Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Portraits Around Your Home: Your Bedroom

Your bed is a great place to take portraits. Your headboard, the wall, photos, whatever you've got at the head of your bed is great for the background because it tends to be symmetrical. Your bed looks comfy and adds an element of familiarity to the portrait.  Also, since you are working with pleasing surroundings, you don't have to worry so much about a blurry background or trying to get a shallow depth of field.  For this shot, I used my kit lens!  No 50mm here...  It was shot at aperture: f 4.2   shutter: 1/160 and ISO:400....So I could have slowed my shutter down to 1/100, zoomed out more with my lens to get a lower aperture number and bumped my ISO up even more if I were working with less light.  As you can see in the second picture, that was not a problem.  There was tons of light.  But if I were working with smaller windows, or I was farther away from them, I had some wiggle room with my exposure settings!  Too much technical info?  Is the info from the class getting hazy?  Ask me questions!  Or try this out for yourself and bring your results to my review session.

Just to give you an idea of what I was working with......

So...Tips for making this work:

1) Make your bed! ;-)
2) Open your blinds, curtains all the doors...get as much sunlight in as possible.  Choose the time of day when there is the most sunlight in this room.
3) Have fun!  There isn't much to say about this set-up.  It's pretty simple.  You can let your kids jump on the bed.  They'll probably be pretty co-operative if you are letting them do something out of the ordinary and fun like that!  Ask them to hang their heads off the back of the bed.  Get creative.

I really love this set-up and I've used it a lot over the you can see.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Unusual Location # 1: Parking Garage

I want to encourage everyone to think outside the box a bit when selecting a portrait location outside your home. The first place that may come to mind may be the beach or a park, but after a while you will learn that there are some great portrait locations you would never think of. This shot was taken in a parking garage.

Why it works:

1) The cement walls of a parking garage provide an interesting, yet not-too-distracting background. They also reflect a neutral-colored light(the don't give off a bright red, yellow, etc color-cast).

2) The bright sunlight filtering through the open sides of the parking garage provides a lot of perfect, soft natural light.

Tips for working in this location:

1) I suppose it goes without saying that you need to take some precautions in a parking garage! The one I was in was not crowded, I had plenty of warning if someone were to be driving past the area I was photographing in and I had another adult with me to help corral my son.

2) Bright-colored clothing helps your child stand out from the neutral background

3) Make sure your child has at least one side of their face towards the light. My son's entire face is actually towards the light in the photograph.

Advice for Difficult Ages - 5yrs and up ~ Tamara Sams Photography ~

Soliciting natural expressions from children when they are babies and toddlers is effortless. It's a different story with older children who actually understand that you are taking their picture. Simply knowing what you're up to with that camera can provoke a number of reactions from shyness to silliness or even annoyance. After all, children don't understand the importance of what you are trying to preserve. So what's a parent to do when trying to capture genuine portraits of their older kids? Here are a few tips:

1) Take advantage of the elements you can control and accept the ones you cannot. Rather than stressing out about the fact that your child's hands are stubbornly covering his face, focus on something else. If you have taken my class, you are starting to learn about things you can control with your camera, like depth of field. The environment you are taking pictures in is also up to your control. If you select an area to take pictures in with beautiful light and nice scenery the resulting image will be much more satisfying even if you child is making a silly face.

2) Don't spend too much time posing. Most of the time you try to pose children it comes across as unnatural anyway. Candid shots of kids having fun are great. Here is an example of a shot that combines the first two concepts. A beautiful scene and a kid having fun makes for a great shot.

This child was pretending to sing, but he was doing it in some beautiful light.

3) If you are going to pose them, ask them to do something fun, like jumping into the air!

4)Take a traditional kind of portrait to some place more interesting.

5) Encourage your children to forget about the camera. This one can be especially difficult if you've been doing the opposite by teaching them to smile at the camera. This usually leads to a big ol' cheesy grin when the camera comes out :) I've seen it a BUNCH! Try taking pictures while your child is playing with friends. That's sure to lead to some spontaneous, genuine laughter. A great trick may be going out for some ice cream. You can sit together outside and snap pictures while your children are enjoying a treat together. Go close to sunset so the light will be soft.

4)Be patient. If you are desperately wanting your children to behave a certain way for the pictures they tend to pick up on this tension. Just relax and after all the silliness works it's way out, if you ask them to look at the camera, you may just get a strikingly genuine expression.