Archive For: Children Photos

Why Leave it to the Pros? | Hiring a Professional Photographer

Why Leave it to the Pros? | Hiring a Professional Photographer

The Importance of Hiring a Professional Photographer.  And Barber.

The photo in this post is not technically perfect.  Not even close.  My light stand fell for the whoknowshowmany-th time, and I was testing out my lighting to see why it was making that weirder-than-usual sound.  My only available subject was my two-year-old son, and he’s…well, he’s the child of a professional photographer.  More often than not, he’s faster than my shutter speed.  It’s amazing.  I could be sneaking around the corner trying to capture a photo of my completely distracted toddler, finger on the trigger, and he’s gone!  Needless to say, photos of him looking AND smiling are few and far between.  So even though this picture is not technically perfect, he’s my baby, and boy does he look cute!

I decided to go ahead and do some post-processing on the image to see if I could make the technical imperfections less obvious.  I wanted to leave the crumbs on his face, and the food on his shirt, because it really showed him in all his glory at two years old.  But I couldn’t take my eyes off of that crazy hair.  Partially because that’s where the focus fell (not intentionally – he was rocking on his rocking horse, and again, this was not intended to be a “keeper”), but mostly because of that ridiculous haircut.  You see, this was me trying to save a buck by being a DIY-er.

For his first haircut we took him to a children’s hair salon that had all of the necessary tools to keep the little ones distracted and still.  They had little cars and firetrucks and airplanes with steering wheels (and seat belts!) as seats, TVs with a wide selection of children’s DVDs, and hair stylists who specialized in kids’ haircuts.  I stressed and worried about how he would behave, and how his previously-beautiful (albeit way too long) hair would look after this ordeal, but these specialists with all of their tools rocked it!  But…it was $25 for this special service.

I quickly realized that my son would need to have his hair cut every few weeks, and at $25 a pop, this would add up to around $500 a year!  This seemed outrageous for a two-year-old boy, so I decided to explore other options.  Our next stop was one of those discount haircut places.  You know the ones.  They’ll cut anyone’s hair for about ten bucks.  Well, they clearly don’t specialize in children.  The lady we got expected my toddler to not only “keep his head down,” but also remain still while she butchered his lovely locks.  She was frustrated, and so was he (I won’t get into how I felt).  She didn’t care how it turned out because she knew people would keep coming there for the super-low price.  It was then that I got the BRILLIANT idea that I could do at least that good of a job, and wouldn’t have to waste $10 to do it.

One day I decided to take a trip to my local beauty supply store.  I bought some real-deal hair-cutting shears, a cape, and a spray bottle.  I had all the tools the pros used!  Next on the list, I watched a few YouTube videos and read a few tutorials on how to cut boys’ hair.  I was all set!  How hard could it be, right?  Wrong.  So, so wrong.  It was a nightmare from start to finish, and it certainly wasn’t as easy as it looked!  This photo is a couple of weeks after that terrible day, so it’s even had a chance to grow out.  It was worse, believe it or not.

As I edit the photo it hits me – this is how many people feel about photography!  The expert photographers who specialize in different genres tend to be what some people consider expensive.  But they have invested thousands of hours, and even more dollars into their education and gear.  But you’re guaranteed an awesome experience, and beautiful photographs to hang on your walls.  Then there are the budget photographers.  There are some good ones, but more often than not, you get what you pay for.  Many times they aren’t a legal business, so they haven’t invested their time or money into making a name and reputation for themselves. And some even think that, like me with the haircutting, all it takes is watching a few YouTube videos and reading a few tutorials and you’re ready to be a pro.  Then, like my experience with my son’s haircut, you leave feeling like you could’ve done at least as good of a job yourself without wasting the money.  Ah, and that’s where the real trouble comes in.  While I whole-heartedly feel that parents should be capturing all of the precious moments in their family’s day-to-day lives, I also know how nearly impossible it is to get professional quality photos of your own little ones (even as a pro – reference the image above).  Let’s face it; they don’t listen to us nearly as well as they’d listen to a perfect stranger off the street.  They haven’t had a chance to test their boundaries with them yet.  So that, along with the countless hours and dollars a professional photographer invests into his or her business, is the reason why hiring a professional photographer is so important.  AND a professional barber!

Tips for Better Photos of Kids | Family Photography

Tips for Better Photos of Kids | Family Photography

More Tips for Better Photos of Kids

In my last tutorial I shared my first 5 tips on how to take better pictures of your kids.  Here are another 5 tips for better photos of kids to really get you on your way!

6. Shoot LOTS

The beauty of digital cameras is you can shoot to your heart’s content, and if you don’t like how it turned out, DELETE!  The best way to master something is to make lots of mistakes.  Chances are, if you take 100 photos of something, you’ll absolutely LOVE at least 10 of them.  Practice.  Try new things.  Play with light, angles, and perspective.  There’s no better way to improve.

7. Timing is everything

You know your kids better than anyone else.  You know if they’re grumpy in the evening, or if they’re little angels when they wake up in the morning.  If you want to capture their sweet side, and you know they’re calm at a certain time of day, plan your photos around that.  If you want to lay a guilt trip on them when they’re older, snap a few shots of them being a holy terror before bedtime!  I have TONS of those kinds of pictures of my kids!  And I think they’ll get a laugh out of them when they’re older, struggling with their own bundles of joy.  Just don’t plan for sweet images of them frolicking in the field when you know they’re overdue for a nap.  You’ll only be disappointed.

8. Remove distractions

Even if you’re working with Photoshop, it isn’t a fun job to remove unwanted distractions from an otherwise perfect photo after the moment has passed.  If you can, clear the scene ahead of time.  I’m all for the messy, real-life photos of kids baking their first batch of cookies, or pictures of them after a serious playdate.  But if you’re going for framable pictures for Daddy’s desk, or something to put on the wall, remove anything that doesn’t add to the picture.

9. Fill the frame, or tell a story

If it doesn’t add to the story you’re telling, take it out of the frame.  Sometimes you don’t have time to tidy up before you take the shot.  That doesn’t mean you can’t eliminate the distractions from the photo.  Get in close!  Fill the frame with your beautiful child.  On the other hand, if he pulled everything out of the pantry while you were loading the washing machine, get that beautiful mess in the shot too!  It’ll be funny…later.

10. Be silly and PLAY

If your kid is anything like my youngest (he’s two – enough said), all he wants to do it touch, see, and grab my camera when I get it out.  I mean, immediately.  You have to find a way to distract them from it.  My son is very proud of his knowledge of various body parts.  All it takes is a simple “where’s your belly?” and he has totally forgotten about the big camera pointing at him.  Do you have a peek-a-boo fan?  Hide behind your camera and make a game out of it.  Maybe your kids are a little older.  Ask them if your feet stink!  You know what makes your kids giggle.  Use that, and capture the joy.

Thanks for visiting Laura Michele Photos.  Remember to keep taking those photos!  Once again, I’d love to see your progress, so post some on my Facebook page when you get a chance.  And remember to contact me the next time you’re ready to get in some photos too.

How to Take Better Pictures of Your Kids  | Photographer Fort Myers

How to Take Better Pictures of Your Kids | Photographer Fort Myers

So you want to learn how to take better pictures of your kids?

You don’t have to be a professional photographer to capture beautiful photos.  I’m going to give you some tips on how to take better pictures of your kids.  While I firmly believe in the importance of hiring a professional photographer at least once a year (you need to get in some pictures, too!), I want everyone to be able to capture those day-to-day moments with their children in the best possible way.  Here are 5 tips (with another 5 tips to come on my next post!) to get you on your way to better pictures of your little ones:

1. Always have your camera handy

Even though we all have those fancy cameras on our smart phones, let’s be honest – the pictures look like a blurry blob with those fast-moving kids!  Get in the habit of having your camera with you at all times.  How many times have you wished you had your camera with you?  Do it!  Before you know it it’ll feel like an extension of you, and you’ll feel lost without it.

2. Pay attention to the light in your house

Walk around your house at different times of the day.  I’ll bet you get some gorgeous light somewhere in there at some point in the day!  Not everyone is in love with light like me, but once you find that beautiful light in your house, you’ll know what I mean.  Do you have a window or door that has a sheer curtain over it?  That’s called diffused light, and it’s some of the best!

3. Be mindful of the location of the sun outside

Sometimes there isn’t enough light inside to get a good photograph (and good photographs don’t use the pop-up flash on your camera!), and you need to take it outside.  There are times of the day that are absolutely perfect for photography, and others…not so much!  You’ll want to be able to put the sun where you want it, and you can only do that when it’s low in the sky.  This is typically 1-2 hours after sunrise, and 1-2 hours before sunset.  If you shoot in the middle of the day, when the sun is high in the sky, you will get nasty shadows under noses and eyes, and people will be squinting.  Unless you have a DSLR that you can shoot in Manual, or some external lighting equipment, you’ll want the sun to be behind you (and on your subjects’ faces.  Otherwise you’ll end up with some silhouettes if you’re shooting toward the sun.

4. Get down to their level

This will really make a difference in the look of your photographs, and they story they tell.  Get down to the eye level of your children.  If they’re on their tummy, get down on YOUR tummy!  See the world from their perspective – tell the story the way they see it.

5. Move around

Try taking some shots of the same thing from different angles and directions.  Are they playing with something or reading a book?  Try taking a shot over their shoulder to see what they see.  Are they jumping on the bed or playing at the park?  Try lying on the ground and shoot up at them.  Experiment with different angles of the same thing!

I hope you enjoyed these little tips on how to take better pictures of your kids.  But even more so, I hope you try them out!  You have the advantage of witnessing all the good stuff.  Document it all!  And if you need some advice on bigger hard drives for all of those pictures, feel free to ask – haha!  I’d love to see some of your photos!  Come on over to my Facebook page and show me what you’ve got.  And don’t forget to contact me at least once a year for those family photos!  They’ll want those in their memory boxes, too!

Another 5 Tips for Taking Better Photos of Kids can be found here.  Thanks for stopping by!

Sanibel Island Fun | Sanibel Photographer | Laura Michele Photos

Sanibel Island Fun | Sanibel Photographer | Laura Michele Photos

Summertime is a tricky time for a Sanibel photographer!  The weather forecast is just about always “50% chance for rain; scattered PM thunderstorms”.  Every single day.  Not to mention the 100 degree temps.  Hey, we’re lucky that the hurricanes have missed us, so I can’t complain!

This day was one of the rainy ones, but luckily it was off-and-on sun showers.  This family included a handsome 5-month-old boy, and I know from experience how hard it is to prepare the little ones for a session.  The last thing you want to do is reschedule, especially if you’ve already arrived!  Since we were already on the beach when it started to rain, the only thing to do was duck under the trees.  Thankfully it wasn’t raining too hard.  So during each break in the showers, we would run out from our cover and snap a few shots.  Then we’d duck back in when it started again.  Rinse, and repeat.  It was quite a mini-adventure!  But I’m happy to say that we got all of our shots in, and just in time for the torrential downpour.  Just as I was crossing back over the Sanibel Causeway, the rain started coming down so hard that I couldn’t see in front of me!

Here are just a few of the adorable pictures we were able to get on this not-so-perfect day.  I think they turned out pretty perfect anyway.  🙂

Sanibel Family Photographer | Laura Michele Photos

Bonita Springs Photographer | Little Miss “L”

Bonita Springs Photographer, Laura Michele Photos, specializes in a wide range of family photography. From newborns to high school seniors, maternity to fun family photos, let Laura Michele Photos capture your memories!

Beautiful Miss L has the most stunning eyes I have ever seen. I was fortunate enough to be chosen to capture he 6-month milestone photos. Her mother and I carefully selected a vintage theme for some of her portraits, and I just LOVE this look! Sporting an adorable petit romper with a gorgeous flower headband, you can just see that this girl has a future in modeling.

 

Being the girly girl that she so clearly is, I made a little pink and white tutu just for this occasion. Miss L clearly takes her job very seriously, and has nailed the enigmatic, mysterious look that any good model strives for. Mommy and Daddy are in trouble with this little beauty! And to prove what a natural she is, she grabbed on of the flowers, put the stem between her teeth (ok, gums), and leaned back into her pose. Are you kidding me?! Seriously, how cute is she? Just have a look for yourself! Here are just a few of the beautiful images we got from her session! Enjoy! 🙂

Bonita Springs Family Photographer | Laura Michele Photos

Braden’s Turning Two | Bonita Springs Family Photographer

Braden’s Turning Two | Bonita Springs Family Photographer

Hidden in Bonita Springs, Florida is one of my absolute favorite parks to take pictures. For a Bonita Springs family photographer, it really has it all. Beautiful landscape full of trees, a dock and gorgeous red bridge over the river, and an abandoned railroad track. When I was asked to do Braden’s two year photos, I knew right away that this was the perfect spot. Two year olds are infamous for their high energy, and low patience. I knew we needed plenty of space to run, and even more options for backdrops. This place had it all for a little boy, and his three-year-old brother, Collin.

Two-year-old boy with balloons on tracksBoy in frame at parkBoy in frame at park
We started off by letting the boys cut loose at the playground, and then it was straight to work. I wanted to start with the railroad tracks, since it was a little late in the morning, and the harsh mid-day light was already creeping in. There was only one little remaining spot of shade left on the tracks, which left me with the unfortunate requirement of shooting from the bridged portion of the tracks. I have an insane fear of heights, and did I mention that these tracks were abandoned? It probably wasn’t the smartest idea, but I already had the shots in mind, and they came out great! So I consider it a risk worth taking.

Once we were nice and dirty from the rusty railroad tracks, it was time for a wardrobe and scenery change. While Braden and his mom got ready, I got some fun shots of Collin with one of my props, which thankfully enticed Braden to pose with the prop as well. That quickly became boring, so we attempted our picnic scene by the river, with the red bridge in the background. This was a no-go until we decided that it would be much more fun if we could throw leaves in the air! Then the boys spotted the dock across the river, and we just HAD to go see if we could see any fish. This made for some great shots of both of them! We finished off the session with some bribery so we could get “two-themed” photos for the birthday party invite, and then we just played.Two-year-old boyTwo-year-old boy

With boys (or girls) this age, the best shots are always the ones where they’re allowed to just play. You get to see their natural expressions, and genuine joy. And that’s what you really want to see when you look back at the memories of your babies when they’re grown. Besides, have you ever seen the reaction of a toddler after telling them to do something they’re not interested in doing? 🙂