12 Jun Ready, Steady, SLOW! Snail Racing…
One of my favorite things to do (and I bet by now you may have noticed) is creating magical and fun images with my kids. When I first decided to become a full-time photographer I did it as a self-care decision with the intention of being able to be around and involved in my kids’ life. I also know that we, as parents, lead by example, and I have always encouraged my son and daughter to follow their dreams. Being a photographer was the dream I decided to go after, and I am happy I get to share it with my them.
My kids have always been my source of inspiration. We love coming up with funny stories together and turn them into pictures. Through the years, this has become a family ritual. Every single image we create together have a very special place in my heart because I know I’m treasuring in them their sense of wonder and creativity. I’m hoping when they grow up, they look at these pictures, and get back in contact with their inner child, and remember vividly all the fun we had putting these images together.
This past weekend, I sat down with my 4 years old daughter, and we started making up fun stories together. It always starts with a word, and we build up around it. We were talking about snails and then she said we were going to race snails, and of course, she was going to win, and her brother was going to be second, and obviously, I was last…! So, while she was coming up with her story, I was finding stock images on Adobe stock and roughy putting them together in Photoshop. She directed me on where things were supposed to go and what everybody was supposed to be doing in the picture.
While we were brainstorming, (it was pretty much her telling me what to do!) I made a few Instagram stories of our process and a little teaser of what we were working on. (If you don’t follow me on Instagram you are really missing out on everything that goes behind the scenes. It’s fun, go and follow me there! @gilmarsmith)
So, after I had all the pieces together on the background, I set up a couple of lights in my garage, placed an apple box on the floor so we could sit on it and pretend it was a snail and shot our pictures.
Here are a few things to consider when taking this kind of images.
- Before taking pictures of your subject, find the light source on your background image. After identifying the direction of light in the background image, set the lights so you can mimic the same direction and quality of light when photographing your subjects.
- Keep your camera on a tripod. That way you can shoot all your subjects with the right angle and depth of field. (I put my Nikon Z7 on my trusty 3 Legged Thing Leo)
- Shoot tethered. That way you can see clearly if the images are in the right angle and match with the background. That will make your life a lot easier in Photoshop. (all my tether toys are from Tethertools)
- Use a remote trigger. This doesn’t only apply to self-portraits but also when I’m taking the pictures of my kids. I rather be right next to them helping them with their poses than behind the camera. Besides, I don’t really need to see the back of my camera because I’m shooting tethered! (I use a MIOPS trigger and I control all its settings with my phone)
- Be silly! We always have so much fun taking these pictures. You can clearly see that in our facial expressions!
It took me longer brushing my daughter’s hair than taking both of my kids’ pictures, and that is because they already knew the story behind the image we were creating. They knew what they were going to do, how to pose, and they were willing and happy to do it because it was their story. That makes a huge difference when working with kids!
Here’s the final result of our snail race… #snailedit