photo shoots - have your own!

you can do this too!

You know we do a lot of photographing here in the Nonchalantmom house, at this time of year it's just about every week, and sometimes a few times a week. I photograph the collections for a few reasons. First, so that I get to know the fit of the collection, how each piece fits and moves. I get to hear about the comfort (or not!) and what the kids think about each piece. I also like to see how much is unisex, what I can get on both boys and girls and I think it makes it easier to shop when you see it ON the kids. I never use pins or clips, from time to time I size up or down to make things fit good, and then I know to put that in the description. Many people tell me that I should use other models, but I tell you... most of the time we have a BLAST and dance and play but from time to time it gets a little sticky.. and I would never want to be in that situation with anyone but MY OWN kids! (123... smile NOW!)

It's a job for them, when it comes to shooting day they can't go out and play so we have to call it a job! I have a few tips for photographing your own kids and I think it's a good idea to do it at least once a year, it's nice to have the photos and if you don't do it as a photo shoot you may just have snapshots, but it's nice to have a timeline with a nice clear white background (or grey or whatever). We made this little slideshow to show you how our photoshoot goes... (after we have 'trashed' the bad shots this is what you are left with)

Set Up:
First of all I like to have a nice white background. So I usually tape up white paper against a wall (you can get large rolls of white paper at any photography store or from BH online here - you can also use a sheet, but iron it first a it's a little more difficult to get it straight with no sags etc..) this will give you a clear white and really make your kids pop out of the photo! I like the roll to go onto the ground so that reflects up the light up onto your kids. You should do this on a bright but cloudy day - direct sun makes crazy shadows and will make it difficult. Our house is optimal because we have a whole wall of windows facing South so I set up the 'photo wall' so that it's directly reflecting onto it (but no direct sunlight).

First of all you either want to prepare your kids in advance and work up to the day, OR if your kids like surprises you can surprise them... you know your kids, but figure out your approach ahead of time. I find that when I tell them in advance, "I just got a brand new collection and it's SO cute you are going to love it and we are going to photograph it tomorrow!!" they are ready to perform. It IS a bit of a performance, we put on music (loud!) and start the show.

here's what happens when you use a flash... or what I call a Terry Richardson moment
 You don't need fancy photo equipment, when I started my website for YEARS I just worked with a pocket camera. You are not going to blow these up to poster size so any camera is fine! But NO flash! unless you want to pretend you are Terry Richardson. You will adjust them in your photo tool so don't worry if they are not totally bright yet.

It takes a while for them to warm up, so get them used to you photographing. For each collection I take about from about 100 to 400 photos. Most of them are crappy but this ensures you get some good candid shots (because we all KNOW they really like to pose!). After you do this a few times you will find angles and positions that work nice for your kids. When they do a good pose I say "Oh, that's for the cover of the magazine" and I think they think that's funny. Remind them to 'smile', or 'close your mouth' or 'show me your teeth'... they love it! My favorite look is 'come forward to me with your face' leaving their body behind you get a really fun face shot, it's really nice!

this is a 'come forward with your face' photo - see isn't it nice!

The important thing is that you have fun, it can get a bit grueling and at these times you can think of me because I need to photograph a whole collection! You... can just say... okay we are finished!

 Post Production:
I think it's fine to use iPhoto or whatever you have on your computer, you don't need fancy photo tools. I work with the brightness and make sure the white background pops white and then it usually looks great. From time to time you will need to work with warmth or coolness to get some nice colors or tones. I don't usually correct any crazy scars or bruises because I think it's kind of fun to remember them. Don't forget to CROP! my best advice from a professional photographer is crop more than you think... only show what's important.

nice cropping

This can make a great gift or present for Grandparents and other family members... just remember to have fun with it and do it every year!