The weather is getting warmer, and that means it is almost soccer season for suburban children across America. Seasoned soccer moms everywhere are rushing with snack bags from their local grocery stores to the carpool lane.
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The Iconic Orange Slice Smile
This isn't your first rodeo. You know what being a soccer mom entails, and you are dreading your turn to bring the orange slices for the kids. Orange slices mean unoriginal pictures of your kids and his or her friends posing with the bright slices in their mouths. Well, if these pictures are going to take up storage in your camera roll, you might as well learn how to make them look good.
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Go Right in the Middle of the Action
It all starts with a "Mom! Look at me! Look at ME!" muffled through an orange peel: it is the inevitable personality pic your kid will insist upon taking. Wow! You act surprised, like you can't BELIEVE how creative your child is! "Take a picture! Take a picture!" He or she pleads, to which you begrudgingly take out your camera phone and prepare for the worst. You soon find yourself getting trampled by a bunch of eight-year-olds in cleats trying to make it into the shot, and... you're rapidly clicking the photo button just waiting for it to be over.
But this time, instead of just accepting defeat, you will take advantage of the opportunity to practice your photography skills. Try getting down to the kids' eye-level. This will send the message to them that you're in it with them, and allow you to take more intimate pictures of the kids' faces.
The photo will place the viewer right there where you were—in the middle of the action. The closer the kids get to the camera the bigger their faces and slices will look as well.
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Go for the Group Shot
A single orange slice smile can be cute, but a group makes it hilarious. Strive to get a bunch of kids into your shot. The group will amplify the silliness of the scene. It will also be a great picture to bring out at their prom and use to explain the love triangles to the other parents.
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If you want to bring attention to one child or don't know the other kid and don't want to get into trouble with the other parents when posting your photo on Facebook—use selective focus. Most cameras allow you to pick a small aperture or a "macro mode" that will leave one area in focus and blur the rest. If you are using your camera phone you can use apps like FocusTwist or Snapseed to blur portions of your photo.Continue to 5 of 11 below.
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Have a Lot of Slices Ready
While you are composing the group shot have plenty of extra slices at hand. These kids might be hungry and are eating up all your props. Maybe one of the other moms (or dads) can be your assistant and hand out more where needed.
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Play with Size, Shape, and Design
The bigger the funnier, especially with smaller kids. If you have control of the orange slices you can vary the sizes to give some kids a large orange grind and others just a little smirk. If you are into arts and crafts you can try cutting different shapes or carve designs into the oranges. Teeth shaped from the oranges or another peel sticking out like a tongue perhaps? This is definitely advanced orange slice smile photography and will result in admired results. You'll also get the... reputation for being the hands-on, artsy mom which is both sought after in the 'burbs. A quick Google image search for orange carving will give you a lot of inspiration and tutorials.
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Use Your Camera's Flash
Most of the classic orange slice photos are taken outside, right on the soccer field in bright sunlight. If you can not find a shady area get the kids so the sun is behind them. This way they don't have to squint their eyes. In this configuration, you will have to turn on your camera's flash. This might seem counterintuitive since there is plenty of light available but, the bright light might overpower your camera's sensor and leave your kids' faces in the dark. If you turn on... your flash it gives their faces an extra burst of light and ensures that they stand out against the summer sun. Because flash brings out the colors the oranges will also get an extra burst of saturation. (Here are 6 tips for taking photos in bright sunlight.)
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Document the Environment
After you have captured every last orange smiles and made all the kids happy by taking their photo step back and capture the surrounding scenes. Now that you have broken the ice and everyone has warmed up to your camera take pictures. There might be a beautiful or fun moment waiting for you to capture. People love seeing candid shots or behind the scenes photos. You can create a lovely album or sliceshow for your team.Continue to 9 of 11 below.
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It Doesn't Stop with Orange Smiles
The kids will quickly have other ideas on how to use the slices. They can be eyes, ears, or other body parts. Go for it.
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And if you allow it, your kids will have a lot of fun with all kinds of fruit art. Stand by with your camera and a roll of paper towels.
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Don't Forget to Have Fun!
I guess you shouldn't knock it 'till you try it. You might as well dive in and bond with you child and find beauty in the simple things—including sticking a slice of orange in your mouth and having your photo taken with the little ones. The grandparents will love it!