Carolyn V: Blog en-us (C) Carolyn V (Carolyn V) Mon, 05 Jun 2017 17:15:00 GMT Mon, 05 Jun 2017 17:15:00 GMT Carolyn V: Blog 83 120 What do you Like to Photograph?

What is it that grabs your attention? We all have different things we’re interested in. Some of us like food photography, others floras, people, landscapes, still life … the list really can go on and on. I’ve always loved photographing pretty much anything that was in front of me.


Just picking up your camera is what I want to encourage today. There are so many things we can capture and we all have a different eye. What looks good to me may not look good to you and vice versa.

Still Life is my current favorite but I'll never stop loving taking pictures of people! Capturing those special moments in life is something I really treasure … and it’s the way I make a living. 

I've got some of the best pictures of my grandchildren ... why is that? Because I'm a great photographer? No ... because I always have my camera ready. It's kept close by so whenever something adorable starts happening ... really, when does it not happen with grandchildren ... I'm ready to snap a shot ... or two or three! The pictures may not be perfect and the kind you'd want to hang in your home, but they do capture moments ... and those are the treasures. Those are some of the things that can spark a memory and bring a smile to your face. 

These are some of what I like to photograph. What do you like to photograph? Think about it and maybe just start snapping. You'll get some treasures to last a lifetime and discover what really interests you.




]]> (Carolyn V) California Carolyn V Photography San Luis Obispo County photography tips Mon, 17 Apr 2017 13:45:00 GMT

It was kind of dreary and looking like rain as the day first began. That quickly changed to sunshine and blue skies though. Two of my granddaughters were staying with me that morning so Mom and Dad could get some things done in town. Today was moving day! They're moving out to the country to live next door to us. What an exciting day for all of us! I love having family near by. 

Walking to the well or the power pole are kind of a tradition I have with the grandchildren. Today one of the girls wanted to walk to the well. As we headed out the door, I suggested that we might walk down the driveway to pick some wildflowers. That idea overrode the 'well' idea and so off we went. 

It's quite a driveway that we have ... not the typical that fits one or two cars. The familiar walk was a fun one for all three of us. The sun was kind of in and out as it hid behind the big clouds overhead. That warmth of the sun and the spectacular view of pink and purple wildflowers made it a perfectly enjoyable walk.

We each picked our own bouquet ... it was hard not to pick more! If only our hands were bigger! 

We combined our efforts and ended up with this gorgeous display of flowers. It was perfect for my day's offering on Instagram. :) Little did the girls know but they really helped me out in gathering some gorgeous color for this photograph I share with you today.



]]> (Carolyn V) California Carolyn V Photography San Luis Obispo County still life Sun, 09 Apr 2017 13:58:08 GMT
My Life ... in Still Life

What an interesting journey this has been. My first knowledge of still life was when I was doing watercolor painting. Not that watercolor is the best medium for still life, but that is when I had some interest in it. Still Life Photography never occurred to me as something people would be interested in. A former co-worker at Pier 1 ... yes I worked at that incredibly beautiful store! ... suggested at one point that I set up little displays in the store and take pictures of them. It just didn't make any sense to me. 

Little did I know that years later I would not only get interested in Still Life Photography, but I would love it! This has become a beautiful place in my life. Sometimes I'm hurried when I begin to gather my items, but it becomes this relaxing and peaceful place. Sometimes just looking at and editing the photos makes me feel relaxed. I often have a cup of tea after photographing my set ups and that's because I often have that as one of my props. 

A few tips I would have for you if you want to get started or even just work on your own Still Life Photography are.

  • Look for the light ... do you want side light, back light, overhead light?
  • Plan out the number of items in your photograph (sometimes more is good, but others less is good)
  • Placement ... there are so many rules to keep and break. You really have to just look at what looks and feels good to you. 
  • Color ... be sure to match your colors or keep it neutral
  • Focus ... decide what will be your main point of focus and keep it sharp!
  • Editing ... keep it simple ... overworked images look just like that ... overworked!

This journey has taken me up and down. Overall, I feel like I've grown in my skill. It is a creative outlet for me. We all need that and probably get it in many ways. If you'd like to see more of my Still Life work, I have a sampling here in my galleries and a whole lot in my Instagram account here. I'd love it if you followed me along in this journey either by following me here or on my Instagram.

Thanks for stopping in ... Carolyn


]]> (Carolyn V) Carolyn V Photography San Luis Obispo County still life still life journey still life photography Sun, 02 Apr 2017 16:15:12 GMT
Still Life on Chairs Still Life on Chairs ... I never realized there were so many different ways you can do still life. I suppose it's obvious you can do this type of photo wherever you want. A table top  has been my main area to take this type of photograph. Still life is a very interesting venture for me. It takes all sorts of creativity. I have blocks in that creativity sometimes on a daily basis. Landscape was my first love in photography and as you can well imagine, I didn't have to create anything! It was all created for me. I just had to have my camera settings right and be there in the right lighting.

With Still Life, I have to have the right surface, the right lighting and the right items to be in the photograph. And it really does take some creativity to get the items set up just right. I've learned so much about Still Life in the last year it's just crazy! Today my photo is a simple one with a small vase of flowers ... and you can't even see the vase! I laid a couple of pieces of linen across the back of the chair just to give something smooth and flowing to the photo, but I'm really not sure how 'flowy' it is. I'd love it if you wandered through my Instagram by clicking here. You'll get a good look at my growth in this area of photography.

Once you get your items all set up you then have to do the editing. That is a whole process in itself ... you can create many different photographs with the same image just with different processing. I've learned to create Lightroom presets that I can use over and over, but I've also bought so many from Kim Klassen. If you aren't familiar with her work I encourage you to check her out. She has been a great influence for me, along with many other ladies, in this still life journey.

Camera Settings: 50mm, 1/45, f/2.8, ISO 500

Thank you again for stopping!


]]> (Carolyn V) Carolyn V Photography San Luis Obispo County still life still life photography Thu, 23 Mar 2017 12:44:19 GMT
Family Session in Creston California Every family session is unique ... this one was a special one. Jamey and her family are so sweet! They wanted a country setting, so we headed on out to Creston ... which happens to be where I'm from. :)

The weather was absolutely perfect! We've been having so much rain here on the Central Coast that this sunny day was eagerly welcomed!

Creston provides such great settings, from the wispy branches of these trees, to the great little buildings you'll see when you click on one of the images below. I've done many sessions out here over the years. 

I appreciate all of my customers who come out to get their photos done. 

Thank you for stopping by. Maybe I can photograph you and your family one day. :)








]]> (Carolyn V) California San Luis Obispo County family photographer portrait portraits Thu, 09 Mar 2017 15:26:24 GMT
Cards for Sale!

I'm super excited to announce that I have cards for sale! 

The art of letter writing or sending special little notes through 'snail mail' is something that has been lost with texting, and all the social media out there. I believe it is a tradition to continue. Some of my favorite things are hand written notes from my Grandma or my Dad who have both passed on. When was the last time you hand wrote a note to someone you love? 

Selling cards isn't a new thing for me ... but a 'renewed' venture. Creating cards is actually something I've been doing for many years. I first tried my hand at by painting my Christmas cards ... yes, I painted each individually! After many years of making my holiday cards, I began to create some that I could send as notes throughout the year. These were crafted using paper, fabric and ribbon. Recently this area of interest has been re-ignited.  Actually, years ago in my struggle to narrow down my many interests, I felt God tell me to combine my loves for photography and card making. This black and white card you see here is just one of the many I've done over the years. With my new love for still life photography I see a whole new avenue for my cards. I hope you'll check them out and purchase some for yourself. They are very high quality and I know you'll love them!

]]> (Carolyn V) Carolyn V Photography cards notecards Mon, 09 Jan 2017 15:00:00 GMT
What to do With Your Mounds of Photos  

Wow! We made it through another great and busy holiday season. Do you have any idea how many pictures you took? I don't either, but I know I have bunches of them!

They're on your phone and on your camera card ... now what? All of those special moments you just captured over the holidays will just stay where they are now ... in your private collection unless you take the next step.

I say take the next step! You took the time to take them ... now let's get them someplace where others can enjoy them.

Earlier this year I signed up for ChatBooks. It's a handy little app that you can download to your phone. It will take your Instagram or Facebook photos and create a book for you ... you do nothing! They send you a book once a month unless you want it set up differently. You can add or delete photos if you want ... it's up to you. It's a super simple way to create little books to sit on your shelf for showing your friends and family when they come over.

There are other ways out there too to create books ... I'm sure you're familiar with Shutterfly and Snapfish ... both super easy ways to create books. Mosaic Book by MixBook

The idea is just to do something with them! 

Happy book making!


]]> (Carolyn V) Carolyn V Photography family photos holiday photos memories sentimental photography Sun, 08 Jan 2017 01:49:15 GMT
Christmas Photos It's December! Capturing moments in life is the tagline for my photography business and I'm here to encourage you to do the same. Whether it's with your phone or with an actual camera, just pull it out and capture those special moments with your family! 

My schedule has been full capturing moments in the lives of my clients. I thought I'd share some of the photos with you today. 

** Carolyn V Photography, Family Portraits, San Luis Obispo County Portrait Photographer, Carolyn V Watson, Carolyn V
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Thank you to all of my wonderful clients! I've loved either meeting you for the first time or having the opportunity to take your picture once again. May you each have a blessed and peaceful holiday season.





]]> (Carolyn V) California Carolyn V Photography San Luis Obispo County Thu, 01 Dec 2016 01:19:52 GMT
Creating a Template in Photoshop Creating a template in Photoshop is super easy once you learn the steps. There are many sites out there that you can join with downloadable templates, but I like creating my own. With my own, I can make them whatever I want them to be. Follow these simple steps and you're on your way to much creativity!




First in Photoshop, you want to go to File and New - a box will open. If you want to save it, you can rename it at the top where it says 'Name'. Choose the size you want it to be. Mine is a 10 x 10 square.


Choose the Resolution and background contents. I like mine to be at a resolution of 400 and white as the background. 


Click Ok.













Select the Shape tool. I start with the Rectangle, but you can use any shape. When you are creating the shape, you can see the measurements near where the mouse is moving. That will tell you the dimensions you are creating. You can change what the background of the shape is filled with. I use black. You can also change the weight of the border or have no border at all. I generally choose no border. 
















Once you've created your first shape, you can make as many as you like in as many different shapes as you like.


I like to keep a little bit of the white background showing to keep some space between each picture, but you can have them touching or even leave some white space for words.


If you make a mistake and don't get them the exact size you want, you can use the Transform tool to get the little handles and adjust it.




I now have five layers on mine. I also like to reorder the layers so I know easily which is which. When you create a new layer, they stack from the bottom to the top. 


The difference on this one would be the heart shape. It has to be on top so that the picture will be on top. (if you have overlapping layers, whatever you want on top has to be on top of that layer in the layers menu.

















Next you want to save this file as a psd. That will be the default since you have not flattened your image. Choose the name. I'm choosing to name mine Square. Then choose the location you want it to be on your computer. Say 'okay' on the next window that opens and your file is saved for you to use over and over. 
















And now select your photos you want to have in each shape. 



Click on the Layer you want your first picture to be in, then go to File and then Place Embedded. Select the folder you want your pictures to come from. Select your picture and select Place. The picture is now on your PS desktop with the transform handles. Holding down the shift key, resize your image so that it is just slightly bigger than the shape you're putting it in. (You can resize it again once its there and/or move it around within the shape. Click the checkmark at the top menu to get rid of the handles.


With your mouse placed over the picture in the Layers menu, click option (a downward pointing arrow will appear) and click the picture layer with your mouse. Your picture will now be inside the shape. (If you change your mind on which layer you want your picture to be in you can always just drag the picture to above another layer.









In my picture, I decided I wanted a border around the heart so that it would stand out from the other photos and because it matches. So I just went to that layer in the layers menu and clicked on the shape. Then in the menu at the top of the PS desktop I changed the stroke color by clicking on Stroke and just next to that I adjusted the size until I felt like it matched the spaces between my photos.

















Then you want to flatten your layers and SAVE AS ... if you choose SAVE, it will save it as the PSD file and will override your template. You'll likely want this to be a jpg.


You now have a beautiful photo to do whatever you want with! :) 


I hope this was helpful. Please leave a comment if you have questions or just something you want to say.


If you'd like a copy of the PSD file that I created, please comment below and I would love to give it to you! :) 


Thank you!







]]> (Carolyn V) California Carolyn V Photography PS creating layers photoshop templates tutorial Tue, 18 Oct 2016 15:29:15 GMT
My Still Life My Still Life ... Peace is what you tend to think of when you think 'still life'. My life is nothing but still. I have this idea though that still life photography can bring a sense of stillness and peace to moments of my life. 

My journey into still life photography isn't starting out that way, although I do believe it can get there. 

Yesterday, I went out into my outdoor space with clippers in hand ready to find some special treasures that would become parts of my next 'still life' shot. One that would bring a sense of peace.  

Here is what happened instead. Once I gathered my items, I laid them out nicely on my 

whiteboard, placing them just so. The setting was perfect. I climbed up on my dining room chair to get above the display I had just created. Just as I was about to take the shot, the wind blew and my lightweight display of twigs and flowers and so it was destroyed. A couple of red ants crawled out of my sunflower. I quickly killed them trying not to make a kill spots on my white board ... 😕 This was not a peaceful moment. This was not the 'still life' that I long for. 

In the end though a couple of nice photographs came out of that not so still and peaceful moment.

Be still and know that I am God. 
Psalm 46:10

I hope this was encouraging to you as you venture into your world of creative photography. 

Have an amazing day!


]]> (Carolyn V) Carolyn V Photography San Luis Obispo County my still life Fri, 23 Sep 2016 12:57:46 GMT
The BethADilly Challenge So, I'm doing a 365 day project ... this year I guess it's a 366 day project. :) Before I started the project though I bought this e-book called The Styled Photographer. Here is a link to the author's site. The idea of the book is to help you find your photography style. I loved it and it has helped me tremendously! I've done a few 365 day projects before but never with the focus that this one has. This project is called The BETHADILLY Challenge. Believe me ... it is a challenge! Here are a couple of the photos I've submitted and a link here to my Instagram so you can see all of the photos.  

I am having a fantastic time doing this challenge. It's really making me think. One of the things I like about this is I'm free to take pictures of whatever I want ... I don't feel like it has to be people or beautiful landscapes. 

You're invited to join in. All you have to do is sign up for the mailing list on the Bethadilly link and you'll get the prompts sent to you too. Be sure to check out my Instagram. :)

]]> (Carolyn V) 365 Carolyn Instagram Photography V day project Fri, 17 Jun 2016 14:52:08 GMT
The Dreaded Self Portrait  

Believe it or not, the 'dreaded self portrait' is the perfect description for 'selfies' taken by photographers. 

Most of us much prefer that position behind the camera but sometimes we need a picture of ourselves. I've done a few self portrait projects over the years. The main purposes in it for me are:

self portrait project, Carolyn V Photography, portrait photographer,
  • Practice poses
  • Work on my creativity
  • See what it feels like for clients
  • Provide myself with good profile pictures for my social media
So, a couple of pointers for you. 
  • Wear something you're comfortable in and that is flattering
  • Practice your smile and body position in the mirror before you start
  • Remember what you learned by practicing 
  • Use a remote control (a timer just doesn't give time to get in a good pose). I have an app on my phone that is my remote, so I can see my pose in my phone camera screen before I shoot. 
  • Take lots of shots - you make take 50 or more shots and only be 'okay' with one of them. 
  • Check your images as you shoot to see if you're anywhere close to what you want. 
  • Try close up and far away and different angles. 
  • Lastly ... just do it!

self portrait project, Carolyn V Photography, portrait photographer,


self portrait project, Carolyn V Photography, portrait photographer,Carolyn V

self portrait project, Carolyn V Photography, portrait photographer,

My biggest issue ... I have tended to take pictures of just my face and I am trying to break away from that! You can follow my instagram by clicking here to see some of my newer 'selfies' as I post them (not more than once a month!) 

And, just so you know ... the difficult part in this post was realizing I needed to put a few pictures of ME! :) 

Thanks for stopping by and for reading! 


]]> (Carolyn V) Carolyn V Photography The Dreaded Self Portrait self portrait tips Sat, 16 Apr 2016 17:45:09 GMT
Resizing An Image With all of the photos we share, resizing an image is such a common question. I'm hoping to make this process as simple as possible. I use Photoshop CC for all of my editing.

You will want to do all of your editing and save the image in it's original size before resizing. 

The first thing you want to do in resizing is go to Image and then Image Size. 

photoshop tips, resizing a photo, resizing tips, Carolyn V Photography,

When the little window opens up you'll see lots of numbers. The ones that are important for resizing your image are the Width, Height and Resolution. To the right of those numbers it should say Pixels, Pixels and Pixels/Inch.
photoshop tips, resizing a photo, resizing tips, Carolyn V Photography,

The next thing you do is change the resolution (the lowest one of the three we're looking at). I change mine to 100 pixels/inch. Once you change the resolution, you'll notice that the height and width both change automatically. I usually change those as well. I make the height at 1000 and the width automatically changes. 

photoshop tips, resizing a photo, resizing tips, Carolyn V Photography,















You can now hit the OK button and save as usual. 

[On your images that are portrait rather than landscape, you change the width first. It's always the smaller number that you change first. If your image is a square, it doesn't matter which is changed first.] 

I hope you've learned something new from this little mini lesson. If you have any questions be sure to put them in the comment section below.

Thanks for stopping by and reading. :)


p.s. I'm doing a 365 Day Project over on Instagram. If you'd like to see some of my images or follow me, click here.

]]> (Carolyn V) Carolyn V Photography editing tips photoshop tips resizing an image Wed, 13 Apr 2016 14:00:00 GMT
What's In My Bag? What's In My Bag is a pretty common post. I thought I'd join along with the crowd on this one and tell you what's in my bag. :) 

I want to say right off the bat that the gear you have doesn't make your photography better. You can have the best equipment and take bad photos or have the worst equipment and take great photos. A good camera set on auto mode though can produce some pretty awesome pictures!

So, here's what I use.

My camera I use daily is my 6d. I have a 50d as a backup {it actually is in need of some repair at this moment}

My favorite lens is my Canon 85mm f1.8 I use it so much! It is a perfect portrait lens and for low light situations.

I also have a ...

Canon 50mm f1.8 - great also for portraits and low light. I use it for many other things as well.

Tamron 70-300mm 5.6 - this lens takes great photos. You can zoom in and get a real nice blur in the background.

Canon 28-135mm - this was the lens that came with my 50d and it is a great all purpose lens. I use it often for landscape shots or for group photos.

Rokinon 8mm f2.8 Fisheye - this is a fun lens. It's not something I use often but it fun to pull out for certain occasions.

Canon Flash

Yongnuo Wireless Transmitters for Flash - I love these! They are what enable me to get off camera flash.

I also have various other supplies - tripods {a full length and a desk tripod}, reflectors, light stands, and more ... :) 

]]> (Carolyn V) Carolyn V Photography San Luis Obispo County what's in my bag Mon, 04 Apr 2016 14:55:10 GMT
Which Cherry Blossom Picture Do You Prefer? Just doing a little survey to see which cherry blossom picture you prefer. Spring is such a great time to get out and get some nature photos done. I've been trying some different things with my photography lately ... kind of changing my style. I know which picture I prefer ... 

spring, blossoms, flowers, Carolyn V Photography, spring, blossoms, flowers, Carolyn V Photography,

... I'm excited to hear which is more pleasing to your eye. The funny thing is that both pictures were taken within minutes of each other of the exact same tree. 

Do you have your own cherry blossom pictures? I'd love to see yours.



]]> (Carolyn V) California Carolyn V Carolyn V Photography San Luis Obispo County nature Wed, 30 Mar 2016 19:36:01 GMT
Favorite Fonts for You! Today seems like a great day to share with you some of my Favorite Fonts! Fonts are fun to use in all sorts of different ways. I love to use them to put quotes or scriptures on pictures ... like the one down below. I hope you love these as much as I do!

Favorite Fonts, Carolyn V, Carolyn V Photography,

Champagne & Limousines


Highland Perk


Jenna Sue


Moon Flower Bold




Simple Kind of Girl


Carolyn V Photography, tulips, quotes, Have a Great Day!,


]]> (Carolyn V) Carolyn V Photography Favorite Fonts Free Fonts Mon, 28 Mar 2016 13:45:00 GMT
Quick Portrait Photography Tips Today I want to share with you some quick portrait photography tips. Portraits is my favorite type of photography. My goal is to bring out the best in my clients and using these three simple tips will help to improve your end result.

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”

Dorthea Lange


  1. Look for the light. I try to always shoot into the light. That gives some really nice backlighting on your subject like in the picture above. You'll get that nice glow on your subject's hair. The time of day affects the lighting. Late afternoon/early evening gives the best light. First thing in the morning is good too.
  2. Know posing ... or at least have some good ideas on how to pose your client to flatter them the most. One rule I follow is 'If it bends, bend it'. 
  3. Keep the background simple. Be aware of what's behind your client and use a higher dof to blur out what's there.
]]> (Carolyn V) Carolyn V Photography photography portrait tips Sun, 27 Mar 2016 00:01:24 GMT
My Photography Story I thoght I'd do something a little different today and tell you all how I got started in photography. Taking pictures, capturing moments in my families life, has been something I've done for as long as I can remember. It's always been super important to me to have those moments saved because I'm such a family person. I love pictures! I got my first DSLR when my girls were young. And my first zoom lens didn't come too far after.  I wanted to be able to capture them playing and having fun without them noticing when I was there taking their picture. 

Friends and family started noticing my photos and really liked what they were seeing and I started being encouraged to take my photography to the next level and do it as a business. I thought about it for a long time before I actually moved forward with it. I actually didn't do anything about it until my girls were grown and had their own children. I started my business in 2009 doing freebies for friends and family to get my portfolio going.  And then business started to come my way and I've been doing photography since then. 

This creative business always has something to learn. I look back on my work I've done before and see changes and improvements and I'm really looking forward to more of that.  And here I am today wanting to go deeper wanting to learn more wanting to do better. I trust that will happen as I continue to pick up my camera and use it as I observe the world around me  


]]> (Carolyn V) California Carolyn V Photography San Luis Obispo County my photography story Wed, 16 Mar 2016 02:39:40 GMT
Travis & Erika

Gorgeous day at Spanish Oaks Ranch in Santa Margarita, California

]]> (Carolyn V) California Carolyn V Photography San Luis Obispo County Santa Margarita California Spanish Oaks Ranch Mon, 14 Mar 2016 13:55:21 GMT
Glorious Sunrise Stadium Park Atascadero CA, sunrise, San Luis Obispo County, Carolyn V Photography, landscape,Stadium Park Glorious Sunrise


]]> (Carolyn V) Atascadero California Carolyn V Photography San Luis Obispo County landscape nature Sat, 10 Oct 2015 13:03:37 GMT