Monday, February 18, 2013

Winter Portraits

This is the point in winter when all my friends are hating
snow and cold.
Not me...I relish winter and it's elegant beauty in my portraits.
I have enjoyed several amazing photo shoots with pretty girls
in these past few weeks,
and thought I'd share more winter shooting tips.
Every Christmas Santa brings me a big bag of these chemical
hand warmers.  I used them when I was a television
news reporter and was outside covering a story in winter.
They stay warm for more than 7 hours.  I tuck them into
my fingerless gloves and boots.
If it's really cold, I give a set to my subject and
they are much cozier and happier.
You can find these in stores where they sell hunting gear.
My hubby picks up a bag of them at Dick's every Christmas.
In planning wardrobe for winter shoots...I love pastels against the snow!
Light blue really sets off Jessica's blue eyes.
We have a woods near my house that I use for summer
photo shoots.  We ventured back last weekend
and I was stunned at all the open light without
the leaves on the trees.
I love how the light twinkles through the bare trees creating
a pretty background for a pretty gal!
I love playing with long hair to give some movement
to the photo.
I found this mint blue coat and matching shawl at a
thrift store and thought it would photograph beautifully
against the white snow.
It was cloudy on the day we shot these.  I much prefer
the sun being out to add some dazzle, but on
cloudy days, I can have the subject face the sun..
thus opening up the light in their eyes.
Sometimes, even on cloudy days, facing the sun makes
my subject squint.  I have them shut their eyes and tell them to open
their eyes when I count to three.  I tell them they can shut their
eyes the moment they hear the camera click.
I wait just a moment before I snap the photo...and it WORKS!
I also like white coats with bright colored scarves against snow.
The pop of color around Jennifer's neck really
brings the focus to her face and amazing eyes.
Winter backgrounds are so simple
and exquisite!
The day I photographed Emilee, the sun was out.
I took her to the woods to play with the light.
Backlighting is my favorite....her hair just GLOWS!
I took these at 2pm when the sun was high in the sky.  I know
most photographers avoid that hour, but I LOVE it!
I hope these inspire you to get out there and
ENJOY shooting winter portraits!

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Set up For Winter Portrait Shoot

To learn more about photography,
sign up to receive my NEW Newsletter.
The sign-up form is on the upper right of this blog.
I am LOVING winter portrait shoots!
My client, Bella was born on January 29th, but we had to wait a
few weeks to get some snow for her fourth birthday outdoor portrait.
I wanted to commemorate her winter birthday.

Winter shoots like this in the bitter cold take a ton of
PRE-PLANNING...especially with little ones.
I always style birthday shoots and pulled together this
adorable outfit for Bella using thrift store finds.
The boots, coat, hat and mittens are all from thrift stores
for a few dollars.  I added the flower to the hat...made with
thrift store flowers and ribbon!  I bought the skirt off E-bay
and have used it in many shoots.
I laid the outfit out on my kitchen table before Bella arrived.
We got EIGHT inches of snow the day before the shoot
and I was THRILLED this day was SUNNY.
I scheduled the shoot for 10 am because that's when the sun is
perfect in my back yard.
First, I determined the best LIGHTING spot.
I knew it would be too difficult to traipse through all that snow
to get to it, so I shoveled a path across our back porch and even
shoveled the GRASS!
I needed area to move around with my camera.

I placed the table just beyond my shoveled area
so the snow would be pristine in the photos.
Notice how the table is placed in the ideal spot with the sun.
I did this just minutes before Bella arrived because the
sun moves by the minute.
I planned ahead and put great thought into the
styling and the look I wanted.  All of this stuff
is from thrift stores.
Next, I took some sample shots to get
my exposure perfect.  Now my camera and settings
were ready for Bella.

I had her daddy place Bella on the stool while I
was already in place with my camera.
I wanted to capture those first candid moments
of awe and joy.

She didn't even know I was was
all about those pretty cupcakes.

In some of the photos, I used the
editing technique I shared in this blog post.

After she was over her initial rapture she
was all posey for me.

Notice how I cloned out the footprints in the snow around the table.
Turned out, the cute pink boots were too big, so she wore her own.

I shot all these photos in less than ten minutes because
I had planned so carefully before the shoot.
This is the KEY with children in cold temperatures.
Bella was so beautiful on her fourth birthday,
and was delighted to go home with those pretty cupcakes!


Monday, February 4, 2013

Creating Movement in Photos

To learn more about photography and get some great FREEBIES,
sign up to receive my NEW Newsletter.
The sign-up form is on the upper right of this blog.
Capturing photos of moving people and objects, like your
kid playing sports, may seem
daunting...but actually it can be very creative and FUN!
First, set your camera at shutter priority mode.
On my Canon it's the Tv mode. 
This way you can choose your shutter speed and
the camera will choose the aperature for the correct exposure.
The above photo is the typical FREEZE the action shot
achieved by using a fast shutter speed.
But you can also achieve this next look and SEE the motion:

Once again, these next two photos froze a moment
in time with a fast shutter speed.

But to create the look of motion with blur in the
background, you simply slow down the shutter and pan
with the moving subject.
It takes a ton of practice shots, but every so often
you get the face in good focus.
This next one was shot at 1/15 shutter speed:
Even when the face is blurred...I think it looks FAB!
William loved these photos of himself in action.
Okay, let's go through exactly how I did this.
Set your camera's focusing mode to Al Servo.
(Check your manual on how to do this on your camera.)
In this mode, while holding down your shutter button half way,
 your camera will continually adjust focus and exposure
as your subject moves.
This method works best when your subject is moving from right to
left, or left to right rather than moving towards or away from you.
Hold the shutter button halfway down and get initial focus on the moving subject
preferably the face.
Click the shutter all the way down and pan
with the movement until the shutter closes.
I know it's hard, but TRY to pan smoothly.  I tried using a
tripod, but it was highly irritating and confining, so I
prefer hand-holding the camera.
You will take a ton of photos trying to get a few
good ones.
But it is FUN!!!!
Try this with kids riding bikes, running, sledding, skating,
playing sports like soccer, hockey, basketball, baseball, football.
Place yourself so the movement is going left to
right or right to left.
I know you'll get some good ones and want to use
this method when your kids just want to be kids and MOVE!