tips and tricks

6 Tips to See the Super Bloom at Walker Canyon

Southern California is experiencing a super bloom of flowers thanks to an unusually wet winter. So to witness this in-person, we decided to take a hike at Walker Canyon (just outside of Lake Elsinore off of the 15 freeway at the Lake Street exit) to see the wildflowers! I'm sharing a few of my favorite photos from our visit as well as a few tips for bringing your little ones along.

A few practical tips for visiting Walker Canyon with your little ones:

1. Before hitting the road, pack a light bag of essentials for the hike. Things to consider bringing along are a camera, water, sun screen, snacks, a change of clothes for the kids, a diaper and wipes. The trail is really dusty, so bring comfortable shoes for the hike and you might want to bring another pair of nicer shoes if you plan on taking full body portraits.

My sweet hubby carrying our bag of essentials

My sweet hubby carrying our bag of essentials

Dusty trails and steep hills ahead! Don't forget your walking shoes!

Dusty trails and steep hills ahead! Don't forget your walking shoes!

2. There aren't any restrooms near the canyon so stop at the exit before or after the Lake St. exit for those last minute potty breaks.

3. Parking near the canyon can be limited. Don't be surprised if you end up parking near the on and off ramps of the freeway.

4. Be sure to hand the camera over so that you get to be in the frame too.

I'm definitely more comfortable behind the camera but I'm so glad to have a photo of myself together with the kids

I'm definitely more comfortable behind the camera but I'm so glad to have a photo of myself together with the kids

5. Be prepared for your little one to ask for a treat. There might be vendors at the bottom of the canyon offering water and popsicles.

He had strawberry and she had an orange with cranberry popsicle which hit the spot

He had strawberry and she had an orange with cranberry popsicle which hit the spot

6. Pick a spot and enjoy the view

It can be crowded but there are pockets of places to sit and enjoy the beautiful view 

It can be crowded but there are pockets of places to sit and enjoy the beautiful view 

Planning on seeing some wildflowers in the next few weeks? Here's a resource of other great hikes in the area:

https://modernhiker.com/best-wildflower-info-for-california-hiking

Happy hiking!

5 Tips for Photographing Kids

1. Lighting

  Lighting in photography is everything. It can take a dull image and make it magical. Lighting can help set the mood of an image and be part of the story telling process. Natural light is this most flattering type of lighting. If you’re taking photos at home, make note of when and where you have the most sunlight.  Try to set up your subject near a window or doorway (wherever the light source is).  If you’re outside, taking photos early in the morning or late in the afternoon when the sun is low and provides soft lighting. If those times of days don’t work for you, find large areas of shade for your photos so that you can avoid harsh light and shadows.

Natural light coming from the window on the left and window behind them

Natural light coming from the window on the left and window behind them

2. Use the Rule of Thirds

 The "Rule of Thirds" is probably the most popular photographic composition "rule". Essentially, it's the principal that an image is most interesting if the subject is at the intersection of two horizontal and two vertical lines such as a tick tak toe board.  All cameras and most smart phones have the ability to turn on a grid so that you are able to find those intersecting lines. To learn more, view this article

The Rule of Thirds

The Rule of Thirds

3.  Change your Perspective

 People tend to take our pictures from the same height and angle. It’s comfortable, quick and easy to get stuck in this mode. To add more interest to your images, change your perspective. Move your feet and shoot from above, below or to the side of your subject.  Get down on the floor to their level. Challenge yourself to take 3 photos of the same scene but from different angles. 

Children playing with Legos. Photo taken down low on the ground.

Children playing with Legos. Photo taken down low on the ground.

Children playing with Legos. Photo taken from above.

Children playing with Legos. Photo taken from above.

Young boy plays with Legos. Photo taken at same level as child.

Young boy plays with Legos. Photo taken at same level as child.

3. (don't) Say Cheese

Growing up I think we were all conditioned to say ‘cheese’ when taking a photo. The challenge with this technique is that it creates a need to ‘perform’ in front of the camera. When you perform by saying ‘cheese’ , eyes can look closed, expressionless and mouths look stiff.  Here are a few tips to get a natural expression.

  • Make them laugh – tell a silly joke, talk in a funny voice, make a funny face. You know your child best, so appeal to whatever gets them smiling
  • Get them moving – have them run or jump. When kids are moving and having fun those smiles come out naturally
  • Do nothing. Observe your subject and wait for the right authentic expression to come.

5. Be Mindful of What's In the Frame

As the photographer, you are responsible for everything in the frame of the picture. Be sure to quickly scan the edges of your photo and double check the background to make sure that there isn't anything distracting that would take the focus away from your subject.

Ready to learn more? Join me at my Camera and Photography Basics workshop!

 

12 Must Have Newborn Photos

 To preserve all of those little details of the early days, here are my twelve must have newborn photos. Whether you're doing it yourself or you hire a professional, take the time to document your new baby and life together. It really does go by so quickly !

1. Baby's face

2. Baby's hand

3. Baby's feet

4. Baby's hair

5. The nursery or wherever baby spends most of his/her time

6. A photo with mom

7. A photo with Dad

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8. Details of the nursery

9. With a special family member (grandparent, sibling, pet, etc.)

Grandparents and great grandparents are a treasure and if you're still lucky enough to have one around, PLEASE don't miss this opportunity. 

Grandparents and great grandparents are a treasure and if you're still lucky enough to have one around, PLEASE don't miss this opportunity. 

10. With a special toy or heirloom

11. Keepsakes from baby's arrival

This one doesn't necessarily have to be done within the first month. If you hire a photographer, gather all of the items you'd like photographed such as baby's hospital bracelet or welcome home outfit and have them available. This type of photo can be during those downtimes when you're taking care of baby.

This one doesn't necessarily have to be done within the first month. If you hire a photographer, gather all of the items you'd like photographed such as baby's hospital bracelet or welcome home outfit and have them available. This type of photo can be during those downtimes when you're taking care of baby.

12. The whole family together

There you have it! Did I miss a moment that you think should be documented? Please share your thoughts and ideas in the comments. :) Also, stay tuned for a future blog post where I'll be sharing my tips for photographing your own newborn.