• Molly Skoglund

3 Tips for Taking Better Photos of Your Family

It's awfully ironic that this is the year I created a blog post giving my reasons why a spring session was a good idea. Joke's on me! Since sessions are a no-go but you've got more time with your family than ever before, I thought I'd share a few tips for taking better photos of your own family, right from the comfort (and safety) of your own home! I hope these help you get some photos that you love all the more and encourage you to document this extra time you get with your family! All of the photos I'm sharing were taken with my own phone (iPhone 7), and not my professional camera, to show you that you can do this too!


1. Let the light guide you. Light is the most important aspect of photography. How you choose your lighting will greatly affect the outcome! Here are some tips for choosing the best light DURING THE DAY:


- Use open shade. Open shade is when you are in shade but can look up and see the sky. This kind of light is easy to work with and provides pretty consistent results. If it's cloudy, everything is in open shade! Try to make sure your light is even in the background, too! Using a building works great for this. Here are a couple of examples!







- Avoid spotty light. Spotty light is just like it sounds. When you're in an area that has lots of light patches mixed in with shade patches, it can get very distracting in photos and take away from the person or thing that you're photographing. It also can make it hard to get a good exposure; some spots will be too bright, and some too dark.


- If no shade is available, have your subject turn away from the sun. Photographing your kids or family with their back to the sun will keep harsh shadows off of their neck/face and will prevent squinty eyes! Here are some photos of what you don't want:









And here's an example of what you DO want!!




- Lastly, if inside, find a spot that has a good amount of natural light. Open up the blinds and let the light in, turn off any inside lights that may be adding weird color casts to the photo, and snap away.


2. Mix it up. Next, play around with where you have the person (or thing) you're photographing in the photo. There's something called the rule of thirds that photographers use. It sounds intimidating, but it's pretty simple. Imagine your photo is being cut into thirds both horizontally and vertically. Placing your subject so that they are intersecting those lines will make the photo more interesting and visually appealing!


An example of using the rule of thirds. Nick is right on the invisible third vertical line.



3. Aim to have an uncluttered background. This sounds daunting with kids, amiright? There's clutter everywhere! But this is doesn't have to be hard, and it's certainly not for those times you're just wanting to capture a moment. This is for special times and special photos. If you have just one small space on your wall (near some natural light) that provides a nice uncluttered, neutral background then use it for some portraits of your kids! Take some closeups right there of their adorable and silly selves. Here's an example of a small space I use constantly!


Right by a window, up against this white wall! (I use this spot for flat lays ALL the time as well!)



The result! Just a phone photo! :)



Of course lighting isn't always perfect and neither are our lives! The most important thing is capturing memories of your loved ones. These tips are especially for those times you want a nicer photo than just a quick snapshot (although they can certainly still help with those). And of course if you're still wanting more, or don't want to worry about taking the photos yourself, you can always contact a photographer (after the social distancing is over, of course) ;)


Want more tips? I'd love to help if you have a specific question. Send me an email or DM!


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Based in Dubuque, IA

mollyskoglundphotography@gmail.com

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