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Momtography 101


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Momtography 101

  1. 1. Momtography 101 An introduction to capturing your family story with Marcie Jessee Photography
  2. 2. Why do YOU take pictures?
  3. 3. Before fancy gear, before the exposure triangle, before homemade studios and photography props … there is LIGHT. And when youunderstand and love lightthen your photography will improve and grow like never before.
  4. 4. Why is LIGHT so important?? Shutter SpeedYour camera NEEDS light to do a good job  The amount of light your camera can see determines the shutter speed of your picture. VERY important for catching those fleeting first smiles. Not to mention for making nice sharp, clear pictures!
  5. 5. • Same ISO, same aperture but notice the difference in shutter speed! Picture on the left is taken with the curtains closed at a shutter speed of 1/15. Picture on the right is taken with NO other change than opening the curtains and you get a shutter speed of 1/250!
  6. 6. Why is LIGHT so important??Exposure! Putting your subjects in poor light can make for underexposed images (your pictures are dark) or overexposed images (the brights and whites are blown out and too bright). Good light helps achieve better exposure (esp. if you’re shooting in Auto) and shows off natural skin tones and shades of color.
  7. 7. Why is LIGHT so important?? To make your pictures look good! Good light is beautiful – it gives your hair highlights, makes your eyes light up and makes the trees and grass come alive with warm color.
  8. 8. What is good light?• Facing the light source parallel, or to the side (depends on the look you want) or backlight with a reflector.• A lot of light around you
  9. 9. Catchlights• Catchlights are a good starting indicator if you have good light or not.• If your subject is facing the light, OR facing away from the main light source with a surface reflecting light into their face, then you will have catchlights.
  10. 10. Indoor DIFFUSED Light• Diffused light is what you are looking for! Diffused light is found when you have light present but not direct and blaring. DIFFUSED light is bright, but non shining directly into your home.
  11. 11. • Tip: Turn off all your overhead lights. They just compete with your natural light and can add unpleasant shadows and highlights.
  12. 12. • Tip: Be aware of where the light falls in your home during the day. What room has the best light? What time of day do you get great light in your living room or kitchen (or other spaces you use the most). Go the whole day with the lights OFF and the curtains OPEN to really notice the light!
  13. 13. Side/angled to the light Parallel to the light
  14. 14. • Notice the different shadows and good and not-so-good light that are created by standing by a large window on an overcast day:
  15. 15. What a difference light makes!
  16. 16. To flash or not to flash? • Get to know your camera. If your camera always gives blurry pics and you are giving it all the light you can, then by all means use the flash. You will regret years worth of blurry pictures more than you regret using the flash.
  17. 17. • IF your camera is capable of being used in Manual then learn how to use it! This will help you get around the problem of always relying on the flash in low-light situations. That way when you use flash it will be YOUR choice, not the cameras.
  18. 18. Outdoor Light• Diffused light outdoors is also called “open shade”• This could mean you are standing in the shade of a tree or building WITHOUT a barrier/roof/trees overhead.• Diffused light is easy to find at sunset because the low light creates long shadows for standing in.
  19. 19. Overcast Days• Overcast days provide even light everywhere. You won’t have to worry about harsh shadows. The plus side is you can take pictures anywhere, anytime. The downside is that you miss out on the beauty and interest that happens when you incorporate light into your pictures.
  20. 20. • Use overcast days for those tricky kids photo- ops: Playing at the park at 1 p.m. is MUCH easier in overcast light! Blow bubbles, ride bikes, go on a hike take advantage of the even light and do something picture worthy!
  21. 21. Lighting situations to avoid!• Dappled Light
  22. 22. Direct Sunlight• Direct Sunlight
  23. 23. Composition• Composition: The organization of all your elements in your photograph
  24. 24. On their levelMake it a habit of always shooting on your child’slevel! If they’re on the floor, get on the floor soyour camera is on level with their face. If they’reon the stomach on the ground, then you do it too!
  25. 25. Perspective Notice what a difference a better perspective makes in these two pictures.
  26. 26. Perspective adds interest• When you are composing the shot YOU determine what perspective you will capture. Try shooting from above or standing on something to get high up.
  27. 27. How aboutlaying on theground? Askyourself: Can Itell this storydifferently bychanging myperspective.Get creative!
  28. 28. Rule of Thirds• The rule of thirds is a compositional rule of thumb in visual arts. The rule states that an image should be imagined as divided into nine equal parts by two equally spaced horizontal lines and two equally spaced vertical lines, and that important compositional elements should be placed along these lines or their intersections. Proponents of this technique claim that aligning a subject with these points creates more tension, energy and interest in the composition than simply centering the subject would. (Wikipedia)
  29. 29. Fill the frame • Close in on the action! Determine what you want to capture and fill the frame with that (not the rest of the empty pool or the other strangers in bumper cars!)
  30. 30. Space• Decide: Do you want to fill your frame, or does the background enhance the picture and help tell a story?
  31. 31. • Add interest to your pictures by adding another element like leading lines: Lines that draw the viewer to your focal point and add interest and movement.
  32. 32. Anothertechnique foraddedinterest iscreating aframe-within-a-frame:
  33. 33. Watch your behind• What’s in the background? This is important for indoor and outdoor photography. Can something be moved? Cleaned up? Do you need to change your position?• Get rid of distractions!
  34. 34. Watch out for bad compositionChopped body parts and poles or branches growing out fromtheir head … not the best composition  Become aware of howyou’re filling the frame and what’s in the background when youare composing your shot.
  35. 35. StorytellingWhat is it? Literally telling a story through pictures. A photograph has the ability to convey emotion, mood, narrative, ideas and messages – all of which are important elements of story telling. This method can be used for just one picture, or a series.
  36. 36. • When to use it? To capture memories that happen over time that are connected, like my daughters first year of school:
  37. 37. • Long-term storytelling (like the year-long Kindergarten story) requires thinking ahead and remembering. Short-term storytelling could be a family vacation, or an afternoon with your children.
  38. 38. The important thing is you don’t just get poses, you don’t just get a slew of candids … you tell a story so that if there were no words, you would still have a beginning, middle and end.
  39. 39. Storytelling doesn’t have to be of major life events. It ispowerful to tell the small, everyday stories that happen inyour home. Stories that reveal personality and interests orstories that illustrate a day in your life.
  40. 40. Tips for making it great: Plan ahead (for long-term). Be prepared with your camera! Capture different angles Get pictures of the details Write the story that goes with it!
  41. 41. Candid Photography • What is it? Taking pictures without your subject noticing. In candid photography no direction is given to the person you are taking pictures of.
  42. 42. • When to use it? Children playing together, little ones getting into trouble, parties, holidays – anytime when it is important to catch the action.
  43. 43. • Tips for making it great: Take your camera with you! Have it out and handy at home. You never know when you’ll have a “candid” moment• Don’t use flash. It kills the moment when they realize you are intruding
  44. 44. • Create a candid: The easiest way to get a faux candid is to ask the people you are photographing to interact (I usually tell my husband to do something funny to get the kids to laugh). Why? Because sometimes choosing to create a candid moment creates a better picture than the picture you were trying for!
  45. 45. Posing• You are choosing the location and the light and giving direction on how they should stand.
  46. 46. When to use it? Use sparingly with your kidsunless they are really good sports! You don’twant them to get sick of your camera  Saveposed pictures for special occasions (Easter orChristmas outfits, a snapshot when Grandmavisits, first day of school pictures, a new haircut)
  47. 47. Tips for making itgreat: Don’texpect 3-and-unders to posefor you. Positionthem in greatlight and makethem laugh andsmile and shootquickly
  48. 48. • I Recommend posing older children as little as possible – they usually overdo it so it looks cheesy and stiff because they are trying hard to do what you are telling them.
  49. 49. • The basics: Always give their hands something to do.
  50. 50. • Always have their “pairs” (two ears, two hands, two arms etc) separated with one slightly in front of the other (usually having them put one foot forward solves this problem)
  51. 51. Posing a parent and child• I have one RULE that I stick to when posing a parent with a child: Have the parent be on the SAME level as the child. This could mean crouching, sitting, laying down or holding the child so their face is on level with your own.
  52. 52. A simple in-home backdrop One LARGE blanket, two chairs and two clamps.
  53. 53. • Textured blankets• White (color casts and timelessness)• Heavy (don’t have to worry about wrinkles)• Easy to clean (baby pee and poop) watch for “Dry clean only”• Bean bags and boppy’s• Trash bags• Heavy duty clips• Keep it simple
  54. 54. • Watch for wrinkles, color casts, shadows and sitting right up against the backdrop.
  55. 55. The First Year• The first year is FILLED with photo opportunities. Not only the milestones like crawling, teeth and solid food, but the amazing growth and change in your baby. Watch as they change in pictures with a photoshoot just for them every three months.
  56. 56. Hospital• Utilize the window light! Pictures to get at the hospital: Family picture, mom, dad, bab y in the going home outfit
  57. 57. Newborn: First pictures at homeSetup: The blanket/boppy combo described earlier or a simple white textured blanket.Lighting: Parallel to a large window
  58. 58. Tips: When your baby falls deepasleep find whatever room hasthe best light and get started.Make sure your house is reallywarm. A naked newborn is nothappy when they are cold.If there are older siblings hangingaround have dad take them outso you can take your time andnot feel stressed.
  59. 59. 3 Months• Set up: One simple white textured blanket.• Lighting: Parallel to a large window.
  60. 60. 3 Months Posing• On their back (from above and the side)• On their tummy (from the front and the side)• Change your camera angle from horizontal to vertical to get even more variety.
  61. 61. 6 Months • Set up: Outdoor if possible or indoor with simple white textured blanket (LARGE) • Lighting: Parallel to light source, or in diffused light outside
  62. 62. Posing: Sitting (with their feet facing towards you and away)• On their tummy (from the front and side)• Headshot
  63. 63. 9 months • Setup: A good age to start outdoor pictures because they are more mobile and don’t want to stay on a backdrop. • Lighting: Outdoors at sunset
  64. 64. Posing at 9 months• Crawling (front and side)• Standing while holding onto something for support• Sitting (body facing you and away from you)
  65. 65. One Year • Set up: Outdoors if possible. Balloons, birthday cake, “big girl” outfit, a chair or stool or other prop they can sit on. • Lighting: Sunset (if the baby is a walker then find a location with great light at sunset since you’ll be chasing the baby around for pictures)
  66. 66. Posing 1 year:Great age for (un)posed pictures. Plan a cake smash, bring some fun props (balloons, chair etc) and follow them around while you take pictures.
  67. 67. Milestones• Milestones are often under YOUR control for lighting, composition and (perhaps) posing.• First smile, tooth, sitting up, eating solids, crawling, walking, pigtails• First day of school, lost tooth, learning to ride a bike• First date, car, dance• Holidays: Special outfits, traditions and memories
  68. 68. Now What??Your pictures aren’t doing any good just sitting on the computer ! Fill your home with LOVE. Surround yourself with MEMORIES and JOY on every wall.You will be amazed at the positive influence it will have in your home!
  69. 69. Basic rules of designOnce you’ve chosen the photos to display choose how you will group them. To make it easy, think in terms of one of these classic wall-art design shapes:• Block : The outer perimeter of your pictures form a square, rectangle or diamond shape.• Mosaic: Pictures large and small cluster around three images at the center• Gallery: Frames are set in a row and aligned at the top, bottom, or center.
  70. 70. More Tips for Design •Use your furniture as a guide for picture hanging height and positioning. • In general, the art should be about 75% the width of the furniture it hangs above. •Tight spacing = 1-2” •Normal spacing = 4-6” •Hang your art at eye-level so that when someone walks into the room they don’t have to look up to see your pictures. If you are creating a group, make your center row of images at eye-level. (picture from
  71. 71. Wall ArtFrame ItBenefits: A one-time purchase. The glass protects your pictures. You can create a variety of looks depending on the style of frame you choose.Drawbacks: Can be expensive initially. Lots of holes in the walls. (Image from Pottery Barn)
  72. 72. Matted PicturesBenefits: Great for a diy project (or very affordable from aprofessional). You’re not constrained by frame sizes .. you cancreate images in whatever size you want. Very inexpensivesupplies.Drawbacks: When you want to switch out the pictures you have todo the project again – you’re not just switching pictures in a frame.The pictures aren’t protected by glass. (Picture from
  73. 73. CanvasBenefits: Lightweightand easy to hang.Classic and timelesslook. They’re reallycool Drawbacks: Can beexpensive
  74. 74. DIY displays Benefits: You can customize your art to your style completely. Usually DIY projects are very affordable. Drawbacks: It takes more time than purchasing a picturePictures from: The Creative Crate, Photojojo, Martha Stewart frame.
  75. 75. Think BIG
  76. 76. Your walls are biggerthan you realize. Fillthe space with largepictures for an eye-catching centerpiece inyour home.
  77. 77. Small is BIG in a groupCreating your own gallery ormosaic wall is a great way to useup frames you have lying all overthe house (spray paint them thesame color for a cohesive look).Pictures from Martha Stewart
  78. 78. Large groupings ofsmall prints is also agreat way to show offyour family photoswithout feeling self-conscious about thequality of the picturesin enlargements. Soeven if you’re juststarting your photojourney get thosepictures on the wall!
  79. 79. More than walls…• First year book• School books• Cookbooks• Blog books• Letters to Santa books• Birthday books
  80. 80. THANK YOU FOR COMING! I hope you leave inspired and excited to tell your family story! If you need help getting started I am offering a HUGE DISCOUNT just for You $25 off custom family or child pictures Coupon will be emailed as soon as I receive your response to the class feedback questionnaire  (May not be combined with any other offer.)