Archive for March, 2009

A Fun Senior Session

March 4, 2009

We had a great morning doing some studio shots, then hit the pavement for some urban outdoor photos. Thanks for being such a wonderful model V!

I thought this was a good subject to kick off the “Ask Marie” entries. You can email your photography related questions to me and I will post your answer on the blog. Questions will remain confidential and no question is a dumb question!! I want to help you learn and take better snapshots, so send your emails to info@mariephamphotography.com at any time!

So back to the topic…At so many of my sessions, I’m asked what I do to draw the viewer right into the eyes of the subject, how I capture the emotion through their eyes, and how I get them to “sparkle”. A lot of my images just draw the focus right to the eyes. First, I do this because I really do think the eyes tell all. If I’m capturing their true emotion or a natural expression, then the eyes have to be the first thing you see. Here are some things to consider when taking your snapshots:

1. Don’t be afraid of close-ups…fill the frame with their face! You can still draw people into the eyes when you pull back further away in an image, but closeups are great for capturing an emotion, especially when the surroundings are irrelevant. Composition (where on the image the eyes are positioned) also plays a part, but that is a different lesson!

2. Make sure you are getting light into the eyes! Do you notice the little white spots – those are catchlights – they bring life into the eyes and give them a little sparkle. The more light that enters the eyes, the more details of the iris and colors of the iris are shown. You can do this by having the child face a light source – a window or open doorway are the best ways indoors. Outside you want to make sure there aren’t shadows on the face, while still keeping them from squinting in the bright sun.

3. Get eye contact. Don’t get me wrong, many beautiful images capture emotion without direct eye contact. But if eye contact is what you are looking for, then WAIT for it. Be patient and be ready. It can be as simple as waiting for them to look up at you, calling their name, making a noise, or whatever you choose. If you are trying to get a natural expression, then avoid the “say cheese” approach. Keeping distractions to a minimum also helps.

4. If you can control where the focus lands with your camera settings, always focus on the inside corner of an eye. This will keep the eyes sharp instead of soft or fuzzy. Keeping your camera steady can also help, too.