How I Prepare for a Photography Session: Part One | El Dorado Hills Children Photographer

“By failing to prepare, you are preparing to fail”

~Benjamin Franklin

While brainstorming my discussion topics today, I got a little distracted. For those that know me, this is not an unusual occurrence. I tend to get distracted all the time. You know- when you walk into a room and you have zero clue as to why you are there? Or you sit down to your desk to get some work done but you get sucked into Facebook and you can’t get out again? This happens multiple times a day for me. Couple that with the fact that I am homeschooling my son, am a cub scout den leader and acting as a chauffeur most days of the week, you can virtually forget the idea that I actually might accomplish something meaningful in one day. So what do I do to help this? I plan ahead. I make lists and I stick to them. If I have a master list I can get anything done and I can always refer back to it when I notice that I have gotten off track.

So on my list today was to start brainstorming for a new session I have coming up. I will photographing three little ones and their parents. I get really excited with multiple children sessions, especially when the number is an odd one. Working with three or even five kids gets all my ideas flowing and I can’t wait to begin! Needless to say I am excited but I just wanted to make a small list for you today to show you what kind of planning goes into a session like this one. It’s no easy task to get everything ready. Without my list I would be completely lost.

1. Paperwork, paperwork, paperwork:

This one task, although a boring one, is probably one of my most important. Paperwork is a must. Keeping track of model releases and contracts, mileage and extra costs per session is surely a hard one! If it were not for some really awesome computer programs to help me out I think I would be completely lost. But all in all I feel like I am in control of the madness that is paperwork and I have to be proud of that. Boring tasks are never fun to complete. Multiply that by several clients per month and you have a confusing mess! I love that I can take control of this with ease.

2. Meetings, meetings, meetings

From the consultation to the ordering session there is a lot of times that I am in contact with my clients face to face. Several emails and lots of questions later we have planned the perfect session at the perfect time and at the perfect place. My thinking never stops and my lists are never ending throughout this entire process.

3. Gear check!

Before the actual session takes place there is a ton of things I need to make sure I have ready before I can meet my clients. My gear is obviously a very important part to my business. It is not the end-all be-all of how wings work but without it I would be lost for sure! Checking to make sure things are working properly and are clean are just some of the steps I take to make sure I am prepared. Having a backup camera and battery and a “plan B” is something never to take for granted. Photography gear is just that- gear. It’s not a brain or a fool proof method to anything. Having backup plans and back up gear is an essential part of this business. Having it all in tip top shape is the next step. I check my gear before each and every session- even if I had a session the day prior. You never know when things are going to fail.

4. Props?

Well for those that follow my work, you will know that it is very rare that I use any type of props at my sessions. I always try to use natural props or things that enhance the portrait rather than take away from it. Client requests are always taken into consideration and I love that people sometimes will have great ideas for themed lifestyle sessions. Because, as you know, I do everything completely customizable. So, bottom line? Making sure I have all the props I need and making sure they are clean and ready is obviously very important.

How I Prepare for a Photography Session: Part One | El Dorado Hills Children Photographer How I Prepare for a Photography Session: Part One | El Dorado Hills Children Photographer

5. Research!

This one is super important. I am in constant “photographer mode” when I am driving around. There is nothing I won’t do to get a great location if we need it! I want the background to your portraits to match your style and vibe of your home. No small detail goes unnoticed when it comes to the location of your photography session. And, on any given day you can spy me catching up on my cartoon themes so I have some background knowledge when I go to sing them to your children. Or- you can catch me reading my son’s Scooby Doo joke book so I have fresh joke to tell to get a laugh. You could also say that anything Disney is my forte so I have plenty of kid knowledge in my back pocket.

6. Tricks of the trade!

Photographing kids is probably my favorite part of this job. I love getting families the artwork they deserve for their homes. I love getting that great “money shot” where everyone is looking at the camera and smiling. But, for the most part, the kids are the best. With some cool tricks I have up my sleeve we usually have tons of fun. Some of my tricks may even surprise you! Naming my pet “giraffe” who lives on my camera is kinda fun for the little ones and the stickers they just may get in the end of the session can make any kid happy!

How I Prepare for a Photography Session: Part One | El Dorado Hills Children Photographer

Bottom line is, no stone goes unturned to make sure I am prepared for your session. You can bet that what ever you want I will probably be able to do (or at least consider!). And, if you have no idea what you want thats ok too because I love surprise sessions. To do this for people every day is surely a dream come true and it makes my heart sing. But what happens after the session? Well thats for another day! Stay tuned for next week when I talk about the next steps.

Want to know more? Go ahead and contact me today to discuss the finer details of your next session! I can’t wait to hear from you!

Much love,

Heather

_________________________________________________

Member of National Association of Child Photographers 

Heather Floyd NAPCP

Member of Red Thread Sessions

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My Everyday: Continued | Placerville Lifestyle Photographer

Enjoy yourself. These are the good old days you are going to miss in years to come.

~Unknown

 

So unbelievably I am still trying really hard to complete my 365 project. Ya know- where I take a photo every day for a year? Well, let’s just say that I am a few days behind but I am not sweating it. The coolest thing about it is that I am not sweating it actually. According to my previous post about starting the 365 project, I am right on schedule! I am trying my best and I am not giving up. I think I am about ten days behind. But actually I am not behind. I am right on track. I am doing what I love when I can find the time. I am trying to find moments in my daily life I would not have had otherwise shared had it not been for pictures. It doesn’t matter to me if you understand the photo nor does it matter to me if you care about the subject. What matters to me is that it is a memory in my life that can never be taken away and it cannot be replaced. Some may leave me with happy feelings and others with sad feelings, all of which are ok. These feelings are my little secret. Only those that know me well may know some of these feelings without asking. I know this to be true- I am enjoying every minute of this life I am leading. Whether or not I show it daily, I am loving my life. My crazy busy schedule shows that I am trying to live it to its full potential and I want to remember these “good old days” for years to come. I want to hand these memories to my kids and say that we did that once. We went there once and we loved it. Can you say that to your kids? Are your memories fleeting glimpses of your actual memory? Don’t let that happen to you!

My Everyday: Continued | Placerville Lifestyle Photographer

My Everyday: Continued | Placerville Lifestyle Photographer

My Everyday: Continued | Placerville Lifestyle Photographer

My Everyday: Continued | Placerville Lifestyle Photographer

My Everyday: Continued | Placerville Lifestyle Photographer

 

I can capture these daily moments for you too! Or I can do a special session catered just for you and fully customizable! Your needs are mine. Let me know if you want to book a spring photo session. I can’t wait to make it what you have always dreamed of! Contact me today!

Much Love,

Heather

_________________________________________________

Member of National Association of Child Photographers 

Heather Floyd NAPCP

Member of Red Thread Sessions

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How To Take Better Pictures: Part Three | Placerville Family Photographer

“Every artist was first an amateur.” ~Unknown

The three most important things a photographer needs in order to take a photograph are a camera, a subject and light! It’s funny because we don’t usually think of the third one very much. But for obvious reasons, light is surely a necessity! If you don’t have light you cannot have a photograph. Sometimes your camera will help you get light in dim situations (i.e. the flash) and sometimes you can add light yourself (i.e. lamp light or other alternative light). You can also just rely on the environment to give light to you (i.e. the sun or the moon). Today we will talk about the third option, taking light from your environment and making it work for you. I think every photographer knows that this is a life lesson that never stops. Learning how to manipulate light in your environment is not only challenging, it is very intricate and difficult to explain. The best way to learn it is to just experiment with it. Try different angles and see how it works for you. See what you like. Here are a few examples to get you started.

1. Side light.

Side lighting is just that: light that comes from the side. There are tons of ways to get this type of lighting. You will see it often inside homes next to your window. You can also see this outside next to a building or in a doorway when you half in the light and half in the shadows. Sometimes your subject will fall completely dark inside the shadows and other times they won’t. But placing your subject just in the middle is the important step here. Anything else and it becomes a different type of light. Trust me. There are many!

How To Take Better Pictures: Part Three | Placerville Family Photographer

How To Take Better Pictures: Part Three | Placerville Family Photographer

2. Back light.

Back lighting is something that takes a while to master. When you have the light coming into your camera from in front of you a couple things tend to happen. You can get lots of glare and haze if you are not careful. And, as you can imagine, your subject will become dark because the light is behind them! You can make this work for you by making your subject a silhouette but sometimes that is not what we want! Sometimes just moving a few inches from left to right will make a difference on how the light shows into your camera. Here are some examples of mine.

How To Take Better Pictures: Part Three | Placerville Family Photographer

How To Take Better Pictures: Part Three | Placerville Family Photographer

So go out there and experiment with light! It is so fun to be able to know how to manipulate and mold the light to do what you want. Not only that, your pictures will thank you for it.

If you missed my last two lessons please feel free to take a look. It is amazing what wonderful things you can accomplish with just a few tips under your belt. First you can learn all about composition and when you are ready go ahead and read about how simple backgrounds can make your subjects pop.

Lastly, if you think this is all fun to read but are not ready to take it on yourself then please don’t hesitate to contact (me!) the professional so I can do it all for you! Contact me today so we can schedule your dream session!

Much Love,

Heather

_________________________________________________

Member of National Association of Child Photographers 

Heather Floyd NAPCP

Member of Red Thread Sessions

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How To Take Better Pictures: Part Two | Placerville Children Photographer

We all know that photography is art. It is a very subjective type of art just like all other forms of art media but there is a good way to go about starting out and a not-so-good way about starting out. The good way is to learn the rules. For some people it can take years to learn photography. Everyone not only learns at their own pace but they learn different things at a time making it a really intricate type of art.  Those of us from the photography industry know that it takes a lot to be happy with your own work. Sometimes, I myself, go through periods of self doubt and then the next day I will feel better. It really depends on your personal learning curve and what you are learning. I have compiled a few things that I think will help anyone take a photo better. Whether you are taking portraits of people or pets or the field next door to your house- all of these learning tricks will make a difference in your own personal work.

If you joined us last week we talked all about composition in How To Take Better Pictures: Part One. Composition is really important to your photo- it tells the viewer where to look in the photo and it makes things either pleasing or not based on what your mind likes to see. Please go back and read it if you haven’t because I think it is a very valuable lesson.

This week we will explore how to focus on your point of interest and make it look more appealing. For most people the point of interest seems really obvious. If you are taking a picture of a person then that person is your point of interest right? A lamp on a table or a flower on the ground, the main object in your photo that you want everyone to see is the point of interest.

But what if you have an idea of what you want others to “see” in your photo and they don’t see it right away? What have you done wrong? Let’s explore some scenarios that make sense.

1. Make sure your background is pleasing and not distracting. What is a background and what makes it pleasing? A background is any part of the photo that you have taken that is behind your point of interest (your subject). If you take a portrait of a person at the park- the background is all the trees and the bushes behind them. The key to a good background is one that is uniform and not too busy. You want your subject to stand out but also be separate from the background. When they blend too much you don’t have a good solid portrait. Sometimes people forget to check to see if there are any “tree branches coming out of heads” or other distracting elements in the frame. The best photographer will sometimes miss this. Sometimes just stepping a couple feet to the right or left can make a huge difference. Let us look at some examples.

In these photos- there are nice pleasing backgrounds. The first one has a solid color and no distracting things are surrounding the subject. It forces the viewer to see what you want to them to see- the subject.  The second photo also has a solid background and forces you to see only the subject on front and nothing behind.

How To Take Better Pictures: Part Two | Placerville Children Photographer

How To Take Better Pictures: Part Two | Placerville Children Photographer

2. Make sure your subject stands out from the crowd. It is really important that people know what you want them to focus on. Sometimes there are too many distracting elements to a photograph and it won’t allow your viewers eyes to settle on what you think is the most important thing in the photo. Also, contrasting colors can help too so things stand out a bit more from the rest. When we are in “snapshot” mode the background is not really important but when taking a portrait it is an certainly something to consider.

How To Take Better Pictures: Part Two | Placerville Children Photographer

How To Take Better Pictures: Part Two | Placerville Children Photographer

Well I hope these things have given you an idea of what it means to have a good background when photographing your subjects. Sometimes we get so focused on our subjects that we forget to think about the details in the rest of the image. A good photographer will know how to do this well. That being said- if you like the photo then nothing else matters. All of the “bad” photos that I have taken are still important to me because they remind me of a time and place that I never want to forget.

Portrait photography is my passion. It is so important to me that I make you look good. I will not rest until I can get that perfect shot. If you want me to do this for you then please contact me today. I would love to make a custom family portrait session just for you. It is what I do best!

Don’t forget that this weekend is my kid’s photography class. If you want your child to be a part of it then contact me ASAP so they can get on the list!

Much Love,

Heather

_________________________________________________

Member of National Association of Child Photographers 

Heather Floyd NAPCP

Member of Red Thread Sessions

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How To Take Better Pictures: Part One | Placerville Family Photographer

So as I am in the midst of getting ready for my kids photography class coming up, I have had a ton of requests for an adult class as well! Of course I teach an adult class that goes way more into depth but why wait? I decided to give you a tiny taste of the things that are taught not only in my kids photography class but the adult class as well. Super fun and super informative either way! So if you have an inkling to learn more then please contact me and we can just schedule it! Adult classes are fun and can be one on one if you so desire. Today I decided to teach you a little about composition.

What is composition you ask? Well Webster’s dictionary defines composition as some crazy thing that I just can’t repeat! It really isn’t that complicated as it is made out to be. So we will ignore that. Composition is the way you arrange the items in your photograph so that they are pleasing to the eye. Easy right? Well, for some, yes composition can be easy to “see” but there are rules we must follow. And when you get really good you can even break the rules and people will still like what you have done. But, don’t think you can get away with not knowing the rules first. This is art people! It is very subjective.

Today the rule I will discuss is called the Rule of Thirds. In the photography world we abbreviate that into three letters: ROT. ROT is the easiest rule in my opinion to get down. It is very black and white. People can “see” this one the easiest. The idea is that when you divide your portrait into three sections you place the subject of your photo into the 1/3 spot. What? No one said we were going to be talking about fractions! Let me break it down for you al little bit better. Here is an diagram of the ROT rule.

How To Take Better Pictures: Part One | Placerville Family PhotographerNow, this is separated into three sections each from top to bottom and left to right. The idea is that if you place your subject anywhere on the lines, and most definitely where the lines cross you will have a good ROT portrait. It will be pleasing to the eye and it will help the viewers look around the photo. This is a very basic concept and it really is great once you get the hang of it! Here are some examples of mine to get you started. Super fun and easy to do.

How To Take Better Pictures: Part One | Placerville Family Photographer

How To Take Better Pictures: Part One | Placerville Family Photographer

How To Take Better Pictures: Part One | Placerville Family Photographer

So go ahead and start experimenting with your photos and see if you can’t retrieve the same results! I am an open book so ask me any questions you want and I will answer. Most importantly have fun with this and stay tuned for another installment of this series coming at ya next week. We will be exploring more about composition and other techniques that will give you the ability to take better pictures.

How To Take Better Pictures: Part One | Placerville Family Photographer

If you are interested in getting your kids into this class and having some fun please let me know as spots are filling up quickly and preregistration is required. I can’t wait to do another one of my adult classes either so if that is something you are interested in then please let me know so I can give you the details.

And as always if you are interested in me taking your portrait rather than you learning then don’t hesitate to give me shout out for this too! I love making people’s dreams a reality in photos.

Much Love,

Heather

_________________________________________________

Member of National Association of Child Photographers 

Heather Floyd NAPCP

Member of Red Thread Sessions

Follow me:

www.floydfamilyphotography.com

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