Preserving Precious Memories

By Kelly Renee Fentress

To get the best shots of your family, to capture the moment for a lifetime, there are some important things that can help you do just that every single time.

First tip, skip the posing, keep it real. While shooting images of your family, keep the camera close at hand and you will see many opportunities for capturing your loved ones and friends naturally. You don’t need to interrupt the moment by telling everyone to smile. If you want to get your subjects attention, simply wait for the perfect moment, frame your shot and call their name. Your images will be natural and the moments will be true.

Try to avoid having the sun directly behind you when shooting otherwise your subjects will be squinting when they look up to the camera. Shady spots like a porch, beach umbrella or under a tree convey the feel and beauty of the season. Repeat after me, “I will never again use direct flash!” Direct flash is that bright little flash on your camera that causes those lovely demon eyes and, even worse, flattens an image, distracting from the emotion and subject you are trying to capture. So what do you do instead? You need the fastest lens you have available to you and learn to use it. Even our phones today will have an app that will allow you to control settings on the camera. If this is what you are using, you will want to use a higher ISO (think of this as old school film speed). Also, work with what the world around you is providing.  Backlighting is beautiful and can create a very soft and natural look in your images. If you are inside use the light from windows and even soft lamps within the room.

One more tip; forget the word “center” when it comes to your photos.  When framing your image think of an imaginary tic tac toe board (or hashtag for those under 45). Your main subject should be located on one of the cross sections of the lines of that imaginary tic tac toe board.  This is called the “rule of thirds” in photography. If you’ve always shot center this is going to seem strange but once you see the difference in your images you will forget about shooting any other way.

Lastly, two things I tell every single client GET IN THE SHOT!  That means your family isn’t well documented unless you are in some shots as well. The images you take are not just for you but for your children and grandchildren. Secondly, get those shots OFF YOUR COMPUTER! Your children do not want to search through digital archives. They want tangible memories, pages to turn or photos to hold. These are your memories. Cherish them.

About this writer

  • Kelly Renee Fentress

    Kelly Renee Fentress

    Kelly Renee lives and works as a photographer in beautiful Myrtle Beach – she is available for sessions throughout North and South Carolina. Call 843-997-1004, visit or find her on social media.

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