I get asked quite a bit who takes all of your photos!? It’s typically either my husband Joe or my pal Ashley. It took me a long time to get my rhythm and learn how to take quality photos for my blog but once I stared to dive in, I learned to really love it and have had a blast learning more tips and tricks.
My family and Ashley’s family met up to swap family photos. I took hers and she took ours and then we edited our own. I have found over the years that having a few things in order will set you up for success when it comes to taking your own family photos.
first: a few questions
What type of gear do you use?
I have a Canon EOS R and I typically shoot with my 50MM camera lens. This investment well… it was an investment. And I’ve made it over time as I’ve been writing on this site for over 11 years. (Yikes!). I started out with a camera I bought from a photographer friend and then bought the newer version of that and finally my current camera. For years I used a canon rebel and it worked great. The best part was all of my lenses from my canon rebel also work with my new Canon EOS. You can rent from many camera stores and there are some great photography sites that will lend out product for shoots.
Ok.. So how do I use this thing?
I live in West Michigan where we have an abundance of amazing photographers and I am lucky to count a few of them as friends who taught me the basics but here is a great guide that I keep on hand for reference.
Basically there are going to be three settings to monitor – the triangle.
Aperture – Measured in F-Stops this will control your focal length. F1.4 is a shallow depth of field and an F5 is a larger depth of field.
ISO – Your cameras sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO the grainer the image will be so it’s best to start low and move higher. Typically mine is set to 240 in natural light settings. If it’s bright go low ISO if it’s dark go high ISO.
Shutter Speed – How fast your camera will take the photo. The longer the shutter is open the more light get’s let in.
When I take photos I make sure there is plenty of natural light and that is tricky here in Michigan because it’s constantly changing. Sunset is now at 8:20PM EST when it was a full hour later just a month and a half ago. I am not skilled enough to shoot with artificial light so I always aim for the natural light whenever I can get it. Wither it be by the kitchen window or sunsetting in the field I am chasing the light. This is true for Iphone photography too. It’s so much easier to shoot when the lighting is good.
Once I have the image I edit it a few different ways. If it’s an Iphone photo I use the lightroom app on my phone. If it is a raw photo that I take with my Canon I use lightroom Classic on my desk top. There are a few filters/presets that I like to use for different types of photos.
If the photos are of homes, interiors, people I will use either my pal Liz’s presets or Kim Klassens presets in lightroom.
If the photo are of food or plants, smaller objects like antiques, I will use Broma Bakerys presets.
Once I get the preset over the photo, I typically will bring the light and temperature up just a tad to fit my personal style.
If you are sitting here overwhelmed..it’s ok. It takes time. It takes learning and playing around with lenses and your camera until you feel comfortable and a style that fits you. I found it extremely helpful to have someone show me hands on how to use my camera. I bought my camera from Norman Camera in Grand Rapids, Michigan and it came with a complementary lesson that really helped me feel comfortable figuring my camera out in the wild.
If you are not ready to take the plunge into the world of DSLR there are a lot of great Iphone resources. I took the broma bakerys guide to Iphone Photography
It really helped me develop my everyday Iphone skills for when I’m on the fly or chasing Otto and don’t always have time to set up my full camera.
You don’t have to be a pro to start, you just have to start. We as adults don’t have a lot of time or opportunities to learn new skills but photography is endless and there is always something you can improve on. Photography is a hobby that will be useful for every day life and beyond.