Posts Tagged ‘Canon’

One of the most common questions I’m asked is about which camera to buy. Whether you’re just starting out or upgrading, there are so many kinds and it can be really hard to narrow down the best one for your needs. Want a new camera for the holidays but not sure which one will best fit your needs?

Choosing the best camera

I’ve used a variety of Canon cameras through the years, and had a number of upgrades so I can give you a very good idea of which camera will work best for your situation. Though I’ve partnered with Canon to sponsor this post, these opinions are all my own.

I’m going to break it down based on size and type of camera and work my way from smallest to largest. I’ll also share photos I’ve taken with each camera so you can get an idea of what they can do.

Ok here we go!

Canon Powershot G7X Mark ii

Choosing a dslr camera

Handy, easy, and great for video.

This is my smallest camera. When people ask me for a video recorder recommendation I throw this out first. You CAN use it to take photos but I use it almost exclusively for video. You don’t have to mess with changing lenses and it works great in low light. Great for shooting travel videos when you’re walking and talking. I used this for vlogging when I went to Israel and I still use this one the most for our cheer vlogs and home videos. I even used it for both pictures and video when we did our obstacle challenge.

Good idea to grab an extra battery cause if you’re recording a lot of video you’ll want to have a backup so you don’t miss a moment.

Since it doesn’t have interchangeable lenses, the zoom quality isn’t the best. If you want something that’s more versatile for both video and images I’d recommend one of the next cameras.

Mirrorless Cameras

Choosing a mirrorless camera

Great for video and pictures. Very small and light (compared to DSLRs). Wonderful for traveling. Have small interchangeable lenses that fit. You can use lenses from your DSLR camera if you have the appropriate converter mount.

Canon EOS M5 and EOS M6

I’m combining these two cameras because they are very similar but there are slight differences that may make you prefer one over the other. Both are mirrorless cameras and they’re much smaller than the DSLR cameras you’re familiar with (like the Canon Rebel). They have interchangeable lenses made especially for these cameras. They’re much smaller, lighter and dare I say cuter.

The only downside I find is that there are less lens options than with a DSLR, but you can use a mount to convert your DSLR lenses to fit, and the main kit lens has worked great for me. The EOS M6 was the only camera I took on my last trip to Disney World.

They both have external microphone plugs so you can connect a microphone if you want better sound (though I’ve always used the internal mic just fine). And they both have wifi so you can easily transfer images to your phone and share online. The EOS M5 has a viewfinder so if you want to look through that to snap the image, instead of just on the screen on the back of the camera (called the LCD).

If you want to take selfies with it, or record yourself in vlogs, the screen flips down so you can see yourself. On the EOS M6 the LCD flips up, and it doesn’t have a viewfinder. I personally prefer the screen going up, it makes it easier for me to hold and easier to connect to tripods.

Canon EOS M50

This is another mirrorless camera similar to the last two I mentioned but has a few major extras that give it a leg up. It can shoot in 4k which is becoming a very popular resolution to watch on our TVs. The screen swings out to the side instead of up or down. It has a viewfinder for getting that shot just right. I also like that it’s easy enough to hand off to someone to snap a picture for you.

If you’re looking for a smaller camera to mostly shoot video with but also occasionally take really nice photos I’d recommend this camera. Absolutely great for vloggers and bloggers just getting going with photography but mostly want to focus on video. And parents who want a handy camera to toss in a small bag and use record lots of video of their kids or take pictures when you’re out and about.

It’s a step up from a point and shoot camera but leaps and bounds above a cellphone camera. But if you’re wanting to really dive into photography you’re probably going to want more lens options so I’d recommend you keep reading on to some of the following cameras.

Canon EOS R

This is Canon’s newest mirrorless camera (I’m talking brand new, just released as of when this blog was written) and some of the biggest differences between this and the others I’ve mentioned is the fact that this larger and is a full-frame camera instead of a crop sensor. In English this means you’ll get a lot more room with your lenses. If you feel crunched in your home, or like you can’t seem to get far back enough to take a picture with your favorite lens, you’ll find you’ll get a lot more room to work with on a full frame camera.

This is a big step up from the previous camera and great if you’re wanting more professional quality gear. That larger sensor is going to allow you to take higher quality images, especially in darker situations. The ISO goes up to 40,000 vs 25,600 on the M50 (read my post here for more info on what that means). Video also shoots in 4k.

Another great perk is this new camera also comes with a handful of new lenses. And if you already have Canon lenses you can use those on it with an adapter. If you’re just starting out and wanting to tiptoe into great photography with lots of lens options I’d recommend you consider one of the next two cameras.


DSLR Crop Sensor Cameras

Choosing a dslr camera

These are the cameras you’re probably most used to seeing around. When it comes to pictures, I love these cameras. When it comes to video, I love these cameras. I tend to use these most for everyday pictures of my kids and creative blog projects. They have a HUGE selection of lenses that allows for a lot of creativity in the types of looks you want to go for. Make sure you check out my post on choosing the best DSLR lens after finishing this section.

Crop sensor DSLRs are more affordable cameras than the full-frames I’ll mention next.

Canon EOS Rebel T7i

The Canon Rebel was my first DSLR camera and is still the camera I recommend to bloggers and moms dipping their toes into photography with hopes to dive in. They’re the lightest of the DSLRs and they’re programed to be so user-friendly with Feature Assist, so it’s really easy to start learning the different modes and how to work a camera that could otherwise seem intimidating. It has a full articulated touch LCD and you can autofocus and track focus in video mode by just touching the screen.

How to take forced perspective photos, fun creative photography with kids.

I can’t say enough good things about this camera. The great thing is as you grow as a photographer and decide to upgrade your lenses down the road, you EF lenses can still be used on any other Canon DSLR you get.

canon rebel t7i example

Canon EOS 80D

This camera is a little step up from the Canon Rebel. Aside from size, the main difference is this camera is weather sealed and more durable, and you can shoot at a much higher shutter speed (max 1/8000 sec) so if you want the ability to freeze something moving really fast while still blurring out the background on a sunny day, this would help.

This camera also has a headphone jack in addition to an external mic jack. This can come in handy if you’re recording a lot of external audio and want to be able to listen to the quality as you’re recording. I really love this camera for video as you can really make your backgrounds disappear and focus in on your subject.

Unschooling a 3 year old


DSLR Full Frame Cameras

Choosing a dslr camera

Ok now we’re rounding out the DSLRs with the full frame options. Like mentioned above with the mirrorless cameras, the full frame cameras don’t crop out as much of the image you’re shooting. This gives you more room to work with in tighter spaces. These also are great if you’re wanting to do a lot of wide angle photography, landscapes, or buildings since you’ll be able to use a wide angle lens to its true focal length.

The sensors are larger which also means you’ll usually have better shooting capabilities in darker rooms with less light.

Canon EOS 6D Mark II

I don’t like saying this in front of my other cameras but this is probably my favorite. It used to be my second favorite but lately it’s moved into first place because of the fully articulated touch screen. I use this for all of Lee Lee’s weekly baby updates and previously used it for all of my stop motion pregnancy bumpdates.

If you’ve been using a crop sensor DSLR for a while and feel like you’re ready for another step up, this camera is an excellent option. Great in low light, captures video beautifully and has an external microphone jack to take your video quality up a notch. It’s also a little lighter and more affordable than the last camera I’ll mention.

Canon EOS 5D Mark IV

When I am looking for my go-to camera for pictures I’ll usually reach for this one first. It’s fast, and I’m most comfortable with it. I know I’ll get a high-quality image that I could potentially print really large. All of the other cameras I’ve mentioned will produce great prints too, but you know, in case I want to blow something up for a billboard some day.

I also love that it has a compact flash card slot because those cards can save and preview my super large images super fast saving. It’s more durable, has a larger LCD (though it doesn’t flip out) and it can shoot video in 4k.

If you need to shoot in darker situations a lot and need something that works great in low light, want something with all the bells and whistles for photography, shoots 4k video this is a great option. If you want to get in front of this camera you can always use its wifi to connect to your phone and remotely control it that way (as with all the other cameras I’ve mentioned today).

So there you have it. Any questions?

Here’s a cheat sheet. You can download it here.

How to choose the best camera for you

Which one are you gonna get?


I’m almost never nervous to pull out my camera in just about any situation. At a park? Of course! In a donut shop? No problem! At a grocery store? Why not?! But when I pull out my camera around my husband, sometimes I have my guard up. I never know how he’ll react.

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 help you shoot for greatness and learn how to take some awesome shots for your family.

Father’s Day is coming up, and you’d think this day, of all days is the one that my husband would be willing to smile for a photo. He LOVES pictures of himself with the kids when he sees them. But when he hears my shutter snapping he’s not always eager to be in front of the lens.

Thankfully, I’ve worked on him a bit. And I have some tips to share in case your husband is a camera-dodger like mine.

Be sneaky

Sometimes I’ve just gotta hide around a corner, or sneak up on them when they’re being cute, hoping he doesn’t see me with a camera in hand, or at least pretends he doesn’t. If you’re lucky, you’ll get some great candid moments to share with him later. It’s easier to be sneaky with a smaller camera or one of my DSLRs with a smaller lens on it. I like using my EF 40mm f/2.8 STM (aka pancake) lens because it’s not big and bulky. The smaller size makes it less intrusive.

Encourage him to do something he loves

little girl doing box jumps in a garage man cave

My husband loves sports and working out. If I say I’d like to go in the garage and have the kids do a workout with him, he’s less likely to care if I take pictures because he’s in his element and they’re having fun. When your husband is having a good time, he might not mind you capturing it for memory’s sake. I like using a wider angle to take these lifestyle shots so I can can get more of the scene of what they’re doing. I shot this picture at 24mm length using my EF 24-70mm f/2.8 lens.

Tell the kids to go jump on his lap

fathers day photo tips

Does he love to roughhouse? Capture those candid moments where they’re laughing and doing what daddy does best. Make sure you raise your shutter speed so you’re ready for the action. The higher your shutter speed the more you’re able to freeze the action (here’s a tutorial explaining shutter speed and more).

Go outside and play

Being outside with more space can make even the most camera-shy people feel more comfortable. While he plays with the kids snap a few pictures. If you’re far out in a field you can keep your distance and use a longer zoom lens to still capture them up close. Your camera’s kit lens could work if the focal length goes above 100mm even better. The EF 24-105 f/4 is a great upgrade option.You can also switch your camera to continuous shooting mode so it will take a burst of pictures as you hold down your shutter button. I like to do this then just save the good shots and delete the outtakes later.

Just don’t forget to put your camera down now and jump in to enjoy the fun too!

Ask nicely

Tips for photographing a camera shy dad.

When all else fails, say please. He may surprise you and say cheese! While I tend to appreciate the candid and lifestyle photos more, my husband doesn’t mind posing for photos every now and then. And these are the pictures he likes to print out and hang.

Good luck using these tips this Father’s Day to get the daddy in your life in the photos too! And if you’ve had better luck trying other methods please share your success in the comments. And for more tips on photographing your family and kids check out my photography course Child’s Play: Simple Tips for Photographing Children. It’s just $39.99 and a great gift!

You deserve to have great photos and video to look back on and cherish as your family grows up. I’m teaming up with Canon again to help you shoot for greatness and learn how to capture some awesome moments with your family. This month we’re talking about taking great portraits.

Every year something I like to do with my kids is plan a photo session with them highlighting some of the topics they’re interested in. Last year my daughter was into space and she got a telescope for her birthday so we did pictures outside showcasing that. We also do birthday video interviews and sometimes I’ll edit those pictures in.

The power of a child's imagination. Encouraging them to play outside and have fun.

This year I took thousands of photographs and there’s no way I could narrow down favorites because I love so many for entirely different reasons. But today I’m going to show you some of my favorite portrait photos I took this year, and share some tips for taking great portraits of your kids.

Use a large aperture (small f-stop number)

For portraits you usually want the focus to be on your subject and your background to be out of focus. You can achieve this a few different ways.

    1. 1. By using a long portrait lens such as the EF 135mm lens, or the EF 100mm lens.
    2. 2. By zooming in as far as you can go on a zoom lens such as the EF-S 18-135mm lens.
    3. 3. By using a fast lens with a wide aperture such as the EF 50mm 1.8, the EF 85mm 1.8.

Aren’t sure which lens would work best for you? Here’s a post on choosing the best camera lens. If you aren’t comfortable changing all of your settings you can set your camera to aperture priority mode (AV mode), then just change the f-stop to be the smallest it can be, and let your camera choose the rest of the settings for you. Here’s a tutorial I shared on learning different helpful camera settings.

Canon EOS Rebel t7i tutorial how to use AV mode

I tend to go the wide open aperture route for my portrait shots. I love using my 50mm lens for portraits indoors because it works well even if there isn’t a lot of light in the room. Outdoors I like using my longer lenses for portraits. Here are a couple of examples:

children's portrait tutorial

EF 50mm f/1.4 lens taken at f/1.6; ISO 4000; shutter speed 1/800

EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS; shot at f/2.8; ISO 2500; shutter speed 1/2000

Find the light

Another important aspect of taking portraits is lighting. There are so many tools and ways to get the lighting just right from reflectors and flashes, to just taking advantage of good window light.

When I’m taking portraits I’m always aware of where the light is coming from. I am usually going off natural light in my home. My kids are quick and usually on the move but we have a pretty good amount of light through most of our home. I try to position myself between the window and my subject to get a nice front light shining on them. If I position myself parallel to the window light and my kiddo I’ll get a nice side light to the photo.

Using front light you’ll get pretty shots their sparkling eyes and pretty catch lights (the white lights in their eyes reflecting the light). With sidelight you can get a fun dramatic look with a shadow across one side of their face. Here are a couple examples of the difference. Including one of the last times I saw my daughter play dress up *tear*.

Front light

Front light

Side light

Side light

Side light with lamp light

Posed vs candid?

When my kids were tiny and barely mobile I adored dressing my little ones up for some adorable posed photoshoots. Every now and then I have fun negotiating with them to take some posed shots together, but usually I go for the candids.

My husband likes to pick my kids up and get everyone to smile at the camera, where as I love taking pictures when they least expected it when they’re playing in the moment. I treasure both kinds of photos and both have a place in our family photo books. Here are examples of each I took this year with my husband and our kids.



Portraits are a great way to capture emotion in faces, and those sweet features on your children as they grow up. If you haven’t already consider planning a mini portrait session with your little one to mark how they look and act in 2017. Then continue the tradition next year and beyond. And for more tips on photographing your children check out my photography course: Child’s Play Simple Tips for Photographing Children on sale for just $29.99!

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.


You deserve to have great photos and video to look back on and cherish as your family grows up. I’m teaming up with Canon again to help you shoot for greatness and learn how to capture some awesome moments with your family.

So did you score a sweet deal on a fancy Canon DSLR for Black Friday but don’t know the first thing about using it? Don’t worry! I’m hear to help. I’ve got tips on getting out of auto mode, what lens to get next, and more. I had several friends asking me which camera to pick for themselves/ their kid, or spouse. And I need to work on a post breaking some of those options down. But for today, I want to address another post people have asked me about that will come in handy this holiday season and beyond… Switching to video mode!

shooting DSLR Video tutorial

Capturing special moments with your family is so important. Recording them in video can help keep those memories alive and more vivid even longer. Here are some tips for using video mode on your camera to create meaningful memories you’ll cherish forever.

You don’t need tons of money and loads of gear to get started. I could give you some recommendations for a shotgun microphone if you’re wanting a boost in good sound, or tripod suggestions if you’re wanting more stability but really when you’re just getting started you don’t need all of that.

I break all these tips down in this video tutorial below, but if you don’t have time to listen, or prefer to read keep on scrolling!

1. Set your frame rate

I’m not going to get too technical aside from this point. When you’re setting up your camera to record video you’ll want to adjust your frame rate first. Usually this is going to be either 1080p 24fps or 1080p 30fps. Basically what you need to know is if you want a more cinematic look, go with 24. If you’re not going for a specific look and just wanting to shoot some video, stick with the other one 30.

2. Let your camera set the exposure

Normally I love to shoot in full manual mode when I’m taking photos, but when I’m recording video I prefer to let my camera do the work. From exposure even down to focusing. If I am going to decide one thing it’s the aperture (or f-stop). I’ll switch my camera to AV mode and set the f-stop based on how shallow I want my depth of field. For big glowing bokeh and Christmas lights that number is going to be smaller. It’ll also make it so you can focus on your subjects and blur out distractions in the background if you’d like. Or play with creative focusing movements. But we’ll get to that in a moment.

3. Use auto-focus and an STM lens

If you’ve ever recorded video before and noticed a noisy sound in the background, it could be your lens. Canon’s Stepping Motor Lens technology provides quick, silent and smooth focusing when you’re recording a video. There are several lenses with STM. If you’re shooting on a crop sensor camera like the Canon EOS Rebel t7i or the Canon EOS 80D chances are your camera came with a kit lens with STM. If you’re looking for another to add to your bag, I’d recommend the EF 50mm f/1.8 STM.

4. Get creative with your shots

One of my favorite things to play with when I’m shooting some candid family video is play with a rack focus. Basically you use a shallow depth of field and focus on one subject, then use the touch screen to tap another subject that you want the camera to focus on. It creates a smooth transition from one object to the next and is a fun and easy little videography trick. Also, don’t be afraid to use the vari-angle screen and play with angles for your video. Eagle eye shots from above are fun as is shooting up from below. And don’t forget to flip the screen out and over so you can set it up and get in the video yourself.

5. Try time lapse

Who says all video needs to be fluid? Another creative way to capture an event is by taking a time-lapse video. This is especially fun if you’re trying to record something like setting up the Christmas tree, or a holiday light display outside your home. It’s a great way to see the progression of an event that might take awhile.

6. Remember “wide, medium and tight”

When recording video it’s a good idea to remember not just to shoot a wide shot of one scene, but getting up close for medium and close up detailed shots too. A macro lens is a great option to get super close detailed video. I like to try to record more tight shots than anything, but definitely get a variety of all three.

7. Find the story

With every video you create aim to tell a specific story. Are you setting up the Christmas tree? Documenting Christmas morning? Enjoying a family dinner? Ringing in the new year with loved ones? Record key moments and think of the story’s beginning, middle and end.

Bookmark these tips so you can come back later on tonight and all year! Questions? Let me know! And don’t forget to check out my online photography course where you can watch and learn more tips for photographing your children.

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.


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 help you shoot for greatness and learn how to take some awesome shots for your family.

Fall is here and it is getting darker earlier and earlier. Then with daylight saving coming up we’re going be seeing even less light. Not only that but it’s getting cold. And who wants to be outside in that weather taking a bunch of pictures? Not me! So today I’m going to break down how to make the most of a situation with less light. Whether you’re out doors trick or treating, or inside staying out of the cold.

But first, before you head out trick or treating keep some of these tips in mind for capturing those Halloween moments:

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

Do a test run. Going to a costume party before the big night? Get everyone dressed up and take some photos before. If you’re really on top of it you can even have them uploaded and ready to share on social media on Halloween night.

Make sure your battery is charged. Last year I managed to get some great shots of their costumes but as soon as we went out to trick or treat my camera died! Ack! And it was getting dark so my low-light photo options were limited.

Get reaction shots. That look your children get when they get their first handful of candy? Priceless.

Get up close. Don’t forget the closeup shots. The details of the costume. Especially if it’s one you’ve worked hard on creating.

The loot. There’s more than just costumes to Halloween. Don’t forget to grab pictures of those jack-o-lanters you worked so hard on, and the loot of candy they bring home.

Ok now on to tips to capturing low light photos you can use on Halloween or any other time you’re battling a lack of good lighting.

Use a fast lens

f/3.2; ISO 6400; 1/80

When you’re aiming to take photos in low light one of the first things you’re going to want to do is make sure you’re shooting with a fast lens. This means a lens that can have a aperture as wide as possible. The EF 50mm f/1.8 STM is a great option for low light photos, or the EF 40mm f/2.8 STM lens.

Bump up your ISO

f/1.6; ISO 5000; 1/80

Now when it’s dark it’s just dark and it’s the perfect time to take advantage of your cameras ISO capabilities that can make really really dark scenes seem brighter. Don’t be afraid to boost your ISO up past 8000. Just take note, the higher the ISO the more noise you may notice in your photo. But it can still be worth it to get the shot. We were using TV light in the photo above. My f-stop was 1.6, ISO 5000, and shutter speed 1/60.

Use available light

F/2.8; ISO 5000; 1/50

Streetlights, flashlights and porch lights are your friend on Halloween. Even glow sticks. Use those light sources as a frame for your subjects. As soon as your little one walks into the porch light start snapping. It’ll be dark around them but that’s ok. Which brings me to my next point…

Embrace the shadows

F/2.8; ISO 8000; 1/200

I used to worry a lot when my entire photos weren’t completely exposed. As soon as I let go of that I’ve been able to have more fun with my pictures. Use whatever light source you have and embrace the shadows that can create a special mood of their own. My daughter was waiting for me to come to her room to start reading her bedtime story. The only light in her room was the lamplight. I could have bumped the ISO up to make the whole room appear brighter but instead I embraced the shadows in her room and framed her in that light.

Lower your shutter speed

f/1.8; ISO 4000; 1/125

This can be tricky depending on how long your lens is, but another way to let more light in aside from raising your ISO number and assuming your aperture is already wide open, try lowering your shutter speed. I wouldn’t go much lower than 1/100 or 1/80 with a steady hand or image stabilization on your lens. But if you’re used to shooting around 1/400+ like I am, you may forget that you have a little bit of wiggle room with shutter speed.

Use manual focus

f/4; ISO 128000; 1/80

Sometimes a darker room can make it challenging to lock that focus quickly on your subject. If your lens seems to be taking awhile searching for the focus point try switching to manual focus so you can lock it in yourself then snap away. In this photo I locked the focus on my daughter’s eyes which you could see only from the light casting from her tablet. The eyes are a good spot to try to focus on.

Try converting to black and white

I’m all about the colorful photos. In fact I prefer  my photos to be in color about 95% of the time. But I find low light photos make some really beautiful black and white photos. Especially when I’m dealing with tungsten light. If you’re playing with some photos you took in a low-light scene try converting it to black and white and decide which you like more.

f/2.8; ISO 1250; 1/500

Don’t be afraid of the dark! You can do this. Bookmark these tips so you can come back later on tonight and all winter! Questions? Let me know! And don’t forget to check out my online photography course where you can watch and learn more tips for photographing your children.

What’s your favorite low-light photography tip?

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.


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 help you shoot for greatness and learn how to take some awesome shots for your family.

I’ve always adored illusion shows and things that really push your mind to see things you’re not really seeing. By that same account I love photos that do the same thing. I’d never played around with it that much when photographing my own kids, but I decided to change that this month and see what kind of photos we could take together.

There are a few ways I’ve had fun playing with these photos, one deals with distance and depth, another has to do with how you flip the photo after it’s taken, and the last deals with shooting from above. All of these techniques will help you create some fun shots you’ll be smiling at for years.

Here’s how it went for us, and tips for recreating each one. I used the EOS Canon Rebel T7i for all of the photos you’re about to see. A great DSLR for beginners!

Larger than life

Tips for taking forced perspective photos

One of our favorites techniques to play with was depth.

I took the kids out to a field in our neighborhood with a handful of toys and things and we ran around trying to position them in the right spot to make things appear larger than life, or make them appear shrunken.

My son always has one of two things in his hands. Either a T-Rex dinosaur, or a Lightning McQueen toy of some sort. Our first attempt at these forced perspective photos was setting my son up to run away from a T-Rex.

Step 1: Position your child a distance away from the toy, and the toy closer to your camera.

Step 2: Make sure your f-stop is as high as it goes (mine was f22) and your lens is zoomed out as far as it goes. This is the opposite of what I usually do, but it gives you deeper depth of field, which you want for these photos.

Step 2: Kneel down at an angle so the ground is at the bottom of the frame.

Step 3: Make sure both of your subjects feet are close to the same horizontal plane. The first time we tried this the dinosaur looked like it was floating because we weren’t holding him low enough.

Step 4: Kids love this part! Get your child to scream and raise his/her hands in the direction of the dinosaur. They won’t have any idea of how it looks because the dinosaur isn’t near them, but you can bring up the digital preview on your LCD and show them the end result. (They may even be more cooperative after that since they’ll see what you’re trying to do).

Smaller than life

Tips for taking forced perspective photos

This was one of my favorite to play with because it was taking things that ordinarily look small and making them look huge, which in turn, make my kids look like I’d shrunk them. It’s the same steps as the first except I got down even lower and into the grass to make her seem like she was the same size. It can be hard to do this just looking through the viewfinder, so I pulled out the articulated LCD screen and switched my camera to live-mode so I could see exactly how the photo was going to look once I snapped it. I just touched the screen to focus and it automatically snapped the photo for me.

A Window of Water

Tips for taking forced perspective photos

This was one of my favorite illusions to capture. Make it look like your child is coming out of a wall of water.

Step 1: Stand at the edge of the swimming pool, or even in the pool of it’s shallow enough. Ours is only 3ft so it was perfect, but I still took this from laying on the side of the pool.

Step 2: Have your child put their legs over the edge of the pool. Make sure their rump is touching the side of the pool and their legs are hanging over. They can hang on to the side of the pool if they’re brave and strong enough, float if they’re brave enough. Or in the case of my daughter, my husband held her under her head. So having another parent to assist works great too.

Step 3: Take a horizontal photo of your child laying in the pool with their legs sticking out. Try to get as much water in the photo as you can.

Step 4: Flip the photo vertically!

It can take some practice to get it right. I took dozens on photos before I got one I liked. This would work great at a large pool where there aren’t a lot of people in the background and the pool and water stretches all the way off the picture. I call this a “window of water” since you can see the end but it would look more like a cool wall of water if your pool is larger.

In the palm of her hand

Tips for taking forced perspective photos

Tips for taking forced perspective photos

These were some of my favorite photos to take because it included both of my children and you can really have fun capturing their personalities.

Step 1: Find an open area where there are less objects to distract from the illusion. A field works great but you could also do this in a deserted parking lot, in an open lot of snow, the dessert… You get the idea.

Step 2: Make sure your settings are where you want them to be including a high f-stop for a sharper photo. My settings for this photo were f/22, ISO 400,  and shutter speed 1/30. I’ll tell you right now that I could have easily bumped up my ISO to 800+ and raised my shutter speed so that’s an option too. The main thing is to have a high f-stop to have a deeper depth of field or else one of your children will be in focus and the other won’t.

Step 3: Position your children so that one is closer to you and the other is 10-20 yards back. The further back they go the smaller they’ll be, so keep that in mind.

Step 4: Have the child closest to you hold out their hand and help guide them to where to stop. There was a lot of “a little more, ok there, STOPs!” with us. You have a little control too by moving your position around so your child doesn’t have to do as much of the moving.

Step 5: Have each of your kids get in on the action by making faces, moving their arms, screaming, whathaveyou. I didn’t think my son would cooperate but he was really good at imitating the positions I’d do. So when I asked him to clap his hands together over his head, my daughter was able to “pinch” his hands as if she was holding him by the hands.

Up Up and Away!

This was one of my favorite shots because it was relatively easy to set up and it gives a real dreamy-like photo.

Step 1: Draw balloons with chalk on the ground. Look for areas on the ground where there is a lot of flat open space around where you’ll take your photo. You can also use real balloons (that are not blown up with helium).

Step 2: Have your child lay down and hang on to the strings. Position their body and clothes in a way that makes it seem like they’re floating.

Step 3: Stand directly over your child to snap the photo. At first I was using a ladder but since I was using a wide-angle lens it wasn’t necessary. When I stepped down and over her, I switched to live-view mode. I stretched my arms over her, seeing how the photo was angled watching my LCD then snapped the photo. Leave room below their feet to make them appear to be floating.

Big Foot

An easy photo you can take inside making your child’s feet appear larger than life.

Step 1: Have your child sit in chair low enough so their feet can touch the ground.

Step 2: Put their shoes closer to you and line up the openings to where his legs go into the shoes. Focus and snap!

How to take forced perspective photos, fun creative photography with kids.

Note: You can use other objects around the house and play with them the same way like with this ice cream cone as a dunce cap. For more of my photos I’m using a large f-stop so there’s deeper depth of field but indoors you may have to open your aperture more to allow for more light. The object or subject you are not focusing on will be more out of focus.

Ice cream in the sky

There’s nothing like a child’s imagination. Fluffy clouds can become steam from a tea pot, flying hippos, or scoops of ice cream.

How to take forced perspective photos, fun creative photography with kids.

Tip 1: Perfect on a partly-cloudy day where there are lots of big puffy clouds in the sky but not so many to where you can’t see any blue sky.

Tip 2: Grab your favorite dessert cone and position your little one’s hands around the edges so you can see as much of the cone as possible. Have her stretch her arm out as much as possible and hold up the cone under the cloud. It’s ok if they are a little off in positioning because you should be able to reposition yourself and your camera to make them look connected.

Tip 3: I like to use live-view mode so I don’t have to have my face locked to the viewfinder. I have more freedom to back up and position my arms more freely.

Tip 4: Leave some negative space around the “ice cream” to allow your audience to see more of the picture and put context to the perspective.

Tip 5: Go inside and get yourself a real scoop of ice cream after cause the pictures can really work up an appetite.

The first time we tried this the clouds were pretty puny that day. In defeat we were going to go inside to try again later but as we turned we saw the huge water tower just behind our house that looked like a deliciously round ball to top the cone.

As you set out to try some of these mind-bending photos with your kids, stay alert to fun photo-opportunities around you. And most importantly, get creative and have fun. And there you have it! For more details on how to take some of these creative photos yourself head over to Canon’s Shoot for Greatness page.

Which one will you try first?

How to take forced perspective photos, fun creative photography with kids.

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!

So you’ve upgraded to a DSLR because you want to take pictures of your kids. But your kids are…well, kids. And they don’t sit still. If you’re having a tough time getting a decent focused photo of your kids, I’ve got you covered.

Also, in November I’m teaching a Canon Live Learning course here in Austin called Capturing the Essence of Childhood. So come see me and learn all this stuff in person! Or if you can’t make it, check out my online course: Child’s Play: Simple Tips for Photographing Children.

Today I’m going to break down my 10 best tips for photographing your active kids. Just in time for fall sports, and all the fun you’re going to be having through the end of the year.

Use a higher shutter speed

If you’re noticing a lot of your photos are coming out blurry, check your shutter speed. The faster the shutter speed, the less motion blur you’ll get. I try to keep my shutter speed above 500 when I’m photographing active kids. This may mean raising my ISO to compensate and give myself more flexibility, especially when I’m shooting indoors.

how to photograph kids photographing active kids

This photo I took of my kids playing in a water fountain was using a higher shutter speed to capture more of the water droplets and my son’s expression as the water hit his face. My camera settings were: ISO/200 F/1.8 Shutter Speed 1/8000.

Use continuous shooting mode

Helping your child follow their passions. Parenting an all-star youth cheerleader level 1.

Setting your shooting mode to continuous will allow you to hold that shutter button down to take a burst of photos at once. You can always go back and delete the outtakes later, but you’re more likely to capture a good one among many, or a shot right at the peak of the action. I like to use high speed continuous shooting when my daughter is practicing her cheer jumps. I’m able to snap a burst of photos of her jumping up and down, but save the jump at her highest point.

Bring a zoom lens

10 helpful tips to help you photograph your kids on the move.

I find it really beneficial to have a zoom lens when I’m out photographing my kids especially if we are someplace like a big park where they could be all over the place. When they’re further away I can zoom in, and when they’re running around closer to me, I can zoom out. I have another post where I go over my favorite lenses and how to choose the best one. But for photographing active kids, I think a zoom is a great way to go. Something like the EF-S 18-135mm F/3.5-5.6 IS USM is a great option and one of my favorites on my EOS 80D and EOS Rebel T7i.

Try aperture priority mode

If you aren’t comfortable shooting in manual yet, or find it difficult to have to continuously change your settings as your kid runs from shade to sun and all over the place, try using aperture priority or AV mode (I break down 5 great camera modes in this post). This allows you to change your f-stop and adjust your depth of field. (The lower the number the more “blur” you’ll achieve around your subject). My lenses go as low as 2.8 and 1.4. Don’t go too low and too close or their whole face won’t be in focus. You can set your lens to the f-stop your want, focus on your child, then let your camera do the rest.

Use AI-Servo focusing mode

Swinging son active biracial boy

Switching to AI-Servo focusing mode on your camera allows you to track moving subjects changing their distance from you. Instead of focusing once when you hold the button halfway down, and waiting for the beep, this way you can press and hold the focusing button on the back of your camera to lock the focus on whatever is moving. It makes capturing a moving target much easier. I like to use this mode when my kids are swinging, or running towards me.

Play with panning

10 helpful tips to help you photograph your kids on the move.

Another fun way to capture your child in motion is to use a technique called panning. For this you’ll want to lower your shutter speed to about 1/50 or 1/60. If you turn your camera and follow their action at their same pace and snap the picture in the middle of it, you’ll can freeze them in motion while blurring what’s going on behind them, making for a fun action shot. It can be tricky to achieve this but practice makes perfect. I usually raise my f-stop over f4 to give myself some leeway if I miss the focus, and use AI-Servo Mode for continuous focus.

10 helpful tips to help you photograph your kids on the move.

Don’t stop to check the every photo

10 helpful tips to help you photograph your kids on the move.

A mistake a lot of people make when doing photo shoots is stopping to see how the picture looks between each photo. When you do that you risk missing an even better photo op. I like to take a quick peep after a few photos to make sure my settings are the way I want them and the photo looks ok and properly exposed. But other than that I try to take the photos and then look at them later.

Flip your screen around and try something new

how to photograph active kids

Break out of shooting just from above. Get down on their level and change the perspective. Even getting some shots from the ground level can be fun. Or from up above. I love using my EOS 80D and Rebel t7i for this because they both have a flip screen. It’s easier for me to use if I’m trying to get a shot from way up high. I can put my camera in live screen mode and flip the screen down so I can still see how my shot is composed without looking through the viewfinder.

Be patient

10 helpful tips to help you photograph your kids on the move.

It’s rare that the very first picture I take is the one I want to keep, blow up and frame. If they did something cute, they’ll likely do it again with a little encouragement or patience. Let them play! Don’t feel the need to stifle your child into a pose. Just let him do what he loves and be nearby to capture that. Sit back for a moment and watch and see what she’s doing. Does she scream and laugh every time they go down the slide? Or giggle as you push her on the swings? Don’t be stressed if you missed it the first time. Chances are they’re going to do it again. Have your camera ready to her when she comes around again.

Join in the fun

10 helpful tips to help you photograph your kids on the move.

My favorite photos of my kids running and playing are pictures I took while I was right in the middle of the fun. Lifting my son up on my feet, chasing them around the park, spinning, dancing, and laughing along with them. When the photographer is having fun everyone can loosen up a little bit. And when mom is the one holding the camera, even better.

You’ll be making memories while capturing the moment which is a win-win in my book.

What busy activities would you like to capture your active kiddos doing?

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.

10 tips to help you photograph your active kids

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.


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.

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.

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