall, and then the combo pack of chocolate/vanilla in Spring. that’s it. we need to send our Girls over to you!

  23. Hi Tamara, what beautiful photos. I really don’t understand the settings on a camera, I have tried to, but really must try again (even though my I have a nice point and shoot camera, I’m sure changing the settings would improve some pictures).

    I really love them all (cookies included!) the family looks so relaxed, the cookies look delicious (hope you enjoyed them) and the animals look relaxed too (love the markings on the cat).

    Loved looking at them.


    1. The settings make a huge difference! I used to think I needed a fancy lens and camera body, but the right settings will take you far too!
      The cookies were so good, thanks! I only got one, sadly. I need to go back.

    1. Either way! I’m a professional but I still want to hire one because I would love to be in photos without worrying about composing them!

  24. I love reading what was in your mind when you took those pictures! The ones of your mother-in-law are great!

  25. I want to learn more about photography. I got a better camera recently. But I need to learn how to use the settings, so I can take better photos. I need to look at the photography books that are available at my library and request some.

    1. Understanding Exposure is a good one! I feel like I already told you that, but maybe I only imagined it. Sorry if I’m being repetitive!

  26. Des is three already!! My goodness… happy happy birthday, buddy πŸ™‚ hope you had the bestest day ever!

    Mmmmmm… cookies… All I have are flat pretzels and hummus (my new favorite combo) for breakfast. This will have to do for now.

    You seriously are such a pro with these photos, and I love that the shots don’t ever appear staged. Just beautifully captured moments in time. And the pictures on the white rocking chair look like they could all be stock photos. I mean that as a compliment, since all the stock photos I’ve seen lately are way perfect (I realized as I said that it could be taken the wrong way).

    Pictures of your MIL are adorable, too πŸ™‚ And I love the pic of the weird dog and kids. LOL, SOOOOO precious!

    1. Yes! He’s three and I could just sob! My baby!!
      He eats pretzels and hummus for breakfast quite a bit.
      Thanks about the white porch photos. I said it to them at the time. I said, “This seems like a stock photo but I mean that in a good way!” And they were so awesome and realistic about it. Like if their kids wanted to suck on their fingers or scowl, it was ok because it was real.

  27. Those cookies look delicious!! Hope Des had a wonderful birthday! I love that you answered the questions yourself. I am still learning when it comes to photography.

  28. I’m glad I’m not the only one who has conversations with myself. πŸ˜‰ Every time I see your beautiful photos, I kick myself for not practicing with my own camera more. Maybe that will be my summer project!

  29. Great idea for a fun and educational post and your photos are gorgeous. The ‘strange dog’ one being the most adorable one ever. 6400 ISO?! I don’t think my crop sensor could have handled that. Hopefully you will get your full frame soon. And I absolutely agree, these kind of photos, so very well executed do not need editing beyond the normal conversion from raw. You are good. πŸ™‚

    1. 6400 is a stretch but still works. I need to get my hands on a camera than can handle 12800 like they all claim to. I really don’t love using lights, unless it’s crucial.
      You are good too!

  30. I hope Des had a fun and happy birthday!
    That last picture of the cat is stunning!! I seriously should order a charger for my camera…. I’ve been iPhoning it for almost 2 years. :-/

    1. Smart about shooting RAW! I see a real difference!! Once I did a shoot and it was accidentally in jpeg and the editing was not nearly as fun.

  31. How awesome is this? HAPPY BIRTHDAY to D! I love reading about photos, and photo posts like this. My photos never turn out so lovely!

    1. I love reading about photos too! I can’t stop! I appreciate the photo compliment – I’ve worked really hard on improving for the last few years. There’s always so much more to learn!

  32. I hope Des had a great birthday. I really like the black and white photo. I need to start taking more pictures.

  33. Great shots! I have a super expensive camera that I am ashamed to say I don’t really understand how to use so most of my photos are taken with my iphone ( hides head in bag). I am planning on taking a camera course this summer so I can snap some amazing shots of my kiddos. Natural light all the way baby!

  34. The photo of the kids with the “strange dog” is precious! And I am all about those cookies!

  35. That low light tip helps a lot. My camera is a bit older so I can’t crank the ISO without a significant amount of grain. It really limits what I can shoot while maintaining good quality.

  36. What great, great tips. I just got a dslr and am still struggling to learn everything, so this is great. Thanks so much for sharing. I will be checking back often for tips

  37. These Photos are beautiful Tamara. Your Son looks like you and your daughter looks like your Husband πŸ™‚ I really like the way the Photos give the exact mood of what is captured

    1. People say that a lot! I think he looks just like my maternal grandfather. It’s almost eerie! And my daughter is a clone of my mom and I at that age, but also looks like my husband now!

  38. That cat has beautiful markings! I’ve never seen them like that! All of these photos are beautiful. Your MIL has got some real talent!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.