I'm often asked, "How do you take such great photos of just you and Aria?" so I wanted to share some of our most helpful tips for getting great shots of just the two of us all by ourselves. My husband does help us out sometimes but he and I work opposite hours outside the home and he's not always available when inspiration hits, so Aria and I have learned how to improvise and DIY our Mommy and Me photo shoots!
1. Use a Tripod
We always shoot with a tripod at home and almost always have one handy in the trunk of our car just in case there's a great opportunity for a photo! I have both a larger professional quality one and a more compact consumer model (like the one here) and both of them work great for impromptu photo shoots. For mobile phone pix we use a handy mini flexible tripod like this and it's great because it fits in my tote bag or backpack and it's fully adjustable so you can attach your phone to just about anything! Funny story - for these photos, Aria and I made a last minute decision to drive down to the beach over an hour away from home and I accidentally grabbed the wrong tripod head (the part that attaches to your camera). I had my larger tripod head and it wouldn't fit onto the smaller tripod that we brought. I asked Aria what we should do since we had no way of attaching my camera to the tripod and she came up with the brilliant idea of using my phone's usb charging cable as a rope to tie the camera to the tripod and it totally worked! She's the best problem solver!
2. Use a Camera Remote
If you're shooting with a DSLR camera you should definitely invest in a remote. We use one very similar to this model for our Sony camera and so far it's been great. There is a 2 second delay option so you can hit the button and have 2 seconds to hide the remote from view before the camera snaps your photo. It’s super easy and Aria loves using it! Most of them are priced under $10 but just be sure to get one that is compatible with your camera's brand and model.
I also recently discovered this bluetooth camera remote for smartphones which we'll definitely be trying out next. Of course, if you don't have a remote you can always just set the self timer on your camera or mobile device. My camera has both a 3 and 10 second self timer option and it's great if you're not shooting too far away and have enough time to run into the frame.
3. Let your Child Direct
This totally depends on the age and personality of your child (or children!), but definitely encourage them to get involved with the photo taking process! By age two I was teaching Aria about the different parts of my camera and encouraging her to direct our photo shoots by letting her decide where we should stand or sit, what would be a good background, what she wanted in the frame and what we should wear. Now that she's almost five, she loves directing all of our photo shoots and standing behind the camera to frame up the shots all by herself. Let your child(ren) help make creative decisions when taking photos and then be sure to show them the results!
4. Chose a Safe + Simple Location with Even Lighting
These photos were taken on the side of an old donut shop in Galveston, TX. It was a late Saturday afternoon an hour before sunset, the shop was closed, the parking lot was empty and we were safely tucked away from the main busy road and traffic. When it comes to taking photos with children, choosing a location that's safe and free of crowds and traffic is my number one priority. We also like to limit any distractions in our photos, so a big plain bright white or colorful wall on the side of a building or a plain wall in your home makes the perfect backdrop. Another tip - avoid direct overhead sunlight and harsh shadows. I prefer to shoot in the morning or evening when the sun isn't directly overhead or on overcast days when the lighting is perfectly soft and even. (Unless of course you have super cool sunnies + happy beach vibes to share!)
5. Time it Right and Use a Reward System
It's no secret, sometimes kids are tired, hungry, grumpy or just not in the mood for photos, and trust me, not every one of our photo shoots have been a success! Aria's usually in the best of spirits in the morning after breakfast or in the late afternoon after a snack and rest, but even if she's still not feelin' it I've learned that a little incentive can go a long way to get her motivated.
Before a photo shoot I usually give her three reward choices if she does a super awesome job:
1. A trip to her favorite playground or park
2. A new (under $5) toy - usually from our local dollar store or one of those little $2 blind bags that kids are crazy about right now. It's even better if you already have a secret stash of these rewards ready to go!
3. A small sweet treat - usually something like 5 chocolate chips or a Dum Dum lollipop
I hope these tips make your DIY photo shoots a little easier! Our matching yellow dresses are from an online boutique called BabyandMeShop! They sell the sweetest matching outfits for Mamas and littles!
(If you're wondering what that little bump is on my left side, no, it's not baby's foot sticking out! That's my Dexcom continuous glucose transmitter that connects to an app on my iphone to monitor my blood sugar! I'm bionic!)
Check out these other cute yellow dresses & similar looks for under $40!
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Thanks so much for stopping by!
Aimey + Aria