Sneak peek from Alex and Dan's Squaw Valley wedding in the most picturesque meadow ever!
Sneak peek from Kristen and Dan's Oakland wedding!
I'm excited to share some of my favorite pictures from Jenni and Steven's San Francisco wedding day! They were married at San Francisco City Hall and held their reception at Stern Grove. I met them at the Clerck's Office and we all walked upstairs together with Jenni, Steven and their daughter Brooklyn leading the way.
This is maybe my favorite picture from the whole day. So many big smiles and laughs :)
They held their reception a few hours later at the Trocadero House at Stern Grove, where they had a beautiful outdoor setup with games for the kids and pizza for all! The pies were catered by Pizza Politana.
Today I'm going to share some tips with you on how to take better pictures of your kids. Although of course some cameras are better than others, this advice applies to all cameras. With a little more intention and patience you'll be taking better pictures in no time!
Get On Their Level
Squat, sit down on the floor or lay down on the floor--whatever you have to do to get on their level. Why does this work? Most pictures are taken from the same perspective: an adult standing and holding a camera in front of themselves. It’s the same way we see the world as we walk around each day. Using a different perspective shows the viewer what they don’t normally see.
It adds another layer of interest when children are the subject because it's similar to their perspective, like the photo below. I rested my camera on the table and shot from there, basically the same perspective he had from the opposite side.
Set up your composition, then wait
Instead of trying to get your kids to smile for each picture, take a different approach. Compose the shot you want and then wait for something to happen. As photographers, we call this something a “moment.”
In the photo above, I wanted to make a picture that they could always remember their back yard by. The path leading out from the house, the weathered tricycle, the picnic table and their garden in the background. So I framed it and waited for a moment where they were all drawing and laughing at the same time. In the photo below, I wanted to emphasize how high the kid was swinging with the help of his dad. I got low, composed the shot and wait for him to swing into it.
Let’s say you want to photograph your son eating breakfast because he’s become very independent and loves to pour his own cereal and milk. Bring your camera up and look at the four corners to make sure you have included all the elements that tell the story: the cereal box, milk, bowl, spoon and your son. Use your intuition to anticipate moments like the look of total concentration on his face or spilled milk. If you wait too long you’ll miss it--that's where practice comes in...and burst mode.
Use burst mode
Burst mode is super helpful for all kinds of motion. As a people photographer, I use burst mode to be sure that while I’m photographing a moment I’m getting shots where all the factors come together. You can have almost all of the factors--the cereal, milk, bowl and spoon--but if your son is blinking, the picture is not quite there. By using burst mode, you’re making up for the in-between facial expressions or body movements that detract from an image.
Let’s say you want a good action shot of pouring cereal. Start when he picks up the box and keep shooting until he puts it down. Why? Anything could happen! He could drop the box, he could miss the bowl, he could knock the bowl over with the box--you’re a parent, you know all of these things!
For photo below, there are a few photos before and after this one that were *almost* what I wanted. This one shot had everything: limbs totally splayed, sand mid-air and hands in an easy-to-read position (hands can have in-between moments too!)
Kids repeat EVERYTHING
If you do miss a moment, don’t fret. Kids are quite likely to repeat their behaviors. Be patient, set up your composition and wait for them to start again. If your kid just learned to climb stairs, they’re probably going to go up and down at least ten times before they’re satisfied. Take advantage of the opportunity to fine-tune your composition and wait for the perfect facial expression.
In the photo above, I noticed the kid would cross his steps and kick out his foot every so often and then laugh out loud. I knew he would keep doing it, so I kept shooting trying to get the perfect combination of his kick and smile.
Advanced concept: compose a shot before the subject enters the scene
Maybe your daughter is obsessed with the dog and she likes to crawl over to him and lay on his shoulder throughout the day. Get ahead of her and set up your composition. Then, shoot from the time she enters the frame through when she does her best “gentle” pet on the head and the dog licks her hand. Again, use your intuition. You know both your kid and the dog quite well so if you’re in the right mindset you will learn how to predict behaviors and pre-compose your pictures.
For the photo above, I noticed that because of the time of day the kid's shadow was really strong and thought it would be a cool element. He had already slid and jumped off the slide a few times, so I knew he would do it again. I focused on the end of the slide and approximated where I thought his shadow would be to leave room for it on the left.
I hope this was helpful! If it was, please share it with someone you know who loves to photograph their children!
Every year it feels like the holidays are so far away and then all of a sudden you’re wearing your warmest sweater and eating all things pumpkin. One minute you’re gearing up for back to school, then next you’re trying to figure out which iPhone photo is “good enough” for your holiday cards.
You can always wait for a better time, to be less busy or whatever arbitrary “I’ll do it when _____.” Meanwhile, your kids are growing like crazy and you’re not in any pictures WITH them. Mini sessions are perfect for families who are looking for stress-free, casual family pictures.
They are the easiest family session you can do
You don’t need to pick a location out of thin air or do any back and forth to plan your session. All you need to do is sign up for a time at one of our favorite locations and show up. Which, let’s face it, is enough work with a family!
We're opening booking to the public on Tuesday, September 5
Priority booking goes to our email list over this long weekend, however, you can still join the list here to get first dibs.
Why are we booking so early?
As a wedding photographer, my weekend availability is limited through the end of the year. Mini family sessions are a way for me to make sure everyone has an opportunity to be photographed before the holidays--which is the most in demand time for family photography.
As a bonus for signing up early, I’m gifting 25 holiday cards designed by graphic designer Do-Hee Kim!
I'm excited to share my latest Makers shoot with Jenny Lemons! If you don't know about her colorful, joy-filled designs stop what you're doing and check out her wonderful work! I visited Jennie at her studio in San Francisco to photograph the behind-the-scenes of her clothing business.
The inspiration behind my project documenting creative makers at work?
Pure curiosity! I've always been intrigued by people who make things. As a photographer, most of what I do is digital. I love prints, but the reality is digital makes up the vast majority of most of our work. Over the years I've become more and more inspired by things that are hand made.
It also gives me great joy to root on other small business owners and creatives who put their work out into the world. Without further ado, here are some of my favorite images from our shoot!
I'm obsessed with workspaces so of course I had to share this fun packaging station!
Today I'm excited to share my favorite images from Gabby and Dan's UC Berkeley Botanical Gardens wedding! We started their beautiful day with their first look.
Real talk: I've been wanting to photograph a wedding in this beautiful Redwood grove for years! I mean, look at the light coming through the trees!
And there was lots of dance, which I'm always a fan of!
Here are some of my favorite images from Tracy and Will's Stern Grove Clubhouse wedding! These two planned a relaxed evening that was all about enjoying the natural beauty of Stern Grove along with some great food!
In order to spend as much time with guests as possible, they started their day with a first look.
And then it was time for their ceremony under the redwoods.
We took a quick break for sunset photos and the light was SO GOOD!