These photography tip from our affiliate Beryl Ayn Young are simple & effective tips for capturing better photos of your family.
Last month our family adopted a dog.
As first timer dog owners to a young pup, it was important that our family work with a private obedience trainer to not only teach the dog manners but to also help us learn to best communicate with our new family member. At obedience lesson #1, the trainer silently observed for a few minutes as Penny embarrassingly dragged us all around her backyard.
Penny was sweet as could be in the house, but once outside and on a leash, she was a puller. Taking us all over the place while being distracted by roses, birds, cars, kids, grass, rocks, air. She was thrilled to be outside and wanted to take it all in, much like the toddler on a mission. She wanted to soak in the first day of Spring: skip, climb, jump, and play in and around the yard.
Then the trainer looked at us and very matter-of-factly stated, “You need to remember who is leading who and confidently direct Penny where you want her to go.”
The way our trainer approaches dog training is exactly the way I approach photography with my kids and it’s how I teach my students to approach photography with their kids as well.
With the right steps given consistently, in the right order, and with just the right amount of confidence, we’ve built a series of strategies in a relatively short amount of time to make life with Penny much more pleasant.
In photography, so many moms voice frustration over the moments when their kids aren’t into taking pictures. They whine and complain that the camera is out again, they run away from the lens as soon as it’s in their face, or they simply move too fast for you to act quick enough to get a good shot.
What if I told you the fastest correction you can make to improve your photos isn’t necessarily from learning about ISOs, Apertures, and Shutter Speeds just yet?
It’s about teaching you to take control of your environment and be the director of your ‘real life’ moments.
Just like we had to learn new techniques to lead Penny on our family walks, you have to learn the right strategies to capture your kids and family beautifully and authentically.
A Mom’s Guide to Better Photos — Capturing Authentic Family Photos
Today I’m going to teach you 3 of those strategies and in a few weeks (after you’ve had a chance to do some homework and practice), I’ll bring you 3 more techniques to try.
With consistent practice and patience, I know the payoff will come in seeing beautiful images of your family on the playback screen of your camera.
Ready? Let’s get snapping!
Technique 1: Find (the right) light when taking family photos
The way you analyze and use light can make or break a photo no matter what mode you’re working with on your camera. When indoors you need to find well-lit rooms during the day and turn your child toward windows (so they’re looking outside). This will fill their face with beautiful light and you’ll get the signature ‘twinkle’ or ‘catchlights’ in their eyes.
When outdoors on bright sunny days, you as the photographer will want to be looking into the sun to avoid your child having squinty eyes or harsh sun spots and shadows on their face. If light is something you still struggle with, I’ve got more tips to help you find the right light right here.
Technique 2: Choose (a great) location for your photo shoots
The right location for your photos does not have to be a Pinterest worthy award-winning open field of wildflowers or tall grass. A great location is one that has decent light, one where your kids are content and happy, and one with minimal clutter and visual distractions. This could be a tiny area of your family room where you’ve cleared a mess of toys out of the way, the area of mature bushes and tulips outside your home, or the picket fence lining your yard.
Technique 3: Ask your kids (engaging) questions when taking photographs
One of the biggest lessons I’ve learned when taking photos of my young daughter is that she doesn’t care about the camera like I do. She cares about interacting and engaging with me and the people she loves. She thrives when all attention is on her and we’re doing the activities she enjoys.
The camera is my happy place, interacting and playing is hers. So the more I can do to carry on a conversation with her while I snap away the better the photo outcome will be. In the photo above she was snuggling with Penny on the couch and all I had to do was ask her to tell Penny she loved her and this was the resulting photo.
Now it’s your turn to go out, be the leader of your next photo shoot, and grab some images!
Meet Beryl Ayn Young
Hi, I’m Beryl. Mom, photographer, and teacher who wants to help you beautifully capture the life you love. I remember how excited I was the day I brought my first DSLR. I thought I’d take my camera out of the box and it would take amazing professional quality photos. After months of trying to figure out the camera on my own I was still frustrated with images that were blurry, dark, dull and out of focus.
Now, I’ve taken my expertise in teaching and my passion for photography to develop a system that breaks down technical photography in a way that will quickly build your confidence behind the lens. My goal with Momtographie is to help as many women as possible learn to love using their DSLR cameras in manual mode and love the life they’re living too. Learn more about the course here!