I recently hosted a number of Mommy & Me Photography classes and had so much fun teaching tips and tricks to a group of moms who wanted to learn how to take quality photos of their kids. When setting up these classes, I stressed that no fancy equipment was necessary. The only prerequisite was an interest to learn and eagerness to apply the new skills instantly with hands-on guidance by me. Throughout the class I reinforced the process composing a great image by thinking of background, position and light. At the end of one particular class I was asked “What do I do when there is nothing around and the sun is really bright?” My first thought was the beach. With summer quickly approaching I wanted to provide my top 3 beach photography tips that will improve your images instantly.
A beach provides a variety of frame worthy photo opportunities, however it is not short in photography challenges. Depending on the time and location a beach can be crowded, which causes cluttered backgrounds and not so flattering beach goers. As you see in the images below my background is clutter free and celebrates the sand, surf and sky.
Tip #1: Get Low
When working with clients or even my own child you will find me constantly moving into various positions to capture the right angle. Being in a squat or even laying down provides a unique perspective. On a crowded beach you could also use this “low” position to your advantage by minimizing the amount of “clutter” in the background. In the image of the child throwing the rocks I actually used a waterproof go-pro camera, which is a fun creative tool to use at the beach. You can even allow your kids to participate in taking images and capture memories from their perspective.
Tip #2: Details
Detail images really enhance the story of a beach vacation or day trip. Those little things that might only happen at the certain time in life, for example, baby toes in the water, sand on a toddler’s face, a special toy car that is brought everywhere they go. A detail that when you look back marks a certain time and fond memory.
Tip #3: Light (morning, mid-day and evening)
Light is one of the most important elements of photography. As a professional photographer I am constantly looking for the best light when working on-location with a client. Capturing the light correctly will transform a good image to great. You might not have the opportunity to be on the beach at the ideal morning or evening light, but you can still take great images during the mid-day sun.
- Utilize a sun umbrella, sun tent or even a hat to soften the light on a child’s face and prevent them from squinting and/or having a harsh shadow on their face.
- Move around your subject to test where the best light is falling, start with the sun at your back.
- Always take more than one image, as soon as you stop that is when a child will crack a smile or make a cute face.
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Family photography is evolving to more than just the traditional portrait. It’s always nice to have a perfect portrait to look back on and reflect on a specific time and place, but what if you had high quality photos of how your family lived their daily lives. All the silliness, crying, climbing, jumping, spinning and running that makes up your everyday, sometimes chaotic life. Yes, it’s not always glamorous and many times it’s ridiculous, but that is real life. We all have camera phones and try to capture those fleeting moments but with low light or fast moving subjects the pictures never become worthy of a second or third look. I know I have had moments when I thought, “now this is a photo” and I was holding my child on one hip, carrying multiple bags and then trying to open the door to the house. Ridiculous, but if I had that image now, I would love to see how I was “living” during that stage of my life. Maybe ten years from now I would reflect back to that old house or my son wearing his favorite shoes or hat, so many memories captured in one image.
This new session offering is called “A Slice Of Life” and will be a 1 hour session and cost $325. Included in this cost is 5 digital images of your choice, photography time, editing and a private album to view, order and share. This is a spin off of a session many photographers offer called “Day In The Life”, which requires 4-6 hours of your time and over $1,000.00. I believe that so many families would cherish these photos that can be attainable during a “A Slice Of Life” session. So who’s ready to capture all the “fun” that makes your family unique? Have questions? I would love to hear from you. Email me at: email@example.com
Check out my portfolio of “A Slice Of Life” work
Action photography is my speciality, considering my sports photography background, and the honest expressions of children are the most fun to see during an outdoor shoot at the park and/or private yard. Their personalities really shine through and is why today’s post is all about capturing those moments and providing you with a little inspiration. Here are some tips to think about when you are trying to capture movement.
First: Get Low!
When you are eye level with your subject the image will instantly improve. You will noticed in all the images below, I am at least eye level, or below, with all the children.
Second: If they are having fun, it shows!
When children are naturally running, going down a slide, digging in a sandbox, their personalities comes out.
Natural light will help in “stopping the action” in a image, but having gear that can handle fast shutter speeds helps tremendously. These images were taken with Canon 5D Mark III and shutter speeds are over 1000.
Security is a big deal to me and for many of my photography clients. There is a spectrum of parents who allow any and all images posted to social media, blogs and website promotion, while others only allow images of the children. There are many reasons including the parents employment, privacy standards and/or a need for the child to decide when they want their images public. It’s all a personal choice. I’m sure not all photographers run into this issue, but I guess my clientele is unique in that aspect. Here is how I address the sensitive nature of this topic and balance the need to promote my business.
- I always provide a private password protected album for the parents to view images from the session. This is common practice for photographers and there are many sites that can facilitate this. The parents can then decide to share the link with others.
- I always ask my clients about their security needs. I never use full names, I may use a first name, maybe a last name or no identifying information at all. Before leaving a session all of these details are discussed and finalized. This also goes for social media posting and tagging.
- Even if a client does not want close up images of the children and other identifying elements, there are still ways to show my work. This is when I go for detail and distance shots. These images are still important parts of the story and are just as fun to shoot. (see examples below)
- Lastly, for the clients who do not want any images posted at the time of the session, they often are fine with me posting images that have surpassed a certain amount of time. For example, if I photographed a newborn, I could post the images after their first birthday.
If you are encountering a similar self-promotion challenge, here are some examples of details and distance images that help me balance the two.
This week my son and I traveled to the Boston Children’s Museum. Every time I visit a park, museum and/or playground I notice the majority of parents are capturing images of their children using smartphones. So I decided to only capture photos of our adventures with my iPhone, but I wanted to still make creative images to tell the story of our trip. When shooting indoors, light can be a factor and the Children’s Museum contained some low light play spaces, so the iPhone didn’t perform as strong as an SLR, but with some editing the images worked. Of course any day trip has to also include architecture and food (i.e. Espresso). One can still capture creative images of their children with a smartphone, but knowing the cameras limits will only improve the outcome.
I used the standard iPhone camera and/or the Manual App, for example, to slow the shutter down for the water pouring image. Once I returned home I used Lightroom to edit images. Most of the photos just needed to have the contrast and shadow increased. Of course these edits could also be done with apps, such as Snapseed.