Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Is there anything more amazing...

...than a newborn baby?

(My baby girls tiny feet... 5 days old.)

I have been playing with an idea, a thought, for a while now... Birth Photography... I know it's something very sacred to family, something that words can't really describe... which is where images come in.
I know what you're thinking, "I don't need to see that!"... But it's not all about the moment the newborn arrives, it's about the journey of that arrival... the hugs, the hands, the support during labour... the awesomeness of all these moments and the very moment mother and baby embrace... This is what I want to capture for people... as well as the newborn sweetness...

I even photographed during my own labours with my children, and had a handy hubby who took a few as well... and an amazing midwife who took charge when both of my children were born via emergency c-sections (but that's an entire other story). Those photographs capture so much... and you all should know by now that I am all about capturing emotion! What I want to offer as part of my maternity and newborn sessions is a birth photography option.

(During labour with my son, Dylan... including a self portrait.)

Is this something you would love having captured as part of your baby's life journey? Or do you know someone who would be willing... ?

If you think you might be... or know anyone who is, I'd love to meet with you. IT TRULY IS - LIFE CAPTURED!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Tip time!

It may be a couple of days late this week, and it's probably not as much a tip as how I work, but here's this week's little photo tip.

* A classic example of choosing NOT to stop taking photos when, in the middle of a family Christmas card shoot my little man thought it funny to pinch his big sister... (Yes, this was one of the sequence chosen for the cards... this is childhood and sibling relationship at it's finest.)

True, I am one of those photographers that runs for the camera when my child is in the middle of a tantrum because (shame on me) I actually find it quite funny when my daughter (or son for that matter) is in the middle of a full blown screaming fit over the smallest of issues. However photography is not only about capturing all those posed 'smile at the camera' moments of birthdays, visiting relatives, holidays etc... What you have in your possession is a tool to capture the moments of LIFE as they unfold.

* Forced to take a photograph of the grandchildren present at a birthday party... lack of co-operation... naturally I had to continue photograghing. - I'm not one for setting up a lot of family photographs, so capturing how children react when being forced into a situation like this is how I like to work.

'Project 365' is a means for me to capture this in my own life. Though I have always been a very visual person there are days I don't feel like picking up a camera, and lets face it, when you're in the midst of something heartbreaking or dark you don't think to capture the memories of these times. But think of it this way, some songs transport you back to a moment in time, a time of your life you look back on with sadness, or absolute joy. Photography can do this also...

* On a personal note, after losing 2 babies (through miscarriage and fetal death) I struggled to come to terms with the loss on a visual scale... I spent a day photographing, meditating and crying, among other things and this was one image that seemed to capture some of what I was feeling while crying alone in the childrens garden at the cemetary where I was told the ashes were scattered. Having nothing to hold was worse than not knowing 'why' in the rawness of it all at the time, but capturing an essence of what it was I was feeling brought a reality to it all. Something to look onto and remember... This is part of our family history... Part of who we are as a family. Not a happy time, but life deals us all hands.

Photography is a tool to capture history, the story of your family. I love that my parents thought of this as I grew up. Being able to look back at the history of my own life is something I treasure. The fact that my parents didn't turn off the camera when one of my brothers had a tantrum over not being able to climb onto a train engine in a park, or that they thought it important to capture more than one image of me in a humidi-crib after being born prematurely. These are part of the bigger story of my family.

* Yours truly... So glad my parents captured these moments.

That's not to say that you shouldn't capture those standard 'smile at the camera' photos, just be aware that you have a tool to capture a more whole story of who you are.

Why not start a 'Project 365' yourself?

Sunday, August 14, 2011

39 weeks pregnant, and STUNNING!

I just LOVE photographing baby bumps. There is something so amazing about this time, the miracle of life, the absolute glow of the mother and sweetness of what's to come. And then there's the newborn sessions that commonly follow, which I swoon over every time.

Kristen was stunning, being only a little over a week away from her due date she was simply glowing with maternal beauty.

Kristen's session was a gift from a friend, given to her at her baby shower. Even though I am bias, I think this is a fabulous gift idea, it's the gift that will capture this precious time of change, and essence of womanhood.

Kristen's husband Nick, seems very ready to meet this little baby, and even Sam the dog got in on a few shots. What a fabulous session. Thanks Kristen, Nick and Sam... can't wait for the update in the coming week or so.

Monday, August 8, 2011

This Week's Tip


How often have you taken a photo and looked at it later only to be distracted by the overwhelming background, or worse still, noticed a branch or pole poking out of someone's head? I'll admit that in the heat of the moment and rush to get some photos I have fallen into this trap too. I am so focussed on my subject that I missed that random distracting object in the background of my photo. Fortunately I recognise this moment pretty quickly and move my subject or myself to alter the shot slightly, but it can happen to the best of us from time to time.

Note the branch from the tree in the background. Though depth of field has saved the branch from being too distracting, once your eye is drawn to it you can't seem to NOT notice it.

It is also worth mentioning that there are times a 'busy' background can enhance the overall interest in a picture, for example a painting on a wall, graffiti art or even a brick wall or brushy hedge. This is where depth of field really comes in to play. If you have a digital SLR you can alter your aperture to a small f-stop to blur out the background while focussing on your subject making them crisp and sharp in order to detract from the detail in the background.

This shows how by simply changing perspective the background can alter entirely. Though the leaves on the ground could be slightly distracting they compliment the subject and add the seasonal feel to the image.

If you are restricted by a 'point and shoot' all auto camera this is when you need to think a little more clearly about what's in the rear of your image. It may be possible to move your subject away from the detailed backdrop and therefore focus your camera on the subject and it will compensate automatically, blurring the background slightly. If your camera allows it maybe move in closer to eliminate your background altogether if this is not an option. It can really come down to what your camera will allow you to do, though it does seem that more and more people have some form of digital SLR these days, even if it's a basic entry model which will still give you much more control over the construction of your images.
Of course there are times when you're wanting to have detail and clarity in the entire image. For example when you're posing the family in front of a landmark on holiday etc... This is when you just need to be aware of writing or poles behind people that may distract what you're trying to achieve. This type of photograph could be the subject of another tip altogether, but bare in mind that you don't need to pose the family dead center, leaning on the landmark etc. I will follow this up in another tip session.

This is an example of having the background actually add to the image. While it could have been distracting, the placement and framing of the subjects within the image the background actually adds interest.
In summary:
  •  Bare in mind the entire image on your view finder/camera display.
  •  Move your subject or yourself to eliminate a distracting pole or branch etc.
  • Use a small f-stop (depth of field) focussing on the subject to detract from a detailed background.

Monday, August 1, 2011

It's time for a TIP...

Welcome to the first of my weekly photo tips.

My aim is to keep them simple, for the general 'happy snapper' wanting to get some better photos of their family or for those that just want to take some photos for the fun of it but are a little sick of being so hit and miss with their picture taking.

Don't take for granted the digital age we live in, the fundamentals are still the same, it's just that now we can check if we got it 'right' instantly.

Todays tip would be handy for the other WAHM's who photograph their creations.

So, TIP #1 - It's handy to have a reflector. (Portrait/product photography)

Now, this doesn't mean you have to carry around a big sheet of card with you everywhere you go. You can easily use a piece of A4 paper if you want.

(I use natural light as much as possible, and even when I do use flash I have it as a fill light or bounce it so it's not direct, casting shadows or harsh light.)

Reflecting some light with a white sheet (be aware that if you use coloured card or a sheet to reflect from you will get that colour cast. Therefore red = red cast etc.) from the opposite side of the subject than your main light source (window light in this case) will help evenly light your subject and take away some of the shadows cast from the window light.

*Examples have not been photoshopped, they are shown as would appear on the camera.

(Please excuse my daughters toy as a model.)

Note the shadow on the right of the Dora Doll., and inside arm of the chair.

By using a reflector (I used a gold reflector to add warmth to the image, but you could use a yellow or gold card to reflect some warm tones back into the shadows.) I have evened out the lighting across the subject.


Note that the shadows are less harsh and there is a slightly warmer tone across the subject. (forgive the slight over exposure.)

Enjoy having a play with this idea and see if it helps light some of your photos better.

Emily Black Photography.