The Spring months are always welcomed after the early nights and dreary days of Winter; so no wonder it is a time we feel more creative and ready to dust the camera down from months of non-use!
Spring is such a beautiful time of year to photograph in; the light is softer, warmer days and beautiful flowers everywhere to capture and frame your subject.
With that in mind, we can sometimes get carried away with so many flowers in our photographs that it can overpower our portraits!
We have photographed an abundance of families in bluebells and children in rhoddendrums and daffodils, that we wanted to bring the following ideas to you in order for you too to get professional looking images of your favourite little people.
We hope the following tips is of help and would love to hear how you apply them to your own images!
Time of Day:
First thing in the morning and last thing at night really are the ideal times to be photographing people. The one hour before sunrise and one hour after sunset is commonly known as golden hour and gives the prettiest light possible. It is so dreamy!
Depending on how old your little one is, will depend on the time of day that you can photograph in. Only you know your child; but try to go for after nap time and when they are at their brightest. If sunset is too late, then try for any other suitable time; but look for open shaded areas. As the sun is as its highest over lunchtime, you will need to look for a shady spot to get soft even lighting.
How many flowers and placement:
Is it possible to have too many flowers?! Nope! Well, maybe a little. I am a lover of colour and adore that full look when kids are in meadows or full flowers, but there are a few elements that we need to be mindful of.
When it comes to bluebells and other flowers; we don’t want to trample of stand on them. The images are carefully manipulated and the children are walking on bare patches or sitting on pathways; it is with clever composition where the photographer lays down to almost hide the path and give the illusion of fullness.
By framing the flowers around the subject, gives a beautiful balance to the image. Try to place on either side for even looking portraits and never obscure the face with flowers or leaves. It can be close to the face, but not entirely obstructing it.
Think about the colour tone and what outfits would go well. Harmonious colour tones always work well as well as the other selections on the colour wheel.
Movement – They don’t sit still!
School portraits have connotations of straight backs, 45 degrees to the camera and fairly regimented. Your photographs of your children want to showcase their personality, be fun and full of character.
Whatever their hobby or interest, implement that into the photographs. If they love climbing; find somewhere safe to do so! If they are taking gymnastic classes, then try a few cartwheels – once they land and stand up again – this would be a great moment to capture their expressions as guaranteed laughter!
The camera’s have a great setting on them called drive mode – where you can click and take a single image or it will take a series of images in continuous shooting. This is one of my favourite settings to achieve that multiple view of movement.
Posing v Candid
As new photographers, the one subject that we tend to photograph is things that do not move or answer back! So posing people can feel a little daunting to start with but there are ways to absolutely get around it.
In the series of images below, you can clearly see the difference between the first image and the 2nd/3rd. The first image you can hear them thinking of the word “cheese” and it really isn’t the expression I was after – even though it is cute!
Cue a funny question, sound or something silly and that starts to break the ice!
With the below age range, this works like a charm; with older ones it is still similar conversations, but not making it too forced upon them. If they don’t to be photographed, don’t make it into a photo shoot, make it into a game and they will start to come round and enjoy being photographed.
A great “posing” rule of thumb is to achieve a full length portrait, 3/4’s and a close up head and shoulders shot. This gives you variety of options and start to give you a feel of what you prefer in your style of photography.
The first and foremost rule really is to get on their level. When you are eye to eye with your subject, this gives them the full perspective and correct dimensions. If you are peering down at them; all you are going to see is tops of heads and not much expression.
Camera Settings in a jam – Beginner / intermeditate
This is the interesting bit!
Majority of these images were taken between using full Manual control of the camera or Aperture Priority. I LOVE that blurry background and you can achieve it by controlling how much you want in focus/out of focus with the aperture.
Between f1.8 and f3.5 for the aperture to achieve a blurred background
Fast shutter speed to control movement and sharp photographs
ISO all around 200 as there was plenty of light available in each session
– Canon 5d Mark 3
– 50mm f1.8 lens
– 24-70 f2.8 lens
– 70-200 f2.8 lens
That is all professional quality equipment, but to achieve close to results, why not look into purchasing the 50mm f1.8 lens (under £100) and an entry level SLR (under £300 new and around £200 second hand)
By using an SLR camera, you are taking control of your images and achieving exactly what you are looking for in your minds eye! Trust me, it won’t be instant and it does take time, but you will so get there with practice!