Posted by : Jameson Durall Wednesday, September 14, 2011

One of the main reasons we moved to Illinois was to be closer to family.  Since my wife's sister planned a birthday party on Labor Day weekend for our nephew Braeden, we were able go.  I thought this a great opportunity to take a ton of pictures and get extra practice doing portrait style shots.  I shot all of these using my Canon Rebel T3i and an 18-55mm f/3.5 lens.

The party was at a local park and Kian had a ton of play equipment to mess around on.  I spent the first bit taking pictures of him using the portrait and action mode settings on the camera. I didn't get him centered perfectly, but this shot that has quickly become one of my favorites of him.

Once I began taking pics in the covered area of the party, I found the automatic settings struggling with the lower light level combined with the bright sun at the edges.  It would often take a very dark photo, so I switched to Manual mode and shot the rest of the day with just the ISO running auto.

This photo was taken at f/5.6 with 1/400 and the auto ISO 2000.  I like the framing of the shot and the angle I used, but it feels a little bright to me...especially in the background.

I decided to take another one and this time the ISO corrected to 1250 and gives a much richer feel.  The background isn't nearly as jarring because of the brightness and the photo seems to have a more cohesive feel overall.  Not to mention, I caught Braeden smilling for this one.  I do wish I had used the same angle though for a more creative shot.

Once it was cake time, I decided to get right front and center and kneel down to get an interesting angle on the shots.  On this first shot, I decided to focus in on the cake and keep them slightly out of focus just behind it. I like the creative look that came out of it.

This time I changed the focus over to the happy family and got a shot that I really like.  Both of these were taken at f/5.6 with 1/400 and the ISO at 320.

I told the kids I was gonna take some pics of them and they immediately went into this pose on their own.  I thought that was pretty funny, but they seem to be a creative bunch.  This has the same settings as before except the ISO was at 100.

I also feel it necessary to show this pic of my beautiful wife :) I really like the angle I took it at since the left edge of the frame is parallel to her arm and head.  I feel like it makes the shot feel even while the background is sitting at a creative angle.

I'm really pleased with how the shots turned out, but its still just me going off my gut and what I like.  I'm still learning what is involved in getting a correct and creative shot.  One thing I am finding is that I almost always prefer to shoot from below what i'm photographing.  That somehow feels most right to me.  Thought or opinions?

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