Friday, December 26, 2014

Christmas Morning Observations

How was your Christmas?

Ours was great.  What I loved the most was watching my boys getting so excited in anticipation of opening all their gifts.  And just like last year, Lego was the big hit in our house.

Below are a few highlights of our Christmas morning.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

A Beautiful Mess

In the midst of our perpetually organized/compartmentalized/scheduled/digital lives, there is a comfort in the pursuit of creating art: making a huge, unavoidable mess.  And what a beautiful mess like this to wake up to.

Sometimes, the most beautiful things happen when we give ourselves over to chaos, if only for an hour or two...

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

4 Tips for Getting Great Photos of Your Kids in 5 Minutes or Less

No time for family pictures before Christmas?  No problem.  Kiddos looking adorable in their holiday best before piling into the car? Seize the opportunity.  You don't need hours - or a portrait session at Sears - to capture memorable moments of your family.  With Christmas right around the corner, I've put together a few tips that have helped me get some great shots of my boys within 5 minutes or less.

I took this series of photos on Hallowe'en morning, only a half hour before we had to be at school.  I hadn't made lunch yet and my boys had about 5 minutes of staying power.  Any other day, I might have been able to squeeze a few extra minutes of stillness out of them, but on Hallowe'en?  Forget it.  I had my fingers crossed that I could make this work.

1.  Know your camera.  Do not pull out the manual when you're trying to get shots of your kids.  Read it beforehand and experiment with all the various settings so you can have an idea of what you can do.  It's highly unlikely your kids (or any family member for that matter), will sit and wait patiently while you try to find the right shutter speed.

2.  Have an idea of what you want your photo to look like.  In this case, I wanted two looks for each boy: a hard light source and a soft light source. And of course, the shot of my two boys together.

Soft light.
Hard light.
3.  Set your camera to continuous shooting.  This setting allows you to simply hold down the shutter button so you can shoot multiple images continuously.  Kids are fast - kind of like little ninjas - and it's best to play it safe here.  Somewhere in your stream of shots there will be a great photo.  (Not to mention some pretty fabulous outtakes too!)

We were playing Michael Jackson's Thriller
and Nicholas was really getting into the Vincent Price parts.
As you can tell by his expression, Sebastien was done.
This is definitely one of my favourites.
4.  Have some tricks up your sleeve to elicit real smiles.  My boys are seven and a half and their fake smiles are always ready to go.  Ditch saying "cheese!"  Potty talk works wonders for this age group to get a genuine smile.