| Montreal Portrait Photographer| – How to take better photos of your kids

I am really  happy to share some of my tricks with my readers!

 

It takes a lot of courage for me to write such a long post, because as you might know, English in not my mother language. So I apologize in anticipation for any english mistakes you might find.

I want you all to be able to take nice shots of your kids – that’s how we build nice memories! I am going to talk to everyone, independent of what camera they use. For people that shoot with DSLR, I am assuming you know what is white balance, ISO, raw, Aperture Priority,  Speed priority and etc. If you don’t shoot with a DSLR and you don’t have full control over your camera settings (meaning not only change to portrait, sports, macro etc), don’t worry about this information, they do not interfere on you photo.

What camera to use?

The first big question is: what camera to use to photograph my kids? That is very simple: use whatever you have! Your camera should not impede you of taking good shots of your kids, although there are some advantages or disadvantages depending on the camera you have.

Mobile cameras: Very simple to use, the mobile cameras from nowadays can offer good quality photos. The disadvantage would be the complete lack of control over the photo.

Point and shoot cameras: These are small, easily carried around, non intrusive cameras. Point and shoot cameras might have some features that can help you to make good shots, like smile detection, auto-focus, blink detection, etc. You can also find point-and-shoots with all the controls available in a DSLR. For instance, when I do not want to carry my big camera I have a Cannon G16 that gives me full control over my photos and even shoots in raw.

DSLR cameras: These cameras are bigger and heavier, but offers superior quality image, work better in low light conditions and offers a complete range of controls to set up the photo as you want. A big mistake many people do it is to buy a DLSR with the kit lenses and shoot it in auto-mode. Sorry to tell you, it does not do a better job than a point and shoot! If you own, or you want to own a DSLR, you have to lose time (and sometimes money) learning about the controls that your camera offers. You also need to invest in better lenses (f=2.8 or wider) that sometimes might be more expensive than the camera itself.

What time to photograph?

Before telling you when you should do, I’ll they you when you should not! Never when the sun is fully high, meaning around noon. At this time funny shadows fall over our faces putting dark circles in everyone eyes, aside of the fact it is hard not to squint.

If you are photographing under sun look for open shades – underneath a tree, a gazebo, etc. This will help your kids from squinting.

Overcast days work greatly! The clouds work as huge diffusers, making a nice soft light! Snow days are also great for photography: the snow works as a big reflector bringing light from all directions. If you can manage the white balance your photos will turn really nice!

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Make them Sparkle

Have you notice those photos where the subject eyes are full of life and sparkle? What you see is also called catch light. Try to place you children in a way the light can be reflected on her eyes, like in front of a window or facing the sky. This will make a much more flattering portrait.

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Natural light x Flash

Except in really low light conditions natural light will always work better than the pop up flash. If you are in a low light environment like a house with few windows and you can select the ISO on your camera, put it up and check the results. Normally all the cameras work pretty well until ISO800 but above that you might start to have noise that will interfere on the quality of your photo.

If you are using a DSLR choose to buy a flash and use it pointing it to the ceiling instead of the child’s face.

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Explore different angles

Climb in a chair, lie on the ground, but specially, reach the children’s level, so you do not distort her size. Be adventurous, tilt you Camara, look for unexpected angles – it is going to transform your photos!

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Fill the frame with the subject: don’t be afraid of getting close.

Use the rule of the thirds – divide your frame with two horizontal parallel lines and two vertical ones, and place your subject where the more external lines cross. Photos where the subjects are lightly on the side of the frame are much more flattering than the ones where they are on the centre of the frame.

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Natural is nice!

Capture your children playing, running, laughing. Instead of asking them to pose, just capture the beautiful moments that you want to remember.

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Be patient!

To take the perfect photo of a child may take long than what you think. They are not always ready to cooperate and simply ask them to pose and smile not always work. Engage with your children, let them feel comfortable and the moment will arrive._PRI9866-Edit

Be fast!

Children are movers! They’ll just run right on the moment when you were ready to press the shutter button. This will happen and there is nothing we can do about it. Just try to be faster. If you are photographing with a DSLR use the speed priority mode (Tv) and set it up in a higher speed (1/125 or faster).

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Select Nice backgrounds

If you can bring your children to the beach or to a park for a photo-day, do it! If not, just try to remove any distraction from the frame. Pay attention what is behind your kid, as garbage cans and traffic signs. If you shoot with a DLSR you can use an aperture priority shooting mode (Av) and select a wider aperture to blur the background and focus on your child. For one child only f=2.8 is a good aperture, but you really need to be careful and focus on the eyes.

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Show them a picture

Kids that are not really willing to cooperate might change their minds if you show them what you are doing. Kids love to see pictures of themselves, and they might actually start to pose to you! 

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Shoot, shoot, shoot!

Hip hip hooray for digital photography! Shoot as much as you can, one after the other, and select you best after all. If you have the option, use “continuous shooting”, and your chance to get a winner shot sky rocks.

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One last think: About Newborn posing

As this is my main field of action, I should not just ignore newborn photography when I want to make you a better photographer for your family. If you have a newborn or you will photograph someone’s else newborn, many of the tips I gave before applies. Place them close to the window and use speed priority if they are awake, because they move their arms very fast.

If you are not a trained newborn photographer I strongly suggest Lifestyle photos. DO NOT TRY TO POSE A NEWBORN WITHOUT BEING TRAINED FOR THAT. Those squish curly poses that you see might be harmful for the baby if you don’t know how to do it. You still can make wonderful shots of your baby on mother’s arms, on her crib, over your bed, etc.

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I hope I gave you useful information! If you have questions, just let me know! It will a pleasure to answer them!

 

Your Photographer on Vacation – Images from Italy – Part II

Giving continuation to my previous post I want to show you a few more photos from Italy – this time from Florence, Venice, Riomaggiore and Milan and surroundings.

 

IMG_1496-EditPonte vecchio, Florence.

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St. Gimignano della Torre is a mediaeval city between Florence and Siena. It was the manhattan of medieval time, with 72 towers measuring until 70 matters high. Today this walled medieval hill town still holds 14 of these towers.

IMG_1646Street scene in Riomaggiore, Cinque-terre.

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Gorgeous Venice! No words to explain it!

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A little tour from Venice with the traghetto and you can arrive to this beautiful little island called Burano. Very coloured and charming!

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Image fron Castell’Arquato, in Val d’Arda, Emiglia-Romana. Not far from Milano.

IMG_1743-EditCastell’Arquato.

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Castell’Arquato.

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Detail of the beautiful “Duomo di Milano“.

IMG_1835-EditBeautiful streets of Milan with Porta Ticinese on the background- one of the old gates in the walls of Milan

Your Photographer on Vacation – Images from Italy

Better late then never, right? I want to share some images form my summer vacation in Europe. They are not as good as they could be since I had only brought my Point & Shoot (it’s vacation, right?).

We spent over 4 weeks in Europe, biggest part in Italy, but we also had been in Switzerland and Germany.

In Italy we were in Rome, many cities in Sicily, Florence, Venice, Riomaggiore (Cinque-Terre) and Milano. I really have way too many photos  (which I even didn’t look at it completely yet) and even trying to pick a few for the blog post is not easy! So I decided to split it and today I’ll share a few images from Rome and Sicily. Hope you like what you see!

 

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In front of St. Peter’s Basilica, in the Vatican City.

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Capitoline Hill, in Rome.

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People around one of the inactive craters of Mount Etna. Definitely not one of my favourites spots on this trip, but I find very interesting the curiosity people have around things like that!

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Greek ruins in Agrigento (Yep, it’s right – Greeks were in Italy). Apparently Sicily was once the centre of the Magma Grecia. Check about the “Valle die Templi” in Agrigento here.

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Another city with many Greek Ruins is Selinunte. It’s a huge site and as per the records, the city had reached 30,000 people excluding slaves at its peak, before 409 BC.

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View of the Mediterranean Sea in Selinunte.

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Erice is on of a few medieval Borgos in Sicily. It a explendid little city in the top of mountain!

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“Il faraglione di Scopello” – one of the best places to enjoy the sea between the ones I have been on this trip. Check about Scopello here.

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This photo was taken in Sferacavallo, city just beside Palermo. We had stop at this city to eat in a restaurant that I highly recommend! “Ristorante Tratoria Delfino” offers you a sea food menu “all you can eat” style for something around €25. It is absolutely delicious!

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And last but not least, I’ll share how we had visited Sicily! If you had never done it, try it – It’s totally worth it!