Category Archives: DIY Photography
Welcome to my 4 Part Introduction to Professional Photography for Clients.
I realize you may or may not have had an experience with professional photographers and so I thought I would take some time to put together some of the most comprehensive information about all of the questions you might have when contemplating a professional photo shoot for your family. This is a 4 part series where I will cover things like: why you should have a professional photo shoot, what to expect from your photographer and your shoot, what to wear, best time of day to book and why, posing and pricing de-mystified etc… So please stay tuned as I help answer the most asked and often unasked questions.
PART ONE – Why Families should have Professional Photos Taken?
Of all the types of portraiture we create, family portraits are the most important, yet the least likely to be scheduled.
Because unlike a wedding, birth of a new baby or a high school graduate, there is no particular compelling time in which it has to be scheduled. So it’s easy to keep putting it off until later.
But all too often – later never comes. You will hear people often expressing an ocean of regret and sadness of not having gotten around to it, only to have something happen that makes it impossible to ever capture the family as it had once existed.
It has been said that the self-esteem of a child is higher if he/she sees photographs of themselves around the house compared to a child who does not. I’m not too sure how factual these words are, but I do see the logic in them. Anyone who sees photos of themselves displayed around the house, the office or on Facebook is likely to feel good that someone else is sharing a picture of them because:
1. The feel loved. The very fact that you are displaying photos of your children and/or significant other for people to see is an act of love and acceptance. Happy families tend to display large numbers of photos in their homes.
2. They feel beautiful. Displaying a photo of someone is an active way of saying “I think you’re perfect the way you are and I want to share you with the world!” It’s also a great excuse to notice those photos and comment on how beautiful, romantic or wonderful that memory was.
3. They feel connected. If the photo is of you with another person, it might bring back the emotion of being with that person or the memory of that moment. Photos prompt our memory, and because we tend to take photos of happy occasions, they weight the memories to the good.
When I see an image, I want to feel something. I want you to feel something. The emotions portrayed in photography can vary greatly. Although these feelings can be felt when looking at a photo without a person, it’s just so much more poignant when you see a familiar face. It may be because people and relationships are the most important part of who we are. Documenting these relationships on film is a way to freeze in time a record of the emotion and a little bit of each person.
The importance of having photographs taken of yourself and loved ones is priceless. It makes me so sad to hear people say they don’t want photos taken of themselves or they are always deleting photos of themselves because they don’t like the way they look. Over the years I have had to come to terms with the way I look in photos. Although, there are many times that I look at a photo of myself and am not happy with it, I have to let it be and keep it. It’s a document, a record of me and the person I was with at that time. For that very reason, I cannot delete it. We delete so many photos, store them on hard drives, and keep them hidden away because we are embarrassed by the way we looked. Photos are taken to be cherished and shared, not stored away and never to be seen again.
Once a photograph has been taken, it becomes a part of our history. Nothing records the past as well as an image.
So, in the words of one of my most favorite photographers…. “Don’t wait till you are perfect. . .You will never be perfect” ~ Sue Bryce~ start digging out those old photo albums and photo boxes and get those photos up on your walls. Stop hiding and start living and if you find you are lacking in family photos to hang or are looking for that a one of a kind experience or unique piece to hang above the mantle, give me a call! I will make you feel beautiful and you will have images you will be excited to cherish and share forever!
You are beautiful ~ Yes YOU!!!
Stay tuned for Part 2 of this series: What to expect in a professional photo shoot…
Happy New Year Everyone!!! Welcome to 2014!!!
As we all know, the celebrating and ringing in of the New Year also brings with it a new found sense of desired personal growth and achievement. Some people call these “Resolutions”. I prefer to skip the dirty “R” word and call them goals. Let’s face it, by the time February rolls around, we have long since fallen of the diet, no more smoking, gym going etc. wagon and we can no longer even remember half of the promises we made to ourselves…so I will stick with goals.
OK….I’ll go first and share with you all a few of my goals for 2014:
1. I want to blog more about all things photography
2. I want to grow my business and continue to learn
3. I want to teach you how to be a better photographer/momtog/mammarazza (Dads NOT excluded here)
4. I want to photograph with a bigger sense of purpose – more on this in an upcoming blog
5. I want to change the world through photography. Why you ask? Well I think it’s only fitting to start the year off with a rather lofty goal – I will talk about this in an upcoming blog also – big ideas in my little brain….I’m pretty excited!!!!
But for right now, I want to talk about point #3.
Have you always wanted to capture pleasing memories while on vacation? Have you ever wanted to create more artistic photos, to be excited and not disappointed in the photos that you have taken; all the while enjoying the process? Have you made it a goal this year to take more family/friend/pet photos? Or how about to better the skills you already possess? Did your spouse buy you a brand new digital camera for Christmas? Do you want to learn what makes a photograph really great? Then I have GOOD NEWS for YOU!!! I want to help! For just $9.99 you can purchase my new e-book…hahahahaha KIDDING (but gosh I have always wanted to say that).
In all seriousness, here are 10 very basic principles to get you started. No complicated lingo and no stress…just simple.
1. Close Encounter (not of the 3rd kind)
Having your subject almost fill the frame helps your viewer understand and appreciate your photo. Details are made more clear and interesting compared to an overall view. Sometimes it isn’t made possible without the use of a large zoom (telephoto) lens.
2. Be Quick on the Draw
If it’s even remotely possible that the subject you are about to capture may make a sudden move, fly away, stop smiling or grow tired of waiting for you to take the photo (think babies, toddlers and pets), take the picture right away!
Just practice getting quicker and quicker to the draw. Don’t worry about all the settings on the camera – just take the picture while the opportunity is there.
3. Compose with Care – Fundamentals
It doesn’t matter that you are not likely submitting your photo to a fine art gallery; it still needs to be balanced for its true beauty to shine.
• Keep the horizon level
• Crop out extra elements that you are not interested in or find distracting
• Deliberately place your subject where you think is best suited rather than wherever it happens to land in the photo
• Play with perspective so that all lines show a pattern or lead the eye to your main subject
• Work with the Rule of Thirds
4. Be Selective – Nit-Picky is Encouraged
Photography is an art and like all art, it is subjective. This is your ticket to be both creative and picky in what interests YOU!! Did your in-laws buy you a new cappuccino maker for Christmas and you’ve finally mastered making the perfect cup? Why not photograph that beautiful steaming cup of elixir – better yet, why not make it a piece of art to hang on the wall of your kitchen?! A fancy new cup and saucer, some biscotti and bold placemat or serving tray and Voila!! – art ready to be captured!
Here are a few tips:
• Be sure to keep anything distracting out of the frame
• Focus in on a close up that tells the whole story
• Move around your subject and capture it from different angles
• Be sure to protect your camera and equipment at all times when liquids are involved
5. Focus on Your Subject
Ever wonder how photographers get that ultra-blurred, dreamy background, yet their subject is in beautiful focus? This is called Depth-of-Field (DOF). This is achieved by playing around with the aperture feature of your digital camera. This means you need to let go of the safety net of shooting in AUTO and head out to navigate the murky waters of MANUAL. This by far the most daunting place to go but this my friends is where the magic happens! Nothing ventured = nothing gained.
Here’s a little tidbit for you to get you started:
• Smaller DOF (Small F-stop #) focuses all of the attention on your subject and creates that oh so dreamy blurry background
• Larger DOF (Large F-stop #) will make everything from here to eternity appear in focus. This is best for landscapes
6. A Moment in Time
One of the most fun components of photography is the element of time. On one hand, we can take an image that happens so slowly we could never see it and the other so quick in real time that we could never notice it. Play with your shutter speed.
Use a slow shutter speed and a tripod to capture a silky image of a flowing creek or waterfall. Or use a fast shutter speed (1/500 and up) to capture an object in motion.
7. Look into the Light
….OK not literally! You do need to be aware of it though. Unless you want a silhouette effect (where your subject is black against an interesting background), it’s generally best to shoot with the sun at your back.
Some things to consider:
• How is the light affecting your subject – are they squinting?
• Is the light shining bright and direct on your subject? This works if you like the bold colors
• Side lighting can add drama but also can cause extreme hard-to-print contrasts
• Indirect light can be used to make your subject glow soft and pretty.
8. Watch the Weather
If it is overcast – keep the sky out of your photos as much as possible. Your subjects will look quite muted against a grey sky and the sky will add to an overall washed out look. Black and white photos of an overcast sky tend to be much more pleasing.
Make the most of a beautiful day!
9. Don’t be Gadget Guy/Girl
I’m still working on training my husband with this one **sigh**
While it is nice to have all the bells and whistles at your disposal, it’s better to master a basic set up for yourself that works in most conditions.
This doesn’t mean keeping your camera set on AUTO, but rather experiment with some of the semi-automatic features such as aperture-priority and master shooting in that mode.
If you are insistent upon having one accessory, invest in a good sturdy tripod. It will help solve camera shake, take beautiful evening shots and, it will prevent you from becoming the elusive momtog (dads too) by allowing you to get into your family pictures too….just be sure to set the timer on your camera!
10. Be Brave….Be Bold
Don’t allow yourself to panic over fear of using the wrong setting. Don’t be afraid to approach strangers to take their photos if you feel there is a story there. Respect them if they say no and move on – after all that was the worst that could happen right?
When photographing wildlife, be sure to observe local bi-laws and tread softly so as to disturb as little as possible. Be wise….but be bold
So there you have it – basic but helpful, I hope. So please go forth and take beautiful pictures that will last a lifetime and please feel free to share these images with me!!
If there is anything you want to learn about in particular, please leave me a comment and I will gladly help you out.
Thank you for reading – please pass this info along to fellow photogs you think will benefit!