“Run run! Get ready!!” My kids screamed as the timer on the camera counted down from 10.
“HURRY!” My oldest daughter screams. My son giggles alongside her as they strike up a silly face.
My EOS M50 begins a rapid beeping sound and flashes a yellow light before snapping this picture:
We try again. More screaming and laughing ensuing.
Rinse and repeat until we all eventually cooperate and get these gems.
At arm’s-length I was able to snap some pretty sweet selfies in auto-mode.
The goal wasn’t to get the most perfectly posed flawless pictures, but snapshots we can look back at and cherish.
Next I did something I want to push myself to do annually… And I highly recommend doing this at least once. You know those questionnaires our kids fill out around Mother’s Day? I love reading the silly things my kids answer about me. But you know what’s even better? Hearing them!
I set my EOS M50 camera up on my mini tripod and rattled off a series of Mother’s Dat interview questions. Lee Lee even got in on a few.
So this May make it a goal to get in the picture, and record some video moments with your little ones too. I promise you’ll thank me later. And if you want to use the same questions we used you can download our free Mother’s Day Questions printable here.
Happy Mother’s May!
This is a sponsored conversation written by me on behalf of Canon USA. The opinions and text are all mine.
School has been in for just a couple of weeks and the phrase absence makes the heart grow fonder has never rang more true. When my babies hop off the bus I’m eager to hear all about how their day went. I’m a little more excited than normal to help with homework. And I live for their begging for nighttime stories.
I’m happy to connect with my kids in ways that used to bore me. When Big T asks me to play dinosaurs or read the book Rex AGAIN… I do it. I don’t take those pleas for granted as much as I used to. And I don’t take our time together for granted.
I sat and colored with Lil’ J one afternoon while we listened to The Trials of Apollo. And when she asked if I’d record her practicing cheer I didn’t say no.
About a year and a half ago we started doing mommy and me cheer vlogs on Youtube. It was a fun little weekly project of ours albeit random. Looking back we didn’t know we were making memories. We just knew we were having fun.
When we found out little Lee Lee was on her way we took an unintentional break. During our last year of homeschool Lil’ J learned how to do some basic video editing in Final Cut Pro and she put together some short videos herself.
She told me she wanted to edit another video together so we’ve decided to revive our vlog. It’s also reviving my excitement in helping her with cheer and watching her progress. A baby sister (rightfully) distracted us for a bit and some of her progress stalled, but now just agreeing to watch her, or record her now and then has reignited her passion.
I don’t think I ever blogged about this little hobby of ours before. Maybe part of me felt like it was silly, or like no one would care. But I’ve learned a lesson I think everyone could use.
Find something, anything to do with your kids. Something you both love. Something that makes you both laugh, and get to know each other better. Why?
1. It’ll help you grow closer together
2. You’ll have fun.
3. Your child will love you for it.
4. You will love yourself for it.
5. Because if not now, then when?
Find that thing for you two. Embrace it and don’t let go.
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!
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.
Parenting aint’ easy. I can’t remember the last time I’ve been bored with nothing to do. I literally don’t think that’s ever happened in the last 6 years. In fact, I don’t have time for a lot of the things I used to have time for. Here are just 10:
If you’ve read my blog for any period of time you know I don’t like to cook. After all the stress of finding a recipe, figuring our what the ingredients are, and hunting for them at the grocery store I’m too exhausted to actually make it when I get home and then when I do make it I realize I forgot to buy the main ingredient. The thought of doing that week after week, day after day is… I just… No.
I’m busy, and meal planning is daunting right now but I’ve had a lot of fun trying out Blue Apron. I mean look at what I made!
Yes, I’m quite proud of myself. My fabulous Baby Making Machine readers get their first 2 meals free. Just use this link to give it a try and then give me your own Blue Apron review.
What are some things you don’t have time for anymore since becoming a parent?
I’m all about making life easier for my family and I which is why I partnered with Blue Apron on this post. Use my link to get a discount on your first order.
Prepare to behold one of the cutest things you’ve ever seen.
Big T ha always loved to move to music. It’s one reason I decided to let him join his sister and I at Family Zumba, despite his young age. That’s where he first danced to Lil Jon’s ‘Turn Down for What’. Well, in the beginning he didn’t really dance, he stood there and looked at all of us like we were crazy. After a few more weeks of joining in with mommy, and practicing the moves at home with his sister, he stated to look forward to that song.
My husband works out in the garage with the kids and he’ll play songs over our bluetooth speaker while having what they call “dance parties.” Usually the tunes consist of Disney on Pandora, but he also takes request. This song and Shakira’s “La la la” song are always topping their charts.
(Do you see how much swag he has in this photo?)
As I watched him dancing a couple weeks ago I noticed he will run in place real fast when the music speeds up, and then sort of “super shake” when the music hits a point right before stopping.
He always holds up his hands and shakes his head and hands really fast. So fast you almost can’t tell he’s moving. In fact, I had recorded him dancing to the song on New Years and I couldn’t tell that’s what he was doing, but my husband knew exactly what he was up to.
I HAD to get it on camera. I was so worried he’d stop doing his signature move before I was able to record it.
Last night we were all in the kitchen and having a little dance party before bed. Big T was getting tired and just wanted me to hold him, but when this part of his song came on he was ready to get down.
I grabbed my phone as fast as I could and recorded this:
It was the first time I’d heard him say “for what!” with the song, which makes it that much better. You can barely see it in the video (I tried to get as close as I could without distracting him) but we can tell he’s doing his super shake (as well as some dope facial expressions to go with). You seriously can’t teach that.
Such a simple memory but I know this will be one of his epic moments that we will be playing at his wedding (maybe he’ll do it again for all of us then). All I needed was my phone handy to catch and preserve it. Maybe one of these days I’ll get creative and make a music video for him, but really, this is all we need.
Do you have any epic moments you’ve caught on camera?
“What are you grateful for?” I asked my three-year-old one afternoon as we rode home in the car.
“What’s grateful for?” she asked me in return. She’s always practiced good manners and learned how to give thanks in prayer, but I don’t think I had ever asked her that questions specifically before.
So teaching gratitude to kids… Preschoolers even. How’s it done?
Lil’ J will talk my ear off non-stop about anything and everything on her mind. I decided it was time for a basic lesson in gratitude, in a simple and fun way that she’d understand, doing what she does best… Talking it out.
I cut up some strips of construction paper and wrote questions about gratitude. Questions like:
Who are you grateful for?
How can we show others we are thankful?
What dessert are you most thankful for?
Why is it nice to show our gratitude?
And so on. I put them in a mason jar and we played a little “game” asking each other the questions.I’ve continued to spend a little time having these types of discussions throughout the day so she can begin to learn what these words mean, and maybe… Learn ways to be more gracious.
We took turns asking each other questions, and her responses were so adorable I decided we should save some of her answers.
There are a gazillion awesome gratitude crafts out there but she can’t write just yet, and I wanted to get her answers in her own voice… Literally. So after dinner, before stories and by her bedside lamp, I recorded her. This may be something I do every year with my kids to see how their responses vary over time.
She’s adorable, no?
And because I know someone will ask, no, I did not make her dress. I bought it from Adelaide’s Boutique. Yes, I’m thankful for them too.
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.