I know I may seem biased being that I am a professional photographer… but having beautiful photos can change your life. And I am not just talking about hiring a professional for family portraits, I am talking about the photos you take every day of your kids and loved ones.
If you are a mom like me you know time moves by WAY TOO FAST. That teensy tiny smushy baby is now a toddler. And then that toddler will soon be off to kindergarten. Then you blink and boom– you are dropping your baby off at college.
There are so many big and little milestones over the course of your kids lives. And if I am being real, it’s probably impossible to hire a pro like me for ALL those little moments. For most families even being able to afford one professional portrait sitting a year is a big expense.
So what’s a mom to do in those in betweens?
Well with digital cameras being everywhere, including in your purse, you are probably documenting your kids yourself.
As a mom you are the keeper of memories. But how well are you keeping your memories?
If you are tired of missing moments because:
-they are blurry
-getting not so cute expressions
-having photos that look a mess (though you don’t quite know why)
… then I am here to help! Let me walk you through 5 simple ways you can change your photos for the better (even on an iPhone)– and more importantly change your life simply by documenting it beautifully.
1)Let There Be (Good) Light
Photography is literally the art of capturing light. So it makes sense getting your photos to have better light in them would be a game changer for you. Here’s some things that you really need to know to see massive results
–Avoid taking photos outside in direct + bright sun. – Professional portrait photographers avoid taking photos outdoors anytime between 10am -2:30pm or so (depending where you live) because this is literally such an unflattering type of light. Plus your kids will look squinty and not relaxed. I know as a mom sometimes this is exactly when we are out at the park with our kids and the moments are happening. One work around is to either find some shade OR take a wider shot– if your kids are small in the frame the harsh light is less noticeable and so are their expressions.
—Turn Off That Flash. A built in camera flash has to be one of the most unflattering types of light ever invented. And yet, if I had a dollar for everytime I saw someone using their flash–when it wasn’t even necessary– I’d have my son’s college completely paid for! Do yourself a favor and turn your flash off. Your photos will thank you!
—Open the Curtains. If you are shooting indoors you want to use all the natural light that is available to you and turn off your indoor lights. So open those curtains and blinds. Make your room bright as can be. Face your kiddo towards the light too so it’s actually hitting her face! It makes such a difference!
2) Burst Mode is for Movers
It can be so hard to capture fast moving toddlers and kids. Lately it seems like my son can simply not sit still for a photo. And though that annoys me, I still know how to nail the shot because I know how to work my camera. A DSLR has a few settings you can use to keep those wiggly kiddos in focus. But you can also simply use your iphone to do a better job (if you don’t have a DSLR).
Do you know about iPhone’s burst mode? It allows you snap many pictures at one time. The thought being if you take 15 pictures at a time at least one will turn out good. 😉
It’s so simple to use. Open the iPhone camera app (do not use a third party app). Instead of simply tapping the circle button to take a photo press and HOLD IT DOWN. It will keep shooting for as long as you hold.
Soon after, I recommend going through the frames of your burst and choosing 1-3 of the best ones in the set and DELETE the others. That way you won’t be confused by the bad ones or fill up your phone.
3) Move B, Get Out My Background
One thing that nearly all professional portraits have is a subtle, soft, non distracting background. This allows you to focus on the person– your kid– in the photo rather than having your eye jump around the frame and get distracted.
A tool photographers employ on DSLRs to do this is opening their lens up really wide to create a blurry background.
But even if you don’t have a DSLR, you can still think like a photographer. As you are about to snap a picture, PAY ATTENTION to what’s going on in the background.
-Are poles or tree branches “growing” from your kids’ head?
-What about other people? Are they pulling focus in the background?
-Any other eyesores in the frame?
By paying attention to what’s behind your child, you can frame your photo better. Often you can simply move an inch or two to the left or right or up or down and you can eliminate those distractions from the frame. You may also decide to get in closer to eliminate distractions too.
4) Fill Your Frame
This lesson kind of plays off of the previous tip regarding watching for distractions. In that lesson I just mentioned you can “get closer in” to your subject to also help avoid distractions. And while “zooming in” on your kiddos does help crop eye sores out of the background, that’s not the only reason to do it.
In portraiture, professional photographers often fill their frame with just their subjects face. It is such a powerful way to really see someone and is more eye catching than a whole full body shot. You can fill the frame with details too– like little hands or feet. It’s always very powerful.
To do this, especially on a phone camera, I recommend using your legs to help you zoom rather than the “zoom feature” on your camera. You see unless you have a proper zoom lens, which the iphone does NOT, you are actually just cropping into the photo and degrading your photo quality when you use the camera to zoom.
How do you zoom with your legs? It’s quite simple. Just walk in closer to your kiddo. Get up in there. Find some cool angles! That is what pros like me do!
5) Laugh Together, Make Memories Together
The best photographers are the ones that really have FUN behind the camera and make the client forget they are being photographed. I believe a client should always leave a shoot saying “Thank you! That was really a lot of fun!”
You are a mom, not photographing a client. But still… Why should photographing your kids be any different. They will want to be photographed if you are having fun and engaging with them while doing so. Photo time should never be a chore.
Be super silly. Fake laugh till you real laugh. Go to cool and fun locations. Make a dork of yourself. Involve your kids in the whole process. Act like a pro photographer in this simple way and you will find yourself not only achieving pro results, but you will also be making brand new amazing memories while capturing your kids!
I just threw a lot of info at you! And I know it’s good stuff. But sometimes when learning a new skill and art form it’s nice to have someone hold your hand and personally walk you through everything you need to know!
I’m actually doing exactly that in my FREE photo class which will have you capturing beautiful memories of your kiddos in just five days!
We start next Monday, so you definitely want to be sure to reserve your spot asap and get in at the beginning so you don’t miss a thing.
There will be daily lessons delivered to your inbox, along with a private group for support, and video trainings which will even be recorded for you busy moms out there. I will personally be holding your hand and sharing my secrets as you learn how to take your photos and memories to the next level with ease, confidence and joy!