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CHARLOTTES FIRST BIRTHDAY PHOTOSHOOT
LETS GET RIGHT TO IT – we all want beautiful photographs of our kids to look back on but hiring a professional for every milestone gets quite expensive. $$$ Because of this, I decided to put my amateur photography skills to work and share ALL THE DETAILS with you from my DIY Birthday Photoshoot! This post will consist of three main parts; props and outfit, capturing the photos, and editing the photos.
- PROPS AND OUTFIT
- CAPTURING THE PHOTOS
- EDITING THE PHOTOS
PROPS AND OUTFIT
Before shopping for the photoshoot I used Pinterest to get my creative juices flowing! I payed attention to what I liked about all the beautiful photos I was finding (the clothing, the backdrop, the accessories, etc.) and then brainstormed how I wanted these to work for me. From there I planned out my daughters outfit and picked decorations that would work for the photoshoot and her actual birthday party. This was a big deal to me because I don’t like to throw money away. I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on décor to just use once for a photoshoot so I tried my best to purchase items that could be used repeatedly. You can find my inspiration collage HERE with links to what I actually purchased.
When it comes to props you’ll want to set these up well before you start shooting. This worked for my indoor location but not outside since it wasn’t on my property.
CAPTURING THE PHOTOS
Now on to the most difficult part in my opinion – taking the actual photos. I’m going to break down the equipment I used and my camera settings at capture. Please keep in mind I am NOT a professional – I’m just sharing my experience and what has worked for me.
CAMERA – CLICK HERE
The camera I used is a Canon Rebel that our family received as a gift. The camera has worked great and has been very durable through 4 kids and 2 moves.
LENS – CLICK HERE
I purchased this lens after doing some research on 35mm lenses. I wasn’t willing to spend big bucks on the name brand lens since I wasn’t even sure how often I’d use it. Instead, I went with this one and it has not disappointed me yet! Its much more affordable and I love the images I’m able to capture with it. I also have this 50mm lens that I enjoy using as well!
For this DIY birthday photoshoot I took photographs in two locations – in a bedroom that gets really good lighting and outside under shade trees. The camera settings for these locations are very different because the natural light available is very different. Below are two examples straight out of the camera. These honestly were a little darker than I would have liked but when the baby is running around and its hot outside you take what you can get! I typically start by setting my FSTOP, then my ISO, then shutter speed. When I first starting using my camera so many shots would turn out SO GRAINY. I quickly learned that was caused by my ISO settings being too high. I also learned that the lower my FSTOP number, the better blur my background will have. However, this also means my subject can become blurry real quick so I always stick to around 3 when it comes to little kids.
INDOOR SETTINGS – ISO 400 SHUTTERSPEED 1/200 FSTOP 3.5
OUTDOOR SETTINGS – ISO 100 SHUTTERSPEED 1/800 FSTOP 3.2
EDITING MY PHOTOS
I only use free tools to edit my photos. I’ve been tempted to purchase Lightroom for my computer but haven’t been able to justify it yet. Instead, I use the free version on my photos as well as a retouching app to remove background distractions. In this post I’m only going to discuss Lightroom. If you’d like more info on the free photo editing apps I use check out THIS post.
MY GO-TO LIGHTROOM SETTINGS
When editing my photos I use a mix of presets and/or my own tweaking depending on a photo. Sometimes its as easy as applying a preset and increasing exposure. Other times no preset makes me happy and I have to dive in head first on my own.
For my birthday this past year I purchased the Jess Kettle presets as a gift to myself. There are so many beautiful looks that she has available and she has new presets launching 7/14! If you’re going to purchase presets, do yourself a favor and make the investment in GOOD ONES. Or, do your research and develop your own 🙂
PRESETS – JESS KETTLE PRESETS
For these photos I used the DUSK preset, increased exposure, took down highlights and brought the shadows up. I have to say I even impressed myself with these! 😉
My last bit of advice is to have fun with your subject! Sawyer was in charge of music while Penny and Ellie made Charlotte laugh and dance. Fake smiles are easy to spot on kids so try to make the experience fun and low stress for everyone. I hope these tips for a DIY birthday photoshoot helped you!
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