Last time we talked about Sunny Day pictures…if you missed that post go back and check it out…

Today we are going to talk about getting up close and personal with your subjects…

Too many times I see photos of people that were taken so far back the person taking the photo probably had to use a mega phone to tell the subject to smile. The subject is so stinkin’ small that I feel compelled to get out my magnifying glass just to verify who I think is in the picture. Not good. If your picture turns into a Where’s Waldo adventure, then you have issues.

My suspicion is that this phenomena comes from a fear of intimacy…I mean fear of limb chopping among other things. You don’t want to chop off feet or legs. You feel like you have to get the entire person in the frame…all the time. I bet some of you think that getting an obscene amount of the background in the image is the route to a prize-worthy photo. Well, you thought wrong!! !!! Sorry, that has harsh…let me rephrase…you tried super duper hard with the best of intentions but you were just a teensy weensy bit mistaken. Better?

Moving on….

Have you noticed that your photos with the subject farther away are just not very sharp? They seem fuzzy? Well, your camera looks for a focal point. A what point? Focal point: the red square that comes up on your LCD. You just thought that was there to obstruct your view and annoy you, didn’t you? No, it has a purpose. The camera’s focal point is looking for something to hang on to for dear life. It wants to find something to focus on to give you a sharp picture. Make sense? When your subject is far away, the camera doesn’t have anything definitive to hold onto…everything begins to run together from the camera’s viewpoint…it looks for something and thinks it has it, but you find out later it didn’t have a firm grasp and now your insanely awesome photo…sucks. It happens to the best of us…

Do your camera a favor and find it something to hang onto…move your subject a little closer and then take your shot. If you can move your focal point (again, the red box), I would place it over the subjects face. After all, that is what you want to be sharp right?

Now, let’s talk about limb chop…don’t be afraid of cutting off limbs. Here is the rule of thumb on this issue: Don’t cut off limbs at joints…ankles, knees, wrists, fingers, elbows, etc. Got it? Good. Enough said.

And what about the background? Well, riddle me this Batman: What is the subject of your picture? Is it the scenery? Is it your child? Is it a combination of both? Give this a second of thought before you snap the picture.  If you are at the Grand Canyon and want to take a picture of your kids, then by all means include more of the background with the kids. It is the Grand Canyon…seems pretty amazing and in this situation, you have 2 subjects…the kids and the hole in the ground. If you are taking a picture of you adoring toddler inside your house that looks like a preschool blew up in it, then consider minimizing the background and getting up close on your toddler….SHE is the focus of the picture…not the shrapnel from the explosion.

I want you to do a little experiment and have someone stand at different lengths from you as you take pictures. I bet you notice that your images get sharper as your subject gets closer. I took the challenge and used Zach as my guinea pig…

photo of child at various distances in san antonio

Next time we are going to tackle blurry images….

Before you go…if you don’t want to miss any of my pearls of wisdom, then click on the little envelope below or scroll down and click on “subscribe” if you are reading this on your smartphone and subscribe to my blog…these blog posts will show up in your inbox a couple of times a week. Don’t sweat getting spam…I don’t eat or sell the stuff so you are safe…

by Melissa Lloyd

Say Click!! Take a pic!! Say Click!! Take a pic!! Soy click la camera…I can take a pic…blah…blah…blah…if that little squirt Dora can take good pictures so can you. For those of you that don’t know Dora, count your blessings…her little picture song is cute, but it quickly gets infused in your head.  Removing it is next to impossible…

I thought I would do a series on Tips for Taking Better Pictures…seems like a good idea for you to be up to at least Dora’s level in your photo taking (wink!)…so here goes…

Today’s tip: Bright sunny days do not equal good pics.

I know that seems crazy and you are already thinking I have no clue what I am talking about, but let me assure you I am not as nutty as you think. Bright sunny days create harsh shadows, squinty eyes, and silhouettes.

I bet you have pictures where someone’s face is glowing on one side and dark on the other. You can admit it…we all have these pictures…there is no shame. Blame the sun and the harsh shadows she creates…

I bet you also have pictures with people that appear to have no eyes or black eyes. You can see in the examples below that Joshua is trying to keep his eyes open but the sun is so bright he can’t. He now has a case of the squinty eyes which is sad because he has gorgeous blue eyes. You want your subject to have eyes…have you seen pictures where the people all have dark eyes (read: black)…those aren’t aliens…those are humans having their picture taken in light that is too bright. Not attractive.


squinty eyes and harsh shadows photo

I know you have pictures where the background is bright and the person in the picture is super dark….as in, YOU have to squint to make out who is in the picture. This is because your lighting was BEHIND your subject lighting up their butt. Oops. Your subject needs to be facing the light source….light up their face…not their derrière.

sillouette photo of child

Cloudy days or shady places = better pictures. Those clouds diffuse the sun’s rays virtually eliminating harsh shadows. They also make it possible for your subject to look at you without the sun burning a hole in their retina…that’s a plus. Patches of shade will at least provide even lighting on your subject but be careful which direction your subject has to look because you can still get squinty eyes.

san antonio photo of joshua

photo of Joshua


















Joshua was my helper in bringing you this PSA. It only cost me extra outside playing time…pretty cheap for Joshua…

Next time we are going to talk about invading your subjects personal space…just kidding…well, kinda…

Before you go…if you don’t want to miss any of my pearls of wisdom, then click on the little envelope below or scroll down and click on “subscribe” if you are reading this on your smartphone and subscribe to my blog…these blog posts will show up in your inbox a couple of times a week. Don’t sweat getting spam…I don’t eat or sell the stuff so you are safe…



by Melissa Lloyd

Check out this family What to Wear ensemble. Wouldn’t this be great for a family session? I love the colors and prints…so fresh and springy/summer-y. Notice how everything COORDINATES….but nothing matches. That is what you are aiming for when picking out your clothes. These outfits are simple and simple is always in style…

What to Wear: Family - yellows and oranges

by Melissa Lloyd

child photography before and after image example in san antonioThis is one of my favorite pictures of Joshua.  The top image is SOOC (Straight Out Of Camera). It was nice picture to begin with, but I didn’t want to settle for nice so here is what I did:

1.) I popped those colors…I made the yellows and greens a little deeper and brighter which gave the image a warm, yummy feel.

2.) I added a little bit of light to the image.

3.) I softened the image

4.) I also added a texture to the image…you can see it in the top left corner. The texture is actually all over the image except on Joshua where I removed it. It gives the picture a richer more artistic feel.

5.) I sharpened the image.

I didn’t crop this image…I liked the crop right of the camera so I left it alone.

I love the color…the warmth…the soft smile…and the richness of this image. This picture is a prime example of what a custom photographer can do for you…create art. You can’t get that at a chain store…

by Melissa Lloyd

In Why You Should Have Wall Prints:: Part One, we talked about the beauty and emotion of large wall prints…

Now, let’s talk about a couple of other things that may be holding you back from pulling the trigger on enlarging a few of your favs.

#1: “What if I don’t want that image hanging there forever?” My answer: move it. Simple, huh? Who says that image you had hanging over your couch can’t move to your entry way, or your stairway, or your game/family room, or some other room? Moving images around from time to time is a great way to freshen up a room.  Did you buy a whole gallery of images? No problem-o. They can be rearranged and turned into a great hallway gallery or broken up and dispersed throughout the house. You aren’t stuck…these aren’t hung with super glue.

#2: “My child or baby is going to grow. Will I still want that image?” Kids do tend to grow…whether we want them to or not. You have a couple of options. The first is to simply move the image. Just because little Johnny has gotten bigger doesn’t mean his newborn photo isn’t a keeper. Move it to the stairway or game room and create a little gallery showing his growth. How cool would that be? A little Johnny growth wall. The second option is to keep it right where it is and add some new images around it showing his growth.

I have a great example of this. Here is another wall gallery in the living room of my home. Look at the image on the right. This is my 13 year old son Zach. At the time of this photo he was 11. I have taken other pictures of him that I love and I could replace it. Wanna know why I haven’t? Too bad, I am going to tell you anyway. This picture captures Zach so amazingly well. I love that you can count the freckles on his face. I love that he is looking out and taking in the countryside. This photo is so him…and when I look at it, I feel insanely happy. I don’t care how old Zach gets…this photo will be on my wall for a long, long time.

large wall prints of family photos in san antonio

Before you go…if you don’t want to miss any of my pearls of wisdom, then click on the little envelope below (if you are viewing on a computer) or scroll down and click subscribe (if you are viewing on a mobile device) and subscribe to my blog…these blog posts will show up in your inbox a couple of times a week. Don’t sweat getting spam…I don’t eat or sell the stuff so you are safe… 🙂



by Melissa Lloyd

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