Learn how to take better pictures of your kids for free, from these 8 helpful websites and their best photography posts!
Like many parents, you take photos to document your kids as they grow up. But you’re fed up with the blurry/dark/grainy/flash pictures of your kids that don’t show the beauty and emotion you want to capture.
If you have a DSLR camera and are stuck on Auto mode, it’s time to start learning Manual photography. But whether you have a DSLR or not, there’s more to taking great photos of your kids than what camera you own, and getting your camera settings right.
You need to learn about composition, storytelling and style, and develop a “good eye” for photos. You could spend hundreds of dollars on a photography course to learn all of this, but the good news is, you don’t have to.
Learn how to take better pictures of your kids for free
When I was trying to figure out my new DSLR camera and take better pictures of my kids (see the before pictures above), I scoured the interweb for the best websites to learn photography for free. And I found eight amazing websites that really helped me, so I want to share them with you.
By the way, I’m not saying you shouldn’t pay for a photography course, because for many people that’s the best decision for them. I’m saying if you’re low on funds, or a thrifty type, or simply want to try before you buy, you can take a “DIY” approach to learning photography, just like I did.
Thanks to these fine folks I’m about to tell you about, I was able to go from Auto mode to Manual mode, and ultimately, from frustration to elation! I still follow all of these websites, and I learn more and take better pictures of my kids every day.
You don’t have to follow them all, but I encourage you to take a look at each to see how they can help you with your personal photography journey.
Without further ado, here are:
8 Must Read (Free) Photography Websites for Parents
- Learn how to “Click it up a notch” by Courtney Slazinik
Courtney Slazinik is a mom of three on a mission to teach photography to anyone who wants to learn. Courtney is at the top of my list because I found her early on in my journey and her teachings were key to my photography education.
Courtney’s Guide For Your Photography Journey is a great place to begin exploring her site and working on your technical photography knowledge. If you’re a manual-mode rookie, Courtney’s post How to Shoot in Manual Mode is a must read!
Also check out the “Manual Mode Tips” category for specific info on a huge variety of topics and problems, from Tips to Achieve a Sharp Focus to understanding Metering Mode, which happened to be a breakthrough post for my personal understanding of setting manual exposure (particularly reading in the comments about how Courtney uses spot metering on the skin with the focal point to set the right exposure).
Courtney also shares tips for photo editing and printing, and practical time-saving advice.
What I really love is her encouraging and down-to-earth voice. She was in the beginner’s shoes just five years ago, and now she has so much knowledge to share but she still remembers what it was like to start out, not knowing the jargon, not understanding to technical side of photography or having confidence on the creative side. She gets it. And I think she’ll help you get it too.
If you’re beyond the beginner level, there’s also plenty of articles and inspiration from professional photographers to take your skills further.
- Why you’ll adore “I Heart Faces”
I Heart Faces is a photography website founded by Angie Arthur and Amy Locurto, with regular posts by contributing professional photographers.
While the monthly photo challenges and pro photography topics will provide you with plenty of creative inspiration, the Free Photography Tutorials will answer almost any shooting or editing question for the amateur photographer.
Some really great articles for parent photographers include:
- Common Photography Mistakes and How to Fix Them
- Common Lighting Mistakes and How to Fix Them
- Photography Tips for Mom: Photographing Baby
- and many articles in the DIY Photography Tips category. Hint: to find info on a specific topic, look in the “Browse by Categories” drop-down in the right side-bar.
And this post is like an index for their articles on photography for beginners – How To Use a DSLR Camera Like a Pro Photographer – which links to plenty of manual mode tutorials and other great tips no matter what type of camera you use, such as lighting, composition and more.
I Heart Faces followers discuss photography and critique each other’s work on the I Heart Faces private community forum (closed to new members right now) as well as on social media. The I Heart Faces Facebook Page would be a great place to start if you’re looking to connect with other photographers for mentorship, feedback, or even just a new friend with a common interest.
- Learn from other “Clickin Moms”
Clickin Moms is a huge photography site written by professional photographers — photography tutorials, tips and ideas are what they do, and they do it well. Even though a lot of their content is only available to paying members, they’ve posted some amazing stuff for free. If you think you might want to take a photography course or two down the road, Clickin Moms would be a great place to start.
Head over to their blog for beginner photo tips and tutorials written by the experienced photographers who also teach courses and offer mentoring. I recommend these awesome articles for parents:
- Children’s View: Photographing the Way They See the World
- 7 Ideas to Make Photo Shoots Fun For Kids
- Children’s Spaces: Capturing the Backdrops of Their Memories
I think this is a great read for novices as well: 11 Things Beginners Should Know About Photography
Then, as you start to find out what area of photography interests you or needs work, you might consider taking one of their workshops or breakout sessions in CMUniversity.
- Better photography as “Simple As That” by Rebecca Cooper
Rebecca Cooper is a professional photographer and mom of four who shares photography tips on her lifestyle blog Simple As That. Rebecca shares advice specifically for parents to take better photos of their kids.
This is a master list of Rebecca’s best photography posts: Over 150 Tips to Improve Your Photography This Year. Some of my favorites are:
- 12 Quick Tips for Taking Memorable Holiday Photos (especially tip #10)
- Simple Back to School Photo Tips
- Embracing the ‘Life’ in Lifestyle Photography
- 50 Photos to Take With Your Kids (which includes a free printable list)
The photography tips on Simple As That are simple and practical bits of gold for parents with a camera. No matter what type of camera you use — DSLR, point-and-shoot or phone camera — you’ll walk away with ideas and tips for better pictures of your kids.
- Start “Capturing Joy” by Kristen Duke
Kristen Duke is a professional photographer and lifestyle blogger who shares photography tips on her website Capturing Joy with Kristen Duke. As a mom of 4, Kristen has the perspective of a parent photographer and the expertise of a professional. She shares practical tips and relates her own experiences with taking photos of her kids.
Check out her photography tips posts for the best photography articles on Capturing Joy, including these super posts for parent photographers:
- How to Capture a Natural Smile When Taking Pictures of Kids
- How to Take Your Own Family Pictures
- How to Photograph Your Child’s Birthday Party
What I love about Kristen is the way she shares photography advice like a friend over coffee. She tells her story candidly, including what worked and what didn’t, so you can be inspired and learn from her experience.
Kristen has written two photography books you might want to buy; the first is for the beginner called Say NO to Auto, and the second is for the intermediate photographer (comfortable with manual) called Get Focused.
- Embrace your inner “Snap Happy Mom” by Meg
Meg is a mother of three and professional photographer who shares photography tutorials and tips for parents on her blog Snap Happy Mom.
You can find all of her photography posts here. Have a read through these ones especially:
- Encouraging Cooperation in Children’s Portrait Sessions (I LOVE these tips!!)
- Catch Those Candids: Leave Your Camera Somewhere Accessible
- 8 Tips for Taking Pictures at a Birthday Party
Meg also posts reviews and recommendations of cameras, lenses and other gear.
I love how Meg can relate as a mom photographer, and has such an encouraging style — she believes that anyone with any camera can take better pictures of their kids, and it’s the growth and the memories that matter, not perfection. For a wonderful dose of inspiration, read Meg’s post Mom With a Camera.
You can also read Meg’s guest posts on Yellow Bliss Road, like this gem: Three Must Have Photos on the Last Day of School.
- Why you’ll fall for “It’s Always Autumn” by Autumn Baldwin
Autumn is a mother of five who loves photography, and she shares oodles of great photography tips on her blog It’s Always Autumn. Her tips come from personal experience with her own kids, so they’re really helpful for parent photographers, even if they use Auto mode. In fact, Autumn even wrote a whole series of posts with tips specifically for Auto mode: 8 Steps to Better Photos on Auto.
Taking great photos of your kids isn’t just about the technical details or creativity, it’s also about the personal side of working WITH your kids to get great photos. For some super advice on this, I recommend these posts by Autumn:
- Why It’s So Hard to Get Great Photos of Your Kids and What to Do About It
- Photographing Toddlers: Getting Them to Sit Still and Look At You
And here’s a simple editing trick for fixing dark photos, because sometimes those are really worth saving and it can be done: Easy Fix For Dark or Underexposed Photos
For more of Autumn’s tips and tutorials on photography, posing, and photo editing, check out the photography section of her site.
- Celebrate the every day on “Lindsay Ross Blog” by Lindsay Ross
Lindsay of Lindsay Ross Blog is a professional photographer and mom of four who inspires readers to capture their everyday lives in photos. Lindsay doesn’t tell you how to take pictures, she shows you how to preserve memories.
For me, this is what I was missing and didn’t know it, until I came across her blog. My photos where technically solid and visually appealing, but they were starting to all look the same, and I was missing entire areas and specific details from my photography story.
Enter Lindsay, with her inspiring blog and her detailed eBook Every Day Photos Guide (which I was lucky enough to receive a free advanced copy! It’s available to purchase now and I highly recommend it).
Lindsay believes that the common, mundane aspects of our lives are the memories we’ll cherish most later on when times have changed. I happen to agree.
Check out some of my favorite posts on Lindsay Ross Blog:
Go here to read more of Lindsay’s awesome photography posts.
These are the websites that truly helped me to take better pictures of my kids. I hope you found a few new websites that you enjoyed, and that will help you learn how to take better pictures of your kids.
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Do you have another favorite photography website for parents? Do you already follow any of these websites? Share your thoughts with a comment below!