July

Portraits of Childhood - Capturing the best photos of children's personalities

I absolutely love when I can capture close-up portraits of children. Some children are nervous with a camera in their face while other children use this chance to goof off. I happen to have both kinds of children in my own family.

My oldest and youngest love attention and really love seeing their face on the back of the camera. My middle guy is the quieter one; he lets me capture photos of him absorbed in an activity but does not usually sit for a formal portrait.

When I do have the opportunity to take some "formal" portraits of children, I usually ask them a silly question or suggest a goofy scenario. This lights up their imagination and it just shines through their eyes and face. Sometimes I'll even ask them to show me all sorts of kinds of faces, from excited to sad, scared to happy. In the photo below, I asked my girl to show me a few "excited" faces.

A young girl making a silly face in her photography portrait.

In this photo, I simply asked my boy to show me several "faces" including his crying face. I really liked the balance with the rain cloud on the pillow behind him.

A black and white portrait of a boy pretending to cry.

Sometimes when I create a portrait of a child, I don't even need to capture their entire face to really get their personality. I don't even know what my little guy is doing in this photo, but I love the mystery.

A close up photo of just the eyes of a preschool boy.

Portrait photography needs two vital components: an awesome personality and great light. The personality part is a natural for kids. They can't help but be their awesome selves. The great light is also found almost anywhere, including a hallway (lower left photo) or a bathroom (lower right photo). I drive my family crazy sometimes when we're out walking and I just stop. It's usually because I see an interesting light pattern on the ground and I must know what created it. 

Portrait photography of a young boy makes great use of shadows.
Find the great light first when making portraits. This can even be in bathrooms.
Getting great light is important for beautiful photos of children in Claremont.

Portraits also don't always need to be made sitting down. Some of my favorite portraits of my own children are the quick action shots that I have to nail in a split-second such as when he's running towards me in a tiny tunnel or swinging in a hammock or even taking an evening walk through The Claremont Colleges.

Portrait photo using great use of light and composition.
Outdoor portrait child photography in California.
Scripps College is a great place for family photos in Claremont.

Childhood portraits are such a natural component of my family lifestyle sessions. I love to tell the story of childhood from the point of view of these little humans. Candid and formal images are necessary to fully tell that story. 

What to Wear for Summer Family Photos

Summer is a great time to schedule your family photos! The gorgeous sunsets, awesome weather... and gorgeous trees and nature backdrops all around us. And you need amazing outfits for your family too!

These will be the images on your walls that make you smile for years to come. So it makes sense to plan ahead of time. Think about the colors you love. Think about  which rooms you plan to display the photos. What colors are those rooms? Don't do what I've done is wake up on the day of your family photosession and scramble to find whatever is clean.

I want you to be beautiful. I want you to be comfortable. And, I want you to love these photos for years, so, let's face it, the outfits do matter.

So, here are some do's and dont's to picking awesome outfits.

Let Your Personalities Shine!

DON'T

Don't let the outfits steal the show. You are the heroes, not your clothes. When you look at your photos for years to come, you want your awesome faces to be the star of the photos. So, please stay away from logos, large distracting patterns and fluorescent colors.

DO

Reflect a bit your family's personality. Are you a hike and picnic in nature family? Do you all spend lots of time at urban festivals and museums? Let your passions and your personality show in your clothing!

Amazing boho outfit choices for a family photoshoot.

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Just the Right Color

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DON'T

Don't go matchy-matchy. It's not how you dress in real life, right? I do admit that my 5 and 7 year old like to wear matching shirts sometimes, but my husband and myself? Uh, no.

DO

Find complimentary colors for the family to wear. Do you love blue? Instead of wearing matching blue button downs, have each person wear different shades of blue. My sweet friends (to the right) did a beautiful job combining blues and greys for an authentic representation of their family

Looking for a hot weather version? Check out this collage of blue outfits with hints of brown and grey. Perfect for a family photo session at The Claremont Colleges or the beach.

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Who is the Star?!

Pick a Feature Outfit

DON'T

Don't try to style everyone in their favorite outfit. If Dad wears his favorite striped shirt and Mom wears her favorite flowery dress and the kids each wear their favorite neon-shirts, the end image will be way too busy and detract from the beauty of the actual people.

DO

The goal in finding outfits for your photo session is to create a cohesive look as a family. So, pick one outfit to be highlighted or featured. That can be the chid who is the picky-est dresser or Dad who insists he'll wear his favorite striped polo or Mom who purchased a gorgeous dress just for the session. Then, find outfits for everyone else that match or coordinate with the colors and style of that feature outfit.

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Underwater Photography - A before and after comparision

Underwater photography relies heavily on post-editing. No matter the camera - whether I use my fancy DSLR with underwater housing or my GoPro - the image that is straight out of the camera (SOOC) is never perfect. Cameras just can't capture the contrast and detail that a human eye can see. So, I always spend a good amount of time with each photo in Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop pulling out those important details. Here is one of my latest underwater photos. I thought everyone might want to see the difference between a SOOC image and the final edited image.

THE FINAL IMAGE

(After getting edited in Lightroom and Photoshop)

Underwater photography of children in Claremont, CA

BEFORE

Straight out of the Camera (GoPro Hero 5)

My settings: ISO 100, 3mm (ultra wide angle), f/2.8, 1/2500 sec

 
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Underwater photography is really an exciting activity. I have the honor of capturing children completely absorbed in their own activities and everything takes on a bit of magic. How often do we get to fly, float and spin upside down?

Snapshots: The Suburban Mom Lifestyle - life in a minivan

Raise your hand if you spend as much time as I do just driving your children back and forth to All. The. Activites.  So, it's only natural that since I carry my camera almost everywhere we go, that I'd capture some of our life in that beloved minivan. Seriously... this thing is messy and full of crumbs, but has sooo much space. Enjoy this snapshot of our life in our minivan. 

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Underwater Photography

When I take my camera under the surface of a pool, it's like I'm in another world. Shadows and highlights are entirely different than on land. Bubbles surround and accentuate everyone. And the colors! Sun streams through the surface, darkness creeps up from the deep end and everyone's swimsuits scream summer with every shot. As a lifestyle photographers, I love seeing connections and movement everywhere; and this includes underwater. I love seeing siblings getting crazy and parents helping their littlest of fish.

I'm lucky that I live in California where we have such a long swim season. Underwater photography has given me such creative expression that I enthusiastically jump in the pool with my kids at every opportunity.

Two kid grab onto their dad in the pool.
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Adventure Day to the Seaside Lagoon in Redondo Beach!

Erica Faith Photography Seaside Lagoon in Redondo Beach California

We declared an adventure day this week and headed to the Seaside Lagoon in Redondo Beach!

It's an enclosed beach with water pumped straight in from the ocean. There are several fountains, two waterslides and lots of sand for digging.

Erica Faith Photography Seaside Lagoon Redondo Beach
Erica Faith Photography Seaside Lagoon Redondo Beach

Ahhh, that water is cold! Yep, it's not heated. These kids did quickly create their own warmer spot for "bathing."

Erica Faith Photography Seaside Lagoon Redondo Beach
Erica Faith Photography Seaside Lagoon Redondo Beach
Erica Faith Photography Seaside Lagoon Redondo Beach
Erica Faith Photography Seaside Lagoon Redondo Beach