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Aug 27, 2013

photography learning curve

This past Sunday, I had the opportunity to do a favor for a friend and do her daughter's 6 month photo shoot. I will disclaim, I am not a family photographer and I do not want to become one. I'd have to have years and years of experience before I'd ever think about charging anyone. I did this to get a better feel on using my camera, settings and some editing experience for my own personal use. I have a decent hobby camera, a Nikon D3100 but nothing close to professional. I am still learning how to use it. I learn something new everyday it seems like.

I never really was into photography growing up. I did enjoy taking my point and shoot out and making some black and white shots every now and then. Once Facebook and iphones came into the picture, I had a lot of compliments on my "eye" for things. I started getting into blogging and other design aspects where a nice camera would come in handy. My husband picked up on this and wanted to see me get into photography more so he bought me my camera for Christmas. I just have a basic 18-55 mm lens. Nothing fancy. I'd like to grow my lense collection a little more once I figure out what I need.

I am really wanting to grow my food and landscape photography skills. That is something that realy interests me. I enjoy editing people, but there are a lot of family photographers out there and I am not very good with kids as a person. I think being a well rounded photographer is definitely a benefecial tool for a DIY blogger. I could not hire someone to come take pictures for me everytime I created a new recipe dish or noticed a new flower blooming. I want to do it myself!

I now have a new respect for baby photographers! It's hard work! Trying to get their attention and having them sit "just right" without drooling all over is an extrememly diffcult task. It's definitely something I could not do everyday but it was a fun experience.

Before I left, I grabbed an old crate, a crochet blanket and an old wagon. I told my friend to bring a family quilt. I was nervous as all get out but once they arrived, I became a little more comfortable with myself.

I'll share a few of my better shots with you :

This is definitely my 2nd favorite shot from the shoot and I grabbed it right away. Once I saw it on my preview, I knew we had at least one good photo and the evening wouldn't be a waste of our time. I just can't stop looking at her blue eyes. Those are all her! We used a very colorful quilt as a prop and I just love how all the colors pop and blend with her bright red hair band. I know I have a lot to learn in the world of editing. With all these fun colors, it kind of reminded me of the 50s so I was trying to achieve that influence with my overlays.

And here is big sis! She had to play with the props. It made for some great candid shots!

We tried for a mommy and kiddos shot, but we couldn't get both kids to focus. However, I do enjoy this candid. It really captures the moment and mom's love for her two girls.

I am a sucker for pictures with quotes. Corny, I know. I threw a few in for mom just in case she'd want to make some canvas prints for the girls' rooms or something.

I am so in love with the the naturally provided blue in the sky! We timed it just right.

Of course, another corny quote but I thought it was fitting. The girls will appreciate this when they're older!

This mommy was having so much fun with her little girl! They're so photogenic!

Time to play with the crate a little!

And I saved the best for last. I never could get baby girl to look at me while she was in the crate. But hey, this worked out perfectly.

So here are a few things I learned attempting a semi-professional looking session with kids :

  • Candid shots are not a bad thing. I was so focused on getting the kids to look at me that I probably missed out on more candid shots. I am lucky to grab what I did. Kids are going to be kids and they're not going to pose for minutes on end. Also, the family needs these for their photo albums! They may not make the best portfolio shots for you but they are amazing shots for the family.
  • Props definitely made the photos what they are. Whether it was the wagon, the colorful quilt, the bright head band or mom and dad's arms, the props really added to the experience.
  • Laughing and having fun is very important. You want your subjects to relax and be themselves!
  • Editing can be your best friend especially if you are not a professional or don't have a professional camera. Take advantage of photoshop and some really good free programs out there.
  • Arriving early and playing with your settings before the family comes really helped me get familiar with the lighting and shading. I was not perfect, but I definitely was more prepared than I could have been. Lighting is so tricky! That's what seperates the good from the bad photographers. It was also nice to just mentally relax and prepare myself.
  • Creating a checklist of what not to forget really helped me feel relaxed and prepared. You don't want to get the important things like battery and SD cards. 
  • Wearing comfortable clothing helped me get "down and dirty" to capture some nice shots of the kids. If I would have been overly dressed up, there's no way I could have rolled around in the grass the way I did. 
  • Rustic backgrounds really make the best pictures. It allows you to focus on the person and not the landscaping. However, there's nothing wrong with a beautiful pond or a field of wild flowers. We enjoyed shooting at the old family feed mill. Not much to look at but it created a nice backdrop.
Well, now that that's over with for the week. I can breathe! I am so thankful that fun mama gave me the opportunity to take some shots and play around. It can only get better from here, right?

Let me know what you think! I could use some feedback for improvement.


  1. Great photos! Pretty models help, but it also takes that "eye" for it. I like the lighting in your pics.

  2. Great Article! You really had your hands full with a toddler and infant but your Dedication and Patience Paid off. Any MOM would treasure these for years to come : )

  3. Great article! I have a 3 month old and feel inspired to learn more about photography! (which is how I ended up at your page, thank you Google!)

    1. Thank you!! I hope you were able to learn something :) I am glad you stopped by. Always great to have new visitors. Photography is so much fun and with the right tools and skills, you can do whatever you want! It's not easy but with practice, I get better every time!


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