Take Better Photos

I have always loved taking photos. Nothing fancy, just simple snapshots to document the moment and hold onto a feeling. I used to collect them all in a scrapbook. But the gluing, cutting and stickers became too time consuming. I found myself dreading it. So I started a family blog—a place to preserve the photos and all of our stories. At the end of each year, I print my blog and have it bound into a coffee table book.  It’s a great way to ‘save’ memories. In the course of my family blog and here on 'Crafty Texas Girls', I have taken thousands of photos. Some good, some not so good. But from each photo I learned a little more.

Now, if you are a professional photographer, own the latest version of PhotoShop, or know how to work your camera in ‘manual mode’—this article is not for you. But if you have a decent camera and the desire to capture your family and the moments you hold dear, read on. Because with a few simple tips, even the most novice photographer can take photos that are ‘frame worthy’. 

TIP 1- Turn Off the Flash! Everyone, children, adults, even pets look better in natural light. The flash creates harsh lines and washes out color. Natural light is warm and soft. It illuminates smiles and highlights hair. The best natural light comes just before sunset, around 4-5pm. But even golden morning sun streaming through a window can look dreamy.

TIP 2- Look Beyond. If you go through your favorite professional photos, you will notice that you actually ‘don’t notice’ the background. No crazy toys, garage doors or distracting cars loom behind the smiling faces. So when it comes time to snap a few photos, take a moment to look around your subject. Can you move a few things out of the way? Or even try moving your subject. Trees, grass, or a simple prop like a chair make for beautiful, interesting photos. 

TIP 3- Point of View- Do you usually line your family up and make them smile? Are you always telling your toddler to ‘say cheese’? Then lose the toothy grin and try a new angle. Sometimes only capturing part of the picture can make a big impact. Like a close-up of little hands or feet. Alternately, zoom out. Maybe a ‘larger picture’ tells the story better.

 TIP 4- Lose the Color- Looking for a great photo to frame and display? Revisit some photos taken in the past few years. Anything catch your eye? Try having them re-printed in black and white. It is amazing how an average photo can be become artistic just by setting it in black and white. You can do this on any basic photo software or local printing labs offer the service too. A wall of black and white framed photos is just about the best ‘art’ money can buy.

TIP 5- Capture the Action- Kids have a hard time sitting still, so why make them freeze for a photo? Instead, grab your camera and just let your kids do what they do best, move! Playful moments in the yard, running on the beach, or splashing in the pool are what childhood is all about.

 TIP 6- Rule of Thirds- This is probably my favorite tip because it makes the biggest impact. When you look at your photos, mentally divide the shot into thirds. Choose one third and make sure that is where you put your subject. (Avoid centering the subject of your picture.) If you don’t take have a chance to do this while shooting, you can always crop the photo so it follows the ‘rule of thirds’.

 TIP 7- Practice Makes Perfect- The best way to get a photo is to take a lot them. My computer has over 8000 photos stored on it. When you take out your camera, shoot a lot. The more photos, the better chance you will capture a good one. We are in the digital age- if you don’t like some of them, just hit delete.

Now go grab your camera and capture some memories!

 And in case you are wondering…
-I use “Blog 2 Print” to publish my blog into a book

-My favorite online printing lab is MPIX

- I shoot with a Cannon Rebel

- I back-up my photos weekly with an external drive, crashes happen!

 -Thrifty Decor Chick
-Too Much Time on My Hands
-Home Stories A to Z 
-Tatertots and Jello
-The 36th Avenue
-Serenity Now
-Under the Table and Dreaming
-It's Overflowing

This article was originally published on SouthlakeMoms.com


  1. Great tips! Thanks for showing us!

  2. Hi lovely lady.
    I love all your Beautiful photos.
    Thanks so much for your sweet comments on my Tablescapes. I hope you have a wonderful weekend with your family. I have a new table on now come see.
    XXOO Diane

  3. Thanks for the tips! Beautiful photos :)

  4. Great tips! I could definitely use a few helps for my photos. Found you through a linky party.

  5. Thanks so much for the tips! I just got a Canon Rebel and I need all the help I can get! ;)

  6. Have had a Canon Rebel for almost a year and am still trying to learn to take great pics. Thank you for the tips. Just became a new linky follower! Would love for you to check out my blog too.

  7. Great tips! I need all the help I can get in this area!

    We're just starting a new link up party and if you're interested we'd love to have you join in: http://www.waywardgirlscrafts.com/2012/02/wayward-weekend-week-5.html

  8. so glad to have found you at 36th ave party...I am in great need of photography tips! new follower!! Oh, I'm a Texas girl too!!

  9. So happy I have so many crafty friends who like to take photos too. Anyone else take photojournalism in high school? Actually developing film in the dark room is so cool!
    :) Samantha

  10. Thanks for the tips! Absolutely LOVE the beach shot!

  11. Samantha, thanks for the great tips.

  12. Love this post for those of us who don't use manual mode! I need to learn how to take good pics with the camera I have before I venture into the other photo world. Your tips will come in handy!

  13. Great tips! I'm in desperate need in this area so I can't wait to try this out :0)

  14. Hi, Samantha, thanks for stopping by. These are some great tips too, very easy to understand.

  15. I love the rule of thirds, but I am not an expert at it yet... I rely way too heavily on cropping. Thanks for the tips!

    I have a project party every weekend if you would like to join and link up your great ideas! http://bubblynaturecreations.com/2012/03/project-party-weekend-pretty-striped-pencils-tutorial.html
    I hope you will come! xoxo-Rachel

  16. I love these tips so I pinned it on Pinterest and will feature it as a blog tip tomorrow during my Creative Bloggers' Party & Hop.

  17. Love these super easy tips! HAve anything to share about photographing food? My recipes look dreadful and I just don't know how to capture them. I don't use the flash, but I'm cooking at night, so it's just pretty dreary and dark looking.

    Thanks again!

  18. Those are super helpful tips! I'm always looking for advice on how to take better pictures and these are so great and so easy to follow. Thank you!

  19. Jennifer- for photographing food, I always try to have good light and a good background. So pretty much the same tips for people apply to food. I would say if you cook at night, try to shoot the finished product during the day. Thanks for stopping by!
    :) Samantha


Thank you so much for taking the time to leave a comment! I love to hear from you and will do my best to answer questions and comments by 'replying via email'.
:) Samantha

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