Posts Tagged ‘photography’

It’s my mission this year to help you become a better photographer for your family. You deserve to have great photos to look back on and cherish as your family grows up. I’m teaming up with Canon again to teach you everything I know–Or close to it. So if there’s something you have a question about ask and I’ll be sure to address it in an upcoming post!

So you’ve upgraded to a DSLR, you have been shooting with the kit lens that came with your camera for a while and you’re feeling ready for an upgrade but you aren’t sure which lens to get next or how to decide where to start.

How to choose your next camera lens. Camera lenses explained.

A simple search for “best camera lens” can bring back tons of results and a slew of opinions. The truth is the best lens for one person may not be the best for you, or what you’re looking to do.

From one lens fanatic to another, I’m going to break down different types of lenses and give you great options for each to help you choose which one may be the next one to add to your repertoire.

NIFTY 50

If you’re a parent and/or new photographer looking for one lens to upgrade right out the gate, the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM is the one I’ll immediately ask if you have. It’s small, lightweight, and you can really play around with the aperture and depth of field (remember we talked about that in this post).

Why I love it: With the ability to change the f-stop to as low as 1.8 (or 1.4 on the EF f/1.4 USM version) you can get some great portrait pictures of your kids, blurring out the background, and play around with low-light photography indoors.

The EF 50mm f/1.8 STM is also extremely affordable. With a price tag of around just $100, many find they get the most bang for their buck with this lens. It also now has STM which stands for Stepping Motion Technology. So it allows for really quiet focusing when you’re shooting video.

Important to note: On a crop sensor camera you may find yourself tight on space with your indoor photos. If your rooms are smaller or you don’t have a lot of space you may want to consider a wider lens or even a zoom lens.

Mid-range Zoom Lens

If you’re looking for a step up from your kit zoom lens, and you like the ability to stand in one spot and take several photos from different focal lengths, this is the way to go. The EF-S 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 IS USM has a more board zoom range than your kit lens, and image stabilization so if you are trying to take pictures at a slower shutter speed you’ll be ok.

Zoomed all the way in you’ll be able to capture your kids further away, or more of those detail shots. In the photos below I used this lens at the beach. I didn’t want to risk getting my camera wet but I was able to zoom into 135mm and get pictures of my family playing in the water.

Then in this second photo, zoomed all the way out you’ll see more of the big picture, or in the case of the photo above, I can capture my son clinging to me while standing right above him.

One thing to note with this lens is it will work great on your EOS Rebel DSLR, EOS 80D or other crop-sensor cameras. But if you eventually upgrade to a full-frame camera then you’ll need an adapter for it to work.

The EF 24-70mm F/4L IS lens another great zoom lens, it also has image stabilization, which makes it a great lens for indoor or low-light photos, as well as outdoor pictures of your kids playing. Zoomed all the way it in works wonderful as a portrait lens, and pulled all the way out at the 24mm focal length it is great for capturing more lifestyle images and candids of children.

The constant f/4 maximum aperture means no matter where your focal length, you can keep your f-stop locked just where you want it (which isn’t the case with your EF-S 18-55mm kit lens or the EF-S 18-135mm). But it is more expensive.

With either lens, you can zoom in and out standing in one position and get a variety of shots without moving (which I love, because I can be lazy).

Prime Portrait Lens

While I personally am a big fan of zoom lenses, a lot of people love their prime lenses and many are great for taking portraits. The EF 50mm f/1.8 STM I mentioned earlier is a great option for portraits.

Many others love the 85mm prime lens. I think I’m a minority here when I rave about my go-to lens for this. I have the EF 100mm f/2.8L IS Macro lens and I love it for portraits. You can get the gorgeous crisp images with the beautiful bokeh in the background and it’s versatile. If you’re wanting to focus on getting great portrait shots of your kids, or your family, one of these lenses will be a great option.

Why I love it: Every time I use it I re-fall in love with it and call it my favorite lens. It’s bigger than many of my other lenses but many of my favorite photos I took with this lens. It’s usually my go to for my “photo shoots” versus just my casual everyday candid photos of my kids.

Important to note: Just remember that these are prime lenses, which means you aren’t going to be doing any zooming in and out with anything other than your feet. Also this lens is much longer than the 50mm lens. You can get a nice shallow depth of field with the 50mm lens I mentioned earlier for a fraction of the cost, and even take portraits shots in your home (I don’t have enough room to do this with my 100mm lens). I like using this one when my kids are playing much further away from me.

Macro Lens

A macro lens allows you to get within inches of your subject and snap a very close and detailed image. These are great for people who want to capture those tiny details such as a newborn’s toes, or your child’s eyelashes or other little details that could often go overlooked.

The EF 100mm F/2.8 Macro lens I mentioned earlier is actually a macro lens but I use it for portraits too. The EF-S 60mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens will also get you that nice shallow depth of field for portraits, or a beautiful macro shot when you get up close to focus on the details.

Important to note: When you’re shooting in macro mode you’re going to want to raise your f-stop so that you can capture more of the details. This means you’ll want to make sure you have lots of available light or raise your ISO to compensate for a higher f-stop.

Wide angle zoom lens

If you’re constantly traveling or on the go, or like to capture less portraits and more of the scene beyond your children you’re probably going to want to consider a wide angle lens. Again, another perk with the zoom lens is the ability to take a variety of shots standing in the same spot.

I love using my EF 17-40mm f/4L lens when we’re traveling to take in not only my children but the structures or landscapes behind them. It’s also nice when we’re in close quarters and I can’t back up but I want to see more of what’s going on. I used this lens almost exclusively when we go on our Disney vacations so I can photograph my child’s delicate size compared to the huge cruise ship, or castle. It’s also fun to play with on playgrounds when I want different types of shots.

Another great wide angle zoom lens option at a lower price point is the EF-S 10-18mm f/4.5-5.6 IS STM. With image stabilization and STM it’s great to use for not just picture but vacation videos as well.

Important to note: Wide angle lenses are not ideal for portraits. Even zoomed all the way in and stopped all the way down, you won’t get much bokeh in the background. Zoomed all the way out you may get a little disproportionate distortion depending how close you are to your subject.–Which is great for tall buildings, but not idea for someone’s head. That said, sometimes it’s a fun and creative look to add a little variety to my photos of my kids.

Wide angle prime lens

If you like to photograph standing closer to your subjects a moderate wide-angle lens may be your preferred choice. The EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM lens is a great option and around $150.

It has a fixed focal length and is really compact. And with an f/2.8 aperture it’s great in low-light situations you may find in your home. The EF 35mm f/2 IS USM is another option a lot of people with full-frame sensor DSLRs go for.

I don’t have either of these lens because I use my EF 17-40mm lens for my wide-angle needs, and with my quick kids I’d prefer to zoom with my lens than my feet. But I know this is a favorite for many people who want to keep one all-around prime lens on their camera.

Pancake Lens

I’ve been going on and on about my love of zoom lenses, but if there’s one kind of prime lens I love it’s a pancake lens.

I have the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM. Some may be wondering “why do you have that same focal length covered three times?”. It’s not necessarily the focal length I love as much as the size and convenience of the lens. It stops down to a f/2.8 which is great for blurry depth of field. But my favorite part about this lens is how small it is, hence the nickname “pancake” lens.

There is also the EF-S 24mm f/2.8 STM lens which is also at a price point of under $150, and great on a crop-sensor camera.

Why I love it: It’s affordable and adorable. Very light and portable I love to keep it on my camera when I’m going out but not sure if/what I’ll be photographing. It keeps my purse lighter but I know I’m not going to miss a Canon moment.

How to choose your next camera lens

So what kind of photos do you find yourself taking most often? Do you find yourself wishing you could back up more? Or trying to shoot closer to your subjects? Do you enjoy moving around and zooming with your feet or do you want to quickly be able to change focal lengths from one position? When you take all of these things into consideration you should land on the perfect next lens for you.

Or, maybe you’ll be more like me and keep adding to your collection because you just can’t decide on a favorite. For more of my photography tips from gear to shooting rambunctious kids to backing up and printing check out my course Child’s Play: Simple Tips for Photographing Children. It’s currently on sale for $25.99!

What’s your favorite lens? Which one do you think you’ll get next?

I’m going to give one of you a head start on growing your lens collection. I rarely ever do giveaways but this just seemed like the perfect opportunity! I upgraded one of my lenses almost immediately and I have an extra to give away.  I’m giving away a brand new Canon EF 24-70mm F/4L lens. Use the widget below to enter!

Canon ES 24-70mm f/4L Giveaway

From birthdays to family vacations, to holidays and more, I’ve teamed up with Canon again this year to share how we capture the moments we cherish most. I’m also dishing out tips to help you better photograph your special moments with your family. Shout out to my favorite camera brand for sponsoring this series.

It’s my mission this year to help you become a better photographer for your family. You deserve to have great photos to look back on and cherish as your family grows up. I’m teaming up with Canon again to teach you everything I know–Or close to it. So if there’s something you have a question about ask and I’ll be sure to address it in an upcoming post!

Also, in a few weeks I’m going to be at the B&H Event Space in New York City giving a presentation about just that! If you’re in the area I’d love it if you stopped by, or if not, tune in because it’ll be live streamed!

Canon EOS Rebel t7i DSLR modes explained

Ok, so you’ve decided you really want to get better at photography, and you’re wanting to finally switch out of auto mode. What next?

On a Canon, scene intelligent auto is great for guessing the best settings for your moment. But learning your settings and switching to manual can make a huge difference.

It can be intimidating to switch to full manual mode (where you have control over all of your camera settings) all at once. But there are some other modes in between that can help you get that perfect photo. There are a dozen modes on an EOS Rebel T7i and that alone can be intimidating. I’m going to highlight 5 favorites I have and work you through how to use them.

SCN (Special Scene Mode)

Canon EOS Rebel t7i tutorial how to use special scene SCN mode

Similar to full-auto except in this mode you can pick a specific scenario you’re shooting in. Taking a group photo? A picture of your child blowing out his birthday candles? A night portrait or a picture of the delicious meal you just made? These special scene options automatically choose the best settings for your situation. It’s kind of like a more specific auto-mode.

Canon EOS Rebel t7i tutorial how to use special scene SCN mode

Make sure you pay attention to your camera settings in each of these different modes. That way you’ll get an idea of how to fix your settings when you’re ready to move to full manual mode.

Portrait Mode

Canon EOS Rebel t7i tutorial how to use portrait mode

You’ll want to switch to this mode if you want to… You guessed it, take portraits. It makes your subject stand out against a shallow depth of field (a blurred background) and creates smoother skin tones and softer hair. Great for beginners if you’re just wanting to shoot portraits. But if you think you’ll be switching back and forth between photographing portraits of your kids and your kids doing other things, I’d suggest using the next mode to photograph.

Canon EOS Rebel t7i tutorial how to use portrait mode

AV (Aperture Priority Mode)

Canon EOS Rebel t7i tutorial how to use AV mode

This is the mode I switched to from auto when I was ready to step up my photography a little bit, but not ready to go to full-on auto. It allows you to set the aperture (f-stop) and automatically takes care of the rest. With the aperture you can decide how much or how little depth (or blur) you’d like in the background of your photos.

The higher the number the less background blur you’ll have. The smaller the number, the less depth you’ll have. Decide how much of the background you want to see and set your f-stop accordingly. The photo on the left I shot at f/1.4 the photo on the right was shot at f/11.

Canon EOS Rebel t7i tutorial how to use AV mode

TV (Shutter Priority Mode)

Canon EOS Rebel t7i tutorial how to use TV Shutter priority mode

This is a great mode to switch to when you’re wanting to create a certain look for things in motion. A waterfall for example can be frozen with a higher shutter speed, seeing more of the droplets and stream of water. Or you can use a slower shutter speed and make it look like a smooth, rushing stream.

When it comes to photographing your kids–Riding a bike, or running for example. If you want to freeze them in motion, and capture them in a sharp image, you’ll use a higher shutter speed. If you’re purposely wanting to blur them a little bit–Capturing the motion, you’ll want to use a slower shutter speed. So in the photos below, on the left I used a shutter speed of 1/80. And the photo on the right was shot at 1/4000.

Canon EOS Rebel t7i tutorial how to use TV Shutter priority mode

Program AE Mode

All of these different settings we’ve been discussing–Aperture, shutter speed (and ISO), together determine your exposure, which is how bright your photo is going to be. Personally I like my photos to be ever so slightly over exposed. In this mode you get to decide your preferred exposure level, and your camera takes care of the rest. I usually set mine to be about +⅓ or +2/3 . I’ll take a test shot, see if I like how bright it is, and adjust as necessary. The nice thing about this mode is if you’re moving in and out of shadowy areas, or areas where the light drastically changes, your camera’s settings will automatically regulate.

Press and hold the +/- exposure button and roll the shutter wheel to set your preferred exposure level. Note that the higher that number goes, the brighter or over exposed the photo will be. The lower, the darker. You want to be around the 0, just above, or just below.

Canon EOS Rebel t7i tutorial how to use program mode and set exposure

Helpful Hints

The great thing is once you master the latter three modes you’re pretty much ready to switch to full manual. Then you can take full control over your settings. I like to set my aperture first depending on how much depth I want, then my ISO and last my shutter speed, keeping note to where that exposure meter is falling.

If you’re more of a visual person, I’ve created a video detailing the differences between these modes.

We’re created a printable photography cheat sheet for you. You can download the full sized file here and print to keep on hand and help you out when you’re on the go. And for more of my photography tips check out my photography course: Child’s Play: Simple Tips for Photographing Children.

Photography cheat sheet and Canon camera modes explained

From birthdays to family vacations, to holidays and more, I’ve teamed up with Canon again this year to share how we capture the moments we cherish most. I’m also dishing out tips to help you better photograph your special moments with your family. Shout out to my favorite camera brand for sponsoring this series.

I recently polled my Facebook friends to see what came to mind when they think of me, or my blog. Some of the most common responses fell around photography, making fun memories with my kids, advocacy and Disney.

It’s true, I’m a rock star when it comes to photographing my kids. When it comes to backing up my photos, I’m borderline obsessive. But when it comes to printing, enjoying and displaying said photos, I’m a failure.

Watching my children play is like magic. Raising biracial children. A millennial mom blog.

There are certain times of the year this becomes extra apparent to me. Mother’s Day is one of those times. I love sentimental gifts and displaying our photographs and it’s the time of year I really try to get on the ball and print something for myself, and especially for our moms.

I’ve sworn to get better through the years. I have a great system for organizing my pictures. All I need to do is drag those folders into a digital photo book program. That last step has just been too much for me. The idea of choosing which photos I like best, arranging them the way I like, adding cute little embellishments here and there… It doesn’t happen often enough.

Well Shutterfly reached out to me to try their new Make My Book Service, which basically allows you to dump in up to 800 photos (I thought I would easily break this limit but I didn’t even hit 400), tell the designer how you want to arrange them (you into embellishments or nah?) and how many photos you want them to use (ALL of them or only the best?). They can also watch out for duplicates for you.

Shutterffly make my book service review. A perfect Mother's Day gift. Even if it's last-minute.

Listen, I was really worried about trying it out and telling you about it in time for Mother’s Day because like I said, I drag my feet when it comes to designing photo books. I’m a procrastinator. And this just isn’t one of those things you want to wait to do when you’re trying to make something special for mom.

But I sat my booty down and did it, and it was easy, and I didn’t die, or cry, or anything like that. The Make My Book designer did the hard part of arranging all the photos and they were in order like I liked. I just went back and changed the layout of a few pages because I like fewer borders and more photos. And then boom! Done!

The best part is forgetting you ordered it, then you get a bright orange package on your door and know exactly what it is. You open it and squeal because there are your sweet family’s faces on the cover staring back at you.

Shutterffly make my book service review. A perfect Mother's Day gift. Even if it's last-minute.

Shutterffly make my book service review. A perfect Mother's Day gift. Even if it's last-minute.

Shutterffly make my book service review. A perfect Mother's Day gift. Even if it's last-minute.

My daughter nearly snatched it out of my hands as I opened the book, and we both sat, smiled and laughed as we looked at all of the memories we made over the last year.

I left the book on the counter waiting for my husband to see it when he got home. He was telling me a story and the hard book stopped him in his tracks.

“Oooh!” he said as he opened it. “That’s a good picture!” He said, pointing to a photograph we took together before a football game last year. Watching him look through the memories was just as fun as looking through it myself.

Shutterffly make my book service review. A perfect Mother's Day gift. Even if it's last-minute.

Shutterffly make my book service review. A perfect Mother's Day gift. Even if it's last-minute.

My husband isn’t on Facebook or Instagram and doesn’t read my blog. So he doesn’t get to see most of the photos I take through the year.

“Now this is a gift,” I thought. “One we’ll always cherish.”

It’s also a gift that will keep on giving. Photo books are like brag books for grandparents (not to mention parents). I’m excited that the hard work is done and I can re-order the book for my mom and mother-in-law for Mother’s Day (though I’ll probably slip in a few more photos of other cousins and such). One personalized gift, three happy moms.

What are you giving your mom or mother-in-law for Mother’s Day? Do you like personalized gifts?

Shutterffly make my book service review. A perfect Mother's Day gift. Even if it's last-minute.

This post is sponsored by Shutterfly. Make this Mother’s Day with a personalized gift that says it all.

 

Apr
16
2017

Belief


I believe anything is possible.

I believe in so many things I’ve never seen and I have so much hope. Hope for the world, our future, and hope that someday it’ll all make sense. Hope that eventually there will be peace.

Maybe that’s why it’s not so hard for me to believe in the resurrection of Jesus Christ, and the belief that we will all live again too. Today my family is celebrating this belief on a day we call Easter.

I teach a class of 16 and 17 year olds and I often ask them how they’ve been a missionary and if they’ve shared some of their beliefs with their friends. I felt it was time I asked myself the same question.

I’m a Mormon. I don’t grasp everything about the religion. Actually, there’s a lot I don’t quite get, but I’m always trying to understand, learn more, and do better. We believe in a Jesus Christ and celebrate Easter.

I love learning about people who are different than me. Specifically those who practice different religions. It is fascinating learning what really inspires someone. I believe listening and getting to know people who are different from ourselves is a big part of becoming more compassionate and accepting of others. I believe fear holds us back. The simple act of asking a question, or reaching out can help us overcome that fear.

I’m only an email or comment away if you have any questions or want to share your own beliefs with me! And if you want to learn more about my religion from a better resource than myself, check out this website.

Another part I love about this day? An excuse to get my kids all dappered up for photos!

Happy Easter!

Dressed up all dapper for Easter 2017.

Interracial Family Easter photo for 2017. Sharing my beliefs.

Interracial Family Easter photo for 2017. Sharing my beliefs.

Interracial Family Easter photo for 2017. Sharing my beliefs.

Interracial Family Easter photo for 2017. Sharing my beliefs.

Interracial Family Easter photo for 2017. Sharing my beliefs.

Interracial Family Easter photo for 2017. Sharing my beliefs.

Interracial Family Easter photo for 2017. Sharing my beliefs.

Interracial Family Easter photo for 2017. Sharing my beliefs.

Interracial Family Easter photo for 2017. Sharing my beliefs.

Interracial Family Easter photo for 2017. Sharing my beliefs.

(Poor Lil’ J saw a bee right before this photo and was still scared half to death. 3/4 of us look good though so it counts as a win.)

Interracial Family Easter photo for 2017. Sharing my beliefs.

 

I love learning about people who are different than me. Specifically, those who practice different religions.

“Learn three facts at the Utah Capitol and then you can get it.”

My daughter was asking for a stuffed blue bird toy at the visitor’s center.

We had a photo shoot planned, but in my attempt to be a good homeschooler, I wanted to try to make the experience educational too.

We’ve been on a capitol tour kick ever since our trip to Washington D.C. We visited our nation’s capitol, then our Texas state capitol. Now we were adding Utah to our list.

When we walked in we saw the place was basically deserted. There was a beautiful rotunda. My daughter admired that and then the staircase.

“What’s different about this rotunda?” I asked her.

“There’s no star.” She said.

“Anything else?”

“There’s a chandelier!”

“Right!”

We found a restroom and I helped her transform into a little princess.

I never really saw myself in Cinderella growing up. I thought she was a beautiful princess but I didn’t relate to her.–Yet my daughter manages to find the beauty and fun in each Disney princess and share it when we do these photo shoots. We started with Cinderella a couple of years ago, but when we visited Utah I knew we had to have a re-do in their beautiful capitol hall.

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

This was my first time doing a full shoot with my new EOS 5D Mark IV and it’s everything I’d hoped it would be. Full-frame, Wifi, video auto-focus with a touch screen. It’s a beauty. It has everything I love about my EOS 80D and then some in a full-frame sensor.

This was one of those shoots where I wanted to use a variety of lenses. My EF 100mm f2.8/L Macro lens for dreamy portraits and up-close macro shots of her shoes.

I loved using my EF 24-70mm f2.8/L lens for a majority of the shots. The variety of being able to go from wide to close in a second or two is why I love zoom lenses so much.

Then at the end of the shoot I had to put on my wide angle lens: EF 17-40mm f4/L lens to capture as much of the beautiful architecture as I could.

Prime EF 100mm f2.8/L Macro lens

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Zoom EF 24-70mm f2.8/L lens

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Zoom EF 17-40mm f4/L lens

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

After our photoshoot we walked around the capitol and learned a lot about it coming to be. Here are some of the things she learned to earn her blue bird:

  1. “Lots of things can be made out of Utah rocks. Some are used to help make toothpaste, or light bulbs, and even parts of cell phones.”
  2. “There’s this beehive thing and that’s in the symbol seal on their flag. Because bees are hard workers.”
  3. “The House of Representatives and the Senate helps make laws there.”

utah-capitol-tour-3

utah-capitol-tour-4

utah-capitol-tour-1

I also loved reading how the capital came to be, the Mormon pioneers that met with the Ute tribe (among others). Another fun fact was the way the Utah capitol was built to allow for a lot of natural light and less use of electricity. It makes for a beautiful photo spot!

Utah state capitol

I tested out the video on my new EOS 5D Mark IV  and made this little “behind the scenes” video of some of what our princess shoots entail.

Her new favorite princess (and mine) is Moana. So beautiful and strong. Hopefully that’ll be our next exciting shoot if we get away someplace fun and tropical. Just when I think she may be outgrowing the princess phase she comes out of her room in another dress and I know we’re back on. A least for a little while.

Hope you enjoy these as much as we enjoyed taking them!

utah-capitol-tour-2

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

cinderella-2

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

Biracial Disney Princess Series: My Little Princess- A cute and creative mother-daughter photo series featuring a biracial girl dressed up as Disney Princesses. Part 9: Cinderella

 

cinderella-quote

I love watching my family grow through our photos and videos, which is why I partnered with Canon on this post.

DIY fairytale Cinderella photoshoot.

In the last few weeks I’ve deleted about 200GB of photos from my 1TB hard drive. Why? Well, a few reasons.

For one, though I pride myself in my photo organization and backups, I can do better. I ordered a new Macbook Pro and since it wasn’t arriving for a couple of weeks I’ve tasked myself with getting my files beautifully organized before I transfer them to my new computer. So this means deleting super large RAW image files from years ago because if I haven’t edited them by now I most likely won’t be. I’ve deleted the images I don’t LOVE (and 9/10 of the shots of my kids making the same face over and over) and converted the images I do to jpg.

I also want to perfect my system for photo backup and organization. I have a pretty good automated photo backup backup system in place (I need to update this post cause I’ve changed a few things). But some of my old photos weren’t as organized. Now they are organized in folders by year, month, and event.

mommy-and-me-motherhood

While going through these pictures I’ve taken a very long, tedious, slow walk back down memory lane. I started with images from back in 2008, about four years after we were married, but before I was really taking pictures. Those years were easy to organize. Even after I got my first DSLR I didn’t take many photos throughout my first pregnancy. It wasn’t until my daughter was born that my image folders got larger and larger.

While digging through these files and sorting the good, the bad and the ugly, I’ve stumbled upon many forgotten gems. Many images that could sum up that time in my life pretty perfectly. Some images I’ve never even shared here on my blog–Images I thought, maybe, finally deserve a blog post of their own.

newborn-family

The day I became a mother. The day I joined the club. The day I began to understand this new powerful form of love called motherhood. It was a great day.

mommy-and-me-newborn-baby

I had a daughter I’d always dreamed of and a son I couldn’t even dream up. I never knew I could love a baby boy this much, and this picture I took by myself, alone in my bedroom holding the freshly birthed baby is one of my favorites to this day.

mommy-and-me-laughing

Both of the children I brought into this world compete for my affection and lap space. I love it (most of the time) and sometimes I hate it. I wish there was more of me to go around.

daddy-and-kids

I love this picture because Snoop is in it. I found LOTS of Snoop pictures while digging through my archives but this is one of my favorite because it shows his personality well along with my kids. He’s always nearby when commotion is going on, and ready to break it up if he thinks someone may get hurt.

mommy-and-me-crying

My daughter is extremely emotional–As I was. My son is pretty sensitive too. Tears are common and encouraged to let the emotions out. They are also my weakness. I’m a sensitive mom.

mommy-me-mirror

I love to document. A lot. Like 365 days of each of my kids’ life and then some. I think my descendants will thank me someday.

There’s been a lot of good, bad, unpredictable and silly. Motherhood is tough work.

Motherhood hasn’t been perfect. Not even close. Actually I don’t even know what perfect motherhood is. I can picture what it looks like based on someone’s Instagram feed, but I know that’s only showing part of the story. Just like these pictures. The photos are one thing, but the story behind it says so much more.

There are many ways to capture your family’s history. I love to do that with photographs, but I love videos and even audio recordings too.

I have an audio interview with my great-grandpa that I’ll always cherish, and countless videos of my kids.

If you have photos and/or videos all over the place and you’re working on a backup plan, don’t get discouraged. Here are a few tips from yours truly to get you started:

1. Create a folder structure that works for you. A way to organize and tag your images so you can easily find them later.
2. Work from past to present. I find it’s easier for me to delete images that are older because I’m not as attached to them. I can quickly tell which pictures are keepers and which are duds, and you can easily tell how close you are to the finish line. Plus, it’s fun to travel back in time and reminisce, and you can easily see the finish line as you watch your family grow in the pictures during the process.
3. Diversify your backups. I like having a hard backup plus a couple of places online. Flickr is easy and has 1TB of free storage. I use that on my computers as well as my phone. I also have a couple of 5TB hard drives that I backup my computers too, including my images (and a few other backups but I’ll go into more detail in another post another day).
4. Don’t forget your hard copy of photos and other non-digital files. Scan older, precious images so that they too have a backup in case they get lost. Convert old movies on VHS and other formats to digital too.
5. Just do one event or month at a time. It can easily get overwhelming when you’re starting from scratch, but if you take it folder by folder, you’ll quickly catch up. Once you have a system down mark your calendar to backup and organize your pictures once a month.

Check out the Allstate blog for more tips on protecting your family’s memories.


This post was written as part of the Allstate Influencer Program and sponsored by Allstate. All opinions are mine. As the nation’s largest publicly held personal lines insurer, Allstate is dedicated not only to protecting what matters most–but to guiding people to live the Good Life, every day.

I don’t know why it’s been so hard for me to write about this. Self-promotion doesn’t come easy to me, but this is something I’m really excited about so here goes nothing!

I’ve slipped a mention about it here and there in a couple of blog posts and mentioned it on Facebook but it’s time I let everyone in on something I’m very proud of… My first photography course! All my tips on photographing kids and childhood memories photography in one place.

photographing children- childhood memories photography

We purchased my first DSLR camera when I was pregnant with my daughter. I had no idea how to use it but I tinkered with it a lot along the way. I learned from professionals, read and practiced A LOT. It’s crazy but some of my photographs have been featured on national TV and even on the cover of a textbook.

But I don’t love photography for that reason. What I love most is capturing the fleeting moments–(Yes, childhood is fleeting). My kids and I love looking through our photo books, and digital pictures we’ve taken together.–Photos I didn’t realize would hold as much value as they do when I re-discover them months or years later.

Biracial siblings Spring Texas Bluebonnet pictures- Childhood memories photography

I also love capturing those special moments for my friends. It’s not something I’m pursuing professionally like I once thought I would (I now call myself a professional photographer of my family) but I do share my talents from time to time with my friends who ask.

Created in partnership with Canon I share all of my tips on photographing children. From capturing the sweet tiny details of your newborn, to photographing an active toddler or a reluctant tween, I’ve compiled it all into an 11 episode video course great for beginning to intermediate photographers. Here’s a preview:

With Christmas coming up it could be a great gift for yourself or a friend you know with a new camera. On sale right now at bit.ly/MyPhotoCourse.

Though I mostly focus on DSLR cameras the tips I share could be use with any make or model. And hey, if you have any specific questions you know where to find me.

Behind the Scenes

Here are some fun facts about the making of this thing:

1. None of the models in the shoot are my actual children, but they were all fun to work with and arguably easier to photograph. Ha! But there are plenty of examples of photos I’ve taken of my own kids throughout the course.
2. I sorta got a bit of baby fever while working with the newborn. I’ve since been cured.
3. Filming this course was nothing like filming a news segment. More cameras, lights, and producers behind the scenes, but it was really fun.
4. We filmed it in Tampa, FL and I actually saw a crocodile in the pond we filmed near.
5. It took several months for this all to come together. In fact, this process began over a year ago and I’m glad I got the nerve to FINALLY officially share it with you.

babys first christmas childhood memories photography

So if you’ve been wanting to up your photography game, or have a friend who wants to, please let them know about my new course (right now it’s at a great price of $29.99)! If you buy it please please please let me know so I can send you virtual hugs and kisses.

Now please excuse me while I go and add this to my list of favorite life moments.

A beginner's online photography course: Photographing children.

“Sit over here!” My daughter directed me. “Now turn this way, no no, like this!”

I tried my best to do as she told me, then watched as she lifted her camera up to her eye.

It was an old film camera I bought years ago at a thrift store, either as a photo prop or a toy, I can’t remember. But it’s one of those toys that we’ve kept around through the years.

Child Photographer Child photographer

After this pretend photoshoot of hers she made a request.

“Mom, think maybe I could get a real camera? One that takes pictures I could see?”

It was hard not to consider her request.

With homeschool just starting I thought it could be a nice gift to kick off the school year and this new adventure of ours.

I asked Canon for recommendations on the best point and shoot camera for kids and narrowed it down to the Powershot ELPH 360 HS and the Powershot D30.

Best camera for kids: Teaching your child photographer.

(My photo and her photo snapped at the same time)

I love the fun colors and wifi capabilities of the other, but ultimately she and I both agreed that the waterproof and shockproof features of the PowerShot D30 outweighed the other options, and withstand any of her little mishaps. Now my little girl is the proud owner of her first very own camera.

So what happens when you give a child a camera?

Lil’ J has brought it with her on our hikes and to each our co-op meetings since then.

Nature hike with kids Austin.

Nature hike with kids Austin

“I brought my camera!” She announced at our first Wild Explorers Club meeting.

The kids were tasked to pack their own adventure packs and inside hers, Lil’ J packed her nature journal, water, a snack, a compass and her camera.

“And it’s waterproof!” she added with pride.

She’s been using it to take photos while we are on our hikes, and then uses those photos later to go by when she’s drawing in her nature journal. Her journal helps her practice handwriting and art and overall observe and pay attention to details.

Best camera for kids: Teaching your child photographer.

(Her photo)

She’s working to improve and she loves showing off her images. When you give your child a camera, you may notice a new sense of excitement and pride in her budding hobby.

Best camera for kids- Canon option

Best camera for kids: Teaching your child photographer.

Best camera for kids: Teaching your child photographer.

It’s been fun showing her how to use it—She’s already learned how to zoom, and turn the flash off and on, and review what she’s shot.

A few beginner tips I’ve given her already:

  • It’s better to zoom with your feet than your fingers to keep your picture steady and not blurry.
  • Try to keep your back to the light so that the light is falling on your subject.
  • When possible, avoid the camera flash, it makes more unnatural-looking shadows. Try to open the blinds to let in more light from the sub for prettier pictures.

Best camera for kids: Teaching your child photographer.

Best camera for kids: Teaching your child photographer.

I love watching what she does with it on her own. There have been a few times she’s come to me asking to borrow my tripod, then gone to record a video of herself and her brother playing with some toys.

My little girl has gone from always being in front of my camera, to pretending to direct her photoshoots, and now taking her own photographs for learning and fun.

When you give your child a camera, new hobbies and dreams may be born and I can’t wait to see what she dreams up next.


And for more photography tips from yours truly, check out my new course: Child’s Play: Simple Tips for Photographing Children.

From birthdays to family vacations, to holidays and more, I’m teaming up with Canon every month to share how we capture our special milestones. I’ll also dish out tips to help you better capture your special moments with your family. Shout out to my favorite camera brand for sponsoring this series.

Best cameras for kids. Canon Powershot D30 Review.

Hi! I’m Jennifer Borget



I'm a part-time journalist, full-time wife and mother striving to make the world a better place and inspiring others to do the same. This is the space where I share my journey in making the most of every day.

My Photography Course

My Photography Course

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