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From the Forum: 5 steps to get started portfolio building

***This tutorial was posted on our expansive photography forum; however, we think it’s so rad that we just had to share with you, too***

Developing a strong portfolio can be an ongoing and difficult process; however, it is also rewarding and the end result is a piece of work you can be very proud of.

Portfolio building takes a variety of forms: shooting PB clients for your business, personal collection for a special project, an artistic portfolio for a book or exhibition, or a professional portfolio (i.e. for a ClickPro Application).

Step 1: Goal and Vision

Developing an artistic vision for your portfolio can become a daunting philosophical journey. Your portfolio is meant to showcase your artistic vision, but the process may feel like an exploration of self, and perhaps this wasn’t your original intention. I felt like this when I built my portfolio for Click Pro and thought, “I am trying to show myself, not find myself!” It is a bit of an internal struggle, but it is also why this process is so rewarding, no matter where you are in your journey.

I felt like this when I built my portfolio for Click Pro and thought, “I am trying to show myself, not find myself!” It is a bit of an internal struggle, but it is also why this process is so rewarding, no matter where you are in your journey.

To ease the discomfort, have a vision beforehand. Here are some questions to help you:

  • What are my strengths? Demonstrate how you stand out as a photographer. Technical skill may be required, depending on the type of portfolio you are developing.
  • What story am I trying to tell? If you are curating an artistic portfolio, you may have had a strong vision from the start. Excellent! Perhaps you are telling the story of you… where you are at presently in your skills, creativity, and vision.
  • Does my work from the last 6 months differ greatly from my work in the past year? Ensure you have enough work to showcase your current abilities. Portfolio “filler” images that don’t quite fit will make it harder to achieve your goal and will also be discovered during Step 3.
  • Who is your audience? Are you doing this for yourself or for someone else? Either answer is correct and must be determined at the start of the process.

Step 2: Curation

Your portfolio should always showcase your best work, through the eyes of your chosen audience. This can be time-consuming and challenging since you must keep an objective eye. If you are building a portfolio for the Click Pro application, you have the benefit of the Pre-Application Package. The rubric included is a great resource, even if you are just looking for ways to improve your skills in different areas.

Unlike a museum or gallery, you are curating work that is your own. One way to accomplish this is to treat it like a self-evaluation. Spend time with each image and compare it to the rubric, or to your overall vision. This introspective approach is so important to achieving your goal.

Developing a strong portfolio can be an ongoing and difficult process; however, it is also rewarding and the end result is a piece of work you can be very proud of.

Step 3: Feedback

Receive feedback from your audience. If you’re putting together a book for your family, ask your children to select some of their favorite images. If you are applying for Click Pro, join a prep group or start your own. Successful groups have a limited number of participants and general time frame for their applications.

Giving feedback is just as important as receiving it. It can help you see things in the work of others that you may have forgotten to look for in your own work and helps foster your critical eye.

Constructive criticism of your images will help determine which ones should stay and which ones should go. While some comments can be taken with a grain of salt, more often than not, people are really giving the portfolio their heartfelt consideration and wish for you to succeed!

Step 4: Revision

You spent a lot of time in step 2 really getting down and dirty with your images. But it’s not over yet! After a round of feedback, you’ll want to review your selections. Based on the feedback provided, determine which images are worth keeping. Some may require a quick edit (perhaps it had a distracting element or a heavy eye adjustment). You may also have suggestions of images on your website or IG feed to consider adding.

It is rarely the case where you are able to finalize your portfolio as soon as you’ve done the first revision. Steps 2-4 can revolve several times before you feel it’s complete. It’s a bit of an organic process this way… you are potentially working on a portfolio for several months, with several rounds of review. In that time, you may be working with clients with the rubric in the back of your mind, shooting intentional portfolio-worthy images.

Step 5: Presentation

The time will come (oh, I promise, it will!) when you decide your portfolio is complete. Whether it has been a few weeks or a few months, congratulations! You have poured your soul into the project.

Based on your vision and goal, you will have a sense of the best way to present your images. No matter what, I also suggest creating a print copy. That way, you can review it in years to come and curate a long-term look at your growth. Many photographers curate a new portfolio once a year or so. This is in the form of Flickr albums, photo books, gallery submissions, and more.

Developing a strong portfolio can be an ongoing and difficult process; however, it's rewarding and the end result is a piece of work you can be proud of.

Like what you read? There’s all this and more when you have a forum membership!

The post From the Forum: 5 steps to get started portfolio building appeared first on Clickin Moms.


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How and why to change the point of view in a photograph

For many of us, when we begin our photography journey our first images are often “close-ups” of our babies.

Then, as they grow older, we continue shooting them from the same perspective, our perspective. Our perspective consists of us shooting mostly from in front of them.

Have you ever tried to vary your point of view? I don’t necessarily mean shooting from above, below, behind or at eye level. Even though these different perspectives add variety to your pictures, I want to invite you today to think about the point of view in the story.

I don’t necessarily mean shooting from above, below, behind or at eye level. Even though these different perspectives add variety to your pictures, I want to invite you today to think about the point of view in the story.

The point of view (POV) in photography is simply the editorial choice you make each time you take a picture, to tell and strengthen a story.

When considering the point of view from a storytelling perspective:

  • Do you want to tell a story from the narrator’s perspective, a participant’s perspective or from the viewpoint of an observer of the story?
  • Do you want the viewer to contemplate something or to be part of the action?
  • What do you want to showcase in the particular scene that you are about to capture: emotion, connection, action, quest, plot, a happy ending or struggle?

One thing that I want to emphasize is that there is no right of wrong POV because each POV will simply tell a different story. The thing that is important is to know what you want to say and then be sure your POV helps you to say it.

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

Shooting to show connection: choose a POV where the eye contact or the hands are the star.

One way to illustrate connections in your story is to include eye contact or your subject’s hands in your image. The eye contact can be with you or between the people within your frame. You can achieve it by being close to your subject or at a distance, depending on what you are trying to showcase. Filling your frame with the connection can really have a deep impact on the viewer.

The eye contact can be with you or between the people within your frame. You can achieve it by being close to your subject or at a distance, depending on what you are trying to showcase. Filling your frame with the connection can really have a deep impact on the viewer.

In this picture, I wanted to highlight this new mother’s gaze and her gently touching her baby’s hair. I also loved the light that was in this bedroom and I thought it helped contribute to the connection. So instead of filling the frame, I backed up a little and showed the entire scene, carefully framing the subjects so as not to include other elements that would have been distracting. I chose to shoot this from slightly above to flatter mom’s face and showcase the delicate light on her shoulder, bringing feminity to this image.

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

In this one, the point of view showcases the love and the energy of the boy. Having them so close to the camera makes the emotion almost tangible.

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

Shooting from the point of view of a voyeur to show things that you are not supposed to see, good or bad!

This point of view can be achieved by shooting as if you were hidden like paparazzi. You can use a door frame, window, mirror, or foliage to shoot through to suggest that you are “peeking in” on a scene. This point of view is effective when you see something naughty, bad behavior, or when you capture a stolen moment!

In this picture, I shot through the door frame and included the door in my image to help the viewer feel that my kids are doing something out of their parents sight and more specifically, something that they are not supposed to do! (Although I did provide the water bottle on this occasion for my image)

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

Here, I was trying to get a family picture in their new courtyard. After a quick celebratory toast, they decided to kiss. Thankfully I was still holding the shutter button and stole this tiny moment.

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

In this image, I didn’t want to disturb my son while he was drying his scooter. He hated my camera in those days so I preferred to hide behind the foliage. This POV allowed me to capture the concentration on his face which really added to the story.

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

Shooting from behind – the tricky one!

For the last year, because our family has been living in another country, I have been very drawn to taking images of my children from behind. Why? Sometimes, it is because I want to do more of a landscape photograph and I don’t want their faces to detract from the scene.

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

Or I need their back to tell the story, as shown here.

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

Shooting from your point of view while being involved in the action.

In this shot, I was literally behind dad and daughter, experiencing the activity. As you can see, my camera even got soaked! That’s why for me, the story is told from a narrator’s point of view. This is, of course, a participatory image as you can almost feel the water hitting you behind your screen!

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

Shooting from below to emphasize a character in your story.

Here, instead of following the “villain”, I chose to place myself in a narrator’s point of view to focus on the emotions on their faces and to make the viewer feel something. I was also slightly below them to make my son look bigger and to be sure to get his evil expression!

Actually, this picture is my son’s favorite! He laughs aloud each time he sees it on the screensaver!

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

Shooting from a distance to capture a contemplative moment or to use the environment to add a storytelling element.

In all these pictures, I needed the environment to tell the story. Here the story is not about a connection, it’s more about an atmosphere.

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

Case study 1: same point of view, two images

These two pictures are the same frame, but cropped differently.

This is the original. My first thought was to get low to capture the sun to add to the story. In my mind, the sunlight was enhancing the joy in this moment. This POV, to me, is more about the joyful atmosphere instead of focusing on their connection, even though the connection is undoubtedly there.

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

Back at home, I decided to try this thigh crop, “just to see”. In my opinion, this picture really showcases their connection and the fun they were having together.

I’ve included this example to illustrate that with the exact same point of view, you can tell a different story, sometimes it is very subtle and sometimes it detracts. Choosing how much environment you put in your frame should aways be in your decision process because it can make or break your image.

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

This POV, where I was slightly more on their right and shooting at sand level, broke the image. There is too much environment, bringing distracting elements into the frame and the mother’s body position is unflattering. Also, we can’t see the daughter’s face very well. In the previous shot, I positioned myself better in order to hide this distracting man!

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

Case study 2: two different POV – one sleeping baby

Although a few months between images, these photos are of the same baby in the same crib but from two different point of views.

In the first one, I was above her and using the crib as a leading line and as a framing element. My only thought when I composed this image was “she is gorgeous while she is sleeping”. Nothing more.

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

In this shot, I chose to shoot very close to her and at her eye level through the cot. It created a blurred foreground that suggests dreaminess.

Each time I look at this picture, my thought is “She is so calm, lost in her dreams. I want to pat her cheek but I don’t want to wake her”. To me this is really a stolen moment.

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

Case study 3: 3 perspectives on a fun moment

Finally, here is an example of 3 pictures taken within 10 seconds, capturing the same moment, from different points of view.

From behind and down low, the fun activity and movement are showcased and it emphasized the height of this human pyramid. Including the sun also contributes to the feeling of joy and happiness.

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

Being in front of the subjects and at their eye level, I was able to showcase more of the action and the struggle. I chose not to include the sun, instead choosing to enhance the feeling of the “struggle”. This is a subtle difference but it does change the story.

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

From below and in front of them, the emotion and the connections are highlighted because we can see their faces and their smiles. Being below them adds some drama, enhancing their height and suggesting an increasing risk of falling over!

In this tutorial, I will show you either a single image, or a series of images of the same moment, and will discuss how the point of view strengthens the image.

On that note, I encourage you to try new points of view in a very deliberate way. When you are shooting a scene, try to give it a title and ask yourself if your actual point of view contributes to telling the story to a complete stranger. If not, what can you change?

I can’t wait to see the point of view you will choose in your story!

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22 poses for successful pictures of kids, families, and adults

Above photo by Bonnie Cornelius

Posing your subject can be intimidating but it’s a crucial element in getting the best photo possible.

Even if you don’t pose, understanding why certain poses and positioning of the body works can help you choose the right angle in your lifestyle and documentary images.

The Click Pros have chimed in with their best tips to help you out. From kids to families to adults, they know how to get their subjects just right for the camera!

1. Use their hands

For Erica Williams, the hands say it all. She says, “Always have them do something with their hands. Seniors tend to get uncomfortable and stiff at their sessions until they warm up.

I always have them do something with their hands. It creates a comfort for them and they are less likely to look awkward in the photos. I tell them to hold or touch their face, shoulders, wrist or arms or hold onto their jackets, hats, or scarfs.”

senior photography on the beach by Erica Williams

2. Piggyback

Don’t forget the piggyback pose! Leslie Crane uses this one all the time. “For subjects who are different heights, I love to use the piggyback pose. It gets heads close together, and usually elicits a nice interaction between the two. It works for older and younger siblings, parent and child, and even couples!”

When photographing adults in this pose, be cautious of your angle – the wrong angle can make someone look larger than they are.

picture of two brothers outside by Leslie Crane

3. It’s all in the shoulder

Like posture, the shoulders can make or break a portrait. Alise Kowalski explains how to get the shoulders just right. “Very flattering for women of all ages and sizes. Have you subject stand side-on to you with her hands on her hips, elbow pointing behind her (think a chicken wing), shoulders relaxed, front leg bent with her weight mostly on her back leg and a little hip pop.

Then have her bring her chin toward her shoulder and push the shoulder up and forward toward her chin and tip her upper body slightly toward you. A little wind in the hair doesn’t hurt either!”

how to position the shoulder in a portrait by Alise Kowalski

4. The arm cross

Kowalski also emphasizes the technique of having a woman of all ages and sizes cross their arms. “Have your subject sit on the floor or on an apple box so that her knees are at waist height or higher. Have her lean forward to you, place her forearms criss-crossed on her knees, pushing her arms forward and pulling her torso away from you.

Variations could include crossing both arms and laying the hands on the opposite bicep, one hand up, arms wrapped around the knees, or side-on. Hands should be long and relaxed (think ballerina) and the chin should be pushed forward and down slightly.”

posing a woman with her arms crossed by Alise Kowalski

5. Create connection

When posing couples, Ebony Logins says to “always look for ways to improve the connection between them. This can be as simple as adding a hand, tilting a chin, or removing distractions.

I always move around my clients for different angles and make small changes along the way to accentuate their story. After your shoot, remember to write down what worked and what didn’t so that you can improve your posing repertoire.”

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6. Hug it out

For kids, getting on their level is key for Allison Gipson. “When it comes to kiddos – get on their level. Never push, plead or bribe. We find that ONE thing they love and run with it. My littlest clients can resist a good hug, kiss or cuddle.

This creates true connection and loving moment. I am not ashamed to admit it either…when all else fails – fart jokes. Works EVERY SINGLE TIME. Most authentic, real and amazing smiles. Miss Allison doesn’t do ‘cheese.’”

7. Walk this way

Walking isn’t just good exercise – it also makes for good photography. Carol Merriman explains. “I like to get people moving. Its a great way to give them a break (especially little kids) and still capture a connection. Couples I have them hold hands and walk. I might ask them a question so they will look and talk to each other. Families I like to stagger and group. Having them link arms or hold hands while walking.”

8. Get up high

Ashley Sasak makes it clear that when taking maternity photos, getting up high can make a big difference. “Get up high and shoot down! Doing this will not only get you a unique angle to include in your client’s gallery, but it’s also super flattering for the mom-to-be.

It emphasizes what we want to emphasize (her growing belly) and de-emphasizes any other areas she may be self-conscious of. Bring along a step-stool to your next maternity session and give it a try! Or, if your session is taking place in your client’s home, standing up on the bed or a chair also works well.”

9. Look back

Per Tami Keehn, don’t be afraid to give a little direction. “Providing clients with more action oriented directions versus specific poses will elicit more natural interactions and images that appear less stiff. For example, directing him to look back as his wife kisses his forehead creates a natural and intimate image.”

10. Stay connection

Jen Bilodeau can never get enough connection between her subjects. “When communicating emotion in your photograph, the positioning of the hands is everything. I tell my clients to always stay connected in some way, and I ask them to keep their hands active.

I offer suggestions of what mom or dad should do with their hands such as gently touching their child’s face, brushing their child’s hair aside, rubbing their child’s small fingers within their hand, or even giving the child a gentle tickle. If the hands are in site, make sure they are a visual sign of the connection the parent and child feel for each other.”

11. Your perspective matters

“Consider your position in relation to your subject as it can have a significant impact on how that subject is perceived,” says Mel Karlberg.

“Standing above your subject can result in the subject appearing submissive, sometimes even looking younger or more innocent. Standing at eye level with your subject creates a tone of dominance and also results in a shift of facial features that causes the subject to look more powerful and confident. These images were taken moments apart, but the shift in angle resulted in two very different characters.”

 

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12. Spin

Gayle Soskolne has a go-to trick up her sleeve for a fun pose. “I find that this pose works without fail not only to help warm up kids and parents alike, but to bring out their natural genuine smiles.

I have one of the parents hold the child up against his/her side (legs wrapped around the parent’s torso) and have them spin around in a circle. Just once. Then “FREEZE” once they are facing back in my direction. If I’m including both parents I have the other one quickly “hug” from the other side. You then get a smiling kid sandwich!

Kids of all ages LOVE it and without fail help you capture their huge genuine smiles. And bonus(!) – that often helps bring out the parent’s natural smile as well! For older children, I will have parents repeat “the spin” over and over, but will count down (slowly and with excitement in my voice) before the subsequent spins. This brings out smiles of anticipation (and in low light, saves you from depending on a high shutter speed).”

13. The masculine pose

For Seniors, Dawne Carlisle some tips. As she says, “with Senior boys I like to have them keep their shoulders facing mainly toward the camera because that gives a masculine feel to the image. I was able to stand above the Senior on the staircase to get a unique viewpoint by having the Senior boy keep his chin down. Another tip is to be mindful of your background and leading lines. In this image, having the curb wrap gently around his head draws your eye in the correct direction.”

14. Sit and stagger

That’s not Carlisle’s only pose though; she’s also got a great one for sitting. ” This pose works well when you have stairs, a long bench or as I do here … a log available for posing. The trick for this pose is to place the knees at staggered heights with the knee closest to the camera being at the tallest height. Have the senior place their back hand on the log while still having tall posture.”

15. A whisper

This is the one time whispering is fun and Rebecca Hellyer uses it to her advantage. “My go-to pose for couples (both engagements and mom/dad photos during a family session) is warm and sweet and a little intimate. I have the couple turn more side-on to me, and have the girl turn her back to the guy and get in nice and close. The guy wraps his front arm around her chest, so he can grasp her back shoulder with his hand. I then have the girl bring her hands up to hold onto his arm. I tell him to lean in close and whisper in her ear — most of the time I tell him that I can’t hear anything, so he could whisper something naughty and I’d never know. This usually elicits some bashful giggles, especially from couples who have been together for a long time. I try to shoot from slightly above and get in close, with the focus on the girl’s expression.”

Chelsey Hill especially likes using the whisper technique during maternity sessions. She says “to have the spouse embrace the expecting mom from behind and either whisper something in her ear or kiss the side of her cheek. It might seem obvious, but with maternity portraits it is ultra important to have the couple’s hands placed on mom’s belly which is what they’re there to celebrate and capture. When that’s not done, it makes for an awkward photo.”

16. Anticipation

Energetic kids can be a challenge but Beth Ann Fricker knows how to tackle them. “Young children seem to have boundless energy and trying to take a photograph of them might seem like a huge feat. I try to capture as much of that energy as I can but with a little bit of control. I’ll usually give the kids tasks such as on the count of three I want you to run faster than a cheetah or jump as high as you can when I yell poppy-pants. You end up with two shots – one of anticipation and another full of energy and authentic smiles.”

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17. Belly-to-belly

Fricker doesn’t stick with just the energetic moments, though. “For a more tender moment, I’ll have mom and the child face each other and be belly-to-belly. This creates a close connection, especially with wiggly kids. You can get a variety of poses from this position quickly – looking at each other, the child looking the camera, everyone looking at the camera, and then interaction between them.”

18. Watch the feet

I highly recommend beginning the posing process by focusing on the feet first,” states Holli True. “Asymmetry is a good thing when posing anything in pairs, such as arms, hands, legs, feet, etc. For more dynamic posing, show movement. You can accomplish this by bending the knees and raising one foot off the ground, either tilted back on the heel or pointed up on the toe. In a sitting pose, if the knees are together, keep them touching, but adjust one knee slightly lower. Play with angles, a slight turn in or turn out can completely change the entire look of a pose and add visual interest.”

19. The baby raise

With families, Bonnie Cornelius has a pose or two ready to go. “For families with a baby, I like to have them all sit together and have one parent raise the baby up and play with her. This is a great way to contain small children while capturing some great authentic interaction!”

20. Tickles

Cornelius also goes for the most classic, the tickle. “I also like to have families with school age children cuddle of together, tell each other jokes, and tickle. I’ll come in closer with a wider lens to capture the giggles and interaction.”

21. The sneak attack

Carri Peterson likes to get a little sneaky with her portraits. “I always incorporate movement into all my “poses.” One of my favorite ways to get an authentic, emotive pose from a bride and groom (or engaged couple) is to place the bride in front and ask the groom to take about ten steps back and to sneak up on her and wrap his arms around her. She always feels like there is no way he will surprise her, and he usually really does! Almost always there are great photos before and after the actual surprise too.”

Carri Peterson

22. Genuine smiles

Of course, a picture wouldn’t be a picture without some true, genuine smiles right? We’ve also got a few tips on getting those genuine smiles…

Anita Perminova goes in for the tickles herself. “Sometimes it can be really hard to capture an authentic portrait of a child looking happy and smiling genuinely for the camera. I love tickling children to get them laugh, I promise you will get natural photos. Tickle the kid for a second, back up, then do it again and take a few shots when they giggle.”

When it comes to big families, Tasha Boin has a giggle plan. “Large families can be tough sometimes, especially with little kids and short attention spans. Usually, at the end of every session, I let them have fun by utilizing the natural elements (snow, leaves, fields of flowers etc) around me and let them play. I group the family together and have them throw up leaves or snow in this instance and EVERY time I get natural laughs and giggles, even from the dads!”

Elizabeth, @lroyrose on the forum, says, ” As a way to get genuine emotion, laughs and fun from kids I ask them questions. The favorites are to tell your brother/sister a secret and tell us your best joke! Little kids love entertaining the crowd-most of the time! LOL”

***This article was updated on April 13, 2017.***

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What I learned working with National Geographic

While shooting in rural Rwanda, I was lucky to be told the village had a bathroom… go around that hut, they said, cut through the flock of chickens and don’t worry about the goat, just step over him.

Exotic locales always bring fascinating and unfamiliar experiences, whether it’s riding on the roof of a bus through the Andes or eating pizza with pickles on it.

It helps if your job is all about exploring the world. I started working with National Geographic over 15 years ago, first in documentary filmmaking and later in both film and photography for various media outlets and cause-driven organizations.

I’ve crossed the Atlantic on an aircraft carrier with soldiers returning from war; I’ve come nose to snout with a whale shark; I’ve talked to people on death row and interviewed parents whose infant was struggling for his life against whooping cough. (He made it, happily.)

I feel so lucky to be a part of these people’s lives. I love connecting people with others around the world, opening eyes and bringing awareness to social and humanitarian issues. Because our humanity is what connects us all.

Then I had kids of my own.

I didn’t give any of that up… although maybe I cut back on the exotic travel a tad. But instead of only pointing my camera at people in far-flung locales, I started photographing my children and friends’ kids, in my own home and my backyard in the Pacific Northwest. And what I discovered was that…

Ordinary really is extraordinary. I never knew that before.

The foreign and exotic tend to grab our attention, but if we take the time to stop and really look around us, our own “ordinary” lives are just as extraordinary as anyone’s. And our cameras help us see the ultra-familiar in a new, powerful way.

Here in the U.S., with our individualistic, hardworking, “do it yourself” attitude, we often don’t let our true selves show. We pose and put on smiles. But whether you’re in Bangkok or Baltimore, Chile or California, humanity is our common thread, and our ability to project compassion. We all long for that connection, no matter where we are, and through images we can share that with anyone in the world.

That’s why we need more authenticity in our everyday imagery. It lets us share a real and raw – yet still beautiful – glimpse of our everyday selves. It lets us connect, relate and spread compassion in a time when we can use as much of it as we can find.

So what did I learn after 28 countries and two children?

1. Connection elevates images

Take the time to genuinely engage with and get to know your subject. That connection will absolutely show in your images. They’ll be more relaxed and their personality will beam through. It’ll elevate your images more than any fancy high-end gear will.

We don’t always have the luxury of time, of course, but even when rushed, showing a simple yet sincere interest in someone goes a long way: a smile, a question about their day, a compliment, or showing a photo from your own life.

We need more authenticity in our everyday imagery. It lets us share a real and raw - yet still beautiful - glimpse of our everyday selves. It lets us connect, relate and spread compassion in a time when we can use as much of it as we can find.

2. Patience begets the best

I’m sure you’ve heard it before, but it’s so important it’s worth repeating: great pictures come to those who wait. People often repeat behaviors, particularly children. Or they make the same silly facial expressions over and over. Observe. Anticipate. Get your camera ready. And wait. And then wait some more.

We need more authenticity in our everyday imagery. It lets us share a real and raw - yet still beautiful - glimpse of our everyday selves. It lets us connect, relate and spread compassion in a time when we can use as much of it as we can find.

3. Spontaneity rules

When our first daughter turned one, we hired a photographer to take portraits in the park. I stressed over coordinated outfits and made all kinds of funny faces to get her to smile. They were beautiful photographs, but they captured such a small part of who we are.

I’ve always been in the field, immersed in someone else’s life, capturing things spontaneously as they unfold. I’m biased obviously, but documentary-style photography can be incredibly powerful. It captures and evokes emotion.

We need more authenticity in our everyday imagery. It lets us share a real and raw - yet still beautiful - glimpse of our everyday selves. It lets us connect, relate and spread compassion in a time when we can use as much of it as we can find.

4. Details are powerful

I don’t just mean those close-ups of infant’s feet and hands and other macro details. Look around for the subtle details that bring an extra layer of interest and personality to your image, like this smile on the wall in the background.

We need more authenticity in our everyday imagery. It lets us share a real and raw - yet still beautiful - glimpse of our everyday selves. It lets us connect, relate and spread compassion in a time when we can use as much of it as we can find.

take-better-pictures-with-the-help-of-the-Clickin-Moms-photography-forum

5. I wish I had eyes in the back of my head

Be keenly observant of your surroundings. Capturing unique moments requires knowing what’s going on around you at all times, in all directions. (So if you’re a parent, you already have an upper hand!)

We need more authenticity in our everyday imagery. It lets us share a real and raw - yet still beautiful - glimpse of our everyday selves. It lets us connect, relate and spread compassion in a time when we can use as much of it as we can find.

6. Embrace chaos

Chaos is real; chaos has personality; chaos has movement. Don’t shy away from it. Disorder and nuttiness can make for amazing, fun, funny and telling images. Try finding an angle with an uncluttered background and waiting patiently for all of your subjects to have separation between them. Then start clicking, lots.

We need more authenticity in our everyday imagery. It lets us share a real and raw - yet still beautiful - glimpse of our everyday selves. It lets us connect, relate and spread compassion in a time when we can use as much of it as we can find.

The post What I learned working with National Geographic appeared first on Clickin Moms.


Clickin Moms

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25 Faceless pictures that are perfectly captured

Winning image above by Lindsey Stigleman

Who doesn’t love a contest?

Every month on the photography forum, we throw out a theme and leave it up to members to interpret it in their images. Last month, we chose the theme ‘Faceless’.

What resulted was an amazingly beautiful collection of pictures that allowed us to catch a glimpse inside the lives of the members. We’ve compiled a few of them here for you to enjoy and we want to congratulate Lindsey for winning a live Breakout seat from Click Photo School with her image above!

Amanda Simpson

Amanda Simpson

Angee Manns

Angee Manns

Beth Crossman

Beth Crossman

Brandy Dykes

Brandy Dykes

Candy Kempsey

Candy Kempsey

Christina Klahn

Christina Klahn

Dana Pembroke

Dana Pembroke

Eva Lagardere

Eva Lagardere

Gisele Queiroz

Gisele Queiroz

Julie Audoux

Julie Audoux

Juliet Schwab

Juliet Schwab

Katie Langmuir

Katie Langmuir

Katy Wehbeh

Katy Wehbeh

Kelley Krohnert

Kelley Krohnert

Kendra Knaggs

Kendra Knaggs

Kerry L

Kerry L

Kristen Ryan

Kristen Ryan

take-better-pictures-with-the-help-of-the-Clickin-Moms-photography-forum
Megan Yanz

Megan Yanz

Rebecca Carlson

Rebecca Carlson

Sarah Boccolucci

Sarah Boccolucci

Sarah Mikesell

Sarah Mikesell

Shan Wilkinson

Shan Wilkinson

Shelby Zavala

Shelby Zavala

Shokofeh

Shokofeh

Would you like the opportunity to be featured in next month’s photo share here on the Clickin Moms Blog and possibly win a prize? For our next contest, we’ve asked for your best ‘Weather’ photos which you can submit here.

Not a member of the forum? Don’t forget that you can sign up today risk-free!

The post 25 Faceless pictures that are perfectly captured appeared first on Clickin Moms.


Clickin Moms

Posted in Photograpy How To | Tagged , , , | Leave a comment