October is Best Month for Photo Ops

The fall is almost my favorite season. Wearing boots and watching football while drinking beer pulls up a close second to wearing flip flops and watching the waves while drinking Chardonnay. Even in second place, fall is beautiful and awesome and the absolute best time to get pictures of your kids. They are still a bit sun-kissed from all the outdoor play, Mother Nature is providing you with a spectacular backdrop and the back to school frenzy has died down enough you can probably take time to look for your camera.

Here are some simple reminders/tips to make the experience less painful:

Timing: 
The worst time to take outdoor photos is when the sun is high in the sky. Subjects tend to get shadows under their eyes and nose.
Early morning or evening is best, unless you get a slightly overcast day when the sunlight diffuses through the clouds.
Evening sounds good to me because after taking pictures of my kids, I usually need to head right to the wine cooler.

 

 

Background:
Textured backgrounds are best, but avoid ones which are too busy. The focus should be on the kids — shocker … in our parenting generation, isn’t the focus ALWAYS on the kids?

 

Attire:
Keep it simple. Even the cutest holiday sweater can muck up a shot. Choose solids and neutrals, especially with an autumnal colorful backdrop.

 

 

Distance:
Worry less about the zoom and more about taking lots of shots. You can crop later, especially if you aren’t planning on blowing up to a large size. Kids are always on the move, give them some room to show off their personality. With a camera in their face, they are much less likely to relax and give you the look you are going for. One of my sons starts grinning like Jack Nicholson’s Joker every time I even go near my camera.

 

 

Don’t wait:
If all your kids are going to be together, at a game, apple picking or just playing in the yard, clear your memory card and get ready to shoot. If you wait for the perfect setting and wardrobe, if you want their hair to be perfect and their faces clean, better to call in an expert. It will be December 1st before you know it. Cross this one off your list now.

Find the beauty in the imperfect shot:
Some of my absolute favorite pictures of my kids from when they were small are the ones at the time I thought were terrible. These are the ones where they don’t look magazine striking, but they look so much like them (do you know what I mean?) they bring tears to my eyes. Embrace their unique imperfections.

Take advantage of technology:
You can clear up acne, darken a skin tone or blur a misplaced prop with just a few clicks. If you are a mac user, iPhoto is excellent for basic editing. Don’t be afraid to play with it.

Finally, keep your sense of humor. Christmas 2003, I was trying to get the perfect picture of my two little girls, 3 and 2 years old. Unbelievably, they weren’t cooperating on the cold beach with the wind, the sand and the seagulls to distract them. I snapped … really snapped — and I’m not referring to taking pics. Larry and I still refer to that day as the moment I lost my mind. Since then, while I still care about putting out a good card representative of where the kids are in their lives, I get the joke. No one will ever see the beauty in your kids you see in them every day — no matter how great the lighting.

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Author: Karen Latimer

Karen is a Family Doctor, mom of five and founder of Tips From Town.

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