Monday, November 2, 2009

Child's Play

Or at least photograph your kid playing in it

If you are anything like me you occasionally stumble across a good idea, simple in its design, and think: why didn't I think of that?!  A few years ago this happened to me. I was getting into portraiture and kept over-thinking the set up to my shots. Where could I bring this person? Is there cool graffiti nearby? Is that park down the street still open??

I found a trick that anyone can use that renders candid portraits (my favorite), natural lighting, a fun time photographing, interesting elements and a relaxed subject/victim.

The concept is that you literally go out and play, or at least watch your subject do it.  For the above portrait, I went out apple picking with my family.  At one point in the day, my daughter got tired and leaned on my leg (that's the mass under her right shoulder). I snapped the pic, a little post work and there is a portrait. I think there is now a copy of it in every one of my family member's homes. In addition, I got a few other nice snap shots. I posted just a couple below.

So if you want to do this yourself to grab a portrait or two, you first need to decide what activity you want to engage your subjects in. Though it does lend itself quite obviously to child portraits, it is easy to use for anyone. Bring the camera along with dad fishing, mom gardening, brother refinishing his classic car. It is a great way to add elements to your photos,  (i.e. the fly fishing rod, flowers in the garden, or the candy red Mustang).

And for kids it's a no-brainer.  Go to a park, put them in a power wheels, follow them while on roller blades for the first time....and on and on. If you really want to have fun and capture some great shots, dress them up in big boots and let them play in mud puddles or let them go crazy outside with finger paint.

The portrait at top of post: converted to sepia tone, blurred the edges and increased contrast. Looks great as a print and who would have know it was on an apple-picking expedition? It's just a simple yet sweet candid portrait. No crazy lighting set up, just the pop-up flash for fill.

Simple. Easy. Fun.  Now go play.

No comments: