giveaway winners & shooting in manual

I am so excited for two reasons. One, that this post announces the giveaway winners. And secondly, that I've finally learned how to shoot in manual mode on my camera! Eeekk!

Before I was always shooting in Aperture priority. That was something I could handle - aperture doesn't confuse me at all. But when it came to controlling both aperture and shutter speed? I was a little scared. Not to mention every time I tried to take a picture in manual, it came out either pitch black or blinding white (I later found out this was because I had failed to line up the light meter. Ahem.)

Using Aperture priority was working just fine - until I started taking portraits. Unless I was in a certain position, dark  circles would appear until the peoples' eyes. Not flattering at all. I was exceedingly frustrated.

A few nights ago, I was sitting on the couch reading Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson (I HIGHLY recommend it, even though it's a bit dated), when suddenly it "clicked". I finally understood how to take a correctly exposed photograph while in manual. I couldn't wait for it to get light outside.

The next morning, I bounced (okay, to be honest, it was more like dragged) out of bed, camera in hand, and ran outside. Guess what? The revelation I'd had the night before was actually true. I was getting beautifully exposed photos shooting in manual. I really don't understand how I could've not known how to do it before - it was so simple I thought it was too good to be true. I suppose with DSLRs you just expect things to be hard because they're more advanced cameras.

I grabbed Lilly (who was decked out in her ballet outfit) to see if circles would appear under her eyes when I took her picture. I adjusted the shutter speed so it was a bit slower than the camera suggested, which made the pictures brighter, and thus eliminating any dark circles.

What do you think? I'm wildly excited about this discovery (although I'm sure everyone reading this who has a DSLR has figured this out a long time ago...hehe). I'm no longer scared of portraits :)

(Is it just me or does Lilly look SO grown up? I don't know what it is, but it's making me sad. My little baby. Sniff sniff)

And just for good measure...

(I love bokeh)

And special effects were applied to this photo after it was taken. To achieve this effect, you're going to need a zoom lens (I used an 18-55mm). I simply set a longer exposure time, pressed the shutter release button, and quickly zoomed from 55mm to 18, creating this nice vortex. My mom said it made her dizzy looking at it. Oops ;)

And the winners of the giveaway the "continue reading" to find out. Hehe. Sorry guys. I don't know why you put up with me ;)

The winner of the set of 4 5x5 photos is...

Tessa Brooke!

And the winner of the lovely ribbon necklace is...


Congrats winners! Email me and we'll get you set up :)

Note: If I do not receive an email from you by Wednesday evening (August 18, I'm going to have to pick another winner(s).

This giveaway was so much fun! I wish I could give each and every one of you one of these prizes, but unfortunately that can't be done. Anyway, I hope y'all had as much of a blast as I did...and to all my new followers, I sincerely hope you stick around :)

Have a wonderful day!