Have you been missing out on those priceless family moments? We have 10 easy tips of capturing those moments. There is a saying among photographers – the camera doesn’t make the photographer, the photographer makes the photographer.
This couldn’t be more true. You could have the most expensive camera on the market, but if you don’t know how to use it or use the light around you, your pictures will be awful. On the flip side, if you understand basic photography techniques, you can make beautiful images with just your phone camera.
I’m a photographer and a mama and I am passionate about helping other moms learn how to take photos of their kids. The pictures I have of my son are probably the most special “physical” possessions I have. I want other mamas to have these moments, too.
10 Tips to Capturing the Best Family Moments
The following are some of my favorite photography tips & I hope they’ll be beneficial to you and help you take better photos of your babies.
1. Understand how your camera works
Whether you use your phone camera or a fancy camera, understanding how it works can make a world of difference in your photography.
There are so many super easy ways to use your phone camera better. I made you guys a list of 12 ways you can improve your phone photography, which you can get HERE. http://eepurl.com/dkmfzv
If you use a DSLR camera Google is your friend. I know everyone says read your manual…but that has got to be the most boring way to learn.
Youtube and blog posts are a great place to start!
2. Use Natural Light
Turn off all of the artificial lights in the room. This will take the unnatural yellow glow out of your photos. Start using only natural window light to take your photos. This will improve your photography significantly!
Note: obviously don’t miss a special moment or milestone just because it’s dark and the lights are on. But be intentional and don’t sabotage natural light when it’s available.
3. Learn how to use light
Good lighting is one of the most important factors in taking a good photo. I challenge you to observe your home for a full day and find where the lighting is the best. Don’t exclude any rooms (bathrooms with windows and garages are two of my FAVORITE places to take pictures).
4. Remove Distractions
Over the last few years our family has adopted a really minimalist lifestyle and it has improved my photography so much. I’m not saying you have to become a minimalist, but keep it in mind when you go to take a picture. Remove unwanted distractions and keep things simple.
Basically, composition is being creative and mindful with how you frame or arrange your picture. Use different angles; move closer or further away etc.
There are tons of ways to make a photo look more creative by the way you compose it. You’ve probably heard of the Rule of Thirds – this is one of the most common ways to make a photo more interesting (if you don’t know what this is, do a quick Google search).
6. Take Pictures with Your Kids
As mamas, we are typically the ones behind the camera. Don’t let this become the norm. Hand your camera off to someone else or learn how to take a self-portrait. I have a step-by-step Instagram story saved to my highlights where I teach how to do this with a phone or DSLR camera. You can find it HERE. (https://www.instagram.com/hellojessiemartin/)
It’s easy to feel self-conscious in front of the camera and not know what to do with yourself. For this reason, I made a guide with my favorite tips to take a more flattering photo. You can download it HERE.
7. Edit your Photos
The first step in improving your photography is to learn how to take a better picture, but there is a lot to be said about a good editing process.
I use three main editing apps: Snapseed, Lightroom, and VSCO.
Download these apps and play around with them. VSCO has several free filters you can put on your photos. It’s important to make additional edits to these filters – don’t rely on the filters alone.
Snapseed can be a little overwhelming. I reserve this app for two features. VSCO and Lightroom both limit how you can crop, but Snapped gives you total control. I always crop in Snapseed. I also really like the “Heal” tool to remove small blemishes etc.
Here is an editing cheat sheet that explains all of the actions in VSCO and Lightroom. You can download it HERE!
8. Develop a Consistent Photography Style
Have you ever been scrolling Instagram, seen a photo, and without looking at the name you know exactly who took the picture? This is because this person has a photography ‘style’ they have been intentional and consistent with.
There are so many photography styles and each person is going to be unique. A few examples are bright and airy, dark and moody, minimalist or busy etc.
Start a Pinterest board with photos, colors, and tones that stand out to you. Take note of the way you decorate your home or the colors you choose to wear. These things can tell you a lot about your ‘style’ and will help you develop an honest photography style that is true to who you are.
It takes time to develop your own style and there is a lot of trial and error, but I guarantee it will make you fall in love with photography even more. You’ll be more inspired and you’ll love your photos even more.
9. DON’T pose your kids
You heard me. Don’t pose your kids. The occasional posed photo is one thing, but don’t make your kids do something specific every time or make taking pictures a burden on them. Even my nine month old can get irritated with me when I’m constantly shoving the camera in his face. How much more will kids get frustrated if we are continually directing them and interrupting them?
I try to pick a time during the day to pull out my camera, but I try not to overdue it. I give myself 15-20 minutes and then I put it away.
10. Practice makes Perfect
I know. This is such an annoying tip. But seriously, just practice. The more often you pick up your camera (or phone) to take pictures, the better you will get. You can challenge yourself by doing a photo project, like a 365 photo a day project, or you can just choose to be more intentional. Don’t be discouraged if your photos don’t look the way you envision. Continue to pick up your camera and you have no other option than to get better.
A fabulous guest post from our friend Jessie. Jessie Martin is a small-town PNW photographer & educator. She is a wife and mama who is passionate about helping other moms learn to take pictures of their kids, regardless of their camera equipment. She teaches moms how to apply the same techniques she's learned as a professional photographer to their own personal photography.
You can follow her: