Ali Edwards Capture life. Create art.

November 22, 2010

Guest Post | Capturing Family Connections With Rebecca Cooper (+ Giveaway)

In addition to the wonderful guest post below Rebecca is giving away 10 copies of her ebook. Please leave a comment to enter. Comments will be closed at 8pm Pacific tonight.

Hi everyone, my name is Rebecca Cooper. I’m a wife and a mother of four and I’m originally from Canada but our little family is currently living on an island in the Caribbean. I am a photographer, a scrapbooker and I have a blog where I write about our family’s daily adventures, share photography tips, scrapbooking & crafting ideas and much more called simple as that.

I’m so excited to be joining Ali on her blog today and talking a little bit about something that I love a lot and that is, photography. More specifically photographing the people in my life that I love the most, my family.

With family gathering for the holidays our thoughts turn towards enjoying time with our loved ones, renewing special family bonds and celebrating the connections we have with each other. What better time could there be to grab your camera and set out capturing these special connections between loved ones. Today I’m going to share a few ideas on how to capture these meaningful photos and give you a few tools to capture those photos in any lighting situation.

5 Tips for Capturing Meaningful Connections:

1. Allow your subjects enough space. It’s definitely harder to relax and be yourself when there is a camera in your face. Why not try taking a few steps back and allow your subjects to interact with each other rather than with you (the photographer) and see what happens. Consider using a zoom lens for this very purpose, allowing you to give your subject(s) some space but still giving you the feeling of being right there.

2. Your subjects are going need to get close. Now a little bit closer. Without the luxury of words the connection you set out to record with a photograph need to be visible. A hug, an arm around a shoulder, or simply a loving look. When I photograph my children I like to encourage them to ‘snuggle up’ or even sit facing each other nose to nose for a moment. This almost always guarantees a few giggles and a precious photo is never too far behind.

3. Have your camera readily available. Special moments of connection do not usually happen on demand so keep your camera handy. I keep mine in a kitchen cupboard where its safe from little hands but easy to grab in a hurry. You never know when that sibling rivalry will take a backseat to laughter and snuggles so don’t miss that moment because your camera is inaccessible.

4. Learn to observe. Catching a moment of connection on camera is sometimes a practice in patience. Be ready to watch and wait for the moment to come to you instead of chasing after it and you’ll be so pleased with the results. An un-posed, genuine moment of love expressed between two (or more) individuals priceless.

5. Know your camera. Boring, I know, but pull out that camera manual and get to know your camera inside and out so you won’t miss capturing that special moment while you adjust settings, etc. Practice, practice, practice and soon enough you’ll find that you can switch settings as needed without so much as having to look at a dial.

If you find yourself indoors trying to capture some of these meaningful relationships among your family members here are a few ideas that might come in handy:

1. Find as much light as you can. You’d be surprised how much of a difference opening up the curtains, the blinds or a door (if the weather allows) can make on the amount of light available in the space where you’ll be taking photos. When possible shoot photos as close to one of these natural light sources as possible.

2. Change your camera settings – to compensate for less light try increasing your ISO. Read up in your camera manual (because every camera is different) and learn how to do this. When you change your ISO you are adjusting your camera’s sensitivity to light. The higher the ISO the more sensitive it’s going to be which is beneficial when you aren’t working with a lot of light. Just be careful you don’t set it too high because depending on your camera, higher ISO settings also mean an increased chance of grainy photos.

3. Switch to AV (or A) mode - you can also adjust the aperture on your camera to compensate in low light situations. Switch into AV (or A) mode where you can adjust the aperture and the camera will automatically take care of all the rest of the settings for you in order to achieve a properly exposed photo. Change the f-stop to a smaller number. The smaller number =  a wider aperture (the size of the opening inside your camera lens) and in turn allows more of what light is available to enter your camera.

4. Let go of high expectations - I personally would rather trade a slightly soft image that is naturally lit for a sharp image using flash 9 times out of 10. I prefer the more natural light. I like the mood it creates and the softness of it compared to a harsh, shadowy photo that can be the result of using flash. If you’re working in low light just keep in mind sometimes it won’t be possible not to use your flash and still get a super sharp photo – and sometimes that’s just fine.

5. If you must use a flash – bouncing the flash off of a wall or other reflective surface. To ‘bounce’ the flash simply point the flash away from your subject towards a reflective object (could be a wall, the ceiling, a mirror, etc.) and the flash will bounce off of the reflective surface and light your subject. The result will be more ambient light created and a photo that doesn’t look quite so shadowy as it would by pointing the flash directly at your subject(s).

I hope you’ve found these tips useful and are able to have some fun this holiday season as you set out capturing family connections with your camera. Enjoy the time with your loved ones and Happy Holidays everyone!

For more quick and easy to follow photography tips check out Rebecca’s eBook 40 Top Tips for Better Photos from Ella Publishing. In addition you can follow Rebecca on Twitter or join her on Facebook.

Today Rebecca is generously giving away 10 copies of her ebook.

TO BE ENTERED into this giveaway please leave a comment below (if you are reading this post on Facebook please come to my blog to leave a comment). Comments will be closed at 8pm Pacific tonight (Monday) and the winners posted shortly after. Please be sure to check back or subscribe (click here to get posts delivered to your email box) to see if you are receiving one of the items this week. 


  • 1.
    Lisa said…

    Thanks for the tips and the giveaway!

  • 2.
    Tiffany Gruschow said…

    Great Tips…I am constantly looking to new tips on how to photo my kids. Thanks.

  • 3.
    Rosy K said…

    Thank you for the indoor photography tips–I really could use those. My photos are grainy so I’ll try the suggestions.

  • 4.
    Vicki Golden said…

    – and sometimes that’s just fine. You are so right! Thank you.

  • 5.
    CathyK said…

    Thanks for the tips – I love the idea of keeping the camera in the kitchen cupboard – going to find a spot for mine today!

  • 6.
    Sandi M said…

    Thanks for these tips, right in time for the holidays when I want perfect pics for my December Daily.

  • 7.
    laura huffman said…

    how timely. my family Christmas is this weekend. will keep these tips in mind. thanks.

  • 8.
    Chris Cross said…

    Love these tips!! Thanks for sharing!

  • 9.
    Ingvild said…

    Thanks for all the great tips – right in time for my photoshoot for our christmascard – and the start for making my Dece,ber Daily porject. Love it.

  • 10.
    MichelleGB said…

    What a super helpful post for this week! I always struggle with trying to get some great holiday pictures. These tips will definitely come in handy!

  • 11.
    Jackie Hatton said…

    Thank you for a lovely and timely article, and the opportunity to win a great prize.

  • 12.
    Kelly said…

    Thanks for sharing the tips. I need reminders and these are so helpful when you have such high expectations for the holidays.

  • 13.
    rach said…

    great tips, thanks Rebecca, love your blog as well as Ali’s

  • 14.
    Silvia Fontana said…

    I love Rebecca´s blog! Thanks for these great tips!

  • 15.
    terri bonnette said…

    great tips! thanks!

  • 16.
    Sandy said…

    What beautiful photography. I’d love the chance to learn more.

  • 17.
    ale said…

    love these tips!!! and this ebook seems to be amazing – thanks for the chance to win one!

  • 18.
    Mieke Duyck said…

    Beautiful pictures! I have a good camera ( nikon 90), but most certainly can use more tips to use it!

  • 19.
    ruth tacoma said…

    Great tips! I love Rebecca’s first book and read through it often. :)

  • 20.
    PeggyK said…

    Great tips, Rebecca…will definitely employ some of them when we get together at Thanksgiving!! Thanks, also for the chance to win!

  • 21.
    Pam said…

    Pictures are lovely…hoping to win the ebook.

  • 22.
    DigitalAlan said…

    These are some really good tips to follow. I know I will be trying to make more of an effort to follow them

    I do use two of these now and didn’t realize

    One is to give space had the other is to observe ( usually from a distance )

    I just love the candid photos of the people and kids once they forgot a camera is there but in the distance

    Thanks for sharing and for the give-away

  • 23.
    Amy Stackhouse said…

    Great tips I plan to try this season. Thanks!

  • 24.
    Jen said…

    Thanks for all the tips – I really do need help in this area! Thanks for the chance!

  • 25.
    ReKnee said…

    The “snuggle up” phrase is priceless! Thank you for sharing!

  • 26.
    Leslie Murphy said…

    I’d love a copy of Rebecca’s photo book. I have and it’s one of my most used resources!

  • 27.
    Kate Anne said…

    Thanks for sharing these tips. And I’ve always been a fan of your photography skills. Thanks for the opportunity to win.

  • 28.
    Carla said…

    Great giveaway and perfect timing with December just around the corner!

  • 29.
    Mandy Robek said…

    I’d love to know more tips from Rebecca and appreciate those given today. I need to really get to know my camera and take photos more.

  • 30.
    Meagan said…

    Great tips! I’m a budding photographer so this ebook would help me get better fast.

  • 31.
    Fanny said…

    Thank you for this post and tips.

  • 32.
    Diana said…

    fab tips!! thanks for it!! :)

  • 33.
    Lori P. said…

    Great tips; and the beautiful photos helped to emphasize your points. Thank you!

  • 34.
    Caroline said…

    What great tips and beautiful images!

  • 35.
    Paula in Australia said…

    Thanks for the great tips and the chance to win. I have a really dark house and I have to use the flash a lot and it drives me crazy. Really don’t like the washed out look of flash photo’s – will try the bounce flash! Thanks again.

  • 36.
    Margie Visnick said…

    Thank you for the tips! I am always looking for ways to take better photos of my kids!

  • 37.
    Leora Henkin said…

    Great pics and tips.


  • 38.
    Sija said…

    I’ve enjoyed your advices. For me photographs are the most important part of scrapbooking. I don’t have much time to scrapbook so I want to make pages that say and show something important, I think Rebeccas book would be helpfull :)

  • 39.
    Missy K said…

    Great encouragement– I remember my long zoom for events but ! need to pull it out to capture those family moments less intrusively.

  • 40.
    Kris said…

    Great giveawy.
    With the holdidays coming so quickly I could use some tips.

  • 41.
    Alida said…

    Thanks for the tips. These photo’s convey so much emotion and spirit.

  • 42.
    Rachel C said…

    Great tips and what beautiful photos :-)
    I would love to win that e-book. Thanks for the chance to win.

  • 43.
    peggy said…

    Thank you so much, I will definately try these tips! THank you for another great giveaway!

  • 44.
    tiffany said…

    Thanks for the tips!!! And a great giveaway!

  • 45.
    Jinny KL said…

    Terrific tips & lovely photos–thank you for sharing!
    Thank you, also, for the chance to win!

  • 46.
    Peg Risley said…

    Thanks for the great give-away! Have a great holiday!

  • 47.
    Donelle Macey said…

    Loved the tips I am still nervous about switching modes would like a push to make that leap.

  • 48.
    Daniele said…

    Appreciate the suggestions – especially from a fellow Canuck!

  • 49.
    Joy G said…

    Thanks for the tips! I really need to learn to use the different settings on my camera…

  • 50.
    Jennifer Alfonso said…

    Thank you for the photography tips! Beautiful pictures!