I find outtakes and candid moments to always be the sweetest. The genuine smiles and interactions that occur naturally tell more of our children’s story than most images we can capture where they are posed. In these studio sessions, letting the children take the lead has been fun. I think it alleviates the stress and pressure on parents if their kiddos are active, and lets the kiddos relax and be themselves.
Thank you Insider Health for sharing this beautiful Mama, and fresh baby toes. <3
The International Association of Professional Birth Photographers holds an annual competition for photographers. While my image didn’t place in their competition, it was rated number 5 by Bored Panda viewers! <3 What an honor to capture those precious first moments and being able to share the love with others.
Do you catch yourself using the zoom function more often than not when taking photos? I have a zoom lens for my camera, but it’s been packed away in my gear bag longer than I can remember. Getting up close and personal with someone, especially strangers, is a shy girl’s nightmare (trust me), yet it is essential in this line of work. I do believe that we don’t grow until we’re pushed past our comfort zones (and into our subjects’ personal bubbles!)
The best trick I’ve learned in photography is simple:
- #1. - Move your body!
Use your feet to get closer to your subject. Squat down to see eye to eye with your children. Lie on the ground to capture some foreground. Channel your inner contortionist in tight spots. Run ahead of your subject instead of chasing behind. When photographing someone (children especially) I always try to anticipate their next move, and I strive to be one step ahead to position myself for the next shot. At the end of any photo shoot, I am usually pretty sweaty… and dirty. But, I have a child. If I get dressed for the day at 7:00 am, I’m prepared to be covered in food by 7:15. It comes with the territory. I have so much fun behind the lens that I don’t realize what I’m doing in the process until it’s over and my shoes are muddy, my clothes full of dirt, my hair morphed into a giant puffball, and I’m covered in sweat. And the next day, ohhhh the next day - when my body feels like it got hit by a semi-truck.) BUT, the work is always worth the final product.
When people meet my daughter after only seeing her photos, they’re always surprised at just how tiny she really is. She is a bold, fearless and independent girl, and I try to capture that essence and let in shine through in photos of her. Getting down to someone’s level adds something extra to a photo. Emotions and personalities are unveiled, objects appear larger than life, a story is told.
Granted, there are also moments when it’s best to shoot from above, or afar. Shooting from above tends to work when my daughter has an “Oh no, I’m busted” realization, as I find that towering over someone paints a picture of authority. Shooting from afar is ideal for moments I don’t wish to disrupt. This is useful during birth sessions, in public when I don’t want to be noticed, or when my child is so enthralled with whatever she is doing that I don’t want to take away from the moment. The problem with being far away is the loss of quality when an image is cropped, especially when shot using a cell phone.
Secondly, it’s important to:
- #2. - Give your subject somewhere to go
Composition of your image is important - it helps tell your story. While it’s great to get close to your subject to capture their expressions and fine details, it’s equally useful to pull back and capture an entire scene. In the end, all of the images compiled will piece together your narrative. Pulling back is particularly helpful when you want to capture a subject in addition to their surroundings. Think about whether your photo will look best horizontally or vertically. Try it both ways. I tend to like a lot of negative space in my images. If my daughter is running, I’ll try to leave an area in the photo that draws my eyes toward where she is headed. If someone is staring off into the distance, I’ll back away to capture what’s off in the distance. This adds a sense of wonder to the viewer. Where are they going? Who are they chasing? What are they staring at?
Lastly, don’t forget to
- #3. - Capture the fine details:
My baby girl is growing taller and leaning out. Thankfully, I have many photos of her rolly little baby legs. I also have many images of her drowning in onesies that now fit her dolls. It’s tough to believe she was ever that tiny. I have close-ups of tears streaming down her face when the world’s coming to an end because she had to come inside for a nap, close-ups of her bright eyes full of wonder and amazement when she’s taking in something new, close-ups of her long eyelashes and frizzy little curls. I love taking these images of others too. My Grandmother’s hand entwined with my daughters; My Mama’s hands as she’s cooking; A laboring mother’s hand tightly gripping her husband’s skin as she works through a contraction.
I hope these tips are useful when thinking about what you’d like to convey in your own images. In the upcoming weeks, stay tuned for tips on lighting, composition, camera settings, and apps for editing. Is there a topic you’d like to see covered? Feel free to comment, or shoot me a message!
I’m happy that an image of
mine was featured on PopSugar Moms as
one of the best Birth Photos of 2018.
This image is one of my own favorites. I
love the way the infiltrating light highlights the water droplets hugging
Mama’s skin, the way her prominent baby bump peeks above the water, the way she
and her partner are resting with such serenity on their faces.
This beautiful woman was so mighty
and radiant as she birthed her baby boy into the world. Her own mother
flew in all the way from Japan and sat in her corner, silently observing and
caressing her daughter as she powered through the throes of childbirth. Her
husband held her gently, supported her as any partner should, and encouraged
her all throughout labor as she birthed their baby into the world.
I believe features like these will help
normalize birth photography, and what a natural and normal life occurrence childbirth
is. I hope other women are inspired and encouraged to have their own day
documented. My goal in this profession is that others see the value in these
images. That they recognize these photos are truly about the love, connection
and interactions that transpire on a day in their life when they must unveil
more strength and courage than they ever knew they had.
I was asked to photograph a boudoir session. While boudoir isn’t something I’d ever done before, it was a lot of fun. I typically use natural light for family sessions, and a Speedlite for dark births, but being able to work with studio lighting and create dramatic film-noir style images was such a blast. I hope to dive further into studio lighting and ease into offering boudoir sessions in the Orange County area.
Fun fact - I actually rented the exact same studio where I had my own maternity portraits taken. It was neat to be back there (this time behind the lens). If you’re interested in this type of session, please shoot me an inquiry!
I’ve been fortunate to photograph this sweet family in years past, but this time I was also able to meet their beautiful son. We had fun meandering through Irvine Regional Park.
Sunset beach sessions at Corona Del Mar beach are some of my favorite shoots. The kids have fun exploring, the parents can loosen up and relax, and the backdrop makes for beautiful memories.
Early on a Monday morning, I got the call to hit the road for this quick birth. It was December 4th - I remember because it was what would have been my parents’ 35th wedding anniversary. I already had my gear ready to go. I kissed my sleeping daughter and husband goodbye, grabbed my gear, and made my way toward Kaiser in Fontana (thankfully, I was headed against traffic.) It was a really foggy drive. I forgot just how thick the fog gets back in the Inland Empire, where I grew up. As I drew nearer to the hospital, the winds became fierce! I grabbed my bag out of my car and fought the winds and flying debris as I rushed toward the entrance.
As I walked into the waiting room, I was greeted by the grandparents who were anxiously awaiting their granddaughters’ arrival. I turned and saw an old coworker that I’d worked with for 5 years at the County of Riverside sitting there with his wife. It truly is a small world. I got to catch up for a couple of minute before the nurses buzzed me back.
I walked into the delivery room, beautifully lit with the mornings’ rising sun. The natural light was a beautiful substitute to the usual glow of hospital florescent lights.
Dad was so in tune with Mama’s needs. His expressions mimicked what she seemingly felt, as though he felt her every pain. It was truly endearing and precious to witness. She had a lightning fast natural birth for a first time Mama - 6 hours total labor, with only 30 minutes of pushing! Together they welcomed their beautiful baby girl.