You can make fantastic images using any type of camera by following some basic rules.
These are images taken with my iphone from the past few months of my little one.
#1. Simplify the background
This one step will improve your images dramatically! If you find a simple background it will make the subject pop. Easy in theory but sometimes difficult in practice when you have a subject whos running around or a lighting situation that’s not so ideal. Regardless of the circumstace, there is always a way to make the bakground as simple as possible…that is, if you’re focus is on the person or subject.
the best way to simplify the background….get in closer and/or get a higher angle.
This image was taken after our mommy and me yoga class on my yoga mat near the floor to ceiling windows in the studio. The filter and selective focus was all done through instagram.
I love Quinn’s zen-ed out face in this image.
#2. Use Indirect light for soft portraits
A north facing window is your best friend for this. Due to the earths axis and the location of the Sun, as long as you live in the Northern Hemisphere, light will never come directly through northern-facing windows. If you find a window that faces this direction or use the edge of the light from south-facing windows you can find soft light for portraits.
This was taken on Quinn’s changing pad at her diaper station. The windows were actually south-facing but Quinn wasn’t in the direct light.
This was taken at the edge of the light and the direct sun was hitting the wall in front of her creating a nice bounced light.
#3. Use the rule of thirds…
If you know what this means, then you’re half-way there. I’ll go into this in further detail in a future post…but for simplicity’s sake, just try not to put the subject in the center of the frame all the time. Move the subject around the frame. Center-weighted images can sometimes look stagnant or snap-shotty).
#4. Get the little details
Remember, tour photographs remember the little things, long after you have forgotten, so don’t always focus on a smiling face. For a more storytelling image, try photographing the details, like hands, feet, and eyes.
Those cute chubby toddler feet will only be there for a few more months!
#5. For a portrait with impact, try making the background darker than the subject.
This works well if you’re applying rule #2. As humans, we innately want to look at the brightest object in an image. Get the subject lit brighter than the background and you’ll find the subjects pops. One exception to this rule is if you are creating a high-key image, such as the one posted under rule #2. What makes it work is it’s simplicity.
This is one of my all-time faves of Will and Quinn. We were prepping for bathtime and I was struck by how gorgeous her baby skin looked in the soft light of the day.
I dragged Will outside to the doorway of his mancave (aka garage) and grabbed this image.
I knew from the moment Christi walked through my studio door that we would be longtime friends. She and I share a similar alpha-like spirit. We both say it like it is, rarely take no for an answer, and we love to do things our own way…aka, we’re stubborn. So it was no surprise that she was single-handedly organizing every little detail of her intimate wedding at the Japanese Friendship Garden and she was ready to book a photographer that day.
When I met her husband Matt, I knew they would be one of those, “forever” couples. They are perfectly balanced for each other, her the fire, he the water. They compliment each others weaknesses like the most expert of couples, filling in where the other leaves off.
I remember our first session for their engagement where I stayed with them through the early evening, long after the natural light had faded. I put the camera down and I shared drinks at their house. It was the kind of session I didn’t want to end since we were having way too much fun. Just before I left, I snapped a final shot in their hot tub with their faces floating half way under the water. They were about to take the plunge into matrimony and this image summed it up.
Since meeting them in 2007, I’ve witnessed all their major milestones through my lens…engagement, wedding, pregnancy, birth (all natural!), baptism, 3 month photos, 6 month photos, second baby, birth (the second rarely gets the maternity session), 3 month and 6 month, 1 year. After having been witness to it all, I can still say that Christi is one of the most amazing women I have ever met and I’m so grateful that she walked through my studio door 6 years ago looking for a photographer and also finding a friend.
Love you Gonshorowskis!
This was one of the most gorgeous weddings! I’ve known Hallie since I was about 5 and I had the great opportunity to photograph her day. The ceremony was set in a barn at Desert Foothills and the decor was gorgeously arranged by Angelic Grove. I loved her hybrid of old Arizona style with contemporary elegance. She mixed stunning chandeliers and romantic lighting with rustic boots and bolo ties. As a sweet personal touch, she wore her mom’s veil.
What can I say about Jill and Allan…other than, these guys ROCK! We started at their friend’s home in Malibu. Fought off some overbearing insects. Waded through harsh brush in heels and flip flops for the sake of the image during the final 2 minutes of sunset. Had a shoot off with their favorite nerf guns. And they watched patiently as I ran around them like a crazed ninja with my sparklers. Allen is a comedic writer so we weren’t at a loss of humor and laughs throughout the shoot. Next time, I’m bringing my nerf gun too!