Photography has been a hobby of sorts since I was young, I was always the one with an instant camera back in my school days, or with a disposable camera at university capturing all of our moments. But it wasn't until I became a parent that I realised how important taking photos was. Shortly after my eldest daughter was born, I upgraded my camera to a DSLR and my real photography passion was born.
I absolutely love to snap away and capture our family memories, whether with my DSLR or my phone. I am completely self-taught, but over the years have learnt a lot about photography and now taking photos is one of my favourite things to do. So I am honoured to be writing a series of posts for Lifecake, my first includes five tips on creating and capturing the best family moments that you'll want to look back on....
Get in the photo too
I think my number one tip would be to get in the photo yourself. Whenever I look back of photos of my childhood, I love to see ones of me, but the ones I love the most are the ones where my mum and dad are in the photo too, or my grandparents and sister. I love to look back and laugh at my dad's dodgy looking moustache or my mum's 80's haircut. So many parents are self-conscious about being in front of the camera, but I can guarantee that these will be the pictures you and your children treasure the most in years to come.
You can invest in a cheap tripod and use the self-timer on your camera and run back and forth, or you can even invest in a remote control. Find what works for you and get in the picture! These three photos were all taken with our camera on a tripod using the self timer function, and they are some of my favourites.
Capture the little details
Of course, happy, smiling pictures of children looking at the camera create wonderful memories, but sometimes the candid details are the ones you'll want to remember the most. Think outside the box and take photos of the little details - what they love wearing, a close-up of their eyelashes, their favourite toys, a special moment on holiday etc. The little details all add up to tell the over-all story and can instantly transport you back to that time.
Embrace the imperfections
Let's face it, life with children isn't always perfect. Sometimes one will get stroppy or another might be messy, not to mention the funny faces they love to pull at the camera. But these funny shots will almost certainly be the ones to make you all laugh in years to come, so don't discount them or delete them - treasure them instead.
Watch the light
Without getting too technical, a lot is down to the light with photography. A simple shot can be made so much better by just positioning your child in a different direction to the light. If you photograph your child with a window behind you, you will get those pretty catch lights in their eyes. Or if you photograph in the late afternoon when the sun is low, you will get that gorgeous golden haze you often see in professional photographs. Try and avoid taking photographs in harsh sunlight as you'll get shadows and you'll also get blown-out parts of your photograph. Seek out the shade, your photograph will be so much better as a result.
Don't be afraid of black and white
There is something about black and white photography that can take an average-looking photo and turn it into something amazing, so don't be afraid to play around with the black and white settings (always keep an original colour copy though!). Black and white can end up making a slightly grainy photo look more artistic, or a candid photo look more emotional. A lot of cameras will have a black and white setting, or you can use an app or photo software to change it afterwards.
Katie Ellison has been writing on her blog Mummy Daddy Me since 2011, a visual diary of the adventures her little family of 4 (soon-to-be 5!) get up to. It's a record of all the ordinary moments, extraordinary moments and all those ones in between. You can see more of her photos on her favourite photos page.