February 5, 2021 at 12:02 pm #57410LenspirationModerator
• Publisher: Amaris, with Lifeline Gifts, has an amazing testimony. As a young person with a love for Christian missions, it’s hard to understand why God has allowed a chronic illness to leave her confined to a bed or recliner, unable to perform normal daily tasks. But her physical condition has not stopped her from looking for something she could do for others and for God! She runs Lifeline Gifts to pack boxes or backpacks filled with toys, hygiene supplies, school supplies, crafts, clothes and a New Testament to be sent around the world by Samaritan’s Purse or similar organizations to children who are in very needy situations, such as war, famine, natural disasters, or those who have physical needs. As a long-time friend of Lenspiration, I think it would be really fun to help her with some photography needs she has for her website!
• Purpose: We recently created a website and are looking for high quality photos to use on the front page which show the joy in a child’s face when they receive a gift.
• Request: A photo of a child/children eagerly opening gifts (preferably a gift box).
• Special Instructions: Use your imagination! Simple, uncluttered backgrounds are preferred, unless the background gives some context to the photo. Keep in mind that these boxes are intended for children who don’t have many opportunities or belongings, so if the photo reflects that fact, it is more likely to be chosen. We would also prefer that the photos not be overly “Christmassy” since we’re not necessarily about just Christmas gifts (i.e. colorful wrapping paper is fine, but no “Santa” wrapping paper or Christmas trees in the background). The gifts would need to be suitable to the mission of Lifeline Gifts, so no expensive electronics (like PlayStation or such) visible in the photo. Lifeline Gifts is mostly about simple gifts so stuffed animals, toy trucks, dolls, Slinkys, balls, etc. would be perfect (you can see what we put in the boxes here on the Lifeline Gifts Boxes page). You can also feel free to compose the shot in such a way that you can’t see the contents of the box. The attached sample image gives an idea of a pose/angle that we really like which could be replicated.
• Orientation: Preferably horizontal or square.
• Photo Specs: Highest quality possible, but any size will be considered. Edit however you like!
• How to Submit: Members can follow the A, B, C process outlined here. (Instructions for non-members can be viewed here.) You can submit up to 10 photos.
• Remuneration: Because Lifeline Gifts is a non-profit ministry, submissions will be delivered to them at no cost to them. However, thanks to the generosity of an anonymous donor, one Lenspiration member will be paid $27 if their photo is chosen!
• Terms: By submitting your photo(s) on this forum, you agree to the terms outlined in the STS Photo Assignment Agreement. Please note that Lifeline Gifts would possibly use the photos received for other ministry-related projects in the future (e.g. a small brochure).
• Deadline: Midnight Saturday, February 27, 2021 (or until this topic is no longer highlighted yellow).
• Important note: The person you photograph (or the parents/guardian of the person) will need to sign a model release (like this one); you do not need to submit the signed model releases to Lenspiration unless specifically requested.
Watch how I shot this assignment and get related training on how to shoot it yourself at, On Assignment: “Eagerly Opening A Gift”!
Watch the photos submitted for this assignment get critiqued live by registering for the March 2 Photo Critique Webinar!February 17, 2021 at 7:58 am #59648
Interestingly, due to the continuous snow and ice over the past couple of weeks, church has been canceled every Sunday since I made the video! So the packages are still in the back of my car waiting to the opened, and we’ll see if there’s a break in the weather this weekend. 🙂February 22, 2021 at 12:36 pm #59832
Yikes, one week left to this assignment! Has anyone else besides me procrasinated on this? :[
Just wanted to put out a quick word of encouragement to everyone to shoot this assignment (if you haven’t already)!! ….yep, even with only a week left!
Thought I’d take a moment to share a bit of what’s going on here on my end of things…
Because I’m so last-minute on this, it limited the options I could work with for available times in my schedule and for asking families if I could photograph their kids. Good reminder not to procrastinate, but also not to just give in and ditch the assignment because I did procrastinate.
I give some music lessons, so I decided to ask a couple of those families if I can take pics before or after the lessons. I felt kinda nervous when texting the first two moms I had thought of. “What if they don’t want to do it?” “What if they feel pressured by me asking?” “What if they feel awkward about it?”
But I texted both of them something like this:
“Hey [so-and-so], I have a question for you! As you may know, I’m a photographer as well as a musician. 🙂 I have a photo assignment through Lenspiration.com that I need to do this week and was wondering if you’d be comfortable with me taking pics of [your kids] for it! Thinking before or after lessons on Wednesday? The request is for photos that show the joy in children’s faces when receiving/opening gifts. It’s for the homepage of a ministry’s website, lifelinegifts.com. If that’s not something you’re comfortable with, or if the kids would rather not, no problem! Just thought I’d put it out there and see! :)”
I felt like it answered questions they might have: “What is it for? Who is going to be using the pictures? What’s involved? What is it a picture of? When might we do it?”
I felt like it kept casual and not pushy: “if you’d rather not, no problem!”
And then the ball was in their court!
Within a half hour, I had gotten two texts back. One mom said, “We would rather not. Hope you can find someone else.” The other said, “We are happy to help. They both happily agreed!”
I thought, “see, Lydia?! That wasn’t that bad!”
And, since I did get one positive response…now to plan the details of the shoot itself. Buy some candy, treats and wrapping paper for the kids’ gifts. Make sure I have working batteries in my speedlite. Get to the location early so I know where I will set up and what angles to choose. Set aside a time slot on my calendar to edit the photos afterwards.
It may not be an easy assignment, but it’s a growing assignment. And growth is good!
Guys, let’s be a blessing to Amaris and give her a nice variety of quality photos to choose from! 🙂 Can’t wait to see what kind of submissions everyone else comes in with!February 26, 2021 at 4:47 pm #60625Blessings CapturedParticipant
The parents didn’t feel comfortable with having their children’s faces on the internet, but they were fine with their profile.
I was having difficulty getting the lighting right. I’ll try to explain what I did. For the little boy shots it was a small room and bouncing the speedlite off the celling was making harsh shadows under the boy’s chin.(I didn’t submit any of those pictures) There wasn’t any white walls to bounce off of, so next I tried the speedlite with an umbrella. It was better but I’m not satisfied with the results.
The pictures with the girl worked out better. The room was just as small but it had better light to begin with. (It had two windows, one in front of and one to the right of the girl). I hung a white sheet about 3 ft. to the girl’s left and bounced the speedlite off of that.
Any tips on how I could have lit these better?February 27, 2021 at 1:26 pm #60662
Wow, nice job, @blessingscaptured! Looking forward to hearing answers to your question on lighting, as I’m still learning alot with bounce flash myself!
Personally, I think the better photos are where the light is on the little boy’s face rather than the back of his head. Feels more natural with the shadows on his back.
And, in the photos of the little girl, that was a great idea to bounce the light off a sheet! Something I don’t know I would’ve instinctively thought of.
I also think the teddy bears are super cute! 🙂February 27, 2021 at 1:45 pm #60663
Here are my submissions! The kids did great, so there were no difficulties there. They both were very comfortable in front of the camera and did quite well.
My main struggle was with the setting we were in; composing the shots in a way to make the most of the location.
I took the photos after giving the kids their music lessons at the church they attend, so we used the lobby, a hallway and a little fireside room to take the pictures. I tried my best to give the feeling like we were in a home rather than a church. 🙂 I also didn’t want the “home” to appear too nice and fancy, considering the context that these photos are for, but I’m not sure how successful I was.
Fun story: I had asked their mom what I could get them as treats, to put in the boxes as a thank you. She told me their favorite candies, so I got those. When the girl was opening her box, she was acting “fake surprised” about the gift, but then when she saw the contents she got super excited and was like, “I really AM surprised!!!” 😀 She was very happy 🙂
I also did some photos with the boy outside since we had some extra time. I know he’s not actively “eagerly opening a gift” in them, but since it was such a nice day (it was super warm…like 50 degrees outside!), I thought we could take some photos out there too.February 27, 2021 at 2:08 pm #60673March 1, 2021 at 1:48 pm #60708
Glad to see some of you were able to get some photos! Things finally lined up yesterday and I was able to get some photos at church! I was surprised at how tough it was. So many things didn’t go as expected And it’s true; it’s difficult to find people willing to let photos of them or their children be used publicly, plus, take pictures that actually turn out! Will look forward to discussing these things (and a couple blunders I learned from my photo shoot) on the webinar tomorrow night! You can sign up for the March 2 webinar here: https://www.lenspiration.com/product-category/webinars/March 1, 2021 at 4:54 pm #60725Ezra LandisParticipantMarch 2, 2021 at 11:53 am #60739
Yay James! Glad you were able to finally take the photos!March 3, 2021 at 4:55 pm #60801March 10, 2021 at 10:19 pm #61084Ezra MorleyModerator
Hi there everyone, I’m the representative (and website designer) from Lifeline Gifts who was responsible for helping to choose the winning photo, and I told James I’d be willing to share a little bit of feedback on the photos. (You can see the winning photo right now on our website homepage!)
First, though, I want to thank @jamesstaddon for hosting this assignment, and say a special thanks to @blessingscaptured, @bennett-family, and @landisfamily for taking the time and effort to get out there and take some photos for us! I could tell from James’s training video, and from the remarks here on this page that it ended up being a much bigger assignment than I had imagined it would be when I was communicating with James about our photo needs. We’re delighted though, that Lenspiration has a community of Christian photographers who were willing to help us out with this; it’s a big blessing!
I’ll go through the photos in the order they were posted for simplicity’s sake. 🙂
@blessingscaptured, you submitted 6 photos! James mentioned that he liked the lighting on these, and I agree. Whatever you did was working out pretty well except for the glare on the floor. The poses were very nice too. One thing I was wishing as I looked at them was that the box had looked like it had more than just one stuffed animal in it. But you did great with what you had, and we liked the pose (and lack of glare) on the 3rd submission, which ended up being the winner. Congratulations!
I’m glad you were sensitive to the parent’s wishes about not having their children’s faces on the internet too. I would probably feel the same way if I was a parent! 🙂 The photos you got were still great though, because they captured the “feel” of a child getting a gift, even if you couldn’t see their whole face.
@bennett-family, thanks for giving us a large selection to choose from too! I can understand your struggle with making the best of your location; a church building isn’t the most optimal setting for photos of this nature, but I think you managed pretty well! If you hadn’t mentioned the location, we might not have even noticed! 🙂 And that’s awesome that you captured her real excitement about her favorite candy. 🙂 The photos of the boy holding the box weren’t really along the lines of what we were looking for, but out of all of your photos, the one ending in 0157 was the closest to what I was kinda envisioning when I talked to James about our vision for photos! We were hoping for photos of younger children, but honestly, that one is close enough that even now as I’m looking at it again, I’m getting ideas for a possibility for that one…
And thank you, @landisfamily for chiming in at the very last minute! 🙂 The box your little guy is holding is exactly what we used for the 200 boxes that were sent out last year, so it fits right in! I’ll admit that I didn’t see all the potential in that first photo there until I watched the replay of the webinar and heard what James said about it. 🙂 Then I started to see it with new eyes! With a little judicial cropping and tweaking, it actually does look like something we might be able to use!
I had it in my head that we had to choose just one photo to use, so we went with @blessingscaptured’s photo, but honestly I think we might be able to use one or two more of these on our homepage too, instead of the more generic “stock” photos that are there now. If you don’t have any objections, @bennett-family and @landisfamily, I’d like to nominate these 2 as “runner up” photos and consider them for use on our website as well!
Thanks again, to everyone who participated! This was a wonderful blessing to us, and I trust that the Lord will bless you in return!March 11, 2021 at 4:45 pm #61103
Wow, thanks for your detailed comments @buddingphotographer! It always feels different coming straight from the publisher. 🙂March 12, 2021 at 10:22 am #61106
So glad you’ll be able to use multiple photos on the website, @buddingphotographer! That’s wonderful.March 17, 2021 at 2:40 pm #61173
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