Halloween is almost here! That season where you get to dress your kids up in amazingly adorable costumes, then try and chase them down the street in their sugar-spiked frenzy, in the dark, and take overexposed, blurry photos that doesn’t reflect the glory of all the hard work you put into getting that costume together! D’oh!
We totally feel your pain. And this year, we wanted to share some tips to photograph your children in their Halloween duds so that you can have beautiful photos that match your memories!
1. Ditch your pop-up flash
If your SLR camera has a pop-up flash and you’re shooting on automatic mode, it will likely just wash out the details and “spooky lighting” effect that Halloween is all about. If you’re still using your camera in Automatic Mode, turn your camera to P mode. This will suppress the pop up flash.
When you don’t have your flash available, it’s important to look for other sources of light. A well-lit porch can be a great place to get some live-action trick or treating photos.
2. Raise your ISO
A higher ISO number makes your camera more sensitive to the existing light and will enable you to shoot without a flash in lower light conditions. Start with your ISO at 800 at dusk and keep raising it as it gets darker and darker. Different cameras have different ISO capabilities but most can shoot comfortably at at least ISO 800 or 1600.
3. Don’t wait until it’s dark outside to shoot!
Our favorite thing to do with our kiddos here at Mamas with Cameras is to do an early round of “Photo Trick or Treating”, going out at about 4:30pm before it’s dark in order to get photos of the kids while it’s still light out. There are always a few people home, and it gets them warmed up before the main event!
If you can’t shoot early on Halloween, there’s no law against getting your kids dressed up the weekend before and just shooting some photos on your own front stoop!
When you’re shooting in low natural light, being able to choose a lower f-stop will allow you to harness more natural light. If you have a prime lens (a 50mm f/1.8 for example), try putting your camera in Av or A (aperture priority mode) and experiment with how your photos turn out at f/2.8 or lower.
5. Photographing Jack-o-Lanterns
With your little raccoons all pumped up and running around, it can be a fun exercise to take a photo of a nice still subject for a change! You can experiment with your own Jack-o-Lantern before halloween. The key thing here will be to balance the exposure so you see the face and still catch some outside details.
-Timing is key: shoot your Jack-o-lantern at dusk for better lighting
-Put an extra candle inside your pumpkin to provide more light
-Think about extra light sources outside your Jack-o-Lantern: can you place it close to a pathway light? Can you add some extra light, like a string of holiday lights or even a glow stick to add some light to the outside of the pumpkin?
-Flip your camera to manual mode (M) and set your shutter speed to 1/40 of a second. Set your white balance (WB) to incandescent (the picture of the lightbulb). Put your focal point on the edge of one of the eyes and lower your f-stop until your exposure meter in your viewfinder is at zero. If you’re not sure about your meter, then take a photo and if it’s too dark, lower your f-stop, and if it’s too bright raise it up. (We like to call this “goldilocks” metering-too hot, too cold, just right!) You can experiment with exposures that show more of the face, and more of the pumpkin shapes
Happy Shooting! We hope to see some awesome photos from all of you!
If you live in the Seattle area and you (or your Mama buddies) want to learn more practical, hands-on settings and tips to improve your photography on your DSLR and mirrorless cameras, and can attend one of our Seattle area workshops, you can register for Introduction to Digital Photography (Saturday, November 14) or our Using Manual (M) Mode to take Great Natural Light Photos (Saturday, December 12)!
When we want photos that truly capture our kids, sometimes an iPhone just doesn’t cut it. If you’re starting to think of the perfect Mother’s Day gift for YOURSELF or the mama in your life, our Introduction to Digital Photography Workshop or our Taking Great Natural Light Photos in Manual (M) Mode Workshop (our next level up) are 3.5 hour afternoon workshops that will return a lifetime of memorable photographs! What mom doesn’t want great photos of the precious and fleeting moments of their kids as they grow up?
May 9th 1:00-4:30pm INTRODUCTION TO DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
Did you buy a digital SLR camera but have no idea how to use it outside of the automatic setting? Does the idea of reading an instruction manual make you nauseous? Are you interested in taking amazing pictures of your kids, but feel intimidated by technology? We cut through technical jargon and teach you what you need to know to take great photographs of your kids.
In a few short hours, we’ll ground you in the basic definitions and controls on your digital SLR camera so that your photos of your child’s big milestones can be as beautiful and moving as the moments themselves.
June 20th 1-4:40pm USING MANUAL (M) MODE TO TAKE GREAT NATURAL LIGHT PHOTOS
Have you started to explore the different shooting modes in your camera, but are stumped in very low light or backlight situations? Have you shied away from shooting in Manual Mode (M) because it seems too overwhelming? Have you been experimenting with shooting in Manual and have no idea why your pictures are blurry or over/under-exposed?
This workshop is designed for Mamas who have basic familiarity with their digital SLRs and who have been shooting in the semi-automatic modes (P, A/Av and S/Tv mode), and are ready to take control of all kinds of different lighting situations in the fun-filled world of shooting in manual (M) mode!
Manual mode is great for tricky lighting situations (shooting in backlight, low natural light), and for times when the semi-automatic modes are not giving you the style of picture that you’re looking for.
The workshop will cover:
-A quick review of the exposure triangle (aperture, shutter, ISO) and focusing
-What the heck your meter (the -2/+2 scale in your viewfinder that moves all the time) is trying to tell you
-How to know which metering mode you should be in
-Exposing for different lighting situations (with lots of hands-on practice!!)
-How to use light to maximize the creative impact of your images- inside or out
To apply the concepts, we will be having hands-on shooting exercises and live models to practice on!
The small class size and women-only environment will ensure that you have plenty of opportunities to ask questions of the workshop leaders and have a fun, community learning experience! You won’t believe how far you’ll advance in just one afternoon!
Workshop space is limited and is on a first come, first serve basis.
Make sure to join us for our Mamas With Cameras events in July! Summer is a great time to play with your camera and capture those timeless joys of summer!
Saturday, July 26thth 1-4:30pm: INTRODUCTION TO DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY
Did you buy a digital SLR camera but have no idea how to use it outside of the automatic setting? Does the idea of reading an instruction manual make you nauseous? Are you interested in taking amazing pictures of your kids, but feel a bit intimidated by technology?
In a few short hours, we’ll ground you in the basic definitions and controls on your digital SLR camera so that your photos of your child’s big milestones can be as beautiful and moving as the moments themselves. Register here!
Monday, July 28th 6:30-8:30pm: July Meetup- Urban Photo Walk
Meet at 6:30pm in front of Cupcake Royale in Ballard (a bit earlier if you need to “carbo-load”! :-).) This is a hands-on meet up so bring your SLR and let’s get walking! We’ll explore downtown Ballard and play with light, composition and finding cool urban backgrounds.
Hope to see you this month!
This is a reminder that our free monthly meet up this month will be June 16th, 6:30pm at Golden Gardens. Let’s go enjoy the outdoors! Bring your DSLR camera and get some hands-on practice on the beach at Golden Gardens! We’ll meet at the bathhouse and walk to the beach from there. This is a great opportunity to shoot and practice in the ever-changing summer light. Let us know if you are bringing a little one with you, we’d love to have a few models!
-On June 28th, take the next LEAP in your photography and join our well-loved Manual (M) mode workshop! Lots of hands -on practice and small group setting will help answer your questions and take you to that next level of understanding how to use your camera in all kinds of light.
-On July 26th we’ll be offering our next Introduction to Digital Photography workshop! If you bought a digital SLR camera and still have no idea how to use it outside the automatic mode then this workshop is a great place to start using your camera to get timeless, memorable photos of your children!
We hope to see you this summer!
We are so excited for our next meetup coming up on Monday, April 28th at Mosaic Coffeehouse in Wallingford (6:30-8:30pm)
Let’s face it, we don’t always have our “fancy cameras” on hand when we need them! Sometimes we are so weighed down with kids and gear that all we have are our camera phones. Camera phones can be a great way to have a small moment of creativity in a busy day! Come to our April Meetup where Cecile Tinder of Ava Kai Photography will be presenting on ways to harness the power of your camera phone (iPhone or Android) and Instagram to get more beautiful, artistic photos of your kids. Check out her Instagram profile here!
Remember to bring a print of or upload your “Portraits with Color” assignment and your “Mama’s in the Picture” portrait exchange (though you have till Mother’s Day for the portrait exchange!)
Also coming up for May, two very fun ways to celebrate being a Mama:
1)Saturday, May 3rd 11am-7pm: “Through the Eyes of a Mother” Photography exhibit
Come check out the Mamas With Cameras “Through the Eyes of a Mother” photography exhibit at Cave B Winery in Woodinville, 11am-7pm on Saturday May 3rd! The exhibit will showcase our very own Mamas, documenting their lives and the lives of their kids through their cameras. This is sure to be an inspiring and fun event! Oh and did I mention we’re drinking wine?! Wine and beautiful photography, two great things that are perfect together!
2) Saturday May 10th, 1:30pm-5pm: Introduction to Digital Photography Workshop
If exhibiting your photos sounds intimidating because you’re new to your camera, remember we all started somewhere! Come check out our next INTRODUCTION TO DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP on the Saturday of Mother’s Day weekend. Or if you’re an alum, please spread the word to your mama friends!
What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than by giving yourself (or your favorite new mom) the gift of de-mystifying your “fancy” camera! Our next Introduction to Digital Photography is coming up the afternoon of May 10th, and registration is open! We hope you can join us for a fun Mother’s Day weekend treat.
We had so much fun at last night’s meet up with Nicole from Orange Anchor Photography on the subject of COLOR! The big take away, you don’t TAKE photos with color, you make them! You do this by thinking about the location and coordinating the colors and accessories on your subject to be at the opposite end of the color wheel from your back drop (aka a magneta dress against green grass). Use a color wheel to determine contrast.
Vivid color in photos is achieved by being thoughtful about the backdrop and outfit coordination, but also about being intentional about how you touch up the photos in post-processing. Nicole did a demonstration in Photoshop to show how she increases the contrast in her images, draws the eye to the center, and makes colors pop.
This month we have two photo challenges: one from Nicole’s presentation and one from us!
Photo Challenge #1) Portrait with COLOR! Urban and Natural
Take a portrait of your kid(s) where they pop out of the frame! Think about your backdrop and dress them in colors that contrast with that backdrop. If you have young ones, let them choose whatever outrageous outfit they’d like to wear. If you are thinking of a portrait for a wall in your house, think about colors and accents in the room and how you can pick them up with the clothing choice. Shoot in both a natural environment (like a park) and an urban location to get practice. Bonus: play with Photoshop Elements (you can download a free trial) or other post-processing software that you may have (Lightroom, Aperture, etc) and aim to make really make the subject pop.
Photo Challenge #2) Mama’s in the picture!
In celebration of Mother’s Day coming up in May, we challenge you to use the month of April to try and get a portrait of YOU with your kids. Use this board to arrange swaps with other mamas. Bonus here: Yes take your typical photo of “here I am smiling at the camera with my kids” but then also give us a peek at your life as a mom with some lifestyle shots of you in “action”! (Heck, use elements from challenge #1 to style your shoot! Make it fun for you! And an excuse to buy some cute boots ;-). )
OUR NEXT MEETUP: Mark Your Calendars for April 28th at Mosaic Coffeehouse in Wallingford (6:30pm)
Let’s face it, we don’t always have our “fancy cameras” on hand when we need them! Sometimes we are so weighed down with kids and gear that all we have are our camera phones. Camera phones can be a great way to have a small moment of creativity in a busy day! Come to our April Meetup where Cecile Tinder of Ava Kai Photography will be presenting on ways to harness the power of your camera phone (iPhone or Android) and Instagram to get more beautiful, artistic photos of your kids.
OUR NEXT INTRODUCTION TO DIGITAL PHOTOGRAPHY WORKSHOP: Mother’s Day Weekend!
What better way to celebrate Mother’s Day than by giving yourself (or your favorite new mom) the gift of de-mystifying your “fancy” camera! Our next Introduction to Digital Photography is coming up on May 10th, and registration is open! We hope you can join us for a fun Mother’s Day weekend treat. Drop your hints now :-)!
Happy shooting, everyone!
Join us for our March Meetup on Monday March 24th where we’ll be treated to a presentation by Nicole Bichsel of Orange Anchor Photography that is all about bringing vibrant color to your family photos! Take a look at her website and you will see that her portfolio is filled with gorgeous family photos that are positively EXPLODING with radiant color! She will share her tips and tricks from everything from clothing and scene choice to final editing touches to get her signature colorful look!
Also don’t forget to bring your “golden hour” photo assignment (shots taken in the last hour before sunset) from last month’s meet up! Or upload 2 or 3 of your photos for us to project from our laptop:
Date: Monday March 24
Location: Mosaic Coffeehouse, Wallingford (4401 2nd Ave NE, Seattle)
Finally, for those of you who are thinking about registering for one of o
ur upcoming workshops, we have our next Introduction to Digital Photography coming up this Saturday, and then we’ll be offering it again for Mother’s Day:
Join us for our first Monday Night Meetup of the year with our special guest speaker, Melissa Timme of Timme Photo! She is the newly crowned winner of the 2014 Red Tricycle Totally Awesome Photographer Award.
Backgrounds can make or break our photos. Melissa is going to show us how to create fun, affordable backgrounds for your photos using simple tools like wrapping paper, fabric, or even how to create a dramatic black background using just your shoe mount flash! We’re excited to hear her creative ideas!
If you’ve taken any photos or bought any gear recently that you’d like to share in the second half of the meeting, bring it along!
Date: January 27th
Time: 6:30pm- 8:30pm
Location: Mosaic Coffee House in Wallingford
Also, here is an updated list of our upcoming workshops:
Hope to see you all soon!
Mary & Wenmei