Tips for Better Kid Pics

by: Tera Girardin on

Photographing your own kids is hard! But if you plan ahead a little and have the right attitude, you can create beautiful portraits of your children.   Look for the light Unless you have professional studio lighting, your best bet is to get your kids outside and in natural light. Take a look around and see how the light plays off your subject’s face. If your kids are young, you might want to enlist the help of a grownup to do some location scouting first! Look to find the right spot. Are there harsh shadows? Is your subject backlit (so their face is dark and behind them is light)?  Is the sunlight too bright, making their eyes squinty?   Your best bet for soft flattering light can be found in open shade. Think of the edge of a porch with your subject in the soft shade. The sun can be just in front of them but not falling on them. This is the easiest type of lighting.

Many photographers love the sweet light just before dusk and it is truly beautiful. However, I find with young kids that timing the sunset isn’t always convenient. So give it a try with your older kids but better to photograph your littles earlier in the day.   Advanced Technique:  If you are indoors (since it is winter right now!), try placing your subject near a big picture window -- right up next to it. It can give a bit of shadows to the face if they are sitting with the window light to the side of their face. Classic and pretty portrait.
Take a bit of time to find the right light. It will make a huge difference in your photos.   Watch the background Before you click the shutter, take a quick scan of what’s behind your subject. Do you have a random sibling photobomber? Or something weird coming from someone’s head? Or maybe the background is just busy. Take the time to adjust your angle to correct for the background.   Advanced Technique: Utilize your camera’s depth of field and blur that background out.   
All about the angles Speaking of angles, most of the time it’s best to photograph a subject at about eye level. With little ones, that means getting low. Really low sometimes. Or moving the subject up higher so you are level.
Or get high! One way to correct an overly busy background is to have your kids sitting on the ground. Photograph them from a standing position slightly over them. Your background will be all ground and they will be peering lovingly up at you. It really is a sweet innocent look to photograph someone from above and offers a different perspective. 

  
OR get really low! With older kids it can show off how big they are if you lay on the ground and let them tower over you. Again, a fun perspective to try.   Contain Them Young children tend to wiggle and move and not stay still. So after you’ve found your sweet lighting spot, how do you get them to stay put?! You will need to find a way to anchor them. You can try a blanket and some books or favorite toy. No? That won’t keep your child still? Try a small stool that they can climb on themselves. Most toddlers love to play on a small sturdy stool. No? That won’t work either? Try a regular sized chair that’s hard for them to climb off of. No? You say your child is a monkey? How about a container -- basket, metal tub, wooden crate. Sitting inside something can be novel just long enough to snap a few. Or even try a small tent to play peekaboo with. As a last resort you can try a small snack like goldfish or Cheerios to keep them coming back to the place you want but you are likely going to get crumbs and fat cheeks.
  And if that doesn’t work...I suggest waiting until they are asleep and photographing them then! 
 Avoid “Mean Mom” So, sadly I have to admit, even I turn into Mean Mom when I photograph my own kids. I’m a professional! I’ve had clients call me the Child Whisperer because I get their kiddos to cooperate and create great portraits for them. And it’s still hard for me to get my own kids to do so. Here’s a few things I’ve learned after almost 10 years in business.   First, know your subject... pick the time of day that they are their best. Probably not when they are hungry, tired or over stimulated. Almost everyone is better in the morning.   Avoid bribes -- they almost always backfire. Kids are counting down to the bribe. And then not engaged with you and the camera. Reward afterwards but don’t promise, bribe, threaten or trick. Kids are too smart and it will backfire. If you cave in then you’ll have a lollipop in every shot. How do you engage your subject? Ask silly questions, get them talking, sing a song, have them tell you a secret, blow bubbles, have them count to 3 (the word “three” is a more natural smile inducing word than cheese). Go with the flow! Maybe your child insists on having their doll photographed -- go for it! Your child will be more likely to cooperate if you cooperate with them.  Do your best to shift your own mentality to “Loving Photographer Mom” because kids FEED off your attitude. Even in my own client sessions I can tell when tension is in the air. When mom is stressed, kids are stressed. Bad photos are the result. So shift your mindset and embrace whatever comes your way.   And finally if the kids are not into it...bail on it and try again another day. You can tell when a kiddo is tired of taking photos. Camera fatigue is a real thing! Advance Technique:  Hire a professional! :) Like I said, it’s hard for us professionals to get our own kids to cooperate so splurge and hire someone to do your photos once in a while. That way YOU get in the photo too!   

Know Your Camera
And lastly, it’s helpful to know the ins and outs of your camera. Today’s cameras are amazing and there are so many automatic settings that are really really good. But I still think it’s really valuable to know how to override your camera’s settings and shoot in manual mode. At the very least, you’ll have an understanding of what is going on with your auto settings. Don’t be afraid! Turn that dial and see what happens!   Read the manual, take a class, learn online, ask questions, practice and make mistakes and try again. Feel free to shoot me your questions about your own photos!

My FUN faves from 2014

by: Tera Girardin on

Often at the beginning of the year I'll cull through all my sessions and pick out my favorites to create a slideshow out of and to use in my marketing and portfolio. Which I did this year. But this year's slideshow I took a different approach... I only used black and white photos and only the ones that made me laugh and were FUN! And boy did we have FUN this year! There are often silly grins, funny faces, goofing off and hardy laughter going on during a session. Those are my favorites! So here's the ones that made ME smile this year. Enjoy! - Tera

Play, play, play | Lakeville Tween Photographer

by: Tera Girardin on

It's SUMMER! Time to play. And that's what this post is all about. Time to play and have fun and do what you love in the brilliant summer sun! Bringing a favorite activity or toy and letting your child dress in comfy play clothes makes a very active fun energetic session. Try it! Kids love it especially the pre-teen crowd! Two options for booking your own playtime session -- Choose a SNACK PACK session (all digital, easy, quick, fun and affordable) for a single tween or a BETWEEN FRIENDS session for your tween and her group of friends. Let them play together and split the very affordable package fee amongst the parents - priceless experience! Enjoy this playful session...   IMG_9173 5x7IMG_9201 5x7 smile bwIMG_9219 5x7IMG_9270 5x7IMG_9276 5x7IMG_9277 5x7IMG_9279 5x7IMG_9283 5x5 bw WEBIMG_9320 5x7IMG_9325 5x7IMG_9337 5x7IMG_9340 5x7

5 Reasons to do a Between Friends Session

by: Tera Girardin on

If you've been following my page all week, you'll have noticed all the fun slideshows featuring teens and their friends. I appreciate all the amazing comments and feedback. This has obviously struck a chord for a lot of you. But if you are on the fence about actually booking a session, let me tell you why I think a Between Friends session is really important. 1. Transforming before your eyes. The middle school ages (10-15) are such a HUGE time of transformation. Other than when your child was a baby will they change so dramatically and quickly.  You'll be amazed at the growth spurts and the expanding grocery bill. And when you child starts to look more adult than child it will startle you!  You'll be so grateful that you document this time in their lives. It's that "coming of age" transformation and it's a beautiful thing. 2. Activities rule their lives. Likely your son or daughter has started to really get into a particular sport or activity. Their interests really start to shine as they spread their wings and test out their identities. These things are so very important to your child! I can incorporate this personality into their session or maybe the group they want to do their session with is related to their favorite activity. 3. Friends rock. Friends become increasingly important to your child during this time. It's how they figure out who they are and where they fit and who they identify with. These friends might be fleeting or life long. Either way, what a treasure to look back on photos together when they are grown. 4. Friends ROCK! Since those friendships are so important to your child, it makes a huge difference when they are photographed together. Your child will relax and have fun and I'm able to really capture their true personalities when they are hamming it up with their friends. You know that forced smile that looks like they are having a root canal they have in all your family pictures? Yeah, that doesn't happen when they are with their friends. So family photos are important but your teen will enjoy a Between Friends session so much more! 5. Self-esteem boost. You might not of thought of this one. But it happens no matter who I photograph. You get yourself looking your best and have a portrait created and you're going to feel like a million bucks. So let your child pick what they want to wear, primp and prep, hang with their friends and let a pro photograph them. They will LOVE the experience and they will walk away feeling like they are on top of the world. Which at this tender age can be an important thing. 6. Affordable. Ok, this is a bonus reason. But because this is a session for friends, you can split the cost with everyone being photographed. It's only $495 total for up to 6 friends and includes a dozen digital images for each person (same images).  With 6 friends it's less than $85 per person! For professional portraits?! That's a deal!!(hmmm...maybe I need to rethink this...quick before I change my mind!) Summer is a perfect time to schedule a session. No school hours to work around and activities are little more laid back. So let's do it before the hectic schedule of fall starts up again. [contact-form subject='Between Friends!'][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form] bookmark backbookmark Front017 IMG_9583 5x7 WEB034 IMG_9663 8x10 WEB060 IMG_0054 8x10 WEB069 IMG_9830 8x10 WEB    

Between Friends | Ellah & the team

by: Tera Girardin on

I love that these girls play volleyball together (ok, ok, full disclosure:  volleyball was MY sport too when I was young. When I was young-ER). What I love about this session is that likely they spend most of their time together in uniforms or sweaty workout gear and on the court. This was a time to get dolled up with fun summer dresses and primp and prep and laugh and enjoy being girly girls. Their banter and camaraderie was infectious. Enjoy their fun video! 063 IMG_9775 5x7 WEB069 IMG_9830 8x10 WEB072 IMG_9842 8x10 WEB073 IMG_9845 8x10 WEB076 IMG_9858 8x10 WEB079 IMG_9869 8x10 WEB084 IMG_9897 8x10 WEB087 IMG_9918 8x10 WEB089 IMG_9948 8x10 WEB Such a beautiful night, beautiful location, beautiful girls inside and out! Between Friends sessions are a great way to take the team outside their element and capture their special bond. Book your session today before school starts and life gets busy!     bookmark back   bookmark Front   [contact-form subject='Between Friends Session'][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]

Between Friends | Claire & Halle

by: Tera Girardin on

Besties are the best! These two were so cute together. Part of the whole fun of their portrait experience was getting ready before the session! Picking outfits, wearing matching shoes and jewelry. Models for a day! This age is such a tender time too - often self-esteem issues can crop up. Which is why I love doing portrait sessions at this age. I encourage them to wear what they want, be who they are and shine! To celebrate their uniqueness and feel great about themselves. There is nothing like a professionally shot photo to make you feel great about yourself no matter what age you are! These girls rocked their session. With striking blue eyes and an amazing serious look - they killed it! 051 IMG_0046 8x10 bw WEB054 IMG_0071 8x10 WEB059 IMG_0084 8x10 WEB060 IMG_0054 8x10 WEB   It's a great time to book your session with these beautiful summer days in full swing. And before school starts!  Between Friends sessions are for up to 6 friends (you can add on more!) and include a dozen digital images. Split the fee with your friends and make it a very affordable portrait experience! bookmark backbookmark Front     [contact-form subject='Between Friends Session'][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]

Between Friends | Vinny, Jordan & Keaton

by: Tera Girardin on

So these Between Friends sessions are not just for the ladies! I loved hanging with these guys (maybe having 3 boys of my own had something to do with that!) - they were goofing around, cracking each other up and just being cool. And notice they all have BRACES! Isn't that a quintessential right of passage for this age. And I think it's important to show them off!! There are only on for a short time in the grand scheme of things so may as well smile loud and proud.   Enjoy this All American Boy slideshow... 002 IMG_9438 8x10 WEB004 IMG_9450 8x10 WEB015 IMG_9563 8x10 WEB017 IMG_9583 5x7 WEB   Booking Between Friends Sessions now - summer is a great time to capture those friendships! bookmark backbookmark Front     [contact-form subject='Between Friends Session'][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]  

Between Friends | Haley & Emma

by: Tera Girardin on

These girls are dancer friends - which as I'm sure you know if you are in the dance world is a type of sisterhood. They were so fun - especially when I handed them one of my cameras and said have fun with each other! Capturing this special time in your teen's life is so important. They change so quickly and their friends are so important. This is a fun way to document that. And your teen will love the experience!   027 IMG_9640 8x10 dream10 WEB028 IMG_9646 8x10 WEB034 IMG_9663 8x10 WEB044 IMG_9745 8x10 WEB bookmark backbookmark Front   [contact-form subject='Between Friends Session'][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]

Announcing Between Friends! A Teen Portrait Experience

by: Tera Girardin on

Last night was the Reveal Party for my Between Friends at the studio and everyone seemed to love their images. And now I'm excited to show them to you! The thing I love about these sessions is the focus on the friendships. The dynamic when photographing kids around their friends (vs a traditional family session) is so different and fun! The kids LOVE it.  I think this is an often overlooked age when it comes to photography.  But I know firsthand how incredibly fast they change in a very short time. My oldest son grew 18" during middle school! It's an important time in their lives to document and celebrate. I think the slideshow really shows how much fun these kids had hanging out and letting me capture their friendship. Schedule your own child's Between Friends session below!   I'm booking sessions now - good to get them in before school starts again and we can enjoy these easy summer (and beautiful summer sun) days! Great for a birthday party experience or get a group together and split the cost.   Between Friends BACKBetween Friends Price Card   [contact-form subject='Between Friends Session'][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]    

What are you doing July 11? REVEAL Party!

by: Tera Girardin on

With a quiet house (my kids are on vacation), I've been madly working on the launch of a new product. I'm having so much fun working on this photos and materials! What exactly am I working on you ask? Let me tell you... BeTween Friends - a portrait experience just for teens (and tweens)!  And I'd love it if you'd come to my open house on Friday, July 11. I'm having a Reveal Party for all the kids who were my recent models. They haven't seen their images yet and I'll be showcasing the promotional video slideshow that night. Show up, hang out and see what it's all about! There will be cupcakes and door prizes and savings on sessions that night only. I'd love to chat with you. Open House style from 6-8 p.m.  190 River Ridge Circle Ste 306 | Burnsville, MN   Open House invite Take a look at some of the behind the scenes shot by my own son and assistant for the night. He even grabbed a selfie (ok more than one selfie! but I deleted most of them!). If you can't make it on July 11, watch for more details or message me and I'll make sure you get the scoop on this fun new experience. Your kids will love it! [contact-form subject='Between Friends Info Please!'][contact-field label='Name' type='name' required='1'/][contact-field label='Email' type='email' required='1'/][contact-field label='Comment' type='textarea' required='1'/][/contact-form]