Because You’re Important Too

I’m going to be talking to mom photographers/photographers right now. Mom’s in general, but if you’re not a photographer, seek out a photographer to take your images. 😉 Alright mom photographers/photographers. You’ve got that camera in your hand 24/7 it seems. You’re chasing your little ones around and it’s so much fun. Years from now you look at all the images you’ve taken over the years. They’re all great. There’s that one of your oldest putting dirt all over herself. There’s that one of your youngest being comforted by your oldest and it touches your heart. There’s another one of your husband holding your oldest for the first time and it’s magical. But as you look through ALL of these photos, you realize something is missing. That something is YOU.


Let’s be real. As photographers, it is SO hard to get behind the camera. We’re worried to pass the camera on. Or maybe we’re worried about doing a self portrait. Maybe we don’t like the way we look. Maybe we don’t know where to begin to start getting in the frame. Put all of your insecurities aside. People need to see you throughout your history.


Don’t worry. I’m here to help. Because you’re important too. You were there too. Your children want to see pictures of you too. They’ll cherish any picture they have of you way down in the future. So, keep that in mind. I want to make something very clear. It doesn’t have to be JUST YOU in the photo. Add in your husband. Add in children. Add in dogs. Add in cats. Having something else in the picture might put you at ease and you’ll actually have fun! And as a side note, you don’t even have to have your face in some of the images! Like the one above of my dog and my feet. 😉 Have fun with it. Explore! There’s so many different things you can do with self portraits. If you have little babies, set them up in their high chair, set up the tripod, and feed them food, or just interact with the images. There’s sooo many different things you can do.


There’s a few things you need to achieve a self portrait, let’s list them (because we all know I love lists!):

  •  Camera (any will do that can have remote or interval timer capabilities!)
  • Remote (optional)
  •  Tripod (optional)
  •  YOU!

If you don’t have a tripod, don’t worry. You can set your camera up on a mantle, a shelf, a chair, whatever you can find. Just make sure it’s safe and your camera won’t fall easily.

So you got the camera and the tripod. Now what? There are a few ways to go about getting a self portrait. First up is the remote. I ALWAYS set my camera to have it delay 2 seconds. That way, you don’t see the remote in my hand. 😉 Each camera is different, I highly recommend you look through your camera’s manual. It comes in handy A LOT. Trust me.

The next way is to set an interval timer. I have mine set up for 10 second delay, taking 9 shots, with 2 seconds in between each shot. I think this is my favorite way to take self portraits because I’m not having to constantly push a remote’s button.


The last way is to hand the camera over. I’ve done this with my ELEVEN YEAR OLD sister (she took the one above of me and my dog). I set up the shot by making the exposure the way I wanted and then I handed her the camera, told her how to back button focus (because that’s how I do things) and told her WHERE to focus. I think that is the key here for handing the camera over. I usually say, focus on my eye or something like that (unless I don’t want my face in the image, then I’d say focus on my hands, on my dogs eye, etc). It’s so easy, even my eleven year old sister can do it. 😉 The image below my husband took.


Ok you got everything set up. But wait. HOW do I focus on ME? I have had some failed focus issues in the past. I had my camera set to face recognition, and I’m sure that works for some people, but it just doesn’t work for me. Every time I’ve used it, it focuses on my nose. Only every once in a while can I achieve the focus I want. So how do you achieve focus for a self portrait?

There are a couple of ways to achieve focus. You can have a stand in! For the shot below, I had my husband stand where I wanted us to be. I focused on him, and I actually changed my camera to manual focus so that it would stay put (AFTER focusing, because auto focus is easier to get it crisp). Then I set up my interval timer and pushed the shutter button and stood next to him. We’re in focus! Yay! So, if you have someone around, use them as a stand in! I have done this with my sister as well, where I had her stand where I wanted to be, I took some shots of her, then we switched places and she took some of me (all while the camera was still on the tripod). She had fun, I had fun, and I got some photos of me. Win win win.


Another way, and this is probably my favorite because I don’t always have someone with me, is to stand where you want to stand and mark that place (I usually put my lens cap on the ground where I want to stand) and focus on your TRIPOD (or wherever your camera will be if you don’t have a tripod). Set your lens to manual focus so that it stays put. Set your camera up on your tripod or a ledge or wherever it will be. Then when you hop back in place where you were standing, you’ll be in focus. It’s amazing. I love it. You should definitely play around with it. I’ve finally figured it out to get perfect focus almost every time.


This is the image of my tripod as I focused on it (I don’t always take a picture, but I did this time to show you). And then below is where the tripod and camera were pointing to, to get the last three shots of this blog post.



Ok, last tip, and this one is HUGE. You will have more success getting what you want in focus if you have a higher aperture. Yes. That’s right. DO NOT SHOOT WIDE OPEN! I get it, I love the look of wide open images. But we need to make it easier on us. When shooting a self portrait, I usually try to shoot 3+. There are occasions that I shoot wide open. But for the most part, getting that higher aperture will help a lot! If you are photographing you with a group of people, you’ll need the f-stop even higher, so keep that in mind. 😃



If you have any questions or anything to add, comment below. Thanks for reading! ❤️

What’s in My Bag

I’ve been meaning to do this post for a long time. My camera bag is from JanieLaneStudio off of Etsy. I got this one. I love it. It has so many compartments, and it’s super comfy and easy on the shoulders. I love it!


Plus: IT’S SUPER CUTE! My husband bought this for me for my birthday a year or two ago. GO husband!!


It fits me just right. It’s not too big, but it’s not too small either. When I get more equipment, I’ll still have plenty of room for it to fit!


So, now, to the juicy stuff. What IS in my bag??


I have my trusty Nikon D610 with my beautiful camera strap. I love that camera strap so much! I have gotten SO many compliments on it. It’s super cute! My Nikon D610 is an amazing camera! I have had no complaints so far with it.


On my camera most of the time is my Nikon 50mm 1.8. I absolutely LOVE this lens. It’s a great first lens after the kit lenses. If you’re looking to buy your first big girl lens, I highly recommend this one! Also, please ignore my poor lens cap. My dog got a hold of it and chewed it up!.


I also have the older version of the Nikon 50mm 1.8 which allows me to do free lensing. I don’t use it very often, but it comes in handy.


Next I have my macro lens (which is the biggest lens I have so far). It’s the Nikon 105mm 2.8, which is also the older version. I hope to one day upgrade it. But for now, it satisfies all my macro craving. 🙂


Then, the last ‘lens’ I have are actually micro extensions. I got those before I got my macro lens to test and see if I really wanted to invest money into getting a good macro lens. They get the job done, but they are not as sharp as my macro lens. I have yet to try them ON my macro lens, I’ve only ever done them on my 50. I HIGHLY recommend trying out the micro extensions before buying a macro lens. Saves you a lot of money later on. 😉

I’m currently saving up for the Sigma 24 1.4 to add to my camera bag. I have rented it several times and it is hands down my favorite lens! It’s so sharp and produces such beautiful images!

And that’s it! That’s what’s in my camera bag. Thanks for stopping by! <3

DITL | October 8

This is my first DITL (Day in The Life) post and I am soooo excited about it! I decided to start with a Saturday, as those are much more exciting than my work days. 😉 I had a lot of fun. My husband and I went on a date that day to pick out pumpkins for another date this month. SO. MUCH. FUN! I planned it so that we were there when the lighting was good to take pictures. My husband is awesome because he puts up with my photography requests!

The day started off with some amazing light leaking into my apartment. My husband has to work mornings on Saturday, so I just explored the light coming into my apartment.


My dogs ALWAYS love to look out the window. That big blank spot where there are no blinds is proof of it. They looked out the window so much they broke the blinds!


My poor baby hurt his foot, as shown below. We’re not sure what he did, but he has been limping on it for a week now. It’s slowly getting better.


I had a strawberry shake for breakfast. But I saw pretty light outside soo…..this is what you get. 😉 Frozen strawberries in morning light. 🙂


Khannie is always drawn to the pretty light.


My sweet younger sister dyed her hair at the tips! It’s really cute. She’s proud because she braided her hair herself.


Next was our date to the pumpkin patch. It’s out in the middle of nowhere….


My hot date. 🙂


My husband was so amazed at how many pumpkins there were.


They had the cutest little farm market there, too!

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What a fun day to remember through photographs. I can’t wait for my next DITL! <3

Nikon 50mm 1.8 Review

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I love my handy Nikon 50mm 1.8 prime lens. I especially love how versatile this lens is. I also have this version of the Nikon 50, so that I am able to freelens. I’ll explain that a little later.


My Nikon 50mm 1.8 is the lens that I usually always have on my camera (however, if I had it MY way, I would have the Sigma 24 1.4 on it all the times, but I don’t have that lens…yet!). I bought the 50mm back when I had my crop frame camera, my Nikon 5100, which was my first DSLR ever. On the crop frame, however, it’s even more zoomed in because of the crop frame. Once I upgraded to the Nikon D610, I was actually able to use the 50mm at the 50 length (the crop frame compresses it, so it’s more of a 75mm instead). So, with my full frame Nikon D610, I was able to shoot a little wider with it. And I love it! It’s definitely a very good first lens after the lens kit lenses. Kit lenses are the lenses that come with your camera.


Now, I mentioned the word prime lens earlier. What does that mean? It means that the zoom is fixed. You can’t zoom in or out, if you want to get closer or farther away, you have to move your feet. I love prime lenses. They are the best! They are sharper, and create prettier bokeh, in my opinion.

Now, my fancy old and trusty Nikon 50 that I said I use to freelens with, and that’s really the ONLY reason I have it, is slightly cheaper than this Nikon 50. So, what’s freelens, you ask? It’s INCREDIBLY hard and I still have so much to learn and practice. You basically detach your lens from  your camera (your camera should be turned OFF at this point) and you then turn  your camera back on and put the lens up close to the camera. Then  you play around and move the lens around to try to get a slice of focus.


Again, I need to repeat, it’s INCREDIBLY hard! But the result is amazing. I always find that freelensing works BEST when the light is AMAZING. I’ve tried it before where the light was flat, the resulting image just wasn’t as magical.


I’ve recently discovered that my Nikon 105 Micro lens could also freelens, but it’s even harder than the 50!


All in all, my Nikon 50 is my go to lens. It’s sharp, it’s wide enough (mostly 😉 ) and it gets the job done!! Get out there and pick up your camera and experiment. 


Find out if your lens can freelens and practice that! It’s a great way to get your creativity juices flowing. Although, be careful about getting dust on your sensor. Freelensing IS dangerous to your camera. But it’s fun and something different.


September Favorites

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

September went by SO quickly! I absolutely loved the photography leaps I made this month. I’m so excited to see what October brings. September brought beautiful light, a beautiful newborn, and fun experiments. These images were taken by my handy 50mm 1.8 (I love that lens!), my Micro 105 2.8, and I rented the Sigma 24. The Sigma 24 is by far my favorite lens! I highly recommend it. The wide angle helps you get really beautiful images and lens flare! Happy October 1st!