If you are anything like me, you have your camera with you everywhere and want to capture every precious memory before it is something of the past. I want to help you make the most out of the photos you are taking. Most moms make the same mistakes when photographing their kids.
These 11 photography mistakes moms make can be easily avoided.
1. Taking too many photographs
Taking too many photos can be counterproductive. I am as guilty as anyone. I can come home from a family event with 900 new photos on my camera. This is a mistake most moms make. When taking this many photos, you miss out on the day or event itself. Pictures are a great way to keep a memory alive and capture your children as they grow, but if you are so focused on the pictures, you will miss out on the actually memory. There’s no point in having the photos if you don’t slow down and enjoy the time. Be intentional and selective about the photos you take. Even if you are shooting with a digital, limit yourself. You will get just as many terrific photos when you slow down and think about each image as you will when you just click away. This will also relieve you of all the digital clutter you end up with when you take too many images.
2. Asking your kid to smile
Do you ever get good photos when you ask your kids to smile at you? I know I don’t. I get goofy looks, blinking eyes, and a forced expression. Rather than asking for a smile, talk to your child while you take photos. Let your child play or engage in something else and every once in a while try to get their attention. Your child doesn’t always have to be looking right at you to get a good photo. Some of your favorite photos will be a look of determination, a profile shot, or pure laughter. If you are taking a family photo then try to get at least one with everyone looking and smiling. Otherwise, just get real emotion and genuine personality.
3. Only photographing milestone moments
If you only get your camera out at holidays or birthdays, you are missing the best photos. Not only that, but you are probably also missing out on enjoying the time with your family because you are glued to your camera. Rather than taking hundreds of pictures a few times per year, get your camera out daily and take just a few shots. At the end of the year you will have a selection of photos that really depict your life rather than just the big moments. Take your favorites and create yourself a family photo book. My favorite online photo book printers are Shutterfly and Mixbook.
4. Forgetting to look for the details
Are there certain things about your kids that you love and don’t want to forget? Those little chubby hands, dirty faces at dinner, their favorite stuffed animal or toy. These little details make beautiful photographs. Use a 35mm or 50mm f1.8 lens (if you don’t have one of these lenses, get one. It will totally transform your images!) to get these detail shots. You will love how you can blur the background to make the details really stand out using these lenses.
5. Missing the bigger picture
Sometimes the best photos include the larger scene. Step back and evaluate your image and capture the bigger picture. If you are taking a photo of your children baking with you, it is okay to get the messy kitchen behind them. Don’t zoom in on every photo. Capture the whole picture of the moment in time.
6. Lacking focus or sharpness
Do you ever feel like your photos are grainy or ever so slightly out of focus? You will be amazed the difference it can make for your images if your subject is crystal clear. There are a few tricks professional photographers use to make sure their images are sharp, including, decreasing ISO, using a better lens, and more. Read more tips here.
7. Always using your phone
It is so super easy to rely solely on your phone for photos. Most phones take incredible images. However, they lack the ability to control your settings, lose pixelation as you zoom, and make it hard to get any better at photography. If you are taking all of your images with your phone, but are interested in becoming a better photographer, start carrying around your real camera. Once you make this transition, you will surprise yourself with the quality of your images and how quickly this becomes a habit.
8. Never developing your photographs
If you are like most people, you have thousands of photos stored somewhere digitally, but rarely enjoy them. You certainly don’t need to develop every image, but start developing your favorites every couple months. An easy way to display new photos is to use a wire and some clothes pins. I have three wires hanging in our kitchen and then again in our family room. I hung them far enough apart that I can hang photos that have been enlarged to 11×14. Every few months I develop a handful of photos in different sizes and replace the photos that are there. My kids and guests to our home love looking at the photos. You can also change photos out for birthdays and other holidays easily using this method. I enjoy hanging photos of each child when it is time for their birthday so we can look back at special moments from their life so far. No matter how you decide to display images, just get in the habit of developing a few here and there so you and others can enjoy them! Shutterfly makes this super easy!
9. Waiting until the perfect moment
Not every photo has to be frame worthy to convey a happy memory. If you see something you want to capture, but the lighting is bad, your child’s hair is a mess, and other elements are out of wack, just take the picture. Thinking too hard about whether or not it will be a good photo can keep you from getting a photo at all. The first time we took our kids bowling I wanted to capture the moment and the fun they were having, but the neon lights made for some crazy looking images. Even though I didn’t come away with a photo for the Christmas card, I at least captured the memory. Don’t wait for every photo to be perfect, get the memory on film.
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10. Relying on family portraits once or twice per year
Professional family portraits are a wonderful thing and something to treasure forever. There is just something different about someone else directing your children to get a great family photo. However, don’t let this be the only pictures you take of your family or kids all year. Get your camera out and capture photos of your everyday. When your kids are grown you will want to remember the chaos, the mess, and all the daily activities of your family life.
11. Forgetting about video
Add in a few video clips every once in a while. Most cameras, phones, tablets, and other electronic devices take video easily. Little short clips of your children will add a whole different way to look back at your memories. These little videos will help you remember your child’s voice, gestures, and other things you just can’t quite capture on a still image.
As you get out your camera today, tomorrow, or from here on out, take note of these simple tricks to help you capture the moment how you want to remember it.
Want to learn more about photography or how to use your DSLR like a pro? I would love to teach you. Sign up today for my FREE manual mode course for beginners or if you want to really take your photography to the next level, take a look at my most popular course, Photography Master Course.
Take me on this journey with you! I would love to help you preserve your family’s memories one click at a time!