Photography & Photoshop

Camera Magic

When I was at Photoshop World in Las Vegas last week (sick of hearing about that yet?) I picked up Scott Kelby’s book “The Digital Photography Book” (about $20) and read the better part of it on the way home on the airplane.

I really like this book because each page is its own little photography tip or trick. It is written in Kelby’s signature not too technical, not too much information, not too serious style and is geared for people like me who are not too technical, not too serious and can’t handle too much information at any one time.

Anyway, I wanted to share with you my favorite tip from the book thus far (I’m only half way through) and one I think every mom with a camera of any kind needs to know.

Oddly enough the tip comes from the section on wedding photography (p.45), but here it is:

You have the subject close their eyes. Tell them to open their eyes on the count of three. A split second after you say “Open!” you snap the picture. Works like a charm because you avoid that artificial/strained/oddly surprised look people get when you order them to look into the camera and say cheese.

Here’s one I took of Sean using this technique. It’s not an especially good photo, but I think it captures his eyes nicely and naturally. I’ve tried it on several other people and the results have been consistently good. If you try it, link back here so I can see the results.

Photo Temporarily Unavailable

My yummy delicious little boyfriend. I eat him up with a spoon. nom nom nom

35 thoughts on “Camera Magic

  1. Don’t sell your two-year-old short Jen. They understand far more than you think they do. Just because they can’t speak proficiently doesn’t mean they don’t understand.

  2. Actually it is a good picture. Love the impish expression. That’s Sean. Just the right amount of shadow on the left side of his face.

    Facial expressions change quickly, particularly the smile. Setting the camera to continuous, and holding the shutter button down to get three shots instead of one. Keep the best one.

    Keep up the good work.

  3. Thanks for the wonderful tip! I will most certainly give it a try on my little guy…..Now if I could only get him to stay still! Do you have any tips for that?

  4. Thanks for the great tip! I’ve been contemplating buying that book after hearing so many others recommend it, and the fact that you like it has made me want it even more.

  5. Fabulous! I wonder if this will work for people who always flinch and shut their eyes (I never get a good picture of my Mom because her eyes are shut!)for fear of the flash. I’ll have to try it.

    You photo is beautiful and thanks for the tip!

  6. What a great tip – like Heather I’ll be saving that one for when my son is older – I don’t think he’d understand me at all at 2 years old.

  7. I’m not sure my four-year-old boyfriend would be such a cooperative subject. Usually, as soon as I get my camera out to get a good shot of him, he starts mugging.

    But I’m definitely going to try this at some point. Great, simple-to-implement tip.

  8. probably helps with the “drunk-eyes” look my sweet big girl gets when she blinks at the flash, too. I will definitely add this to my repertoire. thanks!

    your boy IS delicious.

  9. Our family genetics cause us to blink at the exact moment of shutter release. It’s a trait that goes back generations. We’ll have to try this trick, it may solve everything. Thank you! Michael’s Mommy will definitely want to use this technique with her little boyfriend.

  10. I said this earlier in comments, but even though you don’t think your son can follow directions, keep presenting the directions and he will get it. Teaching happens in advance of learning.

    I will get my hands on another copy of this book for give away in the next week or so because I know y’all will love it too. It’s chock full of good basic tips and tailor made for moms who have about one minute of reading time in any one siting.

  11. Now that you mention it, that’s exactly what our photographer did at our wedding and I’d forgotten. I’ll try it. And the photo of your boyfriend is simply adorable.

  12. If this trick eliminates the cheesy face stage that kids go through when they are four and five and six… the twenty bucks you spent was WORTH IT.

    Thanks for sharing. I’ve got some cheesy faced children who will be subjected to this experiment.


  13. This is an amazing tip! Especially for kids who tend to get all squinchy and such.

    (and I second the idea that two year olds understand FAR more than we often give them credit for understanding)

  14. nom nom nom…

    Yes, but is there a trick for getting their bed head to lay flat? And their mouths to be clean?

    And the 2YO’s? I’m sure they understand as well. Now getting them to sit still and obey, well… that’s a different story.

  15. He is just incredibly adorable! I would try that with my son if he could follow directions yet… maybe in a few years! πŸ˜‰
    Any chance you’re going to convince that photographer to hold a giveaway of his book right here on your blog? πŸ™‚

  16. Precious picture of a precious boy. I’ll try that technique with the 60 to 85-year-olds that are a part of my life right now to see how it works with the other end of the time line.

  17. So I loved this tip and just tried it out on my own little four-year-old. It worked pretty well! Thanks for your fresh take on everything parenting.

  18. I visited your blog for the first time. Very well done! I love the pic of the little one looking into the oven! Priceless!
    My kids are all grown now and I’m doing a blog on that (raising teens) Lord help me! lol. If you’d like to check it out, it’s at

    I’ll come back you this blog, it’s very well done, great job!

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