I often share about encouraging moms to get in the photos with their children, families, spouses, friends, etc. When I talk at local libraries and moms clubs, I share ways to basically get over yourself and your silly insecurities and get in the photos. Your kids will love to look back at old photos of you present in their childhood, not just always behind the camera! However, this is physically easier said than done. So today I am sharing tips on how to literally be in the photos. (ie how do I set up the camera?!)
Timers and remotes are my best friends when it comes to getting in the photo. I typically only shoot with my DSLR so I purchased THIS intervalometer which made a HUGE difference in the ease of taking photos. I want candid action shots with my kids so I want the camera to just keep on shooting without me really knowing it is taking photos. I can set the timer to take, for example, 1 photo every 3 seconds 50 times and then let my camera just start shooting. This is great for me being able to play and interact with my kiddos, like in the baking example. You may want to invest in a tripod, however I more often just set the camera on a surface like a counter, a dresser, the mailbox, etc. I didn't use a tripod in any of the photos below! If you use a cell phone, I just found an app called PicTimer+ that seems to do the same thing with your cell phone so check it out! I would look into getting a tripod for the cell phone, like this JOBY GorillaPod that you can put basically anywhere.
When I do want a more posed photo with the boys, the remote works great for that too. Plus the boys LOVE taking turns pressing the button the remote to it keeps them sitting for photos longer. (don't forget to take the photos in public too, like the 2nd photo below where we are in a waiting room or at restaurants!)
2. ASKING FOR HELP
I obviously don't always want to set up the remote for my camera (but I do it when I have no other options!) so I will have to ask for help. Usually that means asking my husband to take photos for me. I am sure my husband is like many of yours- his photo skills are questionable. Heads get chopped, too much empty space, blurry photos...I feel ya moms! However, he now knows taking one shot isn't going to cut it. He will try different angles, positions, etc when taking photos of me with the boys which really helps me pick out a favorite photo of the bunch. I also have to release some of my control (and possibly lower my expectations) and be happy with what I get. You get what you get and you don't throw a fit, right?! There are several times Brad either insists on taking the camera from me so I can be in photos or he whips out his cell phone and takes photos without me realizing it. And some of my favorite photos may not be the best technically (like the one of me walking with the boys below), but they are real life photos of me and my sweet boys so I love them!
Now, notice that Brad KNOWS this is important to me. So make sure your family KNOWS this is important to you. It make takes a while to get them into the groove of taking photos without being asked, but whether you are relying your on husband, wife, boyfriend, mother, bestie... tell your family to help allow you to be in the photos too!
We all know how to take selfies, but take it up a notch with creativity. Use reflections, other than mirrors for photos! Plus it helps give more context to your photo rather than just a close up of your faces.
4. HIRE A PRO!
I have literally thousands upon thousands of photos of my sons. And I am in a decent amount of photos throughout the year. However, it is always still easier to hire someone to take some nice family photos without me being the one doing the work. This year I hired photographers on two different occasions : one to document a fun afternoon with candid family photos and one to get a nice portrait for holiday cards. My favorite types of sessions to shoot for other people is real life documentary sessions. This gives about 95% candid photos which are unique to that family and what their favorite activities. I have photographed families on archery outings, gingerbread building, hikes, trips to the lake, adoption homecomings, siblings visiting new babies in the hospital for the first time, playing with play doh or board games, making holiday breakfast together...just to name a few. :) Want to book a family session- I would love to hear from you! Want a mini session for quick portrait updates and holiday cards? I have my last day of mini sessions on November 17. Shoot me a message if you want to snag one of the last spots! Lastly, if you want to be able to take your OWN photos throughout the year (like I do to capture my own family's daily memories) then I can teach YOU to be your own family's photographer! I teach private photography lesson or you can check my workshop schedule HERE.
Hope that helps give you a starting point to getting in the photo! Email me with any questions you have!
I was looking for photos from a family session I did about a year ago to send as an example to a new inquiry. As I looked back on these I realized that 1) I never posted about them and 2) I still love how these turned out! And let's add in 3) I wish I had these for MY family when we are all together. I might need to start hiring photographers myself!
When I talked to Carol last year, she told me her family typically gets together and cook breakfast together so we incorporated that into their family photos. On a gloomy day, the family filled the house with fun, laughter, and love...and maybe a couple tears too. :)
I would love to capture YOUR family's quality time together! Contact me to get you session on the books!
I learned how to use my camera properly when my youngest son was about 5 months old. This means while I have plenty of photos of the boys while they were infants and babies, they are mostly an assorted bunch of out-of-focus photos with horrible composition. No biggie but now that I am much more into photography I am wishing I had a new baby to take photos of with my improved skills. I just have to live vicariously through my friends and clients!
So today I wanted to share a Five Tips on Photographing Newborns. These are things I would have done if I knew better back then...and what I would do now if I was able to convince Brad to have a fourth baby. Whether you are shooting with a cell phone or a DSLR, these tips are applicable to everyone!
1. Capture all those sweet baby faces...including when they cry!
If you didn't know, babies cry. A lot. So I love taking photos of crying babies and kids. I think their little pouts are just precious! Each of my kids had their own distinct look when they cried. Even now, if I know my kids aren't in pain, then I snap a photo of them crying because it is such a normal characteristic of babies and kids (and thankfully happens much less often as they get older!). So, yes- be sure to capture their first smiles, yawns, and all their sweetness, but don't forget about when they cry too!
2. Photograph all the teeny tiny parts!
While your baby is still itty bitty, photograph their tiny fingers, tiny toes, belly button (with the umbilical cord attached too!), ears, wisps of hair...you get the point. They grow SO fast and I really wish I had all those details captured when my oldest two were born.
3. Document routines.
The one set of pictures I truly wish I had was the measures I had to take to be able to take a shower during the day. When the babies were newborns, I often rolled the bassinet into the bathroom and showered where I could still see them. Yes, even with my third I was worried they would wake up in the middle of my shower and start crying without me knowing! Once they outgrew the bassinet I would have them sit in a bouncy chair with a couple toys. This process continued with each stage...blanket on the floor with toys for tummy time, blanket with pillows when they were on the verge of sitting on their own...until they crawled and all bets were off. For months I constantly had bouncy seats, blankets, and toys across my bathroom floor and I really wish I had taken photos of it all. So whatever your mundane routines are, photograph it! Those little moments are still meaningful!
4. Light makes all the difference.
If possible, try to take a photo with natural light. This means no flash, no overhead lights. However, your camera needs light to take a photo that isn't blurry. So what does that mean? You need to find your natural light sources in your house and use them! If you are planning on taking monthly photos, find a spot near a window for natural lighting. If you are documenting a first time eating solids, seat your baby across from the window at your table. Want simple newborn photos? Find a window and lay the baby on a blanket right next to the window in the light (assuming it isn't SUPER bright direct light). In this picture below, sweet Baby B is laying on a simple blanket on the floor with a widow about 12 inches away. Of course if it is too dark, turn on your lights because a photo with florescent lighting will still be better than no photo at all.
5. Learn how to use your camera!
Hands down, the best thing I did to improve my photos was learn how to shoot in manual mode. It literally changed my photos overnight. As I continued to practice and learn, I figured out how to get my photos in focus consistently (not just by chance!), how to make the photo look prettier than a plain 'ol snapshot, and how to shoot in a candid way (which for me is imperative with three uncooperative boys who don't like to look at the camera!). These are all things I teach in my Mom & Her Camera Workshop! This class is geared toward any mom wanting to take better photos of their families and is not exclusively for newborn photography. Everyone is welcome! I would love for you to join us on the next class (taught in the DFW area). Click the link to be notified when new classes are scheduled. Since these class are small in size, they typically sell out. Don't miss out on getting first dibs on newly scheduled classes. Click HERE!
One last parting tidbit, if you simply aren't into taking your own photos, or want to be sure to document this newborn time before you learn to use your camera properly, then consider a Bringing Home Baby photo session with me! Or perhaps a Documentary Family Session fits your needs. Let's chat and get you on my calendar before it gets booked for the fall!
As a former math teacher, I like to crunch numbers. As a self-proclaimed cheapo, I like to save money. So, let's chat about how signing up for a Mom & Her Camera class will save you money!
First, let me assure you that taking this class will be worth the small investment. In the class I teach how to use your camera in manual mode, thus quickly improving your photos. We then discuss how to take photos of daily life, real life, big moments, small moments...all without posing your children or asking them to say 'cheese'. We discuss quick ways to make photos more pleasing to the eye with simple composition tips that can be implemented immediately. The class is ended with a quick practice session on a 'model' so students walk away feeling confident they can take photos of a moving subject.
How can this save you money?
Let's add it up!
Camera: $400 (based on quick observation that most participants have entry level DSLR & kit lens)
Upgraded lens: $130 (50mm entry level lens)
Personal Memories Captured: priceless
Camera: $400 (because you already bought it and kinda use it but aren't happy with photos)
Christmas card minis: $200
Bluebonnet minis: $150
Back to School minis: $150
Family Session: $400
Vacation Minis: $150
*sessions are ballpark figures because we all know session prices vary from photographer to photographer
Now, let's also note that when investing in several mini sessions throughout the year, you are getting pretty photos. No one is going to deny that. However, are you capturing memories? Are you preserving real life as it happens? Is your child's personalities authentically captured in a 20 minute photo session in which you get 10 photos?
There is a place certainly for posed portraits. In the past three years I have had my photos taking by other photographer 3 times simply so I can be in the photo without the hassle of a tripod. But if I had to pick between capturing memories in my own home or a family portrait, personal memories will win out every time.
After you take a Mom & Her Camera class, you can take photos to your heart's content and keep the wallet out of sight! My goal for this class is for the students to be able to take all these kinds of photos on their own so they can document their own lives. They know their families better than any other photographer, so it makes sense to equip them to capture memories as beautifully as possible.
Bluebonnet photos. Done.
Back to School photos. Check.
1st Birthday Cake Smash. Super easy to do in your own home!
The 'Grandma' Photo where everyone looks happy. Perfect for Christmas cards and gifts!
Plus all the many many in between moments throughout our lives.
The math adds up, right?! Join us for my next Mom & Her Camera WORKSHOP June 10th in Colleyville, TX! Class size is limited so don't miss out!
Bringing home a new baby is always an exciting time in parent's lives. With my first baby I felt a little frazzled and basically lived in pajamas for the first month. However, Alyssa & Zeid were cool and calm as could be for their in-home newborn photo session! Not only that, their house was immaculate. They looked rested. They were like seasoned pros after only one month being parents! I have said this before, but one of the neat things about photographing documentary style sessions is learning about how other people live, how they interact with each other, and what their family dynamic is like. In just a short hour, I immediately saw everything they did for Baby S was as a team. Not much seemed to throw the new parents for a loop. Even when he cried, both parents had a smile on their face and as soon as one of them picked up the baby, he immediately calmed down in their arms. That sweet baby already knows his parents are a great source of comfort. Zeid is the fun dad who already wants to be playing with the baby- propping him in a chair by Mommy and then trying to give him a ride on the rocking horse. None of which was amusing to Baby S at the time. :) Alyssa is super sweet, soothing, and apologetic for Dad's antics. What a lucky little baby to be born into this family!
Don't you love the sweetness of newborn photos?! I really wish I had done this when my babies were born. If you are expecting a new baby soon, let's talk about a documentary Bring Home Baby session for you! Click the button to get started!
I met Julie through our local MOMS Club in Flower Mound. She recently moved here from Canada and was expecting a baby boy to add to her sweet family. For her maternity photo session, we decided to document what a typical Saturday morning was like with the family of three before it expanded to include a precious newborn...which will of course consequently will throw a big ol' wrench in current typical plans! I arrived early in the morning to catch a quick bottle for Big Sister, getting dressed, a wagon ride to the local pond to feed ducks, and then a stop at the park before heading home. The whole family was so laid back and a pleasure to photograph! These are my favorite kind of maternity photo sessions- showing real life and special memories to look back on later and share with Baby Brother.
Adding a new family member? Then let's take some meaningful maternity photos to document this phase of your lives! Click the button to contact me so we can start discussing the perfect maternity photos for your growing family.
Like almost every parent, I love taking photos of my kids. I have been taking photos of my life since my mom bought me a camera when I was in elementary school. I remember getting those flash attachments that popped. I remember getting film and couldn't wait until the photos were developed. Through school, college, and before kids I was taking photos...and doing a crappy job at it, but I still enjoyed it. Once I had children the focus of course was turned on them. I have hundreds of photos of them that I love (I mean, they are my kids so how could I not love them!?). However, they still are not high-quality photos by any stretch of the imagination.
What I really wanted was a nice Canon Rebel DSLR. It took a couple years of convincing my husband to get that as our 'couples Christmas gift' from my parents (it was way less practical than the new dishwasher we had gotten the year previous!) but literally the day before my 3rd son was born I FINALLY had a nice camera. Luckily I packed it for my normal check-up appointment that turned into an immediate c-section!
However, a nice camera set in auto does not mean my photos were instantly better. Sure, they were better, but not consistently, and still not where I wanted my photos to be. Focus was questionable. Composition? Never heard of it. Manual settings? Nope.
What I did know is that I wanted to take 'nice' photos of my children. Actually, I wanted beautiful photos of our life. I was set on mastering the camera so that my photos weren't just snapshots and kinda-blurry photos of my kids. So I got a private lesson on shooting in manual mode and from there I took a couple online 4-week classes to get me started. I practiced all the time and finally found something I was good at doing!
Most importantly, after really working on my photography for four years now, I know the reason I keep working on my photography hasn't changed. I do it for the love of my family. I want to preserve all these moments- the big and the small. I know I won't remember all of this as I get older. I barely remember what I did last week! But I can look back at these photos and I am reminded of what it is like to live with 3 precious boys, an amazing husband, and wonderful extended family nearby. When I flip through photos I literally have a smile across my face the whole time. I want to be able to pass down these memories to the boys when they are older and married and have their own families. I am so glad I invested in myself to learn to use my camera (and upgraded along the way even when I hadn't started a business yet!) because it makes me extremely happy and I am proud of myself for the hard work I have put into it.
I have read comments by full-time photographers who end up realizing they take more photos of client and don't have the want to take photos of their children at the end of the day. Seeing those comments reinforces my decision that I first and foremost am a mom with a camera. This is why I feel so passionately about teaching other moms how to use their camera to document their lives with my Mom & Her Camera class. No one understands your family like you do. I couldn't possibly come into your home and capture the EXACT personalities, quirks, and favorite aspects of your children. I can do a good job of making the photos pretty and capture loving moments like I did with Tracy's family, but only YOU can truly document your family perfectly. Luckily, you also have access to your family all the time, where as photographers photograph you in extremely limited time frames. If you value pretty photos of your family in real life, then please check into my class! I would love to teach you how to get started on your own journey of capturing memories of your family!
Perhaps taking photos isn't your thing. That is perfectly fine! I have a list a mile long of things that I don't want to learn to do on my own but I still appreciate. I can't decorate my home to save my life, but I appreciate my sister helping me make the house look pulled together with her interior design skills. If you are in the camp of appreciating photography but only if someone else did it for you, then I would be honored to help capture some of your memories for you! Whether going on big adventures or staying in your own living room, let's preserve what life is like right now with your loved ones! Fill out a contact form to get booked!
This weekend I am headed to meet a new baby for an in-home documentary style newborn photo session. So I thought I might share a couple of the maternity photos of these precious couple. They live in Fort Worth but we found out that they had just moved from Flower Mound...more specifically my street in Flower Mound! We were on opposite ends and never saw each other. What a small small world that we met in Ft. Worth just a couple weeks after living down the street from each other! I wish I had met them when we lived near each other because they seem like the sweetest people. So here are some photos from their session. Anyways, this maternity sessions was very laid back and captured what it is like with just the two of them before their family became three.
If your kids are anything like mine, they tend to act like a crazy person when I whip out the camera and ask them to give me a nice smile. In fact, I gave up on that many years ago! I have literally told my kids 'Don't even smile- just stand there so I can take a quick photo'. Otherwise, I have photos like this one of John who looks super creepy with his smile.
Or I get photos like Matthew's school picture. Does this look familiar?? Maybe your child's school photos looks similar to mine- a very odd smile and lifeless eyes. I only buy school photos for nostalgia...and because my husband insists on buying them. However, these never make it out of a box of photos in my cabinet.
Normally, I take candid photos of the boys so they have learned to ignore me and the camera while they are playing. They are used to me always having the camera around so it doesn't bother them. I have hundreds of beautiful photos of them and my walls are covered in candid, documentary photos. However, there are still times I want to take a photo of them with a nice smile. I am sure you do too! So, I am giving a way a FREE copy of '3 Ways to Get Natural Smiles from your Children'! . You can get rid of the creepy smiles and dead eyes and instead take photos that you can proudly display in your homes.
I am sharing my top three ways I get my kids to smile for the camera. These even work for the more grumpy who kids to refuse to smile, like my oldest son! So I promise the tips will work! Don't forget to also check out how I edited a photo of my son in the garage (yes, a messy garage!) and got a perfect portrait for our house without setting foot in a photography studio. Click the photo below and start getting natural smiles for your children!
A couple weeks ago we took the boys to visit Walt Disney World for the first time (and based on the cost, it might be their last time for a while!). The trip also included the first time the boys were on a flight (which is rather ironic considering Daddy works at Southwest Airlines!). Overall, we had a blast at Disney. It surpassed my expectations and even with long days spent at the parks and being part of a group of 13 family members, everything was smooth and relatively easy the entire trip. No major melt downs, no complaining, no 'Why could you possibly be crying in the happiest place on Earth?!' comments...the boys did amazing! For the first time EVER I quickly culled and edited the photos (all 400 of them) AND made a photo book. Disney really is magical even after the trip! :) If I lived in Orlando, I would be all over having Day in the Life Disney photo sessions. I LOVE how mine turned out!! I will spare you from looking through 400 photos, so here are just a couple favorites from our trip.