I adore the Young family. Everything from their home-made pallet-boat, to their stress-free, fun loving attitude. When Bethy messaged me about possibly doing a vintage style sail boat theme for this year's photos I was head over heels! It's never hard work with a family this easy going. We showed up, set up, and let everyone just have fun. Mom and Dad cuddled up on their sail boat and let the kids run around the beach. There's something to be said for letting your family photos really reflect your family. Plus the kiddos are usually much more willing to sit still for a few posed portraits after running off some of their energy -and who doesn't love those unexpected, unplanned, candid shots of their children being exactly who they are. They even found some beautiful shells to take home as a keep-sake. I'm in love with every single image we took!
Well living in Texas certainly has it's ups and downs. And by that I mean the temperature! Several of my scheduled holiday portraits were pushed back again and again waiting for the weather to actually do what the weatherman predicted. And now with Christmas in a week and the weather looking no better most of my shoots have been rescheduled for the new year leaving a lot of families without holiday photos. So the best I can do for all my wonderful clients is give you a how-to do your own family photos!
Things you'll need:
-Camera (you can use a point-and-shoot, SLR, or Iphone)
-Tripod or Level surface
-Your awesome-sauce family
First off you need to find out which function your camera offers.
Most point and shoot cameras will have a timer option. You can typically set the timer for 3, 5, or 10 seconds. Some point and shoots have the option to fire off 3-5 photos in succession when the timer goes off.
SLR cameras have the best options for family selfies. You can set the timer, use a remote, a cable release or my favorite- interval timing shooting.
-The timer works just like the one on a point and shoot.
-A remote can be purchased online or in stores for $10-15. With this option you just click a button and try to hide the remote in your hand or behind you back.
-A cable release is more of a last option in my opinion. Mainly because you have to hold the cable in your hand and it's connected to the camera causing you to be really close to the lens. You could use this method for good close ups though.
-Interval timing shooting is by far my favorite method. You can usually find this option in your shooting menu. You will need to set a start time. I just use NOW. Next choose how far apart you want your shots. Anything under 6 or 7 seconds might cause your shooting to stop periodically to catch up saving images. Then you will choose how many photos you would like taken. I like to set mine to 999 so I can just shoot until I feel we got the shot. Press ok and run to get into the shot!
Iphones are pretty easy because there's always an app for that!
-There are several camera timers and interval shooting apps online. Most are fairly easy to work and several are free!
Now that you have your settings ready on your camera, time to frame the shot.
If you have a tripod this will be a lot easier but I've managed to make stacked stools and boxes work in a pinch before. Just secure your camera on the mount of your tripod and adjust the height. You can order a specialty Iphone tripod for around $12 on amazon and photo-jojo. Make sure everything is tightened down before leaving to get in the picture!
If you don't own a tripod get ready to plan camera Jenja! You can use any level surface you can create. Point and shoots are typically easiest to level since they are usually rectangular in shape and distribute weight evenly. SLRs can be trickier depending on the size of your lens. I use things like playing cards, wine corks, and thin books to prop my lens up enough to level the body. You can lean an Iphone against just about anything but if you are looking to get more control try to find things can set you phone in! I have a life-proof case on my phone and it fits perfectly inside a yarn wrapped bangle I own allowing me to tilt the phone or place in an open area without propping it up.
And that's it! Last step is to gather up your family and share some smile for the camera!
A few tips to help you get your best photos!
-Take a ton of photos! Fill your memory card up if you can! You will want a lot of options so you can pick the best!
-If possible try to shoot at a little bit of a downward angle. Sitting will of course make this easier.
-Remember to have fun as well as pose for photos. The 'in-between' shots can sometimes be the best!
-If you are shooting outside, try to stand in the shade.
-If you are standing in front of a barn, house, wall, etc - take three giant steps away from it! This will cause your point of focus to be more your subject and give your background depth.
-If you are shooting inside try to set up close to a window. You don't want the window in the photo (this can cause weird light projections), you just want the light. If possible choose a room with a white ceiling as well. Try to set the camera as far away from your faces as possible to reduce harsh shadows. OR if you want to do a tiny bit more work you can make a simple flash bounce to bounce the light off the ceiling and do away with all harsh shadows. Click HERE for a tutorial.
Hopes this helps you guys create some amazing family photos!
So what is a Bokeh (pronounced BOH-kay)? The word originates from the Japanese word Boke which means blur. Simply put, it's the quality of blur in the out of focus areas of your photos. Your lens already has this when you purchase it. Most lenses naturally produce circle or hexagonal bokeh, but you can buy custom shapes to create really fun images. Lots of people use these for night shots where highlights are out of focus, but you can use them for anything you like! I love using mine for portraits and macro photography.
So here's a really quick and easy way to make your own!
Things You Will Need:
-Thick paper or light weight cardboard (I used cardstock with a dark print)
-Pencil/Pen/Marker (whatever you have lying around to trace with)
-Exacto Knife or Razor Blade (I have a pair of tiny scissors that work perfect)
-Tape (I like to use clear and electrical)
-Measuring Tape (I used a tailor tape)
- The lens you are making it for and something a big bigger to trace your outer circle. (I used a duct tape roll)
1.) Trace your outer circle onto your cardstock.
2.) Trace your lens inside the outer circle on your cardstock.
3.) Measure the circumference of your lens.
4.) Cut a strip of cardstock one or two inches longer than the circumference of your lens. The width isn't too important right now, a half inch should work fine. This will be your border piece.
5.) Cut out your circles and make notches all the way around the edge.
6.) Decide what shape you would like to create and trace in onto the middle of your circle.
7.) Using you exacto knife or razor (or tiny scissors) cut out the shape.
8.) Use your hand to press the outer tabs down around your lens to start forming the shape of your Bokeh.
9.) Tape your border piece together at the correct length. Be sure to double check that it will easily slide onto the end of your lens.
10.) Slide the Bokeh into the border and tape the inside to hold everything together.
11.) Using tape secure the top edge by creating a seal from the border piece to the Bokeh. I like to use electrical tape because it stretches and I can be sure no light leaks will occur.
And Voila! Fits like a glove!
The one I made here is actually a little to tall for my lens. You want your shape to be as close to the lens as possible to avoid vignetting. I can just trim the border piece to correct this. Below are some examples of the use of a bokeh on a 35mm lens.
The natural bokeh created by my 35mm Lens
Lighting bolt bokeh
So what are you waiting for? Get out there and start using your brand new home made bokehs!
There is so much to do and see and photograph. How will we ever manage to capture it all?