Tampa Portrait Photography Mother & Baby Son in black & white University of Tampa

Mother holding her young son up in the air at University of Tampa - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/5.6 ISO 400 1/250thThese are a pair of black & white images from my first ever paid portrait session in Florida.  Somehow I had never written about them before.  These mother and baby son portraits were made on the University of Tampa campus.  I learned a lot from this portrait session, especially to not rely on the Nikon Creative Lighting System's commander mode for triggering speedlights!  I soon switched to using dedicated radio triggers.

Mother holding her baby son - Tampa Portrait Photographer - Nikon D300 Nikkor 105mm VR micro @ f/8 ISO 200 1/125thI chose the above photo out of several others of similar composition because in this one the baby boy is grabbing his mother's necklace producing a natural smile in mom and a natural act that I believe all babies do.  

Madeira Beach St Petersburg Candid Portrait 3 Generations Family Photography at Sunset

Father holds his baby girl in the air at Madeira Beach Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/6.3 ISO 200 1/250th - Strobist: SB-800 @ 1/4 power beside camera & SB-600 @ 1/4 power to frame rightI returned to Madeira Beach Florida last week for a family beach portrait session at sunset with a three generation family.  There has been very unpredictable rain this July here in Florida, but two early day rain showers allowed for a nice clear sky with plenty of clouds for an ideal backdrop.  I made use of that great sunset in the above photo of a father holding his baby girl high up in the air.  I have made this kind of shot a few times before (see here), but I tried a new strobist lighting position that produced the best results yet.

Black & White family beach portrait on Madeira Beach Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/9 ISO 200 1/100th - Strobist: SB-800 to frame left & SB-600 to frame rightI like clouds in the sky for a beach portrait session, and all the ones in the above shot in my view add drama to the overall family portrait.  I framed this shot very carefully, so that the viewer would have no idea of the line of hotels just outside the left edge nor all the people walking down the beach just outside the right edge.

Baby Girl at sunset on Madeira Beach Florida candid beach portraits - Nikon D300 Nikkor 80-200mm @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/200th - Strobist: SB-800 & SB-600 somewhere near the baby as she was roving aroundToward the end of the session we let the baby loose for some truly candid shots, as she never even looked my way once.  That was actually fine with me because I like the results of her looking perhaps at her own reflection in the water or maybe just the sparkle of the setting sun?

Gathered around sunset family beach portrait Madeira Beach Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50m @ f/5.6 ISO 200 1/200th - Strobist: SB-800 to frame left & SB-600 to frame rightThis is a new-ish pose I like for a group of five adults (plus baby ok too) with one person anchoring the entire pose and everyone wrapped around.  Just lining people up like a picket fence makes for a mundane beach portrait to me, so I am always trying to not take the easy way out and encourage the clients to get in the sand and of course interact with each other to produce more personal beach portraits.

Sisters sunset portrait on Madeira Beach Florida - Nikon D300 Tamron 17-50mm @ f/8 ISO 200 1/250th - Strobist: SB-800 to frame left & SB-600 to frame rightThe same for this shot above of two sisters.  They were just going to stand next to each other, until I used the trusty Posing App to suggest a more sisterly bonding look for the photo.  When this photo is looked at by the sisters twenty years from now, if they were just standing side-by-side, that would evoke no physical feeling, where this photo in contrast will hopefully make them remember what it felt like to hold their sister in their arms.

Nikon D700 & Nikkor 24-70mm 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson St. Petersburg - Kasia

Kasia photographing her son during our 2nd 1-on-1 DSLR photography lesson in St. Petersburg with her Nikon D700Since our first 1-on-1 DSLR Photography Lesson last week Kasia has gotten the excellent Nikkor AF-S 24-70mm f/2.8G lens.  For our second lesson she also brought her son who is a cheerful 11-month old fond of taking off his socks and throwing his pacifier (who isn't?).  Now that Kasia has had more time with her Nikon D700 and an actual lens to use on it, we began this lesson with a Q&A session where I had to dispel some amateur photography advice (like she needs a UV filter for her lens, ha!).  She asked about metering modes (stay in matrix) and the number of focus points (stay with a single one) as well as how to fix a photograph where the highlights are blown out.  

After that we headed over to South Straub Park to practice how to compose by either setting the focus and recomposing or by framing the shot then just moving the focus point onto the desired subject.  We found some shade and I had Kasia practice her portrait technique on me first to get the ergonomics of moving focus points down before attempting to make portraits of her more active son.  

I will see Kasia right again tomorrow afternoon where we will continue to build on her DSLR photography skills.

Father and infant son wedding day St. Petersburg

Wedding tuxedo going on the groom's baby - f/5.6 ISO 200 1/160th Strobist: SB-800 resting on bed + natural window lightI had never seen an infant baby being dressing in a tuxedo before.  While photographing a recent wedding in St. Petersburg there was a lot of time to photograph both the bride and groom getting ready, as well as their infant son.  After getting dressed himself, the groom started to dress his son.  The order he chose for getting dressed was perhaps unwise as the baby threw up onto his dad's shirt in the process.  Luckily, another suitable shirt was on hand for the groom to change into with only a small spot on the baby's shirt that no one would notice.

Babies dominate attention, and even on the couple's wedding day I felt more people were excited about seeing and holding the baby than perhaps the wedding itself.  I am of course immune to this power baby's seem to have and was drawn to photograph him more because of his unusual attire and the fact his father was dressing him and soon to be married.  That was a scene I had not witnessed before and was the source of my interest photographically.  

Sandpiper Tradewinds twilight wedding couple - f/5.6 ISO 800 1/60th Strobist: SB-800 at 1/2 power to frame rightFor a brief few minutes the couple and I after their wedding ceremony had time for a few romantic shots.  I wonder on the baby's wedding day if he will show any photographs of himself that I took at his parent's wedding during the reception slideshow?

Grandmother's Kiss in Sepia

I would never have made this shot if not for attending a photography meeting

You never know where you will find photographic inspiration, but then sometimes, you do.  I attended a TAPPA (Tampa Area Professional Photographers) meeting late last year and the guest speaker for that night almost exclusively made square-shaped, burnt sepia portraits, on 3 foot x 3 foot canvas . . . for $3,000.  Though my skill level is not great enough to charge that much for a portrait session, I did learn a lot from that photographer that I can and have applied to my own photography business.  I am not ashamed to say that I have fallen in love with the burnt sepia look for portraits, and I do also crop in a more square-ish style now for some shots as well.  

Photographers inspire other photographers.

To make the portrait above it took my entire current skill set from shooting to processing.  Everything I have learned through intense self-study, through attending lectures by other photographers and even a free lighting workshop, I applied to this shot.  In light of all this, do I think it is perfect?  Not even close.  However, I am pleased from a personal level to know that I could not have made this shot this time last year.  As a photographer I first aim to please myself because I know know one has higher standards for my work than I do myself.  So if I am pleased with an image, I am pretty darn sure the client will be too. 

  • Reserve your own candid portrait session with Jason today!
  • Learn more about the candid portrait sessions
  • Browse past candid portrait sessions with many of my clients
  • Candid Portrait Session - Bluest Baby Blue Eyes

    Baby Chris during our candid portrait session in Tampa with the bluest of baby blue eyes.

    It is usually the case that children are hard to keep in front of when trying to make candid photographs of them.  However, Baby Chris was the most (unknowingly?) cooperative baby boy that I have ever photographed.  As seen in the image above, he seemed almost mesmerized by my Nikkor 105mm VR micro lens.  I am pretty sure he never even blinked!

    Having a ball during our candid portrait session in Tampa Florida

    Baby Chris took a fancy to a large blue rubber ball, but not enough of one to take his eyes of the alienness of the macro lens I continued to photograph him with.  This allowed me to take my time more and concentrate on photographing his vivid blue eyes.

    Baby Chris seems to be pondering the uncertain future of the world.

    Eventually, though, Baby Chris started to look off into the distance, perhaps pondering the future, and as many of us have, he seemed to grow wary of such ponderings.  This did not last long though as his mother swooped in to pick him up in her arms.  This immediately cheered Baby Chris back up, so much so that he gave his mom a nice surprise--right on the nose!

     Baby Chris learning how to do the timeless "I got your nose" trick!