Capturing a great natural expression can be the most difficult task for a mom or a dad. What do I hear all the time? Mom or Dad says, “Johnny, give me the good smile not the ugly or bad smile.” What did Johnny hear? “Mom or Dad doesn’t like me.“ Trying to take your child’s photo can turn into a repeated negative experience for the child. I believe, all of those negative experiences cause people to hate to have their photo taken. I don’t know how many times I have heard; attractive–looking adults tell me “I don’t take a good photo. When did anyone teach Johnny how to smile naturally? Is the answer never? I think so. Johnny does not know how to smile. What do we need to do is teach Johnny how to smile. Here’s how: Get out a magazine with happy portraits of children. Make a game of this. Build a scrapbook of kids’ portraits and practice those smiles in front of a mirror. Get everyone involved. Have fun with it. Learn to smile and then break out the camera. Don’t forget the fun part. Take the funny-face pictures first, then get that great portrait you are looking for. When you come into my studio and tell me you don’t take a good portrait, don’t worry. I don’t take bad ones. We will have fun and capture great portraits together.
One of the most challenging things a mom can do is photograph her own children. I know at least one mom who is a well-known professional photographer and she is greatly challenged when photographing her own children. You want it to be perfect but the kids never cooperate. To succeed, it must become a game. On one occasion, I was photographing this little girl. According to the mom, little girl never had a great portrait taken before. As it turns out she was extremely shy. But she was holding the key to a great portrait. She was holding her favorite stuffed animal. I asked her if she would like to photograph her little stuffed kitten. She thought about it, and then she agreed. I posed the little cat then let her push the button on my camera. She was tickled when she saw the photo pop up on the back of the camera. The kitten fell over and I asked her to hold it up. Then I took the photo of her holding kitten. She liked that. Then I asked her if the kitten could take her portrait. She giggled with every image. The kitten was taking her photo. If you can turn it into a game you can capture fantastic portraits.
Saving Your Images One of the greatest challenges in the digital world of photography is managing all your images. Here are a few tips. Shoot Raw Always shoot in raw. Raw images contain the image data plus image information such as shutter speed, aperture settings, and ISO. Jpegs files only contain image data. Also, raw files have more image data than a Jpeg. Raw files allow expanded image manipulation techniques. I never shoot Raw and Jpeg images at the same time. I only shoot raw images. When I have raw and jpeg images in the same folder it is too confusing. One Event, One Folder Import your images into a single folder for that collection of images. Don’t mix image from multiple in events into the same folder. If you do you will end up with big mess. Name the Folder Name the folder with a date and descriptive name. For example “20120214_Valentines Party” Start your folder name with the four digit year followed by two digit month and day and then the title. This will help you sort your images by year, month, and day. If you don’t do this you will have a mess. I know I have tried it. Name the Images Name the image files with the same naming convention and a sequential number after the descriptive name. For example “20120214_Valentines Party.nef.” Depending on your camera your raw file will have a different file extension (suffix). Nikon uses .nef. Canon uses CRW or CR2. Final Thought This technique of folder creation and folder naming has made my life a lot easier. If you have any questions about these four steps please call, email, or contact me on Facebook. To get my contact information please go to my website.
I am a member of Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep. The mission statement of Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep is to introduce remembrance photography to parents suffering the loss of a baby with the free gift of professional portraiture. We believe these images serve as an important step in the family’s healing process by honoring their child’s legacy. As a member, I serve as a volunteer professional photographer that goes into local area hospitals to photograph babies. What I have seen are parents pouring all of their hope, desires and love into their baby’s final moments. I am asking you to join in supporting Now I Lay Me Down to Sleep by participating in the 2012 Charity Model Search. For additional details please call me at (817) 905-9241 or go to www.littleonesbysteve.com/specials.html For contest details go to www.charitymodelssearch.orgwww.charitymodelssearch.org
Was Fuzzy Wuzzy a bear or just Out of Focus. I was at a group gathering and someone came up to me and asked why their photos were fuzzy. My initial reaction was similar to this guy in the Chevy commercial. Well, uhhh. But in the middle of Well and uhh was a two hour class on photography. The simple answer is your point-and-shoot camera jacks up your ISO, lowers your shutter speed, and opens your aperture in low light conditions. All three of those actions taken by your camera result in fuzzy images. This not complex or hard but you will probably need to read you camera manual. The first step is set you camera on Manual Mode. Set your Shutter Speed to 30th or 60th of a second. Then set your ISO to its lowest setting such as a 100 or 200 ISO. The Aperture should be set to about f4 or f5.6 so that you can capture ambient light. The final step needs your flash. Pop up your flash and stand about 10 feet from your subject. Take a shot. If the subject is two bright then take a few steps back and try again. If the subject is to dark then get a little closer. You need to find the distance that works best for you camera and its flash. Once you find that distance, then all have to do is shoot your subject at the distance to capture a properly exposed and not fuzzy images.