Wednesday, March 24, 2010

Blog Has Moved

Published by Jillian McGrath at 4:19 PM

My Blog Has Moved to Here:

Please be sure to check it out :)

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Why Not Give Back A Little?

Published by Jillian McGrath at 8:06 AM

Lately I have been thinking more and more about ways that I can use my photography to help others. Give back to the community that I have grown up in and to the people in my area who could really use a nice portrait session, whether it is to show strength through a hard time or for remembrance. I think that everyone should have access to and be able to proudly show off wonderful portraits of them and their loved ones.

Life is like a story book so why not capture a piece of each chapter and hang it on your wall as a constant reminder of where you have been and where you are going. Those wonderful photographers out there who are volunteering their time, efforts and resources to help others are a great inspiration to me and have really gotten me thinking, how can I help others and maybe make another person's day a little brighter, how can I use my strengths to up lift another during a hard time? Well I found just the places to do just this. Inspirational, helpful and caring organizations that give back to those in need. So why not consider giving some of your time to brighten someone's day?

Here are a few of my favorite organizations that I have come across, be sure to check out their websites for more information and on how to volunteer.


Pregnancy and birth are miraculous journeys. This amazing time of life is full of mystery, anticipation, joy, hope, and wonder. Feeling the powerful energy of birth and new life, watching as a new family is born unto each other. These things humble and amaze. These are the things that we celebrate when a baby is born.

But there is another aspect of pregnancy and birth. There is an unexpected place in this journey where some families may find themselves. When a baby dies, a world is turned upside down. There is confusion, sadness, fear, and uncertainty that cannot be explained. There is sorrow where there should have been joy. During this time, it might be impossible for families to know what they might need in order to heal in the future.

This is the place where the Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep Foundation gently provides a helping hand and a healing heart. For families overcome by grief and pain, the idea of photographing their baby may not immediately occur to them. Offering gentle and beautiful photography services in a compassionate and sensitive manner is the heart of this organization. The soft, gentle heirloom photographs of these beautiful babies are an important part of the healing process. They allow families to honor and cherish their babies, and share the spirits of their lives. The NILMDTS mission statement is to introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with the gift of professional portraiture. We believe these images serve as an important step in the family's healing process by honoring their child's legacy.

Website: Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep


If you have ever been through a military deployment, there are no words to explain how hard it is to send the father or mother of your children off to some foreign, dangerous land, leaving you all behind…. Alone. It’s indescribable to watch their faces light up as their mother or father come up the stairs of the airport after months, possibly a year or more, of not hugging each other. Emotions fly through the main lobby, it’s so very good to have them home. Your base’s Family Support Squadron will help you with your deployment. But the last thing on your mind when your wife or husband arrives home after a 4 to 18 month tour, is capturing all this love – on film. Most people are so overwhelmed with emotions they forget to simply point and shoot the camera, they are grasping of their child’s first hug, or that single tear of relief from a mother being able to hold her twenty year old son again. With the help of Operation: Love ReUnited and local photographers near your base, you can.

Website: Operation Love Reunited


life is a gift…
and it offers us the privilege, opportunity, and responsibility
to give something back by becoming more.
- anthony robbins

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Pictures of Hope is a charitable organization of professional photographers who provide complimentary, documentary-style, photography sessions to babies in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU) and their families. The Pictures of Hope Foundation includes photographers from across the United States and Canada who are dedicated to donating their time to a cause they believe in, and sharing the gift of photography with families in need.

It is our desire to have members who are professional photographers actively participating in community involvement and spreading the word about Pictures of Hope.

Website: Pictures of Hope Foundation


Think Pink Photography is a charitable organization, comprised of a network of professional photographers, serving two main purposes – celebrating life and supporting the cause. We celebrate life through complimentary portrait sessions for breast cancer patients, and we support the cause by partnering with the Eric R. Beverly Family Foundation.

Are you a professional photographer? Please visit the Info for Photographers page and sign up to join our Network!

Website: Think Pink Photography

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Project 5: Metaphor

Published by Jillian McGrath at 8:26 AM


a figure of speech in which a term or phrase is applied to something to which it is not literally applicable in order to suggest a resemblance, as in “A mighty fortress is our God.”

something used, or regarded as being used, to represent something else; emblem; symbol.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Project 4: Photoshop Masks

Published by Jillian McGrath at 8:11 AM

Photoshop masks are an invaluable resource to any photographer or designer. They allow you to hide unwanted pixels without actually deleting them just in case you need them again. It is a less permanent solution to the eraser tool and something that anyone who uses Photoshop should know about.

Once you start using masks you will realize just how easy they truly are even if they seem a little intimidating at first. Creating a mask in Photoshop is almost as easy as selecting your image. You simply select the image that you would like to add a mask to and then go to the bottom of your layers palette, click the "add mask" button which looks like a square with a circle in the middle of it. By default your mask will come up as white making everything visible. To start hiding items using your mask click on the mask layer to the right of the image you masked, select your paint brush and make sure your paint brush color is set to black (to reset your colors to black and white simply select D on your keyboard, and to switch between the two colors easily hit X on your keyboard). Then start painting over the area of your image that you would like to hide. White on a mask will reveal pixels and black on a mask will hide pixels. As you are working you will notice that you need different paint brush sizes in different areas of your image a simple short cut for changing the size of your brush would be to press [ to make your brush smaller and ] to make your brush larger.

Below are two of my personal examples of images being combined to create one composite using masks and layers in Photoshop.

If you would like to know more about Masks and Layers in Photoshop be sure to check out these helpful links:

Unveiling Photoshop Masks - Smashing Magazine

Photoshop 101: How to Use Layer Masks | Design Reviver

Image Composite One

Straight Out of Camera

Straight Out of Camera

Image Composite using Photoshop Masks and Layers

Composite Two

Straight Out of Camera

Straight Out of Camera

Image Composite using Photoshop Masks and Layers

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Project 3: Gray Card

Published by Jillian McGrath at 8:07 AM

A digital gray card is a flat card that is a neutral gray (18%) used to produce a more consistent and correct white balance for your images. Essentially an 18% gray card takes the light reflected off of the gray card into consideration and between the camera and the computer can figure out which colors of light are being reflected off of the card, and are able to make adjustments using a custom white balance.

It is really simple to use a gray card, simply just take a photo of your object/subject holding the gray card, setting your exposure in camera correctly when photographing this image. Then remove the gray card from your object/subject and continue shooting in the same lighting conditions making sure not to change any of your settings.

Once you get to the Post Processing of your images Aperture and Lightroom make getting the correct white balance of your images super easy! Simply go to your developing section in either or, set your exposure and setting that you want for your first image that has the gray card in it, then use the eye dropper in the white balance section to sample from the gray card and tada! Beautiful white balance, then just apply this setting to the rest of your photos in this set and you have a set of images with the proper white balance.

If you would like to read more about a gray card be sure to check out this awesome review on gray cards here: The Digital Picture: Gray Card Review

Also if you are interested in purchasing a gray card check out this company: RM Imaging

Check out some of these images I took using a gray card:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Winter Love

Published by Jillian McGrath at 10:05 AM

“If we had no winter, the spring would not be so pleasant: if we did not sometimes taste of adversity, prosperity would not be so welcome.”
– Anne Bradstreet

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Project Two: ISO

Published by Jillian McGrath at 8:05 AM

ISO (International Organization for Standardization) for a digital camera is the measurement of the sensitivity of the image sensor. The higher the ISO number the more sensitive your sensor will be to light resulting in more noise or grain in your image, and the lower the ISO number the less sensitive your sensor will be to light resulting in finer noise or grain in your image.

A reason why you may want to use a higher ISO would be if you are shooting in low light and need a faster shutter speed to freeze action such as at a sporting event. The following images were taken using a Canon 50D to show ISO in low light, normal light and night light.