Hello!  I thought I would do something a little different today.  With the beautiful weather I haven’t been creating as much as usual.  Instead, I have been spending lots of time outside, enjoying my family and, of course, snapping lots of photos.  I have two kids, and I, like any good mother, am totally obsessed with this.  Therefore, I take tons and tons of pictures of them.

Although my oldest is only 2, I have gathered a few tips and tricks when it comes to taking pictures of the most difficult subject there is: your own small children.  I want to make clear that I am not a professional photographer, and I have no delusions when it comes to that.  I am simply a mom who wants to get the best possible pictures of her kids.  Isn’t that what we all want?  So, if you have adorable children too, I hope these 10 tips and tricks lead to better pictures without extension training or expensive equipment.  Just try to keep these 10 things in mind while taking pictures, and I am certain you will see some improvement.

1.  Always have your camera nearby

I take my camera everywhere.  It is almost constantly around my neck.  Sure, I lug it lots of places and don’t get a single good shot while there.  But, then, when you are sitting on the beach and you snap a gem like this, it is all worth it, and you will happily keep lugging it with you, on all of your adventures with the kids.

2. Lighting, Lighting, Lighting

This is a subject I am still learning about, but lighting is so important!  Lighting not only is essential, but it gives a photo mood.  In order to get great photos try to always shoot with enough light where the flash is not needed.  Often times a flash will cast a shadow behind your subjects, and no one wants that.  The best way to get good lighting is to head outside.  Watch that your subject’s faces aren’t in shadow when outside.

3. Get Close…and then Get Closer

This is a photo of my baby girl in the hands of her Great Grandfather.  Doesn’t it just melt your heart?  When it comes to shooting pictures of people you love, don’t forget about the details.  The details are why we love them.  Get close, and then get closer.  And remember, a photo doesn’t always have to be of a face!

4. Focus on Capturing the Moment…not the Smile

I love photos that tell a store.  This is a shot of my toddler watching his dad work in the yard.  Notice the details.  My husband has on word loves…and after he saw dad put on gloves my little guy begged to get gloves of his own.  The best I could find where green finger gloves.  Even though the shot is of the back of his head, you can see his emotion.  I would have ruined this shot if I had tried to get my toddler to turn around and smile.

5. Think About Color

Life with babies and toddlers is colorful, embrace it.  Don’t obsess with dressing your kids in matching clothes or having white backdrops.  Take advantage of color.  I love this shot because the kids are all dressed in their home-made tie dye shirts.  They match just enough!

6. Notice Your Background

This is one of my favorite pictures of my kids–mostly because of this sweet embrace.  But, I also love this shot because of the backdrop.  I snapped this a few weeks ago while we were on vacation.  We spent a day on Lake Superior.  In the distance you can see the mighty lake the beautiful Pictured Rock Cliffs.  It doesn’t get much better than that.  But, all too often I just start snapping, and realize I am taking picture with my back to the beautiful background.  Stop, slow down, and take notice of your surroundings.

7. Play with Framing

A photo is a rectangle, either horizontal or vertical.  To get a really impressive shot, play with filling up that entire area of that photo.  I love this photo of my sister-in-law and her new baby because of how nicely the picture is framed, mom on top, her arm down the side.  And this is my favorite type of new-born picture.  I just fee like babies belong in their mommy’s arms…not in a tea cup, or flower :).

8. Have No Expectations

So, I have a pet-peeve.  My least favorite pictures of babies are pictures taken in their car seats.  I know, I know–I’ve taken plenty myself.  It is the easiest place to get a shot, but I just don’t like them.  With that said, here is a shot of my little girl strapped into our stroller.  I would have preferred that she was sitting with the lake behind her (which is where we were) but, the moment presented itself and a snapped a few, not really expecting much.

9. Take a Lot of Photos

If you don’t remember anything else, remember this rule–when it comes to getting good shots of babies and toddlers just keep shooting!  This is especially true if you are trying to get a shot of more than one kid!  I’m not even going to tell you how many shots I took of the above scene…and it still isn’t perfect!  This is the beauty of digital photography.  Get yourself a big memory card and snap snap snap away!  I take tons of photos and I still get home and kick myself for not taking more!

10. Make the Moment Worth Capturing

The best pictures are of the people you love living life.  This is a shot of my niece taking some of her first steps.  The joy on her face is clear.  I didn’t need to prompt her to smile–she was smiling at what was happening, and these are the types of smiles I strive to capture.  Make a life for your kidos that brings out smiles naturally, keep your camera at hand, and the photos will sparkle!

I hope this has given you some useful tips!  If you have any other photography questions, I’d be happy to try and help!