Thanks so much to Carousel Wear for providing the dresses my girls wore for their photo shoot. This post may also contain affiliate links and by making purchases through these links, you help support this site. However, all opinions are my own.
I’ve been getting professional pictures of my girls every summer since my oldest was born. It’s such a nice momento of how they change and grow so much each year! However, last summer we had just finished renovating our house and were on a much tighter budget than usual. Sadly, I never got around to having those pictures taken and I’ve regretted it ever since.
I’ve decided that even if we’re on a budget, those photos are a necessity that I can’t live without. They are, after all, the two most adorable girls on the planet! (Don’t believe me? Just ask Grandma) Since I finally got my first DSLR for Christmas (the Canon EOS Rebel T6, which I absolutely LOVE), I’ve decided to work on my own photography and hopefully learn to take pictures like the pros. My girls recently served as “models” for a photography class taught by local photographer Rebecca Turgeon and I decided that I would get some tips from someone who definitely knows what she’s doing (if you live in the Sarasota area, you should definitely look her up when it’s time to have your own family photos taken)!
The first thing she told me to do was to get outfits that were similar but not identical. What??? I’d always dressed them identically for photos. I even loved dressing them identically just to go out and about…yes, I’m THAT mom! However, she’s the expert so I went with it and found the most beautiful dresses at Carousel Wear (you can also find them on Etsy). Honestly, all their dresses were so pretty that I had a hard time deciding but when I asked the girls for their opinions, these were the overwhelming favorite! I always get concerned about sizing when shopping online but they were extremely helpful and went above and beyond to make sure we’d get dresses that fit! When the dresses finally arrived, they were perfect and I realized that Rebecca really did know what she was talking about…not that I ever doubted it! See what I mean?
Rebecca also let me in on a few more professional photography tricks:
It’s best to take pictures in “open shade” as opposed to direct sunlight. You’ll get the best results if you shoot early in the morning or late in the afternoon.
Get down to the children’s level or slightly above. You don’t want to be standing over the children and looking down at them.
Avoid the traditional “Say Cheese”. Try acting silly, saying knock knock jokes or whatever else you think might make them giggle. Asking kids to tell secrets to each other usually gets them laughing too. You’ll end up with more natural smiles this way.
Give the kids something fun to do and shoot away. Capture them painting, eating ice cream, baking cookies or anything else you think that will make them forget that there’s a camera on them.
Rebecca recommends Picasa for basic edits, but I highly recommend PicMonkey if you plan to do more than the basics. I use it for all my photography and absolutely love it! You can brighten the exposure, crop or resize, edit out things you may not want others to see (I edited a shot of Ashling once to make her temporary princess tattoo “disappear”) and you can add captions and graphics. I can’t say enough about PicMonkey! While I’ve upgraded to the paid version, there are so many things you can do with the free version that you’d probably never even find it necessary to upgrade.
For printing your own pictures, she recommends using Mpix.com. When I asked her to compare it to Shutterfly, which is what I’ve always used in the past, her opinion was that the colors come out more accurate with Mpix since they are a semi-pro site. I’m planning to give them a try next time, just so I can compare.
Here are a few more photos from the shoot. The only problem we ran across was that the girls weren’t used to having a bunch of “strangers”, the students from the class, taking pictures of them. They had a hard time acting naturally, though they felt a little more at ease towards the end.
I decided to try out some of Rebecca’s tips and shoot some photos of my own.
The tip about silliness really worked (though I don’t often have to be talked into acting silly). Ashling, my oldest, is very shy and sometimes it can be difficult to get her to look natural if she’s thinking too much about it. However, Keira and I were goofing off a lot and making her laugh so I was able to get the great individual shot above!
While I have a long way to go before my photos look as beautiful as Rebecca’s, I think these are a good start. While I did wait until later in the day, next time I’ll wait just a little bit longer because the colors in Rebecca’s photos look so much more vibrant. Also, I still have a lot to learn about my fancy new DSLR. I generally use it to photograph food, not people, so I’m going to study up a bit more to improve my outdoor photography.
I found so many more great tips online but these were the best, most informative articles that I came across:
Finally, get creative! These shots from Hongkiat’s post 24 Absolutely Creative Family Portraits You Can Shoot are amazing and will definitely inspire you to think out of the box! Some of them are quite elaborate but others would be very easy for just about anyone to pull off.
If you love the CarouselWear dresses as much as we do, you can find out more about them on social media (Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Instagram, Google +)
For more information about Rebecca Sturgeon photography, check out her Facebook page.
Want more money saving tips? Check these out:
Don’t spend your entire birthday party budget on the cake! You can make one every bit as fabulous!