Giveaway is now closed.  Winner is commenter #199: Nichole Hartmann.  Thank you everyone for your fantastic questions and comments.  You’re awesome!
 

nine tips for better photos of your kids

Life moves quickly, especially when you have kids running around.  The day can get away from you before you know it and weeks end up going by before you remember that you’ve not taken a photo of them in ages.
 
Back in the days before I had kids, when I was shooting professionally all the time, I didn’t worry too much that I wasn’t taking photos when I wasn’t photographing clients.  However, when our kids came along, I realized that I didn’t want to be spending all of my best talents only on my clients.  It was important to me that the people I loved most were being seen, by me, through my lens.
 
There are days when I don’t want to pick up my camera but I never want too many days, especially not weeks, to go by without me photographing them.  They change too much.  I’m guessing you feel the same way.  I’ve put together some tips for you to help you out and, hopefully, make it easier to pick up your camera more often.
 
To help you take better photos of your kids and put them on your walls, we are giving away a Kelly Moore Bag and a Canon printer (subject to change based on availability).
 
Enter the giveaway by asking Kelly a question or sharing something you learned from this post in the comments.  Winner will be announced tomorrow, February 26, 2016 at noon.

 girl hanging from a grocery store buggy in the deli section

 

little girl wearing pink polka dot pants and white shirt jumping into a hole from a tractor

always be ready

Kids move fast, and if you’re not ready, with your camera, you’ll miss it. Now, I don’t mean I’m here at home or around town with my camera around my neck all the time, it’s always ready… sitting on the bar, or in my bag next to the back door.
 
It’s important to keep your camera within easy access.  If you have it zipped up in a camera bag up in your closet, you’ll most likely not go to the trouble of digging back behind your shoes to take that photo of your kid’s messy carrot face.  Mostly, because you know by the time you get back everything will have changed.
 
quick tip: keep your camera in the area of your house that you are in most of the time, in a place that you can grab it easily and quickly
 
little girl crying with her head against her dad's chest while he holds onto her
 
 
three little girls eating popsicles with one girl licking the other girl's knee 

 

it doesn’t have to be perfect-be real

What makes capturing your kids in real life so special is that it is real life. Getting your kids all dressed up for a family shoot has its time and place, but what I’m going to look back on is the every day life of things. The mismatched clothes, the dirty house, the dirty kids  
 
quick tip: when you’re tempted to fix things or make a moment look better, ask yourself what you don’t want to forget about what’s happening in that moment.  if everyone is messy and what you really want to remember is how full of messy sweaty energy your kids are when they’ve been outside pretending and jumping and running, then don’t wipe faces or hands before taking the photo
 
little girl sleeping on a blue pillow
 
 

find the light

Lighting is everything… Finding the right light will make or break a good shot. Even if it’s just candid, and you’re capturing real life, why not take it from an OK shot to a fantastic shot by being aware of your lighting.
 
1. turn off your flash! I never use my on camera flash. Even if you’re just using your phone, turn off the flash! 
2. find window light. One sure way to make a photo more interesting, is to have one directional light. Sometimes I turn off all interior lights, and light the subject only with the window light. 
3. get creative! Use a lamp, use the flashlight on your phone, use the sun, it’s not important what you light it with, it’s HOW you light it . Again, I prefer to have one light source, I feel like this helps give drama to any image. 
4. when all else fails, just get the moment! Sometimes it doesn’t matter if it’s lit well, just to have the photo is worth it.
 
quick tip:  when you’re about to take a photo ask yourself if there’s a light you can turn off or on that will make the photo more interesting
 
little girl wearing a pink and orange skirt while spinning with water droplets flying everywhere
 
 
two photos with one of a little girl in a pink dress cliimbing up shelves and the other with two little girls in swimsuits splashing in a little pink plastic pool
 

use ai servo

This is a nifty function I really just started using, but when you hold the shutter button halfway down to focus, it is constantly refocusing as your subject moves. This makes it easier to stay focused on a moving target!
 
quick tip: practice using ai servo (Canon) or continuous focus (Nikon) for 10 minutes a day until you master it (you can check your owner’s manual or these online tutorials for Canon and Nikon more details)
 
little girl laying in bed reading a horse book
 
 
two photos one of a little girl crying while laying on the ground in a hallway and the other of two little girls sleeping on shelves in a linen closet
 

have a camera or card with wifi

If I have to download my images, put them on my computer, edit them on my computer, and then post them, I’m never going to do it. My world was rocked when I first purchased a Wifi card. This allowed me to immediately transfer images from my camera to my phone. I recently purchased a Canon 6D which has Wi-Fi built in. This allows me to immediately transfer my favorite images to my phone. You know our generation likes immediate gratification
 
quick tip: if you don’t have a wifi card, get one! —in the meantime, make it a daily habit to download your card to your computer each night and share one of your photos to Instagram. 
 

little baby laying on a white comforter wrapped in a white towel

two photos one of little girl climbing pantry shelves the other of a little girl crying at the top of stairs in a blue dress

 

edit on your phone 

I have several apps now that I use to edit my images on my phone. Two of my favorite editing apps are: 
 
quick tip: download your favorite app today and make it a goal to edit at least one image a day
 
little girl in a green shirt holding a dog who is wearing a sweater
 
 

pull out the good camera!

Nowadays, it’s so easy to just grab your phone to capture the little moments. I am thankful to have the capability of taking decent photos on my phone, but when it comes down to it, the quality of my DSLR can’t be matched by my phone. As photographers, we spent thousands of dollars on our equipment, why only let your clients get the good pics?!?
 
quick tip: decide on one day a week that you will get out your big camera. if you wish you were using your camera everyday, start with that one day a week of using your big camera and then increase the amount of days you get out our camera until it becomes a natural part of your day again
 
little girl sitting naked in a silver bowl
 
 

last but not least….just take the photo!!

I know I’ve already said this, but I don’t think I can stress enough how important it is to take the time to take the photo. When I was working full-time as a photographer, I got lazy when it came to actually photographing my kids. You’re behind the camera so much, and when you’re at home, you don’t want to pick it up. Don’t be lazy! Pick up your camera! You won’t regret it!
 
quick tip: just do it! set an alarm on your phone that reminds you to take a photo of your kids doing whatever they are doing when that alarm goes off
 

two little girls one sitting on the floor playing with a toy the other little girl sitting on the bed reading a book

 

print it!

What good is taking all these photos if they stay hidden away on your phone or on your computer? Every few months, I go to my phone and print my favorites. I have a Canon printer that prints beautiful 4×6 photos. At our last house, I had metal panels all the way down the hall where I would display these with magnets. It’s always fun to walk by and remember all those little memories  that otherwise you would have forgotten.

quick tip: get your own printer by clicking this link OR enter the giveaway for the Canon printer by asking Kelly a question in the comments below

little girl in pink tights getting in the cupboard on her tippy toes

 

black leather bag with a carrying handle an leather clasp with silver accentsThe perfect Kelly Moore Bag for a mom who needs quick and easy access to her camera is the Evangeline.  You can hang your bag on a hook, out of reach of little hands, and at the same time keep it open at the top so you can easily pull your camera out a moment’s notice to grab a photo of your child climbing on the counter or secretly coloring themselves with a marker.

 

To enter the Kelly Moore Bag and Canon printer giveaway, make sure to ask Kelly a question about photographing your kids in the comments below (or share something you learned).  We will choose a random person from the comments as the winner tomorrow, February 26, 2016 at noon!