During the current pandemic, my heart is broken over all of the sessions that we are having to reschedule and/or cancel so I am putting this post together to help you totally rock your DIY photo session. After all, the only bad photos are the ones we DON’T take so I genuinely encourage every single one of you to grab your camera-whatever kind of camera you have-and put these tips to the test! If you’re looking to grab a better camera right now, I can’t suggest this one enough. I started my photography career with a Canon Rebel and I literally sware by them and suggest them to anyone who asks. If you’re looking to really jump in, this lens is the way to go. I have it and use it ALL THE TIME and you can’t beat the price.
The most important thing I want to convey is, above all, give yourself grace and set realistic expectations. Scroll through Pinterest or my blog for the ‘vibe’ that you’re going for and screenshot photos for inspiration to refer to during your session. I also strongly encourage you to spread your session out over a few days to try and avoid any stress. For example, if you’re photographing a newborn, set aside a day or two for portraits of just the baby. Spend another day getting in front of the camera for some portraits of you and the baby and your spouse and the baby. Then take another day to grab family photos and photos of your baby with their siblings if they have any. However you decide to split it up, the moral of the story is to not overwhelm yourself. You’ve totally got this and we have the gift of time right now so don’t hesitate to use it. Now that THAT’S out of the way-let’s get to work. Know that I’m here cheering for you in the front row and if you need anything at all-just ask. I’m an open book.
First things first, if you have a DSLR and have absolutely no idea where to begin-no worries, I got ya-start here. I’ll walk you through everything you need to know to get to know your camera-consider it like a first date 😀
If you’re shooting with an iPhone, you’re not alone! I shoot with my iPhone every single day and I’m going to get candid and even admit to y’all that I have iPhone images framed and hanging in my house. It’s true. Phones are small but mighty devices and I have four simple steps that’ll have you shooting like a regular iPhoneographer in no time. I’ve also got a set of mobile presets that will make your iPhone photos next level. Grab them here and cut your editing time in half. I’ve also unlocked my ‘path to preset perfection’ bootcamp that until now, was exclusive to my preset customers but in light of the pandemic, I’m opening it up for you ALL to take advantage. While it covers the best way to edit using the presets, it is also 100% applicable to anyone editing with Lightroom mobile.
Now, with your desired device powered on and your creative juices flowing, let’s get down to what MAKES a great photo.
Light: Listen. 90% of a great photo is great light. Yup, it’s true. My personal favorite kind of light is natural indoor light but there is gorgeous light all around you…you just have to know how to find it. I’ve written posts on finding both the best indoor + outdoor light so wherever you are shooting, hop to those posts and once you find your dreamiest light, you’ll be 90% ready to go!
Posing: This is the time to refer to those photos that you took a screenshot of earlier. Get inspired one image at a time..slow and steady wins the race! I rarely do a ton of posing during my sessions but there is one secret I always keep in mind-snuggle in and always stay connected via touch. Yes, it’s going to feel like you’re sitting on top of your family members but that just means it’s going to look amazing in the photos. Wrap your arms around one another, cuddle in cheek to cheek, hold hands, give a bear hug…so long as your subjects are all connected by touch your photos are going to look polished and professional. Bonus tip: photograph your subjects doing, not posing. More on that here.
Play and Get Creative: One of the best parts about our digital world in regard to photography is that we have so much room for error. We can snap a photo, view it immediately, and see what adjustments need to be made. This enables us to get more creative than ever. Experiment with angles, crops, play with different textures and add movement to make your photos unique to you and the ‘vibe’ that you’re after. Pro tip: take one pose and photograph it several different ways-snap it from a different angle, a closer or wider crop, add or remove a texture, and add some playful movement. Suddenly one pose turns into 6 different ‘poses.’ Work smarter, not harder.
Get in the Photos: It took me years to get comfortable doing this but it is one of the best things I ever did for my personal photography. I have TONS of photos with my kids now that I wouldn’t have had otherwise and the photos are priceless to me. Priceless. It’s not nearly as scary as you might think so just trust me on this. Plus, I’m covering it step by step right here so you have no excuse!
Break a Few Rules: We live in a world where we are expected to do everything perfectly and to only share perfect images on our blogs or the gram but I want you to stop stressing about doing it all perfectly and just have fun! Break a few rules, in fact..after all, rules were made to be broken anyway.
Basic Photo Edit: So you’ve found the perfect patch of light. You’ve posed perfectly, photographed from several different angles, hopped in a few photos yourself and broke some photography ‘rules.’ Now you’re ready to edit. The word itself sounds intimidating but you’ve made it this far-don’t give up now! Plus, a few basic edits are all you really need to make your photos come to life. If you’re shooting primarily on your iPhone, you’ve probably already grabbed my mobile editing presets, but if you haven’t, they’re right here ready and waiting for ya. If you’re shooting with a DSLR, these basic edits are all you need to take your photos from good to great.
Place an Order: If you ask me, no session, whether you shot it yourself or hired a professional, is complete without ordering your favorites. Sure, it’s fun to upload the photos to our social accounts and watch the ‘likes’ pile up, but 5 years from now, those likes won’t mean a thing so please, please, PLEASE take the time to order the gorgeous photos you poured so much time into taking. At the time of this publication, my favorite lab, www.mpix.com, is still accepting orders and of course I’ve walked through the entire order process for you so grab a mug of something warm and get to it!
Cheers, friend! Take a deep breath + give yourself a hug. I know it was tough but you DID IT! Right now photo sessions are NOT essential but we’d be lying if we said they didn’t matter. Our lives are changing and our kids are growing whether we’re quarantined or not and it would be a shame if we came out of this pandemic with no photos to document the covid-19 chapter. Remember, photos are supposed to be FUN whether you’re taking them yourself or with a hired professional so keep that in the front of your mind. Enjoy it, get creative, get silly, and give yourself grace. I’m cheering you on from the sidelines and can’t wait to see all of your sweet smiling faces when this is all over!
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