Details, Details, Details!

When you hear the word detail shot, do you think of a macro shot? It can be, but a lot of the time this refers to another type of photograph that aims to capture the little details of a story. It's essentially a shot where you narrow down your area of focus to enable you to capture the things that are often overlooked. Detail shots help tell the story by really helping the viewer focus on what's important - and will help you to remember the little things about your child when you look back on them in years to come.

As an example, instead of focusing on the whole face when taking a portrait, why not narrow your focus to capture some of the details instead? This is done a lot with newborn photography (those chubby little hands, or their cute upturned mouths) with a macro lens, but can be just as great taken with a normal lens, then cropped to only show the detail you want to highlight. Although this is popular with babies, but there is nothing to stop you doing this with older children too. How about photographing your daughters curls, or your sons hands as he holds a truck? 

It doesn't have to be pictures of your child's physical features either, perhaps take a photograph of the cake that you've just made together, or holding out the flower that has just been picked. These are the details that help tell the story of your kid's childhood, and can really help bring the story to life. You can also photograph details from the area where you were when the photo was taken - a street sign, some flowers, the view - whatever will help bring the story together.

This photo is of my son holding the first strawberry he ever picked - it's part of a little series of detail shots...his hand picking the strawberry, holding it, the smile on his face, eating it. (You can see them all here if you want!)

Trying on my favorite shoes....

His desire to go through every mud patch he can find on his trike....

His drawing on the garage floor....

His "haul" from his first visit to a strawberry field....

These type of shots work very well as part of a series of shots, although some will work well as a "standalone" photo - it's up to you. I try to imagine the photos being in a spread in a book - I usually have a shot that encapsulates everything, and then a series of little detail shots that work when together.

Technically, there is nothing different about taking a detail shot than any other shot - choose your point of focus, and decide how much of the scene you want to be in focus and choose your aperture to match your vision. I find that using a very shallow depth of field (small F number) helpful as it provides more focus on the area you are trying to photograph - but really anything goes. 
If you are looking for more inspiration, this is a great article here on detail shots that gives more examples than I ever could!

So, today, give yourself permission to go crazy photographing the little details!


Jan said...

love the mud and boots one!

Tasha Meyer said...

I was just thinking I needed to do this with his shoes the other day. thanks for posting! Your son is adorably handsome! He's going to hate the pictures of trying on your shoes one day, which makes it even better haha! Joys of being a Mom! ;)

Post a Comment