Photography, Adventure, Gear and other Musings


How To Take Better Pictures Of Your Kids

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Kids are a lot of fun to photograph, they love to pose, be silly and be just plain goofy.  When I photograph kids I prefer them to be themselves, to be silly and goofy.  Many posed photos hide a kids personality, which is often easy to photograph if you let a kid be a kid and not a model.  Over the years, here is what I have learned about photographing kids.  I’m still learning myself, and I’m interested in learning from your experiences.  I’m interested in what you have learned, so please leave comment at the end of the post.

Choose the right camera

The best camera money can buy is the one in your hands.  To take great pictures of your kids, you do not need an expensive camera, you just need to understand how to use it.  A camera will not take a better picture by itself, that is why you need to understand lighting, perspective and composition.  You don’t need to be an expert to use a camera; however, take some time read your camera’s manual to understand how it works and how to take advantage of some of its more advanced features.

Choose natural light over a flash

The on-camera flash can produce harsh shadows, blown-out highlights, and generally unpleasant light.  To get around this, get near a window, or move outside, use the natural (available) light around you.  Personally, I’m not a flash person, I use only the available light.  I normally have my flash turned-off.  Available light photography differentiates itself by emphasizing its naturally intimate charm; it focuses less on the obvious features and actions of your kids.

Avoid the center

Fight the temptation to center your child in the camera frame.  A more intimate effect can be achieved by offsetting the main focus of the photo.  One of the golden rules of photography is the rule of thirds.  The rule of thirds basically divides the camera frame into 9 even sized blocks, or three rows by three columns.  Your photo subject should touch one of the imaginary lines create by dividing the frame into thirds.

Get down to their level and vary perspective

Don’t take pictures standing up looking down on your kids.  When you do this, perspective can be distorted and kids tend to look up making them look a bit unnatural.  Instead, bend over, get down on your knees, get down to their level for a more natural look.

Make your kids laugh

Cheese makes for a fake smile.  Kids are a great subject, get them at their best by watching them for their great moments and don’t worry about the perfect pose.

Take close ups and be candid

It’s not about the scenery, it’s about a good picture of your kids.  Fill the frame with their face. Capture your kids brushing their teeth, eating their breakfast cereal, zoning out on the couch, hanging upside down on a play ground.  These are the moments when they are themselves, and often make some of the best pictures.

Written by Chris

January 17th, 2014 at 1:06 pm

Posted in How-To

How To Take Better Holiday Pictures

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img_7762The holidays are right around the corner, and family and friends will be visiting soon for a festive season.  It can also be a stressful time trying to capture these fun moments with your camera, leaving the season as a bit of a buzz kill.  Here are some tips to taking better holiday photos this year.

Be Prepared
Make sure your camera is ready.  Have the battery charged and memory card clear.  It sucks missing the once in a lifetime moment because your camera is not ready.  Take some time before family events and Christmas eve to make sure your gear is ready to go.

Start Early
img_7744-editYou don’t have to wait for family to come over to start photographing.  Capturing the kids hanging christmas lights, Dad putting up the tree, or Mom whipping up christmas cookies, these are memories in and of themselves worth capturing for the build up to the main event.

Capture the excitement
Taking a photo of the family in front of the tree is… let’s say, rather boring.  Forced and posed, you might as well use cardboard cutouts of your family to photograph.  Instead, photograph opening gifts, making christmas cookies together, capture the joy and excitement of the season.

Don’t be a poser
img_7799-edit-2There is nothing better than capturing a real smile. To me, the canned smile can ruin a photo and make the shot look forced instead of natural.  For the best “real” photos, try to take photos as the action unfolds, but don’t always feel the need to tell people to pose or smile. Try to capture real emotions as they unfold, and capturing the natural joy of an emotion in their face.

Enjoy the season, the holidays are more than capturing the perfect moment.  The point is to capture the event for memories sake, but not to miss the event due to a camera to your eye the entire time.  Remember to enjoy your family, a photo opportunity will always be there, but the time spent with family will be finite.


I hope everyone enjoys the season, Merry Christmas!

  • Aperture: ƒ/1.8
  • Focal length: 50mm
  • ISO: 200
  • Shutter speed: 1/3200s

Written by Chris

December 22nd, 2013 at 7:00 pm

Posted in How-To

How-to: Want to take better landscape photos?

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I found this great guide in helping take landscape photos from Digitalcamera.com.

Written by Chris

September 21st, 2012 at 6:00 am

How To Get Started Taking Great Shots

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I hope as part of this website endeavor to help those around me (physically and virtually) to take great pictures.  Once a week I will attempt to put out some helpful how-to articles to help you go from great snapshots to great photos.

Trey Ratcliff is a photographer that I have a lot in common with (we are both Computer Science Majors, have taken up Photography in the last few years, both good looking…)   I use his photos and his tutorials to improve my own skills.  He recently introduced a 4 video Art of Photography series for beginer to intermediate photographers.  Below is a free 27 minute how-to video that he offers through his website.  If you have not visited his website, I strongly recommend it!  You can visit Trey at stuckincustoms.com

Written by Chris

September 14th, 2012 at 6:00 am

Posted in Front Page,How-To