How to Take Pictures of Your Everyday

How to Take Pictures of Your Everyday

There’s something so satisfying about photographing what you do everyday. Before I had my son, my everyday was very boring. It consisted of work, eat dinner, sleep, repeat. My weekends were exciting. But anytime my photography friends wanted me to do a Day in the Life … I couldn’t! I couldn’t figure out how to create images that showed my everyday. If you have kids, it’s a different story! There’s plenty to do and plenty to take pictures of to show your everyday. I am going to give you some tips to taking pictures of your everyday. And yes. It is possible even if you work a full day. Don’t be discouraged! You can still make time for photography. Let’s dive in.

new to photography? check out my 3 Tips to Get Started in Photography post

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day in the life

Honestly, one of the best ways of photographing your everyday is taking place in a day in the life. A day in the life means that every hour (it could really be flexible … every two hours, twice an hour, at least 30 photos in the day, etc.) you take a picture of what you’re doing, essentially. These photos don’t have to be amazing. But they do have to show what you are doing throughout the day. This is a great photography project to try, if you haven’t already! (I should do one … they are really fun. I’ll do one if you do one!).

So, why would we want to take pictures of our everyday? Honestly, sometimes we might find that our everyday is boring. We are so used to what happens on a daily basis, that it could become a routine. So, why would we want to photograph it? Here are a few reasons …

  • it makes your everyday exciting again!
  • it challenges you to take something simple and make it amazing! How can you photograph breakfast and make it exciting??
  • it gets you out of your comfort zone.
  • it (hopefully) gets your creative juices flowing.

Alright! Are you ready for some down to earth tips on how to photograph your everyday? Ready? Set? Go!

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how to take a picture of your everyday

First and foremost … what does your ‘everyday’ look like? Is it super busy? Is it relaxed? Does it change from day to day? I want you to write down what your typical day looks like.

Planning your shots make it so much easier to get the exact shots that you want. Write down what you do daily and how you could make the daily stuff exciting.

1. capture the daily stuff

There’s something you do daily. Whether it’s put on makeup, making breakfast/lunch for your kids, taking a walk, playing with the dogs, getting ready for the day, etc. This is the type of thing you want to capture. If you think it might be boring, that’s ok! Try to capture it anyways! Something I love to capture that happens daily is nap time.

The reason you might want to capture this daily stuff, is because it might be daily right now, but years down the road, your daily life might change and you might forget what it was like. Nap time might turn into play time, and eventually those littles will be out the door (insert sobbing face here!!!!), so capture those sweet moments and memories. They might not seem like much now, but they will later in your life.

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2. it’s OK to stage the scene

So … what do I mean by stage? If you always have a perfect scene in your house, you will see me bowing down to you … teach me your ways! If you are a mom of littles, I know your house is not always picture perfect! You can set the scene up to make it look like it’s perfectly clean. Simplicity and cleanness make your images look more professional.

That being said … sometimes the mess adds to the story. Folding laundry? Being buried alive? Leave the laundry piles in and show your exasperated face!

Set the stage by cleaning up the scene, but this could also mean bribing your littles to get the photo you want. Are they playing with a board game in horrible light? Move them (ever so sneakily) to a place with beautiful light and have at it! Think before you shoot. Set the stage before you shoot!

3. be brave

So when I did my first day in the life … I was working full time! I decided to take my camera to work and to photograph what I do throughout the day. I was so scared. Nobody asked me what I was doing, but I was so self conscious. I didn’t get the images I wanted because of it. Don’t do what I did. Instead, be brave! Now that I’ve actually shot more in public I am here to tell you that no one is watching. And if, for whatever reason, they are, it really doesn’t matter! This is your work. This is your day in the life. If your day in the life includes a trip to Target, take that camera with you! Do it. If your day in the life includes going to a public park, take that camera with you! Sometimes people ask me what I am photographing … and I’ll tell them and that’s that! They really don’t care, and you most likely won’t see them again. So, who cares? Be brave!

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4. don’t be afraid to jump in the frame

I mean, you are part of your daily routine, I would hope! So don’t be afraid to get in the frame with your kids. If you don’t have kids, don’t be afraid to jump in the frame! Getting in the frame adds to the feeling of ‘day in the life’. These images don’t have to be perfect. They really don’t! They just have to showcase exactly what you do each day.

5. put the camera away

Once you get the shot, put it away, and really spend time with your family. There was one time that I was itching to take a certain picture … but I could tell that my son just wasn’t having it. So, instead of giving myself a headache, I put the camera away, picked up my son, and we played and had a great time. Do that. Family is way more important than the images you take. Trust me. Spending time with them is exactly what they want. Giving them a break from the camera could actually get them more comfortable in front of the camera (could we call that reverse psychology?).

have fun

I hope you have fun capturing your every day! Now that I am home full time, I love capturing the little details of my life. It helps you connect with your audience by showing them what you do daily.

5 Tips to Getting Better Pictures of Your Infant

5 Tips to Getting Better Pictures of Your Infant

Taking pictures of your infant can be extremely hard. I mean, once they start crawling they are gone. Before I was a new mother, trying to learn how to be a mom, I was a working wife. My subjects before this were my dogs, myself, my siblings, and my husband. Aside from the dogs, my subjects sat still. So when I threw in a crazy crawling, standing, infant … taking pictures suddenly became a lot harder. I want to hopefully show you some of the things I learned along the way for you to get the images you so crave of your little one.

check out my My Favorite Baby Products post

Aly Dawn Photography 5 Tips to Getting Better Pictures of Your Infant

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My little one is about to turn 8 months old. I am so amazed at my progress as a photographer over just 8 months. I am finally getting to a point in my work where I look at it and say, ‘yes, I like that!’. If you’re not there yet, don’t worry! Keep practicing, keep taking pictures, and you’ll get there. I wanted to share with you five tips to getting better pictures of your infant. I really wish someone had told me these five tips when my baby boy was first born. I also really enjoy using my Sigma 24 1.4 wide angle lens on my baby boy because it gives me the flexibility of getting the environment in my shots or coming in close for the details. My favorite and go to lens for sure!

why are you a photographer

Why are you a photographer? Most of the time I see the answer is ‘to photograph my kids’. And that’s great. But do you love photography? Do you love light? Do you love challenging yourself? I sure hope you do if you’re a photographer! Why do you want to have photographs of your kids? What do you want to photograph your kids doing? Do you really want ‘look at the camera and say cheese’ images? Or do you crave to have images that look natural? That scream childhood? Cause if you do … you should follow my blog and learn along with me (plus you get a free Simple Guide to Photography PDF for signing up!!).

All images were taken with my Nikon D610 and Sigma 24mm 1.4 lens.

5 Tips to Getting Better Pictures of Your Infant

Aly Dawn Photography 5 Tips to Getting Better Pictures of Your Infant

1. be patient

I feel like this is important whether you are photographing your child or simply interacting with them. Patience is the most important tip I can give. Do you have the perfect shot in mind? But baby just wants to do the complete opposite of what you want? Be patient. Or, take a picture anyways! Maybe you’ll like the outcome better than the vision you had in your mind. Either way, your baby is in charge. He/She will not sit still, no matter how many times you tell them to! Newborns can sometimes be easier, because they don’t do much. But as soon as they can crawl and get away from you, good luck getting them to sit still. Besides, sitting still just isn’t fun!

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2. give them something to do

If your infant is old enough to do things by themselves, like sit or stand, then give them something to do! I love getting my son to play with toys – it makes him sit still long enough to get an image. And plus I get to capture his favorite toys by doing this. I also love having him stand up and play with his table. He loves it because it lights up and makes noise. So he plays on that forever while I experiment with different angles. If I want him to crawl towards me, I will place an object near me for him to crawl and get. Boom, crawling image complete. You want to make it interesting for them, otherwise they’ll get bored fast.

3. make funny noises

This tip is for you if you want some eye contact. Start making silly noises and your infant/child is sure to look at you. The face they give you might be a curious one, or a silly face, or they might even laugh at you! I like to make up different noises to get my sons attention … and he seems to enjoy it. 😉

4. try a different perspective

Do you feel like you’re getting the same image of your child time and time again? Try changing your perspective! I love shooting down. Shooting to the side. Shooting up. Shooting straight on. Change it up, it’s fun. Plus kids look good at any angle (dang kids!) so don’t be afraid to explore this. Going along with your perspective, backing up can make a world of difference. Don’t shoot up close to your child. Get their whole body in the frame. Back it way up. Then you can go in for a detail shot of their cute little hands or feet. Doing this gives you a variety of images.

5. get in the frame with them

Childhood isn’t childhood without the parents. So be sure to capture you and your significant other in the frame with your children! Getting in the frame doesn’t have to be a chore. In fact, it can be a very fun family activity! Pull out a board game. Pull out some play-doh. Get in the frame, and show your kids that you were there, too. You’ll thank yourself later for doing it. TRUST me. I already have so many images of me and my son. I love them all! And guess what! It doesn’t matter that I still had my baby fat … or that I wasn’t wearing the prettiest clothes. I was there, in the moment, and it shows because of the images I’ve taken. So, stop being selfish (really, stop it) and put on your big girl (or boy!) pants and hop in the frame. Do it. Just, do it.

put the camera down

Don’t forget to put the camera down from time to time and just enjoy your family. You wouldn’t want a camera in your face 24/7, would you? Don’t always make it about pictures. Give your family a break from it. Go on a walk and leave your camera at home. No matter what, being present in the moment is definitely the most important thing. After you get the shots you want, put that camera down and join in on the fun! Win-win for everyone.

Happy shooting!

 

Creativity Exercise: 30 Photos in 30 Minutes

Creativity Exercise: 30 Photos in 30 Minutes

If you are new to my blog, welcome! Starting in March I will be posting a creativity exercise every month! So if you like getting inspired, come back on the first Sunday of every month for a creativity exercise. These exercises are meant to push your creativity to the max. Do you feel like you’re in a rut? Do you feel like there’s something you need to work on? These creativity exercises will definitely push you and make you think.

One thing I absolutely love about photography is how there is always something new to learn. It doesn’t matter how advanced you are in your photography journey, doing a creativity exercise every month will challenge you and improve your photography. And I’m going to do it with you! The reason I decided to do this exercise as our first challenge is because I LOVE photo walks. And I also love trying to get 30 different images. It’s harder than you might think!

Each person sees the world differently. If you had two photographers go on the same walk at the same time, their 30 images would be completely different. So, are you ready to dive into this challenge? I’m excited to see what you have produced!

check out my 5 Reasons to Convert an Image to B&W post

Aly Dawn Photography Creativity Exercise: 30 photos in 30 minutes

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the challenge

This one is super simple. All I want you to do is go to a outdoor location, take a walk, and get 30 photos in 30 minutes. Pretty great, right?

I went on a walk on a beautiful day, with lots of sun, around golden hour. You could challenge yourself further and choose a harder time to go. Like mid sunny day, or a rainy day. Challenge yourself and have fun!

choosing a location

Any outdoor location will work, really. The beach, a garden, your neighborhood, your driveway, a park, etc. It doesn’t have to be some grand location, though. The only ‘rule’ is that you want to stay in that one location for all 30 photos! The idea is that you push yourself to get 30 different photos in this location.

Have you been passing by a place you’d love to shoot? Go there! Or you can push yourself further and photograph a place you shoot often. There are so many options for picking your location.

the photographs

You are trying to take 30 unique photos in 30 minutes. Getting unique photos is challenging enough, let alone in 30 minutes in one location!

Each photo needs to be unique, but it doesn’t need to be of different subjects. Choosing to shoot the same subject in different ways is all part of this challenge.

The photos don’t have to be your best work, they just have to push you creatively. In theory, this exercise will help you in getting unique photographs in one location. For example, if you are shooting a senior session, you now have the skill to take 5 different shots of the same subject in the same location. 5 unique shots before you have to move on from that pose or location. That’s a very handy skill to have.

the time

30 minutes, guys. That’s it. Set a timer. This is all part of the challenge! It’s OK if you go over your time, but having a goal of 30 minutes is a good idea. I’m pretty sure I went over my time limit by like 10 minutes. And that’s OK!

how to push through

Are you feeling a little stuck? Try these things out to push through the exercise. You’ll thank me later. Try taking pictures…

  • From a different angle. Stand up on your tip toes, shoot down. Lay down on your belly and shoot up.
  • Using different composition. Try using framing!
  • Of textures
  • Using a different aperture. Take one of the same subject at wide open, then stop down. Which one do you like better?
  • Of people – portraits are definitely allowed!
  • Using the available light differently (from above, the side, backlighting, etc).
  • Of moving subjects – freeze them or show the motion.

There is a limit on your time and location, but your options are limitless to what you can shoot!

Aly Dawn Photography Creativity Exercise: 30 photos in 30 minutes

I’ll show you mine if you show me yours

I did this exercise a couple of days ago! I found it so therapeutic. I did it the day I found out my grandfather died and I was needing a way to cope with it. Photography definitely did that for me.

Although I loved this exercise, I did find it challenging! My walk was filled with a lot of dead stuff. Like, a lot of dead stuff. It’s just starting to warm up here, so no signs of spring yet. I liked the challenge, though. I think it definitely pushed me creatively.

I was really trying to not ONLY photography my husband or son. I couldn’t resist some of them, though. I mean, look at that light! I was in heaven. But I was really worried I wouldn’t get 30 images! I managed to do it, though.

Here’s my 30 images in 30 minutes!! All images taken with my Nikon D610 and my beautiful Sigma 24mm 1.4 – definitely my go to lens.

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Be sure to #alydawnphoto and #alydawn_creativity on Instagram so that we can all stay connected! I know it’s a bit hard to share 30 images on IG, but you could share your top 10! I’d love to see them! What did you find hard about this challenge? What held you back? Can’t wait to see everyone’s images this month.

Catch me next month for the next creativity exercise! I’m so excited to be doing these with you.

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How to Take Better Photos for Your Blog

How to Take Better Photos for Your Blog

So you started a blog. One thing you might start to realize fast is how important photography is to a good blog. Sure, you could use photos you find off the web (I don’t recommend this), but you want your blog to reflect you. So, you want your photos to be yours. In order to do that, you need your words to be 100 percent you and you need your photos to be 100% you. People will come back to your blog again and again for how honest it is. But, first! You need to learn how to take better photos. Why? Having better photos on your blog will invite more people to read your blog. I know I do this when I’m scrolling through Pinterest, I look for beautiful pictures before I click through to a blog.

check out my 5 Reasons to Convert an Image to B&W post

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

practice, practice, practice!

Keep in mind that the number one thing you can do to better your photography is practice. Ever heard the phrase, “practice makes perfect”? Yep. Practice, practice, practice! It’s the only way to truly improve. I could walk you through all types of photography techniques, but if you never practice those techniques, they will never develop and turn into skills. So, please practice! And share what you practice!

how to take better blog photos

I want you to take a little break from reading this and go visit Pinterest. Look at images that make you want to click through to a blog. What about those images do you like? It’s probably good light, interesting subjects, and composition (they way an image is arranged). Am I right? Maybe it’s something else. Write down what you like about the images you see. I want you to strive to get the same results in your images. But, first…

1. learn manual mode

Manual mode is so important to improving your photography. When I switched to manual mode, my images got SO much better. Like night and day, from just learning how to use my camera properly! I didn’t upgrade my equipment at all. It was all me.

I’ve been thinking about possibly doing a manual mode class. If you’re interested in taking a manual mode class from me, comment below! If I get enough interested I will definitely create it.

2. learn everything light

And I mean everything! Light is so important to improving your overall photography. One rule of thumb while you’re starting out…focus on natural light. What is ‘natural’ light? Well, you guessed it, it’s basically any type of light that comes from the sun. Once you master natural light, then you can move on to other forms of light such as artificial.

If you’re looking for some nice reading on the topic, I recommend Light: Science and Magic: An Introduction to Photographic Lighting. But remember, after reading anything, practice what you read!

3. learn how to edit

I highly recommend learning Lightroom. It’s easy to learn basic edits and it definitely gets the job done. Editing your photos takes your images to the next level. Editing your images gives them a professional polish. There’s no reason to overdo it, though. Over edited images look unprofessional, so keep that in mind. I will also recommend staying away from presets and filters. You don’t need them. And blue images are old news. Check out my LR shortcuts for faster editing.

I also really love my copy of Lightroom: Classroom in a Book. It has taught me so much regarding Lightroom. And it’s fun to go through.

4. equipment

I’m a firm believer that a good camera won’t make you an amazing photographer. Only practice will do that. But getting good equipment will make your life easier. I recommend a beginner’s camera, such as the one I started out with, the Nikon D5100. Or if you’re in the market for a more professional camera, I recommend the Nikon D610. Although, if I’m going to be 100% honest with you, I would love to have the Nikon D750!

A good computer is a must. One that has plenty of space, lots of ram, and some speed to run your editing software of choice.

I recommend getting a prime lens. I love prime lenses. A prime lens has a set focal length. I love the Nikon 50mm 1.8 as a starter lens (and bonus! It’s the cheapest lens out there that is also good quality).

 

5. make sure your images relate to your posts

I feel like this goes without saying. Make sure your images match (somewhat) to what you’re saying. Don’t write a post about cats and then have pictures of food…your audience will be very confused!

I hope these tips have helped you in taking better photos for your blog. As I mentioned before, it’s very important to practice everything you learn.

Comment below something you are struggling with. What about photography do you struggle with?

A Beginner’s Guide to Shooting in Black and White

A Beginner’s Guide to Shooting in Black and White

Black and white is a great tool to use in your photography. It can impact and really take your images to the next level. That being said, there are times when you should convert your images to b&w, and there are times when you should not. Have you ever converted an image to b&w and it just didn’t look the way you wanted it to? Chances are, that image just wasn’t a good candidate. So, let’s dive into what makes an image a good candidate to black and white photography.

check out my 5 Reasons to Convert an Image to B&W post

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

what makes a good black and white

Let’s really dive into what makes a good b&w. Because, believe it or not, not every image makes for a good black and white. I have 4 reasons images will make a good b&w.

  1. Light – if the light is good, the b&w will most likely be good
  2. Contrast – whether you have high contrast lighting, or your subject is dark against your background, contrast creates a good quality for b&w images
  3. Texture – converting a image to b&w that has awesome texture is a win!
  4. Color – when color isn’t an important part of the story, black and white it is!

reasons to not convert your image to black and white

I believe there are a few reasons why you shouldn’t convert an image to black and white. Not all of these are solid rules, they’re just general guidelines I like to follow in my own black and white.

  1. Flat light – I feel like sometimes we convert our images to black and white because the light isn’t interesting. This is not a good reason. It will leave your black and white looking very flat
  2. Distractions in the background – don’t take an image with distractions in the background, and convert to black and white to try and ‘cover’ up those distractions. You should be removing distractions before you ever press that shutter speed – this is important in any setting
  3. Color – when the color IS important to the story, don’t convert!

a beginner’s guide to shooting in black and white

I want you to consciously think about an image in b&w. Shoot for b&w. Think about ways an image will work if it’s in b&w. You can even turn your camera to a certain setting that actually only shoots in black and white. I’m so nervous to do this, but if you have the guts, do it! It will definitely improve your b&w images! When you shoot with black and white in mind, your images will turn out better.

1. when the light is pretty

I think we sometimes convert our images when the light isn’t beautiful. It should be the other way around! If you have beautiful light in your image, you can bet that the image will look good in b&w. When you are out shooting for b&w, aim to have gorgeous light.

That said, when there isn’t beautiful light, other factors and contribute to a beautiful black and white image that has dull light.

2. contrast

Think about it. You want your black and white images to have contrast. Below, the two images are edited exactly the same way, except for the left has all contrast removed, and none added! Which one looks better to you? Most likely the right one, right? Why is that? It’s because of the contrast! It makes your black and whites look deeper and richer, which is definitely what you want. That being said, if your color edits tend to have a more matte look, then your black and whites should as well. The key here is to stay consistent in your editing.

Black and White Photography Tips and Tricks

3. texture

Images with a lot of texture tend to look good in b&w. Texture could be so much as water droplets on your flowers or even a fluffy rug. Why is texture important in black and white? It helps create a sense of feeling to your viewer. When we incorporate textures into out images, it helps the viewer feel like they are there with us.

4. color

Like I have previously stated, when color doesn’t play an important part, convert to black and white. When would color play an important part? You can use color to compose your images. If you had a blue wall and a girl in pink with a pink balloon, that image wouldn’t look good in b&w, it would look washed out. You need the color to add pop and interest. However, if you have a bunch of brown in your image, like the image below, then converting to b&w can make your image pop more than what it was in color.

A Beginner's Guide to Shooting in Black and White

black and white conversion

Why do you think an image will turn out good in b&w? Please comment below!

Last thing I wanted to say is, if you’re not sure if an image will look good in black and white or not…just convert it and see! I’d love to see your creations, #alydawn_blackandwhite so that I can see and comment on your creations! Happy shooting!