Over the weekend, we headed to New York City to get together with the family at my sister's place. It is a beautiful apartment in Tribeca, but even with more space than your average New York flat, it still felt very tight and chaotic with 4 kids, 4 dogs, and 6 adults trying to convene. And with 4 under 4, pretty much nuts! Taking lifestyle photos in such an atmosphere can be really tough, so I thought I would provide a few tips for taking photographs even when there is a LOT going on.
1. Get low - when it comes to photographing kids at play, I love getting down to their level. Not only does it help you explore different angles that you may not be used to photographing, but it also gives you the feeling of being right in it with the kids.
2. Focus in on subjects & details - pick on person or one detail (using a wide aperture if you have a DSLR), and get close, letting everything else become blurred in the background. This takes away the distractions and provides nice little details that you wouldn't notice in a more cluttered shot.
3. Isolate your subjects - sometimes you just need to get out of the chaos. At one point during the afternoon I asked my niece Livy if she wanted to go play on the couch with me. She's a little ham for the camera (as you can see below) so she happily obliged. I was then able to take some great shots, where her personality shined through and there were minimal distractions.
4. Go Black & White - when you're scrolling through the images you've taken, as yourself, "does color distract from the story in anyway? Would black & white enable the story to be seen more easily?" Sometimes a very busy scene will feel much more calm, just by creating a more simple palette of black and white.
5. Embrace the mess - sometimes you just have to let it be and embrace it for all it is. Get as wide of a shot as you can to really show the scene at hand. Or again, get down and focus in, but let the scene show in the background.