Mother’s Day is just around the corner, so what better way to give something back to the ultimate special person in your life than to take some beautiful photos of her? Do a photoshoot using our tips, choose your favourites and print them into one of albelli’s photo products. Whether it’s elegant wall art, a classic photo mug gift or even a series of prints, we have you covered from photoshoot to delivery.
Posed or informal shots?
You know your mum better than anyone, so have a think about her personality, habits and all the times you’ve spent with her. What kind of photo do you think will fit her best? It might be a professional-style portrait, or something more candid — a reportage style snap of her doing what she loves. Your mum might prefer to take a moment to pose, or might feel more comfortable not knowing exactly when the shutter will click. It’s up to you to determine what style of photo will work best, and how you tell the story of this photoshoot, but remember that it’s always a good idea to try out some different approaches. Spend some time online looking for inspiration and going through ideas with her to see what she would like. Whatever style you choose, make sure you dedicate enough time to it. Good photos are often the result of planning, some trial and error and improvement, so once you have a good idea of the photo you would like, keep taking practice photos and make adjustments until you’re happy.
Get to know the basic settings
Whatever camera you’re using, the standard guideline for posed portrait photography is to use a shallow depth of field. This means that the background of your photo will be soft and blurred, meaning all the attention will be on your mum, who’ll be in focus. You can control the depth of field on almost all cameras by simply adjusting the aperture value (somewhere between f.2 and f3.5 ideally — higher values will reduce the amount of background blur). Most smartphones and mobile devices have similar options, although they may go by different names such as ‘beauty’ or ‘portrait’ mode. There are also apps that can help you add the blur after the photo is taken, though results might vary — try searching for ‘bokeh’ or ‘photo blur’ in your app store. If you’re taking a candid photo then this might not apply quite as much, as you’ll probably be looking to keep all the details to be in focus.
Think about your surroundings
The subject is always the most important part of a photograph, but the surroundings can sometimes be just as essential. A great photo can be ruined by a messy background that is distracting, or by a street sign or trash bin that just takes something away from the shot being perfect. Make sure you choose your setting carefully. It could just be a simple background, or it might be a central part of the story you are telling (your mum’s work or where she does her hobby, for example). It’s up to you to choose what setting will tell the story you’re planning for your mum. A brick wall or a green hedge are classic backgrounds for a portrait shot, and will work well, but a well-lit room or even a coloured sheet or fabric can work wonders too. Remember to make sure you separate your mum from the background enough for it to blur too. A few metres should do the trick — the more separation there is, the more dramatic the blur will be. If you plan to make the setting an integral part of the photo, make sure you build it to work well. Does your mum love plants? Then rearrange her favourite plants behind her in a bright room. Does she love books and reading? Use the bookshelf as a background, and maybe get her to hold a book that is special to her. Once you’ve found your setting theme, then it’s time to get creative!
Find her best angle
Once you have got your setting sorted, take some time to find the right angle that makes your mum look her best. Generally speaking, extreme angles rarely work that well, so try and keep the camera at eye level (though as always with creative endeavours, rules are meant to be bent a bit). Ensure your mum’s head is tilted slightly upwards, this will help reduce any unappealing shadows around her chin and under her neck. Make sure she isn’t squinting, her eyes are open and are well-lit — experiment with slightly different angles until you are truly happy with the result. Keep light in mind — natural light works really well, but try to avoid harsh mid-day light. If you can set up your shot next to a big window that floods the room with natural light, that will be great. Avoid excessive shadows in your photo, unless you’re planning to go for a dramatic look. Generally speaking, try to make sure light is evenly distributed around her face, and is as natural as possible (so try to avoid any yellow or orange hues, if possible).
Getting the focus right
Once everything is ready to go, and you’re taking your perfect photos, make sure (and always double check) that you’ve got the focus right. It might look OK on your phone or camera screen, but always give it more than a quick glance. If your focus is off, this will really affect the quality of your image, and potentially make it unusable if you want to print it. Although you are free to focus on any element of the photo, a good standard when photographing people is to focus on the eye that is closest to the camera. If you get this right, the photo will automatically look better and more professional, giving life to your mum’s pictures.
We hope these tips will help you get inspired to take some amazing photos of your mum. We’d love to see the results of your photoshoots so tag us on Instagram and share your amazing photos of your mum. If you want to use your photos as a great gift idea for Mother’s day, take a look at our photo products. Simply click on the button below and get creating.