"Having a phone full of thousands of useless photos of your kids is almost a rite-of-passage amongst new parents nowadays. The truth is that the majority of those pictures are never going to be looked at again. In this article I share tips on how to take pictures that are worth saving, by using a proper camera. And what time better to start than in autumn? The leaves and sunlight are golden, and there are photo opportunities everywhere"
I got my first Olympus PEN camera five years ago, just a short while after my first son was born. I’ve been using Olympus cameras ever since. Here are my best tips."
Take real portraits
My absolute favorite lens to use on any Olympus camera is the M.Zuiko Digital 45mm F1.8. I call it my 'portrait lens'. It allows me to come up close and personal when taking portrait pictures of my kids, and it also allows me to create beautiful images with blurry backgrounds when taken from a distance.
The first picture is a portrait taken with my 45mm lens. Here only the face of my son Philip is in focus, while the foreground and the background are blurry. Sound complicated? I just tapped his face on the touchscreen of my camera, and my camera did the rest. Easy as pie.
Some mobile phone cameras nowadays offer options such as “portrait mode”, but don’t be fooled to think that it is the real deal. Technology attempts to mimic what a portrait lens does, to rather mixed results. This is easily seen in details in the image such as foliage. It just doesn’t look as good.
Take photos from above.
Babies are not always easy to take pictures of, especially without help to hold them up! I’ve solved this by taking pictures of my babies from above. I jokingly call it a “baby flatlay”.
Here you can “go crazy” and style the picture with items around the baby, but I like to keep my photos as natural as possible. I do however like to stick to a color theme, in order to give the picture some harmony. In the next photograph I have only used neutral colors. When taking photos from above I use my M.Zuiko Digital 17mm F1.8.
The 17mm F1.8 lens is also great for capturing beautiful scenery. This lens is a lens that you don’t want to forget when going on family trips, as you will want to capture images of your children, while also showing their surroundings.
Capture moments, publish them immediately
It is important to note that you can transfer photos to your smartphone seamlessly using the Olympus OI.Share app any time and anywhere. You simply tap on the share icon on the camera touchscreen, open your app, and choose the pictures that you want to transfer to your phone.
In case you select the image already on the camera with the share icon, OI.Share ask you whether you would like to import those images when have the camera connected to your smartphone and open OI.Share. No additional selection on OI.Share is necessary. Even when the camera is turned off, the pictures will be transferred automatically to your phone as soon as you switch off the camera in case you have bluetooth activated.
Take great pictures in low light
November and December can be challenging months to take pictures when the sun isn’t shining. Here is a picture that I took of my sons for our yearly family Christmas card.
The truth is that no matter how much smartphone producers say that they have fixed the low-light limitations of smartphone cameras, the photos that smartphone cameras produce in low light always look a little 'off' and grainy. This is because the images are enhanced digitally to compensate for low light. This is a pity, because it limits taking pictures on your phone to when the conditions and lighting are just right.
My little everyday photo hacks
I take a lot of photos, and have therefore gathered some little 'hacks' that make my photos just a little bit better. Here are some great tips for taking great photos in the fall season:
Don’t stand in direct sunlight. Taking pictures in direct sunlight leads to squinty eyes, high contrasts and sharp shadows. I prefer to take pictures in the shade when the sun is shining.
Backlighting can be beautiful. In autumn the light is more diffused and golden in comparison to high summer. This means you can get away with taking shots with backlighting. Using the Olympus PEN is optimal for these conditions, while camera phones struggle.
Wait for the perfect lighting. Have you ever taken photographs on a day with mixed rain and sunshine? The world just glows when rain has stopped and the sun breaks through the clouds. Perfect for pictures. Another great time is during 'golden hour' when the sun lays low on the horizon.
Face a window when taking pictures inside. Everybody looks better with a bit of 'window lighting'.
Kids look better when they don’t know that they are being photographed. The M.Zuiko Digital ED 75mm F1.8 lens allows you to stand far away enough from the children that they will not recognise you. Natural, unposed pictures are always less of a struggle than posed pictures. Kids like to pull funny faces and have zero concentration when asked to pose for a picture. Just make them laugh and snap pictures without them noticing.
Author & Photographer: Ingrid Holm