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5 Tips for Taking Better Photos

Taking and sharing photos of our friends and family has become an essential part of our culture. If you’re looking for a few EASY ways to make the photos you take of your kids shine, without learning all the bells and whistles of your camera, look no further.

Photos for each of these tips were taken on automatic mode with a kit lens – aka the lens that comes with the camera.


Every course or training I’ve ever taken has started with a section on light. Sometimes I sigh, “I get it, find good light.” but really proper light IS key. I say proper because depending on your style and the type of shot you are working on “good” light differs.

For great portrait shots you want to look for soft natural light. If you’re inside you can find this type of light by windows or doorways. If you’re outside, head to a shady spot. When outdoors, even in the shade, make sure there aren’t any bright spots shining through, especially on your subject’s face.

Clear Clutter

Ever look at a photo and wonder, “what’s that in the background?” Ever taken a screen shot and zoomed in just to know for sure? Clutter happens, everyone understands but do you really want to post that super sweet photo of your little and have your bestie or mom message you and ask if you were planning on putting your underwear away anytime soon? I know sometimes you just have to snap that precious shot regardless of the laundry situation but for a planned photo, clear (or cover) the clutter.

Straighten Horizons

This one is so easy and really makes a difference. It’s one of my BIGGEST peeves and when I miss and put out a crooked horizon OMG, ugh. So before you post, take a quick look, find a straight line (usually the horizon works best), and make it straight. It may seem silly but it really helps. If you catch it straight when you take the shot, AMAZING!!, if not, straighten it later. This edit doesn’t require fancy programs, your iPhone will try to do it automatically if you open a photo to edit it.

Get Down on their Level

Instead of standing up and taking a photo with the camera pointing down try getting down on your knees or even laying on your stomach to snap the shot. Above the head everyone looking up shots are great for those of us who want a magic angle but for a kid, shooting at a lower angle works well.

Don’t Stress!!

NEWSFLASH! Your kids know when they’ve got your number, they know when you’re in a mood or when someone around is in a mood. They also can sense when you want the perfect shot so bad you’re almost willing to duct tape them to a chair. Instead of stressing, just have some fun and make taking photos a game. I like to let Christopher take my picture in exchange for letting me take his. He enjoys the camera and even gives me the “sit here”, “look here, no look here” prompts that I give him.

BONUS! Get out of Auto

It’s worth mentioning as a bonus the importance of learning manual mode. There are courses available free and paid that can help develop manual mode skills. I think taking a course at some point, especially if you have a camera you can use in manual mode, is a must do. My personal favorite, if you feel like you are ready to learn manual mode is Click.Love.Grow. They offer courses year round and even offer a free 5 day course so you can give it a try to see if you like their brand.

Here’s what a few of the photos from the tips above look like in manual mode. By being able to control the settings I am able to make the shots brighter, control the amount of movement captured, and create a bit of background blur when wanted.

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meet the photographer jaden

Working on my dream and meeting special families along the way, I believe everyone deserves amazing photographs which capture the moments in life that bring them joy. I photograph families, like yours, who wish they could freeze time, even for just a second, and always remember the special moments of life.

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