I feel so lucky to have a creative husband, and even luckier that he’s worked with the very talented photographer Evan Kafka. What is the best tip you can give for any mom or dad who wants to do a photoshoot of her child?
If possible, leave things set up for a day or two, incase your baby is not in the mood and you can try again later.
This entry was posted in Tips and tagged babies, kids, photograph children, photography, tips, toddler by shaleah. A large proportion of the readers of Digital Photography School classify themselves as beginners – so we thought it might be helpful to have a page set up that collates some of our Digital Photography Tips for Beginners.
Below is just a selection of some of our digital photography tips and tutorials aimed more at the beginner photographer.
And, it’s no surprise that one of my favorite photography sites, i heart faces, has a bunch of great posts on the subject as well! Ever just see a beautiful patch of sunlight and wish you could catch it, then redirect it to the exact spot you need for your photo?
Photography is all about light—but did you know there is a way to control the light in a scene without dropping a few grand on studio lighting? Reflectors come in many different shapes and sizes, from giant, yet collapsable disks sold at photography stores to something as simple as a white piece of cardboard or anything covered in tinfoil. How much light they bounce back, and what type, depends on the size and color of the reflector. Reflectors are something you can easily build yourself, but the ready-made options available through any photography supplier are often easier to transport and aren’t really all that expensive. One of the great things about reflectors are that they are portable and don’t require a power source like lights. Outdoors, you can’t change the direction of the sunlight (obviously!) so reflectors can help get the light coming in from the right angle. Indoors, reflectors can be used as a second light source with studio set-ups, but they also come in handy when using a hot shoe flash. In this image, the sun is on the right, with the softer light on the left created by using a reflector.
Because reflected light isn’t as bright as the original light source, reflectors are often used as a fill light to eliminate dark shadows and support the lighting that is already there. Most of the time, the reflector is just a fill light, while another source is the primary or key light. While most of the time reflectors are used to reflect light, sometimes the back of the reflector (if it’s not double-sided) is used to block light. There are hundreds of ways to use a reflector, and since they aren’t very expensive, reflectors are excellent accessories to have on hand. You can make a DIY reflector by covering cardboard with tin foil or simply picking up a piece of white poster board, but these options often aren’t very portable.
These disks fold down for easier storage yet can be ready almost instantly, with no assembly required.
Wescott 50” 5-in-one Reflector – For about $50, you can get a large reflector that has all of the color options—white, silver, gold and black (to block light), as well as a diffuser which will block out some of the light but not all of it. Savage Bright Silver Reflect-O-Board – Essentially, this is just a large piece of silver cardboard, but it’s less than $10 and will certainly do the trick. Lowel Tota-Flector 8 x 12” – If you shoot macro or product photography, this reflector will work well. Subscribe to our newsletter and receive free photography tips from our pros, latest news and special discount offers.
Few things in life can be as rewarding as photographing babies- after coaxing an expression of cherubic joy - caught with a click. For the best baby shots, photograph during the daytime when there is plenty of natural daylight. Simple baby shots are usually the best; there is no need for cluttered or overly bright backgrounds. To take memorable pictures try to capture the baby engaged in an activity, or with family and friends. As well as a good camera, a standard lens of around 50mm is a good tool for baby portraits.
Babies offer a great opportunity for creating beautiful and treasured photographs, though they are by no means an easy subject! I want to look at some ways to break out of the mold and take striking portraits by breaking (or at least bending) the rules and adding a little randomness into your portrait photography. Get up high and shoot down on your subject or get as close to the ground as you can and shoot up. There are a lot of a€?rulesa€™ out there when it comes to composition and Ia€™ve always had a love hate relationship with them. Another a€?rulea€™ that we often talk about in portrait photography is to give your subject room to look into. Another element of randomness that you can introduce to your portraits is the way that you light them.
Side-lighting can create mood, backlighting and silhouetting your subject to hide their features can be powerful.
I was chatting with a photographer recently who told me about a corporate portrait shoot that he had done with a business man at his home. The photographer and the subject agreed that there were plenty of useable shots but they wanted to create something a€™speciala€™ and out of the box. While this might all sound a little a€™sillya€™ the shots ended up being featured in a magazine spread about the subject. Add a prop of some kind into your shots and you create another point of interest that can enhance your shot.
Yes you might run the risk of taking too much focus away from your main subject but you could also really add a sense of story and place to the image that takes it in a new direction and gives the person youa€™re photographing an extra layer of depth that they wouldna€™t have had without the prop.
Get a lens with a long focal length attached to your camera – or get right in close so that you can just photograph a part of your subject. A variation on the idea of zooming in on one part of the body is to obscure parts of your portrait subjecta€™s face or body. Doing this means that you leave a little to the imagination of the imagea€™s viewer but also focus their attention on parts of your subject that you want them to be focused upon. Switch your camera into a€?bursta€™ or a€?continuous shootinga€™ mode and fire off more than one shot at a time. In doing this you create a series of images that could be presented together instead of just one static image.

This technique can work very well when youa€™re photographing children – or really any active subject that is changing their position or pose in quick succession. Framing is a technique where by you draw attention to one element of an image by framing it with another element of the image.
You could do it by placing your subject in a window or doorway, have them look through a small gap or even use their hands around their face. Shooting with a wide angle lens attached to your camera can help create some memorable shots when youa€™re doing portrait photography. It can also give a wide open and dramatic impact when your subject is in an impressive setting. The person in your portrait is the main point of interest – however sometimes when you place them into different contexts with different backgrounds you can dramatically alter the mood in a shot.
While other times a dramatic or colorful background can help your subject really stand out.
Many photographers get stuck in a rut of only ever shooting either in a€?landscapea€™ (when the camera is held horizontally) or a€?portraita€™ (when the camera is held vertically) modes. Just because a vertical framing is called a€?portraita€™ mode doesna€™t mean you always need to use it when shooting portraits. Horizontal and Vertical framings are not the only options when it comes to shooting portraits.
As photographers we have a€™sharp focusa€™ drummed into us as an ultimate objective to achieve in our work – but sometimes lack of focus can create shots with real emotion, mood and interest. The key with the above three methods is to use a slow enough shutter speed to capture the movement. The alternative is to have your subject obviously move fast but to use a shutter speed so fast that it a€?freezesa€™ their movement. One way to ensure that your subject captures the attention of the viewer of your portrait is to fill the frame with their face.
I have a friend who regularly goes out on the streets around Melbourne looking for interesting people to photograph. When he finds someone that he finds interesting he approaches them, asks if theya€™d pose for him, he quickly finds a suitable background and then shoots off a handful of shots quickly (if they give him permission of course).
The result is that he has the most wonderful collection of photographs of people of all ages, ethnicities and backgrounds. While many of us spend most of our time photographing our loved ones – perhaps ita€™d be an interesting exercise to shoot interesting strangers once in a while? We offer you guaranteed success in EX0-101 and PMI-001 through our 70-291 online training program. I want to look at some ways to break out of the mold and take striking portraits by breaking (or at least bending) the rules and adding a little randomness into your portrait photography…. I always try to get my subjects to act goofy at the start of the shoot so they’re more relaxed for the real pictures.
He does amazing work with kids, and has shot for big companies including Parenting Magazine and Huggies. The blown glass vessel seems to pour over the roots and sit beautifully, frozen in time, catching eyes in your home.
Well, you can actually do that, and it’s not nearly as expensive or difficult as it sounds.
By using a reflector, you can expand the potential lighting options from just a single light source (even the sun) exponentially. The one characteristic that all reflectors have is that they are generally large and always bounce back some light. Some of them are double sided while some offer a white balance reference on one side with a reflector on the other.
If you are taking a portrait, for example, and the light is on one side of the subjects face, you can balance out that bright sunlight by reflecting light to the other side of the face, so it isn’t in full shadow.
Direct light is often harsh and unflattering, so if you point your adjustable flash away from the subject then bounce it back, you’ll end up with a much more flattering light. If your current light source is creating odd shadows or one portion of the image is lit much more than the other, then it’s time to get out the reflector. The easiest is to use an assistant and instruct them on where the reflector should go and how you want them to hold it. This can work in two ways—you can buy a large reflector (they tend to be harder to handle than smaller ones) or you can place the reflector closer to the subject.
If you are using the reflector to eliminate shadows, angle the reflector up slightly to fill in those shadows.
If you are shooting outdoors and the subject is standing in the shadow, you can place a reflector in the sun, making it your primary light source, since it’s stronger than the rest of the light in the image (see beach shot above).
For example, I found a beautiful set of grungy looking stairs while out shooting senior portraits. Some reflectors are double-sided, some include covers to change the color and others only offer one color option.
Round is usually best for creating a catchlight, but you’ll get different effects with different shapes. Since it is about the size of a piece of paper, it travels well, but isn’t ideal for larger subjects.
But since they are designed with a frame, they are easier to use with a tripod or stand when there’s no one available to hold a collapsable reflector.
The frame makes it more feasible for using in windy conditions over the collapsable or board type. The stand enhances the options for placement (without using an assistant or volunteer), but it will take longer to set up than a collapsable disk. Here are some easy steps you can follow to take the perfect portrait of the apple of your eye.
Dona€™t be afraid to keep the camera shooting rather than waiting for that perfect pose or moment because somewhere in 30 consecutive shots will be one winner. This can include making funny faces, playing hide and seek from behind a piece of cloth, or making goofy clucking noises. A great way to get a photo that looks professional is to get some white, grey or beige cloth and lay it over two chairs.
Siblings, especially if they are close in age can add extra interest to the photograph a€“ get them playing together, eating or interacting as friends.
Turn the mode dial to AV (Aperture Priority) mode and select a large aperture for a soft and blurred background. While this is good common sense – completely changing the angle that you shoot from can give your portrait a real WOW factor.

Most portraits have the subject looking down the lens – something that can create a real sense of connection between a subject and those viewing the image. Looking off camera – have your subject focus their attention on something unseen and outside the field of view of your camera. Looking within the frame – alternatively you could have your subject looking at something (or someone) within the frame. My theory is that while they are useful to know and employ that they are also useful to know so you can purposely break them – as this can lead to eye catching results. Theya€™d taken a lot of head and shoulder shots, shots at his desk, shots in front of framed degrees and other a€?corporatea€™ type images. It was the series of out of the box images that convinced the magazine he was someone that theya€™d want to feature. This will put them more at ease and you can end up getting some special shots with them reacting naturally to the situation that they are in. Photographing a persona€™s hands, eyes, mouth or even just their lower bodya€¦ can leave a lot to the imagination of the viewer of an image. You can do this with clothing, objects, their hands or just by framing part of them out of the image.
It might not be the type of shot you take of your wife or girlfriend (unless shea€™s in a playful mood) but using these focal lengths will enlarge parts of the face or body that are on the edge of the frame more than what is in the centre.
Mix your framing up in each shoot that you do and youa€™ll add variety to the type of shots you take. While getting your images straight can be important in when shooting in these formats holding your camera on a more diagonal angle can also inject a little fun into your images. Just dona€™t a€™slightlya€™ do it or youa€™ll have people asking themselves if you might have mistakenly held your camera crooked.
I had the opportunity to pick his brain a bit, and share some of his tips for capturing those perfect moments with your own children. I absolutely LOVE  the way the newborn features collage came out (the first picture in the post). The flash can be reflected off the wall or the ceiling, but in large rooms with high ceilings, a dedicated reflector comes in handy.
The best way to learn how to use a reflector is by experimenting with it yourself and watching how changes to where the reflector is placed and how it is angled changes your final image, but there’s some basic concepts that are good to understand before you get started. Backlighting can be remedied by simply holding a reflector pointed straight at the subject.
Experiment with different placements and angles, and you’ll soon be quite comfortable using a reflector.
The higher price, however, limits them to professionals and the very serious photographers. Use window light if possible and avoid the harsh sun because it tends to casts shadows and is also unhealthy for the babya€™s skin. Therea€™s nothing worse than capturing a great moment that is slightly blurry because the shutter was too slow.
This can create a feeling of candidness and also create a little intrigue and interest as the viewer of the shot wonders what they are looking at. A child looking at a ball, a woman looking at her new baby, a man looking hungrily at a big plate of pastaa€¦.
They had all turned out fairly standard – but there was nothing that really stood out from the crowd.
The subject was a little hesitant at first but stepped out into the uncomfortable zone and dressed in his suit and tie started jumping!
Some people dona€™t look good in a posed environment and so switching to a candid type approach can work. You might even want to grab a longer zoom lens to take you out of their immediate zone and get really paparazzi with them.
To do this use a large aperture which will create a narrow depth of field and focus upon something in front of or behind your subject.
To do this again choose a wide aperture but focus well in front or behind anything that is in your image (youa€™ll need to switch to manual focussing to achieve this). But, I’ve never done any newborn shots since having my dslr and I was SO excited to have the chance to take pictures for her! Reflectors won’t give you a strong light source, but the light will usually match the surroundings exactly, after all, it is the same light! A gold colored reflector, on the other hand, will bounce back a warm, or more golden light. Watch your subject as the angle changes to find the right spot for the look you are going for. Use continuous shooting mode on your camera to capture 2, 3, 4, or 5 photos in a couple of seconds. When shooting in monochrome consider contrast; black and white backgrounds will be the most striking, and contrast in the lighting will also give a dramatic effect. A beanbag rather than a tripod is great for stabilizing your camera and getting down on the ground to a baby's level, and a silver or white reflector is ideal for bouncing light so that it is soft and flattering. This intrigue is particularly drawn about when the subject is showing some kind of emotion (ie a€?whata€™s making them laugh?a€™ or a€?what is making them look surprised?a€™).
When you give your subject something to look at that is inside the frame you create a second point of interest and a relationship between it and your primary subject. Sometimes, you can even hold the reflector while shooting, depending on where you want it placed and what perspective you want to shoot from.
So, depending on the available light and the look you are going for, you may want the reflector close or you may want it farther away. You see, we have SHORT toes, My Grandma, My Dad, Myself , my Son and BOTH Grandsons have the same pudgy feet with short toes. In some portrait set-ups, the subject has the reflector angled in her lap for a glamourous headshot. Use the auto settings to make sure you get a sharp image, and let the camera choose flash if it is necessary. A chaperone or helper will make all the difference so that you can focus on capturing the best moments. If you are shooting a portrait and the subject has shadows under their eyes, try just placing the reflector on the ground in front of them.

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