I love getting Aisley's photos done professionally, but quite frankly, with her smiles being as rare as they are, I feel like its a waste of money that we just don't have right now. Even with the nicest photographer EVER, we never got through a session without a meltdown, and never got a single smile.
So for Christmas, I'm doing her photos myself, and here's how you can too:
1. Be realistic- Aisley is particular about her sleep. She would not sleep here or there. She would sleep in a box or with a fox. Not in a house or with a mouse. As much as I'd like to catch her snoozing with Santa or cuddled up by the fireplace, I know it won't work, and I know it'll be a waste of my time and a huge frustration to try. As tired as she gets, no photoshoot naps for Aisley.
2. Use what you have- I bought NOTHING for these pictures. I used a soft couch blanket, an extra strand of light, a few extra ornaments, and our actual presents and tree. Its great to use stockings as well.
3. Pinterest is a godsend- I'm pretty creative, but why not put a few heads together? Pinterest is full of ideas you can do yourself. I even have a whole board dedicated to Aisley photography here. I even did a couple (sort-of) look-a-likes.
4. Break it up- One of the biggest advantages of DIYing your photos is that you can set up, set your camera up, and leave it. Its easy to take a break, get the kiddo a snack, or put the beebs down for a nap mid way through. If I'm being honest, Aisley's Christmas "session" took about three days...because things like this kept happening.
|Really, kid? Tape??|
5. Know your lighting- I prefer to use tons of natural light. I HATE my cameras flash, and I'm not willing to shell out the big bucks for a new one, so I simply shoot next to one of the two convenient WALLS of sliding glass doors in our house. All of the pictures are cropped in to have more of a "backdrop" look, but in actuality, its just in a corner of the living room.
6. Know your camera basics- For Christmas pictures, I like to use a low aperture to give the Christmas tree lights a nice, soft glow. I usually photograph a jumpy, roll-y baby, so my shutter speed is always pretty fast. Then, I adjust the ISO as low as I can to reduce as much graininess as I can without getting too dark of an image. From there, I fiddle here and adjust there taking a few pictures in between, until I get something I'm happy (enough) with. To me, using decent manual settings are always better than "auto" mode. I use this camera, and while its not a professional grade camera, its a great and inexpensive option for what I use it for, and I really recommend it. There's even a version that includes Adobe Lightroom, which is what I usually use for editing. Right now, its even cheaper than the version I have here.
7. Lightroom is easier than Photoshop- I always start in Lightroom, usually up my exposure and contrast a touch, fiddle with my colors, and add a little noise reduction, among other things. It can make photos look great with no filter. But that being said.....
8. Filters are your friends- I'm not a professional. I know that. I don't expect my photos to look professional. However, on those almost-perfect shots, I might as well throw in a nice filter or black and white tone to make it look just a touch more finished than it really may be.