Photo Peas Classroom - Stepping Up Your Snapshots

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Posted 2/1/2010 by HJBrimhall in General Photography
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PeaNut 152,103
June 2004
Posts: 1,087
Layouts: 180

Posted: 2/1/2010 10:52:55 PM
Welcome to "Stepping Up Your Snapshots"...a lesson in the 2 Peas Classroom series. I'm Holly Brimhall and I first started learning about photography, way back when, right here on 2 Peas. It feels good to be back here...good to be be giving back.

Originally, I was a scrapbook teacher...teaching classes at the local scrapbooking store. I taught at AZ's very first scrapbook convention. Okay, that makes me sound old, but I was just a brand-new newlywed at the time and a very young newlywed, at that. I continued teaching and loving every second of it and started having pages published in magazines. I soon realized that the pages being published were especially amazing because of the fabulous pictures the artists were using. I decided right then and there to start learning more about photography...either that or I'd need to start hiring a professional photographer to be at all of our family functions and go on all of our family vacations to document our lives. I knew THAT was never going to happen, so I got busy learning. I learned (and am still learning) photography, to capture our life. As a part-time newborn photographer, I spend most of my "photography time" taking "snapshots" of the kids.

Tip #1: Give your kids some space. What? Sometimes the kids get tired of having a camera in their face all of the time. Sometimes they get REALLY tired of it! Put your longest lens on your camera, sit back, and snap away while they play. Some of my favorite beach pictures of the kids are taken from pretty far away. I put on my 70-200mm lens and start shooting. They will hardly even know you're there!

Tip #: TURN OFF THE FLASH! The flash on your camera is rarely, if ever, your friend. One look at a picture taken with flash and you see teency, tiny, pinhole catchlights, shadows behind the heads...yuck! If you have an external flash and need some more light, bounce it off of the white ceiling. This was taken in our basement, flash bounced off of the ceiling...

Tip #: Look for good light in your home and KNOW where the good light is. It may be in your master bathroom...or your kitchen...or a child's bedroom. Use that light to your advantage and take more snapshots there. Turn off the flash and get closer to the windows! In the mornings we have great light in our family that is where we have the kids open their presents in the morning on their birthdays. We have great light in our master bathroom...check out this chubba bubba...and also in our daughters room (since this picture was taken, we moved her out and it is now my newborn studio).

Tip #: Put your camera in continual shooting mode. This is especially great when taking action type shots. Hold down that shutter and listen to your camera take multiple pictures. Keep your favorite shot from the series. (Make sure that your shutter is fast enough for those action shots - I try to get at least 1/500)

Tip #: Have fun with your kids! Relax! One of my favorite things to do is to just lay in the grass with my kids, camera in hand, asking them questions, talking to them, making them laugh. For this picture, I just asked him to show me how excited he was to go to Sea World...LOVE it! Capture EMOTION! I heard someone once say, speaking of children and photography, "They don't have to behave...they just have to be happy!"

Tip #: Use the rule of thirds...add some interest to your photos. Having your subject off to one side often makes the picture more exciting to look at.

Tip #: Get down on their level! Standing in one spot for every picture is going to get REALLY boring. Lay on your belly, stand on your what it takes to get a more interesting shot!

And sometimes you just have to be there...and be ready with your camera. The great thing is, you know your children better than anyone else does. You know what they love, what makes them tick, what makes them happy. Sometimes getting great snapshots takes some preparation...and sometimes you just get lucky!

Have fun! Relax! Practice! ENJOY being with your children and making them laugh... and enjoy "Stepping Up Your Snapshots!"


PeaNut 39,805
June 2002
Posts: 4,325
Layouts: 37
Loc: Roy, Utah

Posted: 2/1/2010 11:12:34 PM
Ooooh, I just KNEW that asking you to teach was a great idea!!!

Your pictures are like eye candy to me, and your little tidbits of knowledge are perfect! Of course I should plan where the kids are going to open their birthday presents, but I never have! And of course I should get down on their level, but I hardly ever do! Thank you so much for such great advice and for the little eye "treat" before I go to bed! LOL!


Life in Moments Photography Blog

Canon 40D!!!!!, Canon XT, Canon 18-55mm, Canon 50mm 1.8

For beautiful eyes, look for the good in others; for beautiful lips, speak only words of kindness; and for poise, walk with the knowledge that you are never alone. - Audrey Hepburn

Drink lots...PEA pale!

PeaNut 276,190
September 2006
Posts: 22,615
Layouts: 717
Loc: Colorado

Posted: 2/1/2010 11:26:51 PM
Thank you for sharing


24-70 2.8L
100 2.8L IS macro
135 2.0L
85 1.2L II
Fisheye 15mm
Tamron 70-200 2.8
Lensbaby Composer

CS4 on a calibrated Mac

My blog
Photography website
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PeaNut 395,876
October 2008
Posts: 1,703
Layouts: 3
Loc: pacific northwest

Posted: 2/1/2010 11:40:11 PM
Such great and useful advice! Thank you so much! I have to take more of the day to day and make it look good. Your pictures are beautiful to look at!



Nikon D300s
Nikon D50
24-70 2.8
105mm 2.8 macro
50 1.8
18-200 VR

My facebook page

My family blog

My photography blog

A Marvelous OlymPEAn

PeaNut 36,135
April 2002
Posts: 21,473
Layouts: 383
Loc: Western Washington

Posted: 2/1/2010 11:42:00 PM
fantastic tips!

CC and plays always welcome!

| 5d | 40d | 17-40mm f/4L | 50mm 1.4 | Sigma 85mm 1.4 | 70-200mm f/4L | 430EXII |
Facebook| Website
How to Rock your basic equipment | My Pea Interview | 52 Weeks of Self Portraits

Stacey Anna

PeaNut 90,606
June 2003
Posts: 2,506
Layouts: 115

Posted: 2/1/2010 11:52:51 PM
I LOVE this! It's so funny, because seriously just the other day, I happened upon your blog and I was just amazed at the amazing relaxed shots you have of your family, and I was thinking about how much I love that, and I would love to have those kind of shots of my family too Thanks for sharing this great info!
I am sending you Peamail


PeaNut 246,670
February 2006
Posts: 3,958
Layouts: 19
Loc: Idaho

Posted: 2/2/2010 12:11:20 AM
I love reading your blog. Thanks for the great tips and sharing your photos!


Nikon D90 | Nikon 85 mm f/1.8 | Nikon 50 mm f/1.8 | Nikon 35 mm f/1.8 | Tokina 12-24mm f/4 | Tamron 90 mm f/2.8 macro | SB-600 | PSE7 | JoTote!

Steph, the midnight crafter


PeaNut 378,885
June 2008
Posts: 1,076
Layouts: 7
Loc: BC, Canada

Posted: 2/2/2010 1:06:30 AM
Thank you for that wonderful lesson.
I am trying to step up my snapshots. So many things to think about, camera settings, lighting, rule of thirds etc, etc.
Thanks for reminding us to relax...and breath...but without camera shake of course.
Also all your pictures are just beautiful. But my absolute favourite is the one with your daughter (i think it's your daughter) in her room reading a book with the letters "dream" showing in the background. LOVE it!
Off to check out your blog.

CC and plays always welcome and much appreciated!
Cannon Rebel XT ~ 17-55mm 2.8 ~ 50mm 1.8


PeaNut 283,357
November 2006
Posts: 2,300
Layouts: 6
Loc: Idaho, USA

Posted: 2/2/2010 1:36:40 AM
This is so something I need to work on!!! Thank you SO much for sharing!


5D Mark II
50mm 1.2L | 100mm 2.8 | 135mm 2.0L
AB800 | Pocketwizard Plus | LumoPro LP160 | iMac | CS5

mama to 3 now!

PeaNut 305,846
March 2007
Posts: 8,539
Layouts: 41
Loc: Australia

Posted: 2/2/2010 2:52:22 AM
Thanks so much for sharing!

my blog JLB photography FB fan page
In my bag: Canon 50D, Tamron 28-75mm f2.8, 50mm f1.8, 430exII;
On my computer: CS4, LR3
Feel free to hhcc me anytime!


PeaNut 252,676
March 2006
Posts: 1,159
Layouts: 4
Loc: Southern Ohio

Posted: 2/2/2010 4:31:32 AM
Holly, thank you for sharing! Your photos are fabulous! I really need to work on taking better snapshots...maybe your post will be the nudge I need.


What's in my JoTote:
Sony Alpha 350
Sony VG B30AM Grip
Sony 85 f/1.4
Sony 50 f/1.8
Sony 55-200 f/4
Sony 18-70 f/3.5
Minolta 50 f/1.7
Minolta 70-210 f/4.5
Minolta 35-70 f/3.5
Minolta 2000xi Flash and Minolta 2800af Flash

What's on my computer:
Photoshop CS4
Lightroom 2.6

I pea a lot...

PeaNut 345,407
October 2007
Posts: 9,468
Layouts: 47
Loc: Australia

Posted: 2/2/2010 4:34:59 AM
Awesome job! Loved looking at your photos. I need lessons like these because I'm a bit too contrived sometimes and I love the look of relaxed, genuine expressions/interactions in photos. I need to do more of it!





Molly C
PhotograPea Enabler

PeaNut 49,752
September 2002
Posts: 15,942
Layouts: 86
Loc: Virginia, where my heart has always been

Posted: 2/2/2010 4:49:01 AM
These are really great tips, and I like to think I already do most of these things in my own photos (except shooting from far away, hard to do when your longest lens is a 100mm ), but I have to say, I am in awe of your shooting in full sun skills. Love that your subjects are all nice and people colored, not brightened to the max.

Thanks so much for sharing; I will have to go check out your blog.


Nikon D700
Nikon lenses & flash, AB400 and softbox

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 343,224
October 2007
Posts: 5,920
Layouts: 115
Loc: Sometimes GA, sometimes NC, Wyoming whenever possible!

Posted: 2/2/2010 5:24:24 AM
I love all of these pictures! Love the colors and the expressions. I think that many times we are so conscious of trying to get the technical aspects perfect that we miss out on the emotions--at least I know I do.

1 DH, 1 DD, 1 DSIL, 1 DS and 1 Beagle
Nikon D7000 | 18-270mm VR | 70-300mm VRII | 105mm VR micro

I don't make jokes. I just watch the government and report the facts. Will Rogers
Be thankful we're not getting all the government we're paying for. Will Rogers


PeaNut 411,126
February 2009
Posts: 91
Layouts: 0
Loc: Wisconsin

Posted: 2/2/2010 5:31:39 AM
Thank you so much! Great photos!!

Can you hear me now???

PeaNut 26,273
December 2001
Posts: 7,824
Layouts: 180
Loc: North Carolina

Posted: 2/2/2010 6:23:04 AM
Thank you so much for sharing - what a great set of tips!


PeaNut 341,583
October 2007
Posts: 3,185
Layouts: 84
Loc: Erie, PA

Posted: 2/2/2010 6:25:33 AM
Thank you for contributing such a wonderful lesson. Love looking at your photos. Very helpful suggestions. Jackie

Canon 7D and XTi
Jackie S.


PeaNut 270,684
July 2006
Posts: 2,953
Layouts: 27
Loc: Quebec

Posted: 2/2/2010 7:13:36 AM
Great subject - thanks for sharing!


Canon 60D

my blog


PeaNut 405,632
January 2009
Posts: 6,773
Layouts: 112
Loc: West Virginia

Posted: 2/2/2010 7:38:40 AM
Excellent tips and reminders and as always, beautifully illustrated.


Nikon stuff!

The more I know, the more I realize how much I don't know!

Blogging at ---> bended road photos


PeaNut 35,811
April 2002
Posts: 242
Layouts: 10
Loc: Michigan

Posted: 2/2/2010 7:51:16 AM
Thanks so much for sharing! I LOVE your beach pictures - they're beautiful!


Canon 50d!/tamron 28-75/55-200/50mm 1.8

Ancient Ancestor of Pea

PeaNut 100,139
August 2003
Posts: 5,209
Layouts: 0
Loc: Boston, MA

Posted: 2/2/2010 8:01:36 AM
Great advise! Thanks so much for putting it all together for us. Beautiful photos!!!!

~ Karen


PeaNut 189,210
February 2005
Posts: 2,758
Layouts: 256
Loc: oklahoma

Posted: 2/2/2010 8:04:50 AM
Wow, thanks so much! This is fabulous.


PeaNut 405,010
December 2008
Posts: 186
Layouts: 21
Loc: Mesa, AZ

Posted: 2/2/2010 8:43:39 AM
Thanks Holly! FAB tips!! doesn't hurt that your kids are GORGEOUS!


PeaNut 207,672
May 2005
Posts: 1,972
Layouts: 38
Loc: Madison, WI

Posted: 2/2/2010 9:02:46 AM
Amazing work, thank you for sharing.


Serendipity Photo Studio,L.L.C Madison, WI
Newborn photographer for the largest delivery hospital in the state of Wisconsin!!
How did I get this gig...timing and tenacity!

Canon 5D Mark III, 5D Mark II, 50D, 24-70L ,135L, 50 1.4, CS5 and LR 3

Ok, I have 5000 what?

PeaNut 230,463
November 2005
Posts: 10,109
Layouts: 1
Loc: West Virginia Mountains

Posted: 2/2/2010 9:16:38 AM
Great tips! Thank you for sharing with us

Sony A200 DSLR
Sigma 105mm f/2.8 EX DG Macro
Sony 18-70mm f/3.5-5.6 (kit lens)
Sony 50mm f/1.4
Sigma 70-300mm f/4-5.6 Telephoto/Macro
Sony 75-300 f/4.5-5.6 Telephoto (it was on sale for $69.00...I couldn't resist!)
Sony HVL-F20AM flash

Lost and Found in Pea-land

PeaNut 138,098
March 2004
Posts: 6,558
Layouts: 2
Loc: NC but wishing I was somewhere else

Posted: 2/2/2010 9:19:07 AM
Love your work...I only wish my own family pictures were half as good as yours.

Your kids are adorable and your style is so colorful and fun.

Thanks for taking the time to share this information.

Prayers: You need 'em? I've got 'em <3

PeaNut 365,669
March 2008
Posts: 12,737
Layouts: 81
Loc: St. Louis, MO

Posted: 2/2/2010 9:28:37 AM
Thanks so much for sharing your tips and your beautiful photos.

Blessings, Rebecca

My gear:
Nikon D700-a dream come true
50mm 1.8
70-200mm (old AF film lens)
Nikon D40-
55-200mm VR
Promaster 7400EDF flash
Close up macro filter set


PeaNut 284,112
November 2006
Posts: 975
Layouts: 1
Loc: Illinois

Posted: 2/2/2010 9:36:36 AM
These are great tips! I just have to say that those popsicle shots really made me smile! Oh how I miss those days when my own were little!


My equipment:
Nikon D90, Nikon 35 1.8, Nikon 55-200, Nikon 18-55, Tamron 18-200, Nikon 85 1.8, Nikon 50 1.4, Tamron 28-75, SB600 (though I have no clue how to use it yet!), 5 in 1 reflector and a few other misc. photography gadgets! Plus theres plenty on my wish list!!!


PeaNut 405,752
January 2009
Posts: 421
Layouts: 43
Loc: Washington State

Posted: 2/2/2010 10:14:41 AM
Great tips. Thanks for sharing with us.

My 'Adventures in Photography' Blog
"Of all of our inventions for mass communication, pictures still speak the most universally understood language." -Walt Disney

My Crafting/Scrapping Blog

Canon 60D with kit lens, 50mm 1.8, 28-75mm, & 75-300mm

PeaNut 277,634
September 2006
Posts: 91
Layouts: 1

Posted: 2/2/2010 11:32:27 AM
Thanks for the great tips. I'm going to try to put all of them into effect.

The important thing is not the camera but the eye.

PeaNut 214,042
July 2005
Posts: 6,406
Layouts: 91
Loc: California

Posted: 2/2/2010 11:40:21 AM
Great tips! Wonderful photos. TFS!!!

Staci Brock Photography

What's in my Crumpler bag:
Nikon D200; Nikkor VR 18-55mm; Nikkor 70-300mm; Nikkor 50mm 1.8; Tamron 28-75mm 2.8; .5 Wide Angle with Macro

On My Computer:
CS4, Imagenomic: Portraiture, Noiseware, Real Grain


PeaNut 379,389
June 2008
Posts: 327
Layouts: 10
Loc: DFW, Texas

Posted: 2/2/2010 12:35:54 PM
Thanks so much Holly! I was extremely excited when I read you were going to teach a lesson. I've been a blog reader for several years now and I'm always amazed by your talent.

Canon Rebel XTi (still saving to upgrade) Oye!
50mm 1.4 | 50mm 1.8
PSE 6 | PS 7

Kami Wells Photography
FB Fan Page


PeaNut 120,145
December 2003
Posts: 320
Layouts: 12

Posted: 2/2/2010 2:28:02 PM

Teach us some more, teach us some more!!!!!!

Thanks for the great tips.



PeaNut 191,842
February 2005
Posts: 537
Layouts: 0
Loc: Jersey Shore

Posted: 2/2/2010 6:47:55 PM
Wow, I loved reading this and looking at those fabulous shots. Thanks.


PeaNut 151,070
June 2004
Posts: 1,147
Layouts: 13
Loc: Colorado

Posted: 2/2/2010 8:05:41 PM
Thank you! Great tips. You definitely take snapshots to a whole different level.



PeaNut 341,345
October 2007
Posts: 304
Layouts: 10
Loc: Indiana

Posted: 2/2/2010 8:31:22 PM
I am an avid blog stalker of yours, , and never knew you were a 'Pea'! I was so excited to see your post, as I love your photography skills! You do an awesome job, so thank you for your tips on better snapshots!


PeaNut 280,501
October 2006
Posts: 1,430
Layouts: 99
Loc: Birmingham, Al.

Posted: 2/2/2010 8:36:51 PM
Great thread, wonderful tips, and awsome pictures. Doesn't get much better than that. Maybe sometime you could share your post processing with us. I really like your great color. Thanks for sharing.

Carolyn Upton Miller


PeaNut 345,414
October 2007
Posts: 422
Layouts: 0
Loc: central Illinois

Posted: 2/2/2010 8:53:46 PM
Thank you Holly for putting this lesson together. I thoroughly enjoyed looking at your images. They have such "real life" to them. The color is gorgeous...can you share some of your processing with us? I would love for my images to have that glorious color pop.


Jennifer G

PeaNut 338,317
September 2007
Posts: 791
Layouts: 0
Loc: Canada!

Posted: 2/2/2010 9:22:27 PM
Thanks for sharing your pointers! LOVED your pictures!

Jennifer G.

Pentax K200D,
Tamron AF 28-75 F2.8
Kit Lens Pentax 18-55mm F3.5-5.6,
Pentax 55-300mm F4.0-5.8,
Pentax 50mm F1.4,
Photoshop CS3

I don't pea as much as I used to.

PeaNut 357,522
January 2008
Posts: 8,785
Layouts: 9
Loc: PA

Posted: 2/3/2010 12:13:15 PM
Your pictures are great and I love all your tips. Thanks so much for sharing.

In my next life I want to be a photographer..
Canon 5D Mark II, Canon 40D, 50mm 1.4, 85mm 1.8, 100mm 2.8 macro, 15mm 2.8 Fisheye, 24-70 2.8L, 70-200 IS 2.8L, 28-135mm IS 3.5 -5.6, Tamron 28-300 3.5-6.3 XR Di IF, My Blog POTD | The General Store | The General Store facebook fan page | My website | My Facebook Fan Page | Zobbie's Photo tips


PeaNut 89,428
June 2003
Posts: 3,000
Layouts: 21
Loc: Sunny Southern California

Posted: 2/3/2010 2:53:56 PM
Such wonderful advice and tips. I really enjoyed looking at your gorgeous work too.

Thank you SO MUCH for taking the time to teach us.


My Web Site
My Facebook Page
My Twitter
My Flickr Photostream
Canon 5DMKII, Canon 40D, some lenses, some lights, and CS5 on a calibrated iMac


PeaNut 378,146
June 2008
Posts: 1,087
Layouts: 8
Loc: Hawaii

Posted: 2/5/2010 2:37:53 AM
Enjoyed the lesson and loved your pics. Thank you so much for sharing!


PeaNut 262,177
May 2006
Posts: 4,753
Layouts: 102
Loc: Suburb of Vancouver

Posted: 2/5/2010 3:33:33 AM

Your work is amazing!

You really make me want to run out and buy the 70-200 now!


Website | Blog | Facebook

Nikon D700 | Nikon D300 | 24-70/2.8 | 70-200/2.8 | 85/1.8 | Sigma 105/2.8 macro | SB900 | Apollo Westcott 50x50 softbox | AB400
CS5 | LR 3
Calibrated with spyder 3 PRO!
On location photog, wishing for a studio soon!


PeaNut 275,639
September 2006
Posts: 2,959
Layouts: 136
Loc: Layton, UT

Posted: 2/5/2010 10:45:41 AM

Your pictures are like eye candy to me

I agree! Great images! I really wouldn't call them snapshots. They look more like pro lifestyle shots to me Fabulous! My very fave is the daisy picking. LOVE IT!!!


PeaNut 260,125
May 2006
Posts: 2,467
Layouts: 90

Posted: 2/5/2010 12:49:15 PM
thanks for the lesson. great shots. you had some great tips some i never thuoght of trying . hope you do another lesson . east to read and fun.

minolta maxxum4w/28-90,70-300 1.4-5.6 lenses&4 filters
Canon T2i w/kit lens, 50mm 1.8 canon lens,75-300mm tamron,28-75mm tamron,
70-200mm 2.8 tamron lens,speedlite270ex,canon tripod,and CS5
MY BLOG PICTURE A DAY!/profile.php?id=1482770766[/url]


PeaNut 277,129
September 2006
Posts: 7
Layouts: 0

Posted: 2/6/2010 1:35:58 AM
Great lesson. Thanks so much. I would have to agree that I love your daughter in the daisies. What a great shot. Wish my little girls were that little again...


PeaNut 277,129
September 2006
Posts: 7
Layouts: 0

Posted: 2/6/2010 1:39:02 AM
Great lesson. Thanks so much. I would have to agree that I love your daughter in the daisies. What a great shot. Wish my little girls were that little again...


PeaNut 255,439
March 2006
Posts: 257
Layouts: 22
Loc: Connecticut

Posted: 2/6/2010 1:06:04 PM
Thanks so much for the tips and for the chance to see your stunning photography!

Canon 7D
Canon 24-75L
Canon 50 1.8
Canon 28-135 kit lens

100 cans of Peas on the Wall...

PeaNut 456,601
February 2010
Posts: 100
Layouts: 0
Loc: Surprise, AZ

Posted: 3/2/2010 10:34:41 PM
thank you sooo much! your work is truly AMAZING !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Canon 20D|Canon 50mm 1.4, Canon 17-40mm 4.0L, Canon 75-300mm 4.0|Speedlite 430EX
CS4|LR2 Calibrated!

gypsy girl

PeaNut 292,113
January 2007
Posts: 1,831
Layouts: 3
Loc: On the road

Posted: 3/9/2010 3:12:16 PM
Thank you for sharing. I just love the ideas.

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