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Capturing Mommy's Favorite Moments: Photography Tips From One Mama to Another

One goal I have for myself as a parent is to fill a few photo albums with pictures of my kids as they grow-up, okay maybe more than a few. Haha!
The only issue is… I am no photographer. I have had no training, no experience and darn near no practice. Well, no real practice, I rely mostly on gaining as many pictures as I can and then filtering through them later, praying at least one of them is decent. 
Being as determined as I am, I figured the first thing to do was start looking for beginners advice. I searched and searched, quickly realizing that there is a lot more to taking a photo than I had thought! After I familiarized myself with the basic lingo (here  and here) I went to a few friends who are actually Photographers. OH MY GOODNESS am I glad I went to them!


I compiled all the advice I was given and put it together for you. That’s right, all in one convenient spot, because let’s be honest… parenting, mothering, home-making… it is time consuming work and the less time we have to spend going from one google search to another, the better!

1. Ask the Big Questions
– What type of photography do you want to learn?
– What equipment do you have?
– What kind of equipment do you want or plan on buying? 
– When can you get real life practice to study the art of photography?
Once you get an answer to these it becomes much easier to move onto the next steps, however it is not a requirement. Keep in mind you will most likely find yourself going back and editing your answers as you grow into photography.
Here are some questions you can ask yourself when you are ready to start practicing.
2. The MOST mentioned advice was this: 
Use natural light versus artificial or indoor lighting. From what I gathered the best times of day to take advantage of the light would be starting just two hours after sunrise to two hours before sunset. Approximately 6:00 AM to 7:00 PM for Arizonans like myself. Although, I did notice most of my best photos came around 1:00-3:00 PM in the afternoon.
If you must use artificial lighting get yourself a setup that allows for you to do so properly. A great place to get ideas for affordable setups can be found on Pinterest. I know, “Yay Pinterest!” 😉
(You will learn I am a big fan of mighty Pinterest.)
3. Get a Tripod
This is a big one for me especially. I am a naturally hyper, fidgety person. Trying to be perfectly still is down near impossible for me. However, even if you aren’t worried about your ability to have a steady hand, there are many benefits to owning a tripod. My favorite article on this can be found here. Whether you are using the newest Nikon D500 or your trusty iPhone 5 (yes they make tripods for your phone!), it can’t hurt to have a reliable tripod.
4. Research “Flat Lay Photography”
If you are like me, then nothing is too cheesy for a photo album when it comes to making memories for your littles! Taking flat lay photos of their favorite items can be a great way to preserve them, at least the recollection of them that is.

Some of the best and simplest examples of this can be found on Pinterest.
One thing I love about this style is that it gives the photographer the ability to use their favorite items for their blog, opening the door to who you are for your readers.
5. The Rule of Thirds
This one of my favorites because it gives the photographer guidance while still allowing room for customization. Say you have a great view, a sky full of color balanced by a landscape that offers everything a quality photo needs… you can use the rule of thirds and your tic-tac-toe lines to draw the viewer’s eyes towards one direction or another.  Find more detail about this technique in this video.

Leading Lines
This one is pretty self explanatory. Create a line that forces the viewers eyes to follow said line towards a focal point. Have fun with this one! If your kids are at the park, try to capture a picture of them at the top of a slide or ladder by angling your camera up at them while you crouch awkwardly at the bottom and beg “Look over here baby! Say cheese…” (Insert comical ‘we have all been there’ wink.)

7. Composition is Key: Balance Positive and Negative Space
Lets go over what exactly is a positive versus what is a negative space in a photo. Don’t worry, it’s not that complicated. Positive spaces are essentially the subject or main object of the photo. Most relatable example of these are self portraits or selfies, pictures that clearly draw the eye to one thing in the photo while still allowing a balanced amount of background imagery. Now, this is just one example… what are you supposed to do when there are more than one person or environments that aren’t primed and prepped in a studio setting? Well, this is where the magic happens. You as the photographer can create an image that allows for all objects (or lack thereof) to balance each other out through camera location or which angle you chose to use. For more on this I highly recommend you check out this quick video.
8. Props
Now you can get really creative! All those adorable newborn photos with little babies stuffed in watermelons, laid out near a guitar and placed so neatly in tiny baskets with…oh! Look! Is that glitter? Cotton clouds? The Cow Jumped Over the Moon?
Honestly the possibilities are endless! Even my littles love to get in on this one, picking out props, creating themes, designing outfits, etc.
For more ideas on ‘DIY photography prop ideas’ head over to our ever so trusty Pinterest.

I can see how this can be a lot to take in at once. Don’t worry! It doesn’t have to sink in over night. I made a check list you can print out for free as a reference. Just email me to request the password and link!
I like to think that with all rules of photography they can be broken (Wishful thinking, I know!) but try not to take any of this too seriously, lines aren’t always perfect and sometimes the brightness is too high. One of the many beauties of photography is that almost everything can be fixed with editing!

* Special thank you to those who helped me put this together. Be sure to check them out at the link(s) bellow!