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Lately, I have noticed a lot of fancy DSLR cameras out there.  Go to the zoo, fair, park, anywhere and it seems that nearly everyone has invested in a nice camera.  Or, every parent that is.  It seems like parents are just obsessed with taking picture of their kids!

Okay, I admit it.  I am one of those parents.  I am completely OBSESSED with getting great photos of my kids.  But, I have an excuse.  My kids are really cute.

For me, like many, it basically went like this: kids where born, I recognized that they were the CUTEST KIDS EVER, I bought a DSLR camera and I started shooting.  Three kids later I’m still shooting.  I have proudly become a Mom Photographer.

Being a mom photographer is more that just snapping a few photos on birthdays and Christmas.  The calling of mom photographer is more serious, (and more obnoxious).  Photography is, after all, an art.  So, instead of just pulling out the camera on holidays you lug that sucker with you everywhere and push people out of the way to get the perfect shot.  God gave us these gorgeous children.  Therefore it is our duty, nay, our privilege to photograph them in the most beautiful way possible.  Everyday.

And, I studied the skill of Mom Photographer under the best, my own mother.  She might have gotten her film developed at  Shopko, whereas I get mind printed at Shutterfly, but the picture taking is the same.   Here are a few tips I use to get great pictures of my kids.  No fancy camera or complicated settings are required.  Although, cute kids are a must.

PS–I edit all of my photos for free on-line using PicMonkey: crazy-awesome photo editing

1. Don’t Force It.

We all know what happens when you try to force a great picture–screaming kids and melt-downs means absolutely NO good photos.  Keep the camera handy and let life happen.  My favorite pictures of my kids were snapped at the most unexpected moments.  The picture below is of my daughter.  One night after supper she crawled into our little kitty pool and got soaking wet.  I stripped her down and she just happily ran and danced around the yard.  I got a handful of stunning pictures of her that night, but I love this one as she ran by me, glancing over her shoulder as she passed.  Ah, I hope she stays like this forever!

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2. Know Your House

Although outside pictures are always the best, I live in Minnesota and shooting indoors is what I have to do 50% of the time, or more.  Therefore it is key for me to know where in the house we have good light, and what time of day the light is coming in.

My favorite place to shoot is in our living room in the afternoon.  The light is really coming in at that time.  When we brought Dominic home from the hospital in June I wanted some pictures of him in his baptismal gown, before he got too big for it, so I laid down a blanket in that warm light and started shooting.

Since my oldest son, Gus, had rebelled against naptime that day, I had a little helper.  The way he loves and wants to protect his little brother is unreal.  Although Gus didn’t have any pants on he crawled into this picture and I am so happy I kept on shooting…

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3. Let Go of Perfection

When we go to shoot a picture of our kids we have that ‘perfect shot’ in mind, right?  You know, kid looking right at you, full smile.  That ‘perfect picture’, as we all know, is hard to get,  The more you scream their name and try to get them to smile, the less likely they will do either (or is this just my kids?).

This elusive perfect picture is even more rare when multiple kids are in the shot.  Of course I still try for those ‘perfect pictures’, but I have come to treasure the less than perfect pictures–pictures where there is action and laughter, even if I can only see the back of one kid’s head.

I love this silly picture of my kids and my niece in front of a bin.  The classic elements are there–the matching dresses, the lilacs, the stripes of the bin, the feathery grass…but that sweet giggly tickle is what makes the photo a treasure.

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4. Capture the Little Moments

The problem with only pulling out the camera on birthdays and holidays is that you miss capturing all of those little moments–the moments that your kids are just your kids…and beautifully so.  I might love my children’s little moments more than anything else.  I love the messy faces, sandy toys and wild dance moves.  It is in the little, unplanned, un-staged moments in life when my children’s personality really shines through; like this picture of Bernadette that I snapped at her brother’s birthday party.  The easiest way for me to explain little Bernadette’s personality is to show you this picture.  Yup, that’s her.

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5. Don’t Spend Too Much Time Behind the Camera

I have no intention of spending my kid’s youth behind a camera.  Plus, the only life worth capturing is a life fully lived.  I choose to get out of the house every day, even with 3 kids ages 3 and under…and I choose to lug along my big camera everywhere I go.  I really want my children to remember the fun, adventurous life we lived together…and when I get a chance I grab the camera and snap a few pictures.  So, when memory grows foggy we’ll have proof that we really lived it up.

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All the best, and happy shooting!

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