Before, During, After-Birthday Cake

Tomorrow Sam turns two!  Nuts.  With my mom in town this week, we wanted to have a little celebration (AKA, I wanted to eat some cake).  I think he understood what was going on, because the few days before Saturday, Sam told everyone he met, "Wee-ohhh bir-day."  Translation: I'm going to have a firetruck birthday party!

Saturday we made a chocolate cake, stuck a firetruck on top, and called it a party.  Sam was thrilled.

Of course, I needed a messy cake-face shot, and I want to share some of my thoughts before, during, and after the shot.

Before: Normally, I'm not one to pick up or even really plan specific shots.  But, for this one, I had an idea what I wanted to get.  And, the birthday boy was napping, so I took the time to get set up.  I started by setting up chairs for the kids at the kitchen table.  There's really nice light coming in the doors on one side of the table, so I set up the chairs on the other side so they would be nicely lit.  I then used my Expodisc to set the white balance.  Madelyn (and her Belle doll) helped me by being a sit in so I could set up my settings ahead of time.  I picked up some of the clutter on the table and the dresser behind the table to simplify the shot.  

Madelyn and Bell helped me get the settings ready.

Madelyn and Bell helped me get the settings ready.

I also knew I wanted to try and get a group shot so I brought out the tripod and set it up.

During: During the shoot, I made sure to get some shots of all three kids together as well as some close ups of the birthday boy's messy face.  My settings stayed pretty much the same throughout.  I also made sure to set the camera down and enjoy the moment.

While the kids were still happy with cake, I put my camera on the tripod and grabbed a group shot.

After: I'm pretty happy with the "boy with his cake" shots.  I was able to get great catchlights.  The hat and cake make it clear that this indeed was a "wee-ooh" birthday.

In this shot, the kids were looking with eager anticipation at the birthday cake.  I wish the cake had made it into the shot.  

There are some issues with the group shot too.  First, I didn't realize how much the table acted as a reflector on the kids' faces.  Our faces, further from the table, have a lot less illumination.  Additionally, I should have changed my settings!  I wish I would have upped my aperture to make sure the grown ups in the back were in the depth of field.  

Overall, I'm happy with what I got.  It reminded me of my attempt to take a photo of Madelyn with her 4th birthday cake.  I remember being really disappointed with how this shot turned out.  It just shows that taking time to learn and practice make all the difference! 

Do the terms ISO, depth of field, and aperture leave you confused?  If you live in Northern Virginia, I'd love to have you in my photography workshop.  Coming January 2016.  Please join my mailing list to be the first to learn about the details.  

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