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Type A Images is a portrait and wedding photography company based in Wisconsin but available for any place your little heart desires! If you are interested in booking your event or session, hit me up on email!

Type A Images has been featured on The Rock and Roll Bride blog, The Offbeat Bride Blog, WeddingWire's Brides Choice for 2010 and 2011, and The Knot Best Of Weddings for 2011. Type A also offers a hospice photography program called Kindred Spirits through the Beloit Regional Hospice, which was featured as WPPI's Photolanthropy of the Month for September 2010.


How To Take Better Shots Of Your Rugrat. | Wisconsin Family Photographer.

So, a few weeks ago I asked for suggestions on Facebook on topics I could cover (photography related or otherwise) on the blog. One suggestion was discussing how everyday folks (who don't shoot for cash) can take better pictures of their own kids. I thought, hey....good idea!

Now, this is not meant to be an exhaustive list of "do's" and "don'ts"...just helpful hints that will lead you to better captures.

1. IS the camera.
Now, I'm the first person who cannot stand when someone says "Awesome picture! What kind of camera do you have?". It's not a compliment, really. What that says is, people believe the camera does all the work. Not true. If you know what you're to use light to time things to compose a shot, you can take awesome images with any old camera.

HOWEVER, a caveat to that. Kids are fast. Very fast. And sometimes a point-n-shoot just ain't gonna cut it. They're slow to respond, you're gonna get blur...that's a given. They're grainy...and well, after using an SLR for so long, I find them to be simply inadequate for kids pics...even snapshots.
Sometimes you can get lucky, but entry level DSLR's are getting more affordable by the day. And hell...seems like everyone and their mother has one now anyway. Why not jump on board?

2. Stop...pose....say cheese. Um...No.
If your kid is anything like mine, getting them to actually sit still and do exactly what you have in your head as an "artistic vision" is near impossible. So, you're better off for your sanity and the sake of your kid's mood to kind of let them do their thing and follow them. You'll get better captures, more natural reactions...and you won't have to contend with the "fake smile", which while funny....never really turns out to be frame-able art.

Here is what I think about your "artistic vision"

3. Don't Stand...Don't Stand So...Don't Stand So Close to Me.
I've found just by watching people take pictures at weddings and family gatherings that they have this inate fear of getting CLOSE. I watched a woman recently take a picture of her daughter and another person. She carefully posed them by a backdrop she liked, then stood CLEAR ACROSS THE ROOM to snap the shot. What the.....why??? Why are you people so afraid to get up close and personal with your subjects? Get in there! Even if you just have a point and shoot! I often tell people "I'm gonna be all up in your grill for a few seconds. I apologize in advance if I'm bursting your personal bubble"
Get that stupid camera out of my face.

4. Take it slow on the "fancy edits"
One mark of an overzealous "mom-tographer" (as we call you behind your backs) is when they get a hold of some online "editing software" (normally free) and abuse it until its black and blue (or pink and sparkly with inspirational quotes). Now, far be it for me to say your editing style is tacky (ok...I'll say it...its tacky)...but if you're trying to rescue less-than-stellar shots by selectively coloring the eyes so your kids resemble characters from Avatar, you're not fooling anyone. Sure, your friends and family may politely say "Awww...what an awesome shot!". What they're really thinking it "why do her pictures look so funky and weird?" And not in a cool, avant garde way. In a "step away from the free editing software" way.

Now, I know how exciting it can be to actually figure out WHAT you can do to effectively screw up a picture beyond recognition. I myself had a little problem with PS brushes that I needed to seek help for. 12 steps later and I've made ammends and broke the habit.

A great shot doesn't need a quote from some country song....or sparkles...or selective color....or a hazy blue border with swirlies in it. All that distracts from the focus of the image. If you want to scrapbook the bejesus out of your pictures, do it in an actual scrapbook. But, great pictures of your kids should be able to stand on their own.
What did I EVER do to you?

5. Light!
This is probably, to me, one of the single most important things that separates a ho-hum snapshot from a great image. Great. LIGHT.
What you want to do is take your pictures during the best time of day for wonderful, warm light. In the summer, if you wait until dusk...around 6:30-7pm, you'll have some wonderful light. Same with sunrise (if you want to get up that early).
Midday light is not ideal for portraits. Overhead sun creates raccoon eye, and if you're not adept with an external flash for "fill", it can be not so great.

And while we're on the subject of flash...I'm in favor of taking a ball-peen hammer to the pop up flash mechanism on any DSLR. The light is god-awful. Learning how to effectively use external lighting can really change the look and feel of your pictures. Check out for great tips. Direct flash pop up flash is almost never flattering. Break the pop up flash addiction!

Great light can make all the difference! This picture was taken at about 7:00 pm in the summer

6. Learn your gear.
If you have a DSLR camera, it's important to really learn what those knobs and buttons and dials DO. Yes, you can just switch your little dial to the icon of the person's head and hope that means "awesome portraits"...but, if you have no idea how shutter speed, aperture, and ISO work in tandem with one another, you won't know WHY something did or did not turn out. Once you learn how those three factors weigh in on how a picture is formed, you will be able to venture away from your "auto" settings and shoot in manual (scary I know!)...which will afford you greater control over your results.

The first thing I suggest to any new camera owner is read your manual. YES, I's the size of War & Peace...but you bought this new camera for a reason? Right? Don't you want to know how to use it correctly?

Lastly, don't be too hard on yourself. Taking pictures of kids is no small feat. They're fast, crabby, and stubborn! That's what's so great about digital. You can shoot a bazillion pictures and a few are bound to turn out awesome. No worries, you're not wasting film! Don't be afraid to shoot, shoot, shoot.
Also, if your kid starts to have a major WWIII- level meltdown...time to put the camera away.

1 Peanut Gallery.:

Anonymous said...

Steve's comment is... just because you know photoshop doesn't mean you should use it! Great tips - thanks Amanda. Thea

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