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  • Writer's pictureNicci Smith

So, You Want to Take Better Photos of Your Kids? Here’s How:

Everyone is a Photographer…

And why shouldn’t they be? While I absolutely recommend hiring a professional for the annual Christmas Cards, senior portraits, and absolutely the wedding day - the real magic happens in the everyday moments. If you want to learn how to use that fancy camera to take photos of your kiddos that you will cherish for years to come, read on!

I’ve always loved photography. I have the fondest memories of rummaging through all the photos from my mother’s childhood. I loved how the thick, black and white images seemed to emphasize the mischief in my uncles’ eyes and seized the innocence of the era. I love to dig through discarded photos at antique stores and imagine what life must have been like for those whose images have found themselves in the corner of a musty old shop.

The birth of our third child, Peter, seemed to emphasize the urgency of capturing every moment. During his 16-week NICU stay, I took hundreds of photos. I needed to capture those tiny fingers and toes. That’s when I decided I needed to learn as much about photography as I possibly could.

As a Momma, I thought all the images of my kiddos were incredible - even those that were a little out of focus or filled with distracting things. But, as I began to dive into the world of “Momtographers,” I noticed my images just didn’t have that “WOW” factor that some other images did. I needed to learn what set their images apart from mine. What made their images pop while mine were just “okay”?

So, I researched. And researched. And then I researched some more. And, while I’m far from where I’d like to be, my images have gone from this:

To this:

And this:

While I immersed myself in the world of photography, I discovered a few simple truths:

Lighting can make or break a photo

The human eye is drawn to light; therefore, our eyes will be drawn to the brightest area of the photo. If the only thing you learn how to do is to see light and shadow and transfer that information to what your camera sees, your images will still improve drastically. In the above black and white photo, the viewer is naturally drawn to the child’s left eye, because that is the brightest part of the image.

Special Moments trump the technical aspects

Even if your lighting is off or your image didn’t turn out as sharp as you would have liked - the moment will always trump the technical aspect of photography. Learning to anticipate a moment and shoot through it will leave you with memorable images that you’ll smile at for years to come. Don’t discard an image you love simply because it doesn’t follow all the rules - sometimes those are the best images!

Learning how the camera works is a game-changer

All those buttons and knobs on that fancy camera? They all do something to change how your camera views the scene. While modern cameras are pretty darn smart, we still have to tell them what we want to image to look like. This is where ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed all come into play

Learning what ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed are and how to use them gives you better control over the outcome of your image. (And gives you that blurry background thing.) Understanding how all the elements come together will bring your images to life. You’ll be able to play around with the exposure to get the image as bright or as dark as you’d like and you can use your shutter speed to show or freeze movement.

lenses are absolutely worth the investment

Now, I'm certainly not telling you to go out and spend thousands on a new piece of glass, but a few hundred on a nifty 50 will make a huge difference. The kit lenses that came with your camera may be a good place to start, but to have the sharpest images and the most control over your focal point, you'll want to invest at least a little bit of money into a decent lens.

Ready to dive in and learn how to use that fancy camera? Watch for some helpful upcoming posts!

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