A Note on Content

The purpose of this blog is twofold: (1) to advertise my services as a photographer, and (2) to provide useful information to people who want to take better pictures, particularly when it comes to photographing children.

Although I have not organized the blog posts in any particular order, I have tried to start with basic information and build from there, so those wanting to learn more about photography and visiting the site for the first time may want to start with the oldest posts first.

If you have questions or comments about the blog, please feel free to leave a comment or to email me directly. I hope the photos and other information presented here help you appreciate the art of children's photography, and inspire you to take great photographs of your own.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Two-Dollar Diffuser

Several months ago I wrote a post on reflectors and diffusers and explained how cheaply one can be made. For example, my diffuser cost maybe $2.00 and was constructed from a junk store screen and cheap plastic.

Anyway, I thought I'd post two recent examples. Dads make great "clouds" by the way, and can usually be enlisted to hold the diffuser, at which time I usually start to refer to them as "Cloud," "Mister Cloud," or "Daddy Cloud," as in "Hey, Mr. Cloud: a little to the left."

Both photos here wouldn't have succeeded without a diffuser--and a Mr. Cloud.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Sepia Prints

What is it about sepia prints? Lately, I've found myself more and more drawn to them for portrait work: more so than traditional black and whites.

Why? That's what I've been pondering. My wife suggested--and I'm inclined to agree--that it has something to do with the warmer tones. So, sepia captures all the great tones and textures of traditional black and white, but the final image is warmer, which seems to suit portraits particularly well.

The only drawback, to my mind, is that many developers used darkroom techniques to create sepia prints in the early days of photography, and so sepia has that "old" connotation. As a result, when used in contemporary photography it can seem a bit gimmicky.

Oh well, I like them anyway. Do you? The good news is that, while a sepia print used to take a lot of time, effort, and specific chemicals in the dark room, one can create sepia prints today with a few clicks of the mouse and a few minor tone/texture adjustments.

So, give it a try! (There's always the back button if you don't like the results.)

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Clean Backgrounds

Backgrounds illustrate both the challenges and opportunities of natural light portrait photography.

In a studio, backgrounds--just like lighting--can be carefully controlled. Outside, however, you have to take the world as you find it: a world that includes cars, telephone wires, and the like--an unending stream of potential image clutter.

So, taking effective portraits out-of-doors means finding good, uncluttered backgrounds (like this one, no? it's a bunch of marsh grass), and employing a few tricks of the trade as well, like using a long telephoto lens and careful placement of the subject to create "bokeh" or a blurred background effect.

It's a challenge, to be sure, but when it works right no sterile studio backdrop can hold a candle to it.