Posts Tagged ‘family portrait’

 

How to Appear More Attractive in Photographs

Saturday, July 13th, 2013

Here is a tip for looking your best in your family portrait photograph. Your mum will love it!

Did you know that a direct gaze and a smile are considered most attractive to the viewer? I read in a psychology journal from the Psychology School of Aberdeen that an averted gaze without a smile is perceived as more attractive than an averted gaze with a smile. In addition to this the study found that a direct gaze without a smile was less attractive than a direct gaze with a smile.

This all sounds fairly obvious I know, but it is surprising how powerful this information is when you are shooting a portrait of somebody.

When my clients view their family portrait images they inevitably have ‘favourites’ and they are more often than not those images that have them or their family smiling and looking at the camera. This information allows me to concentrate on capturing these types of images on the portrait shoot and not spending time on averted gazes (even if I like them).

The only time I would bend this rule is when shooting groups or couples looking at each other such as with a wedding couple or family. The interaction between people can be attractive in itself and make for beautiful candid images.

Look at the examples below and draw your own conclusions.

Blue Mountains family portrait

Direct gaze and smile give this image an attractive feel.

 

Blue Mountains wedding photographer

The Happy Couple looking at each other makes for an intimate feeling to the image.

Blue Mountains family portrait

Direct gaze without a smile can give a particular feel to the image.

 

Blue Mountains family portrait

A mix of direct and in-direct gaze helps draw the viewers eye through the image toward the baby with the ‘most’ attractive gaze.

 

 

 

 

Family Get Together Photos

Thursday, April 12th, 2012

With Easter just past I had time to reflect on why such occasions are important to me.

While it has its religious and chocolate traditions, its all about family get-togethers for me.

Aside from Christmas, Easter, Mothers Day and birthdays our family is spread far and wide and it takes a fair bit of organising to get everybody together.

The Easter holiday is a good reason for us to get together and enjoy a meal and a laugh.

My Nan is in her 80’s now and has had some health issues of late but she is a tough old girl and I love her. Her hearing and sight aren’t great, she walks with a cane and needs to hold your hand to walk up and down stairs. Still she has her sharp wit and sense of humour.

I’ve always felt she looks a bit like Queen Elizabeth, even if only because of the silver hair.

Nan often has a balled up tissue or handkerchief in her hand or strategically placed up her sleeve and she never, ever goes out without her jewellery on. Each ring holds a special memory for her such as a ruby anniversary or her wedding.

I asked Nan if I could photograph her and despite her initial protest I think she quite enjoyed it although she did use the oft-quipped “I hope I don’t break your camera, I don’t take a good photo…”

My Nan is the matriarch of our family and I think its important to celebrate that and I wanted to create a record of her at this time.

These are studio portraits and I used a simple 2 light set-up with a soft-box for the key and a reflector and grid for the hair light.

 

Darren Edwards Photography is a professional photographic studio based in the Blue Mountains and servicing the greater Sydney and central west region. With 20 years industry experience, outstanding products and value for money, your photographic commission is in good hands.

Click on “Darren Edwards Photography” at the top of the page to see more images or “Contact” to make an enquiry.

Family Portrait e-Photobook on your iPad

Thursday, April 5th, 2012

An e-Photobook allows you to enjoy your custom made family portrait photo album wherever you are with your iPad, iPhone or iPod.

I have one of the first iPads and I love it. I use it for so many things, its an invaluable tool for my business that I wouldn’t be without.

I take it everywhere with me so everything I need is at my fingertips – I can check my calendar and make appointments, I can take payments through PayPal, I can show clients any of the many photo galleries it holds, I can update my Facebook, Twitter or LinkedIn. With the addition of iCloud my phone and desktop Mac are all instantly synced. Its brilliant!

I’ve seen the new iPad and the screen resolution is amazing, making photo display and slideshows look even better than they do on the original.

Now that iPad is in its third generation and the iPhone is soon to be its 5th, these wonderful devices are more and more common, and the things we can do with them are becoming more and more diverse its exciting to be able to offer a product suited to this technology.

For years now I have been offering professional quality Photobooks as an alternative to the traditional photo album. They continue to be very popular and really are a beautiful document of any family or wedding. I’m proud to say I can offer an e-version of the Photobook designed specifically for the iPad, iPhone and iPod market.

You turn the pages with a finger swipe so it feels like turning the pages of a real book. Tapping your finger on the screen will zoom in to a single page view.

The benefits are that there are no dog-eared corners, finger marks and smudges and you can take the book everywhere you take your iPad or iPhone.

Darren Edwards Photography is a professional photographic studio based in the Blue Mountains and servicing the greater Sydney and central west region. With 20 years industry experience, outstanding products and value for money, your photographic commission is in good hands.

Click on “Darren Edwards Photography” at the top of the page to see more images or “Contact” to make an enquiry.

Newborn Photography

Thursday, March 29th, 2012

Photographing newborn babies can be a very rewarding experience.

Often I’m photographing first–time parents and it is wonderful to be witness to such a special time for them as they are only days or weeks into getting to know their little bundle of joy.

In contrast, second time parents are often a lot more relaxed and comfortable with their baby although still just as thrilled with the whole experience.

This newborn photo–shoot took place at the families home with the baby just 4 weeks old. I find any time in the first 4 weeks is best for newborn photographs.

This little man was a dream to work with, never once crying, he had a couple of feeds and a nappy change and then went to sleep right on queue. Perfect!

The little hands and feet are so cute and such a contrast to dad’s.

I have to admit to being quite smitten with this little baby boy. My partner and I are expecting a boy in July and I’m bursting with excitement about it all.

Darren Edwards Photography is a Blue Mountains based professional photographic studio specialising in newborn photography, family and children photography, corporate photography and fine art photography. With 20 years industry experience, outstanding products and value for money, your photographic commission is in good hands.

Click on “Darren Edwards Photography” at the top of the page to see more images or “Contact” to make an enquiry.

Outdoor Location Family Portrait

Thursday, March 22nd, 2012

This outdoor family photo shoot was at a lovely garden setting in the mid Blue Mountains.

With all the rain we’ve been having many of the parks and gardens are quite overgrown making them unusable. This garden was just right and the areas of long grass created a nice effect I think.

This was a fun and relaxed family portrait sitting, the result of a gift voucher one of my valued clients had bought for his sister’s family.

Gift vouchers are a great gift for friends and family, who doesn’t love photos of their kids having a fun time together?

They’re great for things like Mothers Day, Christmas, birthdays and anniversaries.

Darren Edwards Photography is a professional photographic studio based in the Blue Mountains and servicing the greater Sydney and central west region. With 20 years industry experience, outstanding products and value for money, your photographic commission is in good hands.

Click on “Darren Edwards Photography” at the top of the page to see more images or “Contact” to make an enquiry.

Black and White or Colour Photograph– Blue Mountains Photographer, Darren Edwards

Wednesday, February 15th, 2012

I’m a bit old school at times, I ride a steel-framed bike, I like old fashioned manners, opening doors for ladies, respect for our elders and follow-up thank you calls to dinner invitations.

I also like black and white photography.

Black and white photographs are generally considered old fashioned or “traditional” because that was the first medium for photographs, well before hand-colouring, colour film and of course digital images.

Fortunately most cameras and certainly most photo editing software offer options for changing your colour digital images to black and white to achieve that old school look.

Most of my clients receive their images in colour but occasionally somebody will have a particular desire for black and white images. They can be to match other images on their walls but more often it is because they prefer them to colour images. Its an aesthetic thing I think.

I believe black and white photographs give an image a timeless quality. They allow us to see detail in an image, the tone and contrast are more obvious and we as viewers are not distracted by the colour of things. At times we can be led to feel a certain way about an image by the colours present in it. With black and white we are forced to imagine the colours or the temperature of the day. To some extent this gives greater depth to the image.

Many years ago I worked as a press photographer around the time newspapers were starting to use colour, particularly for their front page images. We photographers would carry around 2 cameras, one with colour film and the other with black and white. The editors would usually tell you which jobs to shoot for the front but a lot of times we would use our discretion. More often than not you would shoot the job with both cameras just to be sure you could cover all bases and supply a colour images for the front and a black and white for any of the other news pages.

Reflecting on that now it seems such an archaic ways of doing things.

Digital cameras and software allow so much flexibility with our images its amazing to think how far technology has come.

Using Photoshop to convert an image to black and white I like to use the black and white layer adjustment. I find the default settings usually work ok but I do like to tone the image a little to warm it up. I find the digital conversion to be a little cold so I add a little dark brown to add warmth, a little like a sepia tone but not quite as strong or obvious.

 

How do you like your family portraits? Do you prefer colour or black and white?

The Setting Sun and Outdoor Family Portraits – Blue Mountains family, kids and pets portrait Photographer

Tuesday, November 29th, 2011

It was a great relief to welcome the sun back last weekend after all the rain we’d had during the week.

This family portrait photo-shoot took place at one of my favourite parks in the Blue Mountains, its a great location for young families and as the evening approaches the sun sets and helps create beautiful light effects through the trees.

I like to shoot into the sun sometimes to give my subject that back-lit halo effect. I also really enjoy the way the sunlight refracts into streams of light through the leaves on the trees.

On most outdoor family portrait photo-shoots I find there is a 5-10 minute window of opportunity to achieve these back-lit shots as the sun sets, so it is rewarding to see the results in post-production.

I really like these shots, I believe they capture some of the essence of the relationship between these two young children. He was such a gentle older brother as he led his sister around the park and they nattered away to each other lost in their own conversation.

Darren Edwards Photography is a professional photographic studio based in the Blue Mountains and servicing the greater Sydney and central west region. With 20 years industry experience, outstanding products and value for money, your photographic commission is in good hands. 

Click on “Darren Edwards Photography” at the top of the page to see more images or “Contact” to make an enquiry.

Why use a Professional Photographer

Sunday, November 6th, 2011

While we may have a friend with a camera, or good old Uncle Harry or Aunty Betty with their you-beaut camera and lens package to help record our special day, there is a lot to be said for having a professional there to ensure the job is does well.

I recall seeing an advertisement for Kodak film many years ago which had a line that read something like “a great family portrait isn’t expensive, its priceless!”.

Another advertisement Kodak used had words to the effect, “capture the moment now, and enjoy it over and over.”

Photographing a wedding recently I was struck by how many of the guests had their cameras and phones out snapping away at the happy couple as the event unfolded.

I wondered how many of those images would be “up on Facebook” before the end of the reception, shared with friends across the country or across the world.

These days we all have a digital camera of some description, whether it be a digital SLR or a compact camera or even our phone. One way or another we are able to take a photograph and record a moment for posterity.

Many of these images are snapshots or happy-snaps designed to make a quick record of an event and share it with friends or family via Facebook or Flickr, while others are often more considered moments destined for an album or frame.

I recently received this feedback from a client who had commissioned a portrait with her family to give as a gift to their mother for her 60th birthday.

“Just wanted to pass on a huge THANK YOU! The photos were beautiful. My mum cried when she saw them.”

I love being a portrait photographer, sometimes it doesn’t feel like work, especially when the result has such an effect on people.

Getting back to the Kodak advertisement – what makes us cry tears of joy when we see a beautiful family portrait? Moreover what makes a beautiful family portrait, and how do you choose a photographer to create it?

The photographers I’m most influenced by have a gift for seeing a moment before it happens, they have wonderful anticipation for what is about to happen and incredible skill to capture that moment.

These are skills which take years to develop, through experience, knowledge and practice.

Having patience and anticipation helps to capture beautiful moments

I model my own work practice on these principles. I have been photographing people for 20 years and feel I have a keen sense of how people respond to being photographed.

The most difficult part of a good family portrait shoot is creating the right environment for something to happen. I like an outdoor location as I feel it helps this process by providing an open space not enclosed by walls. Out in the elements my clients feel the environment around them, they can explore and be themselves, if its cold they can cuddle into each other, its a physical event.

What follows is anticipation and patience – being ready for that moment goes a long way to producing unique and beautiful images to enjoy over and over.

Tips for Better Photos

Saturday, October 15th, 2011

I like to use outdoor locations for my portrait shoots as I believe it helps create a better working environment and therefore better images.

However it is not as simple as just going down to the local park with your camera and your kids and snapping away. I thought I’d share some tips on how to go about planning a successful photo-shoot.

The right time of day

Choosing the right time of day is a big consideration. This can depend on who you are photographing – whether it be your toddlers or your teenagers or even your partner or pet. Most toddlers “perform” best earlier in the day so might benefit from an early morning shoot.

The “golden hour” is just before sunset when the light conditions are generally considered best for producing wonderful atmosphere. While we would all like to have our photo-shoots at this time one needs to be a little flexible when it comes to youngsters.

Background

When I’m teaching others to use their camera one of the most important elements of composition I like to stress is background – background, background, background! There it is stressed.

Look for clean backgrounds for your shots. This can mean moving yourself or your subject to eliminate that tree branch poking up behind their head, or that telegraph pole or whatever element is going to distract the viewer from enjoying your composition.

Use foliage to frame or border your subject. Sometimes you can use a leafy branch or a tree trunk to create a frame around your subject. Branches and leaves can also make points of interest for your subject to look at or reach for.

If you are using the shade of a leafy tree you might bring your subject out the edge of the foliage and give yourself a nice deep, dark background by exposing for the subjects face and therefore under-exposing the shade under the tree.

Use foliage to frame your subject

Light

Be aware of dappled light falling through leaves on trees. Turning your subject to face away from the sun will prevent them having dappled spots of light and shade on their faces.

As the sun sets you can use the soft light much like a lamp or strobe light by positioning your subject relative to the light and giving them that golden glow from the sunset. Remember to look at where shadows are falling on the face to keep it sympathetic.

Advanced users might think about using a reflector or diffuser to further control the light outdoors.

Dress 

One of the most common questions I’m asked is what should we wear? Dress for the season is my best advice. Out in the park you can all wear jeans and a smart collared shirt. Toddlers look great in jeans and button-up shirts for the boys and long floral dresses for the girls. Most of all remember to wear something warm if the season dictates it. There is nothing worse than having your subject all hunched up and shivering because they haven’t worn warm clothes.

Camera settings

Set a shallow depth of field with a low aperture to help isolate your subject from the background. Not only does this create a blurry background it can help “clean-up” that background. Remember how important background is?

Keep your shutter speed high enough to stop the action. Kids like to wriggle and run around so you’ll need a fast enough shutter speed to capture that movement without your shot looking blurry or out of focus.

Shallow depth of field can isolate your subject from the background

Make an event of it

Take a picnic with you! Try to make the visit to the park about having fun with your family not just about having some photos taken. If you put too much emphasis on the event and the photos this can often lead to disappointment when you struggle to get “that shot” you have in mind.

Your photography should be about enjoying your craft or hobby, so if you don’t get the shot you want today, you can always come back next week and when you do come back you’ll be armed with all the knowledge you earned the first time.