Photo Tips To Jumpstart Your Year

Photo Tips to Jumpstart Your Year is brought to you by Momtography Community Director, Jen Doolittle

I remember when I first got my DSLR. I thought if I had the right equipment I could make beautiful photos of my family. I was excited and eager to see the improvement in my pictures. But it didn’t work out that way.

My camera was not the immediate fix I had hoped for.

And once I started researching how to take better pictures, I quickly got frustrated and overwhelmed by all the information that it out there.

Can you relate?

Taking Momtography® helped me to understand my camera. But the thing that has made the biggest difference in my photos was learning more about me. Discovering the things I liked, noticing the moments that made my heart fill with emotion, connecting with why I wanted to take pictures in the first place.

So if you’re feeling a little stuck with your photography, start by focusing in on you.

You and how you see.

I asked our licensed Momtography teachers for advice on how you can improve your photos. These are all simple, actionable tips that are sure to make a difference in how you approach any photo taking situation!

Photo Tips to Jump Start Your Year

Create a Shot List

For those important events like birthdays, I tend to reference a list of shots I would like to get. I like to tell the story of the day and capture the details so a shot list helps make sure I know what I want to capture that day. For a birthday, my shot list will include the decorations, cake, birthday boy/girl with various party guests, party favors, and opening presents. I also like to capture candid shots as the guests play games or eat food.

~Casey Raines, Orange County CA Momtography Teacher

Photograph Daily

Best tip ever – photograph something everyday. At the beginning of the year, often that means people start a 365 project where they take one image a day. You could start ANYTIME or reduced to a once a week, a 52 project. Having your camera at the ready with a charged battery means you capture average moments that make you smile. Knowing how to control your aperture means that you don’t worry about the messy counter in the background.

~Sarah Cruz, Momtography Community Member


Shooting with intention is a key teaching here at Recapture Self. Knowing the why behind a photo before you even click helps you frame a photo and let go of expectation that every photo needs to be perfect. Think about the purpose of the photo – is this a snapshot? is it for the wall? part of a photo book? your annual holiday card image? In addition, what’s the story you’re trying to tell? What expression or details are you aiming to capture. Knowing your WHY will help you become more intentional every time you get behind the lens.

~Beryl Young, Momtography & Teentography Founder


One of the quickest ways to improve your photographs is by using compositional elements such as the rule of thirds. To achieve this divide your image into a tic-tac-toe board and place your subject at one of the intersections. As you look through magazines and websites keep an eye out for the rule of thirds to help train your eye.

~Kristen Baker, Momtography Community Member

Think Before You Click

Before you pick up your camera, think about the photo you want to make. Identify what it is you want to photograph or the story you want to tell. When we first got our kittens my daughter quickly fell in love. I wanted to capture that tender relationship so I watched the two of them interact for several days before ever picking up the camera. In doing so, I figured out the moment I loved most were when kitty was curled up for a nap on my daughters lap. When that moment finally happened (in good light!), that’s when I snapped the photo. Taking the time to think about the kind of picture I wanted made it easier for me to find the right moment to photograph.

~Jen Doolittle, Momtography Community Director