featured sponsor guest post: small town lovin

today we have a special guest...KK from small town lovin.  she is our featured sponsor this month and has a great post lined up for you...really easy tips on how to take better photos of your family.

hello there lovely anderson crew readers!  my name is kk from small town lovin.  today i am going to be writing on how to take better photos of your family without having to know all that confusing stuff like aperture, shutter speed, etc.  you don't have to be a pro to take good photos. {although i do really encourage you to learn manual - it does make a difference :)}

i am a mother to 3 little ladies all under the age of four.  two months before i had my first little girl, we packed up our stuff and moved from a big city, to my husband's hometown in the country.  after my daughter was born, i was left sitting in my home with a screaming baby, no friends, no where to go {the extent of running pointless errands was wal-mart, and you can only go there so many times in one week} so, i picked up my camera.  ever since then i have been hooked.  i love being behind the camera and the learning curve that comes with photography.
i am a stay at home mom and solely photograph my kids - i do not do this for a business, so i cannot claim that i am a pro, but i can give you some tips on how to get better photos. 
here is my little check list....so here we go......

1. have your camera ready
if your camera is in its bag, sitting in a cabinet - you're going to miss the shot.  i keep mine out ALL THE TIME.

2. try not to pose
i really dislike the word "cheese" and really try to never say that to my kids.  when i try to "make" them pose, then i get all kinds of weird faces and they just don't cooperate.  lets face it, i hate having my picture taken and most often kids don't like a big camera in their face either.
my trick, is to let my kids play.  i let them do their thing!  i get my camera all set up, look in the viewfinder, frame my photo, then say their name.  snap!  they are looking straight into the lens and i get a shot.  in the photo below, my daughter was climbing the stairs up to the porch.  she could climb up then down, up then down.  so i got myself situated, then gently said her name.  she stopped and looked straight at me - click - i got it!

i truly think the more we can "document" their little ways and the daily things they do, the better we will remember how our kids really are.  good photos do not have to be taken just twice a year at christmas and easter.

3. composition, composition, composition
i can't say those words enough!  for me, truly what makes for a good photo, is all about how you set it up. try to get creative with your shots.
ideas for creative shots can include:
getting on their level - sometimes it is great to shoot from above, but i love being on the same level as my kiddos and think it can change the way a photo looks drastically.
see the difference here:

try not to amputate  - many times in my photos, my kiddos are limbless :)  just be careful to not chop off hands and feet.  it makes for a better visual photo when limbs are in tact:

sometimes photos are great with your subject dead center - but a lot of times, they can be creative if they are off center a bit -see how i have her sitting to the left and a lot of orange on the right?  it just makes for a little more creative shot. {also my fake studio set up here is a window and a big white matte board covered in orange paper - voila!  instant studio}

cut out a lot of background noise - try to not have too much stuff going on in the photo.  this first image has a lot going on and you sort of lose the subject:

in the photo below, it is my daughter that you focus on and nothing is distracting you in the background:

4. turn off your flash
the flash is not your friend and kills a photo.  try to use natural lighting in all your photos.  use places like a window, outside, open the garage and set the kids right inside it, etc... these will create beautifully lit images.

5. lastly - embrace the camera
thanks to emily i have been getting in the photo more.  i adore old pictures of my mother and for years have literally been jumping out of the picture because i hate having my photo taken.  remember to get in, because the kids will love it later on:

don't be intimidated by photography - even smart phones can take amazing photos!  you don't have to be a pro.  just keep some of these tips in mind and you can get some great photos documenting your life.

thanks KK!  great tips for any mamarazzi :)
if you are interested in being our featured sponsor in september, the spot is still open.  email me asap as it's a first come, first serve basis.  go here for all of our rates.


  1. Thank you so much for this post! I'm really try to up my game with my photos. I'm so early in the game. Your photos are super amazing.

  2. thanks so much KK and emily! love reading easy tips like this.

  3. KK....off the subject question...where are those fabulous curtains or fabric hanging behind you in the last pic of you with your kids?

  4. I love photography and these are really awesome tips, thanks so much!

  5. This is great! I am definitely going to use these tips.

  6. Hi Jeny
    i actually got the fabric for my curtains here in our small town, then had them made. i am terrified of "real birds" but love any dish, fabric etc that has birds on it:) let me know if i can help you further:)

  7. fantastic post, really good tips, will definitely keep them in mind when taking photos of the kids. thank you for something non tech people can understand.

  8. COOL!! Thanks so much for responding! I've been in my house for 2 years trying to find something similar to that, hunting fabric stores & curtain stores. I think my area I live in is just not very trendy! I too live in a small town, from a big city. Slowly making friends & a new Mommy. I LOVE YOUR BLOG& the anderson crew! Just discovered you both the other day! Since I too stay at home, it's nice to take a break to your blog lands!!

  9. Just lovely tips! Thanks!

  10. These are just such fabulous tips! I'm really just getting into photography, but I feel like this has helped so much! By the way, KK, would you suggest a class? And {you may have mentioned it, I'll check} what kind of camera do you favor?


  11. this is fantastic advice! thanks so much.

  12. Wow! Thank you, KK. This is wonderful.
    All the photos here are gorgeous. But, I adore your embrace the camera pic with the babes. Beautiful!!


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