One topic I always discuss with new clients is feeling uncomfortable. I get it. It’s not everyday you get a camera shoved in your face and you’re asked to perform, never-mind about wanting to look amazing and confident while feeling vulnerable.
Let me put it out there, confidence is something I struggle with in areas of my life. We all do. Some are better at hiding it then others. I prefer watching, and sometimes struggle walking into large crowds with an uncomfortable feeling. I just want to address that feeling and move past it quickly. To this day, I avoid large sporting events. I just can’t take the crowd size. Ok, now that’s on the table let’s talk about how I make my clients feel comfortable to get the photographic results I’m happy to present.
- Natural Behavior. Upon showing up at my clients location I let things happening naturally. After introductions, I keep the conversation on them always finding common ground to take the conversation further. During this time I observe what comes naturally to my client(s). I study their walk, how they sit, fold their arms, then I’m able to make small posing suggestions while keeping them true to themselves.
- Conversation. I talk. Alot. I talk while I’m photographing them. It also helps that mom is along for the session and most of the time funny family stories start to work their way into our conversation and that helps my clients relax and produce the candid images I want to present.
- Expectations. Lastly, the session is suppose to be fun. I always remind my clients that. I ask them to not look left or right at what others (peers) are doing and just be themselves. Giving them permission to be authentic, genuine, and honest, and comfortable with who they are. Putting all that uncomfortable emotion on the table I’ve gained the trust of my clients and that sets the tone for a successful session.
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Did you know we have something amazing in our own backyard?
Yep…we have the little patch of heaven in the form of a sunflower field right down the road.
If you don’t stop to smell the sun flowers you just might miss it. This is our 3rd year visiting Babbettes Seeds of Hope and we’re looking forward to visiting next year. After all, it’s become of end of summer family tradition. If you’re around for the long weekend I suggest taking the family out and getting lost in a sunflower maze. Think about it, how many people can say they’ve been to a sunflower maze?
Here’s a few fun family pictures I took with my Canon.
I wanted to get a photo of all my kiddos together but the lighting conditions were not great. So let me explain what I did:
Looking at the photo below you see the sunflowers are facing away from my kids. I would’ve LOVED to have my kids turned around so I could’ve had more sunflower faces and yellow petals in my photo, but that would have put the sun directly on my kids faces. So turning them away from the sun was the only way I could capture them without blinding them. Then to properly expose for them, I asked them to step to the side where the shade was and get close. At that point I knew I’d get happy faces that weren’t blinded by the sun and a good exposure of the tall sun flower stocks so the kids would know what this photo is about.
Camera Settings: ISO 100/F 7.1/SS 1/200
If I wanted a good photo of my kids in the field, what time of day would be best to visit Babbetts Sends of Hope? I’d say early morning or early dinner hours. Then the light won’t be so harsh.
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Hey there! Let’s talk about candid photos and how best to capture your loved ones.
Candid moments are by far my favorite images to create over posed. Now don’t get me wrong it’s nice to have photos where everyone is looking at the camera but let’s face it candid photographs seem more sentimental to me.
First and foremost before I ask my four kids to line up for a photograph I assess the location and lighting. Let me walk you through how I photographed my kids when we toured the community of Pullman that I blogged about the other day.
The Hotel Florence has this amazing wide wrap around porch that provided me with even shade depending on how I positioned my kids. When setting up this shot I decided to back light my subjects rather than have them stand with their faces to the sun. If you look at the lighting on the porch you’ll see how spotty it is. Now as much as I love brick in my images, the orange brick would cast an orange hue back onto my subjects (kids) so I made sure to position my kids away from the brick wall.
I decided to position my kids on the railing knowing there would be strong back-lighting but I was hoping to create a bit of lens flare. By having my children’s back to the sun this will allow me to expose their cute faces evenly and dial in my manual settings to expose for skin. I also made sure to put my girls in the line of light to highlight their hair since my boys have short hair and the light would end up on top of their heads and shoulders. That’s not the look I wanted. In the photo below I positioned everyone on the same plane to make sure everyone is in focus.
Next I centered the kids on the porch out of the strong patches of light you saw in the first photo. Again making sure everyone is on the same plane and close.
Once I got my “posed” photo out of the way, I let me kids play and that’s where I know I’ll create and get something I love! Of course I do offer guidance in the way of talking to my kids way too much but that guarantees that I’ll get something amazing for my wall at home.
Below I asked my kids to stand on the same plane and slowly walk towards me. This task is very difficult for my kids! Someone always ends up running to me as if it’s a contest to see who gets to mommy first. I then have to stop them and ask them to back up and try it again. This trick always gets my kids interacting with each other and guarantees me lots of photos with genuine laughs and goofy interaction. I never stop shooting.
Even though my kids are not cooperating (as seen in the photos above) I never put my camera down and they can play all they want because I’ve set myself in the perfect spot when great lighting so once again I let them play occasionally reminding them to stay on the same plane.
Ok…so let’s review:
- Assess your location and lighting.
- Dial in your manual settings to expose for skin.
- Ask your kids to line-up on the same plane.
- Position yourself in a fixed stance so you’re not moving, only the kids.
- Ask them to play and make a game out of it.
- Don’t stop shooting until you’ve got something good.
Because I run this “drill” a lot with my kids they know what to expect and therefore make the best of the situation to appease mom. Remember the saying…if mamma ain’t happy…
The candid moments I shared today are completely and truly my kids and I love that I can still hear their laughter when I look at these images. Therefore this series of images were a complete success for me to cherish.
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Full Sun. I normally shy away from it when photographing my business clients. However when it comes to photographing my own children, I get what I get and make the best of it. After-all life’s bests moments don’t wait for what I think is ideal light that I
want need to capture my kids in. So let’s talk about capturing your own kids in less than ideal bright sunny situations.
As a mom taking pictures of my kids, I shoot on manual. Not the easy-peasy camera setting of auto. Yep…look at your camera and you’ll see the “M”…that’s the mode I prefer to shoot in. Ok let’s get started on a typical day in the life with my kids. We spend a lot of time traveling so the set of images I’m sharing are from a fun day spent at Zuma Beach back in July 2015.
This photo was taken on a bright cloudy morning. The first step I take is finding a natural reflector. If you look closely at the image you’ll see the kids really don’t have shadows, but none the less it was bright for them because of the natural reflector in-front of them. Yep…it’s the sidewalk. I was drawn to the large “FOOD” sign above them and wanted to make sure to get that in my shot. I always line my kids up and dial in my settings for proper exposure before I start. This only takes a few seconds and most of the time I capture some pretty good shots of my kids relaxed and interacting “nicely” with each other. You’ll notice how my sky is blown out. That is intentional and is a representation of my photography style. Plus, there were NO clouds, it was that California haze that I’ll refer to as “cloudy”.
When photographing my kids I’m always exposing for skin tones not the sky, hence why my sky is blown out. Normally I meter for my youngest child’s skin tone, since he’s the fairest. If you notice the varied leg colors you’ll see what I’m talking about.
Since the sun is directly behind this building, I chose to photograph my kids with their backs to the sun and expose for their faces. Next I can ask my kids to move playfully move towards me keeping the lighting consistent using the natural reflector (the sidewalk) in front of them to light their faces.
Once I’ve leveraged the lighting hurtle I can then ask my kids to be playful for a quick series of photographs. Now getting them to stay on the same plane so no one pulls focus is always my challenge. The kids make a it game and love to scold one another if they see the other ahead of them…creating some fun smiles and a great end result for me.
My camera settings: F 4.0 1/1600 400 ISO
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Let’s talk about the past. And I don’t mean in the sense of “what happen yesterday” kinda of talk. This month, while on my creative break from work, I’ve turned my focus to preserving my children’s printed portraits and organizing them. This task has been on my “To Do” list for more than 5 years! Talk about procrastinating!! But HEY….let’s move along. My oldest child, Mallory, will be a senior next year and I need to get what I “deemed” the most important images, art work, school papers, professional portraits, etc,… gathered together, labeled, organized and preserved BEFORE anymore time pasts and let’s face it, I’ll forget why I saved certain items in the first place.
I have bins upon bins of school papers and art work to weed through this month. Looking at a section in my basement is extremely overwhelming, but my dedication to preserving Mallory’s past and not letting these items sit in the dark collecting dust knowing that I want to celebrate her and preserve her childhood gives me the drive to continue each day. You will not see me post a photo of my basement corner for fear of being judged. (wink)
I’m inviting you to come along this journey with me as I blog my progress.
Step 1: Realistically I can’t hand over the numerous bins of “Mallory Memorabilia” to her without knowing she’d just pitch it all. (wink) So my solution was to get yet another bin…I know…I know…but this one is small and able to hold hanging files. I picked a few up at Office Max the other day along with acid-free page protectors to place my images in. I’m pretty happy with my system and it seems to be going fairly fast.
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All for now!