Remember how I had a plan to be in photos with my children this year by having one on each of their birthdays’ … does one out of three count? Not really does it! So last week I wrote a note to my three children letting them know that the best present they could give me this year for Mother’s Day would be to have a photo taken with me. Pocket money has become a big deal in our house of late and so I think the thought of zero outlay for them made them readily agree.
No wrapping required … they gave me my present and I am beyond happy.
When I want to take a planned photo rather than an impromptu one, there is a bit of thought involved. Here is a bit about this photo …
Location. I like to try and have my photos taken in a place that is significant to us. We’ve been renovating our kitchen over the past fortnight and I’ve managed to turn the whole house and garden into a MESS … there is not a single uncluttered area so it was not an option to have the photo at home. At one of our favourite parks is this awesome building (you might remember it from Liana’s Christmas cards) and so I chose that as our backdrop.
Timing. The best light for taking a photo outside is near dawn or dusk when the light is golden and soft. Mornings are hectic and I had zero chance of being able to get everyone ready and out the door early so late afternoon was our only option. The boys are busy with sports most afternoons and so I set aside a time in my calender so that we had a plan to make it happen. If I’d chosen to take the photo inside my home, I would have had to think of the light at different times of the day in different rooms and plan accordingly. Check out the free lighting module if you want to know more about this.
My Camera. Obviously its easiest to hand your camera over to someone else to take the photo for you but I was doing this one on my own. I had my camera set up on a tripod and used the Interval Timer function. I set it to take two photos every 9 seconds … this gave me time to run into position and we had a few opportunities to move around a bit. Obviously there are many photos that are only good to be deleted; at one stage Quinn was strangling me with my scarf … but the interval timer is such a great option when you don’t have someone else there to take the photo.
On my Nikon D700 I had my aperture set at f/6.3 to ensure that we were all in focus (I often make a mistake of having a too large aperture and getting only one person “sharp”), shutter 1/320 and ISO 640. I could have reduced my ISO back to 200 but I wanted to make sure I could have a shutter speed comfortably over 1/250 even though we weren’t moving around but again it was just to be safe to get a nice sharp photo of us all. There were some cute ones of Quinn waving her hands around and with this shutter speed her hands remained in focus and not blurred in movement. Once I had focussed my camera I switched to manual focus so that it remained set.
Don’t be put off by all this talk … a portrait mode on your compact camera or DSLR will take a lovely photo too.
I had quickly reviewed my photos while we were there and I wasn’t certain I had “the shot” but Quinn was getting grumpy and Will was itching to get back to the park. I made a call to pack up while it was still “fun” rather than drag it out and turn them off doing this for me again. Even though this was my gift I shouted icecreams and a pack of AFL cards on the way home as a thanks for their cooperation. Hopefully they’ll remember that too next time we set out for photos! I got home with 54 photos and with any group shots there are ones that are great of all of us barr one … but I really like this one. Its me and my three lovelies. I’ve already had it printed!
Polishing. You guys know that we polish our photos … this one has a slight “edgy vintage” polish applied. I had purposefully set us in the bottom right corner of the photo using Rule of Thirds so I didn’t need to crop at all. This and the negative space give the photo a nice feel (IMHO). Consider using the Finishing Room if you have a special photo.
Happy Mother’s Day …
PS. To my husband that might read this … the kids have given me this present but I’d still really like a new handbag!!