Children’s Portrait tip from Cheryl May!

I had the opportunity last week to hang out with an awesome mom, wife and friend Chrystal. Chrystal loves photography and has a great eye. She wanted to learn more about how to make her camera take the pictures she wanted to. So we got together at Alice Keck park in Santa Barbara for a mini photo lesson with me and we had such a blast!

Brody tagged along, and was an excellent and willing model. Her biggest question for me that day was how to take a picture where the foreground is sharp and the background is out of focus. This was an awesome question so we spent a good portion of the time practicing this. Here are a few examples:



The answer to Chrystal’s question is actually supper simple and easy to master and once you do you will fall in love with it! I have! I shoot this way just about 90% of the time!

There are a couple ways to get this effect. One is to set your camera on the ‘macro setting’ which is usually designated by a flower. Another is to put your camera on Av (for Aperture value) and set your Aperture to f4 or f5.6. This setting allows you to choose your aperture but will still set your exposure for you. It will keep whatever is in the foreground sharp and throw everything else out of focus. It’s a super fun setting to play with and will get you some awesome results!

Another thing that helps when trying to achieve this affect is to use what is called a ‘long lens’ basically that’s a lens that is 70mm and up. For shooting Brody at the park, we used my 100mm lens which worked beautifully! Longer lenses will emphasize this effect more so than shorter (50mm or lower) lenses will.

I hope this lesson has been helpful, feel free to email me if you have questions :)!

Thank you Chrystal and Brody for such a fun day!

  • Chrystalita said:

    Take my breath away!! That baby should be a super model!! ;) Thanks for being so great and for taking time to share your genius with me. You're my photo hero!!

  • Amanda Lock said:

    I love your blog- the tips you give are awesome! :) And as a note; love the album design of the entry below. Very simple and clean, and I love the soft pastel colors you chose. Awesome job! :)

  • MigratingCoconuts said:

    You take beautiful photographs. I was wondering how you get the eyes to be so shiney and stand out so much. Is there some kind of trick?

    Thanks for your time!