Monday, July 30

A Beautiful Weekend

What a lovely weekend I just had! There was a girls night out on Friday, a sun-kissed winter afternoon at the beach playing with the camera on Saturday and meeting a wonderful couple for a Maternity shoot on Sunday!

I haven't had time yet to organise all the photos yet so I'll share the beach pictures later in the week and more from the Maternity shoot too, which I loved by the way! Despite having to cut things short due to rain it was a lot of fun, I had never met the couple before but I just adored them! They were relaxed, friendly and lovely to be around, I left that session feeling like I'd made some great new friends and I'm so excited for their new arrival! So here's a tiny peek into the weekend...

Saturday Afternoon - it was gorgeous all day, still and clear so late in the afternoon we headed down to the beach so I could play with the new lens ahead of Sunday's shoot. The light was low and dripping with golden tones so I took lots of snaps and my husband even had a go too! Here's my quick portrait of him and his of me, it's funny to be on the other side of the camera for once!



Sunday - It was cold and rainy on Sunday which was a shame considering Saturday's sunshine, but I managed shoot this session in 40 minutes between a few showers! I have one shot to share from this session as I'm working my way through them all, but there will be lots more to come! Isn't she a beautiful Mama to be?!


I hope you all enjoyed the weekend too and got to see a bit of sunshine! We have another wet week ahead here so I'm glad we enjoyed it while we could!

Chat soon...

xo K

Friday, July 27

Photography Friday: Lens Love

Happy Friday! It's been a while since I've done a Photography Friday post, although I do talk about photography a lot anyway! ;)

Today I just wanting to share my excitement over a new item in my photography kit that I am over the moon in love with! Meet Canon's 85mm f 1.8 portrait lens, my new favourite:

via

If you have a DSLR you will know that the lens maketh the camera - big time! 

My 60D came with the 18-55mm kit lens which I soon got rid of (kit lenses tend to be made from poorer quality glass and give quite a 'soft' effect) and the first lens I purchased after that was the under $200 50mm 1.8 and while I loved the sharpness and colour I got from this lens I found that the focal length wasn't quite giving me the out of focus effect I wanted in the background for mid to full length portraits. 

Enter the 85mm 1.8! This is one of Canon's best non L-series portrait lenses, the build quality is good, it's a reasonable price for what you get but the real selling point of this lens is the depth of field! Especially on a crop sensor DSLR like my 60D (which turns the 85mm focal length into a 136mm) it is crazy shallow and so, so smooth to look at. I keep excitedly telling my hubby that the bokeh (background blur) looks like butter it is just so dreamy and beautiful!

I will be playing with this lens at the weekend for sure, I am desperate to have a go in natural light as we have nothing but indoor artificial light by the time we get home at night. But even so I tried the lens out on my cutie pie Nala at 8.30pm at night indoors at Aperture 1.8    ISO 1600   Shutter speed 1/100 and it's just so pretty...


The depth of field at 1.8 is so incredibly shallow you almost can't even see her legs, the effect is very painterly...


I added a little bit of texture to this one in Photoshop to add to the effect!

So while lighting for these photos was far from ideal and having my ISO at 1600 on my 60D produces a lot of yucky graininess (a reason to buy full frame next time if ever there was one!) I can tell this lens is going to be incredible! Roll on the weekend, I'm so excited!

So, what are your favourite lenses to shoot with these days??

xo K

Wednesday, July 25

Busy Days

Another Wednesday is here already! The weeks are really just flying by at the moment, I have so much to do and so much to plan for and there are some super exciting developments in the pipe-line for me which I can't wait to reveal as soon as I can!

I am trying to take all of your sage advice on my last post (thank you!) and embrace Winter a little more, I really am! I've taken advantage of the wet weekends by doing a lot of learning...and I do mean a lot!

Not just photography stuff either. There is so much to running a business and I don't want to go in blind in any way, it's just not me to do things that way! I have to feel like I understand and have things under control at every step of the process or I just don't feel comfortable (control freak much?) hehe but all that aside I have been soaking up business books and workshops online, checked out photography forums and downloaded hours of video tutorials (that I need to get around to watching!), then there's mastering Photoshop - I am really clicking with it now! And I just got Lightroom too since I need to start shooting in RAW all the time and I have to know how to process images the way too.

It's a lot but I know I can handle it and I'm enjoying it! I've missed learning since University and it's a nice feeling to master something new! 

And after a few weeks off getting out and actually shooting I have a Maternity session scheduled this Sunday which I'm excited about and then another in a few weeks time! Yay, for my gorgeous Mums to be! It's so lovely to be a part of this time in their lives and hopefully get to meet and photograph the new babies once they arrive too! It's ridiculously lovely and exciting to be honest!

So before I get completely sidetracked what I also wanted to say is that I'm going to be doing some free portfolio building sessions in August which I thought some of my Kiwi (Auckland) readers might be interested in.

The back story to these sessions is that as part of my business plan I decided to add Pets to my photography business as they are a huge part of many families too and really I couldn't imagine life without our two fur-kids! So to get some experience with a range of lovely pets I am having a few free portfolio building sessions in August.

The info is below (as is my sweet thing, Nala) and there are just two spaces left if anyone in Auckland would like to apply! I'm so excited to do these sessions and it's shaping up to be a very busy August which should transition me into September nicely which is when I'd like to be taking on more client work!


Since this image was actually posted to my personal Facebook page I know it's a little small and hard to read here but if you want to apply for a free session I just need a short description of your pet and a photo. It can be sent to info@kirstymckayphotography.com 

My business cards arrived last week too which was fantastic! I've managed to give about half of them away already and everyone has been so complimentary about them. I chose eight different photos for the front of the cards, (some of you may have seen them on Twitter or Instagram) and everyone's enjoyed choosing their favorites!

Anyway, I have a bunch of work to do so I'm dragging myself away but I'll be back soon hopefully with some lovely maternity shots to share! Keep warm or stay cool if you're lucky enough to be enjoying Summer.

Oh and a big congratulations to my gorgeous friend Mel at Happy Jax for launching her own photography business this week! Proud of you and looking forward to watching your business grow, you are going to be such a success Mel!

Chat soon...

xo K

Wednesday, July 18

Mid-Winter

Happy Wednesday, it's officially mid-winter here in NZ! I'm so glad we're on the downward slope toward Spring, I am over the dark evenings and frosty mornings - a warm, tropical holiday is sounding really good right now!! But since that's not looking like a possibility with all the new business expenses I'm running into, I am trying (and failing) to embrace the cold...there has to be something good about it right?!

Hmm, how about beach walks with the pups who don't mind a little frost underfoot...


Layering up makes for more interesting outfits than in Summer I suppose...


Hot chocolates with marshmallows are definitely a big Winter highlight at our place...


What better excuse than freezing weather to snuggle up with your guy?!
A definite plus :)


Mmm and warming fire...it's so lovely to go to my parents home and snuggle up round their fireplace on a lazy Sunday night...


Foggy mornings...I kind of like them, it makes a world look a little more magical doesn't it?!


So I came up with a few things to like about Winter but what are your favourite things about the chilly season? I'm really in need some ideas! And does anyone truly enjoy it? Rain, cold and all?

I'm such a Summer girl so it's always a struggle for me. I can't wait for the balmy mornings, late sunsets and beach days to be here again...and Spring photography too!

My bright spot right now is that I'm hoping to have the business up and running during the Spring at least in some capacity and with the constant rain and darkness photography is a bit hopeless this time of year without a studio, so oh my goodness I just can't wait for the sun to appear again, I am getting seriously antsy!

How are all my Southern hemisphere girls coping with the cold? It's not been a bad Winter so far in Auckland but still, it's just so  flippin' dreary, day after day of blah weather. Ugh, okay, grumble over! ;)

Have a wonderful week, keep warm and I'll be back when I have something a bit more exciting and fun to share!!


xo K

Images via Pinterest

Tuesday, July 10

On The Market

Not my home but this cute little renovated three bedroom, two bathroom art deco style home I photographed for a colleague the other week!



So can I add Real Estate photographer to my list now? Hmm, maybe not, I imagine it's a real art in itself, however I gave it my best shot with my wide-angle lens and the clients were pleased with the images and it seems that they definitely got the job done!  

The property had 1,000 views online on it's first day and was privately sold for the asking price within four days to a young family who saw it within hours of it being listed! So of course I am incredibly happy for the sellers and I had to cheekily say that now they know who to call when they want to sell their next renovation! ;) 

Here's a little peek into their stylish home on Auckland's city fringe. I wish I had the 'before' photos because this place was an absolute tear down, flea ridden carpet and all! The owners got it for a song and stripped it right back to it's bare bones so they could start all over again from walls and insulation to an additional bathroom and walk in wardrobe off the master bedroom, they did such a lovely job and I hope you enjoy it...


I LOVED the fireplace, I'd have stacks of candles in there if
it were mine, so cosy...of course they have the obligatory
energy-efficient heat pump up in the left hand corner,
we're just loving ours for cheap Winter heating! :) 



The kitchen is compact, functional and modern, love the
granite bench tops... 


Such a cute little dining space, the Kauri floors are original
and had been freshly sanded and polished, they looked
so warm and welcoming... 


The floor to ceiling tiles in the bathrooms had me drooling and excited for our bathroom reno this Summer! 


Such a cool little home! 

Well, this week is flying by like they all seem to be lately so I hope you have a lovely next few days. Things are progressing business-wise little by little here, I finally ordered business cards last week (yay!) and I just wanted to say thanks so much for the office love last week, I'm so glad you all love it as much as I do!

Chat soon lovelies... 

xo K 

Tuesday, July 3

Home Office Reveal At Last!

I am so excited to show you my new home office!! I was lucky that I really didn't need to do a whole lot to this room since it got a simple paint job makeover about a year ago that I still really love, so this room has now evolved into my blogging/photo editing/business space and I really love it! 

I'm lucky that while it is on the south side of the house, the little window off to the side faces east and really catches the morning sun, which is so nice when I'm in here early on weekends enjoying a cup of coffee and catching up on blogs...amazingly our new heat pump (which is so so good!) blows the warm air from our living room right down the hallway into this room, so it's even pretty toasty in here during Winter...bliss! 


Since it's a pretty small space I wanted to keep things clean and simple but I also wanted some color to really get the creative juices flowing. I just had to have white furniture and I thought pink accents might be fun since I've been loving it lately...




I think the pink really brings it all to life! The white and navy striped rug I actually picked up months ago thinking I'd be sure to find a home for it in my coastal loving home and it's so perfect in here and great with the fuchsia pink...



Spot the furry paw!! I didn't have the heart to move her. Nala is my constant shadow and her new favorite spot to nap is underneath my desk, bless her little heart! :)  


So here is the little bookcase that we already had in here, it's going to end up being too small once I start needing more filing space so I'll probably get the people who built our living room bookcase to make a narrower one to fit this space. But for now it works...


I have a magazine holder with my dog-eared copy of 'Exposed' magazine by amazing International wedding photographer Jasmine Star, a little desk tidy with my notecards and envelopes that I send thank you's to clients (just until I get my branded stuff sorted) and that big black glossy guy is my new printer! He's all kinds of fancy and prints directly onto CD's through a special feeder...


So now every client will get a personalized CD/DVD of their session with a custom case to match, this was just a quick test print I whipped up but I love it, the print quality is great! Yay, Canon printers! :) 


There's my old pin-board being used to pin up shots of some of my favorite people and whatever other inspiration I might come across...


Props and pretty things...




Over in the far corner I wanted something pretty and colorful to fill the awkward corner, we already had this side table so I picked up a tall turquoise vase at Freedom and some decent looking silk orchids (since I'd spend a small fortune on the real ones with my black thumbs!) and these ones aren't bad at all... 


 Hmm, my husband looks pretty good here so I think he can stay in 
this spot! ;)



Phew, this is a pic-heavy post! So moving back over to my desk...


You can see the iMac monitor is pretty big so I can't put a huge amount on my desk, I just have a CD/DVD box, pen and paper holders and a yummy diffuser so the office smells divine...


And yep, the OCD in me loves not having a big computer box on the desk and messy wires! Lovely to have a wireless keyboard and mouse :) 



So yeah, I love it! It's very 'me' and such a great space to get creative in! I love that I have some of my favorite images up on canvas and in frames too. I'll definitely be encouraging my clients to get their images off the CD's and onto the walls! I made sure to leave space for future favorites too...


Oh and lastly this is what you see when you walk in...wall art from Bed Bath n Table - the colors were perfect - and I have a few props and things in the basket...




Oh and a last sneaky pic of the iMac fired up and ready to go... 


Wow, if you've made it to the end of this post you really deserve a medal! That's a lot of office stuff to look at but I do love it and I'm excited to share my little haven with you all! I hope you have a wonderful week and keep warm if you're in my part of the world, it's pretty cold out there!! 

Chat soon...

xo K 

Linking up to:

Monday, July 2

Business Progress Update

Happy Monday! I hope the weekend treated you well. Mine flew by in a bit of a blur and I was going to post my big office reveal for you today but I completely ran out of time to put that post together, but the photos have been taken and are ready to go! So hopefully I'll post that tomorrow, here's a little peek though, I couldn't resist...


I am in love with this little space of mine and I can't wait to show you the whole thing! :)

I thought I'd explain my semi-absence the past few weeks by letting you know where I'm at with setting up my photography business. I've been optimistically hoping to launch my fully registered company in the Spring (September 1st here in NZ). So I've been working furiously on  pulling together a list of what I need before the launch!

I've checked off a few things in the past two weeks:
  • Buy Domain Name and Web Hosting Space - I now officially own www.kirstymckayphotography.com - whee!!
  • Decide on branding and online image - I have chosen colours and a logo to represent my brand and the website is taking shape beautifully as we speak!
  • Choose marketing material (letterhead, business cards etc) - done, but I need to get everything printed, that'll be happening very soon
  • Purchase a Canon photo-quality printer for printing out letter head, printing cover images directly onto CD's and for small photo prints - done and it's amazing! Can't wait to show you a sample CD! Such a fun toy to have :) 
  • Set up home office - done and this was the most fun part of all! 
  • Choose portfolio images for website and my business Facebook page - in progress it's so hard choosing...
  • Write up site content - About, Session Details, FAQs, Blog etc - a huge in progress that is daunting me right now!
Still to do:
  • Register the business - really have to get this done!  
  • Open a business account with the bank
  • Speak with an accountant (or quite likely my little brother) re: tax requirements, write offs etc (he was a finance and accounting major so I really need to pick his brain!)
  • Purchase MYOB or other small business accounting software - any recommendations for ease of use?
  • Draft up client portrait agreement contract and have approved by our Solicitor
  • Decide on an online proofing gallery site where clients can log in and view/choose the images they want to purchase from their session 
  • Print business cards
  • Draft up a client welcome pack
  • Decide on pricing and packages - a huge task! Working out COGS (cost of goods sold, plus estimating my time spent per session (shooting/editing) at a suitable rate minus taxes - if I get this wrong I don't make money so it's hugely important!) 
  • Am I forgetting anything?? 
So right now, along with working full time I have a lot on my plate! I don't have any photo sessions planned until later in the month and I'm thankful for that or I'd never get anything done! Winter has come at the right time, so I have no excuse not to sit down in my office and bang out some more items from my list each week.

In my everyday life I'm often getting asked how everything's coming along and it's kind of a long answer so this summarizes for me, where I'm at and how much further I have to go! 

Oh yeah and I currently also have my eye on another lens for my camera! it's a beauty and I'd love to have it before I launch my business, I suppose I can get the GST written off once it's a business expense too, so I will have to wait till I do that!

So, how are you all doing? I'm hoping to catch up on your blogs sometime this week too, I just need a day or two to catch my breath! My head is just filled with 'business and work stuff' so I'm not the most fun person right now, I think I'll be spending the next few weekends locked in my office! Atleast it's pretty... ;) 

Have a great start to your week and I'll be back tomorrow with the big office reveal!! Can't wait... 

xo K 

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...