Huffpost DC
THE BLOG

Featuring fresh takes and real-time analysis from HuffPost's signature lineup of contributors

Jamie Davis Smith Headshot

Capturing Beautiful Moments With Your Children: Momtographers to the Rescue!

Posted: Updated:
Flickr: Piotr Pawłowski
Flickr: Piotr Pawłowski

2013-02-11-20130211038.jpg

Beryl Ayn Young

I've been a mother for six years and a mediocre photographer of my children for just as long. With the years slipping by, and my three children growing leaps and bounds, I began looking to expert "momtographers" for advice on how to capture good images of kids while they are still little. Searching for help, I found two amazing "Momtography" blogs by professional photographers who haven't lost site of the challenges beginners face and who understand why Moms are so driven to capture photos that preserve and tell the story of childhood.

I quickly became a fan of Northern Virginia-based Beryl Ayn Young's blog. Beryl is a mom and professional photographer who provides practical advice for moms like me who want to take better photos but don't know where to start. I found Beryl's advice of focusing on why you take photos and incorporating photo-taking into playtime eye-opening. No more saying cheese only to get a terrible fake smile, no more fake poses that don't get you any closer to capturing the moment.

Beryl also offers free videos focusing on the how of using your camera -- small fixes that result in dramatically better photos. She even has a section on iPhoneography that explains some tricks for getting better photos with your iPhone that most casual users would never discover on their own. Beryl also offers four-hour Momtography classes in Northern Virginia designed specifically for parents who are pressed for time and want to learn quickly how to take better photos of their kids from newborn through teens. D.C. mother Patricia Balestra recently took Beryl's class and walked away with not just ideas about how to get more creative with her photos but with the know-how to properly use the DSLR camera she's had for the two years she's been a mother. Since Patricia also likes having photographs of her son and her together, she plans on enrolling her husband in a six-week online class Beryl is launching this spring.

Another favorite blog for budding momtographers is Drew Bittel's Mom*Tog. Drew lets you peek in her camera bag so that you can see exactly what she is packing. Mom*Tog also provides non-camera related advice that helps make it easier to have your camera with you, including: finding camera bags that double as diaper/day bags; camera straps designed with the mom in mind; and props you can add to your camera to get your kids to look directly at you. Drew also gives practical advice that would not occur to most Moms, such as using smaller memory cards so less is lost if a card is lost or becomes corrupted and looking into renting lenses before investing money in a lens you may not find fits your needs. Drew also authored an "UnManual" that is a fantastic guide to the ins-and-outs of how to use your camera. The UnManual is written in plain English and is easy enough for someone who has just taken their first camera out of the box to understand.

Although both Beryl Ayn Young's blog and Mom*Tog are geared towards moms with DSLR cameras, both momtographers offer plenty of advice that is equally as applicable to those using point and shoot cameras. They also help demystify DSLR cameras for those considering taking the plunge to get better photos of their children but don't know if they will be able to figure the out how the darn thing works.

For my own part, with a little help from these expert momtographers, I am well on my way to capturing the photos of my kids I've always wanted but could never get quite right. If you find yourself wishing you could get better pictures of your kids, gaining the information Beryl and Drew have to offer will convince you that you can. As a good friend once told me, great photos of your children make you fall in love with them all over again. Don't regret not capturing those memories while your kids are still kids!

If you are searching for a way to practice taking better photos for at least a little time each week, you can join Beryl and Shawn Ledington Fink from Awesomely Awake on the year-long photo project {Project 52}. Each week Beryl and Shawn provide you with a prompt to use to spark an idea for a photo. Beryl then provides a tip to getting a good photo that goes along with the prompt. You can keep your photos to yourself or share them with a Flicker group created just for the project. It's never too late to join the project.

Happy clicking!

Photo used with permission