Disclaimer: Thanks to Mom and Pop Photo for partnering up with me for this fabulous giveaway and accepting me into their affiliate program. I’m so excited tone more creative with my family photos, and Mom and Pop courses have helped me a ton already (I received a free 101 Set a few months ago).
For years I wanted my very own DSLR camera. I waited, hoped and prayed that it would be in the budget, but each year passed and we just couldn’t make it happen. Last year, on my birthday, my husband surprised me with a Nikon D3100. It was perfect, and I was petrified. It’s such a great camera, yet I was frightened to even pick it up. I needed some type of guide to get me going and to help learn to capture my family’s day to day lives in an artistic fashion. I wanted to master portraits. Here are some simple tips for great portraits I learned during my journey around my camera.
There’s no such thing as “picture perfect” anymore. One of the best photos you take will be from odd moments in a shoot when your family stops caring about the lens, relaxes, and gets weird. These are the times when their true personalities will come out, and your camera will be able to reflect how awesome your kids are.
Catch the light in their eyes
This has been a time-tested photography trick for ages. See the twinkle of white in my son’s pupils? That is the determining factor of a great portrait, whether you’re snapping photos of your kids for anyone else. That light easily depicts the subject’s liveliness and turns a 2D picture into a 3D story. That light in his eyes also diverts you from noticing that his shirt is covered in melted red ice pop. He had a great birthday party that day.
Give them permission to play a part
My son is very different from my daughter. Whenever I break out the camera, he freezes up and responds by flashing the most awkward smiles possible. Then he starts with the awkward poses. It turns into a mess. One day, I decided to give him permission to dress up, play an part and use the power of pretend. While he’s telling me about what he wants to pretend to be that day (or while he dresses up in a costume) I click away and capture some great shots. Just the anticipation of being able to play a part gets your kids excited about something other than you staring at them through a camera lens.
Embrace the shadows
While this may not seem like a great picture at first, it has all of the characteristics of a signature portrait. The shadows from the tree above my daughter provides a unique indirect lighting. That lighting was just right, at just that time, on just that day. We can never recreate it, or it’s circumstances. Indirect light and shadows enhance the features you love so much about your children (like their eyes, or pouty toddler lips). Natural light plus natural features create holiday present-worthy pictures.
Get in front of the camera
Do it. Yes, do it! One of the best ways to create amazing portraits of your family is to allow yourself to be the subject. For this particular shot, I asked my husband to take some pictures of me at interesting angles with differing focuses. I got a feel of how it is as the subject with a lens deep in your face, and how the human form can look so amazing, even when it’s blurred. From my own photo session, I found lots of new ways to enhance the features of my family members.
Ready to learn even more simple tips for great portraits? Mom and Pop photo is offering one of my readers their 101 Set Photography course for parents, which includes Camera 101 (for those fairly new to using a DSLR ) and Portraits 101. Both of these include a year of online support and are valued at $99! This would be a great holiday gift for the budding photographer in your life, or for yourself! Want to win? Check out the rafflecopter below. Good luck!