Sharpness is a bourgeois concept.

Wedding Aniversary Kiss
Wedding Aniversary Kiss

The famous French photographer Henri Cartier-Bresson once remarked that “Sharpness is a bourgeois concept” and that it was the “Decisive Moment” that counted.

Here is an example of an image I was going to delete because I missed the focus on the eyes and it turned out to be the most liked and commented on image from the whole event.

There’s more to photography than technical perfection (although I do think you should do your best to get the key elements right).

Tips on getting great photos of your kids.

Childrens Photography
Childrens Photography

1. Zoom in tight on your subject. This will help eliminate distracting things in the background.

2. Check your background before you take the shot to make sure you don’t have a lamppost growing out of the top of their head.

3. Turn off your flash. Unless you cannot get a shot without flash, it’s always better to turn it off. The flash on most Point and Shoot / Phone Cameras is very small and creates a very harsh look and the dredded Redeye. Put your camera into Portrait or Night portrait mode.

4. Take several shots. This is probably the biggest difference a professional photographer makes. It’s almost impossible to capture the right expression in one photo. Be patient and wait for the right moment and then take several shots.

5. Get down to their level and focus on the eyes.

And finally a bad photo with a great expression beats a perfectly exposed photo with a terrible expression every time. Avoid posed shots, have your camera ready, interact with the children and wait till the right moment presents itself.

Product Photography (Christmas Pudding)

Staffords Bakery Christmas Pudding
Staffords Bakery Christmas Pudding
Staffords Bakery Christmas Pudding
Staffords Bakery Christmas Pudding

When it comes to product photography, it’s all about mood, telling the story and getting people to visualise themselves as part of the scene.

The mood is primarily created by the lighting and the colour pallet. The story is told using the props, the wine, Christmas decoration and the good table cloth that is only produced at Christmas.

Hopefully the flames on the pudding trigger a memory of all the times Dad turned the pudding into the Towering Inferno after his second bottle of wine.

I have to say the Lighter Fluid gives the pudding a very distinctive flavour.

Editing Photographs

Gorey Market House Festival (Street Portrait)
Gorey Market House Festival (Street Portrait)
Gorey Market House Festival (Street Portrait)
Gorey Market House Festival (Street Portrait)

When the subject of editing photographs is brought up there is always a huge debate, with the purists on one hand saying that the images should be left exactly as they come out of the camera and the other side saying that photography is art and all manipulation is fair game.

I believe you should stay true to the original, but having said that, I don’t have a problem with adjusting the levels, saturation and cropping an image. I don’t agree with using tools to make somebody’s nose smaller or materially altering the image.

Below are two images. The first is my final edited image and the second is the original image straight out of the camera. Basically I desaturated the image, darkened the background slightly and cropped it to take out his arm which I felt was a distracting foreground element.

What do people think? Yes, No, Maybe??

Leinster Rugby training session at Gorey Rugby Football Club.

Leinster Rugby training session at Gorey Rugby Football Club.
Leinster Rugby training session at Gorey Rugby Football Club.

I can see why Sports Photography is such a specialised area. Here is a shot taken from a recent Leinster Rugby training session at Gorey Rugby Football Club. It’s very challenging trying to get the composition, shutter Speed, Depth of Field all balanced while the action is moving so quickly.

Wedding Photography (Stressed Bride)

When it comes to People Photography the most important things are Expression and Gesture. You are trying to capture the real person in a single image and to do that it is critical that they feel relaxed and comfortable. If somebody is stressed out and taken out of their comfort zone while being photographed then that will impact negatively on the final image.

Bride Courtown Pier
Bride Courtown Pier

It is for this reason that I was amazed to come across a Wedding Party having their formal portraits taken on the end of a pier in a busy holiday resort on a blustery afternoon.

The bride and bridesmaids are clearly unhappy with the cold wind blowing the hair that they spent a huge amount of time and money getting done a few hours earlier. Also the large group of people shouting and cheering is doing nothing to make them feel less stressed.

Always have a Plan B and be ready to adapt to the changing circumstances you are presented with.