Elle Marie Photography

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Steve’s Professional Headshots | Whitby Headshot Photography

Steve works in marketing, so when he contacted me about doing headshots he said that he was looking for something a little less formal and with a little more personality. When we worked together we did the standard formal poses, but then we chatted for a while, and through that time took some shots that felt a little less stuffy.

A standard headshot package for one person with me includes your choice of 3 images, and I always encourage people to choose 3 that have a different feel to them. I think Steve did a great job of selecting his 3 images.

standard business headshot of a man with a slightly relaxed feel

man business casual headshot

man stands against white wall casually for a business casual headshot.

Elle Marie Photography is very experienced in providing quality headshots for you or your company. If you are interested in booking a session please contact me! My studio is located in Whitby, ON and I photograph families all over the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), including Whitby, Oshawa, Bowmanville, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Toronto, and Mississauga. I book a limited number of sessions each month so please get in touch and we can discuss your vision!

10 tips for photographing your kids and using the DSLR you got for Christmas!

So many of my clients love taking photos of their kids, I mean, who doesn’t? Some of my clients are even photographers themselves, or hobbiests, and I love that. Many though, tell me about their fancy DSLR camera they got when their first child was born and now it sits in the closet. I don’t love that so much haha. There’s probably a few of you who even got new fancy cameras for Christmas this year! You’ve probably played around with it a little over the holidays but feel a bit lost and overwhelmed with all those button and dials. This is when that DSLR gets moved to the closet!

So, I thought I would write some tips to help you out! Everyone is going to have different goals but my hope is some of these will get you using that camera and creating the images you are hoping to! While I think professional photography is important for a whole bunch of reasons, and mom shouldn’t always be behind the camera, I also think capturing all of the in-between moments is just as important!

So here are my tips for using that new DSLR (or the one that’s been sitting in your closet for 2 years) and photographing your kids:

  1. Read the manual.

    Seriously, read the manual. I know, I know, who reads manuals, but you guys, this thing is written in such an easy to understand way and it doesn’t just tell you what all the buttons do, it usually tells you how they apply to it in real and simple photography situation. Seriously, if you only take one tip from this list, let it be this one!

  2. It’s totally OK to put the camera on auto mode and just capture the moment!

    With such a fancy camera and so many buttons and settings, it can feel wrong to just throw it on auto and hope for the best, and yes, if you were a professional, it would be a questionable choice, but for you, if it means the difference between taking the photos, capturing the moments and enjoying the memories, or getting frustrated, missing the moments and ending up with black or blurry photos, there’s no shame in auto mode. Yes, I do want you to find time to take the camera off auto mode, practice with different settings, see what different adjustments can create, but Billy’s first birthday is probably not the time if you aren’t very confident, and that’s OK!

  3. Learn about the exposure triangle.

    If you are ready to get just a tiny bit technical and take that camera off manual mode, the first thing you will want to familiarize yourself with is the exposure triangle. Really, it’s the foundation of every decent photograph. Depending on your camera, your manual might even go into this a little (see tip #1!), but if it doesn’t or you need a different explanation, here is a great read: Learning About Exposure – The Exposure Triangle.

  4. Turn off the flash. 

    I know that can sound a little counter productive, especially when trying to produce bright, beautiful images, but the thing is, the little flash that pops out of the top of your DSLR creates unflattering harsh light, pointed directly at your subject, often creating that deer in the headlights look. It’s just not great. You will do far better to look for other sources of light, like moving closer to a window, or using your camera’s settings to better handle less light (see tip #3!) This photo of my son uses no flash, but an increased ISO and low aperture.

    Young boy making a gingerbread house while wearing a santa hat

  5. Get down on your kids’ level.

    OK, so I was starting to get a bit technical there, so let’s shift to more general tips, you should even practice these when using your cell phone! Getting down to eye level of the tallest child in the photo will instantly make your photos look a whole lot better! For this photo pf my son, I got down on my knees, in the cold, on the pavement. It hurt my old knees but totally worth it!

    young boy stands under Christmas light archway wearing a yellow hat and spinning

  6. Simplify the background.

    If you have time, clear clutter from the background of where you are going to shoot. If this is an outside shot or more spur of the moment, adjust your angle so that the direction you are shooting in has a less busy background. For this shot, I stood at an angle that made sure not to include the cars in everyone’s driveway to the left and the blue boxes that were out on the right. Simplifying all the extra stuff that could have been seen in the background helped bring the focus on my son and the toothless grin of his on his first day of school!

    Young boy ready for first day of school, Wearing a red hat, grey shirt with a dinosaur and knee socks with a dog on them.

  7. They don’t have to be smiling!

    I mean, I love a toothy, smiley grin from a kiddo just as much as the next person, but sometimes the very best photos aren’t the ones with the smiles. Seeing a child’s true feeling and emotion in a moment can make or break a photo. Heck, sometimes we don’t even need to see their face at all. Let’s keep it real, no one smiles all the time! For this image of my son it felt far more authentic to capture him while looking around and exploring that yelling “say cheese!” at him.

    young boy wearing rubber boots sits on a log in the forest

  8. Focus on their eyes.

    Sure, there are times this rule should be broken but for most of the time, you want your focus point to lock on their eyes. Your fancy DSLR may have 52,938,943 focus points, use the one that falls over their eyes! If you want to take this a step further, try to get “catchlights” in their eyes. This is when some light is hitting their eyeball and creating that little glimmer in their eye. It adds life and sparkle to their eyes! In this photo you can see the focus is on his eyes and things like the ears, shoulders and hair fall off into blurriness. You can also notice the little white specks in his eyes from the window light, which are the catch lights.

    5 year old boy with catchlights in his eyes.

  9. Increase your shutter speed.

    If you find a lot of your photos are coming out blurry, it could be because kids move A LOT and FAST. You have to make sure your shutter speed is high enough to freeze these movements. If you are having this problem, but full manual mode isn’t something you are ready for yet, you might want to check out Shutter Priority mode. This is a step up from setting your camera on auto, where you tell the camera how fast to make the shutter, and then it will determine the other settings needed to create the best exposure it knows how. Again, refer back to Tip #1 to find out a little more and how to set your camera to do this! In this photo my son was bursting through the weedy flowers at me, so I had to be quick and use a fast shutter speed to freeze that movement!

    young boy bursts through the weeds

    Get Ready for the most important tip….

  10. Print your photos.

    I can’t stress this enough. 25 years down the road you don’t want your kids to have to go shuffle through some old hard drives to maybe find some photos from their childhood, or worse, have none! Make a point every few months or at least every year to get some printed off. Keep an album like back in the day, or use one of the great services out there that can print directly to books now, like chatbooks. Get a few printed to hang on your walls or sit on a desk. Whatever you choose to do, just print some. I think a lot of people get overwhelmed because we do take so many photos these days, how could we ever print them all?? But it doesn’t have to be all of them. Choose a few key moments, special memories, and a few of the in between moments and get them printed! Here’s what I do, a few times a year I will print off a handful of the really special ones. I put a few in frames around the house, share them with the grandparents and put some in a memory album I have for my son. And then, once a year, right after his birthday I also create a chatbook, documenting the year. Chatbooks are great, they can pull right from your phone, Instagram, or Facebook and they make a nice simple book, with one image per page. No fussing with layout and fonts and all that extra stuff that can overwhelm us, just a nice simple book showing the photos we choose to include. I tend to pull most of my photos from my personal Instagram because if it’s not on Instagram, was it really that special? hahaha. But you can do it however you like, the point is keep it simple and just get it done!

I hope all of these tips can help you get a little more comfortable with your camera and take some great photos of your kids. I’m always happy to answer any questions, so please feel free to shoot me an email if you need any help!

 

Newborn Baby Theodore | Whitby newborn photography

I first met Elyse at my Mother’s Day open house back in May. She came in for a maternity photo and we chatted for a while. She was about to welcome baby boy #3 into the world, and wanted to capture some photos of the new baby, but also all 3 of them together! 3 boys under the age of 5, no problem! haha

Maternity Photo on Mother’s Day!

pregnant mother standing by window in white gown for maternity photos

So fast forward a couple more months and Elyse contacted me to book her newborn shoot. Baby Theodore arrived in August and the family of 5 came in to see me for their photos. Elyse asked for teals, blues, and greens as the colour palette, so I mixed those colours in with some neutrals for a cohesive look.

The Newborn Shoot

Family of 5 with 3 boys pose for a photomom of 3 boys poses with newborn baby wrapped in navyDad of 3 boys hold newborn baby wrapped in navynewborn baby boy wrapped in greenNewborn baby toes in black and whiteNewborn baby hands in black and whiteNewborn baby boy wrapped on pecan furNewborn baby boy in bum up posenewborn baby boy hugging teddy bear

After the shoot, mom and dad came in to the studio to view their images and make their selections about what they wanted to purchase. They chose a gorgeous album, and a mounted print to frame and hang in the family home, as well as their digital images. If you haven’t heard me say this before, albums are my absolute favourite! They are just beautiful and make for an awesome keepsake to have for a lifetime. Here are a few terrible phone shots of the products they took home! (I really need to start taking nice photos of these items!)

The Products

collage of mounted wall print and photo album

 

Baby Jack | Newborn Photography in Whitby

I had so much fun during this session! Baby Jack’s mama is one of those awesome ladies you just love to be around. We laughed, we talked about struggles, we talked photography, and we did a LOT of  ooooohing and ahhhhing at baby Jack! I love when clients come into my studio and can feel so comfortable that we chat and have a good time!

Ashley is also a photographer herself, and I’d seen a couple of adorable lifestyle shots she’d taken of Jack in his first couple of days so I couldn’t wait for him to come in and pose for me! Here are a few of the favourites of mine from his session.

New mom cradles her newborn son in her armsNewborn baby boy on blue fur and woodside profile shot of newborn baby boy in black and whiteBaby boy on blue furNewborn baby boy on navyNewborn baby boy on grey fur rugBaby Boy wrapped upSide profile of newborn Baby boyNewborn Baby boy in taco poseNewborn baby boy posed in side laying position

Elle Marie Photography specializes in newborn, family and lifestyle photography. If you are interested in booking a session please contact me! My studio is located in Whitby, ON and I photograph families all over the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), including Whitby, Oshawa, Bowmanville, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Toronto, and Mississauga. I book a limited number of newborns and families each month so please get in touch and we can discuss your session!

The Eaton Family | Toronto Family Photographer

I first met members of this family about 5+ years ago. Mandy and her husband Paulo have the cutest Frenchton dog named Loki, and we met at a couple of doggy meet ups for Boston Terriers! And any friend of a Boston Terrier, is a friend of mine! Shortly after first meeting, Mandy hired me as a gift to her twin sister, Mindy and her new family. Mindy had had a baby girl and we arranged to so a family session with little Celeste was about 6 months old. I instantly loved this family and really enjoyed getting to know Mindy, Tim and Celeste. Since then they have come to see me every year for some updated photos.

Over the years, whenever I’d post a photo from one of Celeste’s session on Facebook, I could always count on a cute comment from proud grandma, Mary-Joe. So this year, in celebration of a special occasion, Mary-Joe’s family decided to gift her with an extended family session and include everyone! I love doing extended family photos, it’s so important to capture all of these moments with the whole family. Four generations came together to capture memories that they will now have forever!

4 generation extended family photo

young girl with her aunt and uncle

young girl making a silly face with her grandparents

young girl looking up at her great grandmother

young girl with her mom and dad

adult sisters share a laugh

married couple shares a laugh

grandparents

extended family photo of a 4 generation family in a park

young daughter and mother hug

young daughter hugs dad

Elle Marie Photography specializes in newborn, family and lifestyle photography. If you are interested in booking a session please contact me! My studio is located in Whitby, ON and I photograph families all over the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), including Whitby, Oshawa, Bowmanville, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Toronto, and Mississauga. I book a limited number of newborns and families each month so please get in touch and we can discuss your session!

Amanda’s Family Mini | Oshawa Family Photographer

I met Amanda at the Oshawa Mamas + Chicks show in April this year. I had a table set up and had a wonderful day speaking to so many mamas and mama-to-bes! Those who visited my table also had the opportunity to enter a draw for a free mini session. Amanda was my lucky winner! Along with her husband and little girl, Amanda met me for a fun little shoot is a cute spot down by the water in Oshawa. I had a great time meeting this family and love the photos we captured during our time together.

The photos

Here is a sample of some of the images we captured that evening!

family of 3 with 9 month old girl

9 month old baby girl with family

9 month old baby girl sits on quilt in grass

9 month old baby girl with mom

9 month old baby girl with dad

I always get at least 1 of mom and dad!

parents

Elle Marie Photography specializes in newborn, family and lifestyle photography. If you are interested in booking a session please contact me! My studio is located in Whitby, ON and I photograph families all over the Greater Toronto Area (GTA), including Whitby, Oshawa, Bowmanville, Ajax, Pickering, Markham, Toronto, and Mississauga. I book a limited number of newborns and families each month so please get in touch and we can discuss your session!

Let's chat about your session!