Tack-sharp photos aren’t only for professional photographers. Gosh, can you imagine how many moments we’d be missing out on if our only family photos were studio pics? Genius, that in-phone camera inventor. Thank you, gracias, mwah!
Money can’t buy the most important photography helps I usually need- more TIME and a better memory.
Taken with my 50mm lens
Funny story, last month my family drove an hour to visit friends who’d just had a baby. I’d planned out all my newborn props, hoarded posing ideas, and charged the camera battery. I got to their house, unpacked, and realized that I’d left the camera at HOME!! Can you imagine? My husband, gracious as he is, offered to drive back home and pick up the camera. Great man, that one!
If you absolutely love capturing daily candids or are considering opening a small photography business (like I am!), you need a few basic essentials to really amp up your photography skills. These items will help you make the most of every shot, not to mention avoid embarrassing moments, like the camera toppling off a makeshift tree stump tripod. Here’s my list of 10 tools that no mom photographer should be without.
First things first. If you’re going to take fabulous memories of your kids and family for years to come, invest in a quality camera. Now, I’m not saying that you can’t take rockin’ images from a point-and-shoot, but the percentage of amazing shots you take exponentially increases when you buy a DSLR. Buying a DSLR doesn’t have to break the bank either. Consider buying a used camera or older model secondhand and pay less than half the retail price. This is the camera I have (and purchased used.)
Learn to use your camera. So you just bought a camera that costs more than your entire family’s yearly dental visits- you’d better learn to use it well! DSLRs are just toys unless you know how to use your camera well. I recommend Kristen’s Say No to Auto ebook. It’s a powerful tool that explains how to take the best photos ever using your camera’s manual settings. Here’s a sneak peek into the book just so you know what kind of awesomeness is headed your way.
They don’t call it the “nifty fifty” for nothing. This is a great go-to lens and is pretty affordable at $100. This lens lets in tons of light, meaning you can take beautiful natural light photos even indoors. The 50mm lens also creates great bokeh, that nice background blur that really showcases your subject. The only downside to the nifty fifty is that it’s tough to work with in small spaces since it is not a wide angle lens. Oftentimes I have to plaster myself to the wall to get a good shot of my kids playing together in their bedroom. Check out Courtney’s review for more details on this fantastic lens.
Speaking of camera bags, you NEED one! Sure, you can wrap up your camera in a scarf and shove it in your purse, but unless you’re extra careful and have your brain engaged 110% of the time, it will still get bumped around. I’ve got the Alice bag from JoTotes (here’s one similar) and have actually become more and more fond of it. Here’s my JoTotes camera bag review.
Using the black branded strap that came with your camera is just begging for robbery, especially if you travel with your camera . It’s also sure to spark a “Nikon vs. Canon” argument that you might not be ready for. Sure, the original camera strap is rugged, but you’re better off replacing it or even just covering the original strap with pretty fabric. There are some gorgeous camera straps available on Etsy and Amazon. Don’t you just love this pretty polka dotted camera strap (under $10!) ?
Did you know that using a small gig memory card could slow down your camera’s processing time? If you’ve tried everything to get your photos to process quicker between takes, even slimming down the file size, then your memory card just might be the culprit. Every photographer should have at least 2 memory cards with moderate file sizes- at least 8 gigabytes.
If your battery dies, you’re in trouble. Whether you’re mid-shoot with a client or on your first day of family vacation, it’s a real disappointment when you’ve got memories to capture and no working camera available. Be sure to always have an extra battery on hand, and if you don’t heed this advice, then by all means keep the battery charger with you at all times!
Image Enhancement Software
No matter how talented of a photographer you are, there’s always room for fine-tuning photos. No professional photographer would be without their chosen image enhancement software, and neither should you, especially considering that today’s options are affordable to the hobbyist photographer as well as the seasoned pro. The two main contenders for editing images are Adobe Lightroom and Photoshop. Lightroom has fewer capabilities than Photoshop, but is more user-friendly. Photoshop lends endless possibilities to your photo editing and graphic design but does come with a much steeper price and learning curve. I stick with Lightroom and haven’t yet been disappointed.
Tripod & Remote
I debated about adding these two gadgets to the list, since to be honest, I don’t even own a remote yet. However, having a tripod and remote can serve one major function as a mom photography- they get YOU in the picture. If you’re the main family photographer, chances are there aren’t many pics where your gorgeous mug is cheesin’ back at the camera alongside the crew. Years from now you and your children will cherish seeing photos of you, mom, interacting with them. Sitting your camera on a tripod and using a handheld remote allow you to get into the pictures and be a part of every special moment.
also taken with my 50mm lens
There are so many handy items that could’ve been added to this list, especially since it’s targeted to moms. Most mamas know how likely it is that their lenses and especially the LCD panels of the camera can get smudged by little fingers eager to see how a shot turned out. Lens cleaning kit, to the rescue! If you tend to shoot your kids outdoors a lot, keep out the excess glare with an inexpensive lens hood. If you’re a globetrotting mom who constantly travels with her camera, pick up an all-purpose lens that can do just about any job you need it to do.
Are there any other items you’d add to the list? Share your top picks and most embarrassing photography stories in the comments below!