HOW TO CAPTURE THE MAGIC OF CHRISTMAS IN YOUR PHOTOS

 

Got camera and kids? Love Christmas?

 

Join our Online Christmas Photography Bootcamp!



5 DAYS - 5 DAILY LESSONS 

Wednesday 11th Dec- Sunday 15th Dec



IT'S FREE!


 

Pause for a second and let your mind fill with images that take you to your family Christmas.


Are you thinking of the sparkly lights? The tree? The presents under the tree? The Christmas turkey with all the trimmings? Or has your mind taken you outside, to the Christmas markets and steaming cups of mulled wine?

Taking truly memorable Christmas photographs – ones that evoke both the mood and the joy of Christmas takes a little thought and a little know-how, both from the point of view of WHAT you photograph, but also HOW you do it. 

This is where we can help


Introducing :

CHRISTMAS PHOTOGRAPHY BOOTCAMP

5 days - 5 lessons - 5 Christmas challenges and opportunities to capture something magical. 


Each day, we’ll be helping you make sure you capture this Christmas beautifully by  sharing a bitesize daily lesson , each focused on a particular aspect of capturing this wonderful season in style. Some will be more technical, some less, some will require you to play with your camera more, others will be more about the process and approach to photography. But as we promised you BOOTCAMP, each will be coming with a challenge – something for you to do and capture every day.

It's about doing - not watching

In photography, there is no better way to learn than just DO. It doesn’t matter if you’re a complete beginner or already ‘dabble’ in photography – what we want you to do is to get your camera out EVERY DAY out of those 5 days and capture something

AND THEN THERE IS CHRISTMAS BINGO!

Just a little fun with 12 Christmas related prompts! Our Summer and Autumn versions were very popular so we're bringing it back! 

And there is an extra reason to shoot and post daily…

There is no substitute for ‘having a go’ in photography. No shortcut. You have to take a few thousands of terrible pictures before you start taking great ones consistently. Sorry for the bad news. The good news is – if you really have a go at this Christmas bootcamp and all the lessons we have for you here, and you post daily for each of the topics, you stand to win yourself a place on one of our online photo courses – your choice which!  And then watch your photography really take off!

At the end of the course, we’ll draw a winner at random from among all the people who will have posted something for each of the 5 topics OR completed the Bingo.

So are you ready to capturure your Christmas ever?

 

And if you're worried about where yourdata goes - don't be - we don;t spam and will even remind you at the end to unsubscribe if you no longer want to hear from us. No catch. 


check this out : a small sample photos captured by our Christmas Bootcamp participants last year!

THIS COULD BE YOU  



“Autumn is a second spring, when every leaf is a flower.” – Albert Camus

I love autumn. It’s less loud than summer with all its hot weather, shouty sunshine and show-off flowers. It’s more earthy than the pink pastels of spring. And is sure beats winter. 

It also photographs oh so well! 

Over last couple of weeks we have run a special Autumn Photography Bootcamp - open to all! - all the photos below were taken by our Bootcamp participants and students.

While the ideas below should give you a great starting point to photograph your Autumn beautifully, we covered all of these in great detail in our bootcamp, explaining the techniques, showing side by side examples and more.

The Bootcamp is now finished but the materials will be available to the public for another few weeks if you want to get access to them and or be alerted to more bootcamps in the future, click here.

8 ideas for having fun with your family and photograph your Autumn beautifully



1. Go for an autumnal family walk.

I mean, a no brainer really. Don your best wellies and waterproofs and take the family out. The youngest ones will certainly find plenty of sticks, leaves, bugs and mud to collect, logs to jump off, trees to climb on, dens to build and the older generations will appreciate the scenery and the colours. Win-win-win

Things to think about:
  • Consider your surroundings and how you experience them and then take a long hard look at how your camera sees them.
  • If you want the wider scenery, reduce your zoom, if you want detail or portraits - zoom in
  • Consider your angles carefully - instinct tells us to place the subject in the middle of the frame and the horizon line to divide the frame neatly in half. Fight your instinct. Your instinct is wrong. Instead consider dividing your frame more along the one-third / two-thirds line with one third being given to the ground and the rest to the trees. 
  • Get low to the ground to use the fallen leaves to help bring additional texture into the image. 
  • Turn around - especially if your light is quite strong - the same scene from two different directions can look entirely different! Light will make WAY more difference than you think. 

Photo by Olivia BIanchi Bazzi

Photo by Jo Napier

Photo by Hannah Slater


2. Kick’em high and  throw'em far

An all time fave of all the kids I know. Build a leaf pile and get your kids to annihilate it by trying to kick it as high as they can or just run through it or have a good old-fashioned leaf fight. I DID mention the waterproofs at the start of this article... Wit younger kids, you can just throw them above them as they sit down and capture a bit of a leaf rain.

Things to think about:
  • Consider your background – you need to make sure your leaves mid flight stand out against it. Look for either simply sky or a darker, uniform background with which they might contrast. Backlighting them might help to bring them out of the background too.
  • Where is your light coming from? If you have strong light behind your subject, the leaves are likely to be backlit beautifully, but your subjects may be in their own shadow. With soffer light from an overcast source you will have a more forgiving scene. 
  • Go for full length or crop to just the feet sending the leaves fly from a close up
  • Move around and capture the action from multiple sides – go for a side view or from behind or have them aim their kicks in your direction ( just keep your camera safe)
  • Experiment with angles – try different vantage points – shoot from the ground pointing your camera upwards or from standing height, OR if you find the right set up – perhaps from above?
  • If you can control your camera, go for fast shutter speed to capture the flying leaves sharp or slow it down  for a bit of motion blur
  • For some variety, shoot from below, with leaves falling right down on you.

Photo by Jennifer Thomas 

Photo by Carly Morgan

Photo by Hannah Slater


3. Use the leaves on the ground as a colourful, seasonal carpet 

Things to think about:
  • Where is the light? If you’re getting your kids down on the ground and you’re in plain sunshine at noon, your kids will keep their eyes firmly shut. Opt for some shade instead. If your kids are still still struggling to keep their eyes open, play a game with them where you ask them to keep their eyes shut until you tell them. You could either make it on 1,2,3 or go for some bonus giggles and insert a silly word when you’re meant to say three.
  • Be careful what else is on the ground. I once got my daughter to lie down on a carpet of leaves and only discovered later she was inches away from some dog poo that was hiding among the colourful foliage.
  • Look for trees that are dropping colourful leaves rather than just brown if you can
  • Experiment with composition – tight crop or a wider image? Subject in the centre or side of the frame? Horizontal or vertical?
  • Change the vantage point – with your kids on the ground, get down next to them and photograph from the ground level.

Photo by Kerry Anderson

Photo by Namra Wasm

Photo by Colette Poore


4. Single out a beautiful leaf and photograph it from different angles and against different backgrounds.

Things to think about:
  • Light will have a huge impact on the way the leaf will look depending on the kind of light you have ( direct and intense or soft and diffuse) but also where it’s coming from – front, side or back light?
  • You have a lot of options when it comes to backgrounds – place it against a similar colour background or go for contrast – both colour and textural, keep it ‘in nature’ or take it home with you
  • Play with camera angles – it doesn’t have to be just ‘from above’ – unless it’s been flattened like a pancake, it should have a little curl to it which could help you show off its texture.
  • Experiment with different placements within the frame, go for both vertical and horizontal, crop in to it or leave a generous amount of negative space
  • Can you get your kids to accessorise wuth the leaves? 

Photo by Lindsey Gaut

Photo by Hannah Slater

Photo by Emily Robinson


5. Have a good puddle splash!

Wellies? Check. Waterproofs? Check. Let's go! 

Things to think about:
  • What you want from a good puddle splash is one thing - and that’s a crown or water splashing out and being frozen in time and space with your camera. To get that, I am sorry, but if you want to get a really good picture of that, you will again, need to get very low on the ground.
  • Go horizontal : by placing the camera nice and low and pointing it at your subject, parallel to the ground, you are building in depth in your image which will allow for the crown of water to truly stand out. If you shoot from CAH ( comfortable Adult Height) - your shooting angle will be pointing downwards, which means you will get that crown agains the ground and it won’t make the best of images. 
  • Go fast - if you can control it, make sure your camera has a good shutter speed. If you can shoot in shutter priority or manual, aim ofr 1/500s or faster. If you don't switch your camera over to Sports mode or similar.
  • Finally - again, experiment with your light direction - especially if the sun has come out - it can make a world of difference


Photo by Hannah Louise Andrews

Photo by Sarah Collins


6. Look, really look into a puddle!

Puddles are not just for splashing in you know! They are also magical mirrors into the underworld


Things to think about:
  • Even a tiny puddle can look great if you angle your camera correctly. And by correctly, I mean again, very very low, pretty much on the ground ( just make sure to protect it from the wet).
  • You want to get your camera seeing from right at the edge of puddle to create that illusion of infinite water. By using a short focal length ( aka - not zooming in at all) you can stretch that puddle and still fit a lot of your subject in. With longer focal lengths ( aka - zoom in) you can bring more of the detail in. 
  • Light direction matters! Walk around your puddle and take test shots from a couple of different directions to make sure you get the light right.  If the light is behind them, you may get a great reflection of the sky, but their reflection will look shady and muddy. If the light will be behind you, you can get an almost perfect, mirror-like reflection of your subject in full colour.

Photo by Sarah Collins

Photo by Jenn Thomas

Photo by Kessia Kowalska


7. Create a flat lay - seasonal art

Flay lay is when you arrange a number of different elements on a surface and photograph from above. It’s great for showing different colours and textures and including other autumnal elements too.

  • Think of a theme or concept for your flat lay – perhaps the same leaf type with different colours, or same colour, different shapes?
  • Consider the colour and texture of your surface – to contrast or complement your subject
  • Your light is crucial here – you want soft, diffused light which will not distract from your subjects
  • Think about how you will use the space – will you fill the frame with leaves or leave a good amount of negative space?
  • Will you keep the leaves as they are or turn them into art or have a little fun drawing faces onto them with your kids?

Photo by Olivia BIanchi Bazzi

Photo by Namra Wasm

Photo by Lucy Pritchard


8. PUT IT ALL IN A COLLAGE

Finally, take all the awesomeness and put it together - side by side! 

  • Pick a selection of wider and more detail shots to end up with a complete story
  • Ist there a colour or a theme that unifies them?
  • Many little ones or a few, more carefully chose big ones? 
  • Good balance of colour and texture, evenly distributed through the frame.

Photo by Marie Devine

Want more autumn photography advice? 

Get access to all our Autumn Photography Bootcamp materials, including 4 bonus lessons! Learn how to capture a great autumnal portrait, get ideas for rainy day photographs and even advice on your next camera or lens! 

By requesting access to the Autumn Bootcamp materias you agree to be contacted ( infrequently!) by Photography for Parents with our info, invitations to more free Photo Bootcamps and occasional seseasonal offers. 


Fake smiles - be gone!

Awkward poses - no more! 

Boring photos - never again!

We're bringing the FUN back to photography!

THE BEST childhood photos are those that make you smile. The ones that want to brurst out of the frame for all the joy and happiness they spark. The ones that show TRUE emotions!

You know what I mean - belly laughs, not stilted half smiles,  armes spread with joy, little feet leaping off the ground, imagination and creativity at their best.

If 'Smile for Mummy!' is not working for you, we've got something else - a mini online photo course that's all about fun


✔️ we'll give you ideas for capturing genuine moments of fun and joy  (and ideas for fun things to try with different kids ages!) 

✔️ we'll give you tips and techniques of how to capture these moments best ( how to use composition and your camera settings for the best impact

✔️ we'll show you how to use body language, colour, props and storytelling to create photos that SCREAM fun

✔️ we'll talk to you about how to be in the moment and notice the loud and quiet joys in your children's lives

✔️ we'll encourage you to get in on the action and get into the photos yourself

 


photographing joy

starts Monday 27th May

AND IT'S FREE!

  • 5 daily lessons covering different ways of capturing the joy of childhood - from colour, movement, body language, light to storytelling, and more! 
  • Support Facebook group so you're never left to your own devices with unanswered questions
  • A CHANCE TO WIN our full flagship online Photography course! JUST for taking part!


Is this for you?

Are you a parent? Do you have a camera? Then the answer is YES

While our full paying courses cover both the technical and more compositional elements, our bootcamps are for anybody, of any ability! 

Because what you could be doing, is capturing photos like these: 


5 more reasons to join us: 


1. HANDS ON LEARNING

Because NOBODY learns just by watching. The format of the bootcamp is very much about having a go - whether you're a complete beginner or further along in your photo journey. Every day will come with a specific photo challenge so you'll know exactly what to focus on - and have some JOYFUL photos to cherish at the end. 

2. PLENTY OF SUPPORT

You will be joining our dedicated FB group where you'll be able to share your photos, get advice, ask for help and get inspired by your fellow bootcampers.

3. BABIES AND BEYOND

Maybe you have a baby, maybe your kids are at school - their smiles, their cuddles still melt your heart - you'll get to photograph both in our bootcamp

4. IT'S FREE!

Free, no charge, gratis, no tie-ins, nothing. We make no mystery of doing this bootcamp to show you how much fun you could have in our 'full' courses but there is absolutely no pressure to sign up! A tasty taster.

5. WIN OUR FLAGSHIP ONLINE COURSE!

Yes, you can win our Flagship online Photography course ( value £229) JUST for taking part. AT the end of the course we will draw a lucky winner who will get their pick of our online courses. It's that simple. 

How to join us:

1. Click on one of the buttons below to be redirected to a registration page

2. Complete the registration  - if you are an existing or past student, you need to enter the email you already have registered with us. If you're new to us, you'll need to set up a learning profile on our site - don;t worry - it's free 🙂 

3. Await confirmation email and get your camera ready for the course start! 

This category includes our current and past students on paying online courses as well as past bootcamp participants - in short those who already have an account registered on our Learning site.

It does NOT include those who just downloaded our freebies or took our self-paced email based courses.

If you're never attended any of our courses ( even if you joined our free email based course) this is a category for you. As part of the registration we will be creating you a brand new account on our learning pages which you'll need to access the material.

lets have some fun!

  • Long, warm days - ✔️
  • Beautiful sunshine and great light -  ✔️
  • Stunning colours and textures all around you -  ✔️
  • Plenty of fabulous photo opportunities -  ✔️✔️✔️

There is literally NO BETTER TIME to get your camera ourt and get clicking. 

With summer just around the corner, now is the time to get properly acquainted with your camera and learn how to take your photos from a forgetable snap to a keepsake that captures your child and who they are beautifully. 

We know what it takes and have the recipe for taking your photo skills from 'Mamarazzi' to 'your family's photographer' - and beyond if you wish! 

Our recipe : 

  • one part camera know how, 
  • one part understanding photographic composition
  • one part seeing and working with the light,
  • and one part inspiration, encouragement, personal, specific feedback and peer support.  

You get a really holistic approach to learning how to photograoh your children - one that marries the technical with the creative and shows you exactly how to approach your photography.  You get a supportive peer group that goes through the course with you. And you learn through doing - with home assignmemts, practice exercises, challenges - on which you get individual feedback so you can see how far you got. PLUS we have a very active, encouraging and helpful student and alumni community which stays with you long after the courses end. 

Our students tend to agree: 

Michelle Footer : 'If you’re thinking about taking one of these courses.....do it!
I’ve had my camera for a long time and despite having taken an adult education course to learn how to use it I never really figured it out! However after having done level 1 with Photography for Parents I not only know how the camera works I can also take photos which I am proud of.'

Shannon Molloy : These courses are just brilliant!
I recently completed the Level 1 course and have joined 3 boot camps. Ania has a beautifully clear way of explaining everything - ranging from the technical to artistic. The detailed feedback provided on each homework assignment is constructive and helpful, and I feel so much happier with my photography as a result of my learning with PfP. Additionally, the alumni group is lovely community and a fantastic way to keep supported and motivated between courses. Thanks Ania and PfP!

Dalia Seaborne : This is both the best baby class I took and the most enjoyable online course I ever done. The course is very well presented in easily to digest chunks, with a lot of short exercises along the way. There are plenty of opportunities to ask questions both in online group and webinars, and time to catch up if you fall behind (as we all know how unpredictable life is with the little ones), and, very importantly, you get an individual feedback on your homework photos.
I cannot recommend this course highly enough, and I am so grateful for Ania for creating this amazing course and community, teaching busy parents how to document their family storied beautifully!


Wait, did you say SALE?

YES! From today till the end of Monday, 5th May you can get yourself a deal and book our course ( or courses!) with a lovely discount. We have 3 courses starting shortly and they're ALL discounted.

PLUS a bonus for those who are ready to book - if you book by Saturday - rather than, you know, sitting there with your finger hovering over the button and then buying at the last possible moment (you know who you are) - you get an extra £5 off with a code EARLY5

This is the course for you

  • If you're new or relatively new to photography and / or your camera
  • If you're using your your camera mainly on auto and are frigtened if its buttons and dials
  • If you want help on how to start composing your images with care

Level 1 - Fundamentals:

  • starts 10th June 2019
  • 6 week course
  • £189 ( instead of £229) if booked by Monday
  • learn more about it

This is the course for you

  • If you're already relatively comfortable with your camera
  • If you're shooting in priority modes or started trying our full manual
  • If you want to be pushed and stretched on the creative side

Level 2 - Advanced:

  • starts 20th May 2019
  • 6 week course
  • £189 ( instead of £229) if booked by Monday
  • learn more about it

And after you've taken the photos...

BUt we don't just teach you what to do in camera. We can teach you what to do after too! Our super popular Photo Editing course ( based on Adobe Lightroom) is startng soon too! 

We take you through the process of photo editing, with step by step instructions and applications, live weekly class and an instructor led support group. 

Photo Editing - in Adobe Lightroom

  • starts 13th May 2019
  • 4 week course
  • £115 ( instead of £139) if booked by Monday
  • learn more about it



And in case you were wondering : yes, everyone improves!

If you’re not editing your photos, you’re missing out. It’s an ESSENTIAL skill for any photographer – from newbies to advanced enthusiasts – it’s not just for pros!

By popular demand, following the success of our last Lightroom Live – we’re bringing it BACK baby! Join us to learn how to get the best out of your images, how to fix and enhance and get creative with your photos!

“Did you SEE that Mummy! We can go an build a snowman! And play snowballs and …”

Here are out 10 top things to do if you want your snow photos to look beautiful.  Illustrated by our very own students photos!

Before you go anywhere – take steps to protect your camera.

Snow is water and water is your camera’s enemy so make sure you don’t let it into your camera. How? While there are some dedicated camera sleeves and protectors out there, a humble thin plastic bag wrapped around it will do the job just as well. Cling film will work too! Oh and remember that batteries deplete much faster in the cold so make sure your is charged fully and ideally, have a spare somewhere warm! ( like your pockets )

Change your White Balance to ‘cloudy’ or ‘shade’

Your camera doesn’t really understand pure white ( and pure black for that matter ). Because of that, it tries to bring it down to a pale shade of grey and we all know how attractive grey snow looks. If you leave it to its own devices, the effect will be greyish, blueish photos. Changing your White Balance ( WB) – warmifies the image, making it closer to how we perceive it. Where to find it? – Look for either a button with WB on it or a setting in your camera.

Overexpose.

I know, counter-intuitive, but hear me out. This is again down to the whole not understanding white thing and trying to bring it back to grey which essentially ‘dims’ the picture. Find a button on your camera with a +/- on it ( that’s your exposure compensation button) and use the scroll wheel ( if you’re on DSLR – this might differ for bridge cameras) to push the meter towards +1. Take a few test pictures to double check and adjust as necessary but you should find them looking better than on ‘correct’ setting. Just don’t forget to bring it back to zero later!


Keep your shutter speed fast for pictures of falling snow unless you want them to look like lines.

Start from 1/250s and adjust upwards if necessary to preserve the roundness of the falling snow flakes. Go even faster for the obligatory snowball fight  of course! Just make sure your camera is nice and safe (snow = water = trouble)

Photo by Lisa Friday

Think of your background and foreground.

Want to make it clear in the picture the snow is falling around your subject? Make sure your background has something dark in it ( trees are good) so that the bright snow flakes have something to stand out against. Using a shallow depth of field will help to blur some of the snowflakes in the front creating a layer of depth.

Photo by Claire Fay

Shoot the action

Being out in the snow is all about having fun – whether it’s wild tobogan rides, building a snowman or a snowball fight – make sure you get right there with your camera. Catch the snow flying, the tobogans flipping, the cheeks rosy from frost and  eyes sparkling with laughter.

Photos by Karen Baker, Sarah Honey, Sarah Collins and Ruth Harvey

Notice the light

If you’re having one of those wonderful snowy/sunny days you’re in such luck! The sun makes the snow sparkle, shine and shimmer – it brings extra magic in and can easily take your photos from ‘meh’ to AMAZING! Let the sun backlight the icicles, highlight the flying snow, reflect from the snow. And sometimes, all you need is a little creativity as one of our students has shown with the help of a security light!

Photo by Teresa Foyster

Think of the larger picture as well

Head out to the park or a wide open space and show the beauty and calm of the snowscape. If your child is wearing contrasting colour – even better – it will make them stand out against the background and draw the eye. Take a family portrait in the middle of a winter wonderland – all it takes is being able to put your camera down no something and self timer!

Photos By Kerry Anderson, Amanda Vickers and Ruth Harvey

But don’t forget to focus on the details

The wonders of winter lie in the details too – the snowflakes landing on the eyelashes, the icicles sparkling in the sun, the state of your son’s gloves after building the snowman. Don’t forget to get in nice and close to capture those details.

Photo By Amanda Vickers

Too cold to go out?

The falling snow is beautiful to watch from the inside too! Just because you’re indoors, doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy it!

And above all – have fun!

 

MORE SNOW PHOTOS BY OUR STUDENTS!

What is the time of the day, when your baby is likely to be calm, relaxed, not move too much, and give you the best chance to photograph all their adorable features?

What we do as parents, photographers – matters. Documenting the little moments in our family lives, the quiet ordinary moments that make up the fabric of our lives – they matter. They are the ones that in years to come will bring the smile back on your face and floods of emotions.

Want to capture your kids under water? Not as hard as it looks! We explore equipment options, technique and composition – ready? Splash!