Mothers worldwide have been wrestling their children into adorable red and pink outfits in hopes of getting some decent photos of their little heart-breakers for Valentine's Day. And I'm one of them! As the mother of a typical stubborn toddler, I realize just how difficult that task can be!
But no worries, I'm here to offer a few of tips . . .
Let's start by getting a little technical. As we know, light is the essence of photography; it has the ability to create, shape, bounce and even absorb.
It was quite the gloomy day when I planned to photograph my daughter so I chose to use a white backdrop. I used a diffuser (the round thing clamped to a stand) to bounce any bit of natural light back into the frame. I shoot with natural light whenever possible; it helps produce soft, creamy images and evens out complexions.
Now I know that not everyone owns a backdrop, but everyone has access to window light and an art store! You can easily switch out a diffuser for a large piece of white foam core board which is sold at most major retailers. Foam core is affordable, replaceable and sturdy enough to easily be propped up against any household object for use.
If you don't have time to grab the foam core, you could even use a GIANT sheet of white paper, you could face your kid(s) towards a white painted wall or you could lay them on your bed covered in white linens . . . get the idea? If you are skeptical about just how much light a piece of paper can bounce off, try it out next time the sun is shining! Hold a piece of paper in front of someone's face and watch their eyes lights up and shadows fill in!
Distractions are your best friend when photographing toddlers because we all know how busy those little hands can be! The simple challenge is finding props to fit your vision and yet the difficult challenge is getting them to interact with said props while staying put.
I try to make the situation as FUN as possible. Making crazy noises, dancing, tickling . . . sometimes I lose the attention by the time my face is back behind the camera so this is where an extra adult can be very helpful.
Except for the balloons, which I picked up at a local party retailer, I had everything else on hand: A paper punch to quickly cut out hearts (about 30), a bag of red crinkle shipping paper and red and pink glitter!!!
Tip: Save the glitter for last. We all know its messy but it can
truly turn tears into smiles if you haven't quite captured
the "shot" yet!
I hope you have found these little tidbits helpful and get a
chance to try them out!
Justina is a twenty-something, professionally trained toddler wrangler and photographer. Feel free to follow along as she shares photo-blogs of their adventures in Chicagoland and tips to take better pictures of your own children. *All images are copyright of Justina Olenick*
See more of Justina's stories here.