Photog Friday: Goin’ Natural in the House

First, let me say that I’m sorry I missed Friday! I’m on vacation and temporarily lost any concept of time … so, we will pretend its Friday and not quite the weekend.

Anyway, back to Friday’s tip!

If you’ve ever tried to shoot your Wild Thing in the house, you’ve probably figured out that taking shots in the house can be tricky. There are 2 major things that will irritate you faster than hearing “Mommy, I need potty!” with a full shopping cart in Wal-Mart. Those are Shadows & Blur.  So, let’s talk about avoiding those enemies by using natural light while indoors. Yes Mommies, you CAN shoot a decent picture without your flash!

Enemy #1 Shadows.

Let’s talk about WHY you’re getting the shadows. So, you’ve searched the whole house for the brightest spot to plop your Wild Thing down and start shooting. Sometimes, the brightest spots are the worst.  They can create hotspots and harsh shadows. You want lots of light but not lots of DIRECT light.

What can you do? First of all, you want your main source of light to be at a 45 degree angle to your Wild Thing.  You might have seen a professional mention using a reflector.  But let’s face it, unless you have an assistant (who by the way, would be put to better use by doing the dishes) using one to capture a Wild Thing  … just isn’t realistic.

BUT if your Wild Thing likes to paint or draw, a white paper easel may help to get a nicely lit little face while they are drawing away. What has worked for me in the past, is getting my Wild Thing to play near the big bay window early to mid morning.  Another trick you can try is to have them play in a white walled corner near a window. The white walls help to bounce the light around creating a softer (less shadowy) light. 

And if you get the cutest shot ever that is still plagued by shadows you can try desaturating and lowering the contrast in processing to see if that saves it!

Enemy #2 Blurrrr

What about that Blur?  WHY!? There are a couple of reasons. Movement will create a blurry picture. Darker conditions mean your shutter will need to be open longer (slower shutter speed), which means  your subject has enough time to move or even slight movement of the camera can happen – or both.

What can you do? Steadying your camera can make a big difference. Since we all know that using a tripod is not conducive to capturing a Wild Thing, use your surroundings! Get down on the ground and steady your elbows on your knees … elbows on a table or chair … find something to lean on. I like to get on my belly with my elbows on the ground – helps to get down on their level anyway!

Another biggie that can help is to get manual! I’ve said it before mommies, get that camera in manual mode!  Control the camera’s process. Play with the settings. Start with ISO 400 and the widest (lowest number) aperture and adjust your shutter speed from there. If you can’t get a shutter speed of at least 1/60, bump your ISO up and adjust shutter speed again until you get there.

Ok Mommies! Get over there and PRACTICE going “Natural in the House”!

Please feel free to email me!


Photog Friday: Stalking Wild Things

Any one who knows Reed, knows that most of the time he refuses to look at my lens.  And I say ‘my lens’ because I’ve seen him POSE for others! Are you kidding me?! … drives me nuts!  While I get a hand & “No Momera!”, another mom at the playdate gets a cheeeeesy smile. Well, that is exactly why I’ve learned to stalk my little “Wild Thing” in his natural environment.

Here are some tips to help you creep up on yours!  So, you can not only get the shot you want without spooking them, but maybe even tame them into getting comfortable & back to nature in front of your lens … some day.

Planning the Hunt. You’ll want to have some idea of what shot you’re looking for ahead of time. Once you’ve sighted a Wild Thing, you may have little time to make adjustments. So, decide ahead of time (before the camera is spotted) what you’re looking to capture.  A shutter speed of speed of 1/250 or above to freeze the action or blur the wild things movement with a slow shutter of around 1/60.

Bait.  Hand them a toy or get them involved in an activity and wait until they’re engrossed before you start shooting.

Camouflage.  If you can, try to fit into the environment, so that your wild thing doesn’t get self-conscious.  Back up & zoom in.  One thing I’d like to practice is to try shooting some images with my camera at waist level to avoid drawing attention to it.

Waaait for it.  Wild things have a very keen sense for when they’re being manipulated and as any mommy knows, they hate to be controlled.  Back up, get out of their space, zoom in and just wait.  Sit back until the right moment, then shoot quickly (this is why you need to have some idea of what settings you will be using).

Take the SHOT! For the least amount of shutter lag, try setting your camera on continuous autofocus (or release priority … check your manual!). This mode is good for fast moving Wild Things because it monitors the movement and will predict & refocus.

Displaying your Trophy.  Wild Things are always climbing, building, exploring, and trying out new things. Don’t just shoot them on holidays & birthdays. Make picture-taking a part of your everyday life. Take pictures regularly so that you, your family, and friends can see how much your Wild Thing has changed.  Some day, they may actually become tame … maybe even turn and give you a “cheeeese!”


Bath Time Fun!

It’s my first Mommy Monday!  And I have to admit that I didn’t put enough thought into the timing of the kickoff considering I will be out-of-town the next 2 Mondays. But that’s okay!! It’s a test in committment.

Anyway, one of the tips from the first Photog Friday was: Tell their story. This is one of my favorite aspects of photography, it captures the seemly unimportant details that will fill your heart & mind with wonderful memories later. The little things are quickly forgotten from our brains, but in a picture they’ll be there forever … good or bad.

I really enjoy taking pictures of Reed just being … well, Reed. I encourage him to just play & talk while I sit, listen, watch, and take a few shots here & there. Since there’s no pressure to smile, pose, or do anything in particular, he quickly forgets about the camera and just goes back to being himself.

A lot of times the pictures I get while I’m attempting to capture the natural Reed end up being my most cherished.

For example. one of his favorite things to do is to take a bath. Reed is a water baby! And if I’ve captured his “story” well, you’ll see some of that for yourself …


Photog Friday!

I really try to post 3 times a week … and sometimes that’s a struggle. So, to help me stay focused & for your reading enjoyment, I’d like to try to post using a few themes.

Starting today – Photog Friday!

Photog Friday is my attempt to help you mommies out there take better pictures of you favorite subjects – YOUR BABIES! Doesn’t matter how old they are. I’ll try to post some tips that will help you capture your memories, document their lives, and just share some info I’ve learned along my path.

The other theme I’m going to try is “Mommy Mondays” (thanks for the idea Julie & Shannon!). I figure I post about Reed enough that I may as well try to show some of my Photog Friday tips in action!

So, to get us started … here are some tips on photographing your cuties:

Tell their story. You tell your friends, post about it on Facebook, now capture it in photos. Dont be afraid to show the mess, the mad little faces, or the onry little face that some days just brings you to tears. Not all photos are sweet & say “cheese”.

Get Close. Get close to your baby when shooting – you’ll see an instant improvement in your photos. Framing your little one in close will avoid distracting background details (or piles of laundry & toys ALL over the floor!)

Capture Baby Parts.  What about those feet, fingers, belly button, butt, shoulder, hair (or lack of), toys, books, teddy bear, bedding, and shoes? All those things will be different before you know it! Later, you’ll love that you took shots of those … and they’ll love seeing it when they get older too.

Forget that Flash.  Learn how to use your camera in manual so you can adjust to low light conditions. Move your cutie into a room with better lighting … open those blinds and set that baby in front of the window!

Get Down. Get down to their eye level. Get shots of things from their perspective.

Be Ready. Great moments just happen! They aren’t always smiling cheerful babies. Sometimes peaceful sleeping faces say much more! Or who knows when a new dance move may start … have that camera prepared, within reach, and ready to go!

Don’t Forget You. They wouldn’t be here without you, you are a BIG part of their story. Too many times mommy is behind the camera and never in front of it. Pass the camera off or at least turn it around on yourself. Maybe a picture of you with them taken in front of the bathroom mirror. Who cares, get in there! You’ll change, too, over the years, and that’s part of the story.

Okay! I feel like we are off to a good start … leave a comment – what do YOU think? What do you want to see tips about? Let me know …  and Thanks for stopping by!

Beach Boys

I have to say that while there are LOTS of reasons I’m homesick & desperately want to get back to San Diego – and there are almost as many excuses why we cant … almost – the biggest reason would have to be seeing Reed play with his cousin Luke.

I could sit for hours watching these boys play together.  And even though they hadn’t seen each other for months, they seem to pick up right where they left off.  They also seem to have a natural instinct to giggle when they get within a few feet of each other.  I’ve seen Reed play with a lot of kids, but I’ve never seen him chase another in mindless circles with gut busting laughs like he does with Luke.

And because his cousin is named Luke, I’d even consider changing Reed’s name to Bo … but only if my sister names her next baby (due in Sept) Daisy.  Well, okay maybe we can just can them the “Dukes of Disaster” instead.  But no matter how you look at it, there are just some relationships that are just extra special.  I have that with my sister and pray that Reed has the opportunity to have that with Luke.

… and while its fun to watch them play when Luke visits Arizona – its MUCH more relaxing to watch them play on the beach!

A Beautiful Family

A few weeks ago, I had the honor of photographing one of the most beautiful families I’ve done so far!  I could have taken shots of their two little girls all day – they are just gorgeous! 

And I was thankful that they were also pretty easy-going, since both locations they picked were wet from sprinklers and we ended up having to search for a different spot – twice! … and no one panicked when little Maddie ran off straight towards a sprinkler and came back SOAKING wet!  Good times.

But we had a fun and the girls did great!  I just love the images we were able to get – hope they do too!!

Enjoy & thanks for stopping by!

Motherhood is a Journey

{10 Things I’ve learned now that I’m a Mom}

1. Having a baby changed my life from, ‘What if I can’t do it?!’ to ‘I WILL do this’  …  and that change happened as soon as my water broke!

2. I’m content to pick corn flakes up off the floor over, and over, and over again if it means he is still “discovering” the many ways to get them there. 

3. I discovered there is no dignity in child-birth: “No please go get that nurse 2 units over that hasn’t seen my “situation” … wouldn’t want her to feel left out now WOULD we?”.

4. There are mornings that Sesame Street is mesmerizing.

5. I’m not embarrassed to say that because of “baby brain”, I looked up how to spell mesmerizing.

6. I have nursed my baby in a public place … and even leaned over to a horrified bystander and whispered, “Thats what they’re for ya know”

7. When you have a toddler “pajama day” just means you didn’t have time to get dressed.

8. Even after 2.5 years, Reed can still bring tears to my eyes because he is so wonderfully made!

9. I always thought my worse fear was that I would miss my calling … but it’s actually that Reed would miss his.

10. My little boy is living proof that the Lord can repair what the locust had previously eaten away.


El Rio

On one of our recent family outings we went to an area called El Rio. There’s a new bridge there and since the water was flowing, we decided to get out and explore.

There’s plenty to do if you enjoy looking at birds, throwing rocks, or digging in the river bed.

Randy was hoping to get some shots of birds but it was too early and a little too warm … maybe next time!

But Reed enjoyed it and we had some family time, so it wasn’t a wasted trip. Besides, if Reed is around – there’s always something for me to take pictures of!