Category: Family Portraiture

Tuesday Photo Tip – Frame It Part II

Choosing the right picture frame is important because it will enhance and draw attention to your special portrait or photo. Last week we discussed the photo attributes needed to create a print. Today we’ll look at a multitude of frame options to enhance that special shot.

Choosing the right size frame is critical to any décor. Here’s a standard 7′ couch showing various print sizes. In this setting you can go big (30×40) or moderate (20×24) but anything smaller just won’t work.

Collages give you a multitude of options and work well for landscape photos of the same mood and color tones. Here we put together a collage of photos from our recent Alaska trip (view our favorite Alaska photos here).

Collages are also very popular with both child portraiture

and adult portraiture

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The room where you will be placing the picture or painting is a major factor in deciding which type of frame to use. For the living-room photos we would chose modern, frameless options such as canvas or metal prints. Both are very popular.

Metal prints highlight colors and give an additional feeling of depth. Metal would be our choice for the photo above. We have many metal prints in multiple collage layouts of our fine art and portraiture photography.

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The frame you choose for a nursery is very different than choosing one for a living room. Floating frames are very popular with baby photos. OR consider a single print with a simple frame and a special message.

A classic triptych layout works well with family portraits.

Or get a bit more creative with your layouts and include a collage inside a single frame as shown below.

A professional photographer can help you consider the décor of the room and the color scheme and mood of the photo. With the proper software a pro will take a photo of the room(s)/wall(s) you are considering and then display any combination of pictures and collages you’d like to consider. Those options will be displayed just as you would hang them and will ensure you get the most out of the photos that will be prominently displayed in your home to become family heirlooms.

 Stay tuned because more Tuesday Photo Tips are right around the corner. Better yet – be updated automatically when we post Tuesday Photo Tips or Family Friday Fun by “friending” our Facebook site. We also post favorite photos, along with an explanation of how it was captured, on our Pinterest page – follow us there and join in the fun.

PS - This is one of dozens of photo tips in our continuing Tuesday Photo Tips series of posts. There  are other resource articles on our site you may enjoy covering basic and more advanced photography topics. There are also tips that cover topics such as preparing for family or infant/child portrait sessions. If you would like a topic covered just jot it down in a comment or send us a note. Also, if  you think your friends or family members would enjoy these tips please pass them on by using any of the share buttons below.

Laguna Niguel Portraiture – Family – Holiday Portraits 2012

It is often joked that a painters house is always in need of paint and plumbers have leaky faucets. When you have a job that keeps you busy 40+ hours per week the last thing you want to do is the same tasks on your days off.

Rebecca and I love being photographers. We manufacture opportunities to practice our craft on our days off. Just ask the grandkids – they are, more often than not, the subjects of our “off hours” photos.

With the holiday season upon us we have no need to “manufacture” photo opportunities. It’s that time of year. Time for the yearly XMAS portraits. It’s also a good time to look back a year (or more) and see how children have grown.

The photos above are a couple of our favorites from last year’s holiday portraits. This year we took to the backyard for our photos.

It’s a very convenient location and can yield superb photos without the need for strobes or elaborate backgrounds.

We thought we’d have Jeremiah serve as our “assistant” while Ben & Destiny dressed for the occasion and while we waited for the “golden hour” light. Obviously he wasn’t interested in obliging.

We abandoned that approach and focused (pun intended) on his older siblings for a while.

Benjamin and Destiny work well together – they’ve been through this routine many times. We took photos with both of them and with each solo. I used a bit of Photoshop on Ben’s solo photo to give it a bit of edge. We like the result, shown below.

After Jeremiah was dressed we were able to get a few photos of all three. One could say Jeremiah was “in a mood” but we were able to snap a few frames with reasonable expressions as shown in the photos below.

So – we’ve bagged some of this year’s holiday photos. We’ll hope to get a new batch with Nathan and the older grandkids before XMAS comes and goes. Either way, we’re sure to have another great year of family/holiday festivities and we’ll have our cameras loaded and ready to capture precious moments.

Stay tuned for our next family photo event.  In the meantime, check back for our weekly Tuesday Photo Tips. Better yet – be updated automatically when we post Photo Excursions, Road Trips, Family Happenings or Photo Tips by “friending” our Facebook site. We also post favorite photos, along with an explanation of how it was captured, on our Pinterest page – follow us there and join in the fun.

You may also want to browse the resource articles on our site covering basic and more advanced photography topics. There are also tips covering topics such as preparing for family or infant/child portrait sessions. If you would like a topic covered just jot it down in a comment or send us a note. Also, if  you think your friends or family members would enjoy these photo excursions please pass them on by using any of the share buttons below.

Family Fun – Irvine Regional Park Pumpkin Patch

Fall is in the air so we headed to Irvine Regional Park to enjoy the annual pumpkin patch festivities. Part of the fun at such an event is catching moments. Here we see Benjamin & Destiny having a kid moment. In the right hand panel I captured a mom moment, attracting her toddler’s attention for a portrait shot. Mom being mom …..

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I could see the moment developing and it passed in an instant. Capturing these spontaneous family moments is one of the many reasons we love environmental family portrait photography.

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The festivities were well attended even at this early stage of fall. One of Benjamin’s classmates was there so they played hide and seek in a maze made from stacks of hay. Ironically this free activity was among the most popular.

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A bit later the older grandkids showed up with Troy in tow and leading the way.

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Along with the free fun there were several pay-to-play activities. Ben & Destiny enjoyed a five minute spin on the toy tractors. After the attendants buckled them in they had a spirited game of cat & mouse around the track.

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We couldn’t pass up the opportunity to capture a few spontaneous portraits.

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There were pumpkins throughout the patch so we plopped Jeremiah down for a quick seasonal portrait. I was even able to convince the teenage siblings to gather around for a portrait.

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We couldn’t leave without a train ride for the younger grandkids. Troy joined Ben & Destiny anxiously waiting their turn. The boys tried to get Destiny to sit somewhere else – she wasn’t having any part of that.

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While they were on a train ride the teenagers waited – at first patiently and then not so patiently. But, everyone went home with some fond memories and photos that will help them remember Fall 2012.

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If you’d like professional photos of your family this holiday season, drop us a note. We can capture your family’s special moments and put together a package of photos and video that will last a lifetime and become family heirlooms. The fall colors are sumptuous – don’t pass them  up this year. Book your family portrait session now before our Holiday Special ends (see sidebar – right).

Stay tuned for our next Family Photo Excursion. In the meantime, check back for our weekly Tuesday Photo Tips. Better yet – be updated automatically when we post Photo Excursions, Road Trips, Family Happenings or Photo Tips by “friending” our Facebook site.

You may also want to browse the resource articles on our site covering basic and more advanced photography topics. There are also tips covering topics such as preparing for family or infant/child portrait sessions. If you would like a topic covered just jot it down in a comment or send us a note. Also, if  you think your friends or family members would enjoy these photo excursions please pass them on by using any of the share buttons below.

Portraits at the Park

Today we took the grandkids to the local park for a fun, early-evening prelude to supper and homework. We brought our newest camera – the Canon 5D Mark III – and ended up with some terrific “family environmental portraits”.

These outdoor portrait photo sessions are our favorites (especially when we’re photographing our grandkids!!). The photographs are a combination of spontaneous moments and “semi-posed” portraits. Take a peek at this slideshow and ask yourself if this is the type of family portraiture you would cherish. If so – drop us a note and we’ll arrange for a fun, family outing at a location you choose. (PS – Try the video in 720 HD format by clicking on the Change Quality button. Go full screen for max effect!!).

While we have an intimate studio that is available to our clients, we prefer to photograph families at locations that are familiar and significant to them. Many clients have images taken at their home or at a favorite outdoor spot (local park, favorite beach, etc.). Rebecca and I can recommend many locations that will enhance your family portraits. We will make your family/child portrait session short and enjoyable. This session with the grandkids lasted only 30 minutes.

It’s our job to make your family look its best.  We do this in two ways.

1 – Our approach allows your family to relax and look natural. We don’t pose – rather we give direction. Rebecca will put everyone in comfortable, relaxed positions helping with posture and positioning to ensure everyone (especially Mom) looks their best. We will often tell you to go play and have fun together so that we can capture playful family interactions and timeless expressions of love. The kids on the slide in this video/slideshow certainly serves as a great example of this. We’ll make sure Dad and the children will have fun allowing their individual personalities and natural expressions to show.

2 – Every photograph is color corrected and artfully enhanced. We have years of experience and training with image enhancement software. Color correction and retouching is done to make your family look great without any indication of retouching. We offer image enhancements that create a painterly look (as shown in this photo) suitable for framing. We offer black and white, sepia toned and several other image enhancements options.

We hope you enjoy the slideshow. We certainly would enjoy capturing your family in a similar setting.

Tuesday Photography Tip – Zoom Setting

Everyone understands what is meant by “zooming in”. The more we “zoom in” the closer things appear. As photographers we need to better understand the implications of zooming in or out so we can make the right choice.

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While photographing this equestrian event I zoomed in to “fill the frame“. I could have stood closer to the action – at my own peril of course. I chose to zoom in using my lens at 200 mm focal length.

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In the photo above I zoomed out to achieve a wide field of view (FOV) to capture the entire scene. I was standing right behind the sofa so I zoomed out using a 24 mm focal length. Is it clear why short focal lengths (less than 50 mm) are referred to as wide FOV lenses while long focal lengths (say greater than 100 mm) are called narrow FOV?

Rebecca and I have several lenses that cover a focal length range of 17 mm to 200 mm. We will use the 17 mm when we capture an expansive landscape scene as shown in the fall colors photo below.

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Using a wide FOV setting can lead to distortions as shown in the photo of downtown San Diego. The buildings appear much smaller than they really are in relationship to the tree in the foreground. A wide angle (short) lens pushes background items further away making them appear smaller than they are. (They also create leaning towers which, in reality, aren’t leaning at all.) A narrow FOV (long) lens brings background items closer as shown in the photo below.

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For the Statue of Liberty photo we were on the Staten Island Ferry a long distance from the monument. Using the 200 mm lens allowed us to bring the Statue closer to us.

So how does this affect family portraits? Which should you use – a wide angle, short lens or a long lens. There is no “right” answer but here are some things to consider.

Look again at the San Diego skyline photo. We said the buildings in the background look smaller than they are. We could have just as easily said the tree is unnaturally large because it is in the foreground. In your mind, replace the tree with your spouse. Get right up next to them and take their photo with a short lens. You will end up with a “larger than life” nose and an unhappy spouse. It’s all about perspective (more on that in a moment).

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So let’s take some portraits. Let’s choose a 50 mm lens which is deemed the “standard” focal length because it mimics what we see with our own eyes. You can see that Destiny looks fine – no bulbous nose – in these photos.

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We used a 50 mm zoom in the wedding party photo. It was the right level of zoom to capture the group. There are no odd distortions – the group looks natural because we used a standard portrait focal length and we were a good distance from the subjects – there are no bulging noses or expansive foreheads.

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A 50 mm focal length is at one end of the prime portrait focal length range. That range generally extends to 135 mm. Once again, there are no hard and fast rules on this but you won’t go wrong staying in that range. The photos above were taken at 70 mm.

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If we go a bit longer – say 100 mm – we get a very pleasing shaping of the face as shown in this head shot. Lenses between 100 and 135 mm are terrific for head shots – it puts the camera at the perfect distance from the subject. The perspective, which is determined solely by camera to subject distance, is very pleasing.

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Do we ever go longer than 135 mm for portraits? Yes we do – with great results as shown above. Both photos were taken at 200 mm. Notice how the long lens resulted in limited depth of focus. The young lady in the parade is in perfect focus the background is not. In the engagement photo we have bracketed the couple with a blurred foreground and out of focus background. This “advanced” technique – selective focus – was discussed in this earlier Tuesday Photo Tip.

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To summarize, use zoom to put the camera at the correct distance for a pleasing perspective – one key to good portraiture. Go wide when you need to photograph a large wedding party – go narrow when you want to fill the frame without getting trampled.

Feel free to comment or show off some of your own compositions that illustrate this tip. In the meantime, stay tuned because more Tuesday Photo Tips are right around the corner. Better yet – be updated automatically by “friending” our Facebook site.

PS - This is one of dozens of photo tips in our continuing Tuesday Photo Tips series of posts. There  are other resource articles on our site you may enjoy covering basic and more advanced photography topics. There are also tips covering topics such as preparing for family or infant/child portrait sessions. If you would like a topic covered just jot it down in a comment or send us a note.

 

Family Happenings – Nathan’s Six Month Photo Session

It’s hard to believe that it has already been six months. Nathan was born June 5th and it’s now December. That means it’s time to capture his playful soul at this once-in-a-lifetime age. And being true to his personality he was very playful.

Rebecca spent time putting together this XMAS-themed setting and what does Nathan do the moment we place him – he attacks Rebecca’s work with a passion. We were able to get a few photos, with and without his sweater, before he totally destroyed Rebecca’s handiwork.

We changed the set up around just a bit and got some classic shots of him “sitting up”. Truth be told, Shannon is in the background stabilizing him for these treasured photos.

We gave Nathan a rest and let him relax on  his tummy and he rewarded us with a classic baby smile.

This photo will make a great addition to his “Baby’s First Year” triptych frame.  We’ll slip it to the left to replace one of the infant session photos and fill in the spot with a photo from his first year photo shoot. The anticipation is palpable – lot’s of development will occur between now and then and this Baby’s First Year package will capture his progress.

We decided to capture a quick family photo of Mom & Dad  with Nathan. To get Dan ready and prepped we took a few impromptu shots. The left panel shows the simple set up in our cozy home studio. You can see why it’s so easy to capture a baby’s natural expressions. There are no intimidating or unnatural elements to this studio – it’s baby cozy by design.

We ended up with a nice photo of the three of them.

We will put together another triptych of family photos in six months. It’s exciting to consider – will he be walking, talking, teething ….. We can’t wait to experience the next stage of Nathan’s growth.