Today is about you
Today, you become an active part of the joy. As in - YOU will be making it INTO the photo. And I know, I know - I still cringe when I see myself in the photos, but hear me out.
I was recently sitting with my older 10 year old daughter and we were choosing which photos we took on a daytrip to be printed. I find that letting her be involved in both the photo 'starring' part but also taking some of the photos and coming up with ideas what to photograph and then printing them - helps immensly with overcoming her reluctance to have a camera stuck in her face yet again.
But my point is, as we were sifting through the few hundred photos we took on the day, while I kept trying to pick the more 'arty' photos I took of her and her sister and her dad, she kept picking the photos I was in. The ones where I thought l I look fat and old and awkward - taken by her or my husband or on self timer.
The photos that show her MUM having fun with her.
The photos that are about us, our connection, me being present with her and joining in her joy and being in her life.
And you know what, I hate them so much but I also kind of love them. Because they show me and them I was there! Because my children deserve to have the memories they made WITH THEIR MUM to have a pride of place on the wall too.
So today I'm making you get in on the joy too. I want YOU to make it into a photo! And you have till Sunday to achieve it!
Let's talk about the technical first
With most cameras, and indeed, even the phone cameras, you'll have at least one of the following options.
Most cameras and phones have this option these days so you have NO excuse. You can often choose to have a shorter or a longer lead time, and sometimes you can also choose whether the camera sould trigger once or multiple times.
Available on some cameras and some phones . You set the camera up, and then tell your camera to take a photo once every so often - you define the duration, so this could be once every 30 seconds or 3 minutes or anything else really. It's great when you dont want to perform for the camers but simply want it to capture the fun as it's going on. It will inevitably involve lots and lots of prettu bad photos due to people wondering off the frame, focus missed etc, but usually it'll have a couple of gems as well.
Some years ago I spent £5 on ebay and bough myself a super simple, uncomplicated clicker remote. It is the size of a lighter, attaches to my key ring and pairs with my camera via infrared connection and it means that I can just set my camera up and then trigger it discreetly when I feel the moment is right. The kids love using it too! You could of course get a fancier one that helps you focus and set the camera settings (mine just sets of the shutter) etc, but honestly, I think for this kind of purpose, my clicker did its job rather admirably!
Remote Trigger on your phone
While I still have my little clicker, my newer camera allows me to use my phone to trigger it remotely and it comes with the added bonus of letting me see what the image will look like and even focus remotely. Many of the newer wifi enabled cameras will have that option too so if you haven't explored it yet, it's worth checking.
Pass it on
Admittedly the most low tech solution and it comes with both its benefits and drawbacks. The benefits meing that there will be a human at the back of it so you're less likely to end up with your head chopped off. Then again, there may be an unskilled human at the back of it and they'll chop your head off regardless... well, no solution is perfect.
The problem with shooting blind..
... is that of course you can't see where you're pointing your camera in real time! And this can make getting sharp photos hard. We have a few tips:
- if you know rougly where the action is going to take place, pre focus there, and possibly even leave the camera on manual focus so it doesn't try to hunt focus and send it to the wrong place. I sometimes will place to toy or a more compliant of my children to use them as the pre-focus target and make a mark on the ground so I know roughly where I'll be.
- avoid using super wide apertures - this is the tip for those of you who know how to manipulate them on your cameras. If you extend your depth of field, you run less of a risk that people will drop out of focus. For those self trigger photos I would generally avoid going below F4 or even F5.6
- avoid zoom - short focal lenghths - AKA no zoom - naturally create a larger sharp focus area, so they're usually a safer bet when it comes to being able to capture multiple things sharp.
- keep your shutter fast - ideally above 1/250s - you don't want your big joy, high energy photos to be spoilt by blurriness?
Don't look for excuses not to do it.
Trust me, I've been there, I know them all.
How to help with a cringe factor:
The worst thing you can do in front of the camera is just to stand there and look at it. Action and interaction is KEY!
Have a concept of what you want to be happening - maybe you'll just be having a tickle fight on the sofa, maybe you'll get your kids to race towards you and try to topple you over, maybe you'll be jumping up or dancing like a lunatic.
If a photo is about that action, it ceases to be JUST about you and it makes it about the memories.
Make it easy on yourself with light - pick a location for your photos which has good light - ideally outdoors as you'll find it easiest, but if you'd rather be indoors, make it close to a large source of light and avoid shooting against the light
Let go of perfection
This is the biggest obstacle for many a photographer - if it's not perfect, it's worthless. WRONG. Perfection is not something that's often achievable with remote triggered photos so if you get yourself in a mindset of accepthing that this will be a imperfectly composed, imperfectly focused, imperfectly posed photo and that thise things will be its strength - you just let go.
YOUR TASK FOR TODAY
This is our last task and I am BEGGING you to give it a go.
Pick an activity, a situation, a moment that your kids will enjoy with you - like I said above, it doesn't have to be anything complicated - and use one of the methods I suggested above to capture yourself in it.
DO NOT cringe
DO NOT try to delete the ones that you think make you look bad
IMPORTANT : I know that this may not be a task to attempt after you've come ome from work and the kids are grumpy so you have until Sunday 8 pm to post your entry into our group
YOU'RE STILL IN WITH A CHANCE!
ALL you need is 5 photos uploaded to our Facebook group, one to cover each lesson of the course by SUNDAY!
Catch up weekend
Your last assignment is not due till Sunday BUT you can also use that time to post any photos you missed from the week. I know I said at the start that you'll only be allowed to catch up on max 2 photos BUT I've been reading your posts and I hear you that it's a little hard to fit it all into a working week, so as my gift to you, you can catch up on everything, even if you've not posted anything yet. As long as they make it in till 8 pm on Sunday, you're in!
Extra credit - another way to win!
Want an extra chance to win the course? Get an extra entry to the competition by posting your favourite, most joy filled photo on Instagram, tagging us in (@photoparents) and using a hashtag #photoparentswin with a caption listing one thing you learned with us either on this bootcamp or any others!! Your Instagram entry will be added to the draw pool as an extra chance to win! *
We will be drawing a winner live in on Sunday at 9pm! The draw will be blind so it doesn;t matter if your photos are not quite perfect - if you had a go - that's enough for me!
Have you seen our Before and After gallery?
Click below and check out photos taken by our students before and after the course - you will be amazed!
And if you DON'T WIN?
We wish you all the luck in getting that coveted place, But if you don't - we have an awesome offer for you:
Join our upcoming 6 week summer term Photography for Parents Fundamentals course for just £169 ( full price £229)
TAKE AN EXTRA £10 off that discounted price if you book by Sunday - use discount code EARLY10 ( if you book and then win, we refund you straight away!)
or save even more if you book a Fundamentals (Level 1) and Advanced course (Level 2) bundle deal ( you have more than a year to use it up)
Offer ends midnight on Monday 3rd June
*Extra credit Instagram contest Rules:
- This Instagram competition is not sponsored, endorsed or administered by, or associated with Instagram
- The prize is on of Photography for Parents own online Photography courses.
- Your entry on instagram must be posted no later than 7pm on Sunday 2nd June
- How to enter: post your favourite, most joy filled photo on Instagram, tagging us in (@photoparents) and using a hashtag #photoparentswin with a caption stating one thing you learned with us either on this bootcamp or any others! Your Instagram entry will be added to the draw pool as an extra chance to win!
- The winner will be chosen at random in a live draw at 9pm on Sunday 2nd June. Your Instagram entry will be added as a separate entry to the draw pool.
- The winner will be announced on our Facebook group and Instagram feed as well as by email