We all know how expensive family portraits can be. We also know how time consuming it is to find a photographer in your area, who is good at what they do. Once we get the money part and the time part figured out, the kids are sick or fussy on the day of the appointment!
So, what can you do? You can learn to take your own portraits at home. This might sound complicated at first, but really it is not that hard to learn. As long as you have a digital camera, you are off to a great start.
I’m sure you are thinking, what am I going to use as a background for the portraits? Almost anything will work for a background. A white wall, a sheet hung by tacks or a curtain rod, a room divider, a blanket, a large poster, an area rug, are all great to use as a background. Always place your child at least 4 to 5 feet in front of the background. This will keep unwanted shadows of the background and will make the child stand out.
Lighting is about the most difficult to learn, but I will show you simple ways to get it accomplished. First of all, turn off your camera flash. It creates to harsh of lighting, and makes for very unflattering photos.
If you have a large window that lets in a lot of sun, you can pose your child in front of it. Just be sure to turn the child only three-quarters of the way to face the window. This will light up most of his/her face and leave the other side in shadows. Doing this will make for a more flattering picture. However, only use window lighting on a cloudy day, early or late in the day. You do not want to use direct sunlight coming from the window, it is almost like using a flash! Of course if you have some sheers hung on the window to diffuse the sunlight, than you may use it at anytime of the day.
For those of you that do not have a good window to use, I recommend shop lights (unless you can afford strobe lights, but they are more for professionals use). Halogen shop lights (the type with two lights on a stand) run about $20.00. They are excellent for portrait lighting. Set them up about 5 feet in front of where your child will be sitting, and slightly to the side and above your child. Then hang a white sheet about 1 foot in front of the lights. This will diffuse the lights and give them a soft glowing effect.
If you would rather take pictures outdoors, here are a few tips. Make sure that you find an uncluttered background. Grass, sky, hills all work well. You can even use trees, but pay attention that there is not going to be one that looks as though it is sticking out of your child’s head in the picture. As with photographing by the window, never take a portrait of your child in direct sunlight. It will create harsh shadows and make for a very unflattering picture. Overcast days, dawn or dusk are usually great times. If that is not possible, have your child stand in the shade of a few trees or a building. Just remember to make sure there are no strange shadows on their face.
(By the way, the shop lights get very hot, so keep little fingers away and don’t get your diffusing sheet too close. )
One more tip ! Make sure you zoom in to get more of your child and less of the background. Once you get the hang of this with your kids, you can start making money taking pictures of your friends kids! I hope this article helped you out.
For many more tips and techniques on portrait photography, and starting your own photography studio go to the link below. geoci