PHOTOGRAPHY

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I'm Charis (Pronounced like "Paris" with a K instead of a P), I'm a 21 year old photographer, videographer, and self-proclaimed coffee enthusiast currently living in Charlotte, North Carolina.

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R A L E I G H

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Sometimes, you just need to escape. Not out of fear or anything, but just to GO somewhere and take a step away from every day life. My boyfriend Jon and I decided to take a day trip to Raleigh (about a 3 hour drive from Charlotte…for those of you who don’t know the wonders of North Carolina) to adventure around and take pictures. The trip was super short, but we took a ton of photos so I thought I’d share it with you guys!

Side note – Boyfriends who own a Prius are pretty much the best. #MPGfordays

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6 Ways to Take Better Pictures of People

peoplegraphicPhotographing people is pretty much my favorite thing. However, it can sometimes be tricky / super awkward. So here are 6 Ways to Take Better Pictures of People!

 

1. Be Friendly

Although this may seem like a given, being friendly is one of the most important aspects to a photo session. The more friendly and hospitable you are, the more comfortable the subject feels. If the subject feels relaxed and at ease, it will be way easier to get authentic facial expressions and body movements. Good photography magnifies the emotion and the personality of the subject, and if the subject is in a state of “OMG this is so awkward I hate this ughhh,” you better believe it will show through your photos.

 

2. Avoid looking too posed.
Authenticity is SO important when it comes to photography. Sure, you can pose a senior on railroad tracks while they hold a guitar that they’ve never played, but you would be missing out on the opportunity to capture the true nature and personality of the subject. Before the session, ask them if they have any kind of interests or hobbies. Let’s say that they enjoy painting. Instead of telling them to smile and hold up a paintbrush, get a canvas and some paints and have them go crazy! You will get your most authentic portrait when the subject is expressing who they really are, rather than you shaping them into something that a billion people have done already.

 

3. Get on Their Eye Level
Getting on eye level with your subject can add a whole new layer of interest. I’m not saying ALL of your pictures should be on eye level (that wouldn’t be super creative, now would it?), but there’s something so cool and slightly vulnerable when you get on eye level with your subject.

 

Bengta-194. Experiment with Foregrounds + Backgrounds
Especially when you have a lens with a shallow depth of field (shallow depth of field = your subject is in focus but the foreground and background is blurry), it’s fun to experiment with foregrounds and backgrounds.
In this picture, I held a pretty leaf super close to the lens and it added a pop of color to the shot.

 

5. Watch Your Light
Light can make or break your photo. If it’s diffused lighting, then it can bring out your subject’s features. In contrast, dramatic lighting (when done correctly), can do the same. However, if your subject has a larger nose and your light casts a shadow across their face because of it, you better believe they’re not gonna love that shot (My grandfather blessed me with his Indian heritage / bumpy nose, so I know firsthand how frustrating those shots can be). Don’t let yourself get too caught up in the moment that you forget your lighting!

 

6. “Laugh at Me”Bengta-19
This goes back to the first point. If your subject is comfortable, it will be way easier to get an authentic shot. If the subject is appearing too posed or you’re just wanting to change up the pictures, say: “Okay! Now…laugh at me!” More than likely, for a split second, the subject will look at you like you’re crazy. However, in most cases, they’ll start laughing at how weird of a request it is. Or in other cases, they’ll start doing a fake laugh, but then it will transition into a real laugh because they’ll be laughing at themselves. Sneaky, right?
Do you have any tricks for taking better pictures of people? Leave a comment below!

How to Find Killer Photography Locations

locationsgraphicWhen I first started getting serious about photography, one of my biggest problems was finding the “perfect location” to take pictures. However, I quickly learned that unless you live somewhere absolutely gorgeous like New Zealand, there aren’t a billion “perfect locations” to shoot. One of the coolest aspects of photography is that it teaches you to gain a new perspective. After you’ve been behind the camera for a little while, you start to see the beauty of things, places, and people in a way that most people don’t really see. However, it took a while for me to switch my perspective when it came to hunting down locations.

 

 Here are a couple of pictures from one of my recent sessions (featuring Jessie Chamberlain).

 

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At first glance, you would think that these pictures were taken deep in the woods of North Carolina. Also, you probably think that I’m a super cool nature adventurer that braves the elements to get the “perfect shot” (okay, you probably don’t think like that, but I like to pretend you do.)

Here are a couple of other pictures from the same location:

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BOOM. Not only was there trash literally (or should I say…”litter-ally”) everywhere, but the location was right beside a small shopping center near my house.

 

Here are a few simple ways that you can find some killer photography locations:

 

1. MAP IT
If you have a smart phone, you more than likely have the ability to drop a pin on a map and save it as a contact. When I’m out and about and I happen to see a cool location (let’s say it’s a really cool building), I’ll drop a pin on the map, snap a picture with my phone, and name it something along the lines of “Location – Cool Building, Yo.”

 

2. TAKE THE SCENIC ROUTE
Whether it’s your commute home from work or a trip to the grocery store, try driving a different route. When you drive a new route, it keeps things fresh and there are more opportunities for you to find snazzy locations! It’s so easy to take the same route a billion times, but after a while, you revert to auto-pilot and you don’t actively look at your surroundings.

 

3. RESEARCH
GUYS. I found this awesome website called http://www.shothotspot.com/. Basically, it’s the google search of photography locations. Not only can you search by city, state, or region, but you can also search by the type of location (landscape, urban, etc). It’s a super powerful tool and it’s absolutely genius. Check it out and be inspired!

 

Have you ever found hidden gems while searching for photography locations? Leave a comment and tell me about it! I’d love to hear your stories!

 

Have a lovely day, and go shoot something!

COLLABORATE · CULTIVATE · CREATE

blog1Ever since I was a kid, I’ve loved creativity. When my friends would come over, we would pull out the family camcorder (you know, the kind that used a tape instead of a memory card) and make movies. We would also construct magazines that always involved some kind of super snazzy photo shoot (that mainly consisted of posing in front of a tree in my front yard). Basically, we would use anything we could to express our creativity.

As I got older, I had a dream to make a program for kids that equipped them to express their creativity. This place would include classes in videography, photography, art, and music, and then would provide the kids with the tools to collaborate and create. However, considering I was still a kid when I first had this dream, it wasn’t completely feasible for me to pursue that kind of business venture at such a young age (and without any formal training. Womp wommmp.)

Fast forward to 2015 – I am now 21 years old and I still love to create. However, my vision and dreams have shifted from helping kids learn and create, to helping anyone learn and create. Passions, especially when it comes to creativity, can easily die if they’re not cultivated. Personally, I went through a season where I felt uninspired, tired, and frankly, not creative at all. However, through looking at blogs and following other creatives, I began to regain that passion. I want this blog to be a launching place for ALL creatives. Whether you’re a photographer, videographer, blogger, musician, or any other kind of artist, I want this to be a place not only for inspiration, but also a place where you can find practical instructions to help launch you into your passions.

Basically, the website is focused on three main ideas:
collaborate, cultivate, create.

1. Collaborate

This gives creatives – whether they love photography, music, writing, or anything else creative – a place to share inspiration and ideas for projects. It’s not collaboration in the literal sense of “hey let’s build a thing together,” but it’s aiming towards building community. The posts associated with this step will feature readers / creatives who work in many different areas. Each post will feature what they do, what inspires them to do what they do, some ways they accomplish tasks or dream up new projects, and a little snippet of their personal story.

2. Cultivate

To cultivate means to “try to acquire or develop” – which means this step is focused on pulling the readers ideas and dreams out of their heads and into reality by giving them practical advice. The posts associated with this step will be instructional in nature (ie. 4 Ways to Improve Your Portrait Photography, 6 Ways to Be More Productive in the Morning, etc.).

3. Create

This is essentially a mix of the first two (Collaborate and Create). However, it gives specific instructions for specific projects. This section will include DIY projects, Instagram Challenges, Giveaways, and a whole bunch of other things!

I’m excited for this new adventure, and I’m hoping that you’ll join me!

Happy Holidays!

Christmas is one of my FAVORITE times out of the year! The weather is chilly, everything looks festive (Christmas lights are pretty much my favorite thing on earth), you can drink hot coffee instead of iced coffee, and everyone just seems a bit more cheerful. However, one of my absolute favorite parts of Christmas is giving gifts. It’s always fun to give someone a gift and see their face light up when they open it!

Are you looking for a unique gift idea for the holidays? For a limited time, order a gift certificate for any photo session and receive it in some ADORABLE, handmade packaging. I had so much fun making these boxes for you guys, and I’m hoping that you’ll love them as much I as do! To order your gift certificate, fill out the contact form and I will send you more details.

Supplies are limited, so order your box ASAP!

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