WIN! our 6 week online Photography class!
UPDATED: The winner has been chosen – congrats Claire!

Capturing beautiful and simple images of your baby needn’t be hard and complicated and it doesn’t need to include lots of fussy props. This guide is non-technical and instead focuses on simple instructions you can follow with any camera.

 

 

Are you getting out there with your camera today?

If you want to make the most of the bluebells while they’re still in full bloom, here are our best tips for seriously beautiful photos:

An important caveat here : bluebells are an ancient wildflower but they can be vulnerable to habitat destruction so make sure that when you go exploring your local woods, you cause as little harm to them as possible = don’t pick, don’t trample, leave them as little disturbed as possible. 

 

1. You want LOTS of them

Pick an area where the bluebells are nice and dense – the strength of a flower carpet is in the sheer volume of the photos – give yourself the best advantage by finding somewhere that has an abundance of flowers! Here is some help finding bluebells near you from the Woodland Trust. Our student Sarah Gannon used the abundance of flowers beautifully – by focusing on the logs in the front, she made the bluebells melt into background, creating a beautiful scene, rich in colour and with subtle texture.

Sarah_Gannon_bluebells

Photo by student Sarah Gannon

2. Think big picture

Before you zoom in on the photos, consider the overall magical scene with the gorgeous flower carpet that’s painted in front of you and shoot that as well – make your photos high and wide, choose a wide angle focal length and picture the whole scene.

bluebell_woods_2013-31-2

3. aaaand the detail

Once you’ve got those wide images, don’t forget to explore the delicate nature of the flowers by going closer in and creating tighter frames. Putting the wider shot and the detail together can give you a really beautiful collage.

DSC_0403-2

 

4. Get your angles right

Most people shoot from where they stand, without varying the height of the angle and you can make such a difference by getting a bit lower to the ground, you know, where your subject is. Try shooting low, at around the flower height, get your kids to crouch down or sit down amongst the flowers to get the most of it. By shooting low,  you allow yourself to develop a good depth in the photo, almost multiplying the volume of the flowers. Shooting from above and into the ground takes away the sense of flower abundance. In the photo below, the little girl is crouching among the flowers with some at the front being out of focus and some lovely and sharp ( for those of you comfortable around a camera, that’s playing with a shallow depth of field)

bluebell_woods_2013-79

5. Bluebells as foreground

Don’t just think of the bluebells as a gorgeous background. Bringing them to the front and either keeping them sharp and your subjects blurry or just using them as a bit of a blurry background can bring a real 3D dimension to your images, lifting them from ordinary, to something a bit more special. Our student Valsa Shah kept the bluebells sharp in the foreground which adds lovely texture to the image. The silhouette of father and a daughter in the background has the perfect blur which means our eyes don’t go there first, focusing on the flowers instead, but at the same time it’s delicate enough to make it clear who they are.

photo by student Valsa Shah

photo by student Valsa Shah

 

 

 

Camera settings:

Choose a shallow depth of field for creating varied texture in the images – ideally you want some flower details around your subject that further melt into the background into a blur of colour and light. You can create it either by picking a wide aperture ( the smallest possible number on your camera), getting close to your subject and zooming in ( ideally all 3 ). Don’t just think background when it comes to creating a texture in the photo – shooting through the flowers brings in a great candid dimension to the photos.

And above all – have fun and mess around with your kids – let them play and  capture the joy! Get them to hide behind logs and flowers and examine the flowers from up close! Play pick-a-boo behind the flowers and encourage them to explore by themselves. When they have fun, beautiful photo opportunities will always follow – you just need to capture them!

Happy snapping!

Want to learn more of what your camera can do? Check out our photography courses, designed especially for Mums and Dads with a passion for photographing their families – just like you! Pick from face-to face, London based classes and Online workshops.

check out our courses

London classes

online_classes

 

 

 

 

There is a certain trend amongst new photographer, especially when it comes to photographing children and that’s to get very very close to them. It’s partly because we like to see these details : the chubby little toes, the gorgeous eyelashes, the gummy smiles – you name it. It is also partly because we are always so physically close to our children – when they’re babies, they’re almost never further than an arm’s reach.

But for all the details, you can lose a lot of the story of your kids childhood, a lot of the space and details. So we say, challenge yourself to taking images with a bigger picture for a few days. No close-ups, no tight head and shoulders portraits – try to see them and the space they’re in. You might just love it!

Here are some examples to get you going

 

Love the look of that soft, glowy, blurry background in portrait photos? You can achieve it too! Follow our 4 foolproof steps!

What to photograph when photographing babies? Because, well, they don’t do a lot, do they? How to capture something interesting when all they do is lie there / sleep and feed? HOLD THAT THOUGHT.

We all get in a rut, however much or little we shoot. It could be that go-to head and shoulders portrait that you already have 3000 of, the same comfortable spot you shoot or just not being able to come up with fresh ideas. You look at other people photos and somehow they all look better, more polished, more inventive.

Well, there is a way out of this samey-samey rut and that’s to take on a photography challenge or exercise and commit to it consciously for at least a little while. Just enough to feel yourself being pushed out of your comfort zone.

We make it easy for our students and alumni – we have a private Facebook group with weekly themes and exercises to focus their photography practice. Our recent theme is “3 angles” which is a really useful creative exercise for anybody, regardless of your level of advancement.

All you need to do, is to photograph your chosen subject – be it your child, your pet, a location, your fancy dinner – from 3 different angles. It’s as easy as that but you will quickly find that it will make you take images you wouldn’t have otherwise shot. Some of them may be terrible – let’s face it, there are only so many good sides a person can have. But some of them will be revelations, surpassing your expectations and helping you find new ways of seeing things.

3 angles. So very simple. You don’t need instructions, you can shoot them in auto if you prefer but as long as you do it, you train your eyes and your photography instincts. Go on, give yourself a challenge this weekend!

3angles_b

WANT TO LEARN MORE? 

Our AUTUMN photography classes – in LONDON and ONLINE start in September!  Click on the images below to find out more! 

London classes

online_classes

 

The most common – and easily fixable mistake all new photographers make when taking portraits.

I really really really love Christmas. I cheer up instantly pretty much from the 1st December or as soon as the fairy lights start going up all over the place. They’re such a lovely accent among the doom and gloom of the winter, I really couldn’t be without them.

But photographically speaking – if there is such a thing – they are great because they give you fabulous opportunities to get some beautiful BOKEH.

Bokeh is a real word ( I promise), it comes from Japanese and describes the light circles we can get on our photographs, usually in the background. Like the ones below ( all our students photos).

The great news is that they are actually not difficult to capture and they bring such a lovely festive feel to your photos. Follow our 3 steps and you’ll be bokeh-in all over your photos.

The process:

Before go go any further, make sure your camera is set right:

If you’re shooting on auto: set your camera to Portrait or High Sensitivity.

If you’re shooting in semi-auto or manual mode : set your aperture to the widest available setting ( smallest number you have) and ( unless you;re using tripod or something else where you can just set your camera steady by itself) up your ISO to 800 – 1600 ( or until you’re able to get a shutter speed above 1/60s).

If possible, try to make sure that the subject you’re photographing is facing a window or another source of light.

To make bokeh as attractive and as effective as possible, we are essentially trying to throw them out of focus as much as possible. And here is your 3 step plan to achieve it.

Step 1. Distance to the lights

The closer your lights are to your subject, the more in focus they will be. So to give yourself a chance of getting it right, move your subject a little distance from the lights.

xmasbokeh-page-1

Step 2. Distance to your subject.

The further you are from the point you are focusing on, the more everything in the frame will be in focus. Easy way to test it – grab your camera and hold one arm in front of your lens. Take a picture focusing on your hand. Now without moving an inch from where you are or changing anything on your camera, focus on something a bit further away. If you compare the two pictures, you’ll see that one has comparatively much more blur in the background than the other.

xmasbokeh-page-2

 

Step 3. Zoom in

The more you zoom in on your subject, the more you compress the entire space in your frame ( trust us on it) and the more your lights will be thrown out of focus. So use as much zoom as you can in the space you’re in – longer zoom will require you to be physically further away from your subject or it won’t let you focus. Yes, I know in the step above we made a point of saying – get close to your subject – this means, get as close as you can with your zoom stretched out. Try to zoom in so much that your subject occupies at least half the space in the frame.

xmasbokeh-page-3

 

 

 

 

IN SUMMARY

1. Get your subject away from the lights

2. Get close to your subject

3. Zoom in on your subject

Good luck and a very happy Christmas from The Photography for Parents team!

Feast your eyes on more wonderful examples of bokeh from our students!

 

 

 

So you have your camera and you’ve been happily snapping away. But how much do you REALLY know about your camera’s key functions? Take our quiz and find out!

( The quiz was designed to cover key functions which you may find across a range of most popular DSLR and bridge cameras. In some cameras, some of the functions may be hiding under a different name or variations. Sorry we can’t include them all)

How well do you know your camera? Does your camera have no secrets from you or do you know how to make it do exactly what you want it to? Do you know your way around all your buttons and dials, or are the number appearing on your screen filling you with dread? Take our quiz to find out!