I am continuing my series of looking at some of my images from last year and sharing some of my thoughts and the settings i have used. Last week i was talking about learning and how, i believe, that is the greatest investment you can make in your photography arsenal!
One of those things that we all say is how much we love natural shots, those candid captures that really bring out the personality of our subjects. Its something that we all strive to do as we tell the stories of our lives. Sometimes its not always the easiest to do. The light may be poor, the environment might not be right or you might just have not got to that shutter quick enough! 😉
One of those images that people love is the everyone jumping in the air type shots. We have all seen them, they are a favourite wedding shot or portrait session shot of the family. Its something everyone can have a go at and when you have a couple of wriggly kids it is a great distraction and they all love getting involved.
From a photographers point of view that type of shot is actually quite hard to do well. I like doing the shot because the kids love it but it isnt an easy shot for me to do well and be happy enough with it. Its often a shot that i would ask a family with older kids to do as they can actually jump away from something..rather than fall, which is what a lot of toddlers will look like they are doing. But if we are getting nowhere with some little ones then this type of shot can certainly bring them back into the spirit of it!
Its a hard shot to do outside of a studio setting. When you can control the lights and use strobe lights and have a fast shutter and lower aperture then you can get a sharp image and freeze movement. Outside you are limited to using settings that are appropriate for the lighting you have been afforded and so you might not be able to have a fast enough shutter in order to give you that low aperture (big number) so that your depth of field can work for you and more is in focus!
I mentioned this type of shot to another photography hero of mine who i spent a workshop day with and his advice was don’t do it unless asked!! 😉
So here are a few of my thoughts on how i go about getting these shots.
1. As i mentioned it is a great shot to get the kids back on side. They love to do it, all kids love to jump and they love the fact that they might be caught in action. It is the one shot that always gets them rushing to see a preview back on the screen.
2. One thing i always make sure that i explain to the kids is that they have to listen to me and only jump when i say so. I usually count them down 1.2.3.jump!
3. I always tell them to make a shape. usually arms out to the side, legs out..or something…if they just jump then if you capture that moment it will just look like they are falling. Doesn’t give much of a feeling of movement. So…make a shape!
4. Look Ahead! its natural for all kids to look down to where they are falling. That is going to get you a shot of the top of their heads. So i always say look at me and pull a face!! We go for make a shape and pull a face! It usually works!
5. You need a low or narrower aperture (thats a high number) or F stop. I would usually aim for F8 so that i can try my very best to get most of the family in focus. A family is made up of lots of different heights so if you are asking them all to jump up in the air, focusing each person well is hard. A wide aperture (low number) may give you one person’s face in focus but everyone else will be soft.
6. You need a fast shutter speed. You want to freeze movement right? Generally i would shoot at above 1/250 to capture the movement.
7. Aim to try it in good lighting…bright daylight conditions. Then you won’t have to massively increase your ISO to cope with the aperture etc that you are needing for your camera.
8. Hold hands! This is a really good one if you have little kids, will help to get everyone going ‘up” at the same time.
9. Put your subject on a little hill or step and ask them to jump off that rather than jump UP in the air from a flat surface. It’s easier and not so much effort for a little one.
10. Set your camera’s focus to a single point. On a lot of cameras it will give you lots of AF points. You can set your camera to only pick the one you choose. If you leave it to select it, it will be jumping around all over the place trying to focus on the different subjects. Use it to help you get folks in focus. Select one ( i usually go for middle) and then you can always re-compose your shot if need be.
I never really tire of this shot. Even though, in reality, most clients are not going to choose it for their wall. But i do love the joy that it brings out in the kids and the kid its brings out in the adults!! 🙂
Here are some of my favourite ones…
Funny isnt it how the end of a year can make you very reflective. It seems to make us all look back and review. Maybe its the endless review programmes, or the adverts that flick us through the events of the year. But we all seem to do it.
There are a few things about this coming year that i am both excited and scared about….But recently i have been thinking a lot about my blog and where it is going, what it means for me and why, in fact, i started doing it at all. A conversation i had with another online blogger recently bought it all back to me. The reason i started blogging, one of the big reasons behind my interest in photography and my passion for telling stories.
It all started with this:
This is a scrapbook page and for me, this is where blogging began. I was interested in telling my kids stories and influenced by a friend I took up scrapbooking. Telling stories, through photographs, words and embellishments. Pretty soon i was scouring the american craft sites for good import deals on scrapping supplies. I captured moments of my kids lives in paper and print and filled albums with them. This is just one example of one of the pages i did. This is my sweet girl who is turning 8 in a few days time. EIGHT! She was a few months old and this was around the time when i started my blog read by my OH and my mum back then!! : )
Back then I was inspired by some incredibly talented scrapbookers…all inspiring but all over the water in the States.
America has a huge scrapbooking industry and some of the very popular girls who do it properly make their living out of it. I was inspired in particular by this lady Cathy Zielske (i have two of her books!) who not only did i think her clean and simple approach to design knocked the socks off pretty much anything else out there. I knew that we would be friends, she was my type of person. Adored her kids and OH but also knew the significance and peace in getting up half and hour before the alarm just to have some time alone. I liked everything about her. She took amazing pictures, often in black and white and she wrote incredible stories and memories of her kids but not only that, she wrote about the importance of documenting you. Putting down on paper what made you, mama, tick. Cathy wrote about her addiction to coffee, her new love of running, her favourite book…She photographed the small parts of her life that she treasured. A pantone mug, a window seat, the first bloom after snow and I lapped it up…
I used to blog about it, share pages online and get feedback from fellow scrapbookers. I made friends. I discovered linkys (although not sure they were called that then) that were new then, like the photo-a-day challenges and the ‘word for the year.’ Things that are around now in different formats and hosted by others but nevertheless started, for me and many others, in the slightly chintzy world of scrapbooking.
I gave up when the mess drove me potty. It wasn’t an instant thing i just gradually couldn’t stand the amount of mess. We had more kids, less space and i do like a bit of tidy. 🙂 Stumbling across another blog one day, I discovered the world of digital scrapbooking and as my confidence with photoshop was increasing I started to experiment with digital pages a little. The host of that blog also became one of my favourite online friends and is quite a star in the world of scrapping.
My interest slowly morphed more into the technical aspects of photography and i started to leave scrapbooking behind and focus on portraiture and newborn photography.
Ive been thinking about the beginnings of this all recently. Not necessarily scrapbooking but all those women who i used to follow with enthusiasm that have now fallen out of my timeline and my twitter feed. It made me sad a little, sad that i lost sight of what my blog was about and sad that i seemed to have forgotten something that i really really loved…and i feel like it is maybe something i need to re-visit.
Im not saying you are going to be seeing scrapbook pages popping up all the time. I have a LOT more stuff going on right now in life in general, try 2 whole extra kids 😉 So realistically its not going to happen. It may, it may not..we will see how it goes. I have followed Cathy Z on instagram and read her blog for the first time in a long time. Her daughter is going to college now for goodness sake. 😉
But I am going to go back to reading those that inspired me. I am going to read their blogs. Like properly READ. Not just skim. READ their words, follow their links maybe even join in a little, or maybe not. 🙂 Im not putting the new year pressure thing on.
It feels good to be doing something, i have been a bit disenchanted with my blogging, the pursuit of better stats, higher rankings and frantic commenting. Im not saying I am not going to do all of those things. I do take part in some linkys that i really enjoy and thats not going to change. But it feels good to go back to the start..even if ultimately that leads me in a different direction. Im always up for a bit of change….inspired by quotes like this…