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She may not be a delicate squishy newborn we’ve anxiously been waiting to meet for 9 impatient months. However, Miss Penny has surely earned her way into our hearts in a very short period of time and is quickly becoming an integral member of the family.

Although I’ve made a conscious effort to document and photograph Brielle and Penny bonding these lat few weeks, we haven’t had a chance to attempt an updated family photo between work schedules, school schedules, obedience trainings, errands, and everything else.DSC_0034edit650When I began my photography journey I used to dream about the money I would save by taking our own family photos. But as any mom will attest, this is easier said than done. By promoting ourselves to family photographer, we ultimately don’t end up in any photos.

If we do try to arrange a family portrait session, the process is always much more complicated then we anticipate and takes much more time and energy than we expect, leaving the entire family grumpy and overwhelmed. Not the ideal feelings and emotions we want our portraits to convey.

This week I was determined to do the hard work and get a few family photos (with the DSLR camera) of our ‘growing’ family.  Our session from start to finished lasted about 5 minutes before the kid, dog, and husband started to getting annoyed. Many of the photos turned out like this one here.DSC_0067edit3650I also sadly realized after the shoot was over that my ISO was set WAY to high (2000) and my Aperture was too low (f 2.8) to get everyone in focus in every shot. But I  had to remind myself….even in a sea of photography mishaps that my perfectionist self would like to do over, we got a few winners as well.DSC_0058edit650We may never blow these images up huge and hang them on our walls, but these photos are the perfect snapshot of our family, our WHOLE family, today.DSC_0066edit2650With a bit of prior planning and patience these whole family photo sessions are possible to achieve without hiring a professional. However, I recommend using a few of these tips from my bag of tricks to make ‘em as successful as possible.

1) Work in a familiar space

Plan to take photos in a space that your family knows well. It will make your kids feel more at ease, and you’ll already know what to expect from the light and exposure when you bring your camera into the mix.

2) Eliminate distractions

If you’re working inside try to keep toys, TV, games, etc…put away during photo time. If you decide to photograph outside choose a location away from the local playground or

3) Have the right equipment

The right lens, tripod, and remote will make taking family photos a lot less stressful! For the room we worked in, I needed a wide angle lens at about 24mm to fit us all into the space the way I wanted.  A tripod and remote allowed me to sit comfortably with my family instead of getting up and down to set a timer between shots.

4) Practice first

It’s so important to put some prior thought and practice into these photos. For our shoot I set up my camera on the tripod the night before our photos. In the morning I tested the light and used Brielle and Penny as stand into to check my focus and exposure before we got everyone else into the frame for the ‘real deal’.

5) Act natural

Think of things to say and do before you sit down to take photos. You don’t have to all be looking at the camera for all the shots. Have a tickle fight, read a book together, or figure out who has the stinkiest feet. Whatever is fun for your family and keeps everyone calm and laughing is the best!

6) Let the kids help

Get the kids involved in helping you plan. Let them help you find the perfectly lit room, have them strike a pose while you set your exposure, or let them help you think of things to do or wear. They’ll be more invested in being a part of the shoot if you make them a part of the planning process too.


When in doubt there’s always my bonus tip of BRIBERY. At the end of this shoot Brielle was rewarded with a piece of chocolate, the dog was rewarded with some yummy treats, and the husband was rewarded with some kid free time outdoors. Whatever works to get the shot, yes?

Looking for even MORE tips for taking beautiful photos of your family just in time for warmer Spring and Summer weather? My favorite FREE class returns in a few weeks, One Ingredient Fix. We begin Monday May 5th and you can get yourself registered right HERE.


Post image for There’s always tomorrow
When you drop the camera in your bag intending to get it out for some photos, but you never do…

…there’s always tomorrow.

When you race out of the house for groceries and then realized once you arrive that you forgot your wallet at home…

…there’s always tomorrow.

When you begin your typically quiet morning with the dog tormenting the cats…

…there’s always tomorrow.

When you need a drink, a huge, and friend, and an advil all at once…

…there’s always tomorrow.

When you have to physically remove your daughter from dance class in a full on screaming tantrum…

…there’s always tomorrow.

When your credit card unexpectedly reached it’s expiration and is embarrassingly declined in public…

…there’s always tomorrow.

When you upload your latest photos and you realize they’re all over exposed…

…there’s always tomorrow.

When your kids won’t pose for the camera…

…there’s always tomorrow.

When it’s naptime on a hard mama day and you’re crying in your mid-afternoon chai tea…

…there’s always tomorrow.

When sleep is a distant memory and you’re not sure when you’ll get rest ever again…

…there’s always tomorrow.

When you forget to take your daily 365 project photo…

…there’s always tomorrow.

When the gas pump doesn’t auto stop and spills gasoline all over the street and your feet…

…there’s always tomorrow.

When you took the shots, but missed the moment…

…there’s always tomorrow.


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Thumbnail image for Yes, DSLR Cameras Are Overrated — Here’s Why

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