Tag Archives: photography

Things I Wish Someone Had Told Me About Photographing My Children When I Became a Mother.

This post is sponsored by Canon but all opinions are my own.

Last weekend I celebrated the high school graduation of my second child. As I scrolled through his baby and childhood photos, I cringed at the terrible quality of the photos I had taken of him. I didn’t know the first thing about photography when my boys were little. I just knew I wanted to capture every moment that I could. I snapped away on my disposable cameras, clueless about things like composition or exposure. Luckily, by the time my daughter was born, I had discovered blogs and photo-sharing sites and was able to start learning and understanding how to capture and document my family’s life in a creative, beautiful, more meaningful way with a Canon DSLR camera. I know that understanding photography can be a bit overwhelming, so I’d love to share some simple tips for seeing your family through the lens of your camera and capturing beautiful memories that will last a lifetime.

Get to know and understand your camera. Don’t play the guessing game when it comes to getting a good shot. Knowledge is power! When you truly understand how your camera works you can make your camera work for YOU. Get to know your camera’s capabilities and functions. You will be more confident behind the lens and be able to capture memories without stressing out or missing out on precious moments.

Turn off the flash and use natural light whenever possible. Flash can be harsh, creating unnatural skin tones, overexposed subjects and red-eye. Take some time and learn exposure. Understanding basic exposure can be a game changer when taking photos of your family. I have boxes full of pictures of terribly exposed photos of my boys that are mostly unusable. I wish someone had said to me “hey, you should learn about exposure!”

Change your perspective. When photographing children or moments in our lives, it’s so easy to simply point the camera and shoot straight on. Try a different perspective. If your baby is sleeping, step out of the room and take a shot while looking through the doorway. If your baby is playing on the floor, get down on their level and capture the moment from their perspective. If you’re outdoors, lay down on the grass and shoot looking up. Move around, try different angles, different points of view. Get creative!

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Always keep your camera close by and ready to go. Life happens fast when you have little ones and you don’t want to be caught off guard. Make it a habit to keep your camera accessible with a charged battery (or an extra one ready just in case!) and plenty of space on the memory card. Also, don’t be afraid or intimidated to take your camera with you when you’re on the go to be able to capture moments you experience with your children while out living life.

Invest in a prime lens if you’re using a DSLR camera . A prime lens is a lens with a fixed focal length. Using this type of lens means having to move around a bit more to get a shot. Since it cannot zoom in or out, you have to move to get closer or to back away. But prime lenses are quicker, sharper and allow more light in. This makes them ideal for low light situations. Some prime lenses can cost a pretty penny, but Canon sells an EF 50mm f 1/8 STM lens for under $200. It’s one of my favorite all time lenses and is usually the one you will find on my camera.

Think Candid. Not all pictures of your children have to be their smiling faces. Try capturing them in their surroundings without asking them to smile, or to look your way. Don’t focus so much on getting a perfect shot. Life isn’t always picture perfect. The little moments are worth capturing too and will be so much fun to look back on. Your baby’s sleeping face. Your toddler’s favorite shoes. Your child reading on their bed. Pick up the camera and shoot when they’re not looking or expecting it.

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Get in the picture, mama! Hand that camera to someone else and ask them to take a picture of you with your kids! This is one of my absolutely biggest regrets. There are so many holiday pictures, family gatherings, family trips that I documented with my camera, but never thought to include myself in the pictures. Or, invest in a tripod and remote so you can take pictures of yourself with your family. I know sometimes as women, we prefer not to be in the photo. But if you take one thing away from this post, PLEASE LET IT BE THIS. You will want to remember being there with your family. It can be painful to look through albums and not see a single photo of you with your children at big life events. Twenty years down the road, you won’t care about how much you weighed, or if you had a terrible hairstyle, or if the dress you were wearing was hideous. Trust me.

Back up your photos! I can’t stress this enough! I once lost thousands of pictures when my computer got a virus and was destroyed. It was devastating. That will never happen again. I currently back up my photos on a hard drive and also upload all photos to Dropbox. Find something that works for you and BACK! UP! YOUR! PHOTOS!

Now, the most important thing I can tell you is that you just need to pick up that camera and start shooting! Take the tips that I’ve shared that work for you and put them to use. Find photo blogs and photo sharing sites that inspire you. The more you shoot, the better you’ll get and the more comfortable you will feel. Remember you are creating a visual history filled with all kinds of wonderful, emotional, funny, adorable stories to pass down to your children. That is what really matters. Have fun, be creative and don’t forget to enjoy each moment you are capturing!

What is the single best tip someone has shared with you about photographing one’s family? Or do you have advice of your own to share? I would love to hear from you!

Photos: The Last Homecoming

This year will be filled with “lasts” for my son.

His last Homecoming. His last season of high school basketball. Last Prom.

My son has been blessed with a solid group of friends who have become like family. Some of them have played basketball together since Junior High (one of them since they were 8 years old.) They are all good students, they are smart, driven, loyal and they always have each other’s backs.

This weekend was their last Homecoming. Of course, I brought my new baby with me and well, I took over 270 pictures. That sounds crazy, but my son was with a large group and I took it upon myself to photograph all of them.

Here are a few of my favorite shots.

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I am honored to be able to capture their Senior year through photography, to share these memories with their parents (who are all awesome people) and to give them all something to take with them as they all go out into the real world to become the great men they are destined to be.

Shooting and Swinging at Sunset

She turned ten in August.

I still find it hard to believe that my last baby is ten years old.

Time is a jerk, for reals.

Yesterday I asked her if she would go to the park with me so that I could take a few photos of her. I told her that by allowing me to photograph her, she’s helping me to learn how my new camera works and to become a better photographer. She’s not a big fan of having me take her photos because “I’ve been taking her pictures her WHOLE LIFE!” But she was so kind and said she would help me. But only if I let her play at the park after I was finished.

Always negotiating, that one.

Of course I agreed. Anything for my girl. (And anything to get to practice with my camera!)

Fall Photos

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Sunday Funday at Olvera Street in Los Angeles

This weekend we decided to take advantage of Metrolink’s Weekend Pass and take the train to LA Union Station for a day trip to Olvera Street. (Union Station is only an hour and fifteen minute ride from where we live.)

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It was a beautiful day that I enjoyed because a) the skies were perfectly clear b) it wasn’t 100+ degrees.

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Olvera Street is directly across the street from Union Station. It’s a cool, colorful little place that makes me feel proud to be half Mexican.

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Things to do while at Olvera Street include: Admire all of the colorful, adorable things that you don’t really need to buy but probably will buy anyway because those baby sandals are SO ADORABLE, drink (Mmmmm, Mega Margaritas) eat caramel stuffed churros, listen to live music, people watch and practice your People Maneuvering Skills (because small, tight spaces.) And of course, take a ton of pictures.

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Oh! Don’t forget to take a selfie.

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DIY Photo Canvas That Is Easy Enough for Me (the Person Who Ruins Every Craft) to Make!

We moved into our new home in July. I had money saved to do some decorating (new accent furniture, pretty new things to hang on the wall, etc) but I lost my job just a few weeks after moving in, so that money went to pay bills instead.

(Real Life is FUN!)

Looking at the blanks walls can be a bit of a downer.  This house is lovely and I do love it so, however, I’d love to be able to buy things to make it look like our home.  Yesterday, I decided to try a project I’ve seen on Pinterest to add a little bit of joy to the walls in our bathroom. The project looked simple (and inexpensive!) enough to try.

I had two fun, adorable “bath shots” of Little G made into 11×14 prints (I did them at Costco, only $2.99 for an 11×14)

The only materials needed besides the prints were 2 blank canvases (I purchased black ones so  I wouldn’t have to paint them), Mod Podge and a paint brush. That was it!

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You can find the instructions that I used HERE. Basically, you put Mod Podge on the canvas, you then place the photo on top, get rid of any air bubbles and put a coat or two of Mod Podge on top of the print. If you have a white canvas, you may want to paint the edges black (again, see the instructions on the link I posted above) but since I used a black canvas, I didn’t have to do that step. I may try that next time to see if I like the painted edges better.

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The only issue I have is the lines from the dried Mod Podge. I wish I had been more careful to make sure they were a bit neater (if that makes sense?) but other than that, I absolutely LOVE the way they turned out and can’t wait to make some more for other rooms in the house.

It’s totally possible I’m going to turn into one of those “Decorate Your House on a Super Tight Budget” people.  Prepare yourselves.

(Not a) Wedding Photographer

A couple of months ago a friend of the family told me she was getting remarried and asked if I would be her wedding photographer.

“I just love your photos.” She said. “I know you’ll do a wonderful job.”

This woman has been like a second mother to me. I love her dearly, so I wanted to say yes, of course I’ll take your pictures! But, I’m not a professional photographer and well, it’s a wedding. A wedding requires a professional.

I told her that I was flattered, but I also reminded her that I was not a professional, that photography is something I love, but not something I get paid to do.

“I trust you.” She replied.

Because she is dear to me, and because she did so much for me growing up, I agreed to do it. I had no intention on charging her because again, not a professional. I was going to do it because I love her and because it was something she really wanted me to do.

The wedding was on Sunday. On Saturday night, I’m not sure I slept for more than 3 hours. I tossed and turned all night. I was terrified, nervous and insecure. I did not take this job lightly. My called my sister and expressed my concerns. “Be confident, own it and kill it.” She said.

I arrived an hour earlier than they asked me to be there so I could check the venue out. I was sweating before I had even taken my camera out. I was nervous as hell.

The bride arrived and I just started shooting. She didn’t have specific requests (aside from traditional family type poses before the wedding.) So, I just watched and tried to capture the beauty and details of the day. I’m telling you, the next day, every muscle in my body ached from standing, squatting, laying on the ground and running. My respect level for wedding photographers went up by the BILLIONS.

I posted the album of photos the day after the wedding. I was nervous, afraid I had missed things or not done a good enough job. Then, she left a comment (and later that day, left me a voice mail) that said the following:

“Yvonne I don’t know what to say… Every picture is perfect. You are the best! Another talent you have you have been blessed with.”

It wasn’t until I read those words that I realized just how stressed out I was. I actually cried with relief to know that she was happy with what I had captured. I was happy to do that for my dear friend, but I don’t think I’ll be doing that again for anyone any time soon, or probably ever. I’m way too big of a wimp to deal with that kind of pressure.

NYSee

Last Wednesday I took a 5 hour plane ride to New York City. I had the best time I’ve ever had while in NYC. I have a lot to write about it, mostly because I never want all of the Little Things that made this trip The Most Wonderful. Unfortunately, when one takes time off of work to go play in NYC, one pays for it up the butt when they return home and try to catch up on all of the work they missed. So, until next week (when I hope to be caught up) I leave you with my favorite photos (so far) from this trip.
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.Madison Av.
.She pretty much hates everything.

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.who loved this walk in the park.
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Bonus: Because RICH!
Rich, Me, Isabel and Neil