Advertisements

A Boy and His Books

A Boy and His Books

So, it’s been a long while since I’ve paid any attention to the personal side of my blog (or my blog in general). I took a break and decided to work on my photography and take pictures for me. I’m not trying to impress anyone, I was just simply trying to make myself happy. And I really love the images I’ve been producing lately.

One thing I really wanted to capture was my sons love of reading. He’s been on a reading kick lately! I want to put a disclaimer that he doesn’t actually know how to read at the young age of 17 months, but he does enjoy me reading him books and looking at the pictures.

His favorite type of books are ones that include dinosaurs.

I’m just so proud of him for his love of reading. If he brings me a book, I stop what I’m doing and read it to him. I want him to always love reading so I will never tell him no!!

Here are some favorite book pictures from the past month or so.

bOOKS-10bOOKS-13bOOKS-11bOOKS-12bOOKS-1bOOKS-2bOOKS-3bOOKS-4bOOKS-5

Advertisements

Letters to My Little One | 16 Months

Letters to My Little One | 16 Months

Monday, November 12, 2018

To my little peanut,

I love you. I just love you. You are such a special blessing to me. Recently your little personality is starting to come out and I want to write it down and never forget it! Like when we call you cute and you blink at us excessively! It never fails. You also fake laugh at different things. You love your dada…I say that all the time but it really is true. You have a special bond with your daddy that just melts my heart. And when he comes home from work and you run to him yelling. ‘DADA!’ and point at him and fling into his arms….it just melts my heart to pieces. You’re slowly starting to point at me and say ‘mama’ and I know one day you will say mama more. So, for now, I will just soak up the snuggles I get that daddy doesn’t get since he’s away at work.

We took you trick or treating on Halloween and you were adorable. At the first house, we told you to say ‘trick or treat’ then get your candy, then say ‘thank you’ and then wave goodbye. By the last house, you did all by yourself! You never did say trick or treat, but you did say please (by placing your elbow into your face) and you said ‘tank’ and ‘bi’. I love how polite you are and I love that you say thanks!

At one of the houses you even got your candy and then shut the door and walked away! Everyone loved having you come get candy and even gave us some extra candy. Sweet for me!

I think it is adorable when you give me something, and you say ‘tank’ and then you shake your head once, aggressively. It’s adorable! You also say mama and pat your chest. You are also now saying ‘bobo’ for booboo (although I much prefer to call it milk!) and you know that the sheep says ‘baaa’. You are so smart and you amaze me everyday. Your smile melts my heart and I love to get you to laugh!

I can’t believe you’ve been with us for 16 months…it felt like just the other day that we welcomed you into this world. And it feels so strange that I went so long without you in my life…that might sound silly to some, but it’s true. I love being your mommy. I love being able to stay home with you and see you do all these cute things. I love watching you try to form new words. I love watching you stubbornly use your utensils to feed yourself. I love watching you figure out how to stack blocks. I love watching you read books. I feel so proud of how often you bring a book to me to read. I go to the library for my toddler, and leave with big kid books. But you sit there and (mostly) let us read them to you. So, I will always stop what I am doing to read you a book. Right now as I type this out, you are looking at books all by yourself, looking at the pictures.

I love how much you love dinosaurs and that you know they say ‘roar!’. Your favorite types of books are dinosaur books. We just recently got new dinosaur books and you love learning about the different types. You literally just brought me a dinosaur book to read!! So I’ll take a little break to read to you. 🙂 Worth the break!! Snuggles and giggles and intent listening just happened! I love how much you love to read!!

Another sweet thing you do right now is hug me and daddy and then say, ‘ohhhh’. It’s probably because I’m saying ‘oh’ and squeezing you more when you hug me. But it’s still adorable. You also love to give me a kiss and then daddy a kiss and then me a kiss…and so on. You are literally one of the sweetest. Everyone always tells me how good you are and I can’t help but agree. You are such a good 16 month old! You are obedient (for the most part) helpful, and very smart.

Last thing I want to update is that you now have 13 teeth. THIRTEEN!! Maybe it’s me being a new mom, but I feel like that’s a lot of teeth to have at 16 months. Oh well! Oh! And you are still breastfeeding and happy. You’re slowly eating more solids than breast milk, but at the moment I don’t see an end to breastfeeding any time soon. And why would I? I love it’ too much. And you do, too! And I am very much a ‘fed is best’ type gal, but I do really enjoy breastfeeding you and that I have that opportunity to breast feed you.

This next months goal is to take pictures of you breastfeeding, because I know one day, I will miss these days.

I love you so much!

Love, mommy

D16-1D16-2D16-3

read month 1 here
read month 2 here
read month 3 here
read month 4 here
read month 5 here
read month 6 here
read month 7 here
read month 8 here
read month 9 here
read month 10 here
read month 11 here
read month 12 here

 

Announcement: Change to the Website

Announcement: Change to the Website

Hey everyone! I have a huge announcement to make about my website! For the longest time, I was under the impression that my blog needed to have only one topic. And for the longest time, I chose for that topic to be photography. While I have really enjoyed writing about photography, it’s not the only thing I’d like to write about.

I feel like the best thing for my blog is to change the content of what I write about. I will be writing about motherhood and photography. Now, motherhood is a large topic and I’d like to narrow it down just a little bit more. I am interested in helping mothers learn photography, help mothers learn how to blog, learn how to use social media, as well as how to lose baby weight, how to entertain your children on rainy days, and how to get the most out of being a mother. Becoming a mother, for me, was the best thing that ever happened to me. I want to share my motherhood story with people in the hopes that I can help someone out there.

Disclaimer: I am not an expert mom. In fact, I am far from it. I only have one child (in 2018) and I am still learning all sorts of things about being a parent. But it’s a bigger part of my life than photography, so I want to share everything I learn with you.

What does this mean for the blog? You will still see photography tutorials. But more than that, you’ll see motherhood posts. Although I will be focusing on mom’s, the blog could still benefit dad’s as well. You will start to see motherhood posts mixed in there. I will still be writing posts about how to master those social media sites and how to become a better blogger. But the majority of my posts will focus on how to help mom’s do all of these things. I get it. I’m a stay at home mom, too. I want to help you learn new things and I want to uplift you. I want my blog to become a place where you will feel safe and welcome. Where we can talk about how our day was with our cute kiddos. I also want to help you feel like the best mom you can be.

The blog will under go a few changes:

  • My motto will change (still in the works of that).
  • New tabs with motherhood will be introduced
  • New posts featuring motherhood topics

Other than that, the blog will stay mostly the same. You will still see tons of photography tutorials (because, I love photography!) but the biggest thing is that I’m taking charge of my blog and blogging what I want to blog about. What I feel like will benefit my blog and readers the most. Basically, the blog will change from a photography blog to a lifestyle blog. I’m so excited to take the blog in this new direction!

If this sounds like something you want to be a part of, please subscribe to my blog (you’ll get a freebie!!). If you have any questions, please comment on my blog and I’ll answer them for you!

XOXO,
Aly

9 Photography Tips for Mom’s

9 Photography Tips for Mom’s

When I first started photography, I knew that one day I would want good images of my kids. I got into photography about two years before I had my son. Most mom’s start photography because they had a child and then decided to learn photography. Whatever the reason, photography is a great creative outlook for mom’s. It’s something that will help them have their own special time to be creative and learn new things. Be careful, though, it’s very addicting to continue learning photography!!

There is a lot of information out there to help improve your photography. One piece of advice is just take it one day at a time. Another thing to remember is to practice what you read. I could tell you a bunch of information and it mean absolutely nothing if you don’t practice what you read!

check out my 5 Tips to Getting Better Pictures of Your Infant post

9 Photography Tips for Moms

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

what gear should I use

Some mom’s buy a new camera at the birth of their first born child. Other mom’s just wing it with what they have. I will tell you what gear I use and what gear I recommend for beginner photographers/mom photographers. I don’t want you to spend a fortune getting new gear though. I am 100% for using whatever gear you have to the fullest.

When I was in high school, I bought myself a nice point and shoot camera – it was a fantastic purchase and I got a lot of good shots using that camera. I also realized that I really liked photography. So if you’re not sure about spending a ton of money on a camera you might not use, use any camera you have at your disposal! Or you could even borrow a camera from a friend or family member. Us mom’s gotta stick together. 😉

The gear that I use for photographing my toddler are as follows:

  • The Nikon D610 full frame camera – I really love this camera and it’s a great first full frame camera. I will eventually upgrade this, but for now this gets the job done for what I need in a camera.
  • Sigma 24mm 1.4 ART lens – this lens is amazing. I love how sharp it is and that I can get in nice and close but also backup to get the full scene. It’s a great lens to use for indoor photography – which is what most mom’s would be taking pictures of.

Now, if you are a beginner photographer and looking for a starting camera then I would recommend the following camera and lens:

  • The Nikon D5300 crop frame camera – I had the Nikon D5100 when I first started, and this is just a newer version of that same camera. You won’t break the bank by buying this. I recommend buying the body frame only. DO not get any kit lenses. Instead, save your money for the lens recommended below!
  • Nikon 35mm 1.8 lens – this lens is absolutely great for beginner photographers! It’s wide enough for indoor photography (it’s even wider on a full frame camera, but it does the job on a crop frame) and you are able to use it on a full frame when you eventually upgrade (which you will if you’re serious about photography).

The camera body and lens mentioned above are one of the cheaper cameras out there. So keep that in mind when starting your photography journey: photography is expensive!

If you don’t have the money for a camera quite yet, you can practice good photography skills on just your phone! You won’t be able to use manual exposure, but you will be in charge of light, composition, and the moment. Use whatever camera you have and by the time you buy your first DSLR, you’ll be ready for a full frame!

8 photography tips for mom’s

9 Photography Tips for Moms

1. learn manual mode

If you haven’t already, I highly recommend learning manual mode. I am writing a course about it, be sure to sign up for announcements and early bird pricing! You won’t want to miss the early bird pricing. 😉

Manual mode can seem intimidating if you learn by yourself, but it can dramatically improve your images over night. It takes a lot of work and practice, but once you get it, it will become second nature to you. If you have a camera that allows you to use manual mode, then learn it as soon as possible! I promise that your photography with change overnight. Mine did when I took a class!

If you haven’t already learned about manual mode, it’s essential! Especially when photographing in tricky light and photographing those fast toddlers! I have a new class –  LEARN MANUAL: how to take control of your camera (by clicking on this link and signing up, you’ll get updates on anything new to this course). It’s not complete yet, but by signing up for updates you’ll be the first to know when it is ready! Plus some early bird pricing (yes, please!).

9 Photography Tips for Moms

2. higher shutter speed

This will only benefit you if you know manual mode – keep your shutter speed way up! Kids are fast and you’re going to want to freeze their movements (there might be a few times when you’ll want to show motion – like maybe showing them speed by on a bike) so get those shutter speeds up! As a rule of thumb, I tend to use a starting point of 1/250 – but keep in mind that if you have a longer focal length (say 85mm) you will need a higher starting point. I start at 1/250 but I sometimes see movement, especially when photographing my son. I find that 1/400 is a good shutter speed as well. I start there but usually go up. I never go below 1/250 though!

By using a higher shutter speed, it helps to not only freeze their movements, but also get sharper images. So if you feel like you aren’t getting sharp images, one thing that might be the problem is your shutter speed. I would test out how low you could go before introducing camera shake. Start at 1/250 and take a picture. Zoom in and see if there is any noticeable shake. Then lower your shutter speed by a few clicks (adjust other settings to have proper exposure) and then take another picture. Zoom in and see if there is any noticeable shake. Once you figure out how low you can go, you can be sure to never go that low. You don’t want to have any camera shake in your images – they will not appear sharp and your images will seem amateur.

Momtip_ALY9212

3. use natural light

This is probably my favorite tip out there – use natural light. What do I mean by natural light? I mean light produced by the sun. In other words – turn of ALL the lights. Artificial light is really hard to work with. It’s possible to make this type of like look good, bu your images will look so much better if you turn off the lights and use natural light.

Pro tip: Look for catchlights in the eyes. What do I mean by catchlights? Catchlights refer to the sparkle you sometimes see in someone’s eyes. Look at my son’s eyes in the image above – do you see the ‘light in his eyes’? Those are catchlights. Now that I’ve pointed them out, you’ll see them everywhere. You’re welcome.

If you want to learn more about catchlights, this is an excellent article.

9 Photography Tips for Moms

4. don’t over edit

Seriously. There is nothing worse than an over edited image. When I first started in photography, I totally over edited each image. I made my images blue. I went crazy on the eyes. I put too much contrast on my images, I just went crazy. Don’t do that. Don’t be like beginner me. Be better! A simple edit will go a long way. For me, when it comes to editing, a little can go a long way. I am often not a fan of images you can tell are extremely edited. I love the real life, honest edits.

If you’re interested to see how I edit, check out this post I wrote about how I edit my b&w images.

Simple is better – not always for everyone, but when you’re first starting out, yes. Simple is better. I do want to encourage finding your own editing style and experiment. Experiment until you find that style. But you don’t have to share your experiments with everyone. Keep them secret. 😉

Momtip_ALY7316

5. don’t say ‘cheese’

Now that we have all the technical aspects out of the way – on to the fun parts!

I beg of you – don’t tell your child to say ‘cheese’. I have a few problems with this. Number one is if your kid is old enough to understand what this means, they are probably old enough to decide they don’t want to participate in photos. Instead of getting a good image of your child smiling, you get a disgusted look, or even them looking away from the camera.

Pro tip: Instead of telling your kids to say ‘cheese’, you could simply say ‘look’ to get some nice eye contact. If the child is young enough, you could also tell them to look for the rainbow in your lens.

If you’re looking for a laughing image or a smile at the camera image, you could say something silly like ‘poop’ or even make silly noises! The key to this is to make photography fun for your children.

Momtip_ALY8564

6. capture your kids naturally

This goes with the previous tip. Capture your children doing what they naturally do. This is what you want to remember in your photos – what your kids naturally do! If you stumble upon your children playing nicely together, try to sneak in some shots without your kids noticing.

Pro tip: Give your kid a prompt and then photograph their natural reaction. It could be something simple like ‘dance’ or it could be something like ‘go swing on the swing’! It just depends on what ind of shot you want.

Toddlers are so easy because they don’t really care too much for the camera, so you can just photograph them running around being them. Older kids can decide they don’t want you to photograph them. Be respectful of their feelings. If they don’t want to be photographed, focus on something else until they are ok with it. Be sure to say thank you for any image they do let you take of them.

9 Photography Tips for Moms

7. have the camera handy

You never know when a magical moment is going to happen. I try to keep my camera in the center of my home. That way, it’s easy to get to. I also strive to take my camera everywhere. You never know when a special moment will unfurl and you want to be prepared to capture it!

Pro tip: I believe the best camera you have is the one you have with you – and sometimes it’s not a fancy DSLR camera. It’s your phone! Just remember to follow the same rules you’d follow with your DSLR.

Momtip_ALY8982

8. clean the scene

One of the simplest ways to get better images of your children is to declutter the scene. Of course unless it adds to the story, then you might want to include the mess. But, simple images can add impact. Be aware of what is in your frame. Take a shot and look to see if it looks cluttered. If it does, quickly clean the scene.

Now I’m not saying you have to live in a spotless house 24/7. Nope! I know how busy mom’s are – I am one! I know you don’t always have time to clean my house, especially not for images! I’m just saying to be mindful of what’s in your frame and if it adds to your story or not. Simple scenes can add impact to your photography and make your images 10 times better.

9 Photography Tips for Moms

9. get in the frame

I love hopping in the frame with my son. I know I won’t regret it when he’s older. Mama’s, hope in that frame with your kids! You could capture you doing something together. Like cooking or reading books. Make it fun. And it doesn’t even matter if they are technically right or not – the most important thing is that you are getting in the frame with your littles.

If you need some help with taking self portraits, check out my self portraits post.

With these tips, you are all set to taking better images of your children. Remember to practice, practice, practice! Do you have any mom photography tips? Share below!

Also, if you have any questions at all about the information covered in this article, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Compositions to Consider When Photographing Toddlers

Compositions to Consider When Photographing Toddlers

I’ve decided to do a series of blog posts pertaining to toddlers, this one is about compositions to consider. As most of your visiting my blog are probably aspiring momtographers (that’s a word, I promise), I figured you ladies wouldn’t mind some toddler tips and tricks. The first post I would recommend reading is Photographing a Toddler 101 – it gives you the basics to capturing great images of your toddler!

I wanted to reinforce that the most important thing to consider when photographing toddlers is patience. They do what they want, no matter how badly you want them to sit still and smile! Maybe that’s just not my style – I really love to have candid photos. The sit still and smile at the camera just doesn’t capture the emotion I crave. So if you stick around with me, you’ll learn more about how to photograph toddlers.

If you haven’t already learned about manual mode, it’s essential! Especially when photographing in tricky light and photographing those fast toddlers! I have a new class –  LEARN MANUAL: how to take control of your camera (by clicking on this link and signing up, you’ll get updates on anything new to this course). It’s not complete yet, but by signing up for updates you’ll be the first to know when it is ready! Plus some early bird pricing (yes, please!).

check out my 5 Tips to Getting Better Pictures of Your Infant post

Compositions to consider when photographing toddlers

This post contains affiliate links.  Thank you in advance for supporting Aly Dawn Photography!

what is composition

I will briefly introduce you to composition.

Composition in any type of art, is the ingredients that make up something. For music, this is the notes that make up the song. For images, this is the subjects, objects, that make up an image.

There’s a ton of different ways to use compositional elements to make your image stronger and better. I’ll go into more details about all the different types of compositions below and why you should consider using them when photographing a toddler – they definitely add to the image.

  • rule of thirds
  • framing (one of my favorite)
  • scale
  • looking down
  • center
  • faceless

There are even more out there, but these are my favorites for toddlers. Now that we learned a little bit more about what composition is, let’s move on to how and why you should use these compositional elements and what exactly they mean.

compositions to consider when photographing toddlers

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

1. rule of thirds

For this compositional tool, you have to picture your image split into 9 squares and placing your subject on one of the intersecting lines in the image. Take the image above, for example. My son is place on one of the intersecting lines. This composition is pleasing to the eye. It’s a rule that can be broken, though. Keep that in mind. Knowing the rule, using the rule, and breaking the rule are all important in composition.

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

For this image, since my son isn’t centered between my fridge and my dryer, a center composition wouldn’t have looked as please. With him being frame the way he is, the rule of thirds lends a better composition. It pulls the eye right to your subject, and it doesn’t look awkward.

When I take a picture, I practice with different compositions to see which one would work the best. Rule of thirds is one I use quite a lot of! However, one of my favorite ways to compose an image is ‘framing’ which we’ll talk about next!

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

2. framing

The compositional rule of framing is exactly what it sounds like: you frame your subject with other objects in the frame. I use this technique a lot. I love it! Once you start looking for frames, you’ll see them everywhere. Trust me. In the image above, my son is framed by not only the door, but the window, as well as the light! Yes, light can be used as ‘framing’. Frames can literally be anything and everything. You can use other people. The side of the frame, doorways, colors, the list goes on. Below my son is ‘framed’ between the door and the wall. I would also say he’s framed by light, as well.

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

Framing is a great way to compose images of your toddler. It adds interest to your already cute photo. It draws the viewer in. It makes the viewer linger just a little bit. Framing an object is also so easy. Doorways are great, parks have a ton of framing tools to practice with. Architecture is full of frames, too! But there’s even frames in nature. You could frame your child with branches from the tree!

Framing can also appear to be a ‘peaking’ in type of scene. It’s great for sleeping images like the one below!

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

There are many many ways you can frame an object. Go try it out! You could even practice on something that doesn’t move as much as a toddler. In fact, I highly recommend practicing on stuff animals before making your way to your toddler. It’s easier to practice when the subject doesn’t move!!

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

3. scale

This one is great. What I mean by scale, is you take an image to show just how tiny your toddler really is. Like in the image above, you can plainly see just how tiny he is against that wall (he is also framed very nicely by the paneling and bricks!). Looking at this image you realize just how little and precious this boy is. He’s tiny! The best way to do this is to back it WAY up. (I would recommend having a helper to help in case the baby makes a run for it!). Include the environment in your image. This would be great to do at a beach, show just how tiny they are compared to the big ocean. You could do this at the park, the carnival, showing how little they are compared to the rides. This is a great composition to use on toddlers, because they are in fact, very little.

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

4. looking down

Looking down on your subject is a great way to photograph them. It helps with eye contact and getting beautiful catchlights. It also makes them seem larger than they are (so basically the opposite of scale!) I love using this technique when shooting toddlers. I think it’s very flattering on them. It’s an easy one to do, too! Especially if they aren’t walking yet. Just sit them down and stand (or kneel) slightly above them. Get their attention to have some eye contact and snap away! It’s really that easy. 🙂

This is great to get that eye contact and to also get a little bit closer. Details are so important to capture!

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

5. center

A center composition is a good choice for when there is symmetry. In the image above, my son and husband are ‘framed’ (another composition choice!) between the hallway walls. This pulls the attention straight to the center. Center compositions are probably the easiest composition to pull off, and one you’re probably already doing. Go a step further and really concentrate on what could make a center composition more interesting.

Center composition can be good for when you want to simplify your frame. It also can be a good choice for detail shots. Using leading lines to center your subject can also help strengthen your composition.

Be deliberate when you use center composition. Don’t always have center compositions. And when you do use center compositions, be confidant in your decision!

 

Compositions to Consider when photographing your toddler

6. faceless

I think faceless images are perfect for any genre of portraits! But I think it adds a level of mysteriousness to toddler images. Plus toddlers have cute everything (I wish I had cute everything) and those details deserve to be the center of attention, as well.

In conclusion, your toddler is cute so any image you take of them is going to be adorable. But by keeping these compositions in mind while taking images of your toddler (or anything!!) it will help strengthen your photography instantly.

Thanks for stopping by.