Sunday, April 19, 2009

Top 10 tips for Photographing Children

Having photographed children for years the photographers at 2Create Photography wanted to share their experience and tips.If you have an accumulation of lackluster family snapshots, here are some great photo tips for kids and adults alike. No matter what your age, you can learn to take better pictures of children–siblings, cousins, offspring, friends–just by remembering to use a few simple children portrait photography tips.

1.Creative camera angles and cropping
Try shooting from directly above.
Digital cameras nowadays make this really easy, because you don’t have to hold the camera up to your eye all the time to see through the viewfinder — you can hold it out at arm’s length, tilted down a bit, and still get a good idea of what you’re shooting from the preview on the back of the camera.When you’re shooting at arm’s length from above the subject, it’s important to:
  • To start with, pick a subject who’s short. (Little kids are ideal.)
  • Always have them look up at you! (Otherwise you’ll just see a head of hair.)
  • Zoom your camera out as wide-angle as possible, but move the camera fairly close to the subject. This will emphasize the unusual angle, and also make it easier for you to keep the subject in the frame.
  • For shooting several people together, you can take picture by leaning over a balcony or stair railing and shooting down toward the floor below. This can make a fun family portrait.

Next, try shooting up at your subject(This usually means “ground level”, as anything lower than that takes a bit too much effort!) Tilt the camera up slightly so that you don't get too much of the ground in your photo.This gives you a completely different viewpoint that normal. This works well if the subject is looking away from the camera, for a more candid look.(Especially if kids are playing and you can take the photo without distracting them.)

Also make sure to get down to the child's level. Bend, kneel or lie down on the floor, if necessary, to get the best shot. You can't get good photographs of busy children from above their heads (at your own eye-level).

Cropping! Try few simple things.
Particularly when you’re taking pictures of kids, photos are usually all about their expression or their activity. The environment generally doesn’t have much to offer — a messy bedroom, a cluttered yard… not exactly National Geographic material. The biggest thing you can do to change this is, zoom in!
Here’s another idea to control your backgrounds even more: Rather than taking a photo from a few feet away as you normally might do, if you
back up twice as far from the subject but zoom in twice as much, the photo will show a much different background around the subject.

2.Go for the candid shots.
Take pictures of busy children doing the things they like to do. Don't expect them to stop and pose for the camera. Eventually they will forget about you and go on with their activities. Be like a fly on the wall. Just look for the best shots as they go about their business. Keep them thinking about everything but the photos. Surprise them with a toy you brought along. Encourage them to race against each other or play games. Have them spin around in circles until they’re dizzy, or start a tickle war. You want the photos to show their genuine excitement and emotion, and “say cheese!” usually doesn’t produce that!

3.Watch your background.

Adjust your vantage point to simplify or alleviate a busy background. A cluttered background distracts from your subject, so think simple. Use a bright blue sky, a green lawn or foliage, a sandy beach, a redwood or whitewashed fence or a plain wall as an outdoor background. Any solid or plain wall, drapes, bedding or carpeting makes a fine background for most indoor photographs. Make sure odd objects such as tree limbs or poles don't appear to be growing out of your subject's head.When photographing children locate your "photo spots", your backgrounds. Scout the area beforehand, alone if possible. If the location atmosphere needn't be in the photo then try to locate areas with plain backgrounds such as the sides of buildings, in front of hedges and trees and large empty expanses. Choose places where you can control the situation. Avoid areas that would distract your subjects. For example, if filming at the beach, locate a photo spot that doesn't have the children looking onto the beach. Kids love the water and soon they will be irresistibly pulled to it - and away from you, the photographer.

4.Dress for success

Select outfits for your kids that will look good in front of the camera:
  • Bright colors work great, and give a cheerful look to the photos. If the children are all wearing bright reds and yellows, take a few pictures against a clear blue sky for an exciting portrait.
  • It’s not important for the kids to all be wearing perfectly matching clothing, but it’s a good idea to have them dressed in similar styles (light or dark colors, long or short sleeves, etc.)
  • You don’t want the outfits to distract from the faces and emotions in the pictures, so it’s best to avoid patterns or designs with too much contrast.
5.Use interesting and unusual props. Colorful climbing toys at the park make great backdrops for creative photography. Take pictures of the children climbing and poking their heads through openings. Use jungle gyms and crawl-through tubes as frames for informal portraits.

6.Get out the camera on overcast days. Instead of harsh, unflattering shadows and squinty eyes caused by bright sunlight, cloudy days mean soft lighting and photographs that can be especially pleasing.

7.Avoid using a flash when possible, even indoors.
A flash flattens children's faces, especially babies, and often causes red-eye. Instead, move the children near a brightly lit window for softer, more natural light. Another option (if you have the equipment) is to use an indirect flash by tilting your flash unit upward so that the light bounces from the ceiling. (This only works with a white or light-colored ceiling.) A third option is to use a digital camera and turn off the flash feature. A digital camera can usually take a decent indoor picture using ordinary lighting; however, you must not move the camera and your subject must remain still or the photo will be blurred. Choose to photograph a quiet activity, such as reading, playing a board game or sleeping.

8.Find the best format for your composition.
Flip the camera to check which format works best: vertical (portrait), or horizontal (landscape). Try both if you're not sure. A close-up or a headshot is great, but for a full body portrait, don't cut off a part of the body, such as the top of a head or the feet, which immediately draws the viewer's eye. And, of course, avoid photographing your own shadow or your reflection in a window. try shooting from directly above.

Shoot photos like crazy.
Camera memory sticks are cheap, and hold hundreds of photos. Don’t wait for the “perfect moment” to magically appear… when a scene starts looking halfway decent, start clicking away like your life depends on it! It’s easy to throw out the “rejects” later. After and hour I usually come away will a few hundred images that I will narrow to 40ish final portraits.

10. Go somewhere different.Give your kids (and yourself) a change of scenery for the afternoon. They’ll be more excited, and it will make your photos more interesting! A park or playground works great, or if you’re near the ocean or a river or lake, that can be a big hit too. Take along props. Simple kid-sized chairs or other things you have sitting around the house can make photos look a lot more interesting!

If you practice using these tips, you’ll soon see great improvement in your child portraits and all of your family photography. For more information and help contact me at

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Make-up Tips & Tricks for your Wedding Day

"My goal as a make-up artist is to make you look beautiful and radiant on your wedding day by creating a look that is a natural extension of you" ~ Dani

Use a professional make-up artist to do your wedding day make-up; there is probably no other day in your life when you will be photographed more than your wedding day. Your pictures will be treasured for years to come. Shouldn't you look your best and have the best record for your wedding day? Bad make-up...bad photos! If you think about it the average wedding budgets are anywhere between $5 - $20,000, don't you think you are worth spending $100 (average price to pay) to be looking the very best that you can. Every face needs make-up when it comes to photographic work - to enhance your natural features.

5 Things you should find out, before choosing a make-up artist for your wedding day:
1. How long has she/he been doing make-up?

2. Have they done photographic make-up before?
3. Where and when did they do there training?
4. What sort of products do they use, are they hypo-allergenic (for those people with sensitive skins)?.
5. Do they do trials? (I strongly recommend getting a trial)

Make sure they use products that have the proper type of sun blocks in them other wise these can make the make-up appear really white with flash photography (we all hate that look where the face looks like its been dipped in flour) and the body a different darker colour), they need to be Titanium/ physical not chemical sun blocks - to avoid this?.

Dani's Top 6 Make-up tips for Brides.

1. Start using a good skin regime at least 6 months out if you can, mind you, even if you leave it to the last couple of weeks you know what they say "better late than never"
2. You don't have to use expensive products, but the minimum you can do is cleanse your skin daily, moisture twice daily and wear sun block everyday regardless of whether the sun is out or not (its amazing how we can burn through the clouds). It's very important to exfoliate. You need to do this at least 2-4 times weekly , it makes a huge difference to how the make-up sits and looks on the skin and also makes a big difference to how long the make-up lasts on the skin (and we all want it looking just as good 10 hours later).
3. It would also be good to have a regular facial if your budget allows. Every 4-5 weeks over a period of 6 months will do wonders for your skin. If that's not in the budget, then at least invest in a hydrating mask and use it at least twice a week if you have normal to dry skin. If you have oily skin, then I reccommend doing a deep cleanse to keep the skin free from clogging, which in turn can causes pimples!

4. Using false lashes can make a huge difference on making the eyes appear larger and more open; I personally love the individuals, as they look the most natural.

5. Start looking in magazines for pictures that you like the look of. It helps when trying to explain to your make-up artist what sort of look you like.

6. Sheen is in! It's lovely to have a beautiful sheen on your skin without it looking shiny and greasy! Having said that, a little bit of powder does need to be used, because even if you can't visually see the shine, it does appear on your photos. The main areas where we don't want to have shine is the forehead, nose and chin (the T-zone). It's quite lovely to have a bit of sheen showing on the apples of the cheeks. For further details or to make a booking, contact Danielle Hanson through 2Create Photography