Friday, December 19, 2014

The Cutest Christmas Photos EVER

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.

9. Remember to just make memories-  Sure, you can find the exact same pose over and over in magazines and all over the internet...but is that really YOUR child?  I much prefer the pictures that leave the ordinary behind, and let my daughter's unique personality come through.

These. Eyebrows.  

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