You see them everywhere – amazing photos of children, their eyes glowing (almost alien-like in color), their skin pristine and the background appropriately blurred. "Professional" photographers have gotten really good at one thing – Photoshop.
Aside from the amazing effects applied to most photos (Instagram, etc.) when you see a photo of your child or someone else's that really captivates you it's probably for a completely different reason – the photo speaks of who that child IS and not WHAT THEY LOOK LIKE.
I have huge pictures of my kids hanging in my home – 20x30, 24x36 – rarely anything smaller than a 16x20. I LOVE kid pics and I LOVE them large. Confession – I'm too frugal to pay anyone else and go through the stress of a professional photo session. All the prints on my walls are from my own, oldish, digital camera.
Here's the secret - THE BEST PHOTOS are snapped when outfits don't coordinate and you're not consumed by the stress of the perfect shot. Yesterday I took the kids to breakfast before Axel's Yoga class and started taking their pics against the red walls of Cheeky Monkey (Dale/Selby area of St. Paul). They turned out to be some of my favorites – not because my kids looked particularly darling yesterday but because their personality radiates through the images.
Here's what I saw:
They're not perfect, the images, the boys – their skin. I did touch them up a bit but not much. I tried to leave them as raw as possible.
A few things that sharpened these pictures that you may want to try at home: I cleaned up the walls (nicks and white spots), I cleaned up some of the powdered sugar (using the bandaid tool in Photoshop especially the stuff in the foreground of the picture that would pull focus from the boys), I removed a scratch from Oliver's head (not because I cared that he had one, but because I was photographing not WHAT HE LOOKED LIKE THAT DAY but HOW HE REACTED TO POWDERED SUGAR).
I spent maybe 3 minutes on each image for (what I see to be) wonderful results. Not all of these are wall-worthy, some of them are slightly blurred (low shutter speed) and the lighting is funky with such a bright window next to us, but most of them are decent quality and most of all STRESS AND COST FREE.
Willing to drop $1000+ for pics of your kiddos? You might get something a little better than my old Nikon. Need a push to take your own? HERE'S ME URGING YOU TO DO SO!
We weren't the only one's in the restaurant yesterday – it was packed. My only tip with public photography is shoot candidly, don't ask for poses and in order to get 10 good shots (perhaps 1 great one) you'll need at least 200 to choose from. Start clicking.
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