I've wanted to start a little "Photo Friday" weekly post for a while now. I get the most emails asking for photo tips and thought this would be a good way to share a little bit each week.
And now that we're back in the swing of summer (after being away most of the last month), I thought I'd kick it off today with some easy summer-style shots that I snapped this week. This little backyard style summer photo session that I did with my boys took all of 15 minutes, cost $5 (see below!), and now that we've done watermelon, I'm itching to repeat it with ice cream cones instead...!
My oldest Evan (7 in a week...!) has LOVED watermelon since he was a baby. When he was three he was a little bit "tempermental" to be honest (HE WAS 3 AFTER ALL!). Watermelon was the only thing I could think of at the time to give him when I wanted to quickly snap a few 'three year old' photos in our backyard (right before his birthday - and while i had a VERY new newborn Noah at home).
I loved the way those pics turned out almost 4 years ago - and that was when our "watermelon series" of photos was born.
& Here's the thing... It's SO EASY. $3 on a quarter watermelon to slice up, throw the kids in bathing suits (mine were already in theirs when they came home from camp), and head out into your backyard, or any outdoor area where you have a little shade. And in the interest of keeping it real I'm not going to lie -- I also bribed each of my kids with a $1 to participate in these photos ;)) It's either earn an extra $1 and take the pics or lose a $1 from your weekly allowance if you don't!
I used my Canon 5D Mark ii and Canon 50mm 1.2L lens on these. I'm partial to Av mode when I'm shooting my boys and they are inevitably moving quickly and hopping around. I kept my aperture around 2.2 and 2.5 and my ISO varied from 100 to 400 when I shot these.
Here are my best tips for replicating some easy summer-style shots like these...
Keep it natural and fun with jokes. Potty humor, knock knock jokes, crazy sounds & noises -- whatever makes your kids laugh right now is the best bet. I usually arrange my boys in the general area/vicinity that I want them (I positioned them with their backs to the sun here - the time of day was about 4:30pm), tell them to look in my direction, and start firing off any of the crazy humor that I have stored up.
Vary your angles. I brought an old towel out with me and sat and lay on the ground so that I could "shoot up" for an angled look on a lot of these.
But don't feel married to any one angle when you're shooting - switch it up.
And if you're shooting your children (plural), make sure to snap a few of each on their own as well.
Don't be afraid to shoot rapid fire. Like burst mode consecutive shots. It's one of the best things about an SLR & I love how a few snaps in a sequence will tell a little story sometimes.
& Vary your focus. I shoot with a single point focus - always have. I wasn't using a huge depth of field (on purpose) when I shot these... I love a nice bokeh and the Canon 50mm 1.2L produces on the best. So I was taking advantage of that. Most of my focus points in my shots of both boys was on Noah (my little one) because he is shorter and was closer to me when I was shooting up -- so I knew that Evan wouldn't be in focus in every shot of the two of them. And that was intentional. But when I shot just N by himself I also varied the focal point on some of the shots - between his hands holding the watermelon...
...and his eyes.
Please please please, make sure to let me know what else you'd love to see included on "Photo Friday"....
...I'll try my best.