Tips for an amazing autumn photo walk

Top tips for an amazing autumn photo walk

One of the things I’ve noticed this year is how being forced to slow down and take time out from our normal routines has meant I’ve really noticed the different seasons coming and going.

It was amazing heading out for family walks back in the spring and seeing the cherry blossom appearing on the trees at the bottom of our hill.  Each time we walked past them there seemed to be more and more, until finally the trees were bursting with beautiful pink blossom.

Now we’re into autumn and there is so much change happening in nature again.

Which makes it a great time of year to head out with a camera on a photo walk.

 

If you’ve not heard of a photo walk before, it’s basically just what it sounds like.  It’s where you go on a walk and photograph things that catch your eye.

You can stick to a theme during your walk or let yourself be inspired by the things you see along the way.

I really love having a theme to work to, to keep me focused on looking out for certain things and to push my creativity a bit to find different ways to photograph things to fit the theme.

An autumn theme to a photo walk is brilliant because there are so many things you can take pictures of that fit the theme.

 

If you’re not sure where to start, here are some ideas for things to look out for and to photograph:

  • Acorns
  • A red leaf
  • An orange leaf
  • A yellow leaf
  • Different coloured leaves on the trees
  • Water
  • Reflections of autumn colours
  • Conkers
  • Spider webs covered in dew
  • Frosty grass
  • Boots surrounded by fallen leaves
  • Sun shining through the trees
  • Flowers
  • Berries on the trees
  • Little hands in mittens
  • Bobble hats

 

You don’t need any special kit to go on a photo walk.

Don’t be put off if you don’t have a big fancy camera, you can do this with your phone if that’s all you have.

There are some things to think about though, to really get the most out of your walk.

 

Check the weather

Have a think about the types of photos you want to take and make sure the weather conditions are right before you head out.

If you want to get photos of gorgeous autumn leaves against a bright blue sky, then obviously you can’t do that on a day that’s overcast.  So either plan your photo walk for a day when the conditions are right, or have a few ideas for photos you can take in different types of weather and adapt your plan to the conditions on the day you head out.

On a grey day you might not get those bright blue sky photos, but you could get some gorgeous misty shots instead.

 

 

Look up and look down

As you’re walking make a point of looking around in all directions.

Look up at the beautiful colours of the leaves on the trees, and look down at the pieces of nature that have fallen to the ground.

 

Include some people in your photos

If you’re out with your family for the photo walk then try and include them in some of your photos.

You could photograph the top of your toddler’s head if they’re wearing a cute little bobble hat.

Or lean back and take a photo of you and your child holding hands while wearing your warm gloves.

Another classic autumn photo is of feet standing in a pile of leaves.  This is a great way to get yourself in photos too, as you can just look down and photograph your own feet.

 

Look for reflections

If you want to add some more interest to your compositions then look for reflections on your walk.

At this time of year there’s a good chance there’ll be puddles on the ground, so get down low and see if you can photograph autumn leaves reflected in the water.

You can also try photographing autumn colours reflected in windows, and even in sunglasses if it’s a bright sunny day.

 

Hopefully these tips and ideas have inspired you to grab your camera, wrap up warm and head out for a photo walk to capture all the beautiful things autumn has to offer.

Have you ever been on a photo walk before?

What do you most enjoy looking out for on walks at this time of year?

Photograph your family and your life - getting started

How to photograph your family and your life – getting started

I’ve always loved photography.

I think a lot of it comes from being a sentimental person.  I just love how powerful photographs are, how they can take you right back in time to the moment they were taken.  How they can bring memories flooding back that would otherwise be lost forever.

I remember having point and shoot cameras when I was younger, and waiting weeks for the films to be developed and for the prints to arrive in the post.  I remember wanting to learn more about photography, to understand the technical side of how it all worked, to be able to take better and better pictures.

It took me years to get up the courage to do it though.

Something about all the terms I didn’t understand, and the numbers that meant nothing to me, put me off.  Maybe I thought learning the technical side of things would take the fun and creativity out of the whole thing.

If you feel the same way, and want to finally learn a bit more about photography so you can start to take photos of your family and your life that you’re really proud of, then I’m hoping this series of posts I have planned will help.

 

I’ve got a whole load of posts planned, covering all the basics you need to know to get your camera off auto and to start understanding all the different elements of taking a good photo.

The format might change a bit from post to post, but basically there’ll be the technical bit where I’ll explain what aperture, for example, is.  I’ll make it as simple to understand as possible, so it’s not at all scary for complete beginners.

Once the theory is out of the way I’ll give you some ideas for photos you can take to put it into practice.

I know I learn best when I actually DO something, so I hope you’ll stick around, pick up your camera and give some of the ideas a go.

This series of posts is mainly aimed at parents who want to learn more about photography so they can capture more of their family life, so hopefully the ideas and prompts will get your creativity flowing too and have you taking photos to add to your family albums straight away.

 

You’ll need a camera that lets you shoot in manual mode to get the most out of these posts, but that can be a compact camera or a digital SLR.

The first proper post in the series will be on the blog next week and will be all about aperture.

For now though, go and grab your camera.  And if you have it, get the instruction manual for it too.

Then spend a bit of time getting to know how the controls work.

Find out how to put the camera in ‘aperture priority’ and ‘shutter priority’ modes, as well as full manual mode.  Don’t worry about what these modes do at the moment, just work out which dials to turn to set them.

And that’s it.

The fun really starts soon, I hope you’ll come back and stick with me and enjoy learning how to photograph your family and your life.

#ShowYouWereThere round up

Show You Were There – August round up

It’s Sunday, it’s very nearly the end of the month, and it is time for another #ShowYouWereThere round up!

If you’ve not heard of it before it’s my little Instagram community for people to share photos that feature them (or their partners) in some way.  It’s all about getting more parents in more photos, for both them and their children.

At the end of each month I pick 4 photos that have been shared with #ShowYouWereThere to include in these round ups.

 

My first pick for this month is this wonderfully summery photo from Stacey in the sticks.

It’s just the kind of picture I need to see to help me hold on to these last few days of the summer holidays!

 

My next pick is from the lovely Lucy at Mrs H’s favourite things.

It’s just such a happy photo, and I’m a little bit in love with Lucy’s dress!

 

Next up is another perfectly summery photo, this time from Emma at Ready, Freddie, Go.

How gorgeous is this?!

 

My last choice for this month is from Laura at Inside Laura’s life.

This is such a lovely father/daughter picture – just look at those smiles!

 

Thank you so much to everyone who tags their photos #ShowYouWereThere over on Instagram, it makes me so happy seeing people getting in front of the camera more.

 

Now my turn.

Me and my girl, accidentally twinning in our stripy outfits.  That’s all!

 

If you’d like to join in with my little community then all you need to do is share a photo over on Instagram that features you in some way and use #ShowYouWereThere with it.

Hope to see you over there soon!

Take better beach photos

Top tips for better beach photos

We’re lucky enough to live close to the beach here in Swansea, so we can head down for a walk and a play (and a swim when it’s warm enough!) pretty much any time we want.

The beach also happens to be one of my favourite places to take photos of my family.  So a lot of the time my camera comes along with us on our beach trips, and I’ve learnt a fair bit about getting better beach photos over the years.

Whether you live by the coast like us and visit the beach a lot, or are about to head off on a summer break to the seaside, these tips for better beach photos will hopefully help you take pictures there that you’ll absolutely love.

 

Pay attention to the sun

Getting the lighting right is key to taking better photos, and on the beach this can be harder to achieve than in other places.

There isn’t normally much shade to work with, so you’ll often by trying to take pictures in really bright sunlight.

The first thing you need to do is pay attention to where the sun is in the sky.  If you’re taking photos with the sun directly behind your subject you’ll have to deal with possible lens flares as well as the people being almost silhouetted with the bright sun behind them.

You can work around these issues with a lens hood (or just holding your hand above the lens to create the same effect) and by exposing for your subjects rather than the sky behind them.

 

Freeze the action

If your children are anything like mine then they’ll be busy at the beach.

Our trips generally involve a lot of running and jumping and splashing and digging.

All this activity can make for beautifully natural photos as you can snap away while they’re occupied instead of getting stiff, posed photos.  You do need to pay attention to your camera settings though, to make sure you don’t end up with blurry photos as your children run around.

If you’re shooting in auto mode then the camera should take care of this for you, but if you want full control of your images then switch to manual mode and use a nice high shutter speed to freeze the action.

 

Get down low

When you’re taking photos of your children at the beach, don’t always shoot from your eye level.

Make sure to move around and mix things up a bit.

I love to sit or crouch down on the sand to take pictures of my kids playing, it tells a bit more of the story and brings you into their world that bit more.

 

Head to the beach all year round

Don’t feel that you can only get good beach photos on summer days with blue skies and turquoise seas.

Some of my favourite photos from the beach have been taken on grey and slightly wild days.

I love the contrast of either dark or bold coloured clothing against the washed out, dull sky and the wind creates a lovely sense of movement as it blows their hair and throws spray from the waves into the air.

 

Photograph beachy details

The main focus of your photos will probably be your family, but take a bit of time to look around for other interesting seaside-y details to photograph.

Thing about the different things that represent beach trips and seaside holidays to you, and capture those things too.

It might be beach huts and stripy deckchairs.  Or maybe brightly coloured buckets and spades on the sand.  Or it could be little hands holding on to melting ice creams.

My children have always loved picking up shells on the beach, so I have quite a few photos of their hands overflowing with their collections, or them holding one special shell or stone out for the camera so we’ll remember it forever.

 

Pick seaside colours

If you know you’ll want to take photos of your children at the beach, then think about dressing them in seaside colours for the day.

I don’t do this very often but now and then I’ll steer them towards blues and whites, and sometimes reds, for a trip to the beach and I love how those photos come out.

 

Think about composition

Finishing on a more technical note, take a bit of time thinking about the composition of your photos before you start snapping away.

I love photos like the one above of Nerys where she is right in the middle of the frame, with a nice clear background behind her.  It’s a classic portrait with the focus entirely on her.

There are so many opportunities for more interesting photo compositions at the beach though.

Think about using the rule of thirds, placing your subject and the horizon on these imaginary grid-lines.  You can also play around with leading lines in your beach photos, and change your composition by changing your perspective and shooting from above and below.

 

Hopefully these tips will help you take amazing photos next time you head to the beach with your family.

Just make sure that you pass the camera to someone or set a timer so you can get in some of the pictures too!

Photograph the everyday moments

Photograph the normal moments too

On the 10th of every month I take 10 photos.  10 photos that capture life as it is on that day.

Some months it feels like a struggle.  It seems like there’s nothing ‘worth’ photographing about that particular day.

That day is nothing special.  There’s nothing about it that’s different than the day before.  The routine is the same as it was the day before and the same as it will be the day after.

But that is exactly why it’s worth photographing.

Because who knows when the day will come that looks completely different from this one.  So every month I push through that struggle and take 10 photos.

Photos of our routine, mundane, everyday life.  Photos that a year from now I’ll be so grateful that I took because of how much has changed.

I think so often we focus on photographing the big moments.  The special ones.  The pretty ones.

We take photos that will look good on Instagram.

We hide the clutter and mess and realness.

We edit the life out of our photos.

Don’t get me wrong, I do it too, and I won’t be stopping any time soon.

I love the posed photos in front of birthday cakes.  The first-day-back-at-school pictures by the front door.  The highlight reels from our days at the beach and the park.

These photos make me happy.

These moments are worth recording.  These photos will make me smile so much in the future.

 

The thing is, life is so much more than the highlights.

The milestones.

The main events.

What I want to make a point to record is all the in-between moments.

The mundane, everyday routines that we almost stop noticing because they’re so mundane and routine.

Those times that, when we’re in them, feel like they’ll last forever.  And then they’re gone.

These are the photographs we’ll be really grateful for when we’re older.

 

Photos like this one of Nerys reading to Steve in bed.

When our children are little it feels like we’ll always be in that bed, reading the same stories over and over and over again.  Then they get a bit bigger and start reading out loud to us.  And it feels like this is the way it’ll always be.

Then they get older again and don’t need us as much any more.  They happily read to themselves in bed.

It happens so slowly, you don’t notice things changing.  Then one day you realise that you can’t remember the last time they curled up next to you, to read their book aloud with you by their side to help them sound out the tricky words.

That’s when photos like this take on a new importance.

One day we’ll find this photo again and all the memories will come flooding back.

How Nerys’ reading suddenly took off during lockdown, when we found a few of these Fairy Animal books amongst a pile of books someone had left outside their home for passers-by to take.

How she used a little post-it to mark, not only her page, but her place on the page when she had finished reading each day.

The way she would steal my spot in bed in the mornings, to read with her dad, during those slow mornings when we weren’t in a rush to get out the door for school.

 

It’s the same with the school run routine.

Day in day out, week after week, it’s the same.

Well, it was the same.

For years we did the same thing, walked the same path, saw the same people, followed the same routine.

It’s such a regular part of family life, for such a long time, that you don’t really think to photograph it.  It feels so boring.  So mundane.  So un-photoworthy.

But when you actually stop and look at the little details of that routine, there’s so much to document.

Like, we have a little ritual of sorts when we say goodbye to each other.

After a hug and kiss we’ll make a heart with our hands, blow a kiss and wave.  At school drop off last year Nerys and I would do this through her classroom window to each other.

It was only on the last day before the schools closed that I thought to photograph it.

 

Even now, just a few months later, I am so pleased that I took this photo.

So much has changed since I took it.

At the moment the children are due to be going back to school in a few weeks, but it won’t be the ‘normal’ routine when they do.  I won’t be able to hang around the classroom, making sure the children are settled before leaving.  I’ll have to move along, out of the way of other parents, instead of waving and blowing kisses and making heart shapes through the window.

Something that we did so many times over the last year is already just a memory.

 

So here’s my advice.

Take a bit of time and look around your life.

Think about the routines and rhythms of your day.

Find the things that you do so often that they feel boring and humdrum.

These are the things to photograph.

I know it might not feel like it when you’re in the trenches of round the clock feeding with a newborn, or chasing a toddler round the park for the 10th time that week, but you will look back at these times with a sort of nostalgia when they’re older.

I’m not saying cherish every moment, but I am saying notice them.  And record some of them.

Get someone to take a photo of your feeding your baby, pushing them in the buggy or wearing them in a sling.

Photograph your weekly walk to baby group or the library.

Take pictures of your child feeding the ducks and going down their favourite slide at the park.

 

Right now feels like a particularly important time to record.

And at the same time it’s been a particularly hard time to photograph, in all its groundhog-day-ness.

But if you can take a step back and think about the things that are part of daily life now that won’t be in the future then you’ll find plenty to take photos of.

 

Look beyond the big moments, the milestones, and the main events.

Photograph the in-between.

The slow mornings in pjs.  The socially-distanced meet ups with friends.  The zoom calls with family.

Photograph the highlights, sure, but photograph the normal moments too.

#ShowYouWereThere round up

Show You Were There – July round up

It’s Sunday, it is (somehow!) almost the end of the month, and it’s time for another #ShowYouWereThere round up!

If you’ve not heard of it before it’s my little Instagram community for people to share photos that feature them (or their partners) in some way.  It’s all about getting more parents in more photos, for both them and their children.

 

The first photo I’m sharing from this month is from Sabrina at The Mummy Stylist.

This photo just makes me want to turn the grey skies here to a lovely blue so we can also put on sunhats and head out for a picnic!

 

My next pick is this lovely smiley photo from Jaymee at The Mum Diaries.

It sounds like her family have got a fab summer planned, full of camping adventures!

 

Next up is this photo that I really love from Nicola at Mummy to Dex.

There’s just something about photos taken from behind that I really love, especially when it’s of little ones holding hands with people.

 

Last but not least for this month is this photo that really made me smile from Kim at OddHogg.

I think her caption sums up how a lot of us parents have been feeling lately, that when our children go back to school/childcare we’ll miss having them around loads, but those moments when you realise you can go to the toilet in peace will be bliss!

 

Thank you so much to everyone who tags their photos #ShowYouWereThere over on Instagram, it makes me so happy seeing people getting in front of the camera more.

 

Now my turn.

Actually, it’s my husband and my father-in-law’s turn this month.

I took this photo of the two of them with Nerys in the woods this weekend, and I love it so much.  I told you I was a fan of photos taken from behind didn’t I!

 

If you’d like to join in with my little community then all you need to do is share a photo over on Instagram that features you in some way and use #ShowYouWereThere with it.

Hope to see you over there soon!

#ShowYouWereThere round up

Show You Were There – June round up

It’s Sunday, it’s the end of the month, and it’s time for another #ShowYouWereThere round up.

In case you’ve not heard of it before, Show You Were There is my little Instagram community all about getting more parents in more photos, both with and for their children.  If you want to get involved then all you need to do is use #ShowYouWereThere on any photos that feature you in some way, I’d love to see more people joining in!

This month I’ve chosen some gorgeous photos that people have shared celebrating Father’s day.

 

My first choice for this month’s round up is from Maria at Suburban Mum.

I love the fun and smiles in this photo, it’s a lovely moment she’s captured.

 

The second photo that I’ve chosen for this month’s round up is this lovely photo from Katy at Katykicker.

I remember having shoulder rides with my dad when I was little, and would love to have a photo like this from those days!

 

Next up is this summery photo from Laura at Dear Bear and Beany.

It’s such a lovely photo and sounds like they had the perfect family day at the beach the day it was taken.

 

My final pick for this month’s round up is this gallery of photos from Kim at OddHogg.

I love all the different moments she chose to share to celebrate Father’s day.

Thank you so much to everyone who is using #ShowYouWereThere, I love seeing your photos popping up over on Instagram, they always make me smile so much.

Now my turn.

Well, in keeping with the theme this month, it’s actually my husband’s turn.

I have so many photos of him and our children taken from behind, and I love this recent addition to my collection, taken on a gloriously sunny day at the beach.

 

If you’d like to join in with my little community then all you need to do is share a photo over on Instagram that features you in some way and use #ShowYouWereThere with it.

It’s all about getting more parents in more photos and I’d love to see as many people as possible jumping in front of the camera more.