You might not be getting professional pictures every single month, but I bet you do get them on occasion. I am often surprised by the amounts that people spend on pictures of their children, especially in the day and age of digital photography. I am certainly not knocking the experience of a quality picture and I love to have a couple of these of our children, but I have found that I enjoy the pictures that I take of my children more than the ones that I have had professionally done. You could say that this is partly because I went to a department store versus a private studio, but regardless, it was an expensive process for our family.
The one thing that I found happening, particularly when my children were really little, was that it was hard to find an appointment time that would work with the times that they were the most happy. I would try and schedule it around naps, but it never failed that they would end up napping early/late, that someone got sick, that someone was cranky- you get the picture!
When my daughter was born, I now had two children to work around and I decided that it would be much simpler if I could begin taking my own pictures. I won’t say that this wasn’t just as time consuming, but the experience was entirely different for me.
I would choose the times that my child was most happy (usually when they first woke up) and I would capture these glorious moments that would have been missed if I would have relied on taking them to a studio.
I have a picture of my daughter discovering her toes, a picture of my little boy with his first morning smile, and my daughter with her crazy bed-head curls in her sweet pajamas. I have a picture of my son eating his first leaf and a picture of my daughter splashing her heart out in the bathtub. Those are the moments that I really want to remember, not a perfectly posed child on a pristine white background.
These are some of the useful tools and sites that I have found to help me create great pictures of my kids:
Picasa- This is a great free program from Google that can help you edit your pictures. The software locates all of the pictures on your computer and has simple editing tools that you can use to take out red eye, crop photos, and apply any special effects (black and white, glow, sepia, etc..). This program is amazing and has helped save many of my photos that I thought could never be printed. You can lighten the photos and adjust the colors to make those dark photos viewable. This is a great program for the beginner and I find it much easier than many of the complicated and expensive software programs on the market.
Digital Photography School- I adore this website because you can get schooled on how to take great photos, without paying any tuition! They offer loads of tutorials on how to take great pictures and explain concepts in a way that even a novice could understand. Be sure to visit their how to photograph a child’s birthday tutorial and the ten questions to ask when taking a picture. This website is a wealth of information and everything you ever wanted to know about taking good pictures is right there.
Snapfish- Offers 30 free prints and free shipping using the coupon code SNAPYFRSH07. You can not only save money by not going to the pros, you can also save money on the printing process.
Photoworks- Photoworks customers can get 25 free prints on their first order (using the provided link).
Most importantly, don’t forget to read your manual. The manual will offer all of the tips and tricks you need for operating your own camera and will help you choose the right settings for any situation.
If you need further help, visit your local library and check out some books on photography. You can read through tutorials or just look through pictures that the professional photographers have taken. Looking through books like these might give you some new ideas for pictures to try with your own child.
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Sound Off: Do you do professional photos or are you the professional in your house? What is your favorite picture of your child?