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Tiny Person Photoshoot: Baby Weston by Amanda Liew

A few months ago, I brought my camera along for fun to the joint baby shower for Amy & Renee. Fast forward to late August & imagine just how ecstatic I was when Amy asked me to take photos of the newest addition to her family: Baby Weston! One of my goals for this year is to branch out in terms of subjects, and I just couldn’t pass up the opportunity to photograph such a cute little nugget! A tiny person photoshoot - what an adventure, right? Because Amy didn’t have a specific plan or style in mind already, I originally planned to capture photographs that were gentle, intimate, and peaceful. Hilariously, Baby Weston had a different plan in mind. I certainly learned a lot of pointers during the shoot, that’s for sure. A few nuggets of wisdom on photographing the nuggets themselves:

  • Because of babies’ extreme short-sightedness (only a few feet at this point!), it required quite a bit of extra maneuvering and positioning to try and capture his gaze. This meant lots of squatting, jingling things, and shooting nonstop.
  • Many babies find running faucets extremely soothing which isn’t too far fetched, but it was pretty amusing to watch Weston go from crying to “in the zone” the minute we leaned him over the sink. It made me wish I had a waterfall easy access all the time for when I'm stressed (how nice would that be..)
  • Cuddly and textured blankets are your best friend. It was so easy to spread one out on the floor & still have it large enough to capture straight down shots & angled depth of fields without catching the edge! You don't get this luxury with "big person" photoshoots, so take advantage of it in this instance.
  • Keep the camera on the entire time. I was able to capture so many tender moments between the family just while they were arranging themselves, comforting Weston, or changing his outfit. Some of the photos of Weston clinging to Amy’s shoulder are so much more precious than anything we could have pre-posed.

One thing that I definitely want to improve on is shooting in low light settings. Even with a f/3.2, I had to bump up the ISO quite a bit & the graininess definitely comes across. As I continue to develop as a photographer, I'm starting to consider different equipment options (reflective surface probably would have come in handy here).

Aside from the photos themselves, this photoshoot was the 2nd time that I tried out my new donation-in-liew-of-payment method (get the pun..get it..?). A few months ago I first tested this out by asking Sarah Jane to donate to Krista’s mission trip, and similarly I asked Amy to donate to our church’s new women’s ministry which I strongly believe in. It’s continued to be a win-win-win for all involved: beautiful photos for the “client” // an implied valuation attached to my time & effort that doesn’t commoditize my art // an extra donation to a worthy cause! Beyond that, it’s been wonderful to connect my clients with those in need of the donations, thus helping to form a stronger connection within our community. If anybody else has unique payment systems, I would love to hear them!

Old Friends, New City by Amanda Liew

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After almost two years of forcing my brother to come up to New York City, I finally got the chance to make the trip in the other direction and visit Washington DC this past weekend. While I was hoping to finally check off the cherry blossoms from my bucket list, the never ending winter foiled those plans. Luckily, thanks to some especially fortuitous timing and a last minute scramble, a few of my college friends from Penn (and one straggler from Princeton, ahem) managed to all convene in DC for a spontaneous reunion! As much as I love my new post-grad life in New York (I think I'm one of the only people that prefers "real life" to college...), seeing everybody in one place reminded me of what I truly value from my college experience. Yes, I had wonderful professors and a pretty great education, but most importantly, I was surrounded by an incredibly diverse group of people who were all high-achievers in vastly different fields. When I first got to Penn, I shunned the word "feminist", had no idea what racist microaggresions were, wouldn't have recognized privilege even if it slapped me in the face, and all around just knew so little about society! The diverse ethnic, cultural, geographic, and socioeconomic backgrounds of this group here as well as so many more of my friends at Penn totally transformed my viewpoints on life, society, education, and culture. Even though we didn't realize how diverse our little reunion actually was, looking at these photographs now brings so much joy to my heart. Beauty truly has no bounds - just look at these people! Beyond the lofty thoughts, though, of course the whole weekend was just an all around great time. I got to explore more of the city, meet my brother's friends, experience some epic brunches (shoutout to Tonic for their ridiculous breakfast tots and Busboys & Poets for their very unique Iraqi corned beef hash!), experience one of the weirdest shows I'll probably ever see, eat a gigantic passion fruit macaron from Bakers & Baristas (although it wasn't a "real" macaron in my humble opinion #ladureesnob), check out the incredible Newseum (the Pulitzer Prize photo exhibit brought tears to my eyes multiple times), re-live my study abroad semester with a friend at Nando's, and of course force everybody to pose for portraits and more portraits. Can't wait to travel more!

20150327_0053_Washington DC 20150327_0089_Washington DC 20150327_0100_Washington DC 20150327_0103_Washington DC 20150327_0106_Washington DC 20150327_0108_Washington DC 20150327_0117_Washington DC 20150327_0118_Washington DC 20150327_0059_Washington DC 20150327_0073_Washington DC 20150327_0078_Washington DC 20150327_0076_Washington DC 20150327_0083_Washington DC 20150327_0058_Washington DC  Group shots (iPhone 6):  124AFD96-FF0D-424B-8217-3FE3110EEB32 CBF06B1C-4B5E-44C2-81B2-470074BFE12C