Today we feature a Mama Post series submission from darling Kristina, mama to @Hallen.Amelie. Mama and Hallen live in the lovely east coast state of Maryland (a place near and dear to me because my Nonnie lived in Chevy Chase, MD until she was 97 years old). Kristina has been working on little Hallen’s Brand Rep page for about five months and they have been blowing it out of the water after getting their start with @HeartlysCloset (have you seen their Little Red Riding Hood cape? if not go NOW). Way to go mama K and Baby H!!
When looking over Hallen’s IG its impossible NOT to notice her beautiful blue eyes. Having a baby with blue eyes myself I struggle to get my lighting right to show off his natural eye color. Often they come out dark and in reality they are crystal blue. I asked Kristina to offer some advice to all of the mamas out there wanting to capture a more natural eye color and sparkle (catch lights) when shooting their little ones.
“How do I get Hallen’s eyes to look so blue? It’s all about the natural light! When shooting I prefer to be outdoors, but with cold weather, those shoots are becoming few and far between so its necessary to get a little creative. When shooting inside I prop up a piece of bead board from The Home Depot against my kitchen island. I lay a faux fur blanket on the ground, and sit Hallen on top of something so she can’t crawl away! She won’t stand up inside right now, so that’s kind of a bummer. She’s a diva in that way! Maybe once she starts walking, she’ll stand up for me! But this works to get her to remain in one place while I get the best shots.
Lots of mamas want to know about the camera. I shoot with a Canon Rebel. It’s a great entry level DSLR and depending on the series you purchase they offer a lot of functionality and do much of the work of the higher level professional series DSLRs from Canon without the major price tag.
Typically I like to shoot in manual. For those who are less familiar with their camera settings this is the “M” on a Canon. Manual allows the photographer to change the three major settings of shooting including the shutter speed, the aperture and the ISO. All three of these settings can be manipulated for your scene to create the best output for your needs.
I find that auto settings just don’t cut it so manual shooting is for me! I like my photos a little brighter than some people probably. I try not to take my ISO more than 400 (the higher the ISO the brighter the output, but they can also get grainy looking if you go too high). People will tell you that higher ISOs are fine, but they just aren’t in my opinion!
If the lighting is just right inside I can have my shutter speed at 125-‐160. Sometimes I can have it as high as 250. Outdoors, I can take it as high as 500 depending on the time of the day. I try to keep it as high as I can to keep motion blur to a minimum while letting in the most light possible. It’s a balance game. Kids are just impossible to photograph with a shutter speed less than 125, so if I take it lower than that, I know they aren’t going to turn out so great. You will begin to get blur, like moving hands and legs. My aperture tends to vary depending on scene.
When trying to keep blue eyes blue I have found that the key is to make sure there aren’t shadows. There needs to be some light shining in the direction of their eyes. Remember that big bows, hats and beanies can create shadows over the eyes if the lighting is too harsh or there isn’t enough. If you’re outside, choose morning or late afternoon so that there is still sunlight, but it’s not harsh or directly in their face. Face them in the direction of the light (if they’re in shade or open spaces) so that light will bounce off their faces. Also, if you look down at them and have them looking up at you in that same direction of light, you’re able to capture “catch lights” in their eyes that make them really pop and seem super clear! That’s my favorite way to showcase her eyes. It shows so much emotion. With lowlight, you need to have a low aperture to let in as much light as possible. It’s nice to have someone holding a reflector, as well, to use any light that is available. You can also wear a white shirt to reflect a little bit of light onto them! There are so many options to help reflect the light.
Lots of reps are trying to find their “best fit” with editing apps and software. Right now I do everything in Photoshop Express on my phone. Although, I am looking for something else, because PS Express does reduce the quality slightly. I brighten everything up with the exposure tool. I soften the photo up using the reduce noise funtion. Maybe I’ll play around with the highlights and shadows to keep brightening the photo. And then I always increase the vibrancy at least slightly to make the colors really pop. I feel like this makes the photo really stand out. Saturation can kill skin tone, but vibrancy just enhances what’s going on already!
My last tip is this: try to take your photos around the same time everyday if you are using a natural light setting. This allows you to learn the best combination of settings for your photography, in a pretty consistent setting with a pretty consistent lighting source. This will help eliminate the need to over edit your photos. I take my photos at the same time every day, and have learned what works best for us, so now I don’t have to do too much crazy editing!
I hope these little bits of information are helpful to all the mamas out there in the Brand Rep community! We love what we are doing and sharing it with others.”
Thank you so much to Kristina of @hallen.amelie for taking the time to write up some photography tips for our readers. Make sure to check out Hallen’s Brand Rep page on Instagram and take a look at all the fabulous photos mama has captured of her darling little one.
Stay tuned for more Mama Post series contributions, and if you are interested in being featured or have a topic you would like to submit for a Mama Post, feel free to e-‐mail me using the contact form on our blog here, or DM me on Instagram @LiamAdventures.
Courtney & Liam ♥