Hey Mama: 5 Tips for Good Pics!

By

Another passion of mine is photography, although I no longer practice it as a business.  Since finding a passion for holistic nutrition and getting so busy marketing other businesses (and of course a busy family life!), there is not much time left for it.  However, I love using the skill set and equipment I have for friends and family.

The part of the business that I really enjoy is children’s photography.  If you love photographing your kids but don’t really know much about it, here are 5 tips, as well as some pics from my last session.  Trying to photograph your own kids can make you VERY MOODY, so learn as much as you can so they actually turn out good!

1.) GET TO KNOW YOUR CAMERA!!!  I can’t tell you how many people I know that have an EXPENSIVE camera and only use the auto setting.  You should have just bought a point and shoot- there are so many good ones!  If you have invested, or plan to invest in a good camera, learn how to use it.  I purchased a video with my Canon 40D and really did watch it.  I learned so much about aperture, shutter speed, and all of the creative settings on my camera and when to use them.  I almost always use the manual setting now, but that took a lot of time and practice!

On this pic I had very bright lighting to work with (which is challenging!), so I carefully chose my settings, and decided on a back shot so I didn’t have to deal with shadows. Here is the information from that shot: lens:  35mm f/1.4; setting: aperture priority; shutter speed 1/8000 sec.  I love that the background is blurred, but you can still see the spray from the fountain.

2.) Make it work! (with actions):  I love the phrase “Make it work!”, but especially in photography.  Again, for this session we were dealing with terrible light, and even with all that excess sunshine, I still couldn’t quite get the right sun flare.  But because of all the light hitting her, it needed that creative edge, so I added the sun flare with an action.  There are all sorts of actions you can download and import to your photo editing software.  I use Photoshop CS4 (again, do NOT make an investment this big unless you plan to learn the ropes!), but I believe you can import actions into Photoshop elements which is much easier on the budget!  This action is from Nicole Van… I LOVE her stuff!  http://shop.nicholev.com

3.) Use stuff you have.  Most of us have a piece of furniture we really like, or big metal buckets, stools, etc.  If you want to “dress up” the picture, try out some of this stuff outdoors with a simple, uncluttered background.  I pull this arm chair out all of the time.  I had 2 of these reupholstered for my living room, but the neutral colors work great for pictures.  All we have is a nice spot with no shadows or big sun spots, and a fall leaves on the ground.  Love this simple shot.

4.) Lighting, lighting, lighting.  Nothing gives away an amateur shot more than distracting shadows and sunspots.  If you are used to using your on-camera flash pointed straight at the subject, you will notice that you have lots of shadows.  Research “bouncing” your flash over nearby white objects to avoid this, and learn to use the settings on your camera so that you can get away with not using a flash.  I was switching my shutter speed, aperture, and ISO the entire session, depending on the spot we were using and how much light there was.  LEARN about ISO if you have a camera that allows you to adjust it.  This shot was in a much shadier spot than most of the other pics, but I still didn’t want to use a flash, so I adjusted my shutter speed and increased my ISO to about 800.  You just want to be careful with ISO because the higher the number, the more “noise” you picture will have.

5.) Don’t be so picky!  Prepare, and think of ways to make the session fun and get genuine smiles.  Kids think of a photo shoot as such a whipping (so do Dads), so think of rewards, funny things you can say or do, etc.  But remember, even if they aren’t smiling big as Texas the whole time, you can still get some great shots.  Just relax, and let them relax, and snap away.  I think this is a beautiful shot, and she was certainly not smiling!

Lastly, if you just want a good “point and shoot” camera that still has some flexibilty and takes great pics, look into the Nikon 1.  My Canon DSLR is fantastic but so darn heavy.  It kills my hands and wrists, and isn’t great for traveling.  I love this tiny camera that still has the option to switch lenses.  There are only a few lenses to choose from currently, but that’s all I really need.

Too see more tips I have posted in the past on my old blog: visit http://tawnyhurstphotography.blogspot.com/search/label/Camera%20Tip

All Moodiness,

Tawny

P.S. If you are a busy mom looking for motivation, accountability, and knowledge about creating a healthy and balanced lifestyle, contact me for your free consultation! tawny@tawnyhurstwellness.com