The Magic of Shooting in Black and White Photography

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Those of you who know me, know I LOVE shooting  black and white lifestyle photography! The conversion to black and white brings out the textures and emotion while giving the image a timeless feel.  I might not have my camera set to black and white while shooting, however I often times shoot with black and white in mind, knowing I’ll later convert it in post processing. Read on to learn what to look for while shooting a session or everyday moments of my family as well as tips to help capture those gorgeous emotive black and white lifestyle images!

Often times when I’m shooting indoors there is a lot going on with various colors and objects that can be distracting, the black and white helps to isolate my subject by enhancing the light and shadows, adding to the mood of the photo.

timeless, emotive, shooting black and white lifestyle photography, Missy Knight Photography, Westminster Family Lifestyle Photography, Colorado Family Photography, converting to black and white
Black and white conversions help to isolate the subject and add to the mood of the photo.

Anytime there is rim light present, I know I’ll try a conversion in post process to see what it looks like. The highlight of the rim light looks gorgeous against a dark backdrop such as a shadowy room, grass, tree line, dark wall, etc.

timeless, emotive, shooting black and white lifestyle photography, Missy Knight Photography, Westminster Family Lifestyle Photography, Colorado Family Photography, converting to black and white
Lighter subjects against a dark backdrop.

The opposite is true as well. When the background is light and your subject appears darker giving a lot of contrast between the light and shadows is also a great opportunity to convert.

timeless, emotive, shooting black and white lifestyle photography, Missy Knight Photography, Westminster Family Lifestyle Photography, Colorado Family Photography, converting to black and white
Darker subject against lighter backdrop.

When a scene has a lot of texture or emotion present, it’s the perfect opportunity to try converting to black and white. The conversion enhances the textures and isolates the subject highlighting the emotions captured.

timeless, emotive, shooting black and white lifestyle photography, Missy Knight Photography, Westminster Family Lifestyle Photography, Colorado Family Photography, converting to black and white
Enhanced texture of water droplets and skin.

One tip for shooting with black and white photography in mind is to use the histogram in live view to avoid clipping of blacks or blowing highlights. This allows me to find the right balance of highlights and shadow. Sometimes I’ll have to make  decisions about what I’m okay with clipping or blowing in the portions of the photo that are less important than others.

timeless, emotive, shooting black and white lifestyle photography, Missy Knight Photography, Westminster Family Lifestyle Photography, Colorado Family Photography, converting to black and white
Live view histogram was used to make sure I wasn’t blowing the highlights in the cape.

Next time you pick up your camera consider these tips to determine if you can identify which photos you might want to convert to black and white while you are shooting. Seek out those opportunities and check back soon for a follow-up to this to learn how I edit my black and white photos! Questions or just want to chat about photography? Send me a message!

 

Childhood in Black and White Session

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Boys will be boys

 

What better way to start off the Childhood in Black and White session than playing a little pool! I set out to capture their everyday childhood brotherly moments together and told them to just pretend I wasn’t even there. I wanted to shoot an entire session of them just being themselves and that’s exactly what they allowed me to do. Of course there had to be a couple of posed “Victory” shots along the way but other than that, it was them being themselves.

lifestyle session, childhood in black and white photo session, indoor black and white photography, lifestyle session playing games, Littleton Colorado Lifestyle Session, Missy Knight Photography

lifestyle session, childhood in black and white photo session, indoor black and white photography, lifestyle session playing games, Littleton Colorado Lifestyle Session, Missy Knight Photography
Capturing those details not to be forgotten

Of course all those beautifully colored pool balls needed to be shown off in one photo. However,  I wanted to focus on black and white to showcase the details, emotions, and connection that comes along with childhood. For instance in the top photos I wanted to show what it’s like from their perspective. While the bottom photos perfectly captures his “concentration face” while figuring out and executing his best shot. Boy was I impressed with their pool playing skills!

Missy Knight Photography, Childhood in Black and White Session, Littleton Colorado Lifestyle Photography Session, family photography, playing pool and board games lifestyle sesion
Giant wooden Tic-Tac-Toe fun

Eventually it was time to put away the pool sticks and trade in for the giant wooden Tic-Tac-Toe board. It wouldn’t be a true session without a little brotherly competition. There was lots of contemplation about the best move to take next.

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Including mom and dad in a game of Monopoly
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Can’t get any better than that!

After some other board game fun, we had to get mom and dad into the game as well with a little family Monopoly! I can’t wait until my youngest is ready for this. It sure brought back my own memories of playing this as a family and so wish I had photos of those times together. I mean, look at his face!!! Someone had just landed on his property and he was making some money!

These are those moments you want to look back on. These are the moments that years from now will put a smile on your face reminiscing about your childhood and all the great moments you had together as a family. Let me capture these moments for you too! Contact me today to schedule a session or learn how to take photos just like this of your own children! Now I’m off to go play some games and make some memories with my own children.

 

Falling in love with Low Light

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I had gotten to the point in my photography journey were I could take a good photograph, following photographic rules and correct techniques but something still felt  like it was missing in my work. I couldn’t necessarily put my finger on it right away so I did what I always do when I’m stuck and I studied. I studied other peoples work that made me “feel something” when I saw their photos or stopped me in my tracks as I was scrolling through Facebook or Istagram feeds. What I began to realize about those photos was the dynamic use of light and shadows. Even deep dark shadows in some of the photos. It made me feel something; sometimes happiness, sometimes sadness, sometimes curiosity.  I was always in awe of how the photographer used both light and shadows to convey an emotion or even story.

Missy Knight Photography, low light, storytelling, black and white photography, Fuji XT1
Storytelling with low light

Now that I knew I wanted to shoot my own stories using this type of light, I realized I needed to learn how to shoot in “low light”. Oh man was it hard at first! I failed, many times, before getting it right. So again, I studied. I read everything I could get my hands on about low light and just kept practicing.

At first I thought low light meant almost no light, however that is so not the case. The “blue hour” of evening,  just after the sun has set, is a great time to shoot in low light; both outdoors like in the feature photo above and indoors by a large open window. Low light can be found indoors where there are small pockets of bright light with lots shadows surrounding. It can be found in a dark room lit by artificial light such as a nightlight, lamp, string lights, etc. Bright light can even be manipulated with shutters or curtains to create low light.

Missy Knight Photography, low light, storytelling, lifestyle photography, Fuji XT1
“Blue hour” indoor light by a window

I’ve learned I have to be okay with a little grain in my images. I still have to consciously remind myself that it’s okay, even necessary, to raise my ISO enough even if it means getting grain. I usually like to keep my ISO as low as possible when I can but with low light, I crank it up and I’m okay with that to be able to capture the moment in front of me. I’ll also use a wide open aperture to let in as much light as possible but keep my shutter speed as fast I can have it with proper exposure to avoid blur. I set my exposure based on the highlights in the photo so as not to clip them and keep as much detail there as possible. I’ll watch the histogram to so I don’t clip too much of the blacks as well but sometimes have to make the choice of which I’m willing to compromise on.

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A little grain is okay when high ISO is necessary for proper exposure

A black and white edit works great on low light photos to emphasize the contrast of highlights and shadows. The majority of my low light images are edited in black and white both for this reason and for the fact that I’m still finding that sweet spot for editing low light images in color.

Missy Knight Photography, low light photography, window light, black and white photography, family lifestyle photography
Black and white edits emphasize the contrast of the highlights and shadows.

In my quest for wanting more out of my photography, I feel in love with low light and it’s storytelling abilities. I hope you take the plunge and try it out as well, who knows maybe you’ll fall in love with it too.  If you have any questions or other tips to share, leave me a comment or send me a message.  Or if you love the look of this type of photography, I now offer Childhood Sessions in black and white for those in and around the Denver Metro, Westminster, or Arvada area.

Winter Golden Hour Snow Session ~ The ins and outs of shooting a golden hour snow session and why you want to do one with your family

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free-lensed, Missy Knight Photography, lifestyle photography, Westminster, Colorado, golden hour snow session,
Fuji XT1 + 16 mm, Free-lensed, ISO 250, SS 2000

It’s January in Colorado and just now feels like winter is here. While the rest of the nation has gotten hit hard this winter, we have only had a small handful of snows.  It finally snowed last Sunday and the snow didn’t melt off very quickly like it usually does. So one beautiful afternoon once homework was done, just about a half hour before sunset, we went out to try to build a snowman.  Unfortunately, the snow was still too powdery for a snowman. Fortunately for me, the fine powdery snow combined with the beautiful late afternoon sunshine made for a gorgeous setting to take photos of all the fun my kids were having just being kids in the snow.

 

golden hour snow session, playing in the snow, building a snowman, Missy Knight Photography, Colorado lifestyle family photographer
This is about all we got of a snowman! FUJI XT1 + 56mm, ISO 250, f/1.4, SS 2000

I thought I’d share some tips I’ve been learning about shooting in the snow in a situation like this and why these photos are so important to take. Not handy with a camera? That’s okay, that’s what I’m here for, to either teach you how to use your camera to capture scenes like these or hire me to shoot a session just like this for you!  You won’t regret it. These are the photos you love to look back on years later and remember the feel and excitement of being a child and gathering together as a family.

Missy Knight Photography, Westminster, Colorardo lifestyle photographer, snow golden hour session, backlit
FUJI XT1 + 16mm, ISO 640, f/2.0, SS 2000
Missy Knight Photography, Westminster, CO, lifestyle photography, sunset snow session, free-lensing, backlit
Fuji XT1 + 16mm, Free-lensed, ISO 250, SS 2000

First of all, timing is key. We went out to the park just about a half hour before sunset. The sun was still bright but starting to fall back behind the neighborhood houses. This allowed for beautiful dynamic lighting that wasn’t too harsh but still allowed for gorgeous contrast and depth.

Next, consider positioning.  We had brought our snowman kit with us and I strategically placed it in the sunny patch of snow encouraging my children to play there. You’ll notice the shadows falling both to the left and right of this one patch of light. I backed up so my children were in between myself and my view of the sun. As I’d shoot, I’d make slight adjustments to my positioning as my kids ran around in order to keep their bodies blocking some of the sunlight coming into my lens. This allowed me to shoot them backlit to get that desirable rim light around parts of their bodies as well as some sun flare. Oh man do I love sun flare when done right and this was the perfect situation for it. In the image above, I think the snow flying so close to my lens caught some of that beautiful sunlight. My daughter was enjoying finding all the fresh patches to run through and kicking the snow up into my camera lens.

Missy Knight Photography, lifestyle photography, Westminster, Colorado, golden hour snow session, sun flare, Fuji XT1 + 16mm
Fuji XT1 + 16mm, ISO 250, f/3.6, SS 2000

Then, consider camera settings. In all honestly I realized part way through I hadn’t set my white balance initially (whoops!) so that was a little extra work fixing in post processing. Ideally I would have set that first. I knew my kids were going to be running around the entire time and the snow flying everywhere, so I needed a fast shutter speed and set it at 2000. I also knew I wanted the neighborhood houses in the background to be as little distraction as possible so I used a wide aperture ranging from f/1.8 to f/2.5. I enjoy playing with aperture in all sessions I do to get a variety of looks. My ISO started around 250 at the beginning and as the light changed I’d adjust ending at ISO 640.

Finally, I added in a little creativity by braving some free-lensing. I was nervous to attempt it with all the snow flying around but figured if I could make it work, it would be well worth it in the end. I’m so glad I did as some of my favorite images that day were free-lensed. If you want to learn more about free-lensing, check back for a future post coming up.

golden hour snow session, playing in the snow, building a snowman, Missy Knight Photography, Colorado lifestyle family photographer
FUJI XT1 + 16mm, ISO 640, f/1.6, SS 2000
golden hour snow session, playing in the snow, building a snowman, Missy Knight Photography, Colorado lifestyle family photographer
FUJI XT1 + 56mm, ISO 250, f/1.4, SS 2000

Once our toes were sufficiently cold and our cheeks and noses were rosy pink we decided to head on in to make some dinner. I’d be so happy to hear from any of you who attempt a session like this or would want one captured for you, just shoot me an email or comment below!

 

Newborn Lifestyle Session ~ Why every new parent should consider doing one of these sessions!

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Newborn Lifestyle Photography sessions have quickly become one of my most favorite types of sessions. What makes a newborn photo session a lifestyle session? To me, it’s all about the story the photographs tell of the family’s new bond and emotional connection with their new little bundle of joy in the middle of their own surroundings.

The story is often told through the little details. Each and every little detail that show how much thought and love were put into planning baby’s arrival.  This antique nursery from Blakelee’s Newborn Lifestyle Photo session is the perfect example of how each detail was carefully thought out by her momma Michele. From the delicate pink flower tutu hanging on the wall by the window, to the gold details on the wallpaper, and all the other sweet antique touches.

Missy Knight Photography, Westminster Newborn Lifestyle Photographer, Lifestyle Photography, details, Nursery details, antique
Nursery Details

This type of session also emphasizes the new bond and emotional connection that comes along with bringing a new life in the home whether for the first time or beyond. The love between each family member is unique and different and has to be captured in their own way.

Newborn Lifestyle Photography, Westminster Newborn Photography, Missy Knight Photography, black and white photos, connection between mom and baby, window light
Connection between momma and her baby girl!
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Daddy’s girl
Missy Knight Photography, Westminster Newborn Lifestyle Photographer, Lifestyle Photography, details, Nursery details, antique, brotherly love
Breck showing baby sister his cars
Missy Knight Photography, Westminster Newborn Lifestyle Photographer, Lifestyle Photography, details, Nursery details, antique, family photography, window light
There’s a whole lotta love in this new family of four!

Then there’s all the newborn details you don’t want forgotten. From the sweet face, little yawns, and tiny toes. These are the details you’ll look back on years from now and feel like you can almost reach out to touch that soft baby skin, smell that oh so sweet newborn smell, tickle all those tiny toes, and look deep into their adoring eyes.

Missy Knight Photography, Westminster Newborn Lifestyle Photographer, Lifestyle Photography, details, Nursery details, antique, newborn details
Sweet Blakelee

I was so honored to photograph the story Blakelee’s arrival into the Burkhalter home in this Westminster, CO Newborn Lifestyle Session. I wish the best for this family and can’t wait to see both Blakelee and her brother grow to be the best of friends! If you are interested in a Newborn Lifestyle Session with Missy Knight Photography, please contact me today to schedule a session.

The beauty between storms at South Mesa Trailhead in Boulder, CO

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Boulder Family Lifestyle photography, lifestyle photography, Boulder, CO, Missy Knight Photography, Westminster Family Photography, flatirons, South Mesa Trailhead
Sheikh family at South Mesa Trailhead

The day of this family lifestyle photography session was a stormy one! My family had been out to eat earlier in the afternoon, sitting out on the patio and got poured on…oops! Since Tariq’s mother was in town we were going to do everything we could to get this session in so we determined it would be a game time decision. Thank goodness we did because it ended up being beautiful partially sunny skies for the duration of the hour session at the South Mesa Trailhead in Boulder, CO.

South Mesa Trailhead, river, Boulder, CO, Boulder Family Photographer, Boulder Lifestyle Photography, Missy Knight Photography
Dancing with momma!

South Mesa Trailhead, Boulder, CO, Boulder Family Photographer, Boulder Lifestyle Photography, Missy Knight Photography, family photos, mother and daughter

While I had met Rachel previously, this was my first time meeting the rest of her family. I have to say this family sure knows how to enjoy themselves and have fun with each other. There was so much playing and giggles that I couldn’t help myself but smile the entire time I was editing this session just remembering it all.

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Walking the bridge at South Mesa Trailhead

South Mesa Trailhead, Boulder, CO, Boulder Family Photographer, Boulder Lifestyle Photography, Missy Knight Photography, family photos

There are so many scenic places to stop and photograph at this location. We initially found a path that lead down to the river, then it circles around back to the main trail with this amazing bridge. If you follow the path up you come to an opening with an old building and an open field with a view of the majestic Flatiron mountains behind it. It was a great place for the Sheikh family to play around and enjoy themselves a bit.

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Family fun with a view of the Flatirons

South Mesa Trailhead, Boulder, CO, Boulder Family Photographer, Boulder Lifestyle Photography, Missy Knight Photography, family photos South Mesa Trailhead, Boulder, CO, Boulder Family Photographer, Boulder Lifestyle Photography, Missy Knight Photography, family photos South Mesa Trailhead, Boulder, CO, Boulder Family Photographer, Boulder Lifestyle Photography, Missy Knight Photography, family photos South Mesa Trailhead, Boulder, CO, Boulder Family Photographer, Boulder Lifestyle Photography, Missy Knight Photography, family photosSouth Mesa Trailhead, Family photography, Boulder Family Photographer, Boulder, CO, Missy Knight Photography

Thanks for making it so much fun to do my job Sheikh family!

If you are interested in a family photography session with Missy Knight Photography, send me a message! If you are a photographer and want to talk anything photography I’d love to hear from you too!

 

Senior Session around Golden, Colorado and Dakota Ridge High School

The Montoya family came to me through a referral from another family and I am so glad they did. I got to meet the whole family but for this session it was all about Anthony for his senior photos. We started out down by Clear Creek River in Golden, CO.  The river is such a beautiful spot to photograph at with lots of places to get down by the river (safely of course).  Depending on the time of year there are more or less places to get down by there as the water is higher or lower due to run off.

Clear Creek River, Golden, Colorado, Senior Photos, Missy Knight Photography, Golden Senior Photographer
Anthony Montoya at Clear Creek River
Senior photos, Clear Creek RIver, Golden, Colorado, MIssy Knight Photography, Golden Senior Photographer
This would make a great yearbook option
Senior photos, Clear Creek RIver, Golden, Colorado, MIssy Knight Photography, Golden Senior Photographer
Clear Creek River

After taking a few photos down here we headed back up to Clear Creek History Park  and Colorado School of Mines. Anthony’s mom had a great idea of using some steps by a building on the Mines campus. The architecture of the old buildings  make for a perfect backdrop.

Colorado School of Mines Campus, senior photos, Missy Knight Photography, Golden Senior Photography
Colorado School of Mines Campus Steps

Anthony plays football at Dakota Ridge High School so we ended the evening there to get a few football photos. The sports photos end up being some of my favorites every time as we can be a little more creative with those.

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Football at Dakota Ridge

If you are interested in a Senior Photo session contact Missy Knight today!

Senior Session in Downtown Denver, CO ~ Graffiti walls at Confluence Park

This senior session didn’t go as planned at all… but that ended up being a great thing! First off, my daughter’s soccer practice ended up running over but I wasn’t about to be late to the session so I brought her along. Boy was she happy about that and I got a little mini assistant! We met up with Darian, his mom, and his sister too! We started down by the South Platte River in Confluence Park.

South Platte River, Confluence Park, Downtown Denver, Senior Photos, REI Downtown
Darian’s senior photo by the South Platte River in Denver

While we were down there we thought it would be a great place to sneak in a photo with his little sister. I sure hope my own two kids get along this well when they are in high school!

Confluence Park, South Platte River, REI Downtown, siblings, Senior photo session
Darian and his sister Priscilla enjoying a moment together

Here’s the next part that didn’t go as planned…I normally skip right over the graffiti walls down in Confluence Park for Senior photos . However,  Darian loved the look of the graffiti walls and later told me he’s an artist himself. These ended up being my favorite photos from the session and hopefully his as well!

Graffiti walls in confluence park, senior photography, Downtown Denver, Missy Knight Photography
“The Face” Graffiti wall

We also loved the look of the old train bridge with a box car train going by. Believe it or not, it stopped right when I started taking pictures here with the graffiti on the train right behind him.

Train, Downtown Denver, By confluence Park, Senior photography, Missy Knight Photography
The train even had graffiti!

Clocks at REI Downtown, Senior photos, Missy Knight Photography, Denver Photographer
Clocks at REI Downtown

Lastly, we ended back up by REI. I love the giant clocks there and right before sunset the reflection in the glass windows is just beautiful. I have to say thank you to the past client(s) who referred this family to me! Referrals are definitely one of the biggest compliments a photographer can get. Check out more of my work or contact me to talk about photography or even schedule a session!

 

Chase after your dreams…even if they scare you!

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Chase your dreams!

When I first had the thought of starting a photography business, the next thought that quickly followed was “No way, you can’t do that. You aren’t at the professional level yet. You don’t know enough about business. You don’t have the money to start a business. You don’t…”  The list went on and on of why I felt like I couldn’t do it. Still today, some of those thoughts creep into my mind.

Time went on and I practiced, practiced, practiced. I read everything I could about photography and starting your own business. I talked myself out of it over and over again. However, I just kept practicing and studying any free chance I had (which wasn’t much between being a full time teacher, wife, and mom to two amazing kids). When I came across something I couldn’t do, I would read about it, then practice it, usually on my kids much to their dismay after awhile. I would feel like I was getting it, only to realize there was something else I needed to learn. It’s one of the aspects of photography that has frustrated me at many points along the way yet I’ve grown to appreciate and even love.

Somewhere along the way through the love and encouragement of my supportive husband, family, and friends I decided to take the plunge and start Missy Knight Photography LLC. I’m not going to lie, I still have a lot to learn about owning and running your own business but I sure am loving the journey along the way. Well, I’m loving it most of the time anyway. Of course it has it’s ups and downs. One of those ups just happened today when I realized Missy Knight Photography shows up on page 4 of a google search for Westminster, CO senior photographers and page 9 for family photographers! That’s a big accomplishment considering a month ago I knew NOTHING about SEO (search engine optimization) and you couldn’t find my business name anywhere in a google search. Again, I read (even when it sounded like a foreign language to me), I practiced, I read some more to try to better understand, I practiced some more and finally it’s paid off! I sure can’t say it’s easy but I’m incredibly happy I took that plunge and didn’t let my fears get in my way for once in my life.  Whatever those dreams are you have, chase after them, don’t let fear stop you! Want to chat more about my process or schedule a session? Message me at Missy Knight Photography by clicking here.