About our Contributor: Beryl Young got into photography to keep and share important family memories and quickly found that it took a lot more than just clicking away to make images she really loved. After hours of practice and education she came up with some easy “recipes” for great photos with kids. She now teaches other moms how to use their cameras to connect with their family and savor childhood. You can learn about her online Momtographie classes here. I am an affiliate of Beryl’s, meaning that if you purchase one of her courses through a link from my site, I will be paid a percentage of that sale. ~Alissa
Taking Photos Without Missing The Party
As a busy mom watching her kids grow up waaaaay too fast, you probably do everything in your power to photograph your little ones in an attempt to bottle up their smallness and not forget the moments of their lives as they go whizzing by.
But if you’re anything like me, sometimes it can be challenging to strike a balance between being present and ‘in the moment’ with them, and finding a way to document it behind the lens of a camera too.
Photo Source: Joanna Wright
When I work with moms in my photography classes, I’m often asked for advice on how to best capture the big moments like birthday parties, holidays, and family events. I like to jokingly reply, “Hire a professional”. Although this is an ideal solution so that you don’t miss out on any of the action during these special days, I know hiring a professional photographer is an investment us frugal mamas just don’t have the resources for every time a life event comes along.
Fortunately, I have a couple of tricks up my sleeve that have made it much easier for me to balance my time behind the lens.
5 Tips to help you get the pictures you want next time that special birthday party or holiday rolls around.
1) Make a shot list
- Visualize what you want your photos to look like before the day even happens and write your thoughts down! For events like birthday parties, I like to make sure to tell the story of the day, and capture every last detail. From the party favors, to the cake, to my daughter all dressed up, to her hugging and loving on family. Any photo I can dream up, it goes on the list. Even though I don’t typically carry my list around with me during the event, just the process of writing it down leaves photo ideas fresh in my mind.
2) Don’t forget to pre-party
- I always like to ‘stage’ a few photos and get them out of the way before the party or event even begins! For example, I like to get some solo shots of my birthday girl in her party dress BEFORE the guests arrive. After the party starts there is the risk of her spilling her grape juice or dropping cake all over her party clothes, so anything I can do to get staged pictures early on is key. I also like to get my detail shots prior to the party when everything is still set up nice and neat and untouched. Plus, getting these shots ahead of time frees up more time for me to interact with the party guests once the fun begins!
3) Look for light
- The key to making your camera work its fastest and capture clear, non-blurry photos is to have lots of light available during your event. Depending on your location, you may not have the option to let light in (a dark bowling alley or Chuck E Cheese for example). If light is lacking, using flash may be inevitable. But when we do a party at home, I try to set up in a location in our house that I know allows decent natural light to come streaming in.
4) Use continuous shooting mode
- In most cameras there is the option to tell your camera whether you want it to take one shot at a time, or take a series of shots each time the shutter button is pushed. That series option is called Continuous Shooting Mode , and has saved me countless hours behind the lens of my camera! By taking multiple shots at a time, I do end up with A LOT more photos on my memory card, but typically the time it takes to get the ‘1 in a million’ photo of my child smiling at the camera comes a lot quicker than if I was taking one shot at a time. And once I get that shot, I can put the camera up and away for awhile and get back to partying!
5) Have a ‘second shooter’ on hand
- Last and more importantly, ask for help! If hiring a professional is out of your budget, at least find a trusted friend or family member who you can pass the camera off to throughout the day. I’m sure they would be more than willing to help you capture your event, so you are able to enjoy the day with your family instead of watching it all unfold through your viewfinder.