• Welcome to the blogsite of award winning photographer, Samantha Alday. Samantha is also a boutique-style photographer commissioning a limited number of wedding and portrait events each year delivering the most in personal customer service, detail and the specific needs of each client. Her work has been featured in ALABAMA WEDDINGS Magazine, The Knot online Real Weddings and has been awarded by the Wedding Photojournalist Association.

Kasey Senior 2011

Here are a few favorites from Kasey’s recent Senior Session.

It was such a pleasure hanging out with you Kasey!  I’m so proud of the young man you have become and I know you have also made your parents very proud, too.  🙂

To see more of Kasey’s Senior Portraits, visit the Online Shopping Gallery and use Kasey’s last name as the access code!

Photography 101 | More about Flash

Have you been practicing?

Yay!  I’m glad to hear that.  😉

What do you think so far?  Has the use of flash outdoors made more sense to you now?

No, it’s not a have-too, but it does help if you need it.

Let’s talk more about your pop-up flash if you’re going to use it.

This is when you’ll need to dig that instruction book out again.  Go to the flash page.

This is the cool part.

Did you know that you can also control the amount of output your flash has?

Love that!

You can turn your power up or down so to speak to suit your particular needs for your shot!

You flash control should look like this (the symbol that looks like a lightening bolt refers to your flash):

And it does just what it looks like it should do:  roll your control dial to the left (or to the minus side) for less light and to the right (or plus side) to add more light. (Freebie:  the numbers -2 +2 refers to the f/stops you’re adding or reducing light. Dig deeper into your camera manual and you should be able to set that to your own preference….by 1/3, 1/2, etc.)

Get it?  You’ll need to read about that in your instructions for the specifics of your own camera.

The reasons why this is so great for you are because 1.  you may need to add light to those dark faces that you’re not able to add light to otherwise and 2. for indoor use of course, and 3.  you still want to create the most natural image you can, not the ghost white face that we sometimes get.

That’s basically it.  It’s really such a simple tool that’s frequently overlooked.

That’s also it about pop-up flashes.  While it is a good tool for you to use, it also has it’s limitations.  It’s power output only stretches so far.  This is when you’ll need to consider using a flash strobe–the kind that slides into that hotshoe on top of your camera (if your camera has one).

Going with an actual strobe really opens a new world up to you and gives you lots more options for your use of flash.  I highly recommend purchasing one.

For next week’s lesson, I’ll talk a little more about the use of a strobe flash and give you some helpful tips in your daily use of it.

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Samantha - August 31, 2011 - 9:37 am

Hi Amanda and thank you so much for your kind words! I’m so glad you are finding the Photography 101 lessons helpful and good luck with your own ‘mom-ography’. 😉

Amanda - August 28, 2011 - 9:31 pm

I just stumbled upon your site and I’m so glad I did. Thanks so much for posting these very helpful mini lessons. I’m an amateur photographer…maybe more of a “mom'”ographer….I have an endless supply of pictures of my two kids. Photography is a passion of mine that I never knew existed….it’s easy to be passionate about it when you actually start understanding it. Anyway, just wanted to say thank you. These lessons have been very helpful! You do beautiful work!


Photography 101 | Flash

I’ve pondered over the name of this particular lesson and contemplated between using the title “Light” or “Flash”.  Why, you ask?  Well, this lesson covers adding light to your image primarily with the use of a flash or strobe.  I suppose I could write several lessons on the how-to’s of adding light, but for now, we’ll specifically talk about the use of flash.

Most of you have a pop up flash on your camera that will offer you just what you’re needing in your day to day of taking pictures.  It also probably does more than just ‘pop up’ when you’re camera tells it to.  Believe it or not, you also have control of your pop up flash but more on that later.  😉

Think about this for a moment?  When do you normally use your flash?

The answer?  When you’re indoors and the light is low right?

Well I hope by now, you’ve learned a bit more about using your aperture to give you more light in those low light situations, so I’m going to tell you that for the most part using your flash indoors is usually the worst time to use your flash.

Huh?  Yes, that’s what I said.

I also said ‘normally’.  I didn’t say every time.

Think about that for a minute.  What do those indoor flash pictures usually look like?  If you can’t remember, go take a look at a few you recently took.  What do they look like?  Find any deer in the headlight shots or black tunnels behind your subject?  Find any bright, blown out balding heads that sit in the row just in front of you while the actual subject of your image remains in the dark?

If you found any of those hidden away on your computer’s hard drive or photo box somewhere, then I hope you get a better idea of why indoor use of flash is totally misused or rather used incorrectly.


Get ready for what I’m about to tell you.

Flash is usually better used outdoors rather than indoors.

Keep reading.

Now that I have your attention again, think about what your outdoor shots tend to look like.  Raccoon eyes sound familiar?  OR your subject is dark while the background is bright and sunny?  You know you all have photos that look like that, right?  I know I did before learning how to correct it.

So with that in mind, how do you think is the best way to brighten up your subject or to brighten those ‘coon eyes?

If you said flash then you’ve got it!!  Use your pop up flash to provide FILL LIGHT!


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve embarrassed my family by stopping strangers on the street and telling them to pop up that flash so they’ll brighten up those faces they’re taking a picture of.

Another quickie, but that’s it for now!  I hope it gets you thinking.  We’ll discuss more about Fill Light or Fill Flash next week.

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Happy Monday!

Photography 101 | Shutter Speed Part 2

Ok……it wasn’t that bad was it!?  Your palms were sweaty for no reason at all, right?  So what are your thoughts about Shutter Speed?  Is it making more sense to you now?  Re-read last week’s lesson.

Let’s review.

Shutter Speed is literally the speed of the opening within the lens that “snaps” the picture or image.

How fast that shutter opens and closes determines:

**The blurriness or sharpness of your subject—if the shutter is open for a longer period of time, it’s going to pick up any movement within your frame (including your own hand shake).  If it opens really quickly then your subject will be ‘frozen’ without being blurry.

**It also determines how much light reaches your frame to help expose your image.  The longer it’s open, the more light comes in…the quicker it open and closes, the less light comes in.

Get it?

Re-read that.

Shutter Speed is also written in a fraction number such as 1/15-1/1000.  Bonus:  why is it written like that?

Because it opens and closes in fractions of a second.  Pretty neat, huh?

Here are a few images from this weekend.  These images are straight out of the camera (SOOC) with no editing.

Image #1:  ISO 100, aperture f/11, shutter speed 1/180

Image #2:  ISO 100, aperture f/11, shutter speed 1/500Now look at the difference in the two images.  My ISO and aperture settings were the same, but my SS changed.  What does my image look like with a slower SS?  What does the image look like with a faster SS?

Now…on to the evening shots.

Image #3:  ISO 1250, aperture 2.8, shutter speed 1/90

This one is too dark, but look at the last one.

Image #4: ISO 1250, aperture 2.8, shutter speed 1/45.

Notice my ISO is pretty up there (it’s right at dusk); my aperture is as wide as I can go with this lens, so I’ve got to slow down my shutter speed as much as possible to let as much light in as possible.  But remember the risk–a blurred image.  Ideally, you could use a tripod to keep yourself from moving, but with these images I was sitting on the roof of my car with my elbows propped on my knees.  😉Clear as mud??  You’ve got it.  No worries.

Don’t forget you can ask questions, just post your questions in the comments section so everyone can have a chance to also understand.

Now go out and shoot someone!

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Happy Monday!