How To Take Better Photos of Your Family – 5 tips for NOW! || Chicago Family Photographer








Do you know what the best camera in the ENTIRE UNIVERSE is?

Are you ready for the answer?

Can you handle it??

IT IS THE ONE THAT YOU HAVE!  Right here, right now.  iPhone.  DSLR.  Point and Shoot.  It doesn’t matter what it is, if it is the one you have on you right at the moment you need it, than THAT my friends, is the best camera in the world 🙂

Truth is – there are many tips out there on the interwebz, and many of them will get into technical aspects on how to improve your photographic skills.  This will not be one of those posts!  I’m here today to supplement the live presentation of these tips at the 1st Annual Morton Grove Public Library “How To FEST!”. These are very simple, easy ways to change the way you see your photos so you can have improved imagery, regardless of what hardware you use to actually capture the image!

1.  Light

See the light.  Be the light.  Find the light!  Or, Run away from the light!  Take notice of the light around you.  Too bright?  Find some shade.  Too dark?  Find a window (during the day, at least.  At night this tip won’t help at all!)

Take baby M here, sitting so contently in the sunshine.  Looks adorable from far away….but get up close, and she’s squinty and angry.  Well, as angry as a happy baby gets anyway.



Pick her up and move her three feet to a shady spot, and she’s as happy as the sunshine she just left 🙂


2.  Background

Take a few seconds and observe the scenery behind your main subject.  If there is something distracting behind them, moving a few steps to your right or left might change the background completely!  Or, move in closer, and make the background just fade away 🙂


3.  Perspective

Its all about how you see things that matter!  Most people stand in their normal position – point at the subject, and click.  But what if you stood somewhere else?  UP high?  Like REALLY high on a ladder?  Or moved down low on your belly?  Or looked straight down?  Or even just kneeled down so the camera is kid level?  Or stood upside down?  You get the idea….moving yourself even just a little can make your subjects even MORE striking and the stars of the show.3-Perspective-13-Perspective-2



4. Say NO to CHEESE!

Even if you aren’t lactose intolerant, cheese can be a bad thing when you ask your kids to say it.  Forced, goofy smiles are sure to abound.  Let us all realize that it is OK for kids NOT to smile – it sometimes tells more of their story than a fake smile does – and lets be honest, NOT smiling is definitely a very real part of life.


It is ALSO ok to just give in to the chaos and just let kids be, well, kids.   Try to catch them playing and running around, you know, in their natural habitat.

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If you’re still looking to get a great, natural smile: give them a job to do.  Ask them to run, jump, twirl, sing a song, hug in really really close, or launch a surprise sneak attack of kisses on someone.  Just be prepared to snap right after when the smile beams through 🙂  Other ideas include asking them to say something silly, such as “Daddy is Stinky” or “I want CANDY!”.  Farts and Potty words usually get the job done too 🙂


5.  LAST but not LEAST – My very BEST secret to GREAT FAMILY photos!

Make sure you’re in the picture.  Yes, you.  The one with the camera.  And the eyes.  And the thighs.  And the face that your children love SO SO much.  Make friends with your timer.  Get comfortable asking a stranger to snap the shutter.  DO NOT.  I repeat.  DO NOT wait until you have a great hair day, your skin clears up, you wear clean clothes OR for you to be 20 pounds lighter.

Your kids love you for who you ARE TODAY. I can assure you, in 20 years seeing yourself in the photos with your family will be the greatest gift of all 🙂


P.S.  It does take a little practice to get it right with the timer.  Especially if you are far away.  Sometimes 10 seconds isn’t quite long enough…..

Kimberley O'Brien - These are SUCH Great photos!!!! LOVE LOVE LOVE the little star wars dudes doing laundry, LOL! I wish I could take photos like this; all of mine end up blurry and washed out.

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