5 Tips for Photographing Holiday Moments

With Thanksgiving tomorrow and the winter holidays around the corner we wanted to share some tips for capturing your holiday moments in order to preserve the memories for years to come.

1. Hire a professional:

If you are lucky enough to have the entire extended family under one roof why not hire a professional photographer to come take some family photos! This can be a simple group session or give each individual family the opportunity to have the entire group and then do separate photos of their household clan. This is a great time and money saving alternative for your yearly family photos.

2. Upload to the Cloud:

Almost everyone in the family these days has an iPhone or smartphone. While you are all together AirDrop your images, or save them to a share cloud so you can all access each other’s photos. This is fun for us Mom’s and photographers because we are offer the one behind the camera but having access to everyone’s photos you might end up with some special images of yourself interacting with family.

3. Don’t forget to take a Group shot:

This one is hard because children and adults alike can be hard to wrangle, but having a group shot at the Thanksgiving Table or around the Christmas tree is something you will admire for years to come.  Weather you set a timer and all cram on a couch or use a trip pod, make it happen!

4. Document throughout the day:

Make sure you are snapping photos all day long so you can tell the story of the day with your images. Cousins embracing upon arrival, mom or dad cooking in the kitchen and the waves goodbye at the end of Grandma and Grandpa’s stay.

5. Don’t forget the details:

Make sure to grab some close ups of the turkey and pie or the gifts piled up around the tree before the kids come down stairs to ravish them! It can be fun to use these as before and after comparison as the day progresses.

Hopefully these tips will help preserve the great memories you make with your family this year! I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving and Happy holidays in the weeks and months to come.

More Photography Related Posts:

6 Tips for Making the Most of Your Holiday Family Photos in 2018

7 Ways to Ruin Your Family Photos in 2018

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Shopping for the Photographer in Your life

As a photographer, it is hard to go through this season without scoping out my favorite items of the trade on the market. There are so many amazing cameras and accessories out there for photographers of every skill level. If you have a photographer in your life or an aspiring one here are some great gift ideas for making their Christmas morning, feel like they are a kid again!

The On-The-Go

Even professional photographers love to have a good point-and-shoot camera on hand. If you are looking for something small that still gets the job done (better than your iPhone), consider gifting a point-and-shoot camera.

Canon PowerShot:I have been using one of these since college. It’s very reliable, takes amazing photos, and is a great alternative to a big clunky SRL camera. They work well in low light and also in sports settings, and are perfect for travel and snapping photos of your kids.

The Beginner

Canon Rebel Package Deal: If you have someone on your list looking to take photography to the next level, you can’t go wrong with Canon Rebel. I have more than one of these and still shoot with them regularly. It’s smaller than a full-format SLR, the price is great, and the technology now is so amazing it takes just as high-quality images as a 60D or any other full-format SLR on the market. You will not only get the camera but a zoom lens and SD card to get your budding photo enthusiast started on the journey to becoming a photographer.

The Sports Lover

The Canon Rebel: I can’t say enough great things about Rebels. It is the backbone to how I got my start as a photojournalist. People sometimes confuse the camera with the “quality” of images and yes that often is a factor. But you don’t need a big fancy camera to capture amazing images if you have a good eye for composition. Rebels also are VERY durable. I have tossed mine around and traveled the world with it and it still is going strong! But the lightweight body and the camera speed are what make the Rebel a good sports camera.

Battery Grip: Having a battery grip not only adds to the length of battery time you have, it also makes the camera larger and easier to switch from horizontal to vertical shots. It makes shooting on larger lenses for sports easier. Since the Rebel is a smaller SLR, having a large telephoto or zoom makes it feel off balance. So make sure to grab one of these for the aspiring sports photographer on your list.

Zoom Lenses or Prime Telephoto Lenses: If the desire is for taking amazing sports photos, will a zoom or telephoto lens is needed. Depending on your budget there are a few good options for them.

75-300mm is a good budget friendly zoom option

400 mm prime is great but not a budget friendly buy!

The Semipro

Canon EOS 6D: Having a full-format camera and the appropriate lenses are what takes photography to the next level. Making sure you stay in a budget can be hard because once you start buying full-frame the price goes up for the camera body and the lenses. There is no turning back from here in your investment but it will be well worth the bump.

I have not personally used this camera but have read great things about it. It is full frame but does not coast as much as the 5D, so I would recommend this to anyone not looking to be a professional photographer but that wants to start shopping more like a professional.

Off Camera Flash: once you get into this grade of camera there is no longer built-in flash so make sure you add an off-camera flash to your photographer’s wish list. There are a few great options based on your budget.

50 MM 1.4: This lens is a must for someone wanting to take great portraits. It is a great lifestyle every day lenses. The price is manageable and won’t break the bank.

24 MM EFS 2.8: Is a great pocket lens that won’t break the bank but will utilize the full frame and take some great wider primeshots.

The Professional

Canon Mark 5D:  Any pro would love a new camera body but once you hit this level of photography the investment in a camera is significant.  I shoot with a 5D and love it. I have had it for about five years and it is going strong. They are sturdy and take beautiful, very high-resolution images. When you have a camera like this you need to make sure to upgrade your glass to follow suit!

Canon EF 24-70: Is a go-to lens for me. I have the Samsung version because it is more cost efficient but the Canon EF series is my dream lens. This is great for everyday lifestyle shooting.

Canon EF 85 MM: This is if you are looking for a more affordable portrait lens. It takes beautiful images and is great for lifestyle portraits.

Canon EF 70-200mm: This is almost a rite-of-passage lens for professional photographers. Once you have the EF 70-200 2.8 you have reached professional level. It was something I saved up for over a year before buying and it has been used for countless wedding and events.

Canon EF 100mm 2.8: This is an epic lens for detail shots! It is not necessary but worth having in your camera bag, especially if you do lots of nature or wedding photography. I love mine and even use it for portraits sometimes when I’m looking for a change of pace.

The Traveler

Go Pro: There are lots of travel recs, but if you’re looking for the perfect gift for a traveling photographer get a Go Pro! They likely already have an SLR and lenses, so up their game with the Go Pro. 

Lowepro Fastpack BP 250 AW II: A great gear bag is essential for traveling photographers. This backpack is a great bag for photographers on the road.

Budget-Friendly Gifts

SD Cards: San Disc Ultra Disc 32 GB or bigger. You can never have enough memory cards and after time they need to be swapped out, so you don’t lose images due to a corrupt card. These come in all sizes and price ranges but are affordable. Be sure to get one with a fast record speed.

Lowepro Passport Sling III: After years of going through bag after bag, this has always been my go to and fallback. It’s so easy to use and holds exactly what I need when shooting a wedding, traveling, or just enjoying some camera hobby time. The price point also is great for the quality!

 Small Tripod: There are lots of options for this so depending on your photographer’s needs pick one you think will be used the most. I have several and use the one I can use with MY SLR and iPhone the most.

Some but not all product links provided are Amazon Affiliate links*

Shopping for the Photographer in Your life

 

7 Ways to Ruin Your Family Photos in 2018

One thing I hear most from photography clients and friends alike this time of year is “I have no idea what to wear for our family photos!” I struggle myself finding the perfect combinations for my family, and I think we have all seen what a bad outfit can do to a family photo. However, with my 10+ years of family photography experience, I figured why not spread some my wisdom. It’s the busy family photography season, after all!

1. Patterns! Ugh, patterns …These can literally ruin some pictures so when in doubt just don’t do it! Stick with solid colors unless you have a color scheme and you are the only one in your family wearing a pattern. If you do want to wear a pattern, make sure your family is wearing solid colors WITH colors pulled from your top. Also, when wearing plaids make sure they match perfectly OR only one person is wearing plaid.

2. Too “matchy matchy” can definitely be a BAD thing … Depending on the backdrop or setting of your photos having the same colors on everyone can look strange. So make sure if you are going with the matching look that your venue is not busy. This works best in a park with open fields. Another tip for those who want everyone to match is to make sure the colors are the same, BUT let everyone wear a different top or dress, etc., that best fits their body and personality.

3. Not matching enough, just as bad …Okay, so yeah I’m contradicting myself a little bit BUT there is such a thing as not matching enough. Make sure you are all in the same color family and don’t have contrasting patterns or styles. If Mamma wants to be glitz and glam, make sure Daddy does not throw on jeans and white tee. You get the gist.

4. White wearers beware …So, lots of families like to wear white and yes, it can look good. BUT if you don’t have an experienced photographer it can go very wrong. White tends to get overblown and can absorb the natural colors around it, and sometimes this makes editing the right skin tones in a group photo very difficult.

5. DON’T forget to groom …This one seems self-explanatory but as a mom, sometimes things like having our nails painted or our hair trimmed can be hard to get done in time. Try your best to be camera ready when you arrive with hair, makeup and nails done the way you want to remember them forever. Make sure to bring a brush and hairspray with you, and some touchup makeup and lip-gloss to use throughout the shoot. Try to touch up as you move from spot to spot. Don’t be afraid to ask the photographer how your hair looks. Sometimes we get so caught up in getting the job done we need a reminder to make sure our clients are looking their best.

6. NO wrinkly shirts! …Things like half-tucked-in or wrinkled shirts can ruin a good image, so consider all that when pick out your outfits. If you know the material wrinkles quickly pick something else to wear. Photoshop can fix a wrinkle or two, but if you show up a hot mess there is not much we can do for you.

7. Don’t forget to consider your location …If you are shooting at a beach or in a city center, your wardrobe should reflect the setting. Don’t show up downtown with a beach vibe and don’t show up to a cotton field with your best urban threads — although glitz and glam in a corn or cotton field CAN be kind of fun. Also, when taking advantage of the outdoors, keep temperatures in mind — hard to smile when you are outside freezing in 28° weather wearing a sleeveless dress. Moral of the story: make sure you think about where you are taking the photos before deciding what to wear.

I could literally go on for days giving examples of mistakes I have seen over the years, but these seven should be a good start to making sure you are camera ready for your 2018 family photography session.

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6 Tips for Making the Most of Your Holiday Family Photos in 2018

When I was a full-time photographer, this time of year was always my busiest season. All the family “mini” and full sessions filled my nights and weekends from November through early December. Since I have the perspective of mother and photographer, sharing some of my holiday family photography wisdom with you all may enhance your experiences and encourage you to document this 2018 holiday season.

  1. Consider a full session: Mini sessions are great and affordable, BUT they are limited and sometimes can be a little too “holiday themed.”So consider spending the extra time and money for a full session. This way you can have a variety of images to choose from and end up with canvas-worthy photos to decorate your home and others to choose for a fabulous Christmas 2018 card. You will not regret the decision, I promise. The other thing to consider is mini sessions with kids are sometimes not long enough to get a photo of your family with everyone happy and looking in the direction of the camera.
  2. Take your family photos while you’re traveling: If your family plans on taking a holiday trip or visiting family in a new city or town this November or December, consider hiring a local photographer and taking your family photos during your trip. This will be different from your typical family photos and at the same time help preserve the good memories you make on the trip. Read more about taking photos when you travel here: Take Your Family Photos When You Travel
  3. Book ASAP: This is kind of a no brainer but if you want to use the photos for Christmas cards, book a sitting as soon as you can so you are not waiting on pins and needles for your photos to be edited and returned to you. Photographers are busy this time of year and while we understand you need these photos, we also have 20+ other shoots we are trying to edit and get out the door in time for Christmas cards. Also, on a side note, just asking for one is never as easy as it seems, so book in advance, and wait for your photos to be finished and delivered to you in the time frame you and your photographer decide on.
  4. Be Prepared with bribes: Before you arrive tell your children what they will get for doing a good job at the photo shoot. This can be anything you want — big, small  — but be prepared! Even if you think it will go, well plan on rewarding them for their good behavior. Photo shoots are not easy and if they know good behavior once a year gets them a new toy or a meal at their favorite restaurant, why not do it? Make sure to tell the photographer what the reward will be so the photographer can play along with the game.
  5. Try to enjoy yourself: I know this can be hard believe me, but try to have fun with the process. The best images I ever capture are the fun moments in between. Same goes for my own family photos, I always love the candid moments versus the posed images. Not many people are comfortable in front of the camera but know that if you just relax and be yourself it will show in the images.
  6. Make sure to take holiday photos every year: If you can swing a mini and full session of family members, make sure to take photos every year. You will be able to look back at how your family changes from year to year, and have those precious memories documented for a lifetime.

 

 

 

 

So get out there are schedule your 2018 sessions, and if you are in the Atlanta area consider contacting me LHM Photography via email.

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7 Tips for Photographing Your Kids on Halloween

It is the Eve of Halloween 2018 and my four-year-old is so excited to hit the streets on October 31stfor Trick or Treating. Every year I try to make sure I document the experience, but also take time to live in the moment and enjoy the time with my family. Here are some tips for making sure you capture the day in photographs, but also have time to focus on your children and enjoy all the fun moment a day like Halloween brings!

  1. Take Photos of them getting ready! Document the progress of their transformation. This will be fun for them to see just how much a little makeup or a wig can change their appearance.
  2. Make them pose once they’re all dressed and ready. This is important because as we all know, once they hit the ground running on Halloween there is no telling when you will get them still and intact enough to snap photos of them in their costume. This is also a good time to get siblings together for photos, or even set the camera timer for a family photo.
  3. Grab a group shot! If possible (this one can be hard), grab a shot of their Trick-or-Treating Crew before they set off for the night. It is fun to look back on photos of the kids as they grow year after year, especially if it is the same group of kids each year.

12132623_10101051570516763_8631584302903371492_o14939378_10101373885814323_6891081452096332027_o4. Snap some photos from behind. Grab a fun wide shot of the kids running up the block with their candy bags in tow. This just makes for a cute photo and something to look back on as the years pass.

5. Document Trick or Treating the first few houses. Take photos of them running up the streets knocking on doors, neighbors handing them candy, and all the fun details of Trick-or-Treating, but do it early in the night and then put the camera away. There are two reasons for this: one, the light will be best and two, you want to enjoy the moments with your child and it is hard to do that with a camera or cell phone in your face all night.

14889802_10101373886612723_439826767389286254_o6. Take a photo of them at the end of their night! This is sometimes the hardest one because after a long night of running around and candy they can be hard to wrangle, but snap post Trick-or-Treating photos so you can laugh a little at how the night weathered their look. Even if they are passed out in a wagon or crying because it is bedtime, snap that picture, be authentic and document life as it is. These moments pass so quickly and it will be fun to look back at them.

7. Take a photo of all the loot! My final tip is to pour all their candy out and take a photo of it! Again, this just helps document the experience and tell the story of the day. It will also be fun for the kids to look at with pride!

Remember to have fun and try not to focus too much on getting perfect images. The best photos come from documenting candid moments.

Six Tips for Taking Better Travel Photos of Your Kids

1. Lighting is key: This is true for any type of photography, whether it is on your phone or an SLR camera. Finding good light will make or break an image. In my opinion, natural light is the best, especially when traveling. The only time I would say otherwise is if you are in a dark or dimly lit location such as a restaurant or historic building. Then use your off-camera flash (attachment) and don’t point the light at your children directly; bounce it off the ceiling or wall for a more natural look.

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Pro Tip: If you do not have an off-camera flash you can take a white business card or
note card and use a rubber band to tie around your on-camera flash facing it up. This will bounce the light from the flash upward and is a very cheap alternative to an off-camera flash. The difference in your lighting will blow your mind!

FlashTrick

2. Rule of thirds: This is a basic photography (or artistic composition) rule that everyone should try to follow. Envision the image as a grid of three lines of three rectangles (some cameras even have the option to show a grid in your viewfinder). The focus or subject of the image should always be in two-thirds of the grid. See examples below:

RuelofThirds

3.  Don’t try TOO hard: The best photos are the ones where you capture the moment! Things like your children taking in an epic view, experiencing new food for the first time, and all the awesome moments of your travels and family adventures. Try not to pose them too often and just capture the magic as it happens. Sure, making sure the light and background are good is important, but once you have them where you want them, start snapping!

4. Get high and get low: Try different angles to shoot from. You will be surprised how different a photo will look when shot from up high or if you get down low (at the child’s level) and shoot. This will take your photos from typical to incredible with just one easy adjustment. Stand on a chair or ledge, sit down or even lie down on the ground.

5. Plan ahead and coordinate your outfits with the location: This is something I’ve learned over time. Make sure to scout or Internet stalk the places you plan on visiting. Identify where you want to take photos and make sure when you pack for your children that you are picking things that will vibe with the look of your location. This will also make you more prepared when you arrive. Having a game plan is key to taking great photos of your kids while traveling.

If you want a packing tip that will change your life, read our blog on packing cubes: HERE

6. Pay Attention to what’s behind them: When shooting make sure you are paying attention to what’s in the background behind your subject. If they are standing in front of a large pole, make sure it does not appear to be coming out of their head! On the beach, I’m always running into the problem of other people bending over in the background to pick up shells, no matter how early I wake up to take photos! So just be aware of everything in the picture and if you can adjust your angle or move to a better spot, then do it. There is nothing worse than an awesome picture of all four kids smiling only to see that it looks like they have a stop sign growing out of their heads!

There are so many more things you can do to take better photos, but these six simple tips will make an immediate impact on the quality of your family travel photography. Most importantly, enjoy your trip and snap away!

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