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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As a photographer I am constantly finding locations for a perfect photoshoot session. I catalog them in my head, make note of different set ups and plan to visit again as soon as a client comes along that will make the location come to life. A close friend of mine was visiting from out of state with her two blue-eyed children in tow and I knew it was a perfect time to revisit a local farm that has the most amazing birch trees and weathered barn. In all seriousness I have been waiting for years to photograph these birch trees and my friend’s cutest little 18 month old girl was the ideal person to make this on-location photoshoot a true success.
So if you are ready for your next family photo session send me an email to email@example.com. I can’t wait to hear from you!
Children are curious and love to be creative. Photography is just that, a creative outlet and a chance for them to capture memories of a vacation, local trip to a farm and/or family visiting them at home. They are in control for the most part of taking photos of their surrounding and anything goes. It could be a pile of dirt or the clouds in the sky. It’s their story. My child loves to recap all the fun he had by looking back at the photos (thank god for digital) and discussing fine details that we didn’t cover while we where at a particular place. Providing some focus can also yield some fun and creative photography from your child. Here are three fun photography assignments for kids at any level of experience can try.
Day In The Life – My child and I are often on a local adventure at least once per week. Below you will find some Day In The Life pumpkin patch and local farm images he captured. The only guidance I might suggest is taking an overall image of the environment they are in as well as some detail images.
Collage – When my child first starting capturing images with his camera he ran around the house and was taking images of some of his favorite toys, rooms, closets, bedrooms, and random objects. (As seen below) You can further focus your junior photographer by assigning them to only capture objects that are a certain color, meal they ate at dinner, or art they made at school. Essentially, any items that you can group together and tell a story.
Family Tree – Maybe you have some relatives who live nearby that you often visit or with the holiday’s approaching you plan to travel to see family. This assignment has your photographer capturing a portrait of your family members and creating a family tree. You can go further and have them capturing portraits of their friends and create a friend tree as well. I’m sure they will be able to capture some great expressions with these portraits. I’m working with my junior photographer on this assignment now, but wanted to show the first portrait in this series which is me taking a picture of course.
Now that the weather is warming up in New England it’s always fun to take road trips to favorite destinations like Cape Cod. The weather is always a mix of fog, bright sun, rain and windy beach breezes, so it’s important to pack warm and cool weather clothes. Seasonal stores and ice cream shops are also opening up during this time so you can enjoy these places without the summer crowds. Here are a few images of a recent road trip. We enjoyed the beach at various temperatures, downtown shops and of course ice cream. If you would like to learn more about my approach to travel photography then check out my recent photography blog on Holl and Lane Magazine: Travel Photography
Safe travels to your future road tips!