Snap Happy

Baltimore Oct 2009

I love family photographs. I will be honest I’m not one of the those parents that drags the kids to the photo studio at every milestone. Part of it is because I can’t afford to pay what they are asking and the other part is I don’t feel they capture the true nature of children (at least mine). The photos are usually stage, kids are dressed in their “Sunday Best” and a lot of the time the stress of the whole event is too much for them to deal with. Because of this Lex and Loki have only been in a studio a small number of times. This is of course minus their in hospital photo shoots.

Lex’s first was when he was 18 months about, we had photos taken at Picture People. They did a fine job, most of the work I feel was done by Mad Dog and I since we did select his outfits (jean and a white t-shirt and then his Superman onesie) and we managed to keep his attention long enough to capture a few good photos. They forced him into a cowboy hat and some other foolishness which didn’t do anything by make him look like one for their store display models. We bought 5 photographs and not huge framed displays which are outrageously priced. That was at 18 months. He wouldn’t visit a studio again until he was 23 months just shy of his second birthday. A friend of mine from college, Tom Walker of  Tom Walker Portraits was starting up his business and was looking for children for photo sessions. We would get a few studio shots and he would have work for his portfolio. Worked out great, since he was shooting at a studio in Worcester. Tom took some beautiful shots of Lex which I adore and are proudly displayed in our apartment.

Christmas Eve 2009

Loki’s one and only time under studio lights came again thanks to Tom and his portfolio. Shortly after his second son was born, and not very long after Lex’s shoot with him, Tom held another photo session for infants. Since Loki was just about 2 months old she was included in this session. The photographs Tom took of Loki are gorgeous. Her blue eyes, which we’re happy to say she still has today pierced the lens.

Maine July 2010

I have thought about scheduling a photo session with one of the many friends who are photographers or even taking them to a studio such as Picture People to have the pictures taken, but priority of things we need over photographs aways wins out. Since our first trip to Baltimore in October 2009, Loki was 10 months and Lex 32 months, I started to take photos of them together. This first short session on the bed in our hotel room on the morning of the first day of Baltimore Comic-Con. The photo is a perfect depiction of their early time together. Lex loved to help with Loki and having her sit in this lap was a big deal. He is the big brother to his small protégée. Most of the photos in the collection are captured in our apartement or in places we consider an extensions of our home. I think of it as a collection, with each group of photos from the different sessions being a series in the collection. I probably have the completely backwards. Each photo has been transitioned to a grayscale with a little manipulation to correct balance or hot spots.

The majority of the photos are taken in our old blue leather chair. I like it for a number of reason most importantly it contains them, while still allowing them

September 2010

to be themselves and be silly. The chair is situated near a large window in our apartment which gets great light when the blinds are open. At some point I think I’ll pull together a large poster collage of the best photos, but I’m going to continue with this project as long as the kids will help me out. For now I get little complaints, but I’m sure they’ll be coming sooner rather than later. At some point I think I will get a small lighting kit and I might even see if the kids would be game for a little dress up and set fun – I think with their imaginations I shouldn’t have a problem getting the into the whole idea. I’m sure Lex will take over a art director and Loki well – Loki will be Loki.

I don’t think I’m a pro and I know people who take much better pictures than me, but I do manage to get a few good shots. I am very proud of my work and am complete touched when people tell me they like my photographs. Recently my brother asked me about my camera – someone at work asked what type of camera I had, because I took such beautiful photos. Kevin asked me what I have (Canon Rebel XS – I usually have a EF 50mm f/1.8 lens on it) but then said he didn’t want to just tell her the type of camera I had, because he knew it wasn’t just the camera it was my eye and the time I take to get the photo I want. He recognizes that the years of photographs I’ve taken, possibly my degree in film making and the joy I place in my photographs are what makes a good photo (hell I know the 50mm lens and the Rebel helps too) not just the camera. I had taken plenty of great photos with my last camera and I will with my next camera.

November 2010

If you’re going to try this (creating a series/collection of your kids) for yourself I would say:

  • Don’t worry about your camera – you don’t need top of the line to get great results. Just learn how to use the camera you have – once you get more and more comfortable shooting you can always drop a load on something expensive.
  • Natural Light! It’s the best thing. If I’m inside I try to put the kids near a window and open the blinds/curtains so I can get as much natural light on on them as possible.
  • Don’t think every picture it going to perfect. Kids don’t want to work with you all the time, so work with their mood. If you’re shooting digital who cares how many crappy photos you take (I have a lot myself)- just shoot! The delete button doesn’t cost you anything.
  • The more you shoot the better your eye will become and the more they’ll get use to the camera. Before Lex and Loki would attack the camera when it came out, now they only attack it when I’ve taken their picture. They understand that they can see it right away (if they only knew how long we had to wait sometimes). Other than that I can snap away all day and they don’t care.
  • Keep it simple. A chair. A kid. A kid in a chair – you have yourself a picture.
  • If you can’t coordinate outfits between kids – GO BLACK & WHITE! I have never been able to coordinate out fits with Lex and Loki. I will have the perfect

    This Morning

    outfit for one and can’t find something for the other. In the Christmas Eve photo 2009, Lex was in a burgundy red plaid shirt and Loki was in fuchsia pink and blue  and in November 2010 for our Christmas card shoot I still hadn’t found anything for Lex to wear. I put him in a button down shirt that completely didn’t match Loki’s dress and poof! Black and White!

  • Don’t pose them. Don’t even try it never works. Personally I find my very stages photos are terrible. I think I work best (and the kids too) when I put them in a space and let them just do. I talk to them – “Give Loki a hug” or “Make a silly face”. They take it from there. More often than not I loose control of the shoot, but I’ve usually managed to get a few great picture before that happens.
  • Most importantly – Have FUN! If I start to get stressed about shooting the kids, I walk away from it. If they’re tired or I haven’t eaten things can go bad very quickly and it’s no fun. There is always time to try again and the second time around you might get something even better.

I’m off to finish some downloads and editing. I promise to share some shots again soon.



~ by Cute Fan Girl on January 16, 2011.

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