greetings from sunny (and foggy) los angeles, ca

Hi, I'm heather. I like taking pictures. I take a lot of them. I stay up way too late. I wake up with my kids way too early (for me). Though slowly I'm learning that sleep is good.

I love photographing newborns, toddlers, kids (I've got two of my own), families, name it! Large groups and weddings make me way too nervous, but I'd be happy to refer you to other photographers in the area.

I love to hear your comments, so feel free to add to my blog by posting. Having a hard time remembering "umami?" Well, I wanted a name that would be easy to remember, spell and find, but apparently I did none of that, so if you'd like to get emails when I post, just add your email to the "subscribe here" box... you'll be the first to find out when I'll be offering mini sessions and other specials!

have a happy day... heather


Paradise Cove... it's paradise unless you wake up at 4am and then get taken out by a big wave

Last month my good friend Sarah came to town with her little man Cooper and au pair Maren. Cooper is the cutest guy ever - sporting a Zac Efron hairdo, ruby red lips and a big Buddha-belly. But on this trip, he decided to wake up when the rooster crowed back home on EST. The early morning wake up calls (think before 4am) combined with nap shortages, made this cutie a bit of an unhappy camper. Oh yeah, and the cherry on top... he got a runny nose too! poor guy. poor mama. poor au pair.

For the most part Cooper was a great sport, so excited to see all the wonders of California and the beach.... until he got knocked over by an unfriendly wave! Anyway, he and his mama were good sports and we did manage to get some smiles and have some good times. I want to give a shout out to the the crew of women singing and playing instruments on the beach at 10am... great way to get that smile back on Cooper's face!

it takes a village right? Cooper's getting handed back to mama after a ride on Maren's shoulders

Oh ladies, look out! I've already got tabs on him for Kaylie (she may like younger guys).


Marianne Wilson said...

Awww! Adorable! <3

Sarah Ryan said...

The pix look great! I loved those singing ladies!! Thanks for putting up with us!

Diana said...

Hey Heather!

I have an odd question. Is there any place you know of where you can rent a lens? I want to try out some new looks and not sure what lens I need to achieve ... well, better shots!


Thanks, Diana

umami photography said...

Yes! Renting a lens is a great way to get a new look, learn and play around. A lot of camera stores will rent them (Samy's, Bel Air). And there are even online places that rent them. I'm pretty sure Canoga Camera rents them too. I've rented from Samy's and the best deal is to rent over the weekend (I think you get Sunday free).
I've rented from these guys: and that worked our great for a longer rental.
But if you have any problems with the lens be sure to tell them when you return it. I rented a Canon 24-70 2.8 and the focusing was awful... I thought it was me, but then I went and bought the a new version of the lens and it was fine. So sometimes rentals can get a bit beat up.
What are you thinking of getting?

Diana said...

Thanks for that Heather! I will try all your suggestion. I just want to try for some different looks. Maybe a wide angle. Do you have any suggestions on what to try first?

umami photography said...

What do you have right now?
Lately I've been liking my prime lenses a lot (canon 50 1.4 and canon 85 1.8). They are faster (need less light) and sharper than zooms. So for my newborns I've been using my 50 most the time. I LOVE my 85 for outdoor images (it's a bit close for most things indoors)... it gives great blurry backgrounds. If you want to go big... 70-200 zoom is fantastic (and next on my list to purchase), but that's for outdoor use and you have to be pretty far away from your subject unless you just want headshots. I haven't played around with fisheyes (extreme wide angle), but they're pretty much good for a couple fun shots. I would maybe say to try an 85mm or a macro lens so you can get some crazy close ups (bugs, plants, eyelashes).

Diana said...

Thanks for the tips. I just have the standard 18-55 and the 55-200 zoom, which I use most of the time. However, I do have to say, my focus is not crisp. I don't know if it is me or the capability of the lens but it looks great in the camera and then ever so soft when I am home. I love that really crisp cu with the background soft and being able to catch all the detail in lashes etc. I'll start with the 85mm and see if I can achieve that look. Thanks for all the tips. Your work is as beautiful as ever! Love those headshots you just posted!

umami photography said...

Is your whole image a bit soft or is the focus on something that you didn't intend? I choose my focus point and put it over the eye of my subject (or where ever I want the focus to be)... I got so tired of the auto focus choosing something in the background instead of my subject. If your images are soft all around, then yeah, could be the lens. If you rent the 85, try shooting around 2.2 or so... usually all the way wide open at 1.8 is not going to get you the sharpest pictures. Oh, and I always "sharpen for web" a little extra sharpening in photoshop before I print or post images online (digital I think is just not quite as sharp as film).

Diana said...

Both. Sometimes the image is slightly soft but I also have trouble with the auto focus. Thanks for the tips. I am going to look into renting the 85 and see how I do with that. I am still searching for a good class...but it's always hard to find the time!

I check your blog every day. You work is so beautiful!

umami photography said...

Thanks Diana! There's so much you can learn online too... I'll send you the link to a class (I haven't taken it but thought about it awhile back). Try too...tons to learn there (you just have to post once to see most of the forum open up).

Look in your manual and read about how you can choose your focus points. It's kind of a pain at first, but so much better than letting your camera decide what should be in focus. Usually I move it back and forth between a couple different focus points.
Good luck and I'm always here! Feel free to email, post here or on my facebook fan page and I'll help as best I can! Though I'm always learning too!