Thursday, May 13, 2010

3 Months

Yay!  Your baby can hold their head up and not look a martian when you try to prop them up, but how do you make that translate into cute?  Honestly, 3 months isn't really the time for professional pictures.  They're too big to be amazing newborns, and too small to really get a gleeming smile or chuckle.

BUT, that doesn't mean you can't get some great home photos, and even with stuff you have around the house!

1.  Remember that breastfeeding pillow you no longer use?  Use it for photos!  Most of my belly pictures are taken on one of those.  Cover it, prop the baby up on it and get on their level and shoot away.  Love their little heads peeking up.  Love this photo.  WHY is she growing up on me?

2.  Stuff 'em in!  A lot of my pictures are taken in a lage chair in our playroom.  It faces a window and it has some nice pillows just perfect for wedging a baby in between.  Just shoot quickly because they tend to fall forward (and at most shoots I had a helpful assistant... well, a mostly helpful assistant. :D)

3.  Work those eyes.  The reason I like that chair is it points towards our sliding glass door so even those dark baby eyes still have a great gleam to them.  I think she's plotting on how to steal the world's milk supply... one squirt at a time.

4.  Work it.  Ok, maybe I'm wrong.  As I look at these photos they're some of my favorites.  They dont' move, they're happy.  Problem is -- it's hrad to find those happy times sometimes at 3 months so home shoots are great.  I love this photo of my little P.  Did I mention she's growing up.  I'm pretty sure she'll be puting college applications in next week. 

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Showcasing that Special Outfit

Admit it, you've done it.
You've taken pictures of your kid just because of an outfit.
I did just that when it was P's blessing.

While this montage also shows some candids, it does show how you can showcase an outift.

1.  Pick a contrasting background.  I obviously wouldn't photograph her in a white dress on a white background, unless you're looking for a "floating" look.
2.  Blankets.  I think I've failed to mention that baby pictures are a great time to get in all those blankets loved ones have made you.  In the middle photo my mom made both the hat and the blanket.  I love that picture, she looks so angelic.
3.  Accessories.  While P doesn't wear a bow in every day life, she does in photos...  Maybe that's just so we can tell her apart from C. :)

Let's face it, the clothes make the baby.  Ok.  Maybe not, but they sure are fun!

Monday, May 03, 2010

Stage Photography

Recently, Conner had a play and it was tough getting good pictures!
They're kind of nazi-ish about letting parents back stage so I was left having to take pictures from the audience.

So, what are my tips for getting good stage shots?  Basically, it's the same as any low-light conditions:
1.  Shoot in a high enough ISO so they're not blurry.  These were shot at 800 ISO.  It's a low light condition, and you have to adjust.
2.  Use an approrpriate aperture.  Do you want focus on just them,  or on the whole stage?  A smaller aperture will focus on just your child, and it will allow for a quicker shutter speed.  However, a larger aperture will allow for you to see more kids and if your child is moving or dancing, you need a larger one to make sure they remain in the field of focus.
3.  Pick a zoom lens.  These were only with my 18-55, I wanted to take me 70-300 but that is a story for another day.
4.  Edit them.  The pictures weren't great straight out of the camera, but with a little Lightroom magic I really like how they turned out!

We loved Conner's play and I'm glad I have nice pictures to show for it!

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Photo of the Week

Voila, two little happy kids in their easter clothes, pretty great -- right?  MAN, these two... trying to get them to smile and look at the camera... If you've read this blog for a while I've photographed these two since they were born.  Literally, those very moments. ;)

They're just over a year apart and they are funny little cute bundles of fun... love them.

BUT, much like my own that doesn't make for great photography.  I try to get some interaction photos and while those are fun, they aren't often the ones you want to put on your mantle.

I do most of my shoots at parks, and this one's a fun one and I was really glad with all the greenry behind them.  If I pointed my lens in the wrong way we could've had some ugly wires, etc.  Also, I try to make sure they were always looking towards the setting sun (these were taken at just about 7 pm) and in a shaded area.  That way you've at least set-up a good shot and you can just pray for the rest of it to fall into place.

Pictures of kids.  It can be scary, it's true. :)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Photo Shoot Editing Process Step #1: Rating

I thought I'd go through my system of editing.  Here's a clue.  Most pictures aren't that great straight out of the camera!  I almost always have to fix them.  BUT, I don't fix all of them.
Adobe Photoshop Lightroom 2I use Lightroom (which I got with an educational discount, well -- make that DREW got it with an educational discount, thanks dear!).  I love it.
But my first step is to always rate the photos.  Lightroom allows you to rate them 1-5.  I really only use 2-5, and I only keep photos that are a 3 or better:
2 -- totally out of focus and ugly
3 -- Not the best, but I might giggle when I look at it someday
4 -- Pretty great

I only rate through 4 inititally. 

Then, I pull up all the 4's, and go through those (and sometimes zooming in to check focus), and pick about 1/3 of them and rate those a 5.  Fives are my favorites and usually the ones I post online or in my videos, etc.  I only edit photos ranked a 4 or five.  It just saves time.

Windows also has a ranking ability.  It's just a quick way to go through the pictures and decide which are really your favorite.

Ta-da, there's step one!

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Just TAKE them

I've had some questions about whether people can do all these fancy things on their own little cameras.
The short answer.  No.

Even though I was trying hard with my smaller camera, things just weren't as great.  Having the right lenses and ability to more you aperature and shoot in raw does make a world of difference.

But it's not ALL the difference.

Also, in photoshop you can do a lot of great things with the photos you already have.  One of my big gripes is dark photos.  I'm going to do an entry on this as soon as I climb out of my post-Disneyland pile.

I took my tiny camera to Disneyland and while the pictures aren't as great as I could have taken otherwise (or, even if I spent a little time editing them, which is unlikely at this point) I still love them.  Like this one of me, P and Minnie.  I didn't take it, and I certinaly didn't do much to it (but Disney at least did set it up so the lighting at Minnie's house is GREAT!... but it's a picture I already treasure because it's of me and my little girl.  I don't get many of those since I'm often behind the camera.
So, shoot away!  Enjoy what you have, and now that SLR's are so cheap you can always save those pennies for "someday". :)

Friday, April 16, 2010

Taking a self-portrait in a manual Mode

How do you use your timer setting when you're not there to focus on?
Well, here's the answer when you're setting up the shot, use something to take your place, to make sure that your focus is right!
For instance, this picture from my blog last week:

I wanted a small apperature so that the background wouldn't be the focus, my sweet shoes would be. :)
So, I used a game to set-up the shot, like this:
Then, once I had set my focus and started the timer, I just ran and replaced myself and my shoes with the box.  Easy Schmeasy... plus everything's in focus.  If you just set your camera to take the picture with nothing there it would have focused on my back wall, making it MUCH less fancy.

If you want to read more about my sketchers shape-ups you can find it on my losing with lovers blog on the right.