I love to take photos of my kids at the park – which is just as well given how much time we spend there! But sometimes my kids photography feels a bit same old, same old, and my toddler loves bubbles. So every now and then, we mix things up a little with some bubble play!
Bubble wands are fun, but for maximum fun – and frames filled with bubbles – a bubble machine is definitely the way forward! We picked up ours at Kmart for around $10, but you can also get them relatively cheaply on Amazon.
You’ll also need plenty of bubble mix! There are tons of recipes available online, my fave is this one because it’s super simple and I always have the ingredients available on hand (although hubby does occasionally ask why we seem to go through so much dishwashing liquid!). Plus it makes consistent, reliable bubbles.
Don’t forget to store it in a bottle with a childproof cap!
There are a few things to consider when choosing the perfect location for your bubble session.
To start with, of course, you need more space than your average kids photography session! Lots of space for your little one to chase all those glorious bubbles! We don’t have a back yard, but we are lucky enough to have several beautiful parks in our local area that make a lovely backdrop for photos.
You need to make sure you have enough space for your little one to run around, because those bubbles will go EVERYWHERE! I like to look for a nice, open space with a few trees or shrubs for framing. Trees also come in handy for hiding the bubble machine!
Related: Perfect Playground Photos
Bubbles are an activity that works best when there’s not too much wind, otherwise the bubbles will disperse too quickly. You’ll need a flat spot to stand the bubble machine on, ideally either behind a tree as or just out of frame so it’s hidden. It’s much easier to hide it in camera than to clone it out of every single shot in Photoshop later!
Your little ones will no doubt be racing around trying to catch bubbles, so you’re going to need a fast shutter speed for this activity!
Related: Capturing Kids in Motion
Think about different angles and perspectives you can use to tell the whole story. Get up close and capture the joy on those little faces, then take a step back to capture the whole scene.
Look for elements in the environment around you to use for layering and framing, and consider which angles to use to frame out any background clutter.
I love the sense of scale here – how small my little guy and the bubbles look against the trees.
So what if your final shots don’t quite have enough bubbles to fill the frame the way you envisioned they’d look? Well, then it’s time to get creative in Photoshop! I have a few different bubble overlays I like to experiment with, and Etsy have some good quality but relatively inexpensive ones. All Things Precious and MixPixBox are two of my fave sellers for overlays, textures and backgrounds.
The trick when using a bubble overlay is to make it look realistic – you want to accentuate what’s already there without overdoing it. Make sure the bubbles you add are similar colour, size and opacity to the bubbles that are already there. Also make sure they’re moving in the same direction so they look natural. And don’t go overboard – most bubble overlays are a full frame of bubbles, but you can use a layer mask to choose where you want the bubbles to appear.
If you’re new to Photoshop, or the idea of using textures, backgrounds and overlays freaks you out a little bit I’m mentoring CLG’s next Creative Workshop – Discovering Photoshop. I’ll be teaching how to use these fantastic tools to add an extra level of magic to your images. Check out the workshop details at the end of this post.
Emma Davis is a CLG Advanced Grad with a background in journalism and photography, a Kiwi ex-pat based in Sydney, and mum to six gorgeous muses who indulge her love of hunting and capturing light.