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Tips to Photographing Kids


This is a guest post by
CHAOS + CREATIVE BLOG
Lifestyle Blog for Creatives
Jenna Montroy

Well looking at my photos you might think I have a really calm and cooperative child. That's so far from the truth, she's beyond crazy and rambunctious and has an attitude like an 18 year old.

I try to work with Warin Marie Photography for most of my blog posts however with over an hour in driving distance between us now that isn't always possible. Some of our previous experiences have been super easy and really fun with our child models and other times we want to rip our hair out. I'm pretty sure on numerous occasions we've looked at each other and said "we are never doing this again!" However we continue to put ourselves through it time and time again.

After a year of doing this I have rangled up some of my best tips and tricks for you when photographing children.


FOOD

If you're a mom you already know Food saves lives. No joke! I rarely leave the house without snacks in my purse, why? 'Cause you need them. Kids when they are hungry are not fun. They get hangry and just mean. Make sure you pack snacks.


BRIBERY

Yup it totally works and I have no shame in bribing my child, sometimes you gotta do what ya gotta do. I will bring items that she loves with us to the photoshoot and if she does what she's asked she gets what she wants. It can be a bit of a catch 22 however it usually always works.


DISTRACTIONS

Always bring something to distract their attention in the direction you want. If they are little maybe it's a toy or a shiny object. For my daughter when she was around 2 years old we brought bubbles with us. When she was smaller it was a squeak toy that caught her attention. Now that she's getting older it's a bit harder but she still has a few toys that are her favourite.


PATIENCE

Make sure you pack a backpack full of patience with you. 99% of the time it will not work the way you want it to and that's ok you have to be willing to adjust and adapt to what's happening. Try and be as easy going as possible and remembering to just breathe is a good too.


CHANGE IT UP

Kids get bored easily so keep changing up your scenery if you can. If you're trying to capture photos outside, go for a walk and move to a different location. Utilize what you have, play in that pile of leaves, go foraging for foliage, etc. Do whatever you can to keep them happy to be able to get that perfect image.

It's not always going to work. There have been days for us that just don't work out and that's okay with kids. You have to be prepared for anything, just try and remember these tips and you should be able to get at least one good shot.


GOOD LUCK!
XO
JENNA
PHOTOS: WARIN MARIE PHOTOGRAPHY

Warin Marie Photography: http://www.warinmariephotography.com/
Chaos and Creative Blog: http://chaosandcreative.wordpress.com/



This is the first guest post I received from an International blogger, Jenna is from Canada! I'm thrilled and beyond grateful for her generosity for sharing her tips here. Her Instagram feed is super adorable and cozy, you can see more of her talent in event styling and her bits on motherhood at @chaosandcreative or https://www.instagram.com/chaosandcreative/Jenna, thank you so much for sharing with us!   --- Eve 

Stop finding the perfect one

Evetopia valentine 01

So, you want to find the perfect person? All the singles ladies, your men must have the coolness and wit of Benedict Cumberbatch? And for the guys, your lady has to be elegant and composed as Blake Lively?

I hate to break the fun, but I think there is no perfect one in relationships. Perfect people are Flying Spaghetti Monster - they don't exist.

Perfection goes away

Even if we do start with that perfect one (or so we think), it will collapse in the first few months. The fateful day will arrive when you start to live together.

It is that moment when you will start to realize, it is not at all that pleasant. They are just like any other humans - they fart, pick their noses, not making their bed, misplace things, don't listen to you, leave a lot of hair on the floor, always forgetful, hurl mean words and throw unpredictable tantrums.

That sucks.

Making our way

So how do we deal with the later flaws of our significant other? Here is a great one-liner from the movie Me Before You:

"You don't change a person. You love them."

Love is where we came from. Deep in our hearts, we seek comfort and comfort stems from love. In order to love, we have skills to pick up. Learn how to react and communicate better. Pick up on how to talk and listen. Note the differences between men and women. We can’t get anything from a relationship, if we do not know how to love.

Love is all you need

Thank goodness there is no perfectness to chase after. In the end, love is the only way to be better together - till death took us apart.

“Better Together” - Us the Duo


Thank you for reading. To know me more, head to Medium (@jeevakanow) for my musings about life.

--

Thanks Yong Hao for sharing with us his piece of writing. Happy Valentine's Day to those with a valentine. For those who are single, love yourself and may you surround yourself with love. You're worth it. - Eve 

How I take and edit my portrait

Evetopia How I take and edit my portrait ; photography VSCO

I shared a post on December about "How to feel more comfortable in front of the camera”. I talked about finding your best angle and a style that you like. The stats showed that it's received unexpectedly well, which is quite... unbelievable.

Today Ill try to explain step-by-step on how I take my portraits. Some of my friends thought that having a DSLR with a good portrait lens (35mm) is a must, hmm yes it's really useful, but you can also take a good one using your phone. This portrait was taken with my Huawei P9 Lite and the outcome was pretty decent. Lets get started.

1. SET A THEME

For this post, I chose my favourite theme - the Oriental to show you. I'd done some portraits of myself or friends in cheongsam before (Portraits of the Ladies and Oriental). It's our tradition to wear cheongsam (or qipao) every Chinese New Year. This outfit is very flattering and makes a woman more sophisticated and elegant (*wishful thinking*)

Of course you can also set a minimalist, natural, colorful, happy family or romantic couple theme. Why do you have to set a theme? Is it necessary?

Evetopia How I take and edit my portrait ; photography VSCO

2. Choose your outfit

By setting a theme, you know what outfit you are going to wear, how you will take and edit the photos. In most of my portraits, Im wearing white or light-colored outfit not only because they're simple to mix and match, they make you look good in any occasion or backdrop too. This also applies to travel photos. I think wearing light-colored outfit can easily help me to create outcome that I want.

This trick also applies to the uber popular OOTD shots, if you have a theme, be it a simple, glamorous or cool theme, you know where to find the right background and how to edit your photos.


Evetopia How I take and edit my portrait ; photography VSCO

3. Find the right backdrop

For this qipao look, I wanted to create a mystical, cool and vintage portrait (*wishful thinking, I hope I did*). I know that my facial features work better with this direction, instead of trying hard to look bubbly, cute... and horrible. All in all, a minimal and clean backdrop is ideal.

My sister Wai Shan took these photos for me. The first portrait with a wall of Chinese calligraphy behind me was fine, but it doesnt really give the cool vibe I was looking for. And it was shot against the light and hence slightly dark. For the second one, I wanted to have a monochrome portrait but it looks very stiff and scary. Toooo cool for a Chinese New Year portrait, ha.

The third one was the best. I stood right in front of a row of green bamboo leaves. Its simple and minimal, yet the leaves add interesting surface and texture to the photo, and the portrait doesn't look too flat.

You can try this for your own headshot. Play with these few options: stand in front of a plain white wall, a wall with patterns or a wall of plants. You'll notice a huge difference on how each of them give different feel to your photos and which one actually complement your face.


Evetopia How I take and edit my portrait ; photography VSCO

4. Edit photo with the right filter

Sometimes adding photo filters does wonders. I use the super popular VSCO app for most of my photos. The filter I used for this one is A5 Analog, and I adjusted Highlight and Skintone. 

For Wai Shan's portrait, I used the same technique for her portrait too. She used HB2 +12.0 filter, which makes the colours more saturated. You can see how different filters give different feel to the photos.

Other apps that you can use for portraits are Facetune (to adjust skin tone) and Cymera (to liquify). Of course you can also use super-surreal editing apps like Meitu, Snow and Snapchat to look like a porcelain doll. Just play with different filters and see which one you like best.

Evetopia How I take and edit my portrait ; photography VSCO
Evetopia How I take and edit my portrait ; photography VSCO
Shan, VSCO HB2 filter.

Keep playing. Trust me, it's easy. If you have any question, ask me in Facebook.

Initially I wanted to make a video of these steps to give you a better idea, but I dont have the equipment and editing skill to make a decent tutorial. If any videographer is kind enough to collaborate with me, drop me an email: haha@evetopia.com

Hope this post helps you to take photos that pleases you. Have fun experimenting!

On Death

New life growing from death. There is not one without the other. Credit.

I have never seen something like this before.

I visited my uncle who had terminal cancer. His bed was placed in the living room. And her 5-month-old granddaughter was in her rocking bed a metre away.

A new-born and a dying person within a metre, literally from cradle to deathbed.

This is the first time I have seen life and death so close to each other.

I see that death is not only a figure on the news. It does not only happen in the movies. Death is non-negotiable, uncontrollable, and inevitable.

We are tirelessly working on career, family, relationship, talking about society and politics… but not being alerted of the simple fact: we are going to die. Death is more imminent that any parts of life mentioned above. 

We have lots to improve - we need to talk and think more about death. So much so that it is perfectly normal for having a morning ritual in front of the mirror, telling to yourself:

“Good morning love, you are going to die.
What should you do today?”
Don’t get me wrong. I am not here to deliberately wave the flags of dying fear. I am certainly not here to disrupt the positivity and aspirations of life.

Quite the contrary. I think it is possible to be well aware of death without taking away the essence of being alive, as Steve Jobs eloquently puts death in his Stanford commencement speech:

“Remembering that I'll be dead soon is the most important tool I've ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life.
  
Almost everything--all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure--these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important.
  
Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.”

So, go on and live. Make the most of it. Find out why we are here. Relax. Work and strive hard. Get hurt. Enjoy the moments. Find our pack and love them. Go to the nature. Make mistakes. Educate our minds. Take a different perspective.

Say our goodbyes. Stop worrying. Expand our comfort zone. Make others feel good.

Live up to our purpose.

Amidst our daily comforts and pains, we need to be persistently live with a greater aspect: our death. There will be a time when we will be horribly deteriorating and lost our command on our bodies until our demise.

Despite all of our trials and tribulations, death will be the elegant conclusion of our existence.

We are merely a part of a bigger speck. None of us is going to make it out alive.

The Hubble Deep Field. This is space, just from a patch of night sky. Credit.

“The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”
― Mark Twain

Thank you for reading. To know me more, head on to my Medium (@jeevakanow) for my musings of life.

Cheers to the #talkaboutit documentaries

Gogu and I, photo by Dinesh

We followed Dinesh around the area while he shot on his film camera. Chow Kit is usually seen as a dangerous area, but I didn't feel that way, on the contrary, I find Chow Kit interesting. It's more lively and friendly than many other places in KL. Cafes and shopping malls are much cooler and neater, but sometimes I questioned if over-planning or manipulation is really the sign of modernity and intelligence. Chow Kit is messy, but full of life. Like, real, authentic life.

This photo was taken six months ago and I only got to see it now. We walked to Kampung Baru and saw some cute houses. Dinesh asked us to sit together and then he pressed the shutter. If this was taken digitally I'd have checked the photo thoroughly and asked him to reshoot if I think my face looked round or hair too messy. Control issue, babe. But this was on film, so nobody knows or has control over the outcome. I think this is the essence of the art - focus on the process and let go of the expectation.

See and experience every moment. No matter where you are. Can't wait to let you see the documentaries we made.  

Eve's Diary


American writer Mark Twain published a short story "Eve's Diary" in 1906. Of course I need to find it and read it. In the story he imagined how Eve would write her diary since the first day she was created. She met Adam and got to know this being, started to explore the Garden of Eden, ate the fruit, left the Garden and spent the rest of her life outside of Eden. She was so curious about everything but confused, especially when she first knew desire and death, but nevertheless she learned and progressed along... 


“Some things you can't find out; but you will never know you can't by guessing and supposing: no, you have to be patient and go on experimenting until you find out that you can't find out.”

And, the last sentence of the story was by Adam at Eve's grave.

“Wheresoever she was, there was Eden.”

These flowers from BloomThis were unspeakably beautiful and sent by somebody's boyfriend. Thanks! 🌸