How to Take Better Photos Presentation

I had the privilege today of speaking to 100+ moms here in Spokane on the subject of taking better photographs of their kids. Below are images from the slideshow I went through detailing 6 steps to a great photo. My teaching notes are below the slides.

I took my oldest daughter out and purposefully took a horrible photo and then took step by step photos illustrating the steps to take to make it into something you’d be proud to hang on your wall for years to come.


  • The photos you take of your kids matter.
  • They’re frozen moments in time that you can’t ever get back.

Zero to Hero in 6 Steps

No Photoshopping, cropping etc., 20 minute shoot. These are things you can do

  1. Lighting – Photography in the broadest sense is the capturing of light
    1. best times of day to shoot – Find the beautiful light. – golden hour, overcast
    2. slide
  2. Exposure Compensation
    1. slide illustration
    2. the adding or subtracting of light
    3. the human eye can see a wider dynamic range than the camera. you have to be smarter than your camera. Expose for your subject by compensating for your camera
    4. slide
  3. Rule of Thirds
    1. slide illustration
    2. slide
  4. Subject Pop
    1. slide – Remove distractions
    2. slide – Get in close – Close is an easy fix to many problems because it eliminates bg distractions and focuses all the attention on the subject
  5. Depth of Field
    1. slide illustration
    2. probably hardest concept to understand but the one with greatest creative benefit.
    3. Controlled by aperture, lens and distance to your subject
    4. portrait mode on a point and shoot is a close substitute for real control of the aperture
    5. slide
    6. slide in closer
  6. Creativity
    1. pose & props
    2. change your perspective (turn the camera, get up, get down)
    3. Let your creativity build as you go through the shoot
    4. The best photographs often happen at the end of a shoot and often when the planned shots are done

Steps 1-4 made the photo bearable, 5-6 made it beautiful

Your Photos

  1. Bigger is Better
    1. Print your best work and print it large, 8×10 and larger. Large prints make shots that seem uninteresting on screen into heroes.
    2. Don’t just review your photos on the back of the camera.
  2. Critique – If you want to take better photos of your kids the best thing you can do is to shoot and critique while finding solutions to the things you don’t like in your photos (zero to hero as anaexample). Example of DOF where everything is sharp. How can i get some blur?
  3. Personal Projects – Give yourself a photo project with a deadline.

Your Kids

  • Fun is key unless you’re a lucky parent with a kid who loves having their photo taken.
  • props, a game, rewards

Resources (listed from beginner to more advanced concepts)

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