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I am often asked about how I take & edit the photographs of Florence I post on here and across social media, so I thought I would do a little mini blog series answering some of the common questions and give a little insight into what goes on behind (and sometimes in front) of the camera. Today’s post is going to mainly focus on the equipment I use and how I take & edit photographs of Florence indoors. Other posts in this series will include:
- How I take & edit photographs of Florence outside
- How to set up a DIY photo shoot for your baby/toddler
- The Little tips I’ve picked up along the way that make my photos pop
I also want to mention that while I’ve developed a passion of taking beautiful childhood photographs, I’m by no means a professional photographer. I’ve simply taught myself everything I know and you’ll soon see that my camera knowledge is quite limited. I suppose it just goes to show that you don’t need qualifications or any pro skills to be able to capture special memories.
After years of making do with my phone camera, we decided to invest in a ‘proper camera’ just before Florence was born. Both of us take a lot of photographs and love to capture special moments as well as the every day. We looked really hard into which model would be best for us, taking into consideration the fact that I would be using it for taking blog photos plus the occasional vlog/YouTube video on top of capturing our family memories. Sean also likes taking more scenic photographs and documenting his adventures (he’s the type that climbs moutains etc for fun) so it had to be able to handle that too.
In the end we opted for the Canon EOS 750d, a versatile DSLR at a fairly reasonable price.
Things to take into consideration when choosing a camera.
- How often you’re going to use it
- The type of photographs you want
- The space in your bag (DSLRs can be quite bulky)
- Lens quality and ability to change lens should you need
- WiFi functionality
The rest of my camera toolkit
Other equipment I have that I use regularly include a tripod, photographic lighting, DIY photo backdrops, the remote capture setting on my phone app (Canon Camera Connect) and of course, my phone camera. I will probably go into more detail about when & why I use each of these later on.
Taking photographs at home
Photographing Florence has become one of my favourite pass times. I think I’ve actually taken at least one photograph of her every single day of her life, be it with my camera or my phone. Capturing the everyday moments at home from these early days means I have so many memories to look back on. It also meant I could share pictures with family and friends as Florence grows.
While those moments you want to capture don’t always fit into a schedule, I would always suggest trying to time any photos you need your little one to be smiling in for a point in the day when they’re likely to be in a good mood. If it’s a candid, child at play image you’re after (my favourite kind), then this doesn’t matter so much.
Once you’ve got your timing sussed, the first thing to take into account when it comes to getting a great quality image is the lighting. Frankly bad lighting can completely ruin an otherwise beautiful photograph.
(Good v bad lighting photo)
My first piece of advice is to make use of natural lighting as much as you can. I try to always take photographs in well lit rooms with lots of light flooding in. I also try to make sure that the subject (Florence) is facing towards the light – this is how I get such bright and light shots. If you want the opposite effect, try taking the shot with your subject sitting or standing in front of the light. I find the best times to take photographs during the day is either mid morning or just after lunch – around 1.30/2pm which normally coincides with Florence waking up from her nap so she’s usually in a pretty good mood.
Is Artificial Lighting a No-No?
In short… No. Between October & March lovely bright natural daylight can be in short supply and this is when I sometimes call upon my photographic lighting to just brighten up an image a little. I avoid using the main lights at all costs because they can add a yellow tinge to your photos that really doesn’t fit with my style and so just bring out one of the light stands instead.
Also, if I need to take a brand photograph or still want a nice bright photograph after dark I tend to use all three of my light stands and point them at Florence from different directions.
Newborn / non movers
Photographing Florence as a baby when I could just lay her in the right spot was SO much easier than when she began to crawl and walk!I tended to take most photographs from above or beside her at this stage and in the most part I used the portrait or automatic setting on my camera. I find getting up close and capturing all of those little squishy newborn parts like her feet, button nose and eyes make beautiful photographs.
Personally, I love natural images of newborns and so posing them in funny positions really isn’t my thing so I opted for photographing Florence when I knew she was comfortable and relaxed either laying on a person, on the bed or in her Poddle Pod.
A good tip I read when doing a little research back then was to try and have your little one with the light on their face. Obviously, common sense prevails here – don’t shine a torch or light directly at their face but face them towards the window or gentle light source. This will make those adorable little features stand out on camera while still keeping the feel of the image soft and beautiful.
Photographing little movers is a whole different kettle of fish and once Florence could crawl / walk / run I had to change my technique up a little. Again, I love capturing those candid moments and my favourite photographs of Florence are the ones in which she’s doing what children do best… playing! The first thing to note is that you will likely need to change up your camera settings. Mostly, I use the SCN setting with the Kids option. This has a super fast shutter speed which helps to reduce the blur caused by movement. I also tend to set my camera to continuous shooting mode so that I can hold my finger down on the button and it’ll take a number of photos one after the other which from experience increases my chances of getting the shot I want when there’s a wriggler in front of the camera!
When it comes to positioning, the best advice I was ever given by a very talented photographer was to get down to their level. This couldn’t be more apt when it comes to children at play. You want to capture every single ounce of joy and excitement that they’re feeling while playing as well as getting a feel for children’s natural instinct to learn and explore and the best way to do that is get down on the floor and join in! When photographing Florence you’ll find me in all sorts of positions on the floor; laying down on my front, on my side, sitting, kneeling, squatting and quite often juggling the camera in one hand and a toy or book in another.
My first preference is ALWAYS my camera because I prefer the image quality it offers but it’s not always practical for capturing those spontaneous moments children often bring and so for these I tend to always have my phone to hand and while I prefer the photographs I get on my phone while we’re out & about I do have some real corkers in my camera roll that have been taken at home. The same principals apply when it comes to lighting etc.
How I edit my photographs
Now, I am absolutely no pro at editing. I don’t own any fancy editing software and I mostly use trial and error when it comes to enhancing my photos. I use an online editor called Picmonkey and the things I usually adjust are the brightness, contrast and the clarity. Sometimes I’ll use the blemish fix too.
Phew! That’s it for this post, if you’re still with me that is. I think that might be my longest post ever! I hope you found the tips I’ve shared here helpful, and be sure to check back next week for the next installment in this little series. If you don’t want to miss ‘How I take & edit photographs of Florence outside’, make sure you’re following me & are signed up to receive email notifications each time I publish.
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Oh little Florrie bum. You are 16 months old – going on 16 years – and have grown so so much over the past four months. It has been my absolute pleasure to watch you become the little clever sass pants that you are.
We had a glorious and incredibly hot summer filled with adventure and days in the garden. You are at your happiest when able to run around and delight in the freedom of being outside.
We also had some pretty exciting news at the beginning of summer – you’re going to be a big sister! Growing your baby brother in those early days made Mama quite poorly and some days pretty useless. I am so proud of the way that you, at such a young age, could see that Mama couldn’t always run around and play the way she usually does and how you just got on with it and played so beautifully between sofa snuggles. Now that I’m feeling a lot more like myself, my focus is on making as many memories with you as I can before he arrives and preparing you for the ever so important role of big sister, which frankly, I think you’re going to ace!
My favourite thing about being your Mama is watching you learn and figure out something new. It seems since you turned one, you’ve been non stop learning and I’m amazed at just how clever you are every single day. You have started to act out and copy the things we do – making ‘cups of tea’, pushing your teddies around in your pushchair, walking around with your handbag packed to the brim with random objects and toys. You can solve little puzzles and use your shape sorters without getting as frustrated. I often find you playing little games that you’ve made up with your toys – usually involving emptying one basket of things in to another – , you love to play catch and try to copy daddy’s juggling with such conviction that sometimes when you throw them they bop you on the head, you have perfected twerking and dance along to almost any music and are still a huge book fan. You have a new favourite game – chase! Daddy says “ready….” and you shout “GO!”, running as fast as your little legs will take you into the next room and back again filled with glee and giggles.
For a long while, I was a little worried about your speech but over the last few months you’ve proved I needn’t have been as you now chatter proper words non stop! As well as repeatedly singing ‘Mumma’ all day long (I will add that you appear to have picked up that my name is Ami and sometimes slip that in in place of Mumma!) , you have around 25 words that we can at least recognise, not to mention your vast range of animal sounds.
Speaking of animals, you are completely obsessed! You love going to the farm, cuddling and playing with Alfie & Tilly and would happily read your animal books all day long. If ever we are out and you see a cat or a dog or a bird you squeal with excitement. Me and your Daddy think you might like to be a vet or something similar when you’re older. I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a child your age more compassionate and understanding of animals!
In the last four months we have moved back to Nanny’s house for a while so that we can save some money to buy our own house. You have adjusted so so well to your new surroundings and to living in an even fuller house. We had to make a few adjustments to bedtime as you were struggling at night but other than that you have just gone along with it.
You are Hey Duggee & Secret life of Pet’s number one fan! I feel like I could probably recite the entire script of both.
You love strawberries, anything chocolatey and would likely fight anyone to the death if they stood in between you and a blueberry. Yogurts are your favourite dessert and you’d eat your weight in pizza if we let you.
We went on holiday with your Grandma and Grandad and your Aunties & Uncles to the Isle of Wight. You had a whale of a time, lapping up all of the attention and playing with your baby cousin. Mama & Daddy were set on making sure we made the most of our family time, so we planned lots of Florence friendly days out as well as going swimming, trips to the park and dancing at the kids club. You seemed to grow so much in confidence that week!
You are hilariously funny, sassy and, oh my word, you know your own mind. No day is ever the same with you around and while sometimes you drive us a little bonkers, you never fail to fill our days with joy.
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