Tag Archives: Family Photo shoot

Family Photo Session: Nora & Asher

I spent a few days visiting these cuties this past week!  Nora, 3, and Asher, 5 months, are my niece and nephew.  I couldn’t wait until summer to see them again so a quick visit was in order.

Asher loves people! When you look at him his whole face lights up. And he likes to be held facing out so he can watch everyone and be part of the action.

Nora says the funniest things and loves her little brother. She loves to sing, read books and play outside with her aunt Mimi!

Love these two to pieces 🙂


Charleston, SC Photo Shoot: Maguire Family

Lucie reached out to me about she and her family gifting their dad, Bobby, a family photo session for his 70th birthday.  I know I’m biased, but I think photos make the best gifts!  The little guys, Scott and James, kept me on my toes and were so much fun.  I laughed a lot with this bunch.  At the end, Robert said, “I usually hate photos but this wasn’t so bad!  I had fun!”  I’ll take that!


To book your own session simply email me at info@melissagriffinphotography.com!


2019 Spring Mini Sessions!

Spring has sprung and stuff is blooming in Charleston! 🙂  If you’ve been thinking of scheduling a photo session with me this is a great time to do it.  I’m offering mini sessions (only 15 slots!) so that you can update your family photos! Here are the details…


$180 gets you a 20 minute session and 15 high resolution digital images.

Saturday Morning, March 30 at Hampton Park, Downtown Charleston
[Rain Date: Saturday, April 6]

Saturday Evening, March 30 at Church Street & Stolls Alley, Downtown Charleston
[Rain Date: Saturday, April 6]

Sunday Evening, May 5 at River Landing Drive on Daniel Island

[Rain Date: Sunday, May 19]

PLEASE EMAIL ME AT info@melissagriffinphotography.com TO BOOK!
I won’t be able to book from direct messages on social media or text.  Thank you!

Sessions are $180 for a group of 6 or smaller.  For more than 6 people add $10/person.

Sign me up! (5)

You may decide that you’d like more shoot time or images than a mini shoot allows.  If so, simply email me and let me know that you’d like to schedule a standard session instead which includes…
-About one hour of shooting time
-Location and date of your choice
-Outfit change (optional)
-At least 35 high resolution digital images
-$350 for color images
-add $50 for black and white images, optional

I look forward to working with you and your family!


Charleston, SC Photo Session: Perry Family

This photo session was rescheduled three times due to crazy rainy weather but it was worth the wait!  I loved watching these boys interact with their little sis!


Email me at info@melissagriffinphotography to book your own maternity, newborn or family session!  I’d love to chat with you!

Charleston, SC Photo Session: Wright Family

Perfect golden light out at Pitt Street Bridge in Mt Pleasant!  Add in one beautiful family and two super cute kiddos and you get a session that give you all the heart eyes!


Email me at info@melissagriffinphotography.com to book your own photo session!

Photo 101: ISO


Your ISO, aperture and shutter speed settings all work together to determine how much light hits the sensor in your camera.  This blog post will focus on ISO but keep in mind that one affects the other.slides

Once you start getting a grasp on setting your camera manually you’ll come up with a system that works for you.  This is how I do it:
I typically begin by setting my ISO setting before aperture and shutter speed.  I take a look at my surroundings (see graphic below) and set it based on that.  For bright, outdoor photography you can set your camera on the lowest setting, around 100.  If you’re in a cloudy area you may want to set it closer to 400.  If you then are in the shade or the sun is starting to set you can crank it up to 800, 1000 or higher.  Indoor photography with no flash may require you to set your ISO at 2000 or 3200 so that your image is bright enough.  slides9

See the images below.  I kept all of the settings on my camera the same except the ISO so you can easily see how it affects your image.  iso photo 101 (1)

So you might ask, why not just keep the ISO high to get bright images?  I’m sure you’ve all seen photos taken at night when they begin to get “grainy” or “noisy.”  The higher you set your ISO the lower the quality of the photo.  So you want to try to keep the ISO setting as low as you can.  If you look at the images below you can see see the noise in the second image, especially in the background.  The third image is a close up so you can see it better.photo101_iso_noise-1photo101_iso_noise-2

Here are a couple of real life examples from photo shoots I’ve done.  This first session was out at the beach midday.  I don’t typically shoot at this time because the sun is so harsh but we had to work around schedules and some crazy weather.  It was really bright outside so I set my ISO to 200.  100 would have worked, too.stein-12

This photo, on the other hand, was taken inside a room with one or two windows to my right.  It was pretty dark so I set my ISO to 3200 to brighten the photo and it allowed me to set a shutter speed that was fast enough so any movement the dog made didn’t result in her being blurry.aiden-15

See my other blog posts about aperture and shutter speed to help you understand how they all work together:


Shutter Speed

How to Find Good Light

Tips & Tricks for Photographing Children

I live in Charleston, SC and offer one-on-one lessons!  Contact me at info@melissagriffinphotography.com if you have questions or would like to customize a lesson for you!

Thank you Emily at Texture Design Co for creating my graphics!

Photo 101: Aperture


Photography is ALL about light.  To create a proper exposure (the lightness or darkness of an image) there are a few different camera settings that allow you to adjust how much light enters your lens.  Your aperture setting (also called f-stops) is one of them.  This is also the setting that controls your “depth of field” which means how much of your image is in focus.  It’s a fun setting to experiment with to create some fun photos!

The ISO, shutter speed and aperture settings all work together to create a proper exposure.  So if you set your aperture the way you want it but the image is too dark you can adjust your ISO or shutter speed to result in a proper exposure.


If you put your camera on Aperture Mode you can experiment with what happens when you change only the aperture (f-stops).  Your camera will then adjust the other settings for you to give you a proper exposure.


The LOWER f-stop numbers allow MORE light into your camera.  (This can be confusing – small number = large opening)  So, if you are in a low-light setting and need to let more light in you can lower the f-stop number.

small images5small images6

As you lower the f-stop number to allow more light in your DEPTH OF FIELD decreases.  This means that a smaller area of your photo will be in focus. Creatively, this can be a really good thing!  But you also have to be aware that what you want in focus IS actually in focus!

slides7There are other factors that affect how depth of field works like the distance you are from your subject, the distance your subject is from the background and your focal length.  That’s another lesson for another day!  But something to be aware of.

In this image of Aiden you’ll see there is a shallow depth of field.  His eyes are in focus but his ear and hands are not.  This photos has a “shallow depth of field.” (f/3.2)

So if you want more in focus you’ll need to keep your aperture number higher and may need to let more light in by changing your ISO or Shutter Speed.  If you’re in Aperture Priority mode your camera will do this for you.  In this image I wanted a deep depth of field so I put my aperture at f/10.  Since I was shooting outdoors on a sunny day I had plenty of light to work with.

Look at the difference in the depth of field of these two images below.  There is a larger DOF in the first image (f/6.3) as opposed to the second where the DOF is shallow (f/1.8).
[I did have to change the shutter speed and ISO to allow more light in for the first image because at the higher f/6.3 setting it doesn’t let as much light in.]aperture-5aperture-6

You may have heard about the new iPhones offering a portrait mode that allows you to blur the background.  It’s giving the look of a fancy camera on a low aperture setting.  I personally love setting the aperture low to make my subject really pop!  Here are a few more examples of that:

I hope this information was helpful!  When you start researching this topic it can seem overwhelming and the numbers will get mixed up in your head!  But the best thing you can do is PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE!  Get outside, pick a subject and just start shooting on different settings and things will start to click 🙂

Read more about:

Shutter Speed


How to Find Good Light

Tips & Tricks for Photographing Children

I offer one-on-one photo lessons to those who live in the Charleston, SC area.  I have a background in art education and love teaching people how to take better photos!  Email me at info@melissagriffinphotography.com with questions or to set something up.

Thank you to Emily at Texture Design Co for designing all of my graphics for me!