From the Expert: Capturing Special Moments on Camera

With both Spring Break and summer just around the corner, you may be planning a vacation. Vacations are a great opportunity to take pictures of your little ones. You'll want to capture the special moments as they take in and enjoy new surroundings. If you are like me, though, the pictures never seem to do the trip justice. Why is it that professional pictures always turn out so much better than mine do? Granted, it helps to have a professional camera, but it turns out that there are some pretty easy tricks to taking great photos. I recently caught up with Emily DeWan, whose been taking beautiful pictures since the early age of 17. She specializes in family photography and her work is truly spectacular. I knew she would have some great ideas for taking beautiful pictures when you can't have a pro like her around. Here's what she had to say.... - Allison

Emily DeWan Photography

Tell the whole story
In addition to photographing your children exploring their new surroundings, it’s great to also have some detail shots to help tell the story of your vacation. For example: plane or train tickets, the boat you’re about to board, or the new food you’re trying. Also, take some establishing shots to assist in the storytelling, such as everyone packing their luggage, the family’s arrival at the hotel, or setting up the tent.

Capture sequences
If your child is experiencing something for the first time, a sequence of photos is a great way to capture the moment. Her first trip to a petting zoo, for example: photograph her expressions as she first sees a lamb, nervously walks closer, and touches its soft wool. It’s fun to showcase a variety of expressions in just a matter of seconds.

Always have the camera on you
Wayne Gretzky famously said "You miss 100% of the shots you don't take." The context is rather different, but it still works with photography! I’m sure everyone has memories of amazing moments where they wished they had a camera with them; I know I certainly have! With so many new surroundings and experiences your children will be exposed to, make sure you’re ready to capture them.

Find great lighting for portraits
When looking to create a portrait, search for even lighting that will illuminate your child's face, such as soft window light. Harsh lighting, such as direct sunlight, will produce very dark shadows that are often unwanted. Squinting will often be an issue with harsh light as well, and you probably don’t want to show your child in pain. For outdoor portraits on a sunny day, typically the easiest and most consistent lighting situation is open shade: the shade caused by large objects such as trees or buildings.

Try different angles
Move around when photographing your family to see how different angles look. Get down on the ground and photograph your child looking at a tall statue. Climb up on a picnic table to shoot the kids enjoying a messy ice cream cone. Lie in the grass to capture the kids’ search for a four-leaf clover.

The most important one of all... have fun!