East Bay Family Photographer

6 Ways to Photograph the Same Scene (and How to Work Through a Rut)

Over the years, I’ve been known to periodically get myself into a photography rut. It usually occurs when I feel uninspired (well, duh), or just plain bored with my personal work. I’ve learned how to break-out of it by doing two things. The first is to allow myself a break. I used to judge myself when I didn’t feel like picking up my camera for days or weeks. I used to question my commitment and wonder if I was really a true artist since there were times when I just didn’t feel like taking a photo no matter how good the light was. I soon came to the realization that none of those things were true. Instead, it simply meant that I needed to hit the pause button to allow myself the space to focus on something else- even if that something was nothing- and to let myself be in that space for however long I wanted. I know now that with time my camera and I will inevitably be drawn to each other once again.

The second thing that helps me get back to photography, is to take a new project. It doesn’t have to be anything huge, just something to get me excited, or better yet, challenge me to learn something new. One of the things I’ve always loved to do is to photograph the same subject and scene from multiple vantage points, as well as play with the lighting and processing. It always challenges me to find new perspectives and make different images with a relatively static subject. I say “relatively” but usually I’m photographing children, so I roll with their flow. This is not only a useful exercise for seasoned photographers to practice, but also great for new photographers to see how many different images they can get just from simply moving their body and playing with the light.

So when my six-year old son recently climbed up on the kitchen counter while I was doing dishes, I knew it was a good opportunity for me to practice because he loves laying on the counter (go figure) and would probably stay there for a good long while.

And here are the images I captured that evening:

Taking in the Full Scene: This was my vantage point when I turned right as I washed dishes at the sink and saw him lying up there on the counter. I stood back and photographed the full scene to illustrate how ironic and a bit odd it is that he there. I also played with the processing and converted the image to black and white for a couple reasons. 1) due to the contrast in the image, and 2) I wanted the focus to be on him and not necessarily on the items on counter and all that.


Side-Lit: I moved to right and shoot him head on so that only one side of his face would be lit and the other half would be in deep shadow.


Spotlight: I moved back to my left so that I was more square with the light (and his body) so that the light would cast on him from above, as if we was lit by a spot light.


Back Lit: Once he lifted his head, he blocked the direct light that was cast on him previously and the image became more of a silhouette.


Side-lit with greater exposure: Similar to the second photo above, this is image is mostly side-lit, but I took a big step back and slightly to the left in order to get more of the scene in the photo. I also changed my camera settings so that more of the scene would be exposed.

Back-lit in Black and White: In the next two images, I played with the processing to create a highly contrasted silhouette.


Moving in Close to Photograph the Details: I love to shoot hands and feet. That is all. But seriously, I wanted to capture the way his hand was holding the pencil, how the fingers on his other hand curl with concentration, the creases in his feet.


Oh how I love baby feet! Most of my clients are all too familiar with how I photograph their children’s feet. I love the chubby toes. Does that make me weird? Probably.

So those are my tips for different ways to photograph the same scene. Comment below if you have any other vantage points to add. I can already think of a few. Still next time!

Babies and Bellies- East Bay Maternity Photographer

I had the pleasure of photographing their first baby soon after he was born. Now it’s time for him to be a big brother! And it’s going to be amazing because since they’ll be so close in age, they’re going to be the best of friends. We had such a fun time together eating snacks, playing in the background, cuddling and tickling. This beautiful family is simply a joy to work with and I’m so honored to watch their family grow!

Love, Laugh, Dance- San Francisco Bay Area Family Photographer

This family loves to party! I haven’t danced so much at a family photography photo session in a long time (maybe ever!) The girls were so much fun and seemed to be enjoying having me and my camera give them so much attention. And they were so sweet, sharing with me their favorite toys and inviting me to play. As you'll see in these photos, this family exudes joy and it was infectious. It was a pleasure to photograph them and make memories together.

Jones Family- Oakland Family Storytelling Photographer

A couple years ago I put out a casting call to recruit a family that was expecting a baby so that I could do an in-hospital photo session right after the baby's birth. These sessions are generally known as Fresh 48 sessions. I got a few inquires and selected two families at random. Well, I realize now that it wasn't so random. You know how things just work out the way they were supposed to? This is one of those situations. And here's a link to their original Fresh 48 session so you can see what a difference a couple years make! 

Lily and Kevin are both are both super interesting and dynamic on their own right, and have an awesome partnership. Lily is an accomplished educator who owns Curiosity  Pack.  Curiosity Pack assists parents in supporting their child's learning by sending boxes of age-appropriate activities that teach children ages 3-10 about "letters, numbers, friendship, science, art, love, and every other intriguing subject you can imagine." Do yourself a favor and checkout her offerings. It's smart approach to supporting children and parents alike.  Kevin reports of the Bay art scene for KQED and you should see his record collection! These people are just cool. 

I am lucky to have met them, and even more honored to have photographed their family a few times. It's always a treat. 

This is their Saturday morning. Enjoy their story. 

The Jones Family is Growing Up! - Oakland Family Photographer

I had the extreme pleasure of photographing this beautiful family the day after their second child was born. I met them for a Fresh 48 hospital session. What made it particularly special was that this was the very first hospital session I'd photographed. And it couldn't have been a sweeter family. They we so at east, so welcoming, so sweet to each other and to each other.  Check-out their hospital newborn session here

So when they asked me to come to their home the following November to photograph their family in time for the holidays. They welcomed me in to their adorable home with the same smiles  I remember from their last session. This time, the baby boy was now deliciously round and alert and as happy as could be. And their sweet little girl was eager to show me her room and toys. As you can see in the photos, they really enjoy each other.  You can almost hear the laughter coming through the images. This is definitely my kind of family.