There is no substitute for a great photograph. Of course getting a great shot is not so simple, especially when your subject is in perpetual motion. Incidentally this is why your parents have so many shots of you sleeping as a youngun’. Therefore, in order to get good pictures of your children you will need a few simple rules.
Rule number one: get a good digital camera. This is one place in your budget you should simply not cut corners. Over the years people have frequently asked me how I get such good photos. The answer is largely, “I have a good camera.” I use a D.S.L.R (which stands for Digital Single Lens Reflex). They’re bigger, bulkier and cost a lot more. Can’t wait, right? But after years of crummy photos with a modest point and shoot I just bit the bullet and ponied up the money for a good camera. Within minutes of using it I regretted not doing it years earlier. Good cameras cost more for a reason. Most of that reason is in the optics (the lens). This is why the camera lens on a DSLR camera, which is about the size of a silver dollar, takes far superior photos than the lens on your phone, which is about the size of a grain of couscous. It simply takes in more light, the very thing photographs are made of.
Rule number two: read one book about photography, the owner’s manual to your new camera counts. Learning just a few tricks, like adjusting the aperture or the rule of thirds, will catapult your photography from blurry snapshots to frame-and-hang-on-wall shots. In the digital age where the on-board computers can compensate for a lot of common mistakes it will take only a few skills to really make a difference.
Rule number three: take lots of photos. Since the photography world has gone digital this is easier than ever to do, so there’s no excuse. Leave your camera lying about (in a high place the kids can’t reach) so that it’s always ready to snap a few. Put it in the diaper bag when you leave. Just pull it out and use it. Even if you don’t know what you are doing the law of averages works in your favor the more shots you take.
Rule number four: learn to use the “Magic Button” in iPhoto or your software’s equivalent. It is one button you click that will change the look of your photograph, usually for the better. Sure it would be nice to learn how to use Photoshop or some other really powerful photography software but you’ve got small kids in the house. You’re lucky to get the picture onto your computer at all. That’s why the one button approach is so nice. Even with all your new book smarts and fancy camera this one button will make a big difference. Find it. Use it. And happy snapping.