Short Project: Cook’s Tools

The latest assignment for Project 52 was to photograph some cook’s tools. I took this as an opportunity to practice some product photography. My style is developing into a concentration on the details of whatever I’m photographing. I decided to do plain white backgrounds and then macro-style focus on a part of the tool.


used wood spoons





I learned a couple of lessons from this exercise. First, it’s not easy to get the white backgrounds white! I did a good amount of tweaking of the image settings to get the whites white, and matching each other.  Second, make sure the subjects are clean and smudge/lint free when doing macro photography. I have a lot of fur and dust in my house studio.

I liked how these turned out, and I wish I had a catalog to put them into.

CD Cover – Assignment #8 Project 52 Pro

I love music; I enjoy and appreciate just about any kind of music. Project 52 assignment #8 was to create a CD cover for a piece of music by composer Samuel Barber.  This was String Quartet performed by a new quartet.

Movement One | Movement Two | Movement Three

The images had to be a standard square size, before standard text was added. The music  is complicated, complex, contemplative. It has been in many movie and tv show soundtracks; listen closely and you will recognize it!

Since I had no access to a string quartet or even a violin, I went with a mood/feeling shot. The music brought to mind sitting, drinking bourbon and thinking deep thoughts.

Enjoy the music!

Thanks for reading! ~ Erin

Ingredients – Assignment #3

The third assignment for Project 52 Pro was to shoot a specific layout for an inflight magazine with the ingredients of a recipe. published in a decent inflight magazine. You know, the ones that are in the pockets of the airplane seats, along with the barf bags.
This is a recipe for Carrot Ginger muffins. Found online, by Lia Huber, Cooking Light Magazine,  AUGUST 2007

Cooking spray
2 cups all-purpose flour (about 9 ounces) $
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup fat-free sour cream
1/4 cup canola oil $
1/4 cup 1% low-fat milk $
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large egg whites $
1 large egg $
3 cups grated carrot (about 6 medium)
1/2 cup dried currants
1/4 cup chopped pecans, toasted

Preheat oven to 350°.
Place 18 paper muffin cup liners in muffin cups; coat liners with cooking spray. Set aside.
Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 4 ingredients (through salt) in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture. Combine sour cream and next 5 ingredients (through egg), stirring well with a whisk; add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Add carrot, currants, and pecans; stir just until combined.
Spoon batter into prepared muffin cups. Bake at 350° for 25 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in the center. Remove muffins from pans immediately, and place on a wire rack.

Note: I eliminated the currants. I don’t like them.

Back to blogging!

OK, OK, I know it’s been a few months since I’ve written here. Bad blogger!

Somehow I never know what to say… which would be a surprise to some who know me.  I think I just have to start rambling on and see what happens!

Here’s my photography news:

Last year I kinda sorta participated in an online, Flickr based weekly photo project run by Don Giannetti, Project 52. While I did not actually finish the 52 weeks, I learned a lot, just by hanging out.  This year, I decided to step up and pay for his program, Project 52 Pro. Limited number of participants; and several of my Seattle photography friends are also participating. Don’s goal is to get his students to a professional level, including getting some paid work.  So far, I have done every assignment! In addition to the photography assignments, he goes into detail about developing our style, and developing a business in photography. On this blog, mostly I’ll just share the photos.

Assignment #1 was to photograph a stranger. Close up street photography. My friend Lee and I went to the Ballard Farmers Market and got some good images. This one was my favorite:

Lee and the Parrot!

Since Lee is not a stranger (although the parrot was), this image was not my submission. Instead I went to my nephew’s Cub Scout Pack Pinewood Derby, and ran into an almost stranger. Mr Elliot Cheap was my favorite history teacher in high school.  His Lions Club sponsors my nephew’s Cub Scout Pack. We chatted for a while, and I requested a portrait, since he was almost a stranger, not having seen him in an un-named number of years.

Mr. Cheap

Yes, he’s retired now. He looks the same except for the grey, and he’s still a nice person.

That’s my first adventure for Project 52 Pro. More to come, I promise!

Thanks for reading!



Dried by redcargurl
Dried, a photo by redcargurl on Flickr.

I’ve put some new photos up on Flickr. this one was my favorite: combining sunset light and floral/plant macro photography. Yes I hand-held the camera for the shot.

Check out some of the other photos too.

Thanks for reading! ~Erin

Favorite Portraits

I like to take photos of people. Informal, natural portraits are my preference; I like to capture people as they are, comfortably sitting. I know that a lot of beginning photographers say this, because they are uncomfortable with using lighting and formal set ups for photographing people. I’ve worked on getting more comfortable with my all of my gear, which makes it easier to capture people being comfortable, and still get a slightly more formal portrait.

Above is a portrait of my son Max. He kindly allowed me to practice with lighting and backgrounds in my home studio (a corner of my garage). I liked the simplicity of this photo; how close the camera is, the dark background, and the simple lighting. I think I was just talking to him, which gave me a very natural expression. Technically, it’s not perfect. It has one light, and I could have had a reflector on the off-lit side. I would also make sure he had some catch lights in the eyes. But overall, not bad. I took this photo about a year ago or so.

This portrait of a flower girl from my friend’s wedding in September, is one of my favorites from the shoot. It is, again, simple. I took this without any artificial light; it was on a sunny day in the full shade. I deliberately chose the concrete wall for background, and focused in close to her face. This time the subject has some catch-lights in her eyes. I think my portrait style is emerging: plain, up close, as natural as possible, focus on the face.

I have learned a lot in the past year. Lessons come from practicing, using one’s friends and relatives, as much as possible, and experimenting with light and posing. My boys are starting to run away when I point my camera at them.

Thanks for reading! ~Erin


daffodils brighten the day

It’s Thanksgiving: time to state what we are thankful for.

I am very thankful for friends, new and old, for hanging out with, drinking wine, and sharing experiences.

I am thankful for my family, especially my two boys. And I’m thankful for the learning opportunities my experience volunteering at PAWS has given me.

Sailor Sillouhette

I’m thankful that I live is such a beautiful part of the world; it gives me so much opportunity to practice photography.

I am

And finally, I’m thankful that I live in a country that allows peaceful protests, where the citizens have the right to express their disagreements with the government. I’m thankful that people use this power, and, for the most part, use it wisely.

Happy Thanksgiving!

Cheers! ~ Erin

Photography, Print Prices & Some Questions

I’ve been tweaking my prices just a bit.  After all, it’s a harsh world out there, and if I can let someone buy a print for their wall or from their portrait session for a decent price, both of us are happier!

Currently, I charge for my time for the photo shoot, and then offer a reasonable price for prints, downloads and merchandise. There are a million ways to price one’s photography: just charge for prints, packages with prints, packages without prints… it’s difficult to figure out how to price one’s photographic services and I find it the hardest part of running a part-time business.

Here’s my current pricing: Erin Kohlenberg Photography Pricing

I do have a couple of print packages: one for $25 and one for $75.  They include your choice of images, ordered directly through your gallery.

Package ONE $25
1 – 8×10, 2 – 5×7, 8 – wallet size

Package TWO $75.00
1 – 11×14, 2 – 8×10, 4 – 5×7, 16 wallet size

What do you want when you are shopping for a photographer? Do you just want the photos taken? Do you want to have prints included? No prints? Just downloads or the photos on a disc? I’m curious!

And, for your amusement, a pretty photo from a wedding I recently shot:

Thanks for reading (and answering!)


A complete stranger liked my photo

Through Google Alerts, I discovered that my photo was used for an opening photo in a travel/writing blog called Glimpse. According to the website: “Glimpse is a worldwide program powered by Matador and supported in part by the National Geographic Society. Glimpse connects young writers, journalists, photographers, and filmmakers with professional editors who help them develop their storytelling voice and media skills.”

This is the photo they used to introduce their new correspondents for Spring 2011:
writing in the journal

I think this is the first time total strangers have liked and used one of my images, so I’m pretty excited. Thanks to Glimpse for using my photo…. and giving me credit!

Thanks for reading ~ Erin

Even kids love to talk about themselves

The bridge battle.

I have found, when taking photos of my nephews, that engaging the child creates better photos.  Even better, ask them to show you their favorite things. My nephew created a battle scene with his toy soldiers at Thanksgiving, and insisted that I photograph the scene.  I let him tell me what to shoot and where, and he wanted to be in the photos too! He was very proud of his battle scene.

Part of the carnage.