Beyond the Camera Smile

For my new family photography podcast, TWiP Family, I interviewed Jesh De Rox.

He teaches photographers how to create spaces where the people they are photographing are feeling amazing. So, they look amazing in the photos.

Before the interview, I tried out some his simple ideas for helping people go beyond the camera smile into joyful moments.

Here are a few I talked about in the interview.

Five Hugs:


Jump Three Times:

After talking to Jesh, I tried what he calls, Same Time. I asked the people I was photographing to try to say the same color at the same time.

With this one, I asked Duncan to whisper something in his brother’s ear.

I’ve been surprised by how easy it is to get people to go past the camera smile… when I asked the right questions.

I hope you listen to the interview with Jesh De Rox. If you give any of his ideas a try, share your photos. I’d love to see if it works for you.

You can listen to the show on iTunes. Or on the This Week in Photo website.

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Time Travel

In second grade, I looked on with envy as my third grade friends from church went to Tionesta. They were going to a cabin for the weekend to eat candy and run wild. I couldn’t wait until it was my turn.

This year, I took my girls to the same cabin. A group of people from my church has kept the tradition of Tionesta alive. For years, a group of kids in grades third through sixth go to a hunting cabin on the Allegheny river in the town of Tionesta, Pa. The cabin and surroundings have barely changed since I was eight years old. There are a few less deer heads on the walls but the bright plastic tablecloths are just the same.

The first night we were there, dinner was ready. I got ready to serve salad to the kids. My brother took the tongs and said, “Wouldn’t you like to take a picture of this?” I began documenting the weekend.

I took pictures for this year’s group of kids and parents.  I also was thinking of the much bigger group of people who spent weekends together in this cabin every spring and who I knew would enjoy traveling back in time.

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Ride On!


March 16

The first really warm day and the bikes came out. I love the snow but was ready for this. You too?

A few years ago, I learned how to do this kind of motion photo – a pan. Now, it’s one of my favorite tricks.

(I moved the camera while taking the photo to show how Elsie is zooooooooooming.)

I’m going to be talking about this very thing on my upcoming podcast about photographing your nearest and dearest.

I’m looking for questions to answer on early shows. Do you have a question? It can be about anything related to photographing your family. (You don’t have to sound smart or like a photographer. Just yourself, a curious parent.)

Email me – or find Familiar Light (a brand new page) on facebook. I’m also on Instagram @familiarlight.

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