Archive for July 6th, 2009

New Feature — Photo Tips from Stacie Errera

Posted on July 6, 2009. Filed under: Elemental Memories, Photo Tips |

Welcome to a new feature, brought to you in partnership Chasing Picture Perfection by Stacie Errera.  Stacie is great at taking complex-sound photo and camera terms and putting them into understandable and usable tips for busy parents.  I encourage you to stop over to Stacie’s blog to see some great photos (I’m very jealous of her world-wide travels!) and get some wonderful tips:    We hope you like our new feature!

I am so glad CrisDee asked me to give you a photo tip. 

When it comes to our children’s stage performances, it is very difficult to get great shots unless you have total access during a rehearsal. The mistake most people make is to take photos from their seat in the auto mode.  If you do this, the flash will go off and you’ll get a dark stage and very well lit heads of the people in front of you.  So sit back and enjoy you child’s live performance with your eyes rather than through your camera’s viewfinder (I know, any of us shutterbugs find this an almost impossible suggestion!). 

Instead, concentrate on getting a nice shot of your child in costume by venturing back stage during rehearsals or prior to the performance.  I checked on my daughter the day before her recital and saw her costume for the first time.  I was thrilled when I saw the light streaming in from the windows behind the back stage curtains.  I asked her to sit down for a moment with the side of her face parallel to the windows to get nice side lighting on her face.  I then crouched down just a little so that I could see her ballerina skirt spread all around her and her big happy smile.  This point of view also let me include some of the wood floor that her pretty feet danced on the next day and one that really gives the viewer the true picture of what was happening when I took the photo.  Find a place in the environment that has some windows and position your actor or dancer so that the light brings out the detail in the costume and a highlight in your child’s eyes.  Don’t get too close to the window as the light will be too harsh.  Instead, move a few feet or more away from the window for an even light.  I always try to not use the flash and opt for natural light whenever possible.  BALLERINA

If you do have the opportunity to shoot an actual performance or dress rehearsal, set your camera to aperture priority and open the aperture on your lens to the widest opening.  In this mode on most cameras the flash will not go off (manually set the camera to no flash if you have to).  Zoom into the stage so that the camera’s meter reads the lighting on the stage, and not the blackness all around the stage, and you will get a proper exposure. 

Stop by for more photo tips any time.  Thanks CrisDee!

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