My son is turning 1 year old! Wow…..where has the time gone? As a Charlotte portrait photographer, I was wondering what I could do to celebrate the occasion. Well, I wanted to take a 1-year portrait of my son. I follow many Charlotte NC Family Photographers, Charlotte NC Photographers, etc. I always enjoy sharing my thoughts, visions, etc. as a photographer.
I had a vision for the portrait. Since my son’s birthday is in Spring, I wanted something outdoors (green grass, etc). I envisioned a warm, colorful portrait with saturated colors. I wanted something playful! For lighting, I wanted something warm, but fairly soft (almost like the sun was the source). Lastly, I also wanted to slightly underexpose the background to make the subject the center of attention.
With all of that vision, I ended up with this…….
All kidding aside, we have a shady spot in our backyard that lends itself to outdoor portraits. Our final shot was actually taken at noon (that’s hard to image because midday light is usually unflattering). With babies and toddlers, my biggest concerns are focus and shutter speed to capture the shot. In regards to focus, this occasion usually lends itself to continuous-servo and dynamic area AF modes (on my Nikon D700). In a nutshell, you basically focus on a subject and that focus point will move with the subject as the subject moves. That ensures that you get a sharp focus on the subject. To freeze the action with shutter speed, I dial my shutter speed to the highest sync speed which is 1/320 of a second.
Lastly, I consider the angle of the shot when taking photos of babies/toddlers. I don’t worry about composition as much as the angle. For my taste, I like to be close to eye level with the subject. Sometimes, I like to shoot down on the subject, etc. But, the majority of my portraits include an angle close to eye level. I don’t worry as much about composition because the subject is constantly moving and it is difficult to be meticulous about composition.
With those thoughts in mind, my wife helped as my assistant. In regards to lighting, I used my Westcott 43″ Apollo Orb as a key light at a 45 degree angle (camera left). I also used a bare flash gun right beside me (on axis with the photographer) with an umbrella as a fill light. For some reason, my son was very cranky that day! Out of approximately 75 frames, we only got 1 frame that I liked. Here is the photo SOOC (straight out of camera).
With toddlers/babies, there is not much time to play around with camera settings, tweaking lighting, etc. So, this SOOC (straight out of camera) image will have to suffice! I accomplished the basic ideas with this photo. First of all, my son is in focus! Also, I like the fact that my son has highlights on one side of his face and has a “shadow side” to the other side. I also like the fact that the background is somewhat underexposed (darker) in relation to the subject. With that said, the highlights are a little harsh (blown out highlights).
So, I worked on the image in post-production. I toned down the highlights, saturated the colors, and sharpened the eyes a bit. Here is the final portrait below:
That’s my son’s portrait.
In the end, this Charlotte portrait photographer had fun working on it! I am very proud of my son’s 1-year old portrait and I think I accomplished the goals in my original vision.
Heck…..I was so proud that I ordered a big canvas of the photo! I’m gonna hang it on the wall for all to see! Maybe I created a tradition of birthday portraits for years to come…….
Most of all, I am thankful that I had the opportunity to capture my son’s 1-year portrait! More than anything, it means the world to me as a photographer. When I look at this image (canvas) on my wall, I will appreciate the fact that I was the one behind the camera! That’s the icing on the cake (1-year birthday cake if you will)……
If you liked the photos in this post, please check out my portfolio.