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Tips for Capturing Everyday Moments

Your life is made up of tiny little everyday moments. The chores, the precious daily naps, the waffles that have to be made juuuust right every morning. As moms, we often go through our days on auto pilot, not stopping to realize that this may be the very last time your little one asks you to help him get dressed or that tomorrow she may wake up never wanting to play her favorite game again. Our kids, our families, grow and change every single day. Here are a few photography tips from our incredibly talented sponsor Michelle at This Moment Photography to help you take time today to capture these moments for tomorrow.

1. Stop Trying to Just Take Beautiful Pictures

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Stop worrying about your photos being beautiful. Take touching photos. Emotional photos. Photos that put a lump in your throat. Or make you laugh. Photos that give you the feels. Take them for you. Not to impress Facebook friends. Not to make grandparents happy. Take the photos that show what you love and why you love it. Those are the truly beautiful ones.

2. The Best Camera is the One You Have with You

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So what you don’t have a fancy DSLR. Heck, maybe you don’t even know what that means. You don’t need to have the latest and greatest. There are tons of tutorials of tips for cell phone photos. Google them. Read them. Practice them. My top 2 tips for cell phone photos – 1. Turn your phone horizontally. This is how your eyes naturally see, so it will automatically be more pleasing. 2. Make a conscious decision to stay still. Hold your phone with both hands and try to keep your elbows glued to your sides.

3. Know Your Camera

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Again, doesn’t matter what camera you have, but you do need to know whatever you’re shooting with. Read your manual, watch YouTube videos, whatever. It’s amazing what our phones can do. And if you do have a DSLR, please, please, please start learning Manual. Can you take wonderful photos without being in Manual mode? Of course. Is it 1000 times easier in Manual mode? Yep, it’s true. So pick a day, read your stuff, and then go practice what you read!

4. Be Prepared

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How many times have you said, “Wait, let me go get the camera so you can do that super cute thing you’ve never done before all over again!”? Keep your camera in the most used room of your house. Or in your back pocket. Take the lens cover off. Charge the batteries. Clean the lens! Your camera does you no good sitting in the case.

5. Think Outside the Box

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Yes, your children have a pretty smile. But no, you do not need 500 pictures of that same smile for every month. I promise. Grab a pen and a piece of paper right now. Finish this sentence, “I do not want to forget___________.” What did you put in that blank? Go photograph that. Think about your family routines. The spaces you live in. The places you go. The details that you know you will forget. What you wish you had pictures of from your childhood. Make a list. Photograph your family’s life.

Finish this sentence, “I do not want to forget ___________.”
What did you put in that blank? Go photograph that.

6. Stop Making Them Say Cheese

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Please, for the love of all things lovely, stop telling your kids to look at you and say cheese. Say the sentence, “Rats love cheese.” Did you smile when you said cheese just then? Nope. Your kids aren’t going to either. They will look… well, cheesy. You have to let go of the idea that a touching photo must have a smiling child directly in the middle of it. Your child is not Flat Stanley. He has dimension. She has wispy curls that just barely rest on her shoulders. His silhouette is a carbon copy of your grandfather’s. She has a birthmark affectionately known as “the mark of the devil” that matches her cousin’s exactly. Take these photos.

7. Use Natural Light

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A pop-up flash is your enemy. Just kidding. Sort of. But really, just turn the thing off. Turn off your overhead lights, pull back the curtains, and pull your blinds all the way up. Overhead lights cast shadows under eyes and give off yellow or bluish casts. Have your kids play beside the window instead of across the room. If you are rocking that Manual mode on your DSLR, don’t be afraid to bump up your ISO. And on your cells, see if you have an exposure compensation setting. My phone is always at least a half step up on the exposure setting when I am indoors.

8. Use a Faster Shutter Speed

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Even when they are sitting still, kids are moving, right?! The most important setting to understand with quick moving subjects is the shutter speed. Of course there are some technical factors into what shutter speed to pick, but a simple rule is never go below 1/250 with kids who are sitting or moving slowly. If they are running, make it 1/800. If you can’t use Manual mode yet, use the Shutter Priority mode. It lets you choose the shutter speed and it sets all the other settings for you. If you are using a point and shoot or cell phone camera, put it in sports mode.

9. Find a New Perspective

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So many times we grab a camera and take a photo of our kids without moving from where we are. Get on eye level with your subject. Lay on the ground and take a photo of just his shoes that are never tied. Stand on the bed and take a full shot looking down on the mess in her room. Get under the monkey bars and shoot from below your subject. Basically, just move.

10. Find the Funny

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Sometimes, parenting stinks. Like when you find them eating your not-so-secret stash of chocolate. Or when you have company over and your toddler throws a fit. How about when your son gets stuck in a tree or on his head, or both, because that’s just what boys do. Before you freak out, grab your camera. Check their safety first, of course. But grab that camera and take a photo. It’ll make for some precious memories one day.

11. Get in the Photo

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You are a part of your kids’ everyday. Prove that you were there. Set the timer and go about your business. Just get in the photo.

12. Embrace Imperfection

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It’s hard sometimes to take a photo when your sink is piled high with dishes in the background. Or when your kid looks like she hasn’t had a bath in days. And some nights you realize that your kid has been in the same pj’s for at least 2 days. Let it go. Life is messy and hard and ugly sometimes. But it’s also beautiful. And that is what matters. So capture it all. 

Life is messy and hard and ugly sometimes. But it’s also beautiful.
And that is what matters. So capture it all.

Michelle is the owner and creative eye behind This Moment Photography here in Houston! She’s pretty incredible, huh?  We definitely think so.  She’ll be at our upcoming Birthday Bash on Sunday — feel free to pick her brain more about her wonderful and unique services, especially her videography.  Plus, she’ll be around more to help us here at Houston Moms Blog celebrate all of life’s special moments and holiday seasons…so stay tuned!


Michelle - BioAbout Michelle R.

After starting her photography adventure to get better pictures for her scrapbooks, Michelle realized after her second child, the one affectionately dubbed, “the worst baby ever,” that having the time for design teams and scrapbook publications was a thing of the past. It was then that she fell in love with the simplicity of telling her stories through everyday photos. A lover of cupcakes and tacos, Michelle homeschools her two kids and runs This Moment Photography {her dream photography/videography business} with the support of her husband of 14 years. She loves scaring the bejeezus out of her kids and telling her husband corny jokes. She finds humor in the messes and fun in the chaos and wants every mom out there to understand that perfection isn’t possible and authenticity is beautiful.

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4 Responses to Tips for Capturing Everyday Moments

  1. Tiffany Lewis September 14, 2015 at 8:51 am #

    Number 11. Thank you for that reminder. I need to be a part of the pictures of their everyday because I am a part of their everyday.

  2. georgia September 14, 2015 at 10:26 am #

    I am a confessed automatic setting person! Boo! I even too photo in high school. No excuse really! Thank you for all the great tips and duh! YouTube! It’s on my list for the fall now!

  3. Little Teether November 26, 2015 at 11:14 pm #

    I love all the images you posted. It was captured naturally that’s why it became more awesome to see it. Every moments count as what everybody says and I believe in it. If you can keep it through photographs, that’s better. At least, you’ll have a memory to cherish for a lifetime. Thanks for sharing these tips. I will definitely try it. Anyway, you really have an awesome family here.

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. 2nd Annual Birthday Bash Recap | Houston Moms Blog - October 21, 2015

    […] wanted to spend her Sunday afternoon documenting our celebration.  Michelle has an amazing eye for capturing life’s everyday moments and turning them into wonderful photos and keepsake videos {YES, she’s a videographer!}. […]

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