Tips for photographing children

Freelensing: Technique and Tips

I’m super excited to talk about the creative technique of freelensing this week! It's one of my absolute favourite ways to great creative behind the lens. I came across this technique years ago when I began to dabble in creative photography, and it has stuck with me.

The very first lens I purchased, beyond my kit lens, was a Nikkor 50mm 1.4. Over time, as I expanded my lens collection, my 50mm started to collect dust. I contemplated selling it until I discovered that I could freelens with it. Freelensing is called the “poor man’s tilt-shift” because it captures images with a similar look. When a photographer captures a picture with a lens attached to the camera body, she can control the depth of field or focal plane only through aperture choice. Freelensing disrupts the plane of focus because the lens is detached from the camera body. This technique results in a thin line of focus that is not necessarily only horizontal and extreme blur throughout the rest of the image.

Here are some tips to help you get freelensing:

1. Start with a 50mm

As mentioned, I use my Nikkor 50mm 1.4 when freelensing. You can freelens with most lenses; however, the 50mm is said to be one of the easiest lenses to use when photographing with this technique. This lens is also smaller, and it's manageable to handhold up to the body of your camera. The weight of larger glass could be more difficult.

ISO 400, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

ISO 400, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

2. Set exposure prior to detaching your lens

Before you detach your lens from your camera body set your exposure using the widest aperture for your lens, for example, when I use my 50mm 1.4 to freelens I set my aperture to 1.4 then balance my exposure settings to attain a well-exposed image. Since I’ll be shooting very wide open, I usually have a lower ISO and faster shutter speed.

ISO 100, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

ISO 100, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

3. Detach your lens

Once you detach your lens, Nikon users will need to tape or hold open the aperture ring. Nikon lenses automatically close down the aperture (lens opening) when a lens is detached from a camera body. I have a little piece of paper that I use to stick into the aperture slot to carefully force and hold the aperture open while I’m freelensing. Some photographers purchase older lenses specifically for freelensing and alter the lens so that the aperture ring permanently stays open. I haven’t done this with my lens because from time to time, I still like a fully functioning 50mm. Canon users don’t have to worry about forcing open the aperture ring when detaching the lens from the camera.

ISO 800, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/2000SS

ISO 800, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/2000SS

4. Set focus on your lens to infinity

You will not be able to use autofocus once your lens is removed from your camera. You can prefocus your lens before you detach it from your camera body; however, if you or your subject moves your focus will be off. So I like to and suggest you set the focus on your lens to infinity. To achieve focus when freelensing, you’ll want to move closer or farther away from your subject while moving the lens slightly from side to side or up and down.

ISO 400, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

ISO 400, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

5. Hold your lens close to your camera but leave it unattached

The art of freelensing is capturing an image while your lens is detached from the camera body. You will hold your lens very close to the camera body and with slight movements of the lens left to right, or up or down, you’ll be able to achieve a thin slice of focus. The trick here is to remember that the movements of your lens should be very slight.

I strongly recommend you use a neck-strap to secure your camera to your body. You’ll be holding your camera body with one hand while holding your lens with the other. If you accidentally let go of your camera body, then it’ll be secured to your neck with the strap instead of crashing to the ground. Do not let go of your lens or it’ll fall.

Due to the fact that your lens is not attached to your camera body it is possible and likely to get light leaking in and hitting your sensor. It does depend on your angle to the light in the scene, as well as how close or far away your lens is to your camera body, but it’s fun to experiment.

If you twist or turn your lens significantly or pull it away from your camera body, it is also possible to create some fun vignetting so don't be afraid to experiment a bit.

ISO 800, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/400SS

ISO 800, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/400SS

6. Use Live View

Acquiring focus when freelensing is not easy. It takes practise and a lot of patience. When I first started freelensing I practised on flowers all the time. This way, I could experiment with twisting and turning my lens and identifying how to attain different focus planes. In the end, don’t dismay if the focus is not sharp. I think that’s a beautiful part of freelensing. Images that are soft in focus can be breathtaking and dreamy, so embrace the blur!

ISO 200, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/2000SS

ISO 200, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/2000SS

7. Be very careful

Freelensing should be done at your discretion. With your lens detached from your camera body, there is the potential for dust and other particles to end up on your sensor. I have a second and older camera body that I use when freelensing, but I am still always very cautious about where I’m freelensing. I would never take too big of a chance and freelens in conditions that may damage my camera sensor. Accidents can happen so be cautious when using this technique.

ISO 500, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

ISO 500, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

8. Try reverse freelensing

Are you a macro lover? My eldest daughter adores macro photography and reverse freelensing is her absolute favourite technique. I’ll often find her laying down on a forest floor capturing the micro-world or up close and personal with a bug. The steps to reverse freelens are the same as above, except you will need to turn your lens around. The result of turning your lens around and photographing is stunning. You’ll capture a gorgeous macro scene surrounded by incredible bokeh blur.

ISO 500, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/160SS

ISO 500, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/160SS

Freelensing is an absolutely gorgeous creative technique but it does take some practice so don't dismay if it doesn’t go well the first time you give it a try. Overall, have fun with the creative process and remember to be very cautious when trying out this technique.

Simplify the Frame

I embrace simplicity in my images. For the most part, I enjoy simple frames that are free from clutter and what I think are distractions. There are many photographers, especially documentary photographers, that infuse themselves beautifully within a scene capturing every little detail as a means to help tell a story. My style is much simpler than that. However, is my environment free from clutter or what I view as possible distractions? Absolutely not! There are a few techniques I use which help me create simplicity within my images. Here are those tips: 

1. Shoot from above

Shooting from above, or bird’s eye view, is one of the easiest ways a photographer can simplify the frame. Top-down images can exclude a lot of external environment and can help isolate a detail or moment. The closer you are to your subject, the less context in the frame and the less potential for distractions.

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250SS

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250SS

2. Fill the frame

Filling the frame is similar to shooting from above. However, this concept is not about the angle in which you capture your subject; rather it's about moving close to and photographing only your subject. You want to fill your camera frame with only the intended subject. In these types of images, the background and environment are often excluded from the image. This is a beautiful way in which a photographer can isolate a single details within an image or create a stunning simple portrait.  

ISO 800, 105mm, f3, 1/3200SS

ISO 800, 105mm, f3, 1/3200SS

3. Pull your subject away from a background

The closer your subject is to a background, the more in focus your background will be, especially if you are not shooting at a wide aperture. Pulling your subject away from a background helps the details in a background blur more. This helps isolate your subject when focus is set to him or her and simplifies the frame.

ISO 800, 105,,m 2.8f, 1/2500SS

ISO 800, 105,,m 2.8f, 1/2500SS

4. Shoot with a wide aperture or freelens

For those who have a solid understanding of aperture and depth of field this point probably goes without saying; anytime a photographer chooses to use a large aperture the smaller the plane of focus. Images taken with a large aperture (2.8 or lower) will have more blur, which simplifies an image, as humans tend to ignore areas within an image that are not in focus. Images that are captured with a small aperture (f4 or higher) are likely to have more in focus within the frame, which often results in less simplicity.

When you freelens an image, there is a tiny slice of focus. This is also another good way in which to blur out potential background distractions and simplify a frame.

ISO 100, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

ISO 100, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

5. Use an object or creative effect to block a distraction

Composing your image in a way that blocks distractions is a fun exercise in observation and creativity. When composing your image, look around your scene to determine if there are elements you can use to hide potential distractions or use in a way that simplifies the frame.

In the image below, to the right of the frame, is my daughter’s closet. Her clothes and toys were visible in the frame until I used the bokeh from a handheld chandelier lampshade to cover those distractions.

ISO 1000, 35mm, 2.2f, 1/200SS

ISO 1000, 35mm, 2.2f, 1/200SS

6. Don’t be afraid to use post processing tools

Post-processing is powerful and can help a photographer execute their vision for an image. It's a good idea to become comfortable with the tools in image processing programs like Lightroom and Photoshop. The clone stamp tool is one of my favourite post-processing tools. This tool can help me eliminate potential distractions and simplify my image.

The image on the left is straight out of the camera. I didn’t love the tree on the left of my frame, as I found it pulled my eye away from my subject. So I decided to clone it out. This tweak resulted in a simpler image, in my opinion, with less distraction.

ISO 800, 105mm, 2.8f, 1/2000SS SOOC

ISO 800, 105mm, 2.8f, 1/2000SS SOOC

ISO 800, 105mm, 1/2000SS Edited

ISO 800, 105mm, 1/2000SS Edited

If simplicity is your style I highly recommend the above suggestions in order to eliminate possible distractions in your scenes. Give them a try! I’m certain you’ll find a favourite!

Summer Food-The Sensational Summer Photography Series: Part 3

Summer fun comes in all forms, from play, through adventure, through delicious and mouthwatering treats, snacks, and meals. Only recently have I begun to incorporate food as a theme into my summer captures and I wish I had started capturing the deliciousness of summer earlier. I adore those childhood moments when a watermelon slice becomes a smile, the sticky melt from a popsicle runs down a little arm, or little fingers squish together a s’more, oozing out all that marshmallow and chocolate goodness.

Here is some inspiration and tips for you as you go about capturing all the delicious food goodness that comes with summer living!

1. Be ready

At my house, summer treats either melt very fast, are ferociously devoured at an incredible rate of speed, or both! When I want to photograph my children and food, I make sure I’m prepared. I always have a plan on how I want to capture the scene before I even pass over that watermelon slice. With my settings already dialed in and my camera in one hand, I only then release that snack into those little hands and wide as saucer eyes. I know I won’t have long to capture what I want, so I work fast, and being prepared and ready helps with this.

ISO 100, 35mm, 3.2f, 1/1000SS

ISO 100, 35mm, 3.2f, 1/1000SS

2. Try different perspectives

This summer, I know I'm going to work on mixing up my perspectives when photographing my children and their food moments! Food is food. Sometimes one watermelon looks like the next to me, as does one popsicle. To add variety, I need to change up my perspectives. Try photographing food straight on, from above, from below, up close and from far away. This variance in view will add uniqueness into your summer food images while capturing those childhood summer memories you don't want to miss.

ISO 400, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/500SS

ISO 400, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/500SS

3. Focus on the food

How about making food the focus of the image? The talented @this_chaotic_life created the stunning image featured below, and it is a perfect example of making food the focus in an image. In this featured image, @this_chaotic_life has used a shallow depth of field. This perfectly isolates the ice cream cone. The gorgeous flare frames the cone nicely, and the creativity in the flare draws beautiful attention to the sweet treat and all the precious drippy details.

You can find Meredith and more of her creative work on Instagram @this_chaotic_life.

ISO 80, 50mm, 1.8f, 1/400SS

ISO 80, 50mm, 1.8f, 1/400SS

4. Focus on the activity

We camp in our trailer almost all summer long so hot dogs over the fire, marshmallow roasts and picnics are commonplace for my family. This summer, I want to capture these events often because as commonplace as they are, they hold wonderful memories of family time fun.

ISO 800, 35mm, 3.2f, 1/400SS

ISO 800, 35mm, 3.2f, 1/400SS

Incorporating food into your summer-themed images is a delicious and fun way in which you can document your summer memories. When photographing your summer food memories be ready with your camera before that snack is up for grabs. Also, don't be afraid to incorporate different perspectives and angles while capturing food moments.

Enjoy the deliciousness of summer! Be sure to tag #thephotographersnotebook on Instagram too!

Next week I'm sharing tips on how you can best capture your summer adventures! You won't want to miss Part 4 of The Sensational Summer Photography Series! Talk to you then!

Tweens and Teens: 9 Tips for Photographing Older Children

With summer approaching very fast I’ll soon have my children all to myself all day long and I’m super happy about that! With our busy school season schedules it sometimes feels like I hardly see my children, especially my almost teenager and preteen. So I’m looking forward to some down time over the summer and I know I’ll certainly take advantage of the time we have together to capture some, or perhaps a lot, of images! But capturing preteens and teens can sometimes be a challenge. As my children grow they become increasingly opinionated about my camera. For those of you with preteens, teens and older children here are a few tips that make it easier on my children and myself when it comes to photographs that I know will be helpful to you.

1. Aim to capture a relaxed portrait

I love a good portrait however for the most part my teens are not interested in dressing up in stylish outfits and posing in the forest in pretty light with beautiful smiles. This sounds like torture for both of us. My approach to portraiture is much more relaxed these days. When we’re out and about if I’m able to snap a quick cooperative or even unknown relaxed portrait then I do so otherwise I don’t push for it. I’m also okay with lack of eye contact or a portrait that incorporates a moment of fun or play. I rarely ask for a pose or give direction. I always want to choose genuine expressions and authenticity over stiff and forced smiles.

ISO 400, 125mm, 2.8f, 1/500SS

ISO 400, 125mm, 2.8f, 1/500SS

2. Take on a lifestyle approach

My main goal when capturing my children is to capture them in the moment preserving little memories. The same is for my teens. I want to remember moments of play and childhood so I’m not necessarily looking for the perfect set up. Instead, I want moments in time that trigger fun and playful memories.

ISO 100, 35mm, 2.2f, 1/2500SS

ISO 100, 35mm, 2.2f, 1/2500SS

3. Use a longer lens

I’m partial to long lenses anyway but I find the use of a longer lens valuable when I’m photographing my teens. Maintaining distance between myself and my teens allows for them to feel more independent and they don’t have a camera in their face. I find this increases authenticity as they get to be themselves while I go about capturing their moments.

ISO 200, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/500SS

ISO 200, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/500SS

4. Be ready

Even when I do have the cooperation of my teens I find their interest in my camera is limited so I’m ready with settings all dialled in before I start capturing a scene. I don’t want to bore or annoy them as I change and play around with settings. I know their attention spans for my camera won’t last that long.  

ISO 100, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/400SS

ISO 100, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/400SS

5. Incorporate their ideas into a photo shoot

Occasionally I’ll suggest a photo shoot to my teens and ask them how they’d like for me to capture the idea. They are really good at coming up with ideas and are typically excited and cooperative when I’m photographing their ideas.

ISO 500, 35mm, f4, 1/1600SS

ISO 500, 35mm, f4, 1/1600SS

6. Capture what they love

Preteens have opinions about what they like to do.  I find my preteens are more likely to participate with my camera if they are involved in something they enjoy doing. My daughter is a super star soccer player and her passion is soccer. She was more than willing to pose for this image because it was about her love of soccer.

ISO 1000, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/800SS

ISO 1000, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/800SS

7. Make it fun

We all know our children best and know what they like and don’t like. My daughter was happy to have this image taken of her because she was enjoying swinging back and forth in the hammock. The moment was fun for her too.

ISO 400, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/640SS

ISO 400, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/640SS

8. Always ask permission

There are two parts to this point for me.  First, I always ask permission before capturing my children.  I might say something as simple as, “I’m going to bring my camera along on our walk for a few photos,” or “Mind if I take a few pictures of you throwing rocks?” I rarely get a “no” if I forewarn my teens that my camera is around and I intend on capturing images.  Second, before I post anything on social media I ask permission or let them know what I’ll be posting.  My children are all over the internet and as they become increasingly private about their lives and understand that what I post might be seen by their peers, teachers, coaches and even strangers they have opinions. I want to be respectful of that.

ISO 100, 35mm, 3.5f, 1/2000SS

ISO 100, 35mm, 3.5f, 1/2000SS

9. Take no for an answer

Everyone likes cooperation but that’s not always the case especially with teens.  Their opinion matters and if they are not in the mood or say no to my camera I put it away.  No questions asked.  After all, I really want them to agree to my camera the next time around.  

ISO 100, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

ISO 100, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/1000SS

Do you have any other tips for capturing tweens or teens? Let me know by posting in the blog comments below! I hope with the summer you’ll have lots of opportunities to capture your older children!

Easter-3 Must Capture Perspectives

In my home Easter is a fun time! My children always request Easter egg decorating as an activity this time of year. They literally sit for hours perfecting their egg masterpieces while I snap images on my camera. After awhile though I begin to realize I’ve taken the same image over and over again just with a different egg. Ha, ha! Okay, I better mix things up! In situations like this where my children are still and engaged in an activity I like to add variety to my images by changing my perspective. This allows me to get several different captures out of a single photo shoot.

1. Eye Level

This is certainly the most traditional perspective when capturing an image. This straight on, at eye level, capture is a must have. You can also try for variety in this perspective by capturing different facial expressions and maybe an image or two with eye contact as well.

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250 SS

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250 SS

2. Bird’s eye view

I really love this point of view. This is certainly a perspective that us parents can all relate to as we often view our children from this view point. Whenever I see images captured from above a child I find I’m filled with that parental feeling of nurturing.

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250 SS

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250 SS

One way you can add variety within this perspective is to capture the bird’s eye view point from in front of but also from behind your subject.

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250 SS

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250 SS

3. Details

Details are beautiful but so easily overlooked. I am making a more conscious effort to capture the details around me. You can certainly vary how you capture your details as well and use various different perspectives. Also, don’t be afraid to shoot at a wide aperture which will draw attention to your subject and blur out your background.

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250 SS

ISO 1250, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250 SS

There! All done! Now I have at least 4 or more Instagram worthy images ready to be posted! That sounds like a win in my books! Happy Easter friends! I hope you have some fun and relaxation planned with your family!


all content and images © Gina Yeo Photography, 2019




7 Must Capture Spring Images

Now that winter is over, so says the calendar. (I’m choosing to ignore the snow that remains and is all too slowly melting away). I’m ready to capture all things spring! I always enjoy some inspiration so here are a few of my very favourite spring elements to incorporate into all my images.

1. Outdoor Adventures

I think winter is beautiful. I adore the fluffy white snow and sleepy frozen landscape but it gets cold here, very cold, often so cold it’s hazardous to venture outside for any longer than a few minutes so come spring we embrace our outdoor adventures enthusiastically. I wager a guess that, like me, you have been heading out into nature more. I love going for walks along our city pathways, venturing into the woods and parks, playing down by the river and stopping in at the park. These adventures all make for fantastic opportunities to capture everyday moments of childhood in a genuine and authentic way.

ISO 200, 35mm, f5, 1/1000SS

ISO 200, 35mm, f5, 1/1000SS

2. All Things Flowering

With spring comes new life. I’ve already seen green grass sprouting up through the thawing winter earth so I know it won’t be long now and the flowers will begin to bloom. Fields of flowering weeds, dandelions and flowering trees all begin to blossom over the next few months. I adore infusing the colour spring flowers have to offer both into my child images and landscape images.

ISO 400, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/2500SS

ISO 400, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/2500SS

3. New life

Spring is about new life. I’m certainly partial to the earthy smell of moist soil and green growth and I enjoy watching my children nurture tiny seedlings that will eventually be transplanted outdoors but for now need tender care and attention.

ISO 800, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250SS

ISO 800, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/250SS

4. Bugs and Baby Animals

I don’t know about your children but mine adore bugs. Wiggly, squishy, fast, slow, slimy, hopping…all are excitedly scooped up and gently played with. I treasure these childhood moments because there’s so much joy found in such a simple everyday moment.

When my children were a little younger we used to visit a local farm around the Easter season. I have many capture of them petting the baby goats and holding tiny baby chicks. All wonderful sentimental moments that I cherish to this day.

ISO 800, 105mm, 4f, 1/800SS

ISO 800, 105mm, 4f, 1/800SS

5. Weather

Spring is truly about the full four seasons for us. Snow, rain, fog, sun we get it all. I enjoy the variety these weather elements offer and aim to incorporate weather into my spring images from both outside and inside.

ISO 400, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/4000

ISO 400, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/4000

ISO 320, 35mm, 2.2f, 1/320SS

ISO 320, 35mm, 2.2f, 1/320SS

6. Spring Vacation

Our spring vacations can range from sun and beach to snow and ice and somewhere in between. Holidays are always inspiring and I want to capture all the images all the time. Outside of everyday routine I always find myself inspired by scenes and the newness of my surroundings.

ISO 400, 16mm, 10f, 1/320SS

ISO 400, 16mm, 10f, 1/320SS

7. Colour

Winter where I live is either white and pretty or dried brown bland so I fully embrace the colours of spring. The brighter the better! I love to capture nature’s beautiful colours but I also embrace colourful clothing and accessories too! I find beautiful colour so refreshing and rejuvenated after a long white colourless winter.

ISO 640, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/1250SS

ISO 640, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/1250SS

Have you picked yourself up a Photographer’s Notebook yet? Take 5 minutes or so to brainstorm some spring themed images after reading this post! Jot down your ideas for images you can capture and be inspired to capture all the beautiful moments spring offers because this season often moves on in the blink of an eye! Happy spring friends!


4 Tips to Capture Fun-Filled Outdoor Images

Today’s blog post is incredibly exciting because I get to introduce the first featured artist here at The Photographer’s Notebook. I couldn’t be more thrilled to introduce Jillian Baudry who is a photographer residing in the south of France. She truly captures the most stunning images of her daughter and family in beautiful and colourful ways! Her use of light is both breathtaking and inspiring! I know you will enjoy what she has to say so without further ado lets dive into Jillian’s expertise on capturing fun-filled outdoor images!


Featured Photographer Post By: Jillian Baudry

Whatever the weather, our little family is at it's happiest outdoors and there's nothing I love more than being able to capture those adventures with my camera! Here are a few tips I've picked up along the way to make our outdoor time fun, avoid meltdowns and return home with images I love.

1. Plan a fun activity

I discovered early on that little ones don't have much patience for sitting still and posing! My little girl is constantly on the move and it can be a challenge to slow her down enough to be able to take some shots. With this in mind, when we go outside and I intend to take photos, I plan a fun activity. Something such as collecting shells, flying a kite, or throwing sticks in the river not only means she enjoys her time outside, but it also keeps her occupied and in one area for long enough to let me take some shots. She's now learned to associate my camera with having fun outdoors rather than standing and posing for boring photos, so it's a win-win !  We are creating happy memories at the same time and after all, aren't these the moments we all want to record, the reason why so many of us picked up the camera in the first place? Activities don't have to be complicated or costly. There are so many things you can come up with. It can even be something as simple as examining a pine cone for really young children, anything that slows them down a little bit and means they don't feel uncomfortable in front of the camera. 

ISO 500, 20mm, 4f, 1/2500SS

ISO 500, 20mm, 4f, 1/2500SS

2. Move around

I rarely shoot posed images and I don't direct my subjects, but the scene as it appears right in front of me isn't always perfectly photogenic. My solution is to move myself, so much easier than trying to move my little subject and disrupting her play! Try walking around your subject and moving closer or further away. That way, you can utilize different kinds of lighting, include more or less of the surrounding environment to tell your story or find a less cluttered background for your subject. Don't forget to get really close to preserve those important little details too, such as a tiny hand holding out a found treasure or the way your little one's hair blows in the wind. Shooting from above or below can also minimize background distractions, provide variety and help focus on the details.

ISO 250, 20mm, 2.8f, 1/1600SS

ISO 250, 20mm, 2.8f, 1/1600SS

ISO 800, 20mm, 3.5f, 1/1000SS

ISO 800, 20mm, 3.5f, 1/1000SS

3. Add some color

A quick glance at my images will tell you that I'm a big fan of color! I love to add a pop of color whenever I can, as it not only helps add contrast and interest to my images but also helps me capture the fun-filled mood and energy of our outdoor adventures. Although she's only 4, my little girl already insists on making her own decisions on what to wear. We avoid arguments by me offering her a choice of brightly colored tops, boots, umbrellas etc. leaving the exact details up to her. Along with my beloved wide angle lens, using a pop of vibrant color helps me to create images with a fun, dynamic feel.

ISO 200, 20mm, 3.2f, 1/4000SS

ISO 200, 20mm, 3.2f, 1/4000SS

4. Be prepared

We always dress appropriately for our trips outside but very often, we need a dry change of shoes and a towel too. We've fallen in puddles, Daddy wades into the river when necessary to rescue an escaped shoe, our dog has fallen in the canal...In fact we've found a whole host of ways to return back to the car wet and muddy! A dry change of clothes, a hot or cold drink and a snack for everyone helps the adventure end on a happy note amid promises to do this again soon!

ISO 320, 50mm, 2.8f, 1/1000SS

ISO 320, 50mm, 2.8f, 1/1000SS


Jillian Baudry

Jillian is a natural light photographer, living in the south of France, creating colorful, light-infused imagery of her family's outdoor adventures. Living between the Mediterranean and the mountains, you'll usually find her out and about, camera in hand, exploring with hubby and her little girl with their rescue dog Hector leading the way.

You can find Jillian on:

Instagram

Website

Bio image.jpg

9 Tips to Encourage Subject Cooperation

I’ll admit it. I’m extremely fortunate to have, for the most part, cooperative subjects to photograph but trust me it’s not always this way. I also have two preteens and as they age their opinion in how I photograph them in addition to their compliance plays a role in how and when I capture them.

I am also not a documentary photographer. Yes, I enjoy capturing everyday moments but photography feeds my creative soul and because of that I have a need to capture everyday moments within my creative vision. Sometimes I’m a little more relaxed with my vision for an image but sometimes I do aim for a specific outcome. Over time I’ve learned a few tricks and tips that help me achieve the images I want and allow for my children to have fun with my photography too.

1. Short and sweet for all vision focused images

I’m often a vision focused photographer. What this means is that I have an idea in my creative mind about what or how I might like to capture a memory. Before I even ask my children to participate I set up every single detail from light manipulation to creative props to camera settings and so on. I’ll even take a test shot to ensure my settings are spot on and that I’m on the right track for what my vision is. Only after I’m completely ready will I ask my little subject to pop into the scene. I quickly snap away and get what I want within a few short minutes.

For example, in the image below I knew what I wanted to capture and how. I was completely set up and prepared before I asked my daughter to start twirling for me. She only twirled a few times before I knew I had what I wanted. This ready beforehand and short photo shoot session makes it fun and easy on everyone.

ISO 800, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/640SS

ISO 800, 35mm, 2.8f, 1/640SS

2. Make it fun

In addition to making any planned photo shoot short and sweet I also try to come up with fun photo shoot ideas. I find things like movement and play are openly embraced by my children. I also know that almost any type of outdoor play will be welcomed by my children. Outdoor adventures are always the most fun and easiest moments for me to capture. Also, if I incorporate an idea that is mildly dangerous to me or entertaining for my children I know my children are bound to participate.

For example, my son loves to throw snow balls at my camera lens! I just make sure I stand far enough away out of full impact reach!

ISO 250, 92mm, 4f, 1/2000SS

ISO 250, 92mm, 4f, 1/2000SS

3. Use a longer lens

I prefer longer lenses anyway but I find the use of a longer lens important when my children are just not quite in the mood to be photographed. Outdoors, I use a long lens pretty much exclusively. This allows for my children to run and play and be themselves while I can maintain distance and hang back a little. My longer lenses also allow for me to experiment creatively with things like light or composition or even creative additions into an image like a prism.

ISO 500, 190mm, 2.8f, 1/640SS

ISO 500, 190mm, 2.8f, 1/640SS

4. Ask for their input into a photo shoot

I use this often with my children. I let them know that I’d really like to photograph them and tell them that they get to come up with what we do.

For example my daughter has been working really hard at reading and I told her I wanted to capture this milestone. I asked her to plan the shoot in her room. When I showed up she had all these sparkly crystals she’d found that she wanted me to use. She willingly participated in the photo shoot and I captured that milestone image I wanted. She was super excited to see how her idea of the crystals came out in the final image.

ISO 1000, 35mm, 2.0f, 1/200SS

ISO 1000, 35mm, 2.0f, 1/200SS

5. Be sure to make a effort if they want something captured

This is similar to the above point but different. I almost always have my camera with me but there are times when I actually don’t feel like picking up my camera. I remember a particular hike we were on last summer when we came upon a field of beautiful fox tails. I was feeling disappointed about the smoke from forest fires ruining the mountain view but my oldest was extremely excited about running and playing in the field of fox tails. As she was playing she asked if I was going to photograph her. I remember not feeling all that interested in picking up my camera but I did because she wanted me to preserve that memory for her. Looking back now I’m glad I have those moments captured. When they ask for an image I always make an effort to do just that.

ISO 100, 35mm, 2.2f, 1/2500SS

ISO 100, 35mm, 2.2f, 1/2500SS

6. Capture what they love

I find if I ask my children to do something that they love that they’ll be way more cooperative as subjects. My oldest adores going to the park to feed the Chickadees and Nuthatch. These little birds will actually fly right up and sit on an open hand. Yesterday, she asked to go to the park and when I agreed she got herself ready, without any prompting, in a winter coat, toque, matching scarf and her more attractive boots…all items I’d be thrilled with photographing her in.

ISO 55, 190mm, 2.8f, 1/640SS

ISO 55, 190mm, 2.8f, 1/640SS

7. Capture moments not poses

I came across an image the other day when I was browsing all the beautiful images grouped into #thephotographersnotebook on Instagram. I absolutely love what this Momma had to say:

“It always goes like this when we actually plan a photo - I end up loving the photo that I just randomly took for fun before we took the “planned” photo! I’ll never tire of real and authentic shots. To me they tell a story, like this beautiful one of my amazing little girl who has the biggest heart of all.” Amy Louise.

Image Credit:  @agirlwandering

Image Credit: @agirlwandering

What Amy Louise had to say completely resonated with me. I love portraiture. That beautiful soulful connection with the camera in a gorgeous well lit pose is captivating to me. However, my children have zero interest in standing a certain way to allow for light to fall in the perfect Rembrandt Triangle while staring deep into my camera. I’ve tried this. It doesn’t work out well. This feels rigid and uncomfortable for them and can be frustrating for me. I’ve learned to let go of having this expectation and instead aim to capture a relaxed portrait. I adore these types of portraits even more and the authenticity that comes from images like this. In a relaxed portrait personality shines through and these are always the images I love the most.

ISO 500, 125mm, 3.2f, 1/640SS

ISO 500, 125mm, 3.2f, 1/640SS

8. Photograph only the details

Yup, I do get that look. The rolling eyes, the intentional defiant expression, the “I’m not going to look pretty on camera” glare, the “There’s no way I’m participating” pose. In these situations I switch directions and focus in on details.

For example, my son did not want to be photographed prior to me capturing this image. He was giving me the frozen eye roll glare. However, he’d found a rock that was shaped like a bear and when I suggested we capture that detail he was all in.

ISO 200, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/1000SS

ISO 200, 105mm, 3.2f, 1/1000SS

9. Take no for an answer

Sometimes putting down the camera is the best answer. I want my children to feel like participants in our photo shoots and enjoy my camera too. So if they are truly not in the mood I put my camera away. After all, there will always be another opportunity.

ISO 200, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/500

ISO 200, 50mm, Freelensed, 1/500

all content and images © Gina Yeo Photography, 2019