Location Shoots

Location Shoots

Family Location Shoots

Are you considering an outdoor location shoot for your next family portraits? I photograph families and children mainly in my studio, but recently decided to shoot more on location. It was a wonderful experience. I had the pleasure of photographing a lovely family of three and their adorable furry family member Carter.

  • Shooting outside on location lends itself to spontaneous and natural photography. After discussing locations on the phone with my family, we decided on their local woods. A place familiar and with meaning to them. Location shoots give children space to move around, play and be themselves. Libby played fairies and cast spells. I’d brought a wand and some glitter for the purpose.
  • Photographs taken outside will usually feel natural and casual. I was able to give my family a selection of images that told a story. Location shoots lend themselves to this and we had images of Libby and Carter playing, exploring, resting, jumping, throwing leaves etc. I found that strolling along outside through the woods helped make mum and dad less self-conscious. If you’re a bit camera shy this can help lead to better facial expressions. I was able to capture more reportage style images unobserved from a distance whilst mum and dad were talking. There’s not anywhere for the photographer to hide in a studio.

Carter the dog was fabulous for making everyone feel at ease. He was exceptionally well behaved which made my job easy. If you want to include your four legged family member in the shoot, this will have an impact on your location choice.

  • The weather can be challenging. We were lucky with the weather, but if it is bad you may have to reschedule. The lighting could also be very variable for example glaring sun can create harsh shadows or make you squint. For a photographer overcast skies are preferred, the sky then acts like a huge soft box, diffusing the light and eliminating shadows. The light will be at its most flattering either early morning or late afternoon, so make sure you book your location shoot then avoid the time around midday.
  • If it does rain, but isn’t particularly cold put your raincoats on and welly boots and let the kids puddle jump. The shots will be fun and animated.

All in all location shoots are fun, they offer a different look to your selection of images from those that you will get from a studio shoot. It does take longer and require more planning. You should consider what you want as the end result. There will be a lot more going on in the background of your pictures, glimpses of which might add meaning to your photographs. Consider what you are going to do with your images afterwards. If you want images with a clean background to hang on your walls then a studio shoot might be a better choice. If you want images that tell more of a story and are in a setting then choose location.

Getting Your Teenagers Interested in Photography

Getting Your Teenagers Interested in Photography

Photography is a great avenue for teenagers to explore inspiring their creativity and getting them out and about. Photography is considered to be a cool thing to do and is equally attractive to boys and girls. Young people are much more visually literate today than they were in the past because of their use of social media, they naturally know what works in an image and what doesn’t. With this in mind and armed with camera equipment I took Rob and Issy on a photographic adventure.

You don’t need expensive equipment; a compact camera or mobile phone with a camera will do. If you do have a DSLR all the better. Either way initially it should be about fun and composition so if your teenager does own a DSLR I would start by putting the camera on Programme mode.

  1. Find somewhere where they can draw inspiration from the environment.
    • The woods –we were spoilt for choice in the woods, it was teaming with wild life. We’d brought some nuts so were able to get up close to squirrels and birds.
    • A lake or a stream – we followed a stream collected pebbles, used grasses and vegetation in the foreground to make our shots more interesting.
    • An urban environment- we found beautiful old doorways and walls where the colour of the paint was muted and peeling off to provide interesting backdrops.
  2. It’s better if they are with a friend or sibling so they can compare shots and a little bit of rivalry helps with the motivation. Get them to take some portraits of each other, they can use them for their social media accounts.
  3. Different times of the day provide different lighting. My son Rob took an amazing picture at sunset. Morning or afternoon are the best times for the light. Midday should be avoided as this is when the light is harsh and shadows strong.
  4. Get them to experiment with taking shots close up and further away. Mixing up the framing can make bring different perspectives to the shots. The appeal of macro is hard to deny, Issy was fascinated by a dragon fly which she photographed using a macro lens.
  5. The rule of thirds. A little bit of instruction is okay, but you don’t want to turn it into a school project. Explain the simple principle of the rule of thirds that will help you take balanced and interesting photographs.(Imagine breaking an image down into thirds horizontally and vertically. This gives you four lines where the intersecting points are good positions for elements in your photo.)
  6. Give them lots of encouragement. Photography like all art is very subjective, anything goes.
  7. When you get home download the fruits of their labour play them as a slideshow on the TV for the rest of the family to see. Ask them to talk about their photos and share with the rest of the family.
Photographing Your Pet Dog

Photographing Your Pet Dog

As part of your family your furry friend has no doubt featured in many family pictures. If you are anything like me and your children are now teenagers, you will probably find your devoted four legged family member increasingly the only member of the family who likes the attention of having his/her photograph taken.

The best shots and the ones you’ll treasure are the ones that capture your dog’s personality. What are your dog’s idiosyncrasies? Take pictures of him doing what he usually does, sleeping or running around chasing things. That look he gives you when he wants your attention.

Patience is key and remember your pooch will only have a limited attention span. Before you start make sure you’ve got everything ready that you need, so you are ready to shoot and don’t miss an opportunity.

Get down to their level

Use wide angle for wacky shots

Get in close

Think about the background of your shot, make sure there’s nothing in it to distract it from the shot.

Get them running towards the camera

To get a more dramatic shot use fill-flash outside

Lighting is very important. Try not to use flash unless it is for effect as it can flatten an image. If your pet has dark fur slightly over expose your shots.

Include people and capture the bond your pet has with your children and other family members.

Freeze the action by using a fast shutter speed.

Catch them unawares

Be playful with your pet, make the experience fun and have treats and a toy to hand, maybe a ball or a squeaky toy so you can get your pet’s attention.