From my recent newborn shoots, I came up with a few tips that would help those of you just starting out who want to tap into Newborn Photography.
I see many articles out there about how to pose newborns, but not about the subtleties of photographing them. I think this information needs to be out there to keep our little ones safe and comfortable.
Enjoy this DPS article!
Sometimes you choose a location and end up shooting somewhere else. The reason for this is usually due to light, but sometimes it’s because of an activity that happened organically. Sometimes it is to avoid a crowd.
In Sunday’s Bay Area Lifestyle Family Photography session, I spotted this little area next to the parking lot. It had great light, and I knew the textures would photograph well. Once my clients arrived, I saw that their outfits and hair color coordinated well with the location — bonus!
I was so glad that my first-time clients didn’t think I was crazy for proposing this odd location, given that we were amongst well-known spectacular spots. Thanks for trusting me, Lucy!
Glorious Parking Lot
I was standing IN the parking lot when I shot the image in the Top-Right!
Little Arete smiled the BIGGEST smiles every time I looked at her. She was cheery like the sun.
A Taste of Tuscany
I arrived early to scout the area, and I stumbled across this castle-looking building. BOOYAH!
We had to walk a bit to get here since it was tucked away, but it was worth it!
If you’re a client, trust your photographer.
If you’re a photographer, don’t take any location for face-value. Explore. Keep your eyes open. You may find a cool spot where you are standing…or parked.
A recent photoshoot of my son reminded me of a lesson that applies to my business! Check out my article that was published on DPS today. If you’re a starting-out Pro, you’ll need to read it!
(Sorry for the poor job of cutting and pasting the article. If you click on the link above or any of the print screens, you can read it on DPS.)
Without getting into the social aspect of What is Beauty, let’s just look at it from a photography point-of-view…
It started Sunday morning when I arrived at my client photoshoot early, as I usually do. I had about 15 minutes to walk around the location and take a few test shots. This is also when I would take some detail shots of all the pretty things at the location.
Today, something was different. Something changed.
It was like I flipped a switch in my brain when I saw cobwebs that illuminated the sunlight. I mean, holy guacamole, the light was AH-MAH-ZING, even on cobwebs. That made me think.
From that point on, I only photographed things that most people would never stop to look at… Cobwebs, rotting old fruit, dried up flowers, browning leaves.
Next time you take your camera with you, challenge yourself by looking beyond all the things you’d normally photograph and try to find beauty in them.
Okay, this last image may be a little gross. You get what I’m saying though!
Let me know what you discover when you do this little exercise.
My latest article for DPS was just published! I’m gonna do a flying side kick… KI-YA!!!! So excited.
Click here to read the article on the DPS website. If you haven’t checked out this website yet, you should. There are TONS of great info there — and some cool writers too.
There are certain known facts about what effects the look of your final images.
You know that different photographers have different styles of processing, so the same exact image would look different if 10 photographers edited it.
You also know that there are numerous editing tools to choose from. (That wouldn’t effect the outcome of your images; the program you use is just a tool, like different brands of brushes for a painter.)
You also know that your images will look different depending on the quality of light when you took the photograph.
But did you know…
The type/quality of light in which you do your editing work will also effect your final image – not just the light when you took the photograph.
Let me say that again: When you are editing your image, the TYPE and QUALITY of LIGHT in which you do your editing work will also effect your final image!
Below is an example to prove my point. It is the same image edited at different times of day, so the type and quality of light is different.
Image A: Edited at Night. Light source: lamps with clear lightbulbs above me.
Image B: Edited in the Morning. Light source: indirect sunlight from the windows surrounding my work space.
How it all went down:
I had learned this post processing “trick”, if you will, long ago, so I usually don’t edit photos at night anymore. However, I felt compelled to do it one night and thought I could turn on more lights as to mimic natural sunlight. I worked on a bunch of photos only to find out the following morning that they were over-saturated and had too much contrast for my taste. Thus, I re-edited all of those images to look the way I had intended originally.
[Note: Whether you prefer the processing look of Image A or Image B, the point is that they look vastly different. There may not always be such a dramatic difference when you edit images in different light sources, as there is in the image above, however, sometimes there will be!]
Editing at different times of day and/or with different light sources will produce different light quality and temperature, thereby effecting the post processing results of your final image.
Happy shooting…and editing!
Find the “good” light when you are photographing your subjects, but also look out for interesting shadows.
When all the stars are aligned, maybe, just maybe, you’ll find both.
To see more “Shadows” entries, go to I Heart Faces.
*September 20, 2013 UPDATE*
This image was chosen as one of the Top 10 Favorites in the Shadow Challenge! What an honor! YAY!!!
This story begins like this: “On a dark, windy, wet morning…”
WHAT?!! According to my calendar, it is still Summer, but you wouldn’t be able to tell by the weather yesterday morning. Having lived in the San Francisco Bay Area for the past 16 years, I now laugh about the weird Bay Area micro climates. Bwahahaha. Something like that.
My clients and I spent the morning at their lovely home. With their newest addition, baby Audrey, The C Family knew that staying inside would be the most comfortable. Miss Julianne, our almost-3 year old Activity Leader, made our time together eventful and fun!
I was a Puppeteer with one hand and a Photographer with my other!
Jules laughed at my embarrassing puppet skills, but I think I’ll stick with being a Photographer.
Laughs and Giggles
Last Photo Deconstructed
To capture this private moment between a father and his baby, I UNDER-exposed the image by 2 stops. This puts more attention on the baby who was happily watching her father as he played with her. Adorable!
Then, I made it BxW in post-processing to remove some of the colors in the background that can be distracting.
Decide what point of view you have on a particular story you are capturing. Then determine if that image calls for perfect exposure or not. Sometimes, an image looks better under- or over-exposed!
Loud and quiet. This relates to volume, and this can also describe a mood.
When it comes to photographing families with young children, it is always certain I’ll capture the vibrant personalities, bright colors and exploding laughter. That is what I’d describe as “loud”.
Then there is “quiet”, which is more soulful.
Yesterday’s Lifestyle Family Photography session in San Francisco had many great examples of “quiet”.
Leading His Little Girl
Writing a Novel
Checking On Annie
Quiet versus Loud
I love the “quiet” images. They make me slow down and take inventory of my feelings.
I also love “loud” images. They make me laugh and make my heart happy! Below are a few examples.
This photoshoot had an abundance of these types of images (“loud”), but I chose to focus on the quiet ones because I feel that sometimes people view Family Photography as only capturing large smiles. The quiet images tell great stories too.
For more information and photography tips, check out my article, Don’t Wait For A Smile. I wrote it to help photographers capture images of children, but this pertains to Lifestyle Photography as a whole.
Once you’ve been a professional photographer for a few years, some things become automatic. You critique images you see, whether you want to or not, and do it mostly in your head because it happens so often. Wherever you are, you spot where the “good light” is. This is a great asset as a professional when you are on a client shoot — however, when you are shooting for personal reasons, like photographing a casual BBQ with friends, it can be a curse.
So why do I not like bringing a camera when I go out? I’ve become critical of what and how I shoot. And I have a higher standard of what constitutes a decent image.
When I’m out with my family, I want to enjoy them. So if I bring a camera, it’s better to wear my Mom Photographer (or “Momtog”) hat, not my Professional Photographer hat. But that is hard to do.
Here is an example:
Below is a photo I took last week during our vacation. For most of our stay there, I left my camera at the beach house. One day, I took my camera with me to capture our easy-going beach lifestyle, so I wore my Momtog hat. I took photos as any parent would take of their kids. I didn’t pressure them to be subjects in a photoshoot.
Looking at the photos today, I cringe. I am fighting the urge to delete them from my hard drive.
What Most People See
“Siblings standing in the water at the beach on a sunny day. They are happy and hugging. It’s a Keeper.”
What a Professional Photographer Sees
Yep, all of that goes instantly into my head….and MORE! I just ran out of space.
Am I being too critical? Maybe. But this is all automatic. I am not trying to find things wrong with this photo or any other photo.
I still remember how it was before I started my business when I’d look at personal photos and be in love with how it transported me to that day. And that was it. Was something crooked or was something cropped unaesthetically? Who cares. I didn’t. Did I shoot mid-day in the harsh sunlight? Most definitely.
Before becoming a Professional Photographer, I enjoyed more photos that I took on a casual day.
Know your camera, learn photography rules, hone your skills, develop a more critical eye, so you can improve and grow as a photographer.
When it comes to personal photos, capture your life on camera, however it happens, and know that not every photo needs to be a work of art. It is better to capture moments than miss them.