photography session tips

Focus on What You Love | Photography Tips

At some point on your photography journey, you will hit a wall. Some sort of creative roadblock that leaves you feeling uninspired, frustrated or just... meh.

I'm not saying this is guaranteed at all, but I don't think I've met a photographer (or any artist) that has just glided seamlessly through his or her career. In fact, the BEST photographers out there have gone through phases or transitions and come out even stronger on the other side! I try to remember this when my well of creativity is running low. 

So how do we push through and find inspiration to pick up the camera again? It's not always this simple, but I try to re-focus on what I love. 

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Forgive the pun, but when we shift our artistic focus back to what really matters - it can really light us up! So, first things first. Ask yourself a couple questions:

1. What do you love to photograph? List them all. The options are endless!

You might love photographing your own kids, the backyard wildlife, beach sunsets, expectant moms or that new cookie recipe you tried last week. 

2. Which of these haven't you photographed in the last 3-6 months?

Has it been awhile since you focused on your favorite subject? Is there something you love, but haven't tried yet? Make a note of it. If you are in business, have you been head down in client work and missing your family's day-to-day? I've been guilty of this, so I tend to focus during the Winter months on images I want to create of my girls.

3. Take a mental image of what you want to capture. Close your eyes and imagine the completed image you want to take. It could be a series of pictures, but I want you to really grab it in your mind. Stay flexible though, we know things don't always happen how we envision. And aiming for perfection can sometimes set us up for disappointment. Especially when we're trying to get our toddlers to comply, haha!

4. Plan to make it happen! Even if it feels like homework, do it anyway. Stretch yourself and remember how much you love this subject - whatever it may be. 

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The single most important component of a camera is the twelve inches behind it.
— Ansel Adams

I hope this was encouraging for you! If your creative juices have been feeling dried up, just know you are in good company. We're all on this journey together! So lean in and set your lens on what you love.

Happy Valentine's Day, friends!

xoxo

Erin

P.S. If you're looking for more inspiration and tips, sign up for the EAP Education Newsletter! A fresh one is hitting inboxes this week. Click below to sign up! :)

5 Tips for Christmas Morning Picture Prep! | Hampton Roads Photography Education

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1. Charge Batteries. This may seem obvious, but with the chaos of Christmas Eve - it can easily be one more thing that slips your mind. Prepare now! Charge and have back up memory cards and batteries ready to go. Set your camera in an ideal spot so that you can capture your kid's reaction as soon as they see the tree! Lay this all out well in advance so you're not scrambling last minute.

2. Set the Scene. Christmas decorations are so festive and happy, but can easily become cluttered. Take a moment to tidy up the space/background where your family will spend most of Christmas morning. Toss any newspapers, paper clutter or stray items. That way, the focus of your pictures will be on the memories and not last week's laundry piles! ;) 

3. Consider Camera Settings. - With all the paper flying and excited kiddos, make sure your shutter speed is high enough to freeze the action. I would suggest not shooting under a 1/200 shutter speed. Don't be afraid to increase your ISO, because most likely - it will still be dark out. You'll be relying on artificial light unless your kids are angelic wonders who actually sleep past dawn on Christmas Day. If that's your situation, I would keep that information to yourself, hahaha! Yes, a higher ISO may add more grain to your images, but they should print just fine. Consider how you want to use these images and if they are just for your family - then remember, it doesn't have to be perfect! 

4. Make A Mess! Resist the urge to pose your kids. Let them enjoy and try to capture the big moments. Not everything needs to be documented, but maybe there is that one special gift from Dad that you would love to see your daughter's reaction. Pick and choose what matters and then put the camera down in between. You can always stage images after or try again. No stress!

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5. Grab Those Details. I love capturing the sweet, messy bedhead of my girls. Their fuzzy slippers and chipped nail polish. These are things that pull at my Momma heart. I always take a few of these on Christmas morning to tuck into a family album.

Bonus Tip: Get in the Frame and Enjoy! If you have a tripod and remote, try to capture the whole family after the present opening is done. If not, prop your camera up on the couch and set the self-timer. Or, even better, pass the camera to someone else and have them capture you opening a gift or snuggling your kids. Mothers disappear from memories because we are often the ones behind the camera. Let's change that! Then, sit back and enjoy yourself. Your family deserves your attention, so try not to focus too much on capturing every shot. 

I hope these tips encouraged you! If you're looking for a photography community, come just us in the 'Stay Little' Lounge over on Facebook. We'll be sharing our messy memories and cheering one another on. See you there!

 

Merry Christmas, friends!

xoxo

Erin

3 Tips for Getting Littles to Look at the Camera | Photographer Education

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Photographing little ones can be a challenge - I totally get it! Whether you're in the backyard with your own kids or working at a family session, having eye contact with the lens can feel like a game of cat and mouse.

"LOOK HERE!!"

"Just look for ONE second!" 

"Over here!" *frantically pointing at the camera*

Been there, done that. And can I say, sometimes it just doesn't cut it. Depending on the disposition, patience, mood and sugar level (ha!) of a child, they might just not want to look at the camera. And most of the time, this is totally fine. I do always aim to get a close-up portrait of each child during a session. Some willingly stick their nose in my camera, but others take some coaxing. If I've done my job of connecting with them early in the session, it does go smoother.

Here are three tried and true tips for getting those little ones to look at the lens. Try one at your next photo session! :)

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A two-year old is kind of like having a blender, but you don’t have a top for it.
— Jerry Seinfeld
  1. "Peek-a-Boo!" This is a classic move and one that usually works with babies. Even toddlers and school age kids love to play this way. I will hold the camera in my face and pop up over it with a funny noise or expression. Really play too - kids know when you're faking it! Dart behind a tree, a sand dune, whatever is available so that when you pop up they burst into laughter. Even a smirk will do. Then, snap the shot!

  2. "What's Inside my camera?" This is my go-to for very shy kids. I will tell them a fish (or another small object) is inside my camera. If they look closely, they'll see it. This creates beautiful, soul-filled images of kids looking right into the lens. Smiles are optional for this, but if I gasp suddenly "OH, there goes the fish! Did you see it!!?" it coaxes out a grin or a curious expression.

  3. "Lady, there's something on your head..." I like to use this one with older, more resistant kids. There's no shame in my game! I will place something ridiculous (a twig, a leaf, a rock, a kid's lovey or small toy) on my head and balance it in place. I ask them crazy questions and as they look at the object, I get close with my camera. Then, if I knock it suddenly off my head (usually acting like a lunatic lol) they will giggle and I snap away.

That's it! A few, helpful tips to try out on your littlest subjects next time. Let me know how it goes! 

Are you wanting more guidance and session tips while photographing families? Check out the Art of Imperfect: A Guide for Family Photographers and be ready for Spring and Summer sessions!


 

Cheering you on!

xo

Erin

 
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3 Tips for Including Young Siblings During a Newborn Session | Hampton Roads Family Photographer

Aaahhh, siblinghood. 

Bringing home a new baby to meet their brother or sister is such a huge event for a growing family. The oldest has just been bumped from an "only" to a "big". And that is a BIG deal. It's a transition period for sure, and all children react differently. 

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When we brought my youngest daughter home from the hospital, she gave her big sister a "gift" of new dress-up clothes. Clearly, this went over really well for my girly toddler at the time and I think it helped bridge the beginning of their relationship. There are lots of methods of how to adapt during this time, and I love that every family is unique in their methods.

When it comes to the newborn session, parents often feel another added layer of stress when including the older sibling. 

Will she behave?

Will he cooperate with the photographer?

Will they knock the baby off the bed?!

LOL! I get it. Been there. Today I'm sharing a few tips on how to prepare, include and encourage your older child during a newborn session.

1. Bring on the praise. Toddlers and preschoolers love to hear how they are making their parents proud. Whenever they do something thoughtful or kind in regards to the baby, jump quickly to praise them.

What a great helper you are bringing the diapers and wipes over.

She is so lucky to have a big brother like you!

He's looking at you, he thinks you're so funny!

All of that sets the tone for those first couple of weeks at home when a newborn session is usually scheduled. 

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2. Assign a job and ask questions. Kids love helping. They love having something to do. I will often ask them to get me a blanket or toy during the session. I'll ask them to draw me a picture or tell me about their favorite toy. When they know they are included and appreciated in the process, they are usually willing to cooperate. 

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3. Don't force it. If you have an image in your head of THE perfect image you want to recreate, have grace in knowing your child's disposition. Are they willing to snuggle and kiss the new baby? Some kiddos are all about it! But, if they're not, it's never a good idea to force or cajole them. The session can take a sharp nosedive if a toddler feels told what to do - no surprise there LOL! Just let the moment pass, and usually kids will come back and try again on their own terms. That is totally okay. Keep laying on the praise and watch what happens!

Best,

Erin

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