Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Taking Christmas Photos

Yesterday I previewed all the Christmas portraits I’ve taken of my kids with point and shoot cameras (find it here).  You can get good photos with point and shoot cameras, even the cheap ones.  Just use good light, focus on the eyes, and you can use editing software if you have it.

This year I have a lower end dslr camera, so I practiced with that.  I love playing with my camera.
And yes, school was cancelled for kids on our side of the mountain yesterday, so I was able to utilize the sunlight to get pictures of my children.  Let’s hope I can get up the driveway this afternoon, because I’m suppose to pick Scooter up from school today.  And one of our chains broke over the weekend and the new ones don’t arrive until tomorrow.  Uff dah. 

I bribed the kids with skittles and told them I would only be taking pictures of them for no more than 15 minutes. 

In about 12 minutes I snapped some pictures, with a few breaks for the kids to get baby dolls and dogs. 

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I clamped a white fleece sheet on to two of my bar stools.  Scooter is getting too tall to stand in front of a sheet at that height, so I put a wicker basket down for the kids to sit on.  There were only a few squeals and whines of “he’s sitting on my side” or “she’s hogging the seat.”  Good times.  My “photography area” is facing a lot of south facing windows.  There’s also a west facing picture window (that you can see in the photos below).  You can see the reflections of the windows in the kids’ eyes.  The light wasn’t directly shining on the kids, but there was a lot of natural ambient light.  You can get a nice view of the mess below.  And a view of the kids eating their treat once we were done with photos.  I took the photos around 10am.  We still hadn’t cleaned up from breakfast.  Snow days mean hot chocolate.


I got a few decent pictures in less than 15 minutes.  I took maybe 90 photos and a lot of the photos had the eyes closed in them.  Oh well.

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The outfits?  Scooter is wearing a Docker 3 piece outfit from Sears.  It cost $22.  He’ll be wearing it to church a lot.  He actually wanted to wear it to school today, but I vetoed that.
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Chewy is wearing an American Girl outfit that is a wee bit too big for her.  It was an early Christmas present.  I got it for 75% off, along with the matching doll outfit for her Bitty Baby.  Chewy’s dress was $18 and the hat was $5.  The doll’s dress (with hat, tights, book, and shoes) was $12.  Not too bad for usually overpriced American Girl stuff.  The best thing is that Chewy loves it.
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There is minimal editing on these photos.  Mostly because I didn’t take the time to do it and when I did edit one, Biker Boy thought the kids’ faces were too washed out.  So I just boosted the color a tiny bit and brought out the eyes a tiny bit.  That’s it.  I used The Pioneer Woman’s free actions.  I used Bring Out the Eyes at 40% opacity.  I sharpened the eyes with Sharpen This at 60% opacity and used the Boost action, but turned off most layers and only used the Zing (or is it zip?) at 40% opacity.  Too much info for some of you?

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The pictures with the dog didn’t work out so well.  Oh well. 
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Have you noticed that Scooter has lost 2 teeth in the front?  Yep.  The tooth fairy has been here a lot recently.  The dog photo and ones below have not been edited at all.  That way you can kind of see the before and afters.

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I think I like the outtake photos the best.  That’s when you get the personality!

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Have you done Christmas photos?  Do you have to bribe your kids to get photos of them?

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