hello erin »

taking better pictures.

Today as part of our link-up party i’m joining emily from Dear Owen and sharing a little something about memories. More specifically how i’m documenting them!

Once upon a time i was a wedding photographer. It was only for a few seasons- but it was a blast and i definitely got a lot of practice taking pictures. I’m definitely no expert, but today i’ll be sharing some of my simple tips on taking better shots.

1. Learn your camera. No joke, practice, practice, practice, and only shoot on manual. I won’t go into too much depth because everyones camera is different, but learn it inside and out, try out different lighting situations and find out what works and what doesn’t. If shooting totally manual scares you- get outside your comfort zone at least and shoot on aperture priority mode! I shoot with a Canon 5d Mark ii, and the much much more compact Sony NEX 6.

2. Invest in a prime lens. My go-to-prime lens is the 50mm 1.2. I even got a prime lens for my little camera (the 35mm 1.8 since the sony has a crop sensorย  it turns into the 50mm- most cameras have a crop sensor. which is why i love the 5d so much!). The lower the f-stop the better for portraits- it blurs out the background keeping your subject crisp and clean. With a prime lens its harder to stay in one spot and shoot, you have to move your legs to ‘zoom’ in and out, and it helps you capture different angles.

3. Lighting. direct sunlight sucks. It creates shadows on half the subjects face. Its just plain hard and not at all pretty. Find yourself some shade. Or take a big step back and have the subject doing something so you dont catch the dreaded shadows. A cloudy day is your best friend. Take full advantage of those low hanging clouds, or evening sun- grab your camera and go!

This was a super sunny day. So i captured lex in “action”.

This afternoon turned out to be super cloudy. So i grabbed my camera, we took a walk and these are some of my all-time fav lexi pictures.

4. Have your toddler “do” something. As these kids get more mobile the last thing they want to do is take pictures. I have the best luck by having lex “doing” something for me. she LOVES to follow orders. and loves to make people laugh.

What does an owl say?

What do the wipers on the bus do?

5. Its all in the eyes. Focus in on those eyes and you’ll never ever go wrong. Its especially important with a prime lens and while shooting with a low f-stop to get the focus right. It can totally ruin the picture.

5. good moods go a long way. You know your toddler the best! Are they happy in the morning after they wake up? Happiest in the evening after dad gets home? Post nap? Set yourself up for success and use those good moods wisely! Sing their favorite song, make ridiculous animal sounds, anything for a smile!

I know these are really basic tips. . . but they’re all the things i swear by when i get my camera out!

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  • September 12, 2013 - 5:06 am

    Jenny - Thanks so much for sharing these photo tips! I got a Sony Nex-6 about 6 weeks ago and I’ve been debating on if I should get a prime lens for it.. and I think you have me sold! Great tips on getting our toddlers doing something too. You have some amazing pictures. ๐Ÿ™‚

  • September 12, 2013 - 5:55 am

    julie - Awesome tips! I can’t wait for Hudson to follow directions…that is such a genius idea!

  • September 12, 2013 - 5:58 am

    Sara - Genius. Sheer genius.

  • September 12, 2013 - 7:22 am

    Samara - Yay! I just found my new lens:) I’m a hobbyist who loves bokeh and was in the market for a new lens…thanks for the tips!

  • September 12, 2013 - 8:06 am

    Jamie || Hello Little Scout - Okay, this is perfect and so is she!! Love all of these tips! I wish I had a better lens. I just have the kit one but hopefully one day a prime ๐Ÿ™‚

  • September 12, 2013 - 8:41 am

    Jenny Collier - Love these tips. I was a former photographer myself. Just teach other mamas to use their cameras now.

  • September 12, 2013 - 9:14 am

    Sara - Great tips. Love your photos, as always. That adorable little subject sure does help improve any photo! She’s a doll.

  • September 12, 2013 - 11:22 am

    Anonymous - These are basic but great tips that we don’t think to do! Love the idea of having them do things like the owl face ๐Ÿ™‚ Are her shoes on backward in the “cloudy walk” picture!? HA! Love her. And I totally agree, it’s all about the eyes, eyes tell so much!

    Hello Newlywed Life Blog

  • September 12, 2013 - 11:53 am

    Vanessa - How about you just come to Texas and take all my pictures for me, mmkay? ๐Ÿ˜‰ Just kidding–these are great tips, and ones that I think I can actually follow! Oh, and those eyesโ€ฆSO sweet!!!

  • September 12, 2013 - 12:37 pm

    Courtney - These are really fantastic tips! I never did use a kit lens. When I switched over to DSLR(I have a Canon T2i) I got the 50mm 1.8 to go with it. It’s been great for me but I definitely feel like I’m starting to “outgrow” it a bit. I’ll have to look into the 1.2.

    Great post, Erin!!

  • September 12, 2013 - 4:43 pm

    EHayes - so glad you did this post! I’m still going to pick your brain on some other stuff ๐Ÿ™‚

  • September 12, 2013 - 5:25 pm

    Kaylene - if you happen to see some photos in the near future or Rory looking like she’s meowing, you’ll know where I got the idea. ๐Ÿ˜‰

  • September 19, 2013 - 6:07 am

    Emily - Seriously, such great tips! Thanks for sharing Erin!! Your pictures are ALWAYS gorgeous!

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