Photography Tips & Tricks


Every month Seattle Family Photography serves up a new photography tip to help you become a better photographer for your family at our monthly happy hour (first Wednesday of the month) and then we post  it here.

Photos from our past happy hours can be found on our Facebook page, as well as details about upcoming events.


Beginner’s Tip: Learn to use the histogram

Learn how the histogram works. Using this useful tool will allow you to make sure you don’t over expose bright elements. It will also help you to not clip the dark aspects of the photo. Using the histogram allows you to the the best exposure.

Intermediate’s Tip: Bounce flash

If you have an external flash unit, instead of pointing it directly at the subject, try bouncing the light off a wall or ceiling. Bouncing the flash allows the light to disperse and creates a softer, more appealing light on your subject.


Beginner’s Tip: Focus

Taking a photography of your busy child but not sure where to focus? Focus on the eyes. Focusing on the eyes will bring life and interest into your photos. Also try to get the catch light in their eyes by putting the subject near a strong light source (i.e. near a large window). This will make the subject look more lively.

Intermediate’s Tip: Capture the moment

A lot of people don’t feel comfortable in front of the camera, and it shows! Always pay attention to the little moments in-between taking photos. Sometimes these moments are the best time to capture emotion and the interaction between subjects.


Beginner’s Tip: Use burst mode

Using burst mode on your camera takes several pictures right after another. Using this mode is great for photographing movement or children. To use this mode look at your manual.

Intermediate’s Tip: Tell a story

It’s easy to get in robot mode when taking photos. Instead of clicking away at the shutter remember to try and tell a story with the images. This is also great for creating beautifully framed images together.


Beginner’s Tip: Fill the frame

When taking a photo it’s easy for the photographer to stay stationary and only zoom in with the lens. Using zoom can create great images however try physically moving closer to the subject. Filling the frame can simplify the subject and creates more interest.


Intermediate’s Tip: Avoid midday lighting

When taking a photo outside, early morning or right before sunset is always best. Midday lighting creates harsh unflattering shadows on your subject. If you are stuck photographing in the midday light, try moving to the shade. This will create even lighting, or if shade isn’t available try backlighting the subject (backs to the sun).


Beginner’s Tip: Check your backgrounds

When taking a photo it’s easy to click away and disregard the background. However if you put thought into what is in the background you can get some amazing images. Let the background do the work for you. Look for opportunities to frame the subject.


Intermediate’s Tip: Use aperture or shutter priority.

Most beginners use auto for everything. Try taking the camera off auto and try using aperture or shutter priority. This allows you to have more control over the final image without having to fumble with both. Read your camera manual on how to switch to both of these modes.



Beginner’s Tip: Add a prop.

Try adding a prop to give your portraits some personality. This can also be helpful for the subjects that aren’t as comfortable in front of the camera (i.e. shy children). When a subject is comfortable, it shows through on the final photographs.


Intermediate’s Tip: Break the rules.

Learn the basic rules of photography, like rule of thirds, and then break them using your creativity. Having a good understanding of the rules is crucial however breaking them can create powerful images you wouldn’t expect.




Beginner’s Tip: Change your perspective.

Try photographing children at eye level. Get even lower for a fun change, this will make the child seem really tall. Try new angles. Switching up the perspective can help to create awesome photos.


Intermediate’s Tip: Follow your subject

While focusing, track your subject. By following the subject with your camera you can get fun results with a blurred background. Want to show the action of the subject? Anticipate where they will be and take a shot. The background will now be clear with the subject blurred showing it’s action and movement.