playgrounds

Getting creative with playground photography

If you've been taking your children to the playground for 8 years like I have, you might find yourself getting bored with your photos. There are only so many shots you need of your kid coming down the slide.

So, what is to be done? Stop taking photos? Stop going to the playground?

A documentary photo of a boy playing on playground equipment in San Dimas, CA

I found myself here recently. I had even rented a 70-200 lens for a family shoot the following day and wanted to test it out with my own kids. However, once we got to the park, I was bored with all the shots I was making. Other photographers can make art with any lens and here I was with a beautiful lens creating boring snapshots. So, I took a step back.

A sweet photo of a girl on playground equipment in San Dimas, CA by documentary photographer Erica Faith Walker.

I blinked and looked with new eyes at the playground. Suddenly, I saw lines, geometric shapes, interesting shadows and compelling stories.

Sometimes all we need to do to break out of the photography rut is to just decide to see in a new way. So, next time you're bored with your park photography, try these steps:

  1. Close your eyes. Open them when you're ready to see in a new way.
  2. Take your camera out of your normal settings. Get out of your comfort zone.
  3. Experiment with new angles or slower shutter speeds
  4. When you get home, try editing them in a different style

 

This is a fun black and white photo of a girl on playground equipment in San Dimas, CA by Erica Faith Photography.

After Dinner playtime

Are you ever at a loss as to what to do after dinner and before bedtime? It seems that my kids need to run around and burn off still more energy every evening. So, instead of having them wrestle on the living room floor we headed to a local playground.  

Black and white photo of girl climbing on the playground equipment in Claremont, CA by Erica Faith Walker

This little 4 year old can almost always keep up with his big siblings. He's fast and scrappy.

Documentary photo of siblings on the playground equipment in Claremont, CA by Erica Faith Walker

However, sometimes that isn't enough. Sometimes, your legs just need to keep growing.

Documentary photo of siblings on the playground equipment in Claremont, CA by Erica Faith Walker

Helmets are helpful even off the scooter. They even keep you safe running on the blacktop.

Black and white photo of boy on a playground in Claremont, CA by Erica Faith Walker

P52 – A Study of Light {Diffuse Light}

P52 – A Study of Light {Directional Light}

At last, my last week on directional light. It's easy to get stuck in a rut of using window light (side light generally) so I wanted to challenge myself a bit. I spent the whole week looking for top light (noon pics, anyone?), bottom light (totally unflattering on people) and finally found something fun. Here are two different types of light. First is top light - sunny day at noon at the park. You can see the lack of shadows on his face and the darker shadow underneath him. He happened to also be sitting in shade so he didn't need to squint too much to look up.

If I were to choose my preferred light, I definitely don't prefer shooting at high noon. The contrast is usually too strong for my preferred type of "happy child shots" and the top light from the sun usually means that people's eyes are in the shadows or that they're squinting from the sun.

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Second is my more "artsy" submission. This is side light from a window way across the room. I like how it only highlights his chubby baby cheeks.