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Mother's Day Portraits

NYI Student Andrea Jeanne Petersen

Take a Photograph to Honor the Occasion.

Since the turn of the century, we have celebrated Mother's Day by sending Mom a card, or flowers or candy. This year, why not give her a more personal gift-a memorable portrait photograph?

"Years ago, a Mother's Day portrait meant a trip to the photographer's studio," notes Chuck DeLaney, Dean of the New York Institute of Photography (NYI), the world's oldest and largest photography school. "Having a professional portrait made of Mom, or the entire family for that matter, is a great idea. But today's busy mother-on-the-go may not have time to schedule a professional sitting right away. Why not enjoy the satisfaction of making a professional-looking portrait of your mother right now?"

The Key Tips for Outdoor Photos

For any photograph, the first thing to decide is what is to be the subject of your photo? Is it Mom, or her back yard? It can't be both. For a Mother's Day portrait, the subject is obviously Mom, so she should be up front in the photo as you see it in your camera's viewfinder, so she will be prominently featured in the final picture.

The next question is where to place your subject. Since May weather is mild, outdoors is a good choice, but don't put her in bright sun, since that will cause her to squint. Open shade is a much better choice. With an ISO 200 or 400 speed film you'll be able to get a good exposure and Mom will be more comfortable and look better than she would out in the bright sun.

If you can make sure your camera's flash fires, set it to do so. This is easy with most point-and-shoot models and "single use" cameras that have flash. Even though the camera may think there's enough light to take the picture without flash, putting some extra light on Mom will make sure she's shown clearly and also add a little warmth to her face. Try taking one frame with flash and one without. See which photo you prefer after you have the prints processed.

You could have Mom sit or stand for a formal portrait, but posing makes most people uncomfortable and that shows in the picture. Instead, why not have her in action doing something she likes, whether that means gardening, horseback riding or jogging? Candid photos of someone doing something are often more interesting and also show the person looking relaxed and happy rather than stiff and posed.

For NYI's complete article on Mother's Day Portraits, visit this month's NYI website http://www.nyip.com. You'll find complete details on both indoor and outdoor portraits as well as sample photographs on how you can give your Mom a unique present - a photograph of herself or the ones she loves!

Reprinted with permisssion from the New York Institute of Photography website at http://www.nyip.com

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