What is the point of taking photos of my kids, if I am not going to do anything with the photos? If the photos are just mediocre, chances are I won’t be printing them or putting them into a photo album of any kind. I want to take good photos. I want to preserve the memories of my children as childhood is so fleeting. It seems like the twins went from baby to toddler phase in the blink of an eye. I am so glad I took photos and had professional photos done as well. Photos are a way of preserving the past. Of making memories more crisp in our minds. Of making feelings of happiness and joy come back again when you get to bring back a memory through a photo. Photos are a tangible piece of your child’s past. Don’t miss out by taking photos are just meh…and then you never want to keep them. Take better photos. Photos that you want to keep forever.

When photos are awkward or less than worthy of hanging on the wall you are due for a photography refresher. Everyone can take better photos with just a few quick tips. It is worth the effort, as these photos are our precious link to previous days and years of our children and their youth. Time that can’t be brought back, except in the form of a photo. My goal is to make my photos a little better this year. That way I am more likely to hold on to them and appreciate them a bit more.

Thank you to my sweet and talented friend Sunny Mays for sharing her photo tips with the Lake Cities Moms of Multiples Group a little while ago. Sunny’s tips have helped me take some better pics already with very little effort. She is a photography genius. Her work is more than just photos. They are works of art. Check her out at www.sunnymaysphotography.com. Thank you Sunny for sharing your genius with us!

I took my camera to a playdate last Friday to the Wizard of Oz children’s museum. It was a traveling museum and it was the last day it would be in Grapevine, TX before moving on. It was fun to take my three kids and watch them enjoy and play within each of the exhibits at this cool, fun museum. I even pulled out my camera to take some photos during the two hours that we were there. Which is not exactly easy when I was chasing all three kids who were running  in separate directions. I did manage to get a few cute shots though. This play date really wasn’t any more special than any other. Other than having better pics than we have had before! Thank you again Sunny!

Tip 1: Get down on your kids’ level. When you are standing up and taking the shots down at them the photos just aren’t as lovely. Sit, squat, or even lay on the floor. Just like you do when you play with your kids. Just add the camera and wow, the photos are much better!

Tip 2: Stop asking the kids to say “cheese” or “smile”. Let them play. Take photos while they are busy being kids. The photos will then show real life and their happiness in that moment of time. When you ask them to stop what they are doing and say “cheese” you get an artificial smile. You want to see the glimmer in their eye and the smile in their eyes, as they are truly enjoying what they are doing. Don’t stop them during their fun. Instead, say nothing and just capture the moment. Like I mentioned in tip 1, it will be a better photo simply because you are getting down to their level too.

Tip 3: Actually pull out the camera and use it. Yes, the iPhone is great for photos, but you are always in auto mode. If you pull out your camera (I have a Cannon Rebel T3i- which is an SLR type of camera). SLR means the camera is a digital single lens reflex. Most SLR cameras have a variety of modes. Usually it is a little knob on the top of the camera with a bunch of icons on. I am vowing to use these modes more often and take it out of auto. What  are some of the easiest to use modes? Action mode, night mode, portrait mode are my favorites, because they are easy to use and practical with kids. Action mode is perfect for my active kids. It is the mode with a little running man on it. At least that is what is on mine and I have seen it on other similar SLR cameras. I used the action mode quite a bit at the museum because my kids are always moving. When I use my IPhone, I get a lot of blurry photos because my kids are always moving so fast. When I take out my actual camera and turn it on action mode I get a whole lot of more usable photos- no blur! Portrait mode is good for those close up face pics when they are holding still at least for a moment. This mode tends to make the face and person clear and blurs the background a bit. Great effect that looks a bit professional as well. The other mode I like is night mode. I used this one recently when we went to the circus. It was dark, with just the light on stage. It worked perfectly to capture the performance in the dark. Below are some photos I took at the museum while my kids were in action, thus I used “action mode” aka the running man mode on my camera.

Tip 4: Use natural light when at all possible. Electic lighting can be harsh. Especially when it is overhead. It will give lots of shadows on the face and a harsh look to the person. Natural lighting is the best and always when it comes toward the object or person and not in back of them. We had natural light at the museum. It was early in the morning, so the sun wasn’t completely overhead yet. There were lots of windows, which was perfect to make the room lit, but without the harshness of yellow overhead lights.

Tip 5: Try to get the clutter out of the photo. How many times have I seen photos on Facebook and all I can look at is the junk on the floor, the unmade bed in the background, or the toilet seat left up in the back? Don’t be one of those people. If you don’t have time to quickly clear the clutter before taking the photo, then simply zoom in. At the children’s museum there were lots of other adults and tons of kids. In order to get photos that didn’t have lots of other people in them and clutter I simply had to zoom in. It is an easy fix and make photos a lot more appealing to the viewer.

wizard of oz Aug 2015 (12)

I am going to make an effort to take more photos with my camera this year versus photos from my phone. Memoires are precious and fleeting. I want to preserve mine better by taking better photos of my kids as they grow up.