Let’s talk about pictures and kids. When I’m flipping through magazines or scrolling through Pinterest, I always see the cutest pictures of kids and babies. They’re smiling. The light bounces off their little chubby faces perfectly and they look like they’re having so much fun. I want pictures like those.
Although I’ve had my cute little DSLR camera for a few years now, I still consider myself a beginner. Up until last year, I was still keeping my camera on automatic and using it as a point and shoot only. I tried the manual setting a couple of times, but it scared me. I was getting photos like these:
Whenever I’m taking “serious” pictures for pattern shots, or guest posts, or contests, I usually take around 150-200 pictures and every once in awhile, I come out with a few descent photos like the ones below which I loved. Let me assure you, these have absolutely nothing to do with my ability as a photographer. I think I just take so many pictures that the probability of getting a few good ones is in my favor. 🙂
I love beautiful photography, and it’s always been frustrating that I couldn’t figure out why some days my pics would come out great and other days they were not so lovely. I don’t have time to take classes or search through tons of online tutorials to “get it”. I needed something that broke everything down in easy to understand concepts.
Then Style That Kid by Alida from Alida Makes stepped in. This book is a fantastic photography styling primer with a little bit of camera 101 thrown in to get you on the right track.
Turns out, this was exactly what I needed. When Alida invited me to review her new book, I thought it was going to be a book about styling photo shoots only, like what to wear, props, etc. I was so far off the mark. She does talk about those things, but she’s added so much more. Here are two shots from her book below. The first one shows you what a little styling can do to change a picture. While the first one is cute, the second one really stands out and looks more professional. Which picture would you expect to see in a catalog? The second one, right?
This is a practice pic I took with my boys after reading her book. It was taken in one of the darkest rooms in our house which just happens to be my sewing room. Look! No flash or icky shadows!
The best tips for me were the ones on how to work with your models. Here’s the thing. Once my kids got to about age 6 or 7, I noticed that their natural ease in front of the camera started to dwindle and became more mechanical. They were no longer uninhibited which made taking pictures more difficult.
My girls are a great example. They’re almost twelve now, so they’re not exactly thrilled when mommy asks for “more pictures”. The sighs, “It’s so hot outside.”, and “Mommy, how much longers?” can make for a long picture day. I’d pretty much figured that I’d have to stop taking pictures of them until they got through this phase.
I was going to work with my younger boys for the book review, but when I read Alida’s section on working with children, I thought I’d try her suggestions with my girls.
Here’s the before picture of the girls when I first made these Liesel Tops (Peek-a-Boo Patterns). It was outside, hot, and the sun was way too bright. The after picture is inside (which I NEVER would have done before) and you can finally *see* what you’re looking at without feeling like you have to squint your eyes because of the glare, LOL.
With just a few minor adjustments, it all came together beautifully. We had so much fun. There were no tears or bored looks, and I was so excited to get to my computer to see everything. For the first time, I wasn’t hoping we got a couple of good shots. I was confident that we had lots of them.
All of these pictures were SOOC (Straight out of the camera) shots, except for the one that says “edited”. There was such a gentle ease about the time we spent together. I’m REALLY looking forward to more practice time.
My Thoughts: This book has a little bit of something for everyone. Even if you are not a blogger, but want to learn how to set up and take great pictures of your kids (or other people’s kids), Style That Kid is a great place to start. It’s a quick read with lots of spring boards to get you movin’ in the right direction.
For more information about the book and to purchase your own copy, follow this link.
Alida is also giving away 5 copies of the book, so enter the giveaway below for your chance to win. (If you buy the book and win the giveaway, she’ll refund your money. 🙂 )