Loretta McKenzie's Photography blog

Loretta McKenzie's Photography blog

Tips for inside photography Part 1. (look for Part II in a day or so)

Cold weather is finally here, if you have small spaces to photograph your children inside like I do,  there is hope!  I use the highest aperture possible (to blur the background) and natural lighting if I can, but don't be afraid to bring out the flash.  I much prefer a flash bouncing off the ceiling or behind my shoulder.  I always like to remove as much clutter as I can to keep the background clean.  Don't be afraid to shoot close up.

Here are some ideas!

When they get bored show what they like to do!


 Children love baking cookies, and you get that cool reflection in the oven!


Looking out the window wishing it wasn't so cold gives an insight  into their magical personality.


Playing the piano, or banging on the keys.  A keyboard, play guitar, any instrument play or real would do!


When they get out show them exercising with friends!


Our kids love taking photos of us with their iphones, play taking photos of each other!


Show them inside their play area!



Reading on a recliner on YOUR Ipad <3


School or church events!


Showing off their craft they did with you today!


What excitement they see at a museum!  That look of wonder...


With one of your favorite collectibles, your child will cherish the photo always!


In bed holding a favorite toy!


Dressed in their favorite PJ's and accessories!



Tips for photos at the pumpkin patch!

We have always taken our daughter to the pumpkin patch, and I have gotten sweet pictures and memories each year.  Now she is in school, and during the school trip she will definitely be more interested in running with her friends and not interested in photos.  So, we took  her yesterday just my husband and I.  Fun for her. and some photos for me.   I highly recommend going as a family, and not with a large group if you want  photos.  We had to go before soccer practice, and the light was harsh.  First, she wore what she wanted, not a cute Halloween smocked and embroidered dress I would have picked.  When they get older let them pick their own clothes for an event like the pumpkin patch.   Keep the cute embroidered and smocked outfits for when you have a chance of winning.  

I saw a cute spot. The sun was harsh, I planned for a black and white photo.  I knew I would come back to the area when the light was better on our way out.  


Next she played and had fun.  That's what is about, right?



She played in the cornfield, the sun was behind me and harsh, however, what a precious memory I would have missed if I didn't take this photo.

Next, the hayride and the pick your pumpkin time.  Look at the precious love and excitement she has for picking her own pumpkin!  I used some photoshop tricks, as well as tricks working with natural light.  I wouldn't miss this photo for anything..  Look for emotion and capture it!


Now the light was a little better, so I looked for small places I knew would work.  I played with her and would run through  the corn mazer,  then we would  take a picture for a memory and Mommy. There were a few bails of hay and I asked her to sit where the light would compliment the photo.


I saw a barn and it was perfect for a picture.  I could tell she was too interested in playing to go to the barn.  Then I saw the goats there.  So we had a visit with the goats, before we went to the barn for a photo.


We walked to the other side of the barn and let her pose her wayl

She took a photo for me by the pumpkins   The setup wasn't going to work well with a standard size print.  That's okay, there are places that will print, and frame a custom size photo should you choose.

Again, I saw a cute spot, however, it would need her to stand in an exact spot to cooperate with the sun.  I just explained it to her, and voila.

We had a snack, made sure we were full and happy, then I took a few photos on the way out, that were in good light.


So, A quick summary.  Let them choose their clothes.  The pumpkin patch is for the kids.  Go in a smaller group if possible, so it's easier to get a child's attention towards the camera.  Get the emotion!  When you see a nice place for light, do your best to use it!   When light is not cooperating, work with it  your best and take the photo!. Explain the lighting issues to your child.  They understand more than we know.  These memories are precious and pumpkin patches are open only certain times a year.

Tips on taking youth soccer photos!

I want to add some soccer photos from the game on 9/26/2015.  If your child is in these photos I hope you enjoy and pass the word to other parents so they can see their child playing soccer!  Soccer is a great sport for young kids as it promotes team cooperation, social skills, teaches them rules and how to play.  Photography tips I have figured out will be included to help inspire and help you to photograph your child playing soccer!  Comments and suggestions are welcome!


The U6 Turquoise team before the game in Bryantown Md!  

The next several images are of the kids playing the game.   These images were captured with a F 70-200 2.8 lens with a higher shutter speed and aperture than I normally use.  This way it is easier to capture action shots and I can be far away from the game and not noticed.  I highly recommend a telephoto lens.  Enjoy experimenting with higher aperture and shutter speed.  


There is only one soccer ball in the game, so follow it! Get the action!


I like getting the kids playing and very few edits, so it shows the spirit and exactly how the game went.  Parents can feel like they are right there.


It's great to get faces when you can, but not essential.  It does help convey the emotion of the game.


Images from the side and back work great too!


Watch the background when you can, it's great to have some photos with an uncluttered background.  Those are the ones I would print.  I always say an uncluttered background means everything.


Don't forget the coaches and the mid break bench shots.  They always show emotion and interaction with the children and the coach.

I like including both teams!


Try and get full group shots, so you remember all the kids in the game.

Anticipate action and set yourself up so you can get clear photos.


Don't forget the coach looking on the game!


Don't forget the referee either.  Sometimes it's hard to get a good shot without a lot of background disruption, and you don't have time to clone or edit out distractions.  Do your best to edit so you capture the emotion anyway.


Get happy action shots for the families to enjoy!


Look for emotion with a coach and child.  It warms the heart.

Look for moments of good sportsmanship.  It teaches the children so much.


Parent with child after the game focuses on the memory, and can be amusing for the parent.


It's always fun to add the posed shot with  your child after the game with a good clean background.


Fall and Christmas mini-sessions!

Please contact me for Fall and Christmas mini-sessions.  Let's get them taken now while the weather is good.  Mini sessions are available at some great spots near my home!  If you live near me, I'll come to your house  Mini-sessions are an inexpensive way of having professional photography and editing done.  Five to six full resolution images for $100.   Refer a client and get 25% off your own mini-session!  I am happy to design and order Christmas cards for you, and consult with you on wardrobe and prob selection.  There is a free consultation in person, by phone, or email with every session!



Tips on taking beach shots and mini beach sessions!

If you are interested in scheduling a session please contact me through my website http://lorettamckenziephotography.com.   Or write me at info@lorettamckenziephotography.com


We won't be going to the ocean this summer, and we will be visiting some local beaches on the Chesapeake Bay.  The good news is there are nets so the kids won't be swimming with jellyfish, and it's a lot less expensive!  The bad news is the water isn't as gorgeous, and sand not so fluffy.  Enough of chatter, now for tips!


This photo was taken about 6:30 p.m., and you can see clouds were coming in, yet it was still blue.  Late afternoon is great, so the sun wouldn't be harsh.  Backlit photos would be ideal at sunrise and a little after.   This was good timing as Gods soft box was there, (the clouds on the sun behind me), yet there was blue sky in front of me.    Since the sun was behind me, the light was on my subject.  Not as pretty as backlighting, but very nice.  I wanted her to stand and pose for me, but being 5 she had little interest in that.  The sand and water were on her mind.   Here is one I did get of her looking at the camera.  I exposed for her face and did some photo editing to adjust and dim the sky.  I also used spot focusing and exposed on her face to make her stand out.  I used a 70-200 2.8 lens on 200 to get better depth of field.   I also angled myself so no other people were in the photo for the effect I wanted.  I did edit out the nets :)   I bent down so I could use the sand in front of me for some depth also.  I used actions from htttp://paintthemoon.com for processing.  At the end, I'll discuss the mini beach sessions I will do, so please read on!


The sky was so pretty, and  she looked so angelic, I wanted to remember that.  The sun was bright on her eyes, so I suggested she look to the side.  She didn't want to wear the hat here.   Squinty eyes are such a cute part of childhood, so I have lots of photos of those.  Again. I used the 200 on the zoom, a low aperture, and spot focused on her face.  Since she didn't want to do this for long, I was thrilled to get this photo.  Water and sand are not something she sees everyday, and her mind was not focused on me or my camera.   She needed to play :)   To follow the rule of thirds, this photo has two thirds sky, and one third water.  Again, my job was to angle the camera for background and composition.  Her eyes are in the upper third of the photo, which is what you try for.



She was playing with her Dad, and it was Father's day, nothing could be more precious!  Again as a photographer, it was my job to wiggle my camera angle to keep the background simple, and only have them in the photo.  I focused and exposed on him here, since she was in the same plain she is in focus too.   I used a low aperture so I could get some depth with the sand in the front.  I shot using 200 which meant I was at a distance, and they didn't know I was taking the photo.   The sky had to be dimmed.



Most important, she was able to be herself and I got a picture from far away and she wasn't aware of me.  She was doing what she loved, and was happy!




I will do beach mini sessions at a beach in Calvert County Maryland to be decided.   You can be happy and feel great, and I will deal with the rest.   It would be ideal for families, children, or friends that will have to part after the summer.   The price will be $100 and you'll get 5 or 6 edited high resolution digital images.   I would  like at least 4 or 5 local families to express interest then we will deal with the rest.   Please contact me on my website at http://lorettamckenziephotography.com or write me at info@lorettamckenziephotography.com.   Thank you!

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