Did I say…
February 9, 2010

…that I am playing the title role in the Hickory Community Theatre production of Gypsy? I don’t think I did.

Well, there you have it! We have been rehearsing for a few weeks and it is a blast. As usual, this is a great cast with a great director. I have also been having fun exploring Lousie (my character). She is made to look and act like a 10 year old well into her late teens and probably early 20’s, and being able to portray a young girl is actually fun! She has her own dreams and desires and pines for the unreachable boy.

And then she grows up. Quickly. There are a few scenes where I feel like the gap is bridged just a bit – like a foot bridge maybe. Or a log that someone laid across the gap. But it is clear where the full brunt of the transition takes place.

At any rate, I am enjoying being in the process again and excited to get on stage. Come see the show. You will enjoy it! And if you don’t, you can always come back here and leave me a nasty comment. 🙂

Photo Tip:

So in honor of the theatre, today’s photo tip is about headshots. A headshot (in the world of the theatrical artist) is an image designed to demonstrate the actor’s connection with the camera and, hence, the connection with the viewer. There are many schools of thought out there about headshots, so let me start with: this is mine. It may not be yours once you dig in and start shooting, but it’s what I like and what works for me and the actors that hire me.

It’s all about the eyes! The eyes staring down the barrel of your lens longingly, happily, seriously, whatever. That is where the focus should be. I like to shoot with a low f-stop to blur some of the hair, nose, shoulders, etc so those eyes are where you want to look. Now this, in itself, is tricky because you don’t want a whole blurry face with sharp eyes only. That will never do. Keep it real. 2.8 should do nicely.

I also like to over-expose just a hair. Do me a favor. Put your camera in Manual (don’t cringe, just do it), look into your viewfinder and press down the shutter halfway (like you would if you were focusing). Now look across the bottom. Not at what you are focusing on, but the bottom of the viewfinder itself. You will see something that looks like this:

This, my friends, is you light meter. The camera looks at your proposed shot while it focuses and tells you, based on all of your settings, what to set your exposure time to. Now this has a lot to do with HOW you are metering, but I am not going to get into that here.

You see that little block along the bottom? It moves to tell you how to adjust your exposure. Ideally, you should try to get it on the 0 in the middle. If you are to the left of the 0, you will likely have a picture that is too dark. To the right of the 0 and your image will be too bright.

So for headshots, I like to sit at about the second little mark to the right of the 0. Sometimes even at the 1 if my subject has darker skin. How do you get there? Adjust your exposure time to be a bit longer. This is something you will have to play with to be happy with.

There are many other things to consider when shooting headshots. This was just to get you started. In addition to camera settings, there are two main kinds of headshots: commercial and theatrical. Those are for another day, also, though.

Explore, make mistakes and find yourself. That is the great thing about taking pictures. There are many, many correct ways to do it. It’s art. It’s YOUR art. Create something you love.


Do you like boots?
February 5, 2010

It’s a simple question and one that most ladies I know would answer “yes” to. Boots are in right now. And boots with a skirt and tights are super-in.

Remember when I said earlier that the commercial products I get to shoot are just plain cool? Well, today’s post highlights yet another cool product! Bootights! And what’s even more exciting is that I got an email just yesterday that their website is finally set up to take orders online. Yay!

So what are bootights? Have you ever worn tights with your boots only to have your feet freeze? Or you put on socks OVER your tights to keep your feet warm but then they bunch and squirm around? If so, you are not alone. Enter the bootight:

It is a tight with a sock attached to the bottom. One piece. So cool. They come in an ankle length (above) and a calf length for tall boots.

Right now you can get Black, Chocolate and Charcoal. I also got to shoot their 2010 line that hasn’t been released yet and ladies, let me just say, if you like nifty tights with your boots, keep an eye out. I will post some more pics when they officially release the new line, but I don’t want to spoil anything for now.

Let me add, I am not getting anything in return for this post. No money, no product, nothing. I just think it is a cool product. And right now there is free shipping! Go check em out! 🙂

White Balance in the Snow
February 4, 2010

OK, so it’s not much of a tip, but if you have a DSLR camera and all you ever do it shoot on Auto, have a look! The tip is after the REALLY LONG set up. Sorry.

Last week the kids were out of school for a teacher workday. My mother-in-law wanted to take us to do something fun, so off we go — packed into the van — snow tubing. We are in the foothills, so the tubing joints in the mountains are not that far. About an hour and a half. Of course, the last 30 minutes of that is tight, winding, mountain roads. Barf.

We pull into the parking lot and are met by a closed gate with a stop sign hanging from it. What? The MIL called ahead the day before and we were all set to go! Blackberry to the rescue. I call them. They answer. “Oh, we decided to close to blow snow today.” (did I mention it was already snowing?!) Me: “When did you decide that?” The lady on the other end: “Yesterday, about 5.” Are you freaking kidding me?

No worries. We passed a tubing place on the way up. I call them. Nope, they are closed until Friday. Long story even longer, I call two other places that are nearby and everyone is closed. The skiing is open, but the tubing runs are not. Geez.

So we stop and chat. What to do now? A movie? A restaurant? Dare I say it — the mall? (gasp)

Nah. Let’s go ice skating.

Um… Did I mention we had four kids in tow all under the age of 8? Ok. Why not?

So we go and we actually have a fabulous time. We went to Appalachain Ski Mountain where there is an outdoor rink and it snowed the entire time.

The kids did wonderfully. We rented some nifty thingies that helped the kids balance and by the time we were finished they had all tried to skate without aid at least a few times and didn’t want to leave when our time was up.

When I got home and looked at the pictures, I thought this would be a good time for a little lesson. The first shot I took just to check out the lighting looked like this:


Now, believe it or not, my mother-in-law is a very pleasant lady and was having a good time. 🙂 Don’t look at her expression. Look at the color. Ew.

With these newer cameras, Auto White Balance is usually pretty spot on. In the snow, though, not so much. If you have images like this, there is a very easy fix. Have a look at your White Balance settings and change it to “Cloudy” or “Overcast”. There is a little symbol, appropriately, of a cloud. And voila!



These are straight out of the camera (I did not edit these at all and I feel the need to point out that these are not creative, just nice memories of silly faces for me). Much better. Now I can remember my babies the color they actually were. 🙂

White Balance is fun to play with. You can actually get some interesting results when you set the white balance for something other than the norm. Have some fun and play around.

Goings On
February 3, 2010

OK, now that the holidays are over, the kids are back in school (well, except this week when the “blizzard of 2010” has had them home every day so far), everyone has had something very flu-like and I can think semi-straight, I’ve got some catching up to do! So check back every day for another update on what I have been cookin’ up here.

First, and I can’t believe that I didn’t make time for this earlier, was a cool shoot with an NFL Hall of Fame-r. This actually happened back in November, and, well, I guess I am just really bad at self promotion in the midst of the holidays.

Let me say first that I don’t do an awful lot of commercial work. But the commercial work I do is pretty dang cool. The football player was part of that. Joe DeLamielleure came up from his home in Charlotte and worked on a Sit Strong Systems chair for the shoot. These chairs are really neat. They look like something you would see in Martha Stewart’s house — really classy leathers, great designs, wood block feet. But then you move the arm rests and the head rest and you have a resistance exercise machine. Right there. In your living room. While you are watching the tube. So cool.

So, Joe, who was part of the “Electric Company” that helped ol’ OJ along, worked out on the chair and I snapped away. He was a trip. So full of energy and ideas.

He also offered to do some quick video for us. These were shot on one of those little cell phone sized, hand-held, hard drive cameras spur of the moment. Here is Joe’s favorite:

Joe has his own business selling resistance bands. I think he was one of the first in the NFL to use them and has sworn by them since. Joe D Bands (check out the videos on his site. That is his son with him. He is a cutie!). And let me tell you — resistance training works for him. He looks great! He had no problem holding those bands in extended positions while I shot.

Thanks Joe! It was so much fun to meet you.

What do you get your husband for Valentine’s Day?
January 10, 2010


That’s right. You.

I am now booking sessions for classy, sexy, irresistible Boudoir photos. Each session includes a CD with all high resolution, fully edited images and a 7 x 7 hard back gift book to give your husband for Valentine’s Day.

All images are tasteful and appropriately hide all of the “goods” with just a peek to tease your man.

Make it fun! Any two sessions booked together (not shot together, but shot at the same location on the same day) saves you $50 per session. Call your best girl friend, break out the wine, and make it a fun girls’ afternoon.

This one to two hour session, including CD and gift book, is just $350.

All body types are beautiful (your husband certainly thinks yours is!) and will be shot in a way that makes you comfortable. One kind client has given me permission to share a few of her shots. If you are curious, please call me to set up a consultation and I will be happy to show them to you and discuss what you want.


828.291.7227 | ca@cahartman.com

Busy December
December 31, 2009

Wow! Where does the time go? I felt like I just posted a few days ago and here it is, like, a month later. December was a little nuts with a few businesses contracting design work for the end of the year. I had fun with two books (interiors and covers) and the water from Israel finally cleared customs and made its way to Hickory. We still don’t have a sales rep after a failed attempt with one gentleman, so if you are a sales and marketing professional or know one that needs a job, let me know! Since we don’t have a sales rep, they are not in stores anywhere, but you can still order from the website: Genesis Living Water of Israel.

My brother-in-law will be going to basic training sometime between now and February (at least that’s what they tell us), so we did a Hartman-boy shoot for the parents’ Christmas gifts. My siblings-in-law (is that an actual phrase?) wanted a studio-type setting, so we set up my mobile studio right in the living room. We also got some fun couch shots as well. The 20-degree weather and little boys that already had sniffles kept us indoors.

All of my men-folk…

The big Hartman boys…

and the little Hartman boys…

I leave you with a bunch of giggle-pusses.

I hope you had a wonderful Christmas and I pray blessings on you in the New Year!

Dancers and More
November 16, 2009

OK, brace yourself. If you have seen my work before, this post will be a little different. I don’t do a lot of studio work, but when I do it is usually dancers. I LOVE shooting dancers. I also LOVE shooting dancers outdoors, but that doesn’t work well for a full day at one studio.

The funny thing is, after I have been around these beautiful creatures all day, I sometimes feel like I can do some of the things they can. For example, I bent down to pick up my laptop at the end of the day and didn’t bend my knees. Ooops. Can’t do that! I am not bendy like they are.

It was a fun day. We had some little dancers…

Little Dancer 1

Little Dancer 2

Dance Christmas

We had some dance families that were a hoot!

Dance portraits 3

We had some “big girl” dancers as well.

Dance Christmas 1

Dance Portraits 2

Dance Portrait 1

And, of course we had some feet. 🙂

Dance Portrait 4

It was definitely a blast. This is just a small sample and I apologize if you were there on Saturday and are not in the blog post! I will have all of your images up soon.

I loved meeting each and every one of you and, as always, could not have done it without my right-hand woman. A big “THANK YOU” to my professional ballerina photo stylist!

Lovely Little ‘E’
November 10, 2009

This beautiful little girl had a blast at our session! She ran all over and wore out all of the props. Her mother called me the next day and said, “can we have a photo session every night? She slept all night without a peep!” Glad I could help. 🙂


Oh, and did I mention… this little one’s mamma made that beautiful green dress and apron herself?





Senior — Kelli
November 9, 2009

Kelli’s mom said, “I just don’t want any of those ’tilt your head and put your hand under your chin’ pictures. Blech! Who does? So Kelli and I just went and had some fun. Here’s a sneak peek for the mom that couldn’t wait. 🙂






And my new fave:



Thanks, Kelli and Terri!

Busy weekend!
November 9, 2009

That says it all! And next weekend will be more of the same. But this weekend I had to joy of capturing a senior, new headshots for a very talented actor, Christmas joy for little Miss ‘E’ and a beautiful dancer! Whew. I am tired just writing it all out.

So, keep and eye out today and tomorrow for updates and sneak peeks!

Also, don’t forget Christmas portraits. I will be set up again at Foothills Gymnastics in the dance rooms this coming Saturday for dance shots as well as Christmas portraits (check back soon to see an example with Miss E’s sneak peek). 12-noon until…