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Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Overturned Shopping Cart

Kids are often so intense in their play activity that you can take photos without them even noticing.

Make-believe “king” directs his friendly subjects to pull their makeshift rickshaw, a shopping cart equipped with mattress and rope, until he leans back too far, the cart tumbles over, and they must right it to start over (© Michael Maher, The Lowell (Ma.) Sun).

The Photo:
Passing a school playground, I saw three boys playing with a shopping cart. I stopped and watched as they took turns letting one kid climb into the cart and get pulled along by the others. As I pointed my camera, one boy started acting like a king, ordering his subjects to pull him along. The other two boys pulled him extra quickly and extra hard, to get it moving very fast and teach him a lesson. As it raced along and they yanked it again, the cart fell back and the boy playing “king” fell backwards out of the cart. This gave me a funny series of three pictures -- the boy being pulled, the cart tipping as the boy riding in it fell out, and the three boys trying hard to right it. Either the first or last photo alone would be strong by itself, but the series told the most interesting story. I briefly interrupted to tell them I took the pictures and get their names, but they immediately went back to their fun, and my shooting turned out to be a minor interruption. I didn’t stick around to see if the “king” got revenge on his friends later.

3 Tips:
1) Spend enough time watching kids play to see if a great photo opportunity happens.
2) Try taking candid photos without the kids noticing you or interrupting their play.
3) Sometimes a series of photos tells a more compelling story than one single shot.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

A Shower of Rice

You can find many great wedding photo opportunities, but one of the best is the newlyweds being celebrated as they exit the ceremony.

Groom and new bride happily exit the church after being married as they are showered with rice and confetti (© Michael Maher).

The Photo:
There are many traditional photographs to take at weddings, but you should create your own original ones, too. From early in the day as the bride and groom get ready, to the actual ceremony, through the reception, there are limitless photo possibilities, but aim for a mix of expected and unexpected pictures. If possible, during the ceremony, you want pictures of the bride and groom exchanging vows and rings, the first kiss after being pronounced man and wife, and any spontaneous reaction or facial expression that occurs. You can also photograph them exiting wherever the ceremony is held, being congratulated by well-wishers, climbing into the limo and waving as they head away. Then there are all the options at the reception. At this wedding in Cape Cod, I took many photos, but one of my favorites was the newlyweds leaving the church, smiling as they are showered with rice and confetti by joyous well-wishers. The situation was ideal – a bright overcast day without harsh sunlight shadows, a perfect alignment of people waiting on both sides of the church entrance, and an unobstructed view of the couple and well-wishers so I could get a clear photo.

3 Tips:
1) At weddings, take a mix of expected/traditional photographs and unexpected ones.
2) Photo opportunities abound -- as the couple gets ready before the service, during the ceremony itself, at the reception festivities, and practically every step in between.
3) To fully capture the happiness of the day, be certain to include the both wedding guests and the newlyweds in your photographs.