House Plants & Families, What they have in Common!

Every so often I like to give myself a little photo project to get my juices flowing. Often, I tackle our kids or our cat because moving subjects are what I love photographing. However, this time I chose a houseplant. Yep, a houseplant.  Mostly because cat & kids make a run for it when I get the camera out …. Sometimes no amount of pleading will help!  And the house plant, it’s still living but it’s a stationary object, it’s certainly not going to take off at any rate of knots!

I thought this may well be a good challenge to personify a still life object & even relate it to how I photograph families!  Read on, you might be surprised how similar they are!

I photographed the plant at various times of day and night but always where it resides. This type of exercise extends your creative outlook by using different angles, moving your body about rather than moving the object about. I captured images that showed the plant and its surroundings, and also close ups.  I didn’t play with any background, in fact all images are straight out of camera except for the black and white images.

This was the first image I photographed in the series.  Photographing at the plant’s level gives you an idea of the perspective of where the plant sits within it’s surroundings.

This low perspective is great for kids too.  When photographing children, I tend to get down to their level which helps us interact better, and they are photographed within the perspective of their stage in life.  It can be daunting for us to have our photo taken, imagine how nervous a child must feel when the camera is pointed down at them all the time.  As the session moves on I will take some photographs looking down on you or your children, but they will be used to me by then!

Taken mid afternoon with my Nikon 24-70mm lens  35mm f-2.8 1/400th ISO640.

Caroline Williams Photographer lifestyle Wellington Upper Hutt family

So, this is the home of our plant.  It’s always good to have some photographs of the area you call home as it gives the photographs a reference of identity.  If all your family photos are close ups they could be taken anywhere.  That could include your lounge or the hills and river in the background of a photo.

I photographed this with my Nikon 24-70mm f-9 1/100th at ISO64.

The next series of photos are just taken from a different perspective.  Bearing in mind, my plant hasn’t dashed off to another room with me in hot pursuit, these are all taken in the same spot.

Caroline Williams Photographer lifestyle Wellington Upper Hutt family

This shot was taken at 9pm with the light of the table lamp we use for reading.  I squatted down and photographed through the arm of the wicker chair which has given the effect of peeping through to the plant.

It’s fun photographing in this way, especially if I want to capture a child having fun with a parent and I don’t want to be noticed as it may spoil the moment.  Sometimes I also get right down low and photograph a family walking in the distance with the grass as the foreground.  Also useful if kids are absorbed in creating something and you want to sneak a photo.

Photographed with my Nikon 24-70mm 55mm f-2.8 1/160th ISO1250.

Caroline Williams Photographer lifestyle Wellington Upper Hutt family

I thought my little plant might like to look big so I photographed it’s shadow in the late afternoon sunlight.  These type of photographs are fun to add to a story board frame or to an album.

Photographed with my Nikon 24-70mm 36mm f-5.6 1/640th ISO320.

Caroline Williams Photographer lifestyle Wellington Upper Hutt family

I wanted to create a little bit of movement for my stationary plant so I used a slow shutter speed and used my zoom on my lens to create a moving effect.  Normally my subjects are moving so I can use a slow shutter speed to capture that movement.   The high f-stop helps keep parts of the shadow in focus.

Photographed with my Nikon 24-70mm 36mm f-22 1/4th ISO64.

And finally, a few close up images of my wee plant.  Just like a family, my wee plant keeps growing and in a year’s time it won’t look as youthful as it does now.  It’s nice to capture all those wee close ups that we take for granted, the bits that fill in the story.  These look great in an album or story board and can be very emotive.  All images were taken on the same setting,  I just changed my area of focus which has created the different effects.  Whoever would have guessed my wee plant would glow like this!

These images were all taken with a 60mm macro lens f-5 1/160th ISO800

I hope this has given you a little bit of insight to how I photograph,  … and may be see your house plant in a different light 😉 heheee

I’ve added my settings so you can have a play at home but I hope it’s also given you a different perspective of a family photographer.  The house plant is a stationary object so I had plenty of time to think of different shots & settings, but when you are in the midst of a photo session often there’s no time to think so these movements have to be instinctive.    We need to know our gear well and we need to know what lighting will work best in which situations.  So although this blog has been light-hearted, I have tried to explain a little of the thoughts that happen quickly in my head while I am at a family session.  Moments zoom by fast so it is important to be aware of the surroundings so these moments can be captured.

If you ‘d like me to photograph you and your family please email me at the below link! (