I can’t believe you are 18 months. A year and a half of you and it just keeps getting better and better. I often think you can’t possibly get any cuter…and then next thing I know, you’ve grown a little, or you do something that makes us laugh. You truly feel our lives with laughter and I love it so much.
One thing you’ve recently started to do is say ‘ready, set, go!’ Only it sounds more like ‘reddy, se, do!’ You typically say this right before you start hitting things. You collect a ton of different things in your lap and then you’ll say ready, set, go and start frantically hitting them. It’s hilarious! I love it so much. The other day at the store you started saying it and I would push the cart super fast and you would just giggle so much!
Something you’re actually doing right now as I type this and recently found funny is blowing on the desk chair to make a fart noise…you’re such a boy! But when you blow and make a funny noise you just crack up laughing! It’s adorable!! And it makes me laugh, too.
You recently love bath time. You even ask for a ‘beth’ all the time. It makes me start thinking, where did my little baby go? You’re growing up. You’re learning what you like and what you don’t like. Your little personality is growing and developing everyday! I’m desperately trying to hold on to the memories, and images definitely help with that. I take videos of you all the time, as well. I love looking back at them and seeing how little you once were.
Another thing I never want to forget: how you always have to hold something small in your hand. You’ll find a rock outside and will hold onto it for the rest of the day. Or a dice. Or a small toy. Or a marble. I actually just checked to see if you had something in your hand, and you do! An orange dice that you probably got from grandma’s house. When you first started doing this, I worried that you might try to put them in your mouth…but you don’t. You somehow understand that only food goes in your mouth, which I’m grateful and blessed because I know that’s not always the case for all kids.
Turning 18 months old means that you get to go into nursery at church, which is for 18 months – 3 year olds. You went this past Sunday and seemed excited to play with the toys. When I came to pick you up you burst into tears. The nursery leaders told us you were pretty happy the whole time. I’m hopeful that this week will be better. 🙂 I want you to start making friends and learning from other children. It breaks my heart to see you cry and that upset, though. Being an attached parent, I didn’t want to drop you off and then just leave you to cry. So I waited until you got distracted and then slipped out. I think that is the key. I will never leave you in there crying. Because I think that is abrupt and mean to do. I’m hoping you’ll start to like it, you did seem to really like the toys in there. And you already know where they are!
Your favorite meal recently is black beans and rice. You actually ask for it. I also try to get you to eat anything and everything I’m eating, but sometimes you are very picky. Which is typical of a toddler, so I don’t get too offended when you don’t want to try my cooking. 🙂 I’m so proud when you do try something new, though. Even if you don’t like it. At least you tried it!
All in all, you keep us on our toes. There’s always something new to laugh about with you. There’s always something new to explore. And you really love making your daddy laugh. Oh, speaking of daddy, he’s still your buddy. Sometimes when you wake up, you’ll ask for ‘dada’ and I’ll have to say that he’s at work or school. And you’ll be sad for a little bit before playing again. But once daddy comes home, you usually run and give him a hug and a kiss! It’s so sweet. You love snuggling your daddy. You often have a hard time going to sleep at night before snuggling and giving daddy a kiss first. Which is so cute. And of course, your daddy just loves it.
I hope you know or feel the love your parents have for you. Your whole family has for you. We all really enjoy watching you grow and learn. There are so many people who love you. Who have loved you from the time they found out I was expecting a child. I often pray to Heavenly Father and thank him for the sweet spirit he sent me. He answered my prayers when we were trying to conceive…I used to ask Him, when He was ready, to send me one of his sweetest spirits he could…and you know what? He did. You are amazing. And you have so much love and excitement for everything. I love seeing the world through your eyes. And I hope you always keep this excitement.
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.
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.
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!
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!
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 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
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!).
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.
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.
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.
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. 😉
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.