Creative tip 11: Make the most of the summer sun | London Portrait Photographer

Yes, if you live in the UK, it’s imperative to make the most of the warm sunshine; we know only too well how elusive it is even in the height of summer. Before I launch into the 11th creative tip in the series, let me tell you about today…

IT’S OFFICIAL! My children will never make good fashion models. Today we went to a photoshoot a friend of mine organised for a kids clothing line. There were plenty of other children there that they know. It was a fun shoot and all they had to do was to put some trendy clothes on and stand in front of the camera. But what was I expecting? My kids have already refused to be photographed in their school and when they were forced to, they pulled their grumpiest faces for their school photographer.

True to form, it took my little boy nearly an hour before he agreed to put something on and when he did, he was grumpy. My oldest girl burst into tears right in the middle of the shoot in front of the photographer – who happened to be no less than Seamus Ryan. {My jaw dropped when I saw him shooting with a Hasselblad digital back!} All the other kids effortlessly worked the camera and had lots of posing fun. Needless to say, we left the studio early.

So the long and short of it is that I am very thankful for all the photos that my kids let me take of them and these ones on here are probably the best that I’ve taken of my oldest girl – ever.

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Now back to the topic at hand… Creative tip 11 is to grab an opportunity in the sun. I took these shots yesterday. A friend of mine and I wanted to take our kids to the park. It was a last minute decision to do a shoot so the things that came to mind were the following:

1. Outfits – summery and similar colour palettes
2. Matching hats and hair accessories
3. A blanket that matched the tones of their dresses
4. Floral buntings
5. Floral cups and straws
6. Vintage cameras as props {Okay, I realise not everyone has these handy!}

The key is similar in TONE, not so much matching, but coordinating. I went for pastel shades of pink and green as that’s what I have a lot of.

In terms of set-up, I looked for shade and light but with uncluttered background. This was the only window on the patch of green that we had where I could get a clear background. I tied the buntings to my friends pushchair on the right and my children’s scooters on the left.

In terms of lighting, I made sure they did not have blotches of sun on their faces that made them look dappled. I gave them very few but clear directions – look at each other, heads together, DO NOT SAY CHEESE!, play with the cameras… and that’s it, the shoot was over in minutes. Children have short attention span so the snappier the better. Overall, the shoot of the girls themselves took around 20 minutes. I spent more time setting up and photographing the props and details.

Finally, their reward. I gave them snacks straight after the shoot and they were happy to carry on playing.

In summary, a shoot does not have to be complicated. It just has to be part of their fun. Why not take your camera next time you go for a picnic, grab a few coordinating items that you already have in your house. Find a shaded spot with plenty of background light. You’d be surprised what a sunny day can do for everyone.

Hope you enjoyed this little tip. If you missed the previous ones, click this link and follow the trail.

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