My name is Diana Elizabeth. My husband and I live in a restored 1952 red brick home that sits on a former citrus grove in Phoenix. I'm a journalist who went from writing about fashion and reporting on the LA red carpet to a photographer and FORD model. When I'm not behind or in front of a camera, I enjoy blogging about my home projects, and the things that make me happy with camera in hand.
I appreciate old homes, love adding fruit trees to our yard, and I firmly believe making a house a home is a wonderfully fun ongoing project. I'm bravely jumping into the domestic life hoping one day I will bake a homemade pie so I earn my badge. This is a glimpse into my life and work.
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Summer is going to be here before we know it so I’m sure you’re all ready to travel – I know I am! I thought I’d write a post of some of my favorite travel gear and what I take with me. I don’t take ALL that you see above with me all the time, but for the most part it’s about 85% of the gear you see above.
When I went to Ireland and London, I left my DSLR at home but took my Sony NEX-5R (c/o), with 3 lenses: 50mm f1/.8 great for portraits and that compression, 16mm f/2.8 for scenic wide angles, and the standard kit lens 18-55mm (c/o) just incase I needed it for backup. I typically put all of those things in the ONA camera bag travel insert and stuff in a large crossbody purse. To see how great this camera is with DSLR quality (minus the mirror) click here to see photos from Ireland.
If you have a smart phone you can use a free app to use your phone as a remote. Otherwise, you can pick up an inexpensive wireless remote.
I always pack my Canon Powershot S100 as a backup. Because it’s so lightweight, I can slip it in my clutch. Also if my batteries run out on my main camera, heaven forbid, I don’t miss capturing something great. It has manual mode and opens to F/2 which is important for a photographer – this basically means you can capture some great images in low light settings, even on auto mode.
For any landscape shooting, this Dynex tripod lightweight tripod I bought at Best Buy for under $20. You cannot use your hefty DSLR on this bad boy, I wouldn’t even try it. It’s not heavy duty, but is excellent for small camera needs.
If you just want a decent lens and your smartphone, you can take the Sony Qx10 (c/o) lens and that’s it! Read my review here. It will take excellent photos on the mini SD card and you can have it on your phone as well. This is great for all your phone picture takers – but you know you should really preserve your memories with better equipment. Downside – no flash, but nbd if you shoot during the day.
If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments below. Are you going anywhere this summer? Happy travels!
Diana Elizabeth says the Sony NEX cameras are amazing, she recommends it to everyone, even photographers because traveling with a DSLR and all those expensive lenses doesn’t make sense!
Phase 1 of Sony Club has come to a pause (they don’t want us to say end), but not without a bang! A nice big box arrived at my door. My, what could be inside? A sweet note, and a reminder of some fun memories we had when we all met up for the first time in San Diego for sailing, horse races, and collecting our Sony goodies… and…
Wait, did I see that correctly? An e-mount lens box? Telephoto?
Why yes! Yes! I had this in my Amazon shopping cart for a month debating if I needed a telephoto lens. This 18-105mm f/4 will be perfect for…
A week long trip to FRANCE in June!
Weeee! Oh, and my face is on a marshmallow with my fellow Sony Club bloggers, the rest of the awesome 10 of them.
When I first decided to concentrate more about blogging I had little to no idea what that meant, what the rewards would be, if any. I wasn’t looking for them, just looking to share, encourage, write in my own little space in the blog universe and enjoy my day to day lifestyle. This has truly been a blessing, a nice encouragement, and I have really treasured this time of being included to work with such a great brand. Thanks Sony for all the fun and your generosity, really love you guys. You had me at Walkman.
Diana Elizabeth says a fast way to her heart is filling her camera bag. And a full expenses paid trip overseas, that will also do.
When I first started photography I decided backlighting was my thing. It’s that natural light photographer I don’t know how to use my flash properly and I am not sure about the look but I’ll also pretend it’s just not my style kinda thing – let’s be real.
While I do understand flash and how to use it, I’m just going to say I don’t like lugging lights around or backdrops so I choose to be more natural in terms of lighting. Now I can really tell you I don’t mind flash and I understand it, but I’m now lazy and I don’t want to do it. However, the idea of backlighting and thinking that your subject has to face their shadow straight on, well that’s changed for me. You may have read this post where I talk about finding the light but in this post I want to talk about it from the side.
I would say if you’re a fan of backlighting, don’t forget it blows out your skies, and don’t overthink backlighting so much that you miss out on the nice view behind.
I also think lighting from the side is just fine. I’m going to show examples, and most of these images you’ve already seen before but may not have paid much attention to lighting.
Yes this is perfect backlighting:
Everything about this shot was perfect, including the background. But in some instances, it might be trickier and I want to challenge you to not freak out if your subject has sun on one side of their face because this is just a different lighting scenario. It’s not incorrect, but you can still feel this is your style.
Lighting directly from the side:
Do you now spot what I’m saying? Don’t miss out on a pretty backdrop just because you’re scared of shadows or you think everyone has to have the sun behind them. Having light come from one direction isn’t just for studio lighting or drama, it can be done outdoors and be very pretty.
Now let’s look at inside.
Inside window light, to the side:
And if you really like to backlight, and maybe you do want flash, you can try this:
Happy shooting, don’t overthink it!
Diana Elizabeth always thought she had to have the light behind but that really limits how you can shoot. Also keep in mind that if it looks good, it looks good!
Photo taken by my brother who loves attending air shows
My brother should write this post since I am not an expert at attending air shows and taking photos and he is really good. Recently, Benjamin and I went with him to the Luke Air Force Air Base Show in Phoenix which was a blast from the past. My mom and dad used to take us to air shows all the time growing up. In fact, it’s no wonder why Blake loves them so much, look at him.
If you are planning on attending air shows this season or taking your little ones because they love these sort of things like most boys do, you may want to bring your camera along to take some pics and hang in their room. Here are a few tips from a gal who is not truly experienced in this and just giving you some off the cuff advice. I’ll let my brother comment on this post for more tips, I am certain he will have a lot to say about this.
Air show picture taking tips:
Additional tips from my brother:
Let’s look at some of my examples. First, I should tell you I did not use a telephoto and my most zoom was at 55mm. Weak! I should also tell you these were on my Sony NEX-5R (c/0) + 18-55mm (c/o). I knew I should bring a telephoto but I didn’t care so much so this is what I got most of the time:
I show this not to mislead you. I brought all my images into Lightroom and just cropped strategically as so, to get these images:
This is a great example of my spray and pray method – I had no idea what I was looking at because the sun was right in my camera. Decent though, right?
I could definitely zoom in more and not have so much sky space, but I think I like it cute and small in the air. Let’s be frank, if I took my 70-200mm f/2.8 and my Mark III, I’d be winning but for that day, I’m more than OK with these. He’s upside down!
Here’s one by Blake, with his Nikon (he had to go get Nikon just to be different than me, that’s just how it works):
Here is where continuous shutter speed with multi sensor focus comes in:
Ta-da! Ok, I don’t know what I’ll be doing with any of these images but thought I’d share them with you for your future air show trips! A few random tips – wear a hat, bring sunscreen, and expect once you think you are going to get to the destination, it’ll probably be another 90 minutes of getting there – traffic, parking, walking, etc. Just enjoy!
Diana Elizabeth remembered why she liked going when she was little, she had so much fun and ate lots of random food. Not good, just random.
I remember when I first started photography back in 2009 and how much I had to learn. It took time, but I was on the fast track of learning with the photography careers peeking, the culture was so much different back then than it is today. Of course, I am in a different place in my career but I so hope that it’s just as exciting, welcoming, into networking as it was when I started.
Things that clean images up:
You should know:
Things you should be doing:
On a side note, you may be wondering what to photograph for free and what to pass. Read this post for tips.
As with anything, if you truly love it, and you want to succeed and make it your living, you need to give your time into it. This also depends on how much you want to get into it – you might be comfortable with where you are and that’s completely fine! There’s no pressure to be the most sought after photographer if you don’t want to be, or don’t have the time. Be realistic about your goals helps you decide how much time and money to put into it.
Diana Elizabeth was thinking about how she wants to be a good knitter, but she’s not quite sure if she wants to be an expert knitter. Does she ever have the desire to knit a sweater? Perhaps not, so that will determine how much learning time she gives. But talk to her again come summer, she might be bored and will want to advance.
Maybe this post will apply to just a handful of you who own businesses, or maybe this will apply to you one day as you’re trying to build one. Either way, this post is for all who have been a victim of social media rudeness, and all the haters out there – thanks for inspiring this post and still reading my junk.
How I get hated on:
What I would love to do:
What I really end up doing:
I’ve had this conversation with friends, especially those with businesses – we all get our feelings hurt putting ourselves out there, or we’re shocked that people can be so rude. Listen, haters gonna hate, that phrase exists for a reason, and trollers just exist because they are insecure, unhappy, and just angry. I stopped writing for one online source because I wasn’t getting paid enough to put up with the incredibly rude and ungrateful readers. What’s the point of trying to be helpful when people rip you to shreds?
Also don’t get caught up on if not enough people like or comment on what you post. I have like 2500 friends on my Facebook business page and my posts get seen by like 200, if even depending on how nice Facebook wants to be to me that day. Sometimes, people aren’t glued to their phone to watch their feed – case is – don’t overanalyze.
But, with all that aside, I go back to this ladies and gents:
And then I go back on my merry way, doing what God intended me to do, and focus on who he intended me to be.
Even the devil can leave his comments and he won’t shake me.
Diana Elizabeth says social media can be strange, but don’t let it be. Don’t let negativity keep you down, use it to fuel yourself and just feel plain sad for those who are in a constant criticism of others.
I checked out Case Logic‘s product line and was happy to receive the Reflection DSLR + iPad Backpack, $99. It comes in two colors, and I chose Morel, the lighter color. I love that it zips in half so it’s like having two bags without the need to stack things on top of one another.
This is a 2-part review one with travel equipment that I use and my professional equipment.
Part 1: Using my TRAVEL equipment in the Case Logic Reflection DSLR + iPad Backpack (c/o)
When I travel, this is all I bring - Sony NEX-5R (c/o), 50mm f1/.8, 16mm f/2.8 + 18-55mm (c/o) and the little flash is included with the NEX bodies. I believe combined, the equipment it weighs less than 5 lbs. This is what I took to Ireland and London. One camera body, three lenses.
It slips into the included padded case then I packed it in the bottom zip compartment as so, and slide in my tablet in the back sleeve.
Close and zip and the top has space for snacks, extra anything, umbrella, a sweater, other travel odds and ends. Perhaps a headphone and chargers.
Part 2: Using my PROFESSIONAL equipment in the Case Logic Reflection DSLR + iPad Backpack
I use a suitcase to transport my equipment from office to car, to location, but perhaps some of you might enjoy hiking or traveling where you can’t really roll a luggage case with you. I’m also aware that I need a rollaway bag because of the equipment, especially for photographing weddings. So I’ll say that I think you’re a little crazy for taking your DSLR with you, because they are heavy, but if you can’t live without yours, this review post is for you.
So I put in my Canon backup camera body with grip and a 100 f/2.8 macro lens (skinny) and a flash in the padded removable pod. I would probably say put in your camera body without a grip, it’ll be a better fit and less wide.
I threw in another flash on the side and tried to see what else could fit just to give you an idea.
It also has a front zip to grab a pen, cards, USB, those little things.
The top compartment you could put your other lenses in there if you could pack them safely because if you zip and try to get to the bottom part, you don’t want them too loose.
Bringing a tripod? Oh look, it goes right here.
I think it’s a swell backpack and my brother thought it was the coolest thing when I showed him a photo online. For more information on the backpack by Case Logic, click here. You could also poke around and see what else works for your equipment. Watch the video here.
Diana Elizabeth says you have no idea how long it takes to do a review on products, take pictures and write about it. Her living room is a crazy mess, but it is fun to see what is out there and test them out.
I never thought I could make it as a blogger. What’s a blogger really anyway? And what makes someone successful at it? Daily I think it changes for me as I’m still trying to figure it out what I consider rewards, and if I should really be seeking them.
When I stepped blindly in faith to switch this blog from a photography blog to more blogging, using my photography skills to compliment my words, what I swear I was born to do – write, I have been touched by the blessings that have come from this. Things that spur me on, comments, texts, during times when I am about to throw in the towel, really. Something out of the blue comes along and it’s a little push to keep going.
New friends, new thoughts, new journeys, so many wonderful things have come from blogging. So to be asked to be featured in a blogging magazine, I would have never thought, especially since I decided to pursue this less than a year ago.
I have 8 pages in the Spring 2014 issue of Artful Blogging which is published by Stampington & Company. The pages are thick, the images by other bloggers are so moving (I have to admit I was a bit intimidated), but I am honored to be amongst such talented company. I talk about my story of blogging and why I do it, and how it all began – with diaries, the 17 that I found in my room back home, and a reminder that I have always loved to write, which is why I pursued a degree in journalism. I love to tell stories.
I’m excited to curl up with this magazine on the couch and see other’s images and read why other bloggers blog. You can purchase an issue at JoAnns, Michaels, Barnes & Nobles to name a few, or online or subscribe for $60. You should also check our their cute shoppe online.
Thank you for reading, supporting me, commenting, and just carving out a little time in your day with me.
Diana Elizabeth is glad her Ireland trip photos are enjoyed. There are shots from travel and her backyard.
I figured instead of simply showing you my vacation photos, I’d do a quick tip post on a few amusement park scenarios you may find yourself in if visiting Disneyland, Disney World, or any other amusement park with shows and rides.
I noticed nearly every vacationer had a DSLR which is awesome. I don’t want to assume every one knows manual mode, but I couldn’t help but notice the non-rule abiding citizens who kept flashing during the dark rides when we were all asked not to. Can you still take a photo in the dark? You betcha, well, depending on your equipment of course. These images were taken by my Sony NEX-5R (c/o), 50mm f1/.8, 16mm f/2.8 + 18-55mm (c/o). It’s what I suggest taking for traveling.
If you find that you don’t know what I’m talking about, why not consider signing up for one of my online courses? Visit the workshops tab on this blog. In 30 minutes you’ll know manual mode and I promise you’ll be glad you can take better photos on your family vacation!
Can you take good photos at Disneyland or Disney World? Absolutely, here’s how.
The top 5 Amusement Park scenarios you may come across and how to capture them:
1) Bumpy + fast moving rides
Sorry, you probably won’t get a good shot on the tea cup rides, eeek. I’m sick just thinking about it. But, say it’s a bumpy safari ride that’s moving and there might be animals moving as well.
Camera tip: Fast shutter speed – Think 1/500 or faster, depending on how fast you are moving or bumping around. But make sure you have enough light in, so bump up that ISO and/or increase aperture so you get correct exposure.
Examples, I was on the Disney World Animal Kingdom Harambe Wildlife Reserve in an open air jeep, super bumpy and going pretty fast. I call these lucky shots but I knew at 1/4000 I was going to get a clear shot of something.
1/4000 sec at f/2.2
1/4000 sec at f/2.5
2) Dark rides or no flash photography shows
A common thing, just so guests don’t disrupt other’s enjoyment of rides or accidentally flash and show every one else the mechanics behind the magic. Just because they say no flash and it’s dark doesn’t mean you can’t get a good shot.
Camera tip: High ISO (making camera sensitve to light), wide aperture (to let enough light in).
Now if you’re on a moving dark ride, just make sure to move your camera with the subject, pan with it as you move along to try to steady the shot.
ISO: 25600, f/4, 1/250 sec
ISO 12800, f/2.8, 1/80 sec
ISO 12800, f/2.8, 1/80 sec
3) Light Show Parade or Fireworks
A lower ISO can work since fireworks – especially an explosion will give enough light. But for the most part, you can use a high ISO and do a quick shutter if it’s easier to control your shutter as they go off. Use a quick shutter to capture fireworks frozen in air and less stringy. Be aware – You will be adjusting your shutter constantly throughout the show.
Camera tip: ISO you are comfortable with, keeping your finger on adjusting the shutter as the fireworks go. This might take a few minutes in to find where you are comfortable. Trick is a fast shutter then adjust other settings to get correct exposure. A faster shutterspeed will be necessary if there’s a lot of light or the subject is close. A slower one will be if it’s further away or dimmer light.
ISO 12800, f/1.8, 1/4000 sec
BAD auto flash example:
Blah! Auto flash just makes the lights look less impressive and all I see are people.
On manual mode with my preferred settings, yay!:
ISO 1600, f/1.8, 1/160 sec
ISO 1600, f/1.8, 1/500 sec
Now I can concentrate on just the lights and the crowd falls into the background.
4) Water show
Do you know what kind of water look you’d like to capture? A flowing stream or frozen drops?
Camera tip: fast shutter to freeze it in midair, or slower to show it more flowy.
BAD example of it on boring auto mode:
Booo. My camera isn’t smart to think on its own. ISO 100, f/16, 1/125 sec
This looks terrible not only because of lighting, but the fact that at f/16 it barely had any light in, it had to slow down the shutter. This looks like a boring water show.
In manual mode, my preferences:
ISO 200, f/2.8, 1/3200 sec
5) Backlit Daytime Parade
Usually parades are slow as it goes at walking pace. What if you find yourself facing the sun and you can’t move spots? You would then be doing backlighting to avoid your subjects being too dark. On auto mode the camera meters the entire frame to get proper exposure, so it will often take into account the sky and not anything else. This is why in manual mode you can adjust your shutter to be slower to let in more light.
Camera tip: Slower shutter speed, over exposing because you are facing the sun. Slower shutterspeed is relative depending on the rest of your settings. You do want it fast enough to capture the moving parade.
ISO 800, f/1.8, 1/1000 sec
These were fairly simple tips, but just incase you find yourself in a frenzy, now you know. I had a good time teaching my younger brother about manual mode. He has a Nikon (he must always oppose me) and he really started to like the features on my Sony NEX. I might need to give him mine one day when I upgrade my NEX body or get him his own. I think he realized he needs some new lenses so that will be exciting for him to build.
To see some of my online workshops that are prerecorded, check them out here. You can watch on your own time.
Diana Elizabeth loves that 3 lenses and a camera body can fit in her purse.
Have you ever thought about doing a concept shoot?
What is a concept shoot:
A non commissioned shoot, created typically by a group of other creative individuals in the same business to showcase their best work and use the images to share, network and market to each other’s contacts. Typically incredibly creative and over the top, every vendor’s vision come to life to showcase their talents.
Why create a concept shoot:
It helps define your style, showcasing the jobs and clients you wish to attract. It can get publicity on a wedding blog which is a great introduction to blog editors. All vendor participants will share the publicity therefore sharing all businesses that were a part of the collaboration.
Ready to create one of yours this year? Read my 10 Successful Steps Every Concept Shoot Needs on Tuts+.
Some images of my favorite concept shoots, each have been published on a major blog:
The best thing is you can take your sweet time during these shoots! You also create really great industry relationships.
Diana Elizabeth says concept shoots don’t have to be really large either, they can be small little shoots.
Hi! I’m Diana Elizabeth, named after Princess Diana and Queen Elizabeth. I'm a photographer, wife, model, and Christ follower. I'm just learning as I go and sharing my stories!
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