Sorry for the hiatus! It's been so busy around here and there are no signs of letting up. I've got a few posts in the works but none of them has been finished so I decided to hunker down for an hour this morning and get this post out to you.
iPhones are amazing. Their cameras have grown in leaps and bounds and we can really capture amazing things on our phone. They are convenient and they are always with us. I probably have nearly 8,000 photos in my camera roll (yes, seriously!). But since I have started to realize how quickly time passes, I decided that I would start using my camera more often to capture some everyday moments of Caleb. I have made it a point to pull it out once a day and capture just a few snapshots of whatever is going on at the moment.
I get asked all the time about my kiddos photos. How do I get such good photos? What camera do I use (little secret: the camera can improve your photos but it has very little to do with how you actually capture things)? The truth is, I'm a photographer sometimes and yes I know how to work a camera, but there are certainly things you can do to capture some great photos yourself! I won't be getting into technical aspects of a camera here, but I will be sharing some tips and tricks you can use yourself with either a point and shoot, a cell phone, or a digital SLR (what many people like to refer to as a "professional camera"). Many of the photos here were taken with my camera, but some were taken with my iPhone - in a pinch it can produce some great results!
1. Find the light
Direct sunlight is the worst. Squinty eyes and every line and imperfection visible. You want diffused light - so put the sun behind them, or stand in open shade or near a window. I have found that my covered front porch works great or near my French doors leading out to the backyard.
2. Turn off your flash.
Flash creates harsh shadows and ruins the natural feel of a photo. If you're using your iPhone, turn off your flash and use your finger to select the part of the photo you want the camera to expose for. On a digital SLR, switch your camera from Auto mode to almost any other mode. When I first started shooting, AV (Aperture Priority) on my Canon was my favorite setting to use. I set the aperture I wanted to use and the camera figured out the rest of the settings for me. No flash necessary. You want shadows and light - that gives your photos a really natural feel.
Sometimes you have no choice but to use flash (dark rooms, nighttime), in which case, do it, but do so sparingly.
3. Let them be.
Don't try and make them look at you. Kids naturally do the most adorable things. Let them be themselves. Give them bubbles. Let them play with the dog. Let them get dirty. And just snap away. Eventually you'll get a look in your direction, but it won't feel staged or posed.
4. Take multiple shots.
Don't just try to take one photo and say you can never get a good one. I usually take about 10 photos and out of every 10, I may have 3 that are sharp, clear, in focus, and where he isn't a total blur. Switch positions, change perspectives.
Capture those little feet, the little hands, the amazing eyelashes. You will miss those when they are bigger. Even the cranky, crying faces. They'll grow and change, and you want to etch that in your memory. But your memory fails, and photos are the only way to remember that cranky face.
6. Get in the picture.
Every once in a while, get in front of the camera too. Forget what you look like, that your makeup isn't done, that you want to lose 15 pounds. Your kids won't care about any of those things. They will care that they have photos with their parents.
7. Filter that!
To improve my iPhone shots, I use ColorStory or Afterlight, two photo editing apps that are pretty easy to use. I don't do heavy filtering, but a little can really add to the mood of your photo. I usually sharpen my photos and add a filter at about 10%-15%.
8. Get in the moment.
Take a few photos, but leave the full on photo sessions to professionals. Enjoy your kids and be in the moment - you'll never have it back. Take a couple of quick shots and then put the phone or the camera down. I promise you won't regret it.