Tips for Better Photos

So how’s it been going taking pics of your kiddos since checking out some of my favorite photo apps?  Getting any better?  Legs hurting from squatting down?  It’s okay.  Sometimes that’s just how it goes.  But if you want some tips on how to take better photos, I’ll see what I can do to help.


{ Shutter Speed }

More than likely you’re trying to snap those first few smiles from your newborn’s toothless grin.  Or capture your squirmy toddler’s monthly pic.  Catching a toddler doing anything is going to be tricky.  Kids in sports?  All of it is going to be a task to get on your phone or camera.  The main thing you’re going to want to focus on is shutter speed.

I’m not a professional photographer, so I’m not going to even attempt to get technical.  Everything I’ve learned has come from blogs {shocker, right?}, a few books, and thousands of deleted photos that never made it to Facebook.

Shutter speed is how quickly (or slowly) the camera takes a picture.  If you have a DSLR or even a fancy point and shoot, you can adjust how quickly the shutter closes.  That means you’re taking a picture of the action in fractions of a second.  Most suggest that you do at least 1/125 seconds to freeze motion.  Water splashing?  Swinging a bat?  Spitting jarred baby food back at you?  Crank it up to catch it!

And don’t worry if you’re just whipping out the ever present cell phone.  Most have a “Sport Mode” that works in some fancy cell phone way to capture those moments and make them as clear as possible.

Try it out while the kids are just goofing off so you can see what works in different situations.

taken at 1/800 sec shutter speed. "freezes" the water!
taken at 1/800 sec shutter speed – “freezes” the water!

{ Look For the Light }

One of my favorite people to stalk follow on Instagram is local photographer/writer/speaker Karen “Chookooloonks” Waldren {@heychookooloonks} .  I love pictures of her coffee, daughter, and flowers.  But she has been posting under the hashtag #lookforthelight . Generally you want your light source {the sun, a lamp, whatever} to be behind you as you take the pictures.  But what if you want to get a little creative?  Look for the light! Just a little shift to the right or left will totally change what you end up with in your viewfinder.  Have a big window that is slightly clean enough to let light shine through?  Open it up!  Snap away.  Someone’s birthday coming up? Turn off the flash when they blow the candles out.  When you start to notice how light falls on objects, you start to see things differently.  Catch a random act of kindness or goodness?  That’s light! Look for it.  Like Karen says “…you’re uncommonly beautiful.”  Good light in the car? SELFIES!

stealth mode during nap time with the blinds over the bed opened just a smidge
stealth mode during nap time with the blinds over the bed opened just a smidge
sunroof open #selfie
sunroof open #selfie

{ Take Pictures of OTHER THINGS! }

I know.  You want to take pictures of your kids.  You want them to be good {the pictures…and the kids}.  You want the living room to be perfectly clean.  Or at least have the kid stand in the part of the living that isn’t covered in Little People Princesses or laundry.  Oh, that’s just me?  I have a sassy threenager.  Some days she think she’s cute as we go to daycare and wants her picture snapped.  Sometimes she’s knocking my phone away from her face because she’s tired of saying “cheese” and not looking at me.

taken in Luling, Texas
taken in Luling, Texas

Inspired by Conroe photog Nancy Wyatt, I’ve embarked on a Project 365. Nancy posts her photo project on Instagram .  A picture every day.  A picture of anything.  A picture taken with my phone, iPad, or DSLR.  Doesn’t have to be a fancy picture or edited or cropped or anything.  Just a picture.  It’s practice!  So when I can get the kid to cooperate and pose for a picture, I get the shot I’m looking for because I spend so much other time actively looking for things to photograph.  Inanimate objects that don’t care about you in their face.


 This is my new friend Danbo.  Look how nice and still he sits and doesn’t give me sass or try to watch TV instead of standing where I’m pointing to.  Look at him!


And you know what? So what if things aren’t clean.  Take your picture!  Remember your life how it was at that moment.  Isn’t that what snapshots are?  Yes!


On my blog I do Wordless Wednesdays.  A set {3-5} pictures of whatever we did during the week.  I don’t clean up.  I don’t wipe things down.  I’m lucky if we all have clean noses {because, allergies}.

Get out there and practice.  And you know what?  Have fun.  Enjoy it.  If you like it, then it was worth the effort.  Share away!  We’ll be tagging our pics with #HMBPhotoChallenge so follow along and share your best shots.

And if you really want to get some practice in, here are some more resources ::

Two Peas in a Bucket – 12 weeks to a better photo class {free, PDF, at your own speed}

Mamarazzi: Every Mom’s Guide to Photographing Kids {paperback, via Amazon}

Click It Up A Notch {and on her Facebook page is a FREEBIE 30 day photo challenge download!}

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Breonna was born and raised in Houston, Texas. She is recently married to Tyrone, a graphic designer. They currently reside on the West Side of this great city. A big fan of movies, books, photography, and Starbucks, she currently finds herself knee-deep in the throes of being a mommy to Addy {Feb 2011}. Breonna spends the typical 9-5 doing yadda yadda yadda at her job {yes, it’s that nondescript and uninteresting}. She started blogging as a way to do movie reviews, but that gave way to pregnancy blogging. She eventually landed her own space of the internet on BreWrites as well as on Twitter and Instagram {@brewrites} where she talks about everything from the sassiness of her child, to the most recent concert tickets she got her hands on, to the occasional piece of short fiction.


  1. Thank you so much for the shout out! I love this article and will be sure to share it, let’s get out there and capture some fun “true to who you are” shots! Hugs from Conroe, TX


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