Photog Mommie

A professional photographer turned professional mommie shares her love of photography and teaching through free video tutorials, written tutorials and of course, lots and lots of photos!

Mary Jane is a winner of Top 25 Photographer Moms - 2013

Do you have any good tips for teaching children about photography?

Why, yes I do! My three year old got a Discovery Kids camera last year for Christmas. I highly recommend it! It's a really durable camera that can take a beating. While she absolutely LOVES taking photos with it - on off days, it has also taken on the life of a drum, a ball and a car. And it still works. I think the key to teaching children about photography is keeping it simple and easy for them to do. This particular camera is very user friendly and the sheer joy she gets by creating her own photo and then being able to see it - is incredible. She is also quite fond of taking photos with my iPhone (surprise, surprise!). There are many days where I am scrambling around my house looking for my phone and I will find her curled up in her little corner of the world going through photos, shot by shot. She takes such delight in reliving her recent trip to the beach or the tickle-fest from last night. It's amazing how children really do appreciate and love photography at such a young age. So I say, embrace it - get them their own camera and encourage them to take photos right along with you, let them reminisce and enjoy the photos that you have and most of all - keep creating and the building the life that you want your kids to capture and remember!

Where is your favorite place to take photographs?

So hard to pick, but if I had to pick one, I would pick the beach. There are so many diverse forms of light throughout the day, so you can create lots of different kinds of photos. My kids are so alive at the beach - unaware of anything besides the crashing waves, rocks, seashells and birds. This makes for wonderful photos. And who doesn't love their toes in the sand? But, I always ALWAYS want to emphasize that the place or environment isn't what creates beautiful photographs. It's all about the light. You could create a stunning photograph in a messy, disasterous living room if you have the right light. Never feel discouraged or uninspired because you don't live by a beach or your house isn't photograph "worthy". If there is a warm, bright ray of light in a dark alley, I want to be there. If the sun is setting over a field by a junk yard, I want to be there. If there is soft diffuse light coming in a bathroom window, I want to be there. It's all about the light. And being able to find it.

What's a creative tip for taking good photographs of children?

The best way to photograph children is in their natural state - unposed, uninhibited. Let 'em be kids! These are the photographs that you will love and cherish in the years to come. I always try to engage my kids in something so that they are unaware of the camera. As soon as they are aware of it, out comes the "cheese". So get them playing, acting silly - whatever it is - that will get them in their natural state. These are the photos I love! I've also learned that just because I didn't get that perfect "looking into the camera" smile - all is not lost. As I look back some of my favorite photos are the ones where they are not smiling - but are truly being themselves - pensive, curious, sweet, innocent. So don't get too hung up on the capturing the perfect smile - aiming for perfect always ends in frustration. Focus on capturing life!