I’m bringing back an old blog post today about changing your perspective in photography. Check out my old logo!

 

A Simple Trick to Improve Your Photography Today - www.stacymaephotography.com #photography #tips

Your perspective is your point of view. In photography, there are several ways you can communicate that. You can shoot your subject from a variety of angles. Don’t just stand in front of them and snap away. Think about the story you are trying to tell. If you’ve got young children, try shooting them from a lower angle to make them appear larger than life and more grown up.

2 kids jumping on a bed

dog on swing set

As adults, we’re so used to taking pictures from our point of view ~ standing over our children. Try getting down on their level next time. See things from their point of view.

infant sitting up

close up of crayons

You can also get up high and shoot over your subject for a bird’s eye view.

little girl laying on a fur rug

little boy kissing newborn baby girl

So the next time you have your camera out and you’re taking pictures of your children, try switching up your perspective. It’ll make a world of difference in your photos and help turn those everyday snapshots into frame worthy treasures.

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It’s called bokeh – that dreamy background blur you see in so many professional photographer’s images. Bokeh comes from the Japanese word boke, which means “blur” or “haze.” It’s a great way to isolate your subject from the background to make it stand out more.

little girl holding a bouquet of daisies

So, how do you get it? You need to use a fast lens—the faster the better. Something with at least an f/2.8 aperture (smaller is better!). You’ll want to shoot with the lens wide open. If you’re not comfortable shooting in manual just yet, switch to Aperture Priority Mode.

If you don’t have a fast lens, there are still things you can do to get a nice background blur.

Easy tips for beautiful background blur. www.stacymaephotography.com

Make sure your subject is not too close to the background. If you have your child standing against a wall, tell them to take 5 giant steps forward. The more space you have between your subject and the background, the more blur you will have. Pay attention the the light in the background too. If it’s dappled light with highlights, the bokeh will have a sparkly effect.

easy steps for achieving background blur

Another simple way to get a beautiful background blur is to stand close to your subject. If you are using a zoom lens, zoom all the way in. If you are using a prime, you’ll have to use your feet.

Simple ways to get beautiful background blur - www.stacymaephotography.comSimple ways to get beautiful background blur - www.stacymaephotography.com

If you’re looking for a fun activity to do, try creating custom bokeh. Here’s a great tutorial!

Simple ways to get beautiful background blur - www.stacymaephotography.com

 

 

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When you are learning about photography and practicing every day, it’s easy to get frustrated and feel like you want to give up. The technical stuff can get confusing. Maybe your images aren’t turning out the way you want them to. Or your toddler runs the opposite way every time you pull out your camera lately. Whatever the reason, there are going to be times when you get in a creative rut. I’ve got a few ideas for you to try this weekend to help you feel energized.

5 Things to Try This Weekend  to Help Get You Out of a Rut

1. Find a new location. This is an easy way to get your creative juices flowing again. Take a drive and get lost. Better yet, bring a friend and have them drive so you can search out a magical spot. If you’re used to shooting in your backyard, try an urban location. Bring your camera to the beach or the playground, somewhere it’s never been before.

2. Try a new lens. If you’re used to shooting with a prime lens, try a zoom. If you’re used to shooting with a zoom, try a macro lens. Get super creative and try a fisheye or a tilt shift. You can rent lenses at your local camera store or check out Borrow Lenses. Get outside of your comfort zone!

3. Forget about faces. When I first started taking pictures of my children, they were all close-ups. I wanted to see their smiling faces! Who wouldn’t? But, if you want to push yourself creatively, try concentrating on the details. This weekend, take pictures of your children, but don’t include their face. How can  you make the image interesting? What are some things about their daily routine or favorite activities that you can capture?

4. Read a book. I love to flip through photography books for inspiration. One of my most recent purchases was “Capture the Moment: The Modern Photographer’s Guide to Finding Beauty in Everyday and Family Life.”

5. Put down the camera. Take some time off from thinking about your settings and study the light around you this weekend. Walk around your home and pay attention to where the light enters and what it looks like. Notice where the shadows fall. Watch the light as it fades away. Become an observer.

I want to hear about your weekend. Email me if you try any of these activities. Good luck!!

 

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Photography is an important part of my world. My kids always see me with a camera, whether it’s my ‘big camera’ or my cell phone. I’m constantly snapping pictures. I love it when they take an interest and want to participate. My oldest loves to create stories with the images she takes and my little one is obsessed with making silly faces.

Do your kids love taking pictures? Are they always stealing your cell phone to snap selfies? I’ve got some simple ways that you can teach your kids about photography.

Simple Ways to Teach Your Kids About Photography

Give them a camera. It may seem obvious, but if they don’t have a camera to practice with, they wont’ be able to experiment. It doesn’t have to be a fancy camera. Your cell phone will work. Even a basic point and shoot. Show them how to hold it properly and how all of the buttons work.

Explain what focus is. What does it mean when something is in focus? What does it mean when something is blurry? Ask them to cross their eyes. What happens? Ask them to look at something really close up. Can they see it well? Is it blurry? Now look at something further away. What happens to the objects in front of you. This will help show your children that a camera works similar to your eyes.

Talk about composition. Explain that there are many different ways to photograph something to make it interesting – up high, down low, at an angle, close up, far away, from the side, from the back, etc. Have them take pictures of 10 of their favorite things using some of the techniques above. Go through the images and talk about how each one is different and how the composition affects the image.

Show them the light. The best way to do this is to study it. Look for bright light, dark shadows, and shade. Go outside and find your shadow. Notice how it looks different at different times during the day. Pay attention to the light inside too. Have your child walk through the house and point out spots where the sun shines in. Find funky shadows in your home. Watch how the window light changes throughout the day. Take pictures in all kinds of light and talk about which ones look the best and why.

Make it fun. Go on a photo scavenger hunt. A quick Google search will get you tons of results. Photograph a day in your life. Or focus on one part of it. Maybe your morning routine. Have your child photograph their lovie and tell a story with the images. Anything that might help get them excited about taking pictures. Make sure you upload them to your computer and talk about their favorite ones. Praise and encourage them to keep trying.

All of these things will help get kids thinking creatively about taking pictures. Summer is a great time to head outdoors with a camera. No excuses! For even more inspiration, come check out my Kids Who Click class.

 

 

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Our family session is next week and I’m kind of freaking out. I knew this day was coming, but I wish I had more time. Time to lose the weight. Time to get my hair and makeup done. Time to find the perfect outfit. Time to fix my smile. I could go on and on.

I booked a session with you because I am in love with your art. When I met you last year at the Wildflowers Workshop, I fell in love with your soul too. You have this amazing ability to read people and capture their essence on film. The way you photograph families is genuine and honest and I wanted so badly for you to document my family.

Now that the time is here though, I am terrified. Part of me wants to call you and cancel. I’m not ready. I’m not ready for the reality of my family reflected in your eyes. I love my little family, but we are far from perfect. We fight. We yell. We struggle to enjoy each other. It’s been weighing heavy on my heart lately. My fear is that you’ll see this. That you’ll notice a disconnect. That it’ll show through in the images.

My girls are getting older and now, more than ever, I have been thinking about their childhood and whether they’ll remember it as a happy one. When they tell stories to their grandchildren, will they recall the times we laid a blanket out on the front yard and just listened to music? Or the times we ran through the grass chasing butterflies? Or the rainy days we spent painting, watching movies, and playing hide and seek? Or will they remember the unkind words, the hurt feelings, the tears. The times we said “go away.”

I’m not sure why I’m putting so much pressure on myself. It’s just a family photo session. A few hours in an otherwise ordinary day. But, the end result is important to me. Portraits of me and my family together and happy. Evidence that we tried. Even if it’s only for the camera.

I wonder if every family feels like this. Do I have a more emotional connection to photographs because I’m a photographer myself? I’m sure the nerves are always there, but do parents really know just how important family pictures are? When relationships become difficult and the stress of daily life gets overwhelming, do they know that a photograph can wash it all away? I could have a terrible day, but I will still smile when I look at a picture of my girls chasing the waves at the beach last summer.

So Joy Prouty, when I show up to our photo shoot, will you be able to read the anxiety of my face? Will you notice me tug and pull at my clothes and try to hide my crooked teeth when I smile? Will you tell me it’s ok when my girls start bickering or my 8 year old begins to whine? Will you see the hope in my eyes? I wonder.

 

 

 

 

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