Hello all you Urbanites checking out our blog.  Today is DIY Tuesday.  But today we aren't talking about restoring an old dresser, making chalkboard paint, or making dresses out of t-shirts.  TODAY, is about family and child photography, a subject close to my heart.

So, we pretty much all have digital cameras now.  Digital has, by now, just about taken completely over.  That is a good thing, right?  It can be...and it can also lead to other issues.  Digital gives us instant feed back and photoshopping capabilities and the ability to shoot large to vast quantites of photos with never a worry or thought.  All great, right?  Well...the problem has become in our time that we often HAVE pictures, but the only place they can be displayed is on our hard drives.  So the second thing we have to do is get a select few PRINTED (developed) for ACTUAL home viewing. (For more help on what to do with those hordes of family photos, see my web site: meganevelyn.wix.com/BredlowStudios2)

WAIT, the "second thing"?

What comes first is actually taking the pictures.  And we are focusing today on how to take great basic, candid shots of the kids and the fam.


digital camera (any kind)
memory card
the right lighting
victims kids and/or other family members

So what is the first thing that anyone needs to know about candid shots?  To me, it is that
1) you need to have your camera ON your person and ready to go quite often to really be ready to "capture the moment"
2) be prepared with a minimum SD card storage size of 4G.  I can max out 4G in one evening EASY.  Even if you think that that is too large for you, just remember that there are alot of times when you will still have pictures from a previous shoot on your card and when you go to use it again- the LAST things you want to see is the "Memory Full" notice coming up just as Johnny is blowing bubbles and turning sommersaults.

After following just those two bits of advice, your chances will have greatly increased already.
But I have a few other basic tips that will increase the odds as well.

Lighting.  Your greast friend or greatest foe in picture taking.  I would say that if you are interested in indoors picture taking, then choose a room with nice window access and pay attention over the course of a day to when the light in that space is best.  Typically, that will be in the morning (maybe around 10am, depending on where you are) or the evening just before sunset (like 20 minutes before) because you are going to want a softer light.  And anytime you can manage it, the ideal light is going to be a softer, more diffused light- so what is soft, diffused light?

Soft, diffused light is less direct and harsh.  It leaves less shadow and the shadows it does moake are not so strongly defined.  Diffused means that instead of the light source shinning directly on the subject, in this case the sun, that there is something between the light source and the subject diffusing, or spreading out, the light cast over the subject.  in nature this would usually be the clouds.

So if you are doing an outdoor shoot, a cloudy day could be a great opportunity to take advantage of some great light.

But first, back to the indoor shooting.  Once you have observed when is the best time of day next to your window/light source then you can either
1) wait for the next opportunity to present its self with camera in hand at that particular time of day, OR
2) you can give the kids a bit of insentive to play in the chosen location at the chosen time by setting up somethng interesting for them to "discover" at just the right time.

Take a few shots and then review them to check if there is too much shadow on the faces of your subjects.  If there is too much shadow
1) try to turn your subject so that they are facing the light source more, OR
2) use a fill flash, or red eye flash with a dialed down flash stength.  If you have a compact digital with only one flash function and no way of decreasing the flash strength, try one finger covering over part of the flash and see what amount of finger-flash-covering works best to get the desired result.

Just be careful, no one wants over exposed, washed out looking pictures.  So be sure you don't just trade shadows for another problem.

That beign said, let's move on to outdoor shooting.
Same rules apply concerning lighting and flash, BUT how can we take good outdoor photos in bright sunlight?  Here are a few tips to help a bit in this area:
1) find some shade.  Under the branches of a tree you can sometimes find some great diffused light, just be careful not to only be adding a dapple shadow over the face of the subject.  The problem of a shadow CAN be helped to a degree if you use a flash, though.
2) Use an umbrella, or whatever else you may have and make your own shade.  A tent in the backyard to kids?
3) try, try, TRY again

It really takes practice to and observation to find just the right lighting, location, and amount of flash or no flash to take that perfect pic.

Hope these tips will help some of you out there to take better exposed indoor and outdoor candid photos.  So go have fun, practice, and keep trying!
OUTSIDE: with fill flash.  This gives a warm glow and takes some shadow away.
OUTSIDE: no fill flash
Bright sun, NO fill flash
Bright sun, with fill flash.  can = over exposure
Pieces of the Berlin Wall: picture taken on the shaded side for softer light
Subject in full sun, facing light.  Strong light is harsh and hard on the subject.
Next Tuesday DIY I'll talk about better focus and tack sharp photos!

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