photography basics

I have four college degrees. I have an undergraduate degree, two master’s degrees, and a doctorate. Yet, I often feel like I have zero practical knowledge. All of this knowledge my brain contains about game theory, calculus, electromagnetics, and probability distributions is no help at all in my daily life outside of academia. When it comes to mom skills, I am deficient. I am reminded of this on a fairly regular basis and have to give myself a pep talk that sounds something like this: “Come on, Kim! If you can learn stochastic dominance, you can learn to use a camera and make the perfect ballet bun!”


As a mom, you want to have pictures of your kids to put in those scrapbooks you are never going to finish (I have a solution for that I will share on another day as well). As a dance mom, the whole concept of photography becomes even more critical and challenging. If you have ever needed to take a first arabesque picture of your dancer, you will understand how dramatic getting the right shot can be. Or you could be like me and find out you need a headshot of your dancer for a program that is going to print the next day. At this point you also realize that her headshots are several years old now and that perhaps you should have paid attention to that line on your to-do list that said “get headshots.” So, you are going to have to learn some photography hacks.


  1. Get some tips from people who actually know what they are doing.

No, I am not that person. I recommend taking a beginner photography class or getting on Pinterest to look for some great guides and helpful tips. I created a Pinterest board where I save some of the best advice.


2. Get the right tools.

I have a Canon DSLR with two lenses. It’s a pretty basic setup, but it works for me. I also have an iPhone 6. I wish I could tell you I carried my actual camera around with me all the time to perfectly capture that lovely sunset or flower on the side of the road. The reality is that my iPhone takes 99% of my photos. Thankfully, Apple is improving those lenses all the time.


The other tool that I use all the time is Pic Monkey. I pay the monthly fee to have access to all of their available tools. The software is very easy to learn and to use. I do want to learn PhotoShop, but I also want to learn to play the guitar. Both require a level of patience, time, and commitment that I just don’t have right now. They are both on that to-do list.


3. Get creative and don’t be afraid to experiment.

Whether it is the settings on your camera, the light and angle of a shot, or the filters in your editing software. Take some time to have fun and experiment. Try something crazy just for fun because you might learn something new in the process that you can use later. For example, here is the head shot I took yesterday morning (with my iPhone). Skills I tried to put into action: background, simple clothes, putting her in the shadow with the light behind me so that the lighting was decent and she was not squinting her eyes, the rule of thirds, and getting her to be natural rather than posed.

brooke headshot dancer photography


Are you a photography newbie like me or do you actually know about aperature and shutter speed? Do you carry your DSLR around with you or do you depend on your iPhone too much just like me?

One thought on “Mom Skills: Photography

  1. Pingback: Mastering the Art of Sparkler Photography | Classical Bohemian

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