My Mother’s Day Gift

Remember how I had a plan to be in photos with my children this year by having one on each of their birthdays’ … does one out of three count? Not really does it! So last week I wrote a note to my three children letting them know that the best present they could give me this year for Mother’s Day would be to have a photo taken with me. Pocket money has become a big deal in our house of late and so I think the thought of zero outlay for them made them readily agree.

No wrapping required … they gave me my present and I am beyond happy.

When I want to take a planned photo rather than an impromptu one, there is a bit of thought involved. Here is a bit about this photo …

Location.   I like to try and have my photos taken in a place that is significant to us. We’ve been renovating our kitchen over the past fortnight and I’ve managed to turn the whole house and garden into a MESS … there is not a single uncluttered area so it was not an option to have the photo at home. At one of our favourite parks is this awesome building (you might remember it from Liana’s Christmas cards) and so I chose that as our backdrop.

Timing.   The best light for taking a photo outside is near dawn or dusk when the light is golden and soft. Mornings are hectic and I had zero chance of being able to get everyone ready and out the door early so late afternoon was our only option. The boys are busy with sports most afternoons and so I set aside a time in my calender so that we had a plan to make it happen. If I’d chosen to take the photo inside my home, I would have had to think of the light at different times of the day in different rooms and plan accordingly. Check out the free lighting module if you want to know more about this.

My Camera.   Obviously its easiest to hand your camera over to someone else to take the photo for you but I was doing this one on my own. I had my camera set up on a tripod and used the Interval Timer function. I set it to take two photos every 9 seconds … this gave me time to run into position and we had a few opportunities to move around a bit. Obviously there are many photos that are only good to be deleted; at one stage Quinn was strangling me with my scarf … but the interval timer is such a great option when you don’t have someone else there to take the photo.

On my Nikon D700 I had my aperture set at f/6.3 to ensure that we were all in focus (I often make a mistake of having a too large aperture and getting only one person “sharp”), shutter 1/320 and ISO 640. I could have reduced my ISO back to 200 but I wanted to make sure I could have a shutter speed comfortably over 1/250 even though we weren’t moving around but again it was just to be safe to get a nice sharp photo of us all. There were some cute ones of Quinn waving her hands around and with this shutter speed her hands remained in focus and not blurred in movement. Once I had focussed my camera I switched to manual focus so that it remained set.

Don’t be put off by all this talk … a portrait mode on your compact camera or DSLR will take a lovely photo too.

I had quickly reviewed my photos while we were there and I wasn’t certain I had “the shot” but Quinn was getting grumpy and Will was itching to get back to the park. I made a call to pack up while it was still “fun” rather than drag it out and turn them off doing this for me again. Even though this was my gift I shouted icecreams and a pack of AFL cards on the way home as a thanks for their cooperation. Hopefully they’ll remember that too next time we set out for photos! I got home with 54 photos and with any group shots there are ones that are great of all of us barr one … but I really like this one. Its me and my three lovelies. I’ve already had it printed!

Polishing.   You guys know that we polish our photos … this one has a slight “edgy vintage” polish applied. I had purposefully set us in the bottom right corner of the photo using Rule of Thirds so I didn’t need to crop at all. This and the negative space give the photo a nice feel (IMHO). Consider using the Finishing Room if you have a special photo.

The great team at Momento asked us to write an article for their audience about Mother’s Day. This photo was a part of my article and there are a few additional tips over there. Check them out

Happy Mother’s Day …


PS. To my husband that might read this … the kids have given me this present but I’d still really like a new handbag!!




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Nikki @ Styling You - Really fantastic photography tips and love the idea of you getting a photo of you and your kids + the handbag 😉

When it all goes to tears ….

I don’t often take “styled and posed” photos with my kids … but you can guarantee when I do there is always tears (often from me!).

The best thing about being a “Mum the Photographer” is that you can walk away and try again another time (or day!). I’m going to have another crack this afternoon … but I’ll have to change rooms as the light changes inside throughout the day. Check out the free lighting module (click on the button at the top of the blog) to get some tips for working out where the best light is in your own house.

I think I know what the problem is … I haven’t had my coffee yet!! I’m off to fix that now …

Janet x

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Easter Inspiration

Being a choc-o-holic, Easter is always a highlight for me but this year it is very special … my baby girl is turning 1! I’ve been thinking that her first birthday photos should have a bit of a Easter theme. Whenever I am looking for inspiration I always turn to Pinterest … and then I while away a few hours clicking through photos!

I’ve created an Easter Inspiration board on Mum the Photographer’s profile with a few of my favourites and ideas that I think we can all try at home. I also chucked in a couple of AMAZING photos taken by Barb Uhl (Jinky Art) just for gasping over at their beauty.

Time is kicking on … so tomorrow is my day for Easter photos. Everyone cross their fingers for me please! No doubt there will be a few outakes!

Janet x

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Autumn is here …

I’m a summer kind of gal … I moan as soon as the weather stops you from comfortably wearing a singlet top! But in keeping with my “look on the bright side of things” resolution I find myself looking at this gorgeous photo of my nephew (which was included in the current issue of MY CHILD magazine) and thinking that perhaps Autumn and Winter isn’t so bad afterall. I’m in a bit of a photography rut (more on that another day!) and perhaps the change in season is just what will pull me out of the doldrums?

But first I need to go shopping!

Janet x

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Photography Holidays - Just so cute! It’s inspired me to take my kids to wine country for a day of snapping and a tipple or two, of course!

I’m a part of it too …

Those of you that have been with us for awhile will have heard me say this before … I often avoid having my photo taken. Its rare that I look at a photo of myself and am happy with it … my arms are too fat (actually, everything is too fat!), my hair looks awful, my neck is wrinkled, my lip is pulling, I really need to get my brows done …. vulgar vanity and self-deprecation gets in the way of me being a part of the photographic memories I hold so importantly for the rest of the family.

And so rather than saying (again) that I am going to get in the frame more this year, I have actually made a plan. On the kids’ birthdays I am going to have a photo with them. Its not over-reaching and there is a defined time for it to happen rather than in the past where I have just said that I am going to be in photos …. at some stage …. but it doesn’t often happen.

Last week it was Caleb’s birthday and here we are. It’s not fancy, I didn’t take time styling our outfits to match, I didn’t need to clean up the house or wait for gorgeous golden light outside. We sat down near our door and I handed my camera set on Aperture Priority to my husband and 30 seconds later we got on with the afternoon.

This isn’t necessarily the sort of photo I adore. I’d ideally love a photo capturing emotion and interaction like these ones below but these are photos taken by a professional. They took not only Liana’s skill as a professional photographer but also effort and time taken to set up the shoot. All those things are the perfect excuses to put off having a photo taken with my child … there’s no time this afternoon with swimming, can we afford a professional photographer at the moment, the house is a mess, its stormy outside … and all of a sudden taking the photo is pushed aside because its too hard.

So it’s done. Plain and simple … with his chipped front teeth that happened a couple of days before his birthday. He is a darling and has a Mum who is so proud of him it makes her well up.

So when are you having a photo with your child?

Janet x



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Debbie - This is so true I always take photos of my husband and boys and never get any of myself I have to take more time to do it

Janet - Mum the Photographer - Good on you Debbie – I hope you hold yourself to it! I promise you that a plain and simple photo like the top one here really wont take too much time and effort.

Stephanie - It’s so easy to stay behind the camera when you’re the one who always takes the photos, isn’t it. I am keenly aware of it, so have been taking lots of selfies with my boy and am happier to hand the camera over to dear hubby too!

Camera Store - Beautiful shots Janet. I think the way you position your arms is vital to look slimmer in the photo. Hold them out from the sides or put your hand on your hip – these tips have worked well to look slim in solo pics. You should click yourself more often. :-)