***If you have made your way back to Momsie, I am so glad you found us! We had some technical issues with the domain name so make note of the new web address. Another good reason to "follow" us and "like" us on Facebook so you can stay in the know!! Pass the word to people still searching for Momsie!***

Monday, December 6, 2010

Last Minute Holiday Cards

This week I am going to help you (and myself!) tackle those last minute holiday tasks.  Whether they fell through the cracks or December just came too quickly, we are going to get ourselves organized and check things off the list.  I have heard my friends go into a panic this year as they receive their first holiday cards.    Instead of being excited to open something other than a bill they are having anxiety attacks because "so-and-so" already got their cards mailed out!  I have some friends that are on pins and needles waiting for the mailman to come each day to see if their cards have finally arrived so that they can begin the mad dash of addressing, licking, stamping, and mailing their cards out in time.  Somehow, and I will consider it a Christmas miracle, I actually managed to get a decent family shot and create a nice card last week.  Now have I mailed them yet? No.  But baby steps here people!

I want to assure you all that if you haven't yet ordered your cards or even taken the picture there is still time.  I enlisted the help of an expert to give you some tips on taking a great photo and he was kind enough to give us the inside scoop on where he has made some last minute cards of his own.  And, if you were really dying for a professional photo this year he is your guy!  He is even offering a deal to our readers!  I can say without a doubt, Bryan Bazemore Photography is amazing.  Bryan did some family shots for us and they are my favorite thing in my house these days.  I continually get compliments on them and I cannot wait to do another session this year!

1. I have small children who aren't old enough to "pose" for a picture, what are your suggestions for capturing a great shot? 
 Young kids can be tough to catch a great shot of.  They typically won’t, and really just can’t, sit still and pose. In fact most modeling agencies won’t accept children until at least 4 years of age because until then most children simply won’t take an instruction to “be still” very well. But that’s ok. Often a candid expression is better and more interesting than a “posed” picture. That’s how I approach my sessions with small children. I want to capture the fleeting moments that later will evoke emotion from the viewer of the image.  So how do you that? Here are 3 good tips.
 One tip I always give people is to shoot without a flash when possible.  It doesn’t matter if you shoot with a point-and-shoot compact camera or a more advanced SLR  If you have to wait for the little pre-flashes to go off before the picture is taken, you’re going to miss the moment. Most cameras have a “no flash” mode. When in this mode, you’re using the available light and the image is captured at almost the moment you click the button – no waiting for flash; and you can typically fire off consecutive images much quicker giving you a better chance of getting at least one keeper. And for most cameras, if you keep your finger pressed halfway down between pictures you wont have to wait for the camera to auto-focus each time either.
Second tip: get down the child’s level and point of view and shoot using different angles.  If you always shoot down at the child (with a flash) then you’ll end up with a lot of the same looking images. If you’re indoors, use the natural light from a window as a substitute for a flash.
 And tip three: get close, very close. Try filling the frame with the child’s face or body. For portraits, it’s ok if you cut out some of the top of their head or their ears.  After all, often it’s their eyes and face you want to capture anyway.

2. What is the best time of day to get a picture outdoors? 
 Ahh the famous “golden hour” of course! There are actually 2 golden hours: the first and last hour of sunlight of the day.  For most landscape photographers, this is the only time to shoot.  I’ve read that most landscape magazines wont even accept an image unless it was taken during these times.  The quality of light is incredible and when used as a directional light source, nothing beats it. I always try and aim for these times for my sessions but let’s face it, it’s not always going to happen.  If I am shooting during the middle of the day, I avoid shooting in direct sunlight because the light quality is terrible and it produces contrasty images - blown out highlights and dark shadows; and you end up with squinty eyes and faces. Try and find a more shaded area to shoot, where the light is more soft and even. A popular but more advanced technique is to backlight the subject with the sun. In this case you will either need to force the flash to fire in order to get some light on the subject , or for a no-flash shot you can “overexpose” the image by a few stops so that the subject is properly exposed. Cloudy or overcast days are great for taking pictures as it produces a nice soft even light source.

3. Any suggestions for locations in Charlotte to take some pictures?
 I get this question a lot. And while location can be an important part of a photo session, it really depends on the type of session it is. I try and tell my clients not to get too hung up on location.  Most of my best images are close up images with the background out of focus and you can’t even tell where the image was taken.  You just know it was taken in good light with the focus on the subject(s).  For a child or infant session, it’s often best to shoot them at home where they feel comfortable (i.e. in the yard or in their room, etc…)  If I do a location shoot for environmental portraits, I prefer a spot where there aren’t going to be a lot of other people that I have to work around. I like to include features like paths/railroads, light posts, columns, water/reflections, foliage, etc… Some of the locations I’ve used locally are downtown Matthews, Pineville, Queens College, Freedom Park, and Davidson and I’m always scouting for new places. But again, as long as you’ve got good light, you can shoot anywhere. It’s all about the quality of light!

4. If its just too cold to take pictures outside what are your tips for an indoor photo shoot?
 I’ve seen people try to do indoor shoots by trying to set up an ad-hoc Olan Mills studio in their living room. Let’s be honest, unless you have some good lighting equipment and backdrops, the images are going to come out super cheesy.  Again, the best light you have indoors is the light from a window. The bigger the window the better.  Turn off the flash, sit close to the edge of the window and shoot back at the subject at an angle. And try and get the reflection of the window in their eyes.  It’s called the “catchlight” and it’s what you see in the eyes in studio portraiture – that’s the reflection of the huge softboxes in the studio.

5. Do you have any suggestions for clothing? Solid, prints? Or does it really matter?  
 Solids or prints…it  doesn’t matter.  Now some people like to do the everyone-in-khakis-and-white-shirts thing and that’s fine but it’s kind of been played out at this point.  I would say to include some color. For a family session, try and use colors that look good together across the whole family and avoid sports teams or visible brands. Try to include weather-appropriate clothing like gloves, hats, rain boots, etc… if possible.  

6. If I am just not confident enough to play photographer, would it be possible to set up an appointment with you to have cards in time?
 I do have a couple of weekend openings left and I’m currently offering mini sessions in the Charlotte area.  $75 for up to a 1 hour session. Digital image files available $35 each and online proofing where prints can be ordered by family and friends.  Just give me a call at 704-516-4558 or visit my site at www.wix.com/bbazemorephotography/home
I've used many different sources for cards, and quality and price varies but for super-quick cards, I've used Ritzpix.com to "build" the card and had them ready to pick up in about an hour (all with envelopes) at Wolf Camera at the Arbortetum. 

                                                          Thank you Bryan!

No comments:

Post a Comment

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...