Tag Archives: portraits

Sweeten the Deal

Children are my main subjects when it comes to portrait photography.

In my experience, very few children are totally keen and relaxed and eager in front of the camera. Ideally, their parents are in the adjacent room sitting on the couch very relaxed, flicking through my photo books and product displays, while I start my little routine, where I take the children into the studio and ask them to help me set up this and that and move a chair and turn on the studio lights.

But even so, most children can feel very ‘put on the spot’ in that situation. And I am supposed to, within minutes, make them totally love the situation, me and the camera. I do admit that I am struggling with this part of my job.

We may use the big mirror to check their hair and practice silly faces. I have some props, sometimes parents bring a book or a toy, but mostly their brief is to have the child smiling their happiest, most natural smile and looking fully into the camera.

I find that even the very shy, fearful or grumpy children do everything you ask them to, but they will not look at me or the camera and they certainly will not smile a natural happy smile. I have gotten some very odd looks by parents while I go through my repertoire of children’s songs or nursery rhymes where I appear to make silly mistakes with the words, I’m getting inexplicable hick-ups, speak in animal language and have even resorted to the fart-app. I know, I know.

Most children will eventually laugh, but they will not look at me or the camera, even if their life was to depend on it. I have tried lens buddies, frankly I’m not a fan, they may work really well with very small children but with the 3-5 year old-ish ones I’ve used them for: no such luck.

Eventually I realized I have to sweeten the deal. I’ve heard of photographers who use M&Ms as bribe, but I’m not sure I want to photoshop chocolate off teeth in post production, plus, these days a lot of children are allergic to chocolate.

Years ago I found an article and had made a note about it. Finally I have re-created this great idea. It’s pretty self explanatory: buy Pez dispensers, use scissors to cut a slither off their feet on either side, slide into flash hot-shoe of camera.

Because it’s such a small item (unlike most lens buddies), the children will have to focus to really see it. And Pez lollies are gluten and lactose free, therefore not an issue with food allergies. And no chocolate teeth, yay.

So there’s my 5 cents worth of wisdom when it comes to photographing children: sweeten the deal 🙂

 

SweetenTheDeal

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Pink Me

Early paper and ink quality wasn’t all that great and, unfortunately, when you’re looking at your old colour photographs from long(er) ago you’ll notice they’ve mostly turned a weird mush of yellows or pinks. They are likely otherwise undamaged, but the discolouration is usually not very pretty.

Like in this photo from my collection from the early 80s.

As I’m in the process of resorting and reprinting and digitizing all of our private photo albums, every now and then I’m tackling a few photos in Photoshop and fix them up.

Now, it sounds a bit easier than it is. With this particular photo I have the great advantage that I have a memory of this day. I remember it was taken just after the summer holidays, when a small pop up studio set up in the local mall. My mother used to take me there almost every year to get my portrait done and have the prints go to the grandparents as Christmas presents. It was a good idea to do it well before the festive craze (I know now where I’ve got that from) plus having portrait photos taken just after summer, before the long winter pale sets in.

So, I remember my then favourite top as being very pink, I also remember that I would have been quite tanned from many weeks at the Italian Riviera, with my hair going very light.

All this helped a lot when I set out fixing the colours in this image. There was no other damage, no cracks or weirdness, so it was really just about getting the colours right.

Obviously, this process is much harder when I don’t have a memory about the occasion. When restorating the colours in clients’ images it requires sometimes a bit of emailing back and forth, to get the exact tinge of a dress, of a flower bouquet, of the hair.

But for now, this ‘pink me’ is all good again.

PinkMe


Theme of the Day Sessions

Every now and then I’ll be offering themed shoots in my little studio, only available on the specified days.

The idea for these types of more creative portrait sessions has been simmering in my head for a little while. My mum took me to the small photo booth type stall in the local mall every year around my birthday. It was quick, fairly cheap, and the whole family treasures the photos that were taken. I feel this is missing for many families today. Yes, everybody takes lots and lots of photos on their phones … and then what? Most never get printed, many are forever gone when the phone accidentally ends up in the washing machine or is being lost, usually the kids never get to see them anyway. They grow up not having any reference to their childhood face.

The ‘Theme of the Day Sessions’ will be in a decorated studio environment, depending on the theme.

Very easy, really.

Nest session is ‘It’s My Birthday’ on Saturday November 1st.

Children can wear whatever they like. They can bring any toy or favorite thing that they want have in the photo.

For $35 you’ll receive a 12×8″ collage with two 4×6″ photos and one 6×8″ photo with your text.

Contact me for bookings via my Website or Facebook.

ItsMyBirthday2web


Panorama Portrait

A studio is a great luxury. No worries about the weather, about mozzies and if an idea pops in my head I can walk right down and see if it works.

Unfortunately many of my ideas tend to be too big for my studio. You see, my studio is very small. Tiny. In fact teeny.

Portrait shoots are in high demand. Even though almost everyone has access to a digital camera of some sort, most realize fairly quickly that the family snap shot and the professional portrait are at home in two very different worlds.

I do offer several types of portrait shoots, but the Mini is a studio-only shoot, and it is very popular. Reasons being, as mentioned above, no worries about the weather, the mozzies, and many times Mothers seem to think that because it is a confined space it will keep their kids better in check. However, my teeny tiny studio is not coping with the requests any more. Even though I have a limit on numbers of people on my website, it seems to get overlooked and every other week I do get the request to have four or five kids in the shoot. I am sometimes tempted to make an exception (how much harder can it be to fit in one more child?) but in the end I know that making that compromise would also mean making a compromise in regards to the quality of photos that I can achieve in this small space – and I am not willing to do that.

This has disappointed some callers, for which I am sorry. Up to recently, for up to 10 people (plus pets) you would have to book my Regular Shoot, and we would meet at an outdoor location.

It bugged me a lot that I couldn’t help out clients who specifically wanted all the convenience of a studio-shoot for a larger family group. After much thinking and mulling over and trialling, az pictured is introducing tadaaa

The Panorama Portrait Shoot. It is perfect for 6-8 family members, depending on age maybe even 10. The quality photo print comes with backing and matted at a size of 12 1/2 inch x 24 inch.

It has been very well received, yay 🙂

IMG_0542x

 


Lost Opportunity

I was more a tom-boy than a girlie girl. Rather would have been an Indian or a Pirate than a Princess, rather followed tracks in the dirt and explored secret caves than playing high tea on the picnic rug with my dolls. I did have Barbies, but mine had a horse and wore pants and went on adventures rather than wearing glittery dresses and little shoes.

I could be found on the local adventure and water playgrounds, building igloos in the snow in winter and having daring toboggan rides.

I didn’t much miss the girlie playdates with endless doll-dressing and re-dressing. However, one thing I always wanted to do and never got was having ballet lessons. I remember being very jealous of friends who did, jealous of their tutus and little shoes, of all the graceful moves they learnt – I always felt clumsy and awkward next to them. I was jealous of their long hair put up in a bun. My hair never grew past shoulder length, and got progressively shorter over the years.

This little lady visiting my studio is a very girlie girl. She loves jewels and sparkly things. And she has ballet lessons. Amazing how jealousy still can sting, even after all these long years, it’s been a while since my childhood after all. And amazing how the sting still hurts but also burns with a lot of sadness and resignation over a lost opportunity.

Probably one reason why I really cherished this shoot. Let my eyes feast. Absolutely gorgeous little lady, and if polka-dots ever suit someone, they do suit her, even if it was just in a prop.

 

Olivia


Sneaking Up

Did you check the calendar?

Oh yes, it is that time. Even if I wasn’t acutely aware that Christmas is barely three months away, drowning in work as it were, I would remember now, since as of yesterday the first Christmas decorations are at the shops.

Working as a portrait photographer is quite a seasonal business. These days, if it’s not for a special occasion people usually don’t much care about getting their portraits done. Everyone has half a decent camera and even with an iPhone you can take great pictures, as was proven by the winners of the 2013 iPhone Photography Awards just recently.

Clearly, my big season is now. Very, very busy. Which is why I was a bit quiet here lately, sorry if you missed me 🙂

Good I am an organized person. My Christmas is usually planned and printed and done in August. Maybe I need the cold weather in Australia to feel christmassy, the European in me does miss white Christmas sometimes.

Enjoy this photo, my little elf sneaking up on the treats.

xmas