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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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.
I recently had the opportunity to photograph Baby K and her family. Here are a few newborn lifestyle images, as well as sibling interactions, captured during their session. Watching these two grow up is going to be so much fun.
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.
While we spend our days capturing images of our children taking their first steps, crawling, and exploring the world, don’t forget about the details. The detail images are also part of our children’s story and can be equally as powerful when you look back at all your memories. So the next time you take your iPhone or SLR camera out to capture a cute kid moment take a second and capture a detail of what they are holding, eating, standing on etc. Here are some inspirational images for you to begin thinking about your next great image.