BUMP WATCH | Baby Winchester-19 Weeks [Sussex, NB Maternity Photographer]

I can’t believe my sister is almost halfway through her pregnancy already! Time is flying by it seems (which is why it’s been 4 weeks since  I’ve photographed her…oops!) Anyway, I took these shots of Daphné in our parents’ backyard quickly on Friday morning before she went to her ultrasound to find out the sex of the baby…she texted me later to let me know what it is, and I’m pretty excited about it 🙂 Next time we do photos we’ll be sure to include lots of blue or pink!

Have a great weekend!

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8 Tips for Photographing Children Indoors [The Everyday Photographer]

Welcome to the first post in my new blog series called “The Everyday Photographer”! I will be sharing some easy, non-technical tips and tricks with you to help you learn to take better ‘everyday’ snapshots of your kids and your life. I hope you enjoy, if you have any questions or comments on how I can improve this series, please let me know!

 

Photographing children is a tricky business. They’re often difficult subjects because depending on their age, they don’t follow directions all that well, and they are always on the move! If you’re a mom, it may seem impossible to get any ‘good’ photos of your own children. A ‘good’ photo doesn’t have to be one that is taken in a department store or when your child is all dressed up, though; sometimes the ‘everyday’ shots at home are the ones you end up treasuring the most! And because children seem to grow up in the blink of an eye, it’s important to document their lives as much as possible before they move on to the next stage!

Here are a few tips for photographing your children at home (this post will cover indoors, I will write another post for capturing them outside in the future).

 

1. Get down on their level. This is probably my biggest tip for photographing children in general. When I’m on a shoot with kids, I spent at least 80% of my time crouched, or even lying down. Why? Because getting down on your child’s level brings a whole new feeling to the photograph. I read recently that ‘shooting up gives power, and shooting down takes it away’. What that means is that if you are standing above your child, taking the photo looking down on them, it doesn’t really tell the story of what they are doing, since it is taken from an adult’s point of view. Getting down on their level captures a better feeling for what they are doing and how they are doing it. The world seems so much bigger when you are smaller (and lower to the ground), so shooting at the same height as your children can really show that off.

This photo of my daughter Violet on the stairs was taken with me crouching down in front of her. I could have taken it standing up, looking down on her, but that wouldn’t have shown the height of the stair she climbed (quite a feat for a 7 month old!), and it also allowed for her to look at me with a more natural expression, versus her looking up at me and taking her out of the moment.

 

2. Use windows, lamps, etc as your light source (aka avoid flash!) Most cameras have a built in flash that will pop up automatically if the camera thinks that there isn’t enough light to take the photo. The problem is, sometimes the camera is wrong! Windows, lamps, even TV/computer screens can provide just enough light to take a photo of your kids without a flash. If you know how, try turning the flash off on your camera, since most flashes are, well…terrible. The colours become all washed out, they only light up certain parts of the scene, and they usually cause ‘demon’ eyes if the kids are looking directly at the camera. Instead of using flash, try setting your kids up in front of a large window or other ‘natural’ light source instead. Cloudy days are particularly good for this since the light is really bright, white, and even (this tip is especially helpful in the long, gray winter months!)

The photo of my son below baking was taken in front of a large window in our kitchen. It was cloudy that morning and you can see that even though it’s darker in the background, the window put just enough light on his face that I didn’t have to use a flash. I set him up on this countertop in particular because I knew that I wanted to get a photo of him. (Sometimes you have to think ahead a little bit, but the results are worth it!)

(One thing to keep in mind about turning off your flash is that the photos might end up being a bit blurrier if your kids are moving a lot, since flashes are sometimes used to ‘freeze’ the action. This tip is best for quieter activities like reading a book, doing puzzles or playing with dolls.)

 

3. Capture the details. Many times parents will take photos of their children’s entire face or of them doing something in particular (like playing with their toys), but when was the last time you took a photo of just their hands playing with a toy, or just their lips as they slept? Capturing these little details is equally important as the ‘big picture’ images, since they focus on things about your kids that change so quickly. Also, isn’t it fun to look back on old photos and see what toys, clothes, etc were popular ‘back then’? Your kids will appreciate seeing how life was when they were young, so make sure to document the little things as well!

This series of photos was taken on my iPhone with an App called Instagram, and although the quality isn’t perfect by any means, I love Violet’s little newborn lips, fingers and hands.

 

4. Take a series of photos to tell the story. Sometimes it takes more than one picture to really show what was happening in a particular moment, especially with children since they are so expressive and move around a lot! So instead of just taking one photo and then putting the camera down, hold it up a bit longer and take a series of 2-3 photos one right after the other. Once you see them all together you can almost ‘watch’ the moment happening.

This series of photos was taken one evening while my son was ‘helping’ bathe his little sister. He was splashing her and thought it was really funny. By taking three shots in a row like this you can see him go from smiling to full out laughing. One photo would have been ok, but having all three of them together like this makes it that much cuter 🙂 (This is also another example of not using a flash; even though the photos aren’t quite as sharp, the photos still seem more natural than if I had used a flash.)

 

5. Use ‘natural frames’ to bring focus to the child. This is probably one of my favourite techniques for taking pictures of my kids at home. A ‘natural frame’ is simply using the environment around you to frame your child so that the focus is just on them. It’s a bit tricky to explain so I’ll show you a few examples:

In this shot of my son, I purposely took the photo of him peeking through his footboard so that only his eyes and nose would be visible. The bed and the wood are ‘framing’ his face so that it brings attention right to him.

In this photo of my daughter looking at her brother, she is ‘framed’ on both sides by the refrigerator and her brother’s arm; this forces your eye to look at her.

If you child sleeps in a crib it is really easy to do this trick, just take a photo of them sleeping through the bars instead of looking down into the crib (this is also an example of getting down on their level.)

 

6. Sneak up on them. Capturing your child playing without interrupting can result in some really special photos. Instead of telling them to look at you, just snap away and see what you get. I love this shot of my son playing with his cars in my grandmother’s hallway. He was in his own little world and I didn’t want to interrupt the moment.

 

7. Keep backgrounds clean/clutter free (or blur the background). This tip is sometimes a bit tricky when photographing kids inside since most of us live with a lot of ‘stuff’, but keeping your backgrounds as clutter free as possible with improve your photographs enormously. It can be as simple as switching the angle you are shooting to hide all the stuff, or moving closer in to your child. If you are a bit more camera savvy, blurring the background by using a smaller aperture can also hide a lot of background distractions.

In this photo of my son using my iPhone on the coffee table (naughty!), I purposely didn’t take a photo of the floor (filled with toys and needing to be swept), and also chose to put the window behind him instead of the couch on the right or the computer on the left. That way the background was fairly ‘clean’ and it allowed the focus to stay on him (I also blurred the background quite a bit).

 

8. Take a mix of close-up and environmental shots. This might sound like I’m contradicting tip #7, but in certain cases getting a shot of the entire room in a photo can really help set the context for what your child is doing. Playing in their room, taking a bath, watching a TV show, it’s sometimes nice to show the whole picture instead of just a close-up (the same goes the other way though, it’s also nice to have close-ups of your child’s face and other details, like I mentioned in tip #4).

Here is a (slightly embarrassing) example of my daughter sleeping on her playmat. I took a shot of her close up, then ‘pulled back’ to take a shot showing the entire room…which was quite messy, but hey, I was taking care of a newborn and 19 month old, it’s real life!

 

Capturing beautiful, natural images of your children takes a lot of patience and practice…luckily, there are plenty of opportunities to snap away! Try taking out your camera on an ordinary day at home with your children and see what results you can acheive. You won’t regret it!

I hope that this has been helpful! If you have any questions please ask them in the comments or shoot me an email using the contact form above. Also, if you want to share your images using these tips with me, leave your link in the comments, I would love to see them!

Have fun and snap away!

 

 

[Technical disclosure: These photos were all taken with a DSLR camera (Canon 5D), mostly with a portrait lens (50mm). They were edited in Photoshop for brightness and sharpness; however, most of them were not cropped from their original image…these tips are applicable to all camera users, even those with point and shoot or camera phones.]

Sarah Flynn - good ideas, thanks for sharing 🙂

Jessica Dawn LeBlanc - amazing tips, thank you <3.

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6 Months | Violet [Norton, NB Babies and Children Photographer]

I’m not sure what it is about my daughter, but she definitely brings on the good weather for her photoshoots! First it was her newborn session, which took place on Thanksgiving weekend (and probably set record temperatures for October, reaching the mid-20s), and now for her 6-month session we were blessed with another gorgeous day, in the high 20s…in March!! Absolutely unheard of, but very fortunate for me 🙂

This was a quick and fun shoot done one evening in our backyard (well, side yard), which is basically just a field of grass in the summer. I’ve mentioned before how usually I’m not a fan of the ‘dead look’ of late Fall/early Spring, but for some reason this year I’m absolutely loving all the yellow/brown/grey tones of the grass and trees, and I knew that having colourful props/accessories would really work well against this type of background. So I gathered up as many cute headbands and hats as I could find, bought some Granny Smith apples and borrowed an antique highchair from my friend. I absolutely love the results!

Violet is what you might call an ‘overachiever’. Already at 6 months (almost 7 now) she is crawling, climbing and pulling up on furniture, and getting into all sorts of trouble. If the girl could stand up and walk I’m sure she would! This session was actually the first time I ever tried to get her to sit on her own (on the ground and in the highchair) and she took to it with no problems! She keeps me on my toes for sure. Luckily she’s also pretty easy going and happy most of the time, so even though she wasn’t used to being outside in the warm sunny weather, she adapted quickly and enjoyed playing with the grass, apples, bubbles and smiling for my assistant (aka her Daddy).

Enjoy her full session below!

Isn’t that rainbow knit bonnet the cutest?! I got it at the Salvation Army for 75 cents, can’t beat that! (Also, her beautiful flower headband in the last few shots was made by my neighbour Stephanie, who sells them with her mom’s crocheted and knit items…you can see their Facebook page here.)

Be back on Friday with another 52 Fridays shot!

Until then,

Faye - Too stinkin’ cute!! Her eyes are unreal. Cute baby, gorgeous light, and awesome location. Not much else to say!

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MY FAVOURITES of 2011 [Weddings]

Here we go, the big one: my favourite wedding images of 2011!

Wedding photography is an interesting beast: it’s incredibly fun, but incredibly intense at the same time. You are there on one of the most special occasions of a person’s life, and you are in charge of making sure that their memories are captured forever. Unlike portrait photography where you can get a ‘do over’, you only get one shot at capturing those moments in a wedding, and that can be quite scary to think about…but it’s also a chance to share in something really special, and if you can relax enough to enjoy it, it can be the best job ever.

This past year I had the chance to photograph 4 weddings, and each was different and unique it its own way. Whether it was an early spring casual affair or an elegant winter wedding, or a couple of large summer weddings, one urban and one rural, each presented different challenges and different aspects that helped me grow as a photographer. One thing that they all had in common though? Awesome brides! I’m really lucky in that way, each of my couples were really easy to work with and trusted me completely, which is a true honour.

This year I’m going to have the opportunity to work with even more awesome brides and grooms, and I’m anxious to take what I learned last year and build upon it this year. As I mentioned before, it wasn’t an area of photography that I thought I would be doing, but it’s one that I’m happy found me!

So here we go, some of my favourite wedding images of 2011…

To see more of each wedding, click on the links below:

Stacey and Derek (One and Two)

Jade and Jared

Nikki and Shane

Elisa and Patrick

Also, please feel free to share this post with any potential brides you may know who are looking for a wedding photographer, as I feel it embodies my style of wedding photography and would serve as a good ‘portfolio’ for them to look through 🙂

Thank you for letting me share my favourite images of 2011…it’s been an incredible year for me and I know that this year is only going to get better, so thanks again!!

Back soon,

Wedding Venues Ireland - Stunning pictures, really fantastic compositions, I love how wedding photography has evolved over the last few years,the compositions are so much more natural looking

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BUMP WATCH Recap [Personal Project]

 

I just realized the other day that I never posted all of these shots together, so I thought now would be a good time, considering miss Violet is almost 6 months old already!

Looking back on these photos makes me think two things: 1) I am SO glad that I documented my last pregnancy in this way, even if I didn’t manage to keep up with the weekly shots at the end, and 2) I am SO glad that I don’t have to be pregnant ever again! 😉

I plan on taking these shots (plus all of the additional ones for every week) and making a photobook out of them as a keepsake for Violet to look back through one day. (If you want to see the full posts for each week, click on the “Personal” or “Maternity” categories at the bottom of this post.)

I’m still waiting for the perfect little mama-to-be to contact me to help her document her own journey, so if something like this interests you, please contact me for a custom plan and quote, I’d love to start a ‘bump watch’ with you!

(All shots are self portraits except for Week 35 which was shot by Faye Kingston, and Week 39 which was shot by my husband.)

Have a great weekend everyone!

stacy - lucky lady getting a portrait by faye!! and i really LOVE this whole post!! congratulations!!

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