Friday, August 29, 2014

850 Fun Animations of Children

Having given a lot of time this week to kids of all ages and how to photograph them, it seemed a good idea to turn my mind to images. However, thinking of them in terms of static clipart just wasn't working for me.

It's the ability of children to look at everything with curiousity, to come at things full of  excitement, to take on life full tilt which makes them such popular subjects for photography. What's probably most wonderful about photographing children is how animated they can be. There is always movement, always ever-changing expressions on beautiful faces. Eyes widen, mouths laugh and moue.

In taking pictures of my grandchildren I often find myself distracted by the antics caused by the abandon, by the innocence and wonder which are part and parcel of being a kid. Having settled in to photograph whatever they might be doing,  I will suddenly realize that I have unconsciously lowered the camera to simply watch.

Kids are indeed spellbinding. So genuine in their approach to everything, so content and carefree, they are guaranteed to captivate. Oddly, even asleep, they draw our attention.

But it is the movement and energy that are the most fun. A rare adult can be described as animated; with children it's generally a given.  So, as static just doesn't cut it when we talk about illustrations of kids, here's  a great collection from AnimationFactory that's a perfect tribute to those bundles of energy.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Tips for Taking Candid Photos of Kids

There's a scene in the terrific movie The Calendar Girls, where the women decide that the difference between the type of photo they'd just taken and a quality project was simple — hire a professional to do the job.

When it comes to getting great portraits there's a reason people go to photographers. Good ones can make even a simple head and shoulders shot special.  With technical expertise, experience and no shortage of creativity, they can infuse their work with a quality that even good amateurs can't quite achieve.  They can breathe life into a static image.

The walls of my living room are lined with portraits of my children and grandchildren. I appreciate the talent of the photographers who captured these suitable-for-framing poses and after a long day at work enjoy nothing more than to let them welcome me home.

And yet, though there is little doubt that the quality doesn't match those of the professionals,  something that I enjoy even more are the random, candid shots taken by my kids of their kids.  These are the real images of those faces I love and personalities I adore. They are sometimes blurry, sometimes grainy, but they never fail to make my day.

While no issue can detract from the pleasure I take in receiving an email in the middle of a long day with one of these pictures,  it never hurts to learn about how to get better results every time. If candid shots of little ones is something that interests you, here are some great ideas to improve your skills:

Digital Camera World's Tips for Candid Portraits of Kids

iPhone Photography School Tips for Taking IPhone Photos of Children

Tips for Better Candid Shots of Your Young Child

Taking Candid and Action Photos of Kids

Nikon Taking Better Photos of Your Kids at Play

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Terrific Tips for Photographing Children

No matter what the age group there can be challenges when photographing people. There are the dour visages of the elderly, the stiff grins and self-conscious posing of adults, the vogueing of capricious teens or glumness of moody ones.

Contending with children, however, is something else indeed. Newborns, though pliable and generally accommodating to any setting, though photogenic to the nth degree,  need props and lots of ingenuity to bring something new to each shot.

Conversely, toddlers, while completely adorable, can be uncooperative and moody.  They can be shy, difficult to coax into a smile or away from their parent. Or, on the flip side, they are boundless energy, difficult to keep in one position for any length of time.

Probably one of the least problematic is the pre-schooler — still with an ingenuous charm that's beyond photogenic, but with enough maturity to understand direction. While exuberance is still there in abundance it can be reined in —  not enough to take away the personality, but enough to get the job done. That said, they too, of course, can have their moments. They are kids, after all.

As with any type of photography, getting great pictures of youngsters isn't as easy as experts make it appear.  These sites offer helpful advice on how it's done:

DPS How to Photograph Children

Tips for Authentic Photos of Kids

10 Tips for Photographing Your Kids

Photographing Uncooperative Kids

How to Photograph Children From Photography Life

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Tips for Newborn Photography

They're wiggly, not particularly accommodating and most certainly don't smile on command.  They don't sit, stand or pose.  Yet, as a photo subject they are without question among the most captivating.

Taking pictures of newborn tots is unlike any other type of portraiture. The sitting is dictated by moods, meals and messes. There are cranky faces and dirty diapers to contend with if things aren't timed just exactly right. Yet, we are all so charmed by their beguiling innocence, awed by a presence that reminds us of the miracle of birth, we are desperate to preserve this time for posterity.

With the limitations placed on what exactly the newborn can do as far as poses; safe to say they will be lying down; baby photographers stretch their creativity to come up with unique ideas.  Anne Geddes is, if not the first to think outside the box by taking advantage of the newborn's pliability to pose them in flower and fruit costumes,  perhaps the most known and controversial.

Quite often, though, just zooming in on one of those precious faces is enough. Soft pursed lips and wide eyes, contented sleep, a dimple and tiny grin are perfection.

Desperate to get some good pictures of my grandson after disappointingly lacklustre professional results, I tried every angle and every idea, soon developing a new respect for newborn photographers. Then I took note of that sweet smile and long lashes realizing that this little charmer was showing me  all I needed, so I moved in  nice and close.

The result, I'm pleased to say, was suitable for framing. And, having read through the information I found on these great sites I know that if I'm given another opportunity for newborn pictures, it will only be better:

Tips from Anne Geddes for Taking Great Photos

Baby Poses for Baby Portraits

Newborn Posing Guide

Simple and Safe Posing from a Newborn Photographer

Monday, August 25, 2014

Tutorials for Editing Baby Pictures in Photoshop

The first quarter of the year was off to an exciting start in  our house. Mid-February we welcomed the first of three grandbabies who would arrive before Victoria Day weekend. 

In the weeks since we have so enjoyed getting to know the newest family members, watching them become little people in their own right.  And rarely does this amateur shutterbug let a moment in their company pass without taking a picture.

Their parents were my early muses.  My oldest two perhaps didn't get quite the camera attention as their younger counterparts as people in general weren't taking pictures the way they do now. Special occasions,  silly  moments were typically all we thought to capture on film. After all developing those pictures could become quite an expense.

Then of course, everyone had to get a Polaroid, which, while appealing to a desire for instant gratification,  did very little for quality. Grainy, dark, off-colour shots became the norm.

Thankfully, when my two youngest arrived, I had seen the error of my ways and was the proud owner of a modest, but efficient, camera. Having apparently this time given birth to little hams the camera became an extension of me, ever present as I couldn't risk missing a moment. 

I began to notice too that some of the results weren't half  bad either and a hobby was born. Now, I love taking pictures of my family, especially the little ones. These days, though, when the results aren't quite what I'd hoped for there's always Photoshop and its cousins to tweak them.

Here are some great tutorials for making your baby pictures equal to their subjects :

Editing Baby Portraits with Photoshop

Baby Portrait Retouch

Edit Newborn Photos