Making Memories: Tips from a Pro Photographer on Taking, Printing and Preserving Cherished Family Photos

It’s true what they say: “the days are long, but the years are short.” Time can be a thief when it comes to freezing moments in time with family, specifically with children. They seem to grow up in the blink of an eye. One day they’re taking their first steps, and the next they’re starting their first day of school. Erin Brooke Burns, an award-winning photographer, is here to share her tips for photographing and preserving your family memories. Learn how to capture real moments with your kids and discover timeless ways to display and cherish those precious memories.

Get Priceless Results Even Without a Pricey Camera

Great photos are about real moments. Period. Yes, a perfectly composed shot with great lighting is a nice bonus, but when it comes to emotions, real moments bring it home. So you don’t need to spend a pretty penny on a big, fancy camera if isn’t not in your budget. A point-and-shoot or even your smartphone does a great job. What’s even better about those is that people tend not to freeze and fall into a rehearsed pose like they do when you raise a large SLR. Without a bulky camera to lug around, look for the “in between moments;” the moments in-between the rehearsed smile and pose, where the real emotions are. With children, these in-between moments come by relatively often, so just have your camera at the ready and bask in the hilarity of kids being kids. As an added bonus to using your smartphone, you have a plethora of apps to choose from to take your photos to the next level – just don’t overdo it on filters; less is more. You can also download the London Drugs Photolab App (available on iOS and Android) to easily order prints, enlargements and even create a Photo Book right from your phone or tablet.

Swing for the Fences

Digital photography has allowed us to make more mistakes, and in return, more wins. As a professional photographer, I might take 200+ photos to use and publish only one. That single shot that I choose will have the emotion that we talked about earlier, something none of the other 199 photos have. So swing for the fences, and take a bunch of photos to get that one fantastic shot. Digital files are cheap, so take advantage, practice, play around and get the shot. You can always delete the others later on. If you’re using your smartphone, take advantage of Burst Mode from time to time. Each phone differs, but generally it’s a sequence of photos taken at a rate of around ten frames per second by holding your finger on the shutter button.

Change Your Perspective

Have fun! This sounds obvious, but as adults, we fall into our go-to poses and smiles. When photographing your kids, we get into trouble if we expect them to behave like adults, so get down to their level and explore the world as they do. It will change what you see in your viewfinder. A different angle or perspective can change a photo dramatically, and getting down allows you to see angles you might otherwise miss. Catch your kiddos doing the things they love and you’ll have all kinds of success. Catch them on the swings, in the sandbox or even just colouring – candid photos have a beautiful reminiscent quality about them that can cause the viewer to stop and pause. So have fun with your camera and your kids. It’s a win-win.

Photographing Babies

Even the most seasoned of amateur photographers can find it a challenge to photograph babies. So, if ‘newborn in a basket’ photos are what you’re looking for, then I would recommend hiring a professional; it’s worth the investment. But when it comes to the average parent, here are some guidelines that will help you take a great snap:

  1. Keep your baby happy by photographing them on a full tummy.
  2. Dress your baby in comfortable clothes, or if you choose to photograph your baby in their birthday suit, keep a space heater nearby to keep them warm.
  3. Choose a spot in the house with a large window; preferably a north-facing window to get a large, natural, indirect light source.
  4. Always keep your baby’s safety at top of mind.
  5. As your baby grows, think about doing monthly photos to document your baby’s growth. It’s a good idea to keep the background consistent to emphasize their growth.

From Digital to Print

Photolab lifestyle

Don’t fall into the trap of taking fantastic photos and leaving them on your camera or phone like so many of us do. We end up taking thousands of photos without a feasible way to control the mess. Digital photos can be lost just as easy as they are taken so it’s wise to choose one of the many options to cherish and display them before things get out of control. In my home, we don’t have a ton of photos on our walls, but we love a good Photo Book. The reason we love the Photo Books is 2-fold. First, you can add as many photos as you like, and second, you can create an entire book of a single event: like a family vacation, or baby’s first year. We find the books offer great flexibility and the kids adore looking through them, especially the older books – it’s like a collection of visual encyclopedias of the family. There are so many different Photo Books available – you’ll find one that is perfect for your needs.

If Photo Books aren’t your thing, I’m really loving the Wall Clings. Wall Clings are adhesive matte paper prints that can be removed and replaced many times. I mentioned we don’t have a lot of photos that adorn our walls, but that’s not entirely true. We love these for our kids’ rooms. It allows them to choose how they create their own ‘gallery walls’ without creating damage to our home. They’re able to move them around how they like, and get creative without any frames, hammers or nails. There are dozens of ways to use the Wall Clings, long term or short term, like incorporating them into a birthday celebration. These are the perfect option for people who want to switch up their photos often or simply can’t commit to one image.

However you choose to cherish your memories, make sure you download the London Drugs Photolab App from the App Store or Google Play to get full access to everything from enlargements, Canvas Gallery Prints, and Calendars to Photo Books right from your phone or tablet. You can also hop onto their website to order online, or visit any London Drugs Photolab in-store.

Meet Erin

Erin Brooke Burns is an award-winning photographer and graphic designer based in Calgary, Alberta. You can follow Erin and see her latest works with Erin Brooke Photography & Design on Instagram: @erinbrookeburns.