Whether you use your phone, a point & shoot camera or a fancy DSLR, these tips will help you create better photos this summer of memories with your kids and tell stories that they’ll remember looking back!
*Find Good Light.* Photography is all about the light. When indoors, utilize the light from an open window or door to create pretty catch lights in their eyes. When outside, take advantage of open shade or the hour before sunset (or hour after sunrise if you want an early morning) for soft even lighting. If you don’t have a choice in time of day, and are snapping photos as they unfold, keep an eye on shadows. Trees can create weird spotty lighting as the light filters through the branches. Sometimes just moving a few inches in any direction will make a huge difference. When outside in full sun, facing your subject away from the sun will give you dark shadows and facing them into the sun results in squinty eyes. Your best option for outdoor photos is to put the sun at a diagonal so its not directly in front of or behind your subject. You’ll still have some shadowing but not as much (and cuter faces).
*Tell A Story.* Think about the big picture of your outing or adventure with 2-5 images. The 5 W’s (Who, What, When, Where, Why) can often be captured in a few photos creating a full story, making it easier to look back and remember the day through the details. An easy way to think about it is “wide, closer, closest”. One photo is a full shot of the event/area/additional people; Next photo is a closer shot of your subject in action. Finally, detail photos that will prove to be invaluable in the years to come.
*Get IN the Photos!* Learn how to use a self timer or remote and be part of the story. So often, we are the ones behind the camera and never in the photos of our children’s adventures. Learn to use a self-timer app, get a remote for your camera or be brave and ask someone nearby to snap a photo for you. Selfies can only tell a portion, so figure out how to get creative with YOU in the photo. (And don’t start with excuses of why you can’t be in photos. Your kids don’t care if your hair is messy, you still have baby weight, or you haven’t showered in 2.5 days. They just want to see you in their memories of their summer fun!)
*Embrace the Imperfection.* To coincide with the previous tip, life is messy. Its real. Embrace it. The house looks as if a bomb went off, but the kids are having a blast. If a moment presents itself for a photo, take it anyway. The real life moments often make the best memories in photos. Embrace the imperfection in your photos as well. While I don’t suggest keeping 2,000 out of focus or awfully lit photos, sometimes an image has emotion despite a focus issue or blurry kid. My rule of thumb is keep it if it tells the story, toss it in a few years if no one remembers why you took it or what it is.
*Backup, Print & Display!* Last, but not least, create a system for backing up and displaying your photos. Don’t let your memories live as jpg files on a device. Back them up to the cloud, an external hard drive or both, and then also PRINT them! Its not a matter of if your tech will fail, but when, so have multiple backups in various places as well as hard copies in albums, books or frames. Your children want to be able to see and relive their memories as they grow. They don’t have access to your phone or memory cards, so find a way that works for you to create prints for their future.
And because its summer and kids are home driving us crazy, I’ve put together a fun Summer photo challenge! Play along and use #EVMBSummerPhoto when you post to Instagram or Facebook!