Happy Tuesday Friends! I hope everyone is staying healthy and safe during this scary time. One of the things that I've found is helping me get through is to photograph my own family! As an Orange County Family Photographer I love to photograph anyways, so it helps to give me a sense or normalcy. Plus, it gets us outdoors, laughing and have a good time while still being safe and not around others. Because of the crazy times we are going through, I thought it may be fun to do a blog post on tips for moms with cameras so you can all do the same if you are looking for something fun to do with your kiddos!
1. Take your camera off auto! It may be scary, but if your camera is capable, move that dial to another mode. I'd recommend starting with aperture priority. That allows the camera to auto set all the other functions to get the background blur (called bokeh) that you see in professional photos. Basically the lower the f-stop (shown as f 2.0, f8.4, f12, etc) the blurrier your background will be, and the higher the number the more background will be in focus. Most professional photographers will shoot at around f2-f3.2 as it isolates the subject from their background. The one thing to keep in mind is if you use a lower f-stop the harder it is to get your subject in focus as the focal plane gets very small. You need to be exact in where you are focusing the camera! You can also set your camera to shutter priority, which will tell the camera essentially how fast to take the picture. For kids that are running around, a minimum of 1/500 second is desirable as it will freeze the action without motion blur. Keep in mind that if you use one of the priority modes, the camera will set the other settings itself and still may not be exactly what you want your photos to look like. It takes practice! Which brings me to my next tip if you really want full control of the camera....
2. Put your camera on manual! This is how I shoot and it allows you to control all aspects of the camera - aperture, shutter speed and ISO. It takes time to get the hang of it, but is the only way you'll get photos exactly how you want them as you literally tell the camera how to take a picture in this mode. Start by photographing something with infinite patience, like a flower, or fruit in your garden! This will let you understand the relationship between the three modes and practice before you make your kids step in front of your camera!
(photo taken at f2.8, shutter speed 1/400 sec, ISO 1600 (it was getting dark so I had to increase my ISO to allow more light into the camera)
3. Make sure to shoot at your child's level! Most people will shoot from their height, but you want to shoot at the level of the person you are photographing. This makes the photograph feel more like you are having a conversation rather than looking down on your kids. Bonus: you get your workout with all the squats you'll do photographing your littles!
4. Is there a nature walk or hike that you've always wanted to try? Now is a great time as the paths are wide open and isolated. It gets the family out together and allows you to get fresh air. You can photograph them hiking, with a waterfall, skipping rocks, etc. Basically being kids! Bonus: if there is a gorgeous view from your hike, you can photograph that too and hang it on your wall to remember your family time by!
5. Pick a sport to photograph! If your kids love soccer, bring a soccer ball to an open field and photograph them kicking the ball. If they love tennis, find a court that is empty and photograph them serving. It gets the wiggles out of your kids and lets you document what they love to play at this specific moment. Plus, it doesn't make them feel like they are "posing" for you!
7. Let kids be kids! Don't just pose your kids, let them have fun! Some of my favorite photographs ever have been just observing and documenting the fun kids get into. Whether that is playing with sticks, running around, finding bugs or any other activity kids love to do, document it! Life is not posed and should be remember as it was :-).
6. Mind the light! The biggest reason professional photos look amazing? It's because photographers know that light is king in photography and can make or break an image. Soft, even light is flattering and forgiving. Photographing in the bright sun at mid-day for example will give the people you photograph "racoon eyes" as the sun sits overhead and casts a shadow under the eyes. However photographing in the evening, before the sun sets gets you soft, glowy light that is so beautiful! If you are out during the day, look for shade, which will at least allow even lighting on your subjects. Try to avoid dappled or uneven light.
7. Don't give up or feel badly if your images aren't perfect at first! It takes practice and we all start somewhere! There is beauty in imperfection as well :-).
Interested in chatting more or scheduling an Orange County family photography session? Let's get in touch!