Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Book Review: Your Child in Pictures:The Parents’ Guide to Photographing Your Toddler and Child from Age One to Ten by Me Ra Koh


Disclosure / Disclaimer: I received this ebook, , free of charge, from Amphoto Books, for review purposes on this blog. No other compensation, monetary or in kind, has been received or implied for this post. Nor was I told how to post about it.


Photographing our kids.
It's something that most moms do, without giving much thought to it.

Oh we'd all love to be professional photographers, but who has time for taking courses and learning to be one?

Right, that's where 2 new books come in that can make the difference in the pictures ,
you take of your kids! 

I'll be sharing them with you this week and next!
your child in pictures cover


Synopsis: 
From first steps to first days of school, there’s no better way to capture a child’s milestones than through beautiful photography. In the follow-up to her bestselling Your Baby in Pictures, Me Ra Koh helps parents take emotion-filled photographs in YOUR CHILD IN PICTURES: The Parents’ Guide to Photographing Your Toddler and Child from Age One to Ten. Me Ra has the antidote to digital snapshot overload, inviting parents to slow down, stop taking thousands of so-so photos that languish on the computer, and instead focus on capturing more powerful moments that tell the sweet story of childhood.

Through 40 easy "photo recipes”—all organized by age, explained simply in Me Ra’s warm and inviting voice, and paired with adorable photo examples—YOUR CHILD IN PICTURES not only helps parents take better photos, but inspires them to discover photography as a way to connect with, cherish, and celebrate their children. Each photo recipe includes a simple explanation of how to set up and take the photo—with specific camera settings for both point-and-shoots and DSLRs—along with an inspiring photo example taken by either Me Ra or one of the many amateur photographer moms who have taken her workshops.

YOUR CHILD IN PICTURES is bound to become the go-to guide for parents looking for photo tips, such as how to take a portrait with a blurry background, how to freeze their child in action, and how to take photos in challenging low-light settings. With Me Ra’s guidance, readers will feel empowered to capture the story of their child, and all the while find joy in discovering their own creative eye.


Review:

Me Ra starts you off with the basics- choosing the right camera for YOU. A point and shoot camera might fit your needs, and their quality is way better than they used to be. Want more?  She breaks down what to look for in a great DSLR and what lens you need (one of her go-to lens is a 24-70mm). She then walks you through paying with your new camera, and getting to know it, before you start taking pictures of your kids.

Some of the interesting things she says about actually taking pictures of your kids:

- You don’t need to capture every moment. Me Ra shows parents how to slow down, take a deep breath, and be thoughtful about what photos they take. In other words, “you have to be willing to miss shots to get great shots.”. This is such a hard thing- none of us wants to miss 'a special' moment, but sometimes we DO miss it it, trying to get too many other pictures!

- Refuse to say cheese. When many of us take a photo, we ask our kids to stop whatever they’re doing to look up and smile. Not only can this build resentment within kids for getting their photo taken, but all of your photos end up looking the same.You've been there. The kids are precious, but the moment they realize the camera is on them, and say pose for me, they freeze up and put on fake smiles, and you grown, knowing you've missed the shot! Instead give them the props you want, or put them where you want them, and let them go. The pictures will come naturally then!

Take a look at these 2 examples I shot, taking the tips from Me Ra:

miss grace roller skating 1

miss grace roller skating 2

Which is more interesting?

Yup- the top one!

You can tell she is hesitant, but roller skating on her own. There is a subtle triumph in how she is moving, out there all by herself. There is a story behind that picture!

The bottom one? Yup, she posed, you can tell by the 'fake' smile!

-We need to remember that we are making a chronicle of our kids growing up. 15 years from now, they'd rather see a picture of them climbing the jungle gym with pure joy on their face for making it to the top, than seeing a posed picture on a swing. At their wedding shower, do you want to cute picture of them in the bathtub, or them holding their sister's hand with a fake smile? Yup, you know you want the embarrasing bathtub picture! Real life, that is what you are going for!

Include your kids in the process. To make photo-taking fun, the secret is to take photos with your kids, not just of them. For example, give your toddler a toy camera so after you take their photo, they can take yours. If you have an older child, ask them for ideas on photos so they can participate in the creative process. Or you can even hand over the camera.I did this on our last vacation- I let Miss Grace have a camera to take pictures with. Some of the best shots I have, are her taking pictures, in total concentration of studying nature!

Me Ra gives you tips for taking pictures at every age. She offers 'posing' suggestions- ie what to have your child doing and how you should be standing/sitting to get the picture, as well as tips for taking the pictures with a point and shoot or DSLR camera. These are great to help to learn your camera and to practice to see how lighting and speed affects the picture! It only took me about an hour to go through the book, but I will be going back and using the different chapters as practice sessions myself!

 I really can't recommend this book enough! In fact, I would seriously recommend giving it as a baby shower present, as most parents purchase their first DSLR when the baby is coming! It would be a great book for them to learn from and to start taking great pictures from the beginning- think of it as the gift that keeps on giving!





About the Author 
ME RA KOH loves cameras, kids, and parents, and spends her time bringing them together. She is host of the Disney Junior TV show Capture Your Story with Me Ra Koh, and the former guest photography expert on The Nate Berkus Show (NBC). She also writes a weekly column for Babble.com called A Focused Life. Her work and photo recipes have been featured on The Oprah Winfrey Show, Lifetime Television, VH1, and Martha Stewart Living Radio, as well as in the New York Times, Parenting, American Baby, Popular Photography, American Photo, and on such websites as Mom It Forward
and Today’s Mama. Me Ra and her husband and business partner, Brian, are also producers of the award-winning instructional DVDs Refuse to Say Cheese and Beyond the Green Box.

She is proud to be a SONY Artisan of Imagery, representing family portraiture, and is a sought-after speaker, with frequent appearances at WPPI, Photo Plus Expo, and female-oriented blogging conferences. For the past four years, Me Ra's CONFIDENCE workshops for women have sold out nationwide. She is also host of the annual SOAR! scholarship for aspiring female photographers. When she is not writing
and shooting, she works closely with partners like Disney, SONY, Sesame Street, Nielsen Photo Group and Southwest Airlines to find ways to inspire the creative hearts of moms. And as of spring 2013, you can find her smile at your local Target store! Visit her at www.merakoh.com.

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