Photo Styling Tips and Tricks for Kids

 

All good portrait sessions take preparation. Here are a few quick tips for making sure your children’s and family portraits look great. 

First of all make sure your kids get a good night’s sleep. Everyone looks and feels better when they are well rested and this shows through in the final images. Also trying to schedule the shoot for a less stressful day is recommended so everyone will be in a better mood and better images will result.

Patience is also a must for children’s portrait sessions. Don’t be discouraged if the kids aren’t cooperative at first during the session. Usually it takes some time for the kids to warm up and be available for the best images of the session. 

If you are having me photograph multiple children make sure their outfits are matching. Similar colors but not the exact same outfit look the best. For example wearing all cool or warm colors looks great. 

 

Location Recommendations: Grand Haven State Park

 

This is the seventh of a series of blog posts showcasing the various locations I recommend for portrait sessions around Michigan.

One of my all time favorite places to have portrait sessions in is Grand Haven, Michigan. Grand Haven is a beautiful small town on Lake Michigan. it is about a thirty minute drive from Grand Rapids. 

The address for Grand Haven State Park is 1001 S Harbor Dr, Grand Haven, MI 49417. 

I recommend starting sessions at 7pm and shooting for about an hour if the session is during the summer or fall. This gives us plenty of time to shoot through the late evenings and into sunset. If desired we can even head back to Grand Rapids afterwards for night shots. 

Below are some of my favorite images taken in and around Grand Haven over the years.

 

5 Tips for better Winter Photography

 

Winter is one of my favorite seasons for photography, especially landscapes. Here are ten quick tips for better winter photographs.

1 Bring multiple batteries. The cold sucks the life out of your battery quicker than when in warm weather. Even when your camera is not in use your cameras batteries will lose charge. Keep your back up batteries in a pocket close to your body to keep them warm making them lose charge slower.

2 Be careful when changing lenses. When you take your camera’s lens off it exposes the cameras sensor. If you get snow inside your camera it will be ruined. Be very cautious. 

3 Pay attention to your exposure. When your camera tries to expose for a scene it thinks it needs to make whatever it sees 18% grey. This is because it has a reflective light meter within in it. Regardless of if your camera is pointed at a polar bear in a snow storm or a black bear in a cave it thinks the scene needs to look grey. To compensate for this adjust your exposure compensation to +2/3 of a stop. This will give you a more accurate exposure with the snow looking white instead of grey. Be careful not to make the image to bright though. Making an image to bright is called overexposure. If you do this the snow will turn pure white and there will be no information in the overexposed areas. Check the histogram on your camera to make sure your exposure is correct. If the histogram has pixels touching the far right corner of the chart then you will be overexposed. Avoid this. This means that these pixels are so bright they will not be able to be darkened in post.  

The most accurate way to expose for snow is to use an incident light meter but this is not required. 

4 Focus on areas with contrast. Your camera has a far easier time focusing on something with contrast, like someone’s eye, than something without contrast, like a white backdrop. Your camera’s autofocus will have a hard time focusing on snow. When making landscape photographs in winter focus on things with contrast like trees to ensure your images will be in focus. 

5 Use gloves which allow you to reveal your fingers with ease. In 2016 I started using special glove-mitten hybrids which allow me to easily flip back the tops of the gloves so I can use my fingers to adjust settings on my camera. I personally find it difficult to operate my camera with large gloves or mittens. These gloves have proven to be very helpful and I would highly recommend getting a pair or something similar. 

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Sprout and the Orange Live in Saginaw, Michigan

I had a great time photographing the amazing local jam band Sprout and Orange in Saginaw, Michigan in late November. Here are my favorite images from the concert.