Five Tips for Taking Better Photos in Your Home

Professional photos of your children are great to have (and thankfully, keep me in business!), but taking photos at home is a must, especially as your babies grow and you document these sweet memories! Lots of my clients ask me all the time, "how can I take better photos with my nice camera?" I'm letting you in on a few simple secrets that will improve your everyday photos, especially if you are using one of those nice cameras (or any digital camera that isn't on a phone)!

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1. Good Light is Key.

Light is the most important aspect of photography, and can make or break a photo, using any camera. If you don't have soft, even light available when the photo is taken, there's little you can do, even in editing, to improve it.  Use natural daylight for best results.  Open the blinds to fill the room with light, but always avoid harsh sunlight, directly on your subject.  It also helps to turn off any artificial lights, as well as your camera's flash.

Our kitchen gets direct sun in the morning, so I tend to close the white curtains.  Since white reflects light, the curtains act as a light diffuser for photos inside!  Perfect!

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Below is an example of harsh sunlight, which could have been fixed by closing the blinds or curtains!  Overexposed images are usually irrepairable in editing.

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2. Be Mindful of Backgrounds

Planning to snap a few photos? Pick up the house to eliminate cluttered backgrounds. This will keep images looking clean and simple. However, if you're taking a photo of your child playing with legos, it would make sense for colorful blocks to be scattered in the background, but maybe not an overloaded laundry basket!  You may also try turning a busy photo to black and white for a more "forgiving" look!

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3. Encourage Emotion, Interaction

As children play and learn, their reactions create memories and adorable snapshots!  This is where simple props come in - hand them a favorite stuffed animal, a teething ring, or a strand of pearls.  You know what makes your little ones happy, and it may be as simple as playing peek-a-boo, from behind the camera, to achieve a genuine smile!  For Braxton, it's putting "Big Mickey" in a chair to oversee his iPad coloring :).

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4. Change the Perspective.

We all get used to the simplicity of taking a picture from our phone, as we sit on the couch, zooming in, using the screen.  Try moving your body instead of the camera.  Squatting down low, or even laying in the floor will significantly change the composition of your pictures.  Moving around isn't always necessary, fast, or easy, but taking photos from the same perspective tends to get boring and you won't see much improvement in your composition.

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Another fun look?  Shoot through things for another perspective.  It's beautiful, easy, and artistic.  This is one of my favorite things to do at any session, if I'm able.  Sometimes I move things to create a foreground, just to shoot through them!  The photos below were taken at a Ripley's Aquarium in Gatlinburg, TN.  This was a better angle than taking the photo from above or behind, because I wouldn't have been able to see his face.

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5. Date the Camera.

Sounds crazy, but you have to get to know the camera by investing a little time. What shooting modes look best in your home? Do you know how to change the exposure? Once you know how your camera really operates, everyday photos will be much more rewarding!

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Dana Marquart

Photogenics on Location, 100 West Front Street, Washington, MO, 63090