DIY: Take Your Own Photos

Tuesday, February 25, 2020

There have been several special milestones in my life where I felt like I needed a professional photographer present. All three of our birth experiences, annual family updated photos (lifestyle), and birthday milestone photos for the kids (up until 2014). As a photographer myself, there are still many special "in between moments" that a tripod just cannot capture. I fully admit this. But what about all the other occasions?
Anniversaries, Easter pictures, and the first football Sunday photo in our Broncos gear? These are the reasons I picked up a digital camera of my own in the first place. I wanted to gather all of our special moments without the financial burden that is inevitably associated with photography. As it should. Good photos are a luxury and should always be treated as such.

If you yourself are tired of paying for each and every photo op and are eager to tackle the task yourself, I've got you! Here's a simple guide on how to take your own family photos for all those moments you want to capture - selfie free!

First, let's talk gear. I have always chosen to stick to my full frame Canon 6D, but there are so many more options that can fit your needs. A point and shoot camera is another option, and because of the growing popularity and capability, smartphones are also an easy choice that most of us likely already have.

If you choose to go the digital camera route, the kit lens will take a picture, but I always recommend going prime for lenses! I typically shoot with a 35m 1.4 ||  (because I'm a photographer) but the fifty nifty is also a solid choice! Especially for purposes such as this. There are even lens attachments for iphones that you can choose from. I'm sure they can add a different composition to your cell photos which can be so much fun!

Now that you've chosen what you'll take your photos with, let's talk HOW you'll take your pictures. A tripod is a godsend! No joke! Wether you are mounting a camera or cellphone, you need a tripod to achieve this task of taking your family photos. I bought an Amazon brand tripod for my camera years ago and its still like new! There are tripods for cellphones as well and they do the same trick.

Now you want to make sure you are able to take photos with your device mounted on your tripod. I always opt to use my Canon wireless remote but Amazon has a line of wireless remotes as well. There are also several universal options for wireless cellphone remotes, too.

Lastly, location. If you live in an area like I do (Pacific Northwest) there are a ton of options for vendors and farms that will allow you to rent out their space for a relatively low price. Maybe you have a local tree farm or park that you like? Sometimes we opt to shoot indoors, and maybe you've got a special place in mind for yourself? The ideas are endless with locations. My recommendation for outdoor shooting is to utilize the golden hour (the first hour after sun rise and the last hour prior to the sun setting) for photos. The light is even, there isn't harsh lighting, and your pictures look dreamy every time! If you're trying to take pictures during a gloomy season, that's also okay! Overcast and clouds make for even light as well.

Once you've got your gear, your tripod, your lens, your remote, and your location, you are ready to go! Make sure that once you've set up your camera on the tripod that you always have one (or all) of your family members in the exact spot you want the shot to be taken. This ensures a sharp focus, it also lets you do some trial and error if you aren't in focus or the spot you chose isn't exactly photoshoot friendly (a tree going through the back of someone or other busy elements in the shot). 

And voila! You've successfully taken your own family photos. The best part is, you can print, upload, or share them just as soon as you'd like. For memory cards for the cameras, I have always stuck with this SD card brand. I use a pro lab for printing my family photos but there are a ton of options accessible to everyone and their printing needs.

I hope this guide was easy to follow and left you with some new ideas on how to take better images of your family. 

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