TWiP Family 003: Q&A and Try It

Q&A and Try It

I’m excited to share TWiP Family’s first question and answer show. It will be a monthly feature of the show and one that I need your help with. I enlisted some friends in this first show to ask questions. For next month’s show, email me your family photography questions.

1. Chris

What makes a good background for group shot? What is the best way to get a big family portrait organized?

2. Marcin

How do you balance documenting family life and experiencing moments with family?

3. Virginia

How can I get consistent results in inconsistent conditions?

A big thanks to these guests.

If you have a question about photographing your family, email me –

Try It

You know when your kid is eyeing dinner suspiciously? You say, “Try it. How else are you going to know if you like it?” In this part of the show, I ask you to try something new when photographing your family. 

To celebrate summer, I’m asking you to get your camera out when your kids are playing in or around water. Keep your camera dry, of course. At the same time, don’t let the mere presence of water keep you from getting some great summer photos of your family.

Beginner Assignment: Play Around Water

Take photos of your kids in and around water. Puddles, pools, rain, or the bathtub. If your kid is wet, get out the camera. Simple.

Advanced Assignment: Play with Shutter Speed

Part One:  Slow Shutter Speed

These photos are taken with shutter speeds of 1/30, 1/80, 1/250, 1/500.

Part Two: Freeze water’s motion with a fast shutter or flash.

These photos are taken with shutter speeds of 1/2000, 1/1250 and a flash.

Share your work! (Do you remember your math teacher saying that?)

Post a photo in the comments for this episode. Let me know which assignment you did.

If you post by July 6, you could win a copy of an ebook from Rocky Nook. I will also feature the winning photos on the next Q&A and Try It episode.

Family photographer, Seshu from Seshu Photography and Tiffinbox will choose the winning photos.

Theme music by Sophia Sunseri and Rick Watling


  1. The first photo had a shutter speed of 1/2000. I usually hang out in aperture priority, so I never thought of manipulating the shutter to speed to play with water. The second photo had a much slower shutter speed of 1/400. It was interesting to see what happened with the water, to slow it down and see more of the movement. The third photo has a shutter speed of 1/100th of a second.
    Thanks for the inspiration to try something new!

  2. Hi Joy. Thanks for sharing your photos. I feel cool just looking at them. I’m glad you experimented with different shutter speeds. It opens a new world, don’t you think?

  3. It’s freezing cold here at the snowy end of Australia so water play photos outdoors aren’t likely, I could shoot some in the bath but my girls are getting older & modesty is setting in so I am sharing some images from our summer just gone, not shot specifically for this assignment obviously.
    The 1st image of my twins laying on a slippery dip was taken with a 70-200 so that I could stay dry, ISO 100, f2.8, 1/250th, there is movement in the water, with the light coming from behind them, creating bokeh.
    2nd image was taken underwater, with my old camera in a cheap underwater housing, using a semi auto mode as it’s not easy to operate in the housing. ISO 200, f/6.3, 1/500th
    3rd image doesn’t have much movement & whatever movement is frozen, I love the perspective & the colours, I am missing summer! ISO 100, f/10. 1/400th.
    4th is my daughter drinking at the fountain, taken with a fast shutter speed, ISO 100, f/2, 1/800th on my 50mm freezing the motion of the water.
    The last image was taken from the water while I waited for my daughter & nephew to have their turn on the inflatable obstacle course. ISO 100, f/8, 1/250th

  4. This is my best one so far. Taken w/ an Olypmus Tough Series Underwater Camera. Exp. was set to 1/50. I cannot set the MEtering on the camera, so the original image was too dark. But I took care of that in post.
    Lemme know what you think.

  5. Hello, Billie! fun to hear from you in Australia. My images seemed to have moved around too. My favorite of yours is the underwater goggle image.

  6. Hi Florian. He looks so happy here! I had an Olympus Tough camera for awhile too. (Sadly, it started to… leak!) I liked the freedom of having it around the water but it was hard to set exposure. I like how the water is moving in your photo.

  7. Yeah, I hear ya. That’s the annoying thing about these P&S-Cameras. I tried to handle the exposure time by fiddling with the EV-control in “P-Mode” in the camera. It kinda worked.
    The olympus died on me yesterday, so I’m getting one of the later versions soon – will see, if it has some more options to ctrl exposure, f-stop and the like.

  8. I love the Underwater-Shot. Just great! The b&w conversion adds to it very nicely…

  9. How long did you have it before it died?
    I tried an Outex because I wanted manual control in the water – but it turned out it was really hard to use all the controls in the water. I have yet to try a GoPro.

  10. Wow this was a difficult assignment! The weather in Las Vegas is SO hot already we don’t take her out much, but I did play with different shutter speeds and had fun with it the few moments we did have her around water outside of a bathtub and her sippy cup. Here’s a photo of her helping grandpa out in the yard.

  11. I just realized I forgot to add another one, similar situation different day. The previous photo was 1/800 with an old manual focusing 28mm.
    This current one is 1/60 on the kit 18-55mm lens, cropped from a horizontal to vertical composition.

  12. I had it for about 4 years. There was never anything wrong with it, and it is very tough; it was dropped several times and never complained. The thing that killed it was swimming pool water, because over the years the two levers that lock the battery/SD-Card latch got worn out and wouldn’t lock properly. So when the latch rubs against something, the locks can open…bad when you’re in the water.
    Anyway, the later Olympus-Tough cameras have a different locking mechanism, so I hope it’ll be better.

    I’ve used an outex-like cover for my old bridge-camera back in the day. Never got used to it. Its just too clumsy in the water. Also, what I see from the prod-vids from outex, you have to “feel” the buttons behind the rubber-cover. That would be a no-go for me; I’d rather deal with no-manual controls in a P&S, because I don’t need full manual controll that often anyway. The Tough is a P&S; thats what its for. And I’m not that deep (pun intended) into underwater-photography.

    There are a couple of cameras out there, monstly bridge-type, that have a plastic case with the complete set of buttons and dials in the case. So the case fits the camera specifically and you can use it just like you are used to without the case.
    But these cases are expensive, and I don’t know which manufacturers offer them…

  13. I am looking for a good solution for underwater/around water shots. Thanks for your comment. The Outex is very clumsy. It didn’t really work out like I’d hoped. Maybe a point and shoot like the tough camera? I’ll post photos when I get it figured out.

  14. Hi Jenny,
    thanks for the chat yesterday – it was really nice, and I hope the audio turned out OK.
    I was thinking of the Olympus TG3 yesterday, when we talked underwater-cameras. It does have an A-Mode and EV-compensation, so my guess is, it should be sufficient to calibrate the camera for most situations.

    I think using full-manual underwater is really really hard to do, because light changes all the time, and also, you are in the water, so you have to swim and look out for sharks and whatnot and do not have time to fiddle and refiddle your settings all the time.

    I bet there is lots of Panasonics and Sonys out there that are equally or even more capable than the olympus, but the tough-series cameras come at a pretty reasonable price, so that’s another factor… I dropped one of my olympus’ once. Never found it. Pictures were gone – that sucked enough, but at least I didn’t loose a 1000 USD Sony RX100III in a 400USD case on top of it 😉