Thursday, June 26, 2008

Photography by design

I have always gotten by with a little help from my friends.

I admit my photography skills leave something to be desired, but I know they are improving thanks to two of my very talented friends.

There is OHMommy ,of course, who is running periodic photography challenges, complete with her best tips.

And then there’s a friend I met in the local mom’s group I was almost too cool (or too scared?) to join waaay back when our sons were both mere infants. (That's her second son up top)

I noticed Kelly MacDonald right away and quickly sought her friendship. And why not? She was engaging and stylish, with a quick wit and an intriguing background in the arts.

One day, I figured, she could probably teach me a thing or two.

Well that day has arrived, my friends.

Kelly has just started her own photography business, with a twist. She has married her photography skills to her visual arts background to produce stylized children’s photos featuring saturated colors and labor intensive post production work.

AND she’s offering a discount and her best tips to all my friends, including YOU.

“They are so many great photographers out there right now, I just want to deliver something a little different,” Kelly says.

“My photographs are pretty punchy – saturated colors, close crops and never a posed smile. With a background in visual arts and design driving me, I tend towards a more artistic look.”

Dashing my fervent hopes for regular play dates, Kelly moved from Toronto last year and now resides in Woodstock Ontario with her husband and sons Quincy, three, and Theo, one. She books leisurely photo sessions that allow her to spend hours with children and their families.

“It’s about the complete experience – the one-on-one attention for a couple of hours. I know how to relate to kids, what they like to do and talk about. I work around naptimes and snack times and I expect diaper changes and accidents,” she says.

“Kids basically rule my shoots – I’m just going along wherever they lead me. I do find that my style changes to suit the child I’m shooting. A quiet, introvert may not suit a bold look.”

Kelly says that, in addition to spending a lot of time in post-production, a lot of the time a professional photographer can bring out a different side of a child than mom can.

“Parents tend to be too worried about getting the perfect smile or catching their good side, making sure their clothes are neat and their hair perfect.”

But she does offer these tips for amateur photographers:

“Go down to their level – be it on your knees or your belly – get down. Let them be themselves - capture them when they're busy being them - you want to remember how you saw them every day not on one occasion in their Sunday best, sitting and smiling how they were told. And don't be afraid to get close - you want to remember their faces, expressions etc., not the flowers behind them in your garden.”

Advice I will definitely be taking to heart.

You can check out more of Kelly’s stunning work at the web site for Kelly MacDonald Photography. She is offering a 15% discount on session fees and products to readers of Don Mills Diva until August 31st.


Shauna said...

I would love to have shots like that of Chicka. I can't ever seem to get a good shot. But I'm gonna take that advice. :)

Better Than Coffee said...

hello, im a mother too.. :)

Lisa said...

I dream about being a photographer when I grow up.....

Kelly's work is beautiful. Thanks for the cool site!