Every photographer should have a professionally designed website to promote his or her business. Photography is a purely visual art form and a customer’s first impression of the photographer will form within seconds of viewing the website. Great testimonials from previous clients will not count for much if the photographer’s portfolio is short of exceptional.
Photography is a very competitive market. The introduction of cheap, high quality digital SLR cameras and photo editing software means that with a little training and practice anybody can take a good photograph and print it out on their inkjet printer. However, those seeking a really professional product shop around for photographers online, mainly because they can immediately view a portfolio. Gone are the days when a customer would sit in the reception area of a photographic studio and flick through albums of color prints while the photographer promoted his services. Most customers do their research online and make their decision before making the first call.
Although I took a photography class in college, it was ages ago, and the class was for SLR Cameras–yep, film! Recently, however, I got a dream of mine granted that I’ve had ever since taking that class!
Gift for the Photog in Your Life – Capturing Every Day Life by Jane Goodrich
I’m now the proud owner of a Nikon D3200 Digital SLR! Hopefully you’ve been enjoying my better picture quality on here over the past few months!
It should come as no surprise that I love editing pictures–just take a look around this blog! Although I use professional grade editing software I know that 95% off my readers have no want to ever plunk down a huge chunk of money and then spend years learning how to run the pro-editing software (like I did)! And really there is no need that you ever should if all you’d like to do is enhance your family snapshots for online sharing–especially not when there are so many amazing Free Online Editors these days!
I recently heard about Fotor and spent the afternoon checking it out. Being that I am used to “the real thing” I’m normally a little skeptical when it comes to free editors. I’m happy to report, however, that Fotor really is great! You don’t have to sign up for an account–you can jump right into editing. In addition to all the usual musts — tweaking saturation, brightness, contrast, etc. Fotor also has several different Photo Effectsthat are fun and easy to use! As someone who loves using Photo Effects I loved seeing how many options there were–and that you could even adjust the amount of the effect which is a huge must! They also have several different fun Photo Collage options — including the one I have above, how cute is it? They have the traditional kind with the different blocks, but they also have ones with shapes, or you can make your own scrapbook style using their backgrounds like I did above!
If you’re looking for a fun, easy, user friendly way to edit your pictures–I’d highly recommend Fotor!
Rethink your perspective ~ Kiddos are considerably shorter than you are, so in order to get the best pictures normally a stand and shoot at them doesn’t work all that great. Learn to play with the angles you’re shooting from and you’ll be surprised at how much it will change your pictures. Which leads me into my second tip today….
Don’t be afraid of back and side shots ~ some of my very favorite pictures of my kiddos are ones in which you can’t even see their faces. Back shots just have an artistic quality to them that I just love! Shooting from the side of their face, their back, or even from directly up above (like the picture at the top of this post) Study some professional photographers sites and pay close attention to where they are shooting from. It’s probably crouched down, way up high, or laying on the ground…that’s how they get those crazy cool shots!!
Zoom in ~ A big problem that people make is standing WAY too far back. Of course you can always crop to “make up” for this, but you might as well just zoom your camera in and/or step closer so that you will have less work later on. Also just simply turning your camera vertically can add huge quality to your pictures–you can get your kiddos whole body (or most of it) in a shot–instead of all the background around them that you really don’t care about! Close up face pictures are always winner’s for grandparents and putting in that 8×10 frame as well!
Always be looking ~ There are so many great places to take pictures all around you! The shot at the top is of Tyler “kissing” his reflection on our sliding glass door, and this shot of Amber is right outside our apartment door. “Real” backgrounds in nature are always nicer looking than backdrops, so get outside and find somewhere beautiful to shoot!
These days taking your own family photos has never been easier or more affordable! Whether you are just looking to up your every day snapshots, or are hoping to score that “perfect” picture to get an 8×10 for the front room here are some tips to help!
Perfect Timing ~ one of the great things about taking your own pictures is you can run on your kiddos time table, and not that of the photographers. Because more than likely the day you pick for photos is going to be the day your toddler throws a fit, the baby cuts a tooth, or your preschooler decides to be sullen. If this is the case just skip it and try another day! It will save both of you a lot of frustration (and I’ve learned, even with monthly baby photos you really DON’T have to take them on that exact day!)
Great Lighting ~ One of the first things you learn in any college photography class is about lighting. The best times of day for natural lighting are early morning and sunset/dusk. Any shots taken around noon will probably result in a lot of squinting and harsh shadows. Also be very shadow conscious, never shoot with the bright light directly behind your child, it will result in the shot being “back lit” and even editing can’t fix it into being a great shot.
Good Editing Software is worth its weight in gold ~ Personally I adore my Photoshop Elements. It is not very user friendly, and several years after getting it I’m still learning the ins and outs, but that’s because it can just do SO MUCH! I’ve been able to take my point and shoot camera and get some amazing professional looking shots from it thanks to my editing. Many of my friends love PicMonkey which is a great easy & free online editor.
Use Fun Props ~ Does your child have a stuffed animal they sleep with or a special blankie they drag everywhere? These are things you will want to record–so go ahead and include them in your photo shoot! Having their lovie close will also help your child to relax during the shoot–win win!
Another fun and adorable idea for a photo prop is using Sticky Bellies these fun and super cute stickers are a good alternative to expensive custom onsies and can be stuck right into your photo album/scrapbook after the shoot. They sell ones from 1-24 months, and pregnancy ones as well! (I wish I would have had these during my pregnancies, would have been so much easier than photo-shopping how many weeks I was onto the picture! The Inventor has a background in Child Development and shares advice on this and all things picture on their Facebook Page, so be sure to check them out!