I am so excited. Spring is just around the corner! Well ok, it did snow here NYC just this week(!), but aside from that, spring is so close I can taste it. It's getting just that little bit warmer, and the crocuses in our front yard are starting to show their green leaves, and of course we have already sprung forward into daylight savings time...
And do you know what that means?
It means that it is time to spring into action and get ready for some wonderful, glorious months of outdoor time with your family and the outdoor photo opportunities that brings!
I know a lot of you have been struggling through a long winter with less than ideal conditions for photographing your kids. Indoors, you have next to no natural light so you struggle with weird artificial lighting which more often than not leads to bad color and blurry and/or grainy photos. And outdoors it's been too cold to do anything more than grab a few quick snapshots.
Yes, there are ways to work with these conditions but it's easy to fall into a photographic rut, not to mention a parenting rut. I know I'm looking forward to the ease and beauty of natural outdoor lighting, not to mention the variety of locations and experiences that make great memories AND great photos.
Even for those of you in warmer climates, the change in seasons is a great opportunity to shake things up and recommit to finding joy and delight daily in photographing your kids. There is no better time to capture the precious fleeting moments in their lives with the change of seasons as a backdrop.
Outdoor photography: secrets to success
So, I know the month is more than half over already and we've fallen a little behind in our monthly postcard and themes - those of you who filled out January's survey, your postcard is coming, I promise! We'll get back to the monthly survey and postcard in April once I've caught up, but in the meantime, this blog post is the first in a three part series on outdoor photo adventures.
I'll be talking about shooting outdoors, finding great locations, and how to give your kids the best experiences while also capturing some great photos.
But first, let's talk about shooting outdoors, and the biggest secret to successful outdoor photography which is...
STAY OUT OF DIRECT SUNLIGHT!!!!
Those of you who have worked with me before, or who have watched my free video lesson know this, and, like any rule, this is not the be all and end all to all photography, but if you're just starting out and struggling with harsh light, weird shadows and squinty kids, if you move out of direct sunlight and into the shade, you will find that you get much softer, more diffuse and flattering light.
This makes all the difference in your outdoor photos. For those of you that are a little more advanced, remember that outdoors you can switch your white balance to cloudy or shade, or even to auto, and you can generally set your ISO to 200 or 400 in open shade or even to 100 if it's very bright.
Most important though, even if you're just shooting with your iPhone (which, as you know, I highly recommend, and do daily) is to think about the experience that you are giving your kids. They are probably as excited about getting outdoors and playing as you are and this is the perfect opportunity for you to capture that excitement and joy as they explore and play.
Be part of the moment
Don't let your camera come between you and your kids or ruin the moment by asking them to pose. Let them get involved in something that they love and see if you can keep your camera as invisible to them as possible. That doesn't mean YOU have to be invisible, but if you're interacting with them, do so naturally from behind your camera, as though it weren't there.
And don't make them pose! We all want the photos where they are smiling and looking at the camera but wait for it to occur naturally. Remember to have fun - capture YOUR emotions as well as theirs!
That doesn't mean you have to be in the photo, but, as always, think about what you're feeling and what you most want to remember about this time and capture that. Don't worry so much about how your photos come out because if you shoot from the heart, your photos will reflect that as well as remind you of all those emotions, and you can't go wrong.
Use photography to be more in the moment and get more out of your time with your kids.