Capturing Everyday Moments

Like many moms, my love of photography has definitely grown since I had my son, Callum.  I wanted to be able to fully document his childhood, as I know in the future I will cherish these photographs dearly, and I hope Callum will too. As a result, I find myself picking up my camera almost daily, not to get a "great" pictures, but just to snap a couple of candid shots of the moments that make up our day to day life together. As these are taken "on the hop" and not planned in any way (and made worse by having to deal with a fast-moving toddler!) I really needed to get myself more organised to be able to take the spontaneous "real" shots I wanted.  So, today, I thought I'd share with you how I try to manage this.

- First of all, I keep my camera in the same place at all times during the day. This in the kitchen where it is quickly accessible from most rooms downstairs - but not so accessible that Callum can reach it (I learnt that lesson the hard way!) That way I can quickly retrieve it when I want to.

- I keep my camera on the following settings - AV (Aperture Priority Mode) at F2.8, ISO at 400, and Auto White Balance. The camera will set the shutter speed when I half depress the shutter - if this is too low I can quickly change the ISO setting until I have a higher shutter speed.  

-In the morning I also tend to go round the house and open the window coverings fully so that they  are letting in as much light as they can. This is so I can work with lower ISO settings to reduce noise if I can, but also because we have wooden slatted blinds on most of our windows which create a striped affect when the sun is shining which obviously I don't want! So, if I do it in the morning I don't really have to worry about putting them up wherever I want to take a photo.

- If I am setting up an activity for Callum, like painting or play-doh, I will do it in a place where there is lots of light. This is usually the conservatory as this is all glass, and therefore has tons of light, plus we also have a table in there where I can set everything up, or if the weather is nice, I'll take it outside.

- Of course there are times when we are playing or doing something in rooms that don't have a lot of light coming in - the dining room is one of these. In this case I will tend to sit him in one of the chairs nearest the windows so that he is in the small pocket of light given by the window. That's all I need!

- Every time I take a set of photos, I change my settings back to the one above (if I have changed them) and put my camera back in it's place.  I try, try, try to remember to do this as I really don't want to be mucking about with my settings when trying to get a shot, as lets face it, children are not the most co-operative and are not likely to "do it again for the camera!"

- For everyday outings, I have a camera bag which I try to keep packed with my lens hood and spare memory card, plus some cash (as I never seem to remember to take any with me!)  I usually don't bother to take a spare lens.  Again, this is packed and ready to go so all I need to do is put my camera in it and we're off!

- I also use my iPhone a lot to capture the day-to-day stuff when we are somewhere I don't want to take my "big" camera - like the supermarket.  The iPhone takes pretty good pictures actually, and I can now upload directly to my SmugMug account from my phone which makes me even happier.

- Each night, I try to download and organize my photos from that day, and clear my memory card. This is both so that I can keep on top of the photos that need sorting and editing, and for having a clear memory card the next day. (I do have two memory cards, but I like to be organised!) At this point I'll also charge my camera battery if I need to.

 - If I know I'm going to want to take photos early in the morning when it can still be quite dark (at the early hours Callum wakes up it frequently is!) I will put my Lightscoop on the camera, and change to my settings for this so I can just grab my camera when we get up and I don't have to fiddle around with it too much. (I don't tend to do this terribly often in case you think I am mad for wanting to take pictures at 6am)

- Although I'm generally just trying to capture normal everyday things with this approach, you never know when you can catch a great shot that you will want to have framed too!

I'll be delving into some more tips for lifestyle photography for moms soon (which is what shooting your day to day life is really!) but I thought I'd kick off with these practical tips so you can get used to having your camera accessible, ready to go, and know the best places for lighting in your house!

Other Posts You Might Like: 

How to Photograph Children: Camera Settings 
Finding Time For Photography 
How to Photograph Children Indoors


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