On this short holiday break show, I talk about taking simple portraits of the people you love. My daughter needed a photo for an application and I was surprised to find I didn’t have a simple portrait of her. On the podcast, I talk about why these simple portraits get overlooked, why they are important and some places to find good light for your portraits.
I used three different kinds of light for these recent photos of my kids. The first I used a table top soft box light. The second, is window light. The third is a bounced flash. All three photos are in the room I talk about in the show. It’s the one room in our house that gets a decent amount of light.
This year, I discovered that the doorway of our windowless garage was a good place to take simple portraits.
I love to see photos you make. Share a simple portrait you love in the comments.
When we were kids, it was once a year for the Christmas card. Mom would get all six of us together for a photo. Some of us would be smiling and at least one of us would be scowling. One year around Christmas, Mom made an effort to get all her kids, their spouses and the grandkids together for a photo. One grandchild was late and my baby was tired. I didn’t understand what why she was going to the effort of making this photo happen.
I do now. This episode is about why to take group shots and a few things I’ve learned to make it as painless as possible.
The photo above is the photo of my great grandparents and grandmother. Below is the photo I took at my grandmother’s funeral service.
Steve has a long history as a photographer in photojournalism, documentary and now street photography. Since he began taking photos in his teens, he’s been a generous teacher. Now he’s also a father of a two year old son.
On today’s episode, we talk about how learning to use your camera gets your camera out of the way of making great photos. Steve recently read a book, The One Thing, that talks about why working on just one thing at a time is valuable.
On today’s show I’m sharing my conversation with Kate Densmore. Kate’s book, Stories of Home, was recently released on Craft and Vision. Kate’s book beautifully combines technical instruction with questions about why and how we make our work.
Kate is a mother of two who lives with her husband and kids at Grand Canyon National Park. We have a great discussion about composition. We talk about clutter vs. context, when a photograph is a so-so moment in great light, and which lines to pay attention to in your composition. We also talk about taking time to discover your “why” – why do you make the photos you do of your family and why it will make your work stronger to give it some thought.
Kate’s book is fabulous. Kate’s giving away a copy of her book. For a chance to win, leave a comment and a photo you’ve made that shows a composition you are happy with. A winner will be chosen December 20th.
For 30% off her book, go to Craft and Vision and use the coupon code FAMILYPHOTO30.
On this episode, I share my conversation with Spencer Lum. Spencer is a father of two, a Brooklyn based wedding photographer at 5 West Studios, the author of the award winning and fascinating photography blog Ground Glass, as well as a speaker and educator.
I talk with Spencer about the in between moments he looks for when photographing for both his clients and his own family. We explore the question: What is a snapshot? Spencer talks about why he loves a mysterious, unpretentious snapshot. I ask him when it’s a good idea to copy other photographer’s work, and we talk about why asking a photographer what lens they use isn’t the best question to ask.
Spencer also tells us about the challenging and strange projects he makes for himself by giving himself many limitations and what he has learned from the projects.
After the interview, I asked Spencer what the best and worst money he’s spent on photography. I also asked him something he’s learned in his years as a father. To hear his answers, sign up for email updates. His answers are included with this episode’s email.
I love photography projects. I’m in my last month of a daily project, a 365 Project. I’ve been joined by a fun, friendly and talented group of photographers. You can join us and see everyone’s projects in our Flickr Group.
On this episode of The Family Photographer, I share conversations I had with Zane Kathryne Schwaiger and Simon Boyle the day before they started their 365 Projects. I wanted to know why they decided to start a project and what they hoped to gain from a year of making and posting photos every day. Both Zane and Simon are parents of small children. I knew that they weren’t taking on a photography project like this because they had time to kill.
I talked to Zane and Simon together for an episode of TWiP Family when we were all about halfway through our year. You can listen to that show here.
When the year is over I’m planning another conversation to hear how they feel now that the year of photos is behind them.
Welcome to the first episode of The Family Photographer.
On this episode, I’m sharing my conversation with Pauline. A year ago I got an email from Pauline. She wrote, “You mentioned in the latest podcast that you’re considering doing a 365 again, and that it’s “easier” when you can do it together with other people. I thought right away, but wait! There’s certainly a whole community of TWIP Family listeners who would join you. I bet if you asked there would be a bunch of grateful listeners who would gladly jump on the 365 wagon to share support and feedback.
I know that for me, it could be just the kind of thing to get me to do a 365. Finally.”
She was right. A community of TWiP Family listeners did join me and it’s been a great year of photos and conversation.
Pauline started as soon as she decided to do a project and just finished her project. On the show, she talks about how making and posting photos daily has changed her photography.
Last week, I was talking to Danielle Hatcher for this week’s episode of TWiP Family. We talked about how hard it is to get into photos with our kids. The photo I’d been thinking about was one of my boy’s face when he feels the new baby kick. In this photo he’s waiting for feel something. It’s not the photo I set up the tripod for and I’m glad I stopped thinking about taking a photo and took one. (I’ll still chase the photo of him looking surprised when he gets a good kick.)
Danielle suggested making list of photos your thinking about when doing a 365 Project – daily photos for year – to keep from getting bored. I’m nearing the end of this year’s project and still had a long list of photos I would still like to make. For me more important than making the photos is thinking about what is happening at this time in our lives that I love and want to remember.
Like most people, my days go by quickly unless I’m waiting for my car to be serviced. It’s easy to feel like today was just like yesterday – filled with laundry, food, complaints, fights. (Laughs and hugs too.)
Do you have a list of photos in your mind that are waiting to be taken. Something your kid does that they won’t be doing in a few weeks or months? Something you’d rather they never do again? Can you find a pen and paper? Write it down.
I’d love to hear know what photos you’re chasing. Tell me in the comments.
This week on my podcast with Davina Fear, Davina talked about the photos she made at her grandmother’s funeral. I talked about how I felt about photos when my grandmother died in September.
I didn’t want to take many photos during the visitation, burial or memorial service. I wanted to just look and not put a camera to my eye.
Davina talked about photographers processing experiences by making photographs. I remembered some photos I took the day after Grandma died. I went to her house, which was not going to be her house anymore.
I wanted photos to help me remember her house. I wandered around and took photos of little things. Already, it wasn’t her house. I wasn’t satisfied until I took this photo of her empty chair at the dining room table.
I turned around and took a photo of her empty kitchen.
I collected photos of Grandma to display at her service. There were many, many photos of her holding babies.
This photo, from five years ago, was my favorite – the very familiar sight of Grandma doing dishes.
Getting in the car. Grocery shopping. Making dinner. Many days are filled with routines. We did it today and we’ll do it again tomorrow. It’s easy to forget to take photos of routines because they are so familiar.
It’s also easy to forget routine events that come around just twice a year. That’s right. I’m talking about trips to the dentist. I love our dentists. Love them. And, the kids still would rather clean the kitchen floor and toilets than go get their teeth cleaned. (I’m the opposite.)
Want to hear more about photographing routines? Listen to my family photography podcast, TWiP Family.