Photo tip of the day: Shoot between poses to capture the most honest candid moments.
Whenever I take portraits I would always remind myself to be mindful and ready in capturing those candid reactions of my subjects. I would rarely put the camera down as I find that the most honest and sincerest photos I come up with on every portrait session, I get between poses or directions. Those unguarded moments will always reflect more personality and tell more of a story.
Of course making sure your subject is relaxed and comfortable is key and a good sense of humour or pleasing personality would go a long way too.
Took the family out on a short holiday just for some quality time with the wife and kids. The destination was Pacific Palms beach near Forster NSW around 300 kms north, north east of Sydney. A beautiful town surrounded by water, Wallis lake and and the Tasman sea which meant a lot of places to see and of course a good reason to go on a holiday ,of course like any other family we were so excited to go on this trip but apart from building new memories with my wife and kids I was looking forward to take some scenic shots knowing that the place we were going to was surrounded by water. As a photographer I already had a shot in mind, but with scenic or landscape shots the biggest factor is being at the right place at the right time.
Day 1: ETA 30 mins, I was already busy scanning the nearby scenery as a drove past them for some photo opportunities. We got to the resort around 6pm unloaded all our stuff and prepared for dinner. Played with my kids tucked them in bed and sat down with my wife and watched TV. Initially planned to leave and drive around to scout for locations but was too tired and decided to sleep. Day 1 0 shots.
Day 2: Aimed to get up around 5:30 am for some dawn shots, great morning for twilight shots. The moment my alarm went off pushed the snooze button and when I did get up it was already 7:30 missed it! Took the family out and went to visit as many beaches as we can. There were at least 8 beaches to visit so we aimed to see at least 3. We spent most of the day at Forster, family picnic, family photos and we got to see dolphins! We got back to the villa around 5:30pm and by this time dark clouds loomed over us, weather forecast…thunderstorms. Nice! to me it meant lighting strikes, long exposure with rocks water and lightning, dream shot. 9pm after spending time with the kids drove off to the nearest beach, no lightning, no moon, will have to shoot in pitch black darkness and rain my only option was to drive back and hope for better weather the next day. Day 2 15 family shots, 0 scenic.
Day 3: We had friends come over to join us the night before, after breakfast it was pool time with the kids, good thing there was a hot tub next to the pool (swimming in winter time) and by the time we finished it was almost lunch time and we had planned to have a picnic at a nearby park in Booti Booti (20 mins from the resort), more family time! played catch and threw some frisbees with my kids, strolled on the beach and we got to see more dolphins. We spent the rest of the afternoon at Wallis lake and did some fishing, dusk arrived and the sky was filled with colours, orange, purple and blue. Finally a chance for my first scenic shot on the trip but I was holding a fishing rod with my hands tainted with bait. Day 3 0 shots.
Day 4: Our last day, this time I was determined not to leave empty handed. Got up at 5:30 went to Boomerang beach, which was about 5mins drive from the resort (by day 4 I knew my way around). Waited at the parking lot for dawn. Felt braver that morning since there were also some surfers getting their boards ready, got my gear, carried them and walked to the left edge of Boomerang beach and got started. Took a few long exposure shots that resulted in the image you see above. The morning of our last day, finally I get one! Just one , and it was worth the wait, I was happy with the exposure and composition and found it useless to take more shots as they would just have been the same, I sat there and admired the view some quiet time for me.
When I got home to process the images I took, I immediately started on the scenic shot from Boomerang beach, took me no longer than 20 mins to finish it and it was already up on Facebook in less than an hour, 4 days and one scenic shot. Then I moved on to editing the family shots I took on day 2, then I realised and remembered that the 1 scenic shot did not make the trip more special nor did it make the trip more worthwhile but I have already taken the most important photo of the trip on Day 2.
…capturing memories with my family that lasts a lifetime.
when was the last time you went on a holiday with the people that matters the most?
A few times a year I get booked to cover a children’s party. I truly admire and appreciate the parents who give their children the best they could offer for a celebration their young toddler would hardly remember without photos to look at. I love taking photos of kids and I truly believe photographing children is not as simple as it may seem. Best to do it in a controlled environment like a studio or in an outdoor setting, 1 subject, one candid moment, capturing sincerity, personality, cheekiness, the ‘oh so cute moments’ and of course genuine joy of being a kid.
Kiddie parties are different altogether, there are so many uncontrolled factors which involves a lot of chasing, running around and documenting every moment in the event . It’s like a mini-wedding with more bubbles, confetti, screams, cries and laughter. In all the fun and madness, as a photographer I still have to deliver the same style and consistency in my work that all my clients expect. Not that it’s a lot of work but its more about exceeding expectations. Kiddie parties can be artistic too…
Hiring a professional photographer to cover a children’s party would probably be last on the list when planning for one and most would probably ask a friend who has a good camera to take photos. Honestly, I have 3 kids of my own, and its not about the money I’m spending but the memories I’m investing on. Your kids will barely remember the extravagant party you threw for his/her first birthday and Im sure you wouldn’t too. Good images last a lifetime and snapshots taken from your phone or of people standing around taken by your friend would just be forgotten. Looking back and remembering the little things, the moments, a different perspective, the best light, and the emotions. Im sure great memories has more weight than gold.
How much do you value family memories?
“Photography is a way of feeling, of touching, of loving. What you have caught on film is captured forever… it remembers little things, long after you have forgotten everything.”
– Aaron Siskind
To me one of the most rewarding aspects in photography is the opportunity to witness and take part in a special moment which I hope to share with my subject/s or clients, whether it would be for a wedding, an event, a portrait, or a family photo. Although to most, family portraits would be a priority of less significance or importance , taken for granted and often gets pushed back and postponed. Priorities, schedule, work, more important tasks, momentarily separation by time or distance are among more popular excuses to postpone what could be the most important investment one should make…
An investment on lasting memories captured in the best light and frozen in time.
Why should it be so important?
Photos showcase your family, images of your history, the individual personalities of each member of the family, the bond, the love and the stories which can be handed down through the next generation as part of your family legacy. A reminder of good times or of lessons learned from the bad, of breakthroughs and victories. A good family photo is always the best topic of any conversation, the centerpiece of your home, a focal point of adoration which always brings a smile or a stimulus purely out of a conveyed emotion. A photo printed and on display and an image file kept safe will always give you a visual reference of gratefulness, of accomplishments, blessings, family milestones, events, changes, maturity, growth and of course riches.
Invest in memories and spend a special moment with the people who matters the most.
When was the last time you’ve had your family photos taken?
As a family man with a loving and supporting wife and 3 wonderful kids, I always make it a point to document and capture everything. Have the best photos printed, framed and displayed in a feature wall at our home.
As a photographer I always strive to create the best visual memories. Knowing how special and important these memories are, would be more than enough reason to always give the best effort in capturing these moments and with no compromises.
Following my simple formula: ASK, LISTEN, OBSERVE, and then CAPTURE. Outdoor, indoor, or at the comfort of one’s home, candid, environmental or creative, it will always be a pleasure capturing the story, taking family photos and of course building and nurturing new relationships. Extending the family!
To think that for most people when asked what object would they first save from their home in a time of calamity or catastrophe, their family photos.
Spend a few minutes and sit down with your family and look at old family photos. What comes to mind after you have viewed them?
Treasure what you have today, for yesterday is past. Appreciate the love of family and friends, for the time they are here.