I have been a professional photographer for almost 10 years now.
It started from desire to take better photos of my kids, and as a hobby, like so many creative things do. It just got bigger and developed into this thing that was more.
There are so many things I love about it -capturing beautiful images, editing them, seeing the families I photograph so happy, and getting to watch the kids I meet their first week of life grow into bigger humans.
I am fortunate to be able to do something I love for work, but I am also fortunate that the requirement to rely on that business for income to feed and house my family is not there.
I like that I can maintain a tiny client list -I am a referral only business which means you can’t book me as a stranger online; I don’t do creepy.
It allows me to develop relationships with my families that span years and years.
It allows me to photograph what I want -right now I mostly do newborn and first year family photography.
It allows me to spend time perfecting my skills and my product and my family experience.
And, it allows me to offer great family photos at a reasonable price.
Because I truly believe that every mom deserves beautiful images of herself with her babies.
I am not in a position to do this on a volunteer basis full time, and I know that my idea of “reasonable” doesn’t fit everyone’s budget so I also like to help moms learn to capture their babies at home, without hiring a professional, on a daily basis.
Here are some tips, tricks, and equipment that might help you take better photos.
Take Better Photos: 10 Tips, Tricks, and Equipment Ides for Moms
Go Into The Light
Light is to photography as location is to real estate, how’s that for an awesome SAT analogy?! To break it down for you, light is the most important thing in photography. Your camera requires light to work. Light determines every basic thing about how your photo will come out -will it be grainy, will it be too bright, too dark, covered in shadows, a strange hue, blurry, crisp. All of this is determined by the amount of light you have. Want great photos? Shoot in great light!
Bright Does Not Mean Bright Sun
Evening, just before sunset, and morning, shortly after sunrise are great times to capture photos. Cloudy days are awesome too. A lot of people think sun when we say light. You don’t want to shoot in direct sun -your images will be blown out, there will be shadows, and/or your family will be all squinty.
And, Say No to Flash
First, people overuse their flash anyway. If you are in a big room using your on-camera flash for a capturing a subject that isn’t very close to you, you’re wasting your time, your battery, and your everything. Your on camera flash doesn’t light much, and it certainly isn’t going to light your kid who is playing basketball on a court while you’re snapping pics from the bleachers -put your flash down. Turn up your ISO, open up your aperture, slow down your shutter speed, and take better photos.
Secondly, direct flash is ugly. It makes our photos and your face and your kid’s eyes all weirdy looking and gross. Use natural light whenever possible and, if necessary, use off camera lighting.
Think About Your Environment
Unless your photo is going to be an Internet meme, you want to make sure your background isn’t cluttered or busy. Your focus should be on your subject, not on the dirty socks in the background. If you want to do your own newborn shoot, use plain blankets or a bare wall as a backdrop.
Pro Tip: Blankets work better than sheets because they are thick and won’t have so many wrinkles.
Outside, brick walls, stair cases, and wooden doors make for fun backgrounds.
Try Creative Composition
Composition is about the make up of your photo -what you’re shooting and how. Snap close ups of their faces or snag pics of their baby hands. Shoot from behind your kids, capture them from far away, get them laughing and playing, or try snapping a few while they sleep. I like to shoot my active toddlers from the top down. Standing over them keeps them a little trapped and looking at you. You can play with them from behind the camera and when they laugh and their eyes light up, you will be in prime position to capture that magic.
Learn How to Work Your Camera
Many people shoot in auto mode their entire lives, which is totally fine, but your camera can do SO much more if you learn how to use it! Read your manual, try new things, use your camera in different situations on different modes so you can truly get a feel for how your camera can really work for you.
Don’t Be Discouraged If You Use a Phone
I do more than 90% of my day to day photography on my phone and they are still pretty decent. When shooting with a phone here are some of my top tips:
- Don’t zoom. It messes up the resolution.
- Try Burst Mode for things that are moving. This means your kids!
- Turn off your flash.
- Shoot in well lit areas.
- Go for minimalist shot. An up close photo of your child’s face or an image of them playing alone at the park from a distance is great.
- Get down on their level. It allows you to capture a better image of the real moment while seeing what they are seeing.
- Use editing apps. Filters and other edits just makes photos better, but edit AFTER the shot and avoid those camera filters you hopefully forgot you had.
Try Some Apps
For working with photos from my camera on my computer I use primarily Photoshop. It is expensive and it has a high learning curve. PicMonkey Pro is a good alternative. It will allow you to edit your images for all kids of things and it allows you to add some fun elements too.
Invest In Some Equipment
I have purchased tons of external equipment to help me take better photos. Here are some of my favorite things…
For My DSLR
- Remote shutter, $8.49
- External flash, $49.99
- External lights, $56
- Best lens ever, 24mm, $149
- My most used camera, Canon Rebel T6s, $849
For my iPhone:
Take More Photos
Practice, in everything, makes perfect. The more you shoot, the better you get. Whether you want to take better photos with your phone or enhance your skills with a serious camera, your best bet is to shoot daily. A great way to find inspiration and motivate yourself to shoot more is to participate in a photo challenge. I love this Project 52 by @lashwanwiltz. It really helps encourage me to shoot more images.
Looking for more tips? Check out Everyday Eyecandy. It is, hands down, my favorite photography blog.
*This post contains affiliate links.