Today is Good Friday!

You know what that means - there will be lots of opportunities for pictures in the next 72 hours. Egg hunts and easter dresses and bunny shaped pancakes, oh my!

I know Easter looks a little different this year, but we still have a reason to celebrate life. If you are a Christian like me, I would say that this year it is even more important to celebrate the freedom that Resurrection Day has given to us.

I would encourage you to utilize the tips in this blog and put them to work this Sunday. Get your family dressed for church like you would every Easter and take some photos and savor this time with them.

If you use the information in this blog, please tag MWP in your pictures on Facebook and Instagram so I can see all your lovely faces! <3

Pictures are important.

They are. When the parties are over and the cake is gone and the memories leave the front of your mind, pictures will still be there to bring them back.

Now sadly, you can't have your friendly neighborhood photographer (aka me) with you at all times even when we aren't in the middle of a pandemic.

Life does not stop because stores close or photographer’s cameras collect dust. Your kids are still cute and are having birthdays, you’re still pregnant and at some point you will give birth to that baby…the list goes on. 

This week I want to share with you some simple tips on taking your own family photos during this quarantine.

1) Clean your camera lens

Seriously, that’s not a bokeh effect, that’s a thumbprint on your screen. You cannot un-smudge this photo later. Clean that thing often.

2) Don’t have a messy background

Pictures on your couch? Move the laundry and the cheerios (I do not care how old the kids are, there is probably a cheerio somewhere). On the porch? Move the water hose and the case of dr pepper. If taking pictures inside try hanging a (non-wrinkled) sheet or a blanket as your own little backdrop. If you're outside try to use a field or a tree, make sure there's not cars or lots of clutter in the back.

3) Lighting is key

Don’t shoot into direct sun, all you’ll get is squinty eyes. Try to find a shady spot or place the sun behind you. If you’re shooting indoors try to use natural light. We have an all glass front door I personally love to use for selfies. Or, if you have windows you can pull the curtains back and take your photos standing with your back to the window (without blocking the light).

Check out the photos below of our Goat friend, Bill for basic examples. (Hey, we are in quarantine so there are no people to bribe into this!)

Backlit using natural light

Front lit using natural light

Sun harsh in the sky

Mid-day Shade

4) Do not use your flash

Really, don’t do it. You’ll have red eyed monster babies with washed out skin and it ain’t pretty.

Use natural light (indoor or outside) or if you live in a cave (we've all been there) point a lamp (preferably with white light) with some wax paper over the opening to diffuse the light. Please remember to do this step quickly or have an assistant who can hold the paper away from the lamp because there are better ways to meet firemen.

5) Don’t use zoom.

There is currently no camera out there that keeps its integrity when you zoom in too far. Try moving closer to the subject or cropping the photo slightly when finished.

A bonus tip for you in terms of editing your photos:

Filters are like low-key professional preset cousins but they can be very wonky (it’s a word) and over processed. The days of black and white faces with blue eyes is over. We just want some subtle hints not a scream.

- Use editing options lightly. Don’t be afraid to add contrast or some vignette – but do not make us look like we’re coming out of a worm hole. Don’t do it.

You'll see Billy Goat Gruff again below, all images have been edited using VSCO but you will see the differences from original to over-edited. We want to find a goldilocks situation here, where its in the middle of the 2 and just right.

I hope these simple changes help you have the ability to continue to capture memories of your family.

If you are interested in my larger list of basic tips including in-phone adjustments, apps, posing, and editing I have created a short e-book that is available to you now for only $10!

All you need to do is fill out the contact form below with your name and email address and tell me "I want the book!" in the message.