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Gilmar Smith on Monday Motivation

Starting right now at Layers Magazine, Monday Motivation is a brand new series of posts from the absolute cream of the crop in the photography industry, taking you through their creative process from planing to the final image. Hopefully it’ll fire you up and inspire you to take your photography to another level! This week, to start things off, the fabulous Gilmar Smith takes us behind the scenes!
This past week, I received a beautiful hand painted canvas backdrop from Franklin Backdrops, and I immediately fell in love with it. I set it up in my living room, but I wasn’t too excited about my tile floors. So, I went to Lowe’s and got a box of laminated wooden floor. Then, on my weekly visit to my friends from Spectacular Themes, I borrowed a few suitcases and decided to do a weekend photography project using all of these elements.
Since my kids are usually willing to be my models, I went ahead and asked my daughter to wear a vintage looking dress her aunt made for her. My daughter is only three years old, but she’s so used to have her picture taken she even helps me bringing my gear from the garage and setting it up. In fact, I’ve had clients coming home to have their photos taken and, as I’m working taking pictures, my daughter sits right next to me and takes pictures as well with her Ipad. It’s the cutest thing ever!
I usually receive lots of messages from people asking me how I get my kids to pose for pictures. In this post, I’m going to show you what it takes to get the shot.
The most important thing when working with kids is to be patient. I usually talk to them in advance and tell them what kind of image we are going to take. It takes a little bit for them to warm up, though. This time, my daughter decided to warm up by doing a Downward Dog leg lift yoga pose.
I praised her form and redirected her attention to the suitcase we were going to use as a prop for our photoshoot.
I kept shooting as she lifted the suitcase and brought it to the set. These images are not what I had in mind for today’s shoot, but they could be easily used on a composite. So, another rule when working with kids is; never stop shooting.
The images above are a great example of what will always happen when photographing kids, and honestly, it is one of my favorite things to see. Kids are silly and creative, so let them get the wiggles out and try to regain control of the shoot. But, be careful, you don’t want to get them upset, and if you do, try to get them back in the mood as soon as you can.
As you can see, there was yoga, lots of dancing, flying on top of the suitcase, more silly dancing, but there were authentic, beautiful expressions all over, and I was able to get them all because I never stop shooting.
As much as I love the pictures of her dancing and having fun, I had a more serious concept in my mind. So I picked one of the images I was able to get between all the silliness.
At the end of the day, my daughter truly enjoyed being in front of the camera, and she will be willing to do it again. As photographers, that should be our goal. We want our clients and our kids to enjoy being photographed. When it comes to post processing, this image was a very simple one. I did lots of Dodge and Burn, color graded the image using the Infinite Color PanelΒ by Pratik Naik, added a little bit of Film Grain for a vintage feel and a vignette.
You can find Gilmar on her website, Instagram, or Facebook

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2 Comments

  • Christina Lihani says:

    I enjoyed reading this for so many reasons. First, I love the easy way Gilmar explains her process. I feel like she is talking to me versus laying out cold facts. She has such a brilliant way of expressing the lesson in a way that feels joyful and warm, all the while laying down great tips. I’m always excited to see Gilmar’s work and it is especially exciting to see this new feature!