3 Tips for Capturing Unforgettable Family Moments

Whether you’re trying to make the everyday moments last forever or just capture those special times in your kid’s childhoods, there’s a lot to learn about the art of lifestyle photography. Even inexperienced photographers can master the basics to create a quality image that lasts a lifetime. These memories are what you’ll look back on as your kids age. They’ll love that you had an eye for these special moments and knew to capture them early on.

How exactly do you capture these moments? Not only do you need the right gear, but you also need some perspective. While smartphone cameras have come a long way, they’re not nearly as flexible and powerful as a DSLR. Luckily, the price of entry-level DSLR cameras has reduced dramatically recently, so photographers of all levels now have access to this technology. Next, you’ll need to follow the 3 tips below to master the art of capturing family moments:

Photography Tips for Capturing Unforgettable Family Moments

Photography Tips for Capturing Unforgettable Family Moments

Image via Pexels

1. Focus on the Details

The memories all rely on the details. In a few years, you’ll likely remember your child’s first birthday or their excitement on Christmas morning. What you won’t remember is their toothless grin or the way they twirl their hair. These are the small details that make your images come alive with stories.

This doesn’t mean you need to hyper-focus in on the smallest details (unless that’s your goal). Instead, focus on composition. Even the most ordinary circumstance becomes extraordinary if you consider how to build a photo around a single detail.

Think about the perspective of your composition as well. For instance, many adults opt for taking photos at their own height. This makes sense since it’s how you see the world. Step outside of that perspective and get on your child’s own level. Take the photo from their perspective. These are the small things that tell a very real story of our lives.

Taking photos of the family.

Taking photos of the family.

Image via Pexels

2. Artificial Conditions

While it’s important to take photos of everyday life, some special events call for a little more planning. Using backdrops and props doesn’t mean your photography will appear tacky. If done tastefully, it can be a great way to commemorate special moments in your family life. Denny Manufacturing makes a variety of unique props and backdrops, and these don’t have that stale quality you see at run-of-the-mill photography shops.

Artificial conditions also give you more freedom to play with lighting and effects. While natural lighting is usually best for most photography, when you’re working with a set, whether professional or homemade, there are no limits to what you can create.

The reality is that sometimes you have to make the magic happen. Kids definitely can be cute all on their own, but sometimes they need some help. Creating scenarios that bring out these adorable moments is just part of capturing memories.

Photography tips: taking photos of your children.

Photography tips: taking photos of your children.

Image via Pexels

3. Bring Your Camera Everywhere

Finally, as said before, you never know when your kid will be doing something special. This is perhaps the biggest benefit of smartphones which we have with us at all times. Bringing your camera with you everywhere is the best way to capture both the exciting and the mundane. While your smartphone might get the job done, do you want to look back on your images only to discover they’re blurry and dark?

The more you get accustomed to traveling with your DSLR, the easier it will be to scope out these special moments. Your children only have one childhood. You don’t want to miss out on a single second, and these photos will last a lifetime.

Final Thoughts

Understanding just a few simple things will help you make the most of these family photos. You don’t need a lifetime of professional experience to get the hang of family photography. Since you know your family the best, you can determine when the camera needs to be nearby to create snapshots of those once-in-a-lifetime moments.

You’ll be surprised by just how incredible even the small things are. Every moment you spend with your loved ones is precious. Make the most of it with your camera.

This was a guest blog written by Wendy Dessler from The Blog Frog. If you are interested in writing a guest blog or other forms of collaboration please send an email to: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com. More of my travel photography can be found on my website, my Instagram, my Facebook Page and my Flickr account.

Geraint Rowland Photography on Getty Images

For the last couple of months I have been going through years of old photos and adding them to my Getty Images account.  It’s a very laborious and time consuming process but hopefully one that will bring in some financial gains in the months to come.  You can view some of my photographs available via Getty images in the slideshow below:

I was originally invited to join Getty images around seven years ago when they joined a partnership with Flickr.  Several of the photos on my Flickr account were chosen to be part of the Flickr collection on Getty including: this travel image of a cat in Chefchaouen, Morocco and this street photograph of a bicycle locked up in London.  I didn’t pay much attention to it at the time and only made a couple of sales over a twelve month period.  If I recall correctly it was only images that they invited from your Flickr account that could go on to the collection at that time.  

In 2014 Getty ended their partnership with Flickr but maintained the user’s contracts.  Therefore if you were an existing Flickr contributor to Getty you could continue on the platform.  In fact they began inviting those contributors to upload more photos to Getty images.  It was around this time whilst travelling in Peru that I met a couple who made their money through stock photography.  They encouraged me to get on board but it did sound like a lot of time and effort at the time, especially whilst travelling. 

How to sell photographs via Getty Images

The upload process for all stock agencies is time consuming and monotonous.  In addition it is difficult to discover concrete information about how stock photography agencies work (especially with Getty) and there is also a lot of competition.  A search for ‘Travel’ on Getty images will produce over four million results, and that is just one of many stock agencies.  So what do you have to do?  Well firstly you have to have sellable, high quality images.  Getty seems to favour artistic imagery more than some of the other agencies but the photos still need to be technically correct with regards to focus and composition.  Next you have the upload process, this involves uploading the images to the Getty platform and adding information to each image.  This information includes: Title, Description and up to fifty key words.  Although you can attach this information to a batch of uploaded images this process takes a long time!  

After submitting your images you then have to wait for the Getty employees to review your work and either accept it, decline it, or send it back for revision.  This waiting period used to take a very long time and could be weeks before anyone even checked the images.  This was another reason I used to tire of the process and gave up trying.  Another is the two month delay in royalty payments and a third issue is their outdated, difficult-to-use upload system.  However, Getty have drastically reduced the waiting time for this process and in my experience images are accepted (or returned) much faster now, often in a 24 hour period.

As I have been finding out there are several reasons for rejecting an image: Getty will not accept images with children under the age of 18.  Images that have recognisable people or property in them need a signed model release form or they can only be sold under an Editorial License.  Certain famous buildings and landmarks in the world are copyrighted and therefore need further information added to the description field of the image.  This is true for the City of Arts & Sciences buildings in Valencia.  Any recognisable trademarks or branding will also be rejected or returned and asked for a revision of the image with the logos removed.  Getty also seem to reject images with street art or graffiti, presumably due to fear of trademark or copyright themselves.

Is it worth it and can you make money via stock photography?

The couple I met in Peru were making around $1000 dollars a month when I last spoke to them around 5 years ago.  They had been in the stock photography game a long time and treated it as a full time job, researching the trends thoroughly and uploading a lot of photos.  Even back then I remember them telling me that it was becoming harder to make a living via stock photography.  Recent feedback I have been receiving from other members on the Getty forum has supported this:  The average price for images sold seems to be constantly decreasing whilst the struggle to get your images seen amongst the huge collection increases daily.

In addition, Getty take a huge slice of the profits, around 80% of the sale, putting a large amount of photographers off using their platform in the first place.  However, Getty is the largest stock agency in the world, and as such they are far more likely to sell the image than you are.  Once the initial time consuming task of uploading the images is completed, all you have to do as a photographer is sit back and wait for the money to roll in (or not as the case may be!). 

If like myself you have a large amount of photos on various hard drives that you are doing nothing with, why not have a go at stock photography?  The key to making it work in the least painful way is to make regular uploads to the stock agencies as and when you take new photos.  Instead I have delayed it for over five years, with tens of thousands of disorganised photos making the task far more complicated than it should have been.  Hindsight is a wonderful thing. 

I would love to hear from anyone who has experience with Getty images or one of the other photographic stock agency companies.  It has been a steep learning curve for me and I am still trying to figure out the system.  At time of writing I have over one thousand images available for license on Getty images (double the number I had six months ago).  I still have several years of travel photos to plough through and upload in the new few weeks.  The images I have available for license via Getty images can be found here.

More of my travel photography can be found on my website, my Instagram, my Facebook Page and my Flickr account.  If you would like any more information about any of my images please send an email to: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Photos Selected for Exhibition at Photoplace Gallery

I was delighted to discover this week that two of my images have been selected for PhotoPlace Gallery’s juried exhibition, "Travel: Places and Faces". Juror Krista Rossow selected one of my photographs from Cuba to be exhibited in the Middlebury, Vermont gallery of PhotoPlace, and one of my images from Senegal to be displayed on their online gallery. The selected travel images are all beautiful so I am honoured to have two of mine included. My image chosen to be hung in the PhotoPlace exhibition gallery is titled, ‘Colourful Cuba’ one of my favourite photos from my trip to Havana last year:

'Colourful Cuba' my image from Havana to be exhibited as part of PhotoPlace's upcoming Travel exhibition.

'Colourful Cuba' my image from Havana to be exhibited as part of PhotoPlace's upcoming Travel exhibition.

I took the photo on the malecon after the weather cleared following a heavy rainfall. Using a wide angle lens and a low angle I was able to capture the pink car in front of the beautiful white Orthodox Church. Using a fast shutter speed I was able to capture the splash from the car as it drove through the puddle. Here is a photo blog I wrote with some other photos from Havana, the capital of Cuba.

My image chosen to be displayed on PhotoPlace’s online gallery is titled, ‘Preparing for the Tabaski Festival’ and is one of the photographs I took last year whilst living in Dakar, Senegal:

'Preparing for the Tabaski Festival' my image from Senegal selected for the online gallery of Photoplace.

'Preparing for the Tabaski Festival' my image from Senegal selected for the online gallery of Photoplace.

I took this photo on Yoff Beach, which is close to the centre of Dakar leading up to the Islamic Tabaski Festival which is held every year in August. A photo blog I wrote about my time at Yoff beach where I took this photo can be viewed here.

Travel: Places and Faces - About the Exhibition

The gallery exhibition will take place between November 7th and December 8th 2018 at the PhotoPlace gallery in Vermont at: 3 Park Street, Middlebury, VT 05753. The ‘Call for Entry’ for this particular exhibition was as follows: Every place has its own smells, sounds, and ambience, whether amid the energy of a city or the serenity of a mountain lake.  Capturing the particular aura of a place and of those who inhabit it is the great challenge of travel photography. For Travel: Faces and Places, we especially seek photographs that capture the unique quality of a place or its people, whether across the world or in the next town. Tell us about the places you've been and the people you've met.

It’s always nice to have some recognition, it’s a shame the gallery is so far away as I would have loved to attend! More of my travel photography can be found on my website, my Instagram, my Facebook Page and my Flickr account.  If you would like any more information about any of my images please send an email to: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Grande Mosquée de Yoff, Dakar, Senegal

This time last year I spent a couple of months in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. For much of that time I stayed in the beach town of Yoff. At the west end of the beach is the Grande Mosquée de Yoff, a beautiful large white mosque overlooking the ocean. Click through the slideshow below to view some of the photos I took around Grande Mosquée de Yoff:

The town of Yoff is built along the broad beach at Yoff Bay which faces the Atlantic Ocean, directly north of the centre of Dakar. Here is a previous photography blog I wrote about Yoff Beach and the people that live there. The large mosque is built right on the beach just metres from the ocean.

For much of the week the mosque seemed relatively quiet without much activity, almost ignored by the locals. However on a Sunday morning the mosque is full of locals who attend the weekly service and then often congregate on the beach afterwards. The beach is a fascinating place and great for photography, it is full of life and activity on a daily basis. During the time of the Tabaski Festival you will see children leading animals to the ocean for a wash. At the far end of the beach, past the mosque is the fishing village full of traditional, colourful wooden fishing boats. The surf at Yoff beach is also very consistent and is home to a couple of surfing schools and cheap friendly hostels. During the summer the beach also has some some of the best sunsets I witnessed in Senegal.

More of my travel photography from Senegal can be found on my website, my Instagram, and my Flickr account.  If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Natural Light Portraits in Senegal

Some natural light portraits I took of a friend in Dakar, Senegal. The portraits were all taken with a Canon 5D2 and a 50mm 1.4 lens in and around Dakar. The model, Fatima is a photographer and model from Dakar, she is available for photos shoots and collaborations. Click through the slideshow for some of the natural light portraits of Fatima taken in Dakar:

All of the portraits of Fatima were taken in Dakar, either on the Northern coast of the peninsula or on the island of Ngor. The colourful braids seemed to be the fashion trend in West Africa at the time of my visit with Fatima’s pink ones only available from Ghana.

I have written several other photography blogs about my trip to Senegal including:

More of my travel photography from Senegal can be found on my website, my Instagram, and my Flickr account.  Fatima, the Senegalese model in the portrait images can be found via her instagram at @fatou.gueye.bello. If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com

Picture a Healthier World: Art & Photography by Geraint Rowland

Some of my travel photography and abstract artworks are now available as greeting cards and prints via 'Picture a Healthier World'. The organisation supports global health & human rights through art.  The images are available as folded greeting cards or as prints in various sizes and with a range of frames.  For a look at some of the images I have for sale via 'Picture a Healthier World' click through the slide show below:

About the Organisation 

Picture A Healthier World (PAHW) is a growing, global community of artists with a shared belief in our limitless capacity to change the world through art.  The organisation raises exposure for artists' work while turning their art into meaningful health and human rights services around the world.  Sales of the artwork go towards bringing health services to communities in need around the world.  Currently, profits support the following initiatives led by UNICEF: clean water, measles vaccinations and school supplies.  

You can find out more about Picture a Healthy World on their blog.  My artwork & photography available via the organisation can be viewed here.  More of my travel photography can be found on my websiteInstagramFacebook Page and my Flickr account.  For any questions please send an email to: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Tabaski Festival in Senegal

The Tabaski Festival occurs every year in Senegal and The Gambia as well as much of West Africa.  It is the same Islamic holiday that Muslims in other countries celebrate and call Eid al-Adha.  For the festival which this year is held on August 22nd, every family has to buy and then slaughter a sheep or ram.  Last year I was in Dakar, the capital of Senegal for the month of August, the following photos were taken during this period in the lead up to the Tabaski Festival. (Click through the slideshow below to view all of the photos).  

What is the Tabaski Festival in Senegal?

The Tabaski Festival is the biggest public holiday in Senegal.  Senegalese people return to their families from different parts of Senegal and even from overseas to celebrate the event.  If you visit Senegal during August, you will see sheep everywhere.  Penned on roads and pavements, tied to posts and cars.  On the beaches you will see children washing the sheep in the ocean and playing with them on the sand.  You will see them tied on the top of buses, riding with humans inside the buses and just about everywhere else that you look.  There is even a national beauty contest each year in Senegal to determine the countries most beautiful sheep.  In Senegal, the government runs a program codenamed Operation Tabaski to provide animals for those families that can not afford one.  Incidentally, I know in the photos the animals sometimes appear to be goats but I was reassured that they were in fact sheep.  After some online research I learnt that one of the ways to differentiate between the two is by their tails: sheep's tails hang down, goats tails are smaller and point up.

On the day of the Tabski festival following an important morning mosque service families return home to slaughter the animal and prepare it for the family feast.  In total up to four million animals are sacrificed every year in Senegal for Tabaski.  The entire animal is apparently used with nothing wasted, not even the intestines or horns.  The day following the festival however I did see a large number of sheep carcasses on the beaches of Dakar.

Tabaski Festival is based on Islamic beliefs and could also be referred to as the feast of sacrifice. According to the holy Koran Prophet Ibrahim was commanded by God to take his son, Ishmael up on to a mountain and slaughter him as a sacrifice. Although Christians and Jews argue that Isaac was the son to be sacrificed and not Ishmael, all sides agree that Abraham was obedient to God and was ready to kill his son when a ram was provided as replacement instead.

More of my travel photography from Senegal can be found on my websiteInstagramFacebook Page and my Flickr account.  If you would like me to be involved with an Instagram takeover please send an email to: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Island of Gorée, Dakar, Senegal

On my first day in Senegal I took a ferry from the capital of Dakar to the infamous Island of Gorée.  Located two kilometres from the main harbour of Dakar this beautiful but haunting island is one of the must see destinations when visiting Senegal.  From the 15th to the 19th century, the island of Gorée was the largest slave-trading centre on the African coast.  Click through the slideshow below to view some of the photographs I took on the island:  

Between the 15th and 19th century Gorée Island was ruled in succession by the Portuguese, Dutch, English and French.  Gorée is a small island 900 metres (3,000 ft) in length and 350 metres (1,150 ft) in width sheltered by the Cap-Vert peninsula.  You can easily walk around the island in half a day exploring the small streets, viewing African arts and crafts and learning about the horrors of the slave trade that existed on the island.

The architecture on the island is characterized by the contrast between the grim slave-quarters and the elegant houses of the slave traders.  One of the oldest houses on the island is the House of Slaves built around 1780 - 1784.  The house is now a museum and tourist destination used to serve as a reminder of the human exploitation that occurred there and as a sanctuary for reconciliation.

All of my photographs from Gorée island were taken using a Canon 5D Mark 2 and a Canon 50mm 1.4 lens.  I have written previous travel blogs from Senegal on: 'Street Photography in Dakar', 'Sunsets of Senegal', and about the 'Beach at Yoff in Dakar.'  More of my travel photography from Senegal can be found on my website, my Instagram, and my Flickr account.  If you are interested in purchasing any prints, using an image online or would like further information please send me an email at: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.  

Travel Portraits by Geraint Rowland

During my travels I often capture people around the world in a candid manner in their natural environment.  As my confidence has grown and my photographic skills have improved I have begun taking more portrait photographs.  These are often what are called 'environmental portraits', a portrait taken in the subject's usual environment and which normally include the surroundings as well as the person.  More recently I have also started taking 'head shot' style portraits, a tighter cropped image where the focus is on the persons face only.  For my head shots I normally ask the person for their permission first.  Click through the slideshow below to view some of my travel portraits:

With the majority of travel portraits above I asked for permission for the image to be taken. Often in touristy areas you are required or asked to pay for such portraits as was the case in Cusco, Peru, and Havana, Cuba.  The image of the Mexican girl in the Day of the Dead makeup and the final image of the Bolivian lady were the exceptions as both were caught candidly.  The beauty of head shots and or tightly cropped portraits is that you minimise the clutter in the background of the image.

All of the portraits were taken using a Canon 5D (Mark 2 or 4) and the majority were with the Canon 50mm 1.4.  Other lenses used were the Canon 85mm 1.8 and the Sigma Art Lens 135mm 1.8.  All of the images were taken using natural light and without the use of a flash.  The images were often taken with a shallow depth of field to create a pleasing background and draw attention to the persons face.  Images of people from around the world fascinate me, I think that they tell you more about a place than a landscape ever can.  In the future I want to focus more on portraits and improve my skills in this area of photography.  

More of my travel photography can be found on my websiteInstagramFacebook Page and my Flickr account.  If you would like any more information about any of my images please send an email to: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.

Instagram Takeover of the Ffotogallery Platform

I am currently taking over the Ffotogallery Platform Instagram (15 - 23rd July).  I started my photographic journey eight years ago at the Chapter Arts Centre in Cardiff, Wales when I enrolled on two evening courses.  Via Ffotogallery I enrolled on two courses: 'Introduction to Photography: Beginner' and subsequently 'Introduction to Photography: Intermediate'.  I enjoyed both courses immensely and have been taking photos ever since.  I was therefore very excited and honoured to be involved with such a project.  Below is a slide show of the travel images I chose for the project (NB: I will add to the slideshow as the week progresses).

Ffotogallery Platform is an online project created to help emerging photographers and lens-based artists make their work accessible to a wider audience, including industry professionals and peers through Ffotogallery's network, and to help create links within the photographic and artistic community.  Selected participants are offered a one week residency on the Ffotogallery Platform Instagram account (@ffotogalleryplatform).  The Platform launched in January 2018 as part of 40:40 Vision, a year long celebration of events, projects and exhibitions to celebrate Ffotogallery's 40th Birthday.  

The online residency involves uploading between 1 - 4 images a day to the Instagram site belonging to Ffotogallery Platform.  I was asked by the organisers to focus on my street and portrait photography as they believed these would translate well to Instagram.  So far the project has been very useful for me.  It has increased my reach and exposure noticeably on my own Instagram account (@Geraint_Rowland_Photography).  In addition it has given me additional experience in the photo selection and curation process.  This is beneficial for both online presentation and future exhibition considerations.  I hope to carry out further Instagram takeovers in the future.    

More of my travel photography can be found on my websiteInstagramFacebook Page and my Flickr account.  If you would like me to be involved with an Instagram takeover please send an email to: geraintrowlandphotography@gmail.com.