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.
When my 4.5 year old took an interest in photography I was excited to show him everything I knew, but also realized that he is only 4.5 so a few tips and freedom to be creative is the best approach to foster his latest interest. If you have a budding photographer in your household here are a few tips to get them started. I should also add that these tips apply to any camera they are using whether it’s an old cell phone, point and shoot camera or even a kid specific camera like Vtech.
What type of subjects does your young photographer like to take pictures of? Leave a comment below
This week I wanted to demonstrate some quick editing tips to show you how a great image can turn into an amazing image. I recall one of my photography school instructors quoting Ansel Adams “You don’t take an image, you create an image”, which struck a cord with me because I believe most people click the button, download and share with family and friends. Editing an image enhances what is already there. So before you hit the share button, take a few minutes and edit.
The image below was taken by a friend of mine, who is not a professional photographer, but has been shooting for a number of years and is always working on improving his photography skills. When he showed me this image I thought it would be perfect for this edit demonstration. I knew the image would benefit from a few simple adjustments. My goal was to bring out the texture of the back wall, decrease the highlights on the toddler, since it was a bit overexposed, and a simple crop to remove the grass and straighten out the composition. Watch the video below to see the step by step edit!
LIGHTROOM (full desktop version used)
Snapseed is an app I often use to edit images taken on my phone. I wanted to use the same image to demonstrate the simple edits one can make to enhance a photo.
As a photographer I normally print personal family photos on a month or bi-monthly basis. It may only be a dozen or less, but I’m always excited for them to arrive at my door step. Last week I participated in a “25 prints for free” promotion through Artifact Uprising and decided to try out a new service. The site was easy to navigate and the editor had some nice features, including the ability to upload straight from your Instagram account. Below are some of the images I had printed.
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.