with Courtney Slazinik
3 Everyday Photography Tips

Everyday photography tips by Allison Jacobs

We get so busy trying to capture the perfect photo that we often forget the everyday photography. I would guess to say that the majority of us got into photography to learn to capture our everyday better. Use these three tips to help you.

1.Find the Light

This could be window light, outside light or light coming from the iPad the kids won’t put down. It doesn’t really matter what the light source is as long as you can identify it and use it to your advantage. A number of my favorite images are from an everyday moments at the house when I noticed the light pouring in through the window creating those coveted catch lights in my son’s eyes. They were not planned moments or stylized sessions. They were just everyday moments where the light was just right.
Look for the areas in your house with window light and watch to see how the light comes through at different times of the day. This way you can be prepared to snap away when your kids are in those areas.

2. Let the Kids be Kids in Everyday Photography

Some days are the days that the house needs to be in order and the kids need to be properly dressed and sitting nicely on the couch. Other days, most days (at least at my house), the toys are on the floor below the bed that may or may not be made. That is okay. Think back to the images from your childhood that mean the most to you. Are they the ones where everyone is sitting nicely on the couch or are they the images where you can see the appliances your mom used when she let you help bake in the kitchen? Are they the ones where nothing is out of place or are they the images where you can see that long lost tchotchke that makes you think of home?

In a perfect world (where nobody lives) you can sweep all the miscellaneous toys under the bed to get a shot that makes your house look like it belongs on HGTV (and I do think that there is a time/place for sweeping the miscellaneous stuff under the bed just for a photo). In the real world (where we all live), you can leave some of the stuff out on the counters and photograph your life just like it looks right now.


Capture those memories in the house where your family lives just for your kids. Grab the camera and snap away as they jump on unmade beds and hang upside down on a couch covered in blankets and lovies.

There are the days to worry about whether the kids have on matching clothes, have brushed their hair, and wait for you to set the camera controls before you snap. There are other days where you should snap away after they have dressed themselves, before they brush their hair, and when they are not paying any attention to you.

3. Have Your Camera Ready

One reason I could capture those catch lights when I saw the great light is because I leave my camera out. I have two places that I typically leave my camera around the house depending on what is going on that day, but both places are in high traffic areas of the house and have easy access. I also make sure to keep a charged battery in the camera as well as a loaded memory card. This allows me to find the light, grab the camera, and shoot. I have a backup battery that I also keep charged so that I don’t find myself wishing that I hadn’t missed that moment because the battery was drained.

With all the wonderfully stylish camera bags that are available now there isn’t really a good excuse not to carry your camera with you out into the world too. I have taken photos just about everywhere from the grocery store parking lot to images of the scenery in my rearview mirror simply because I often take my huge DSLR all around my everyday life with me.

What everyday moments do you like to capture?

Allison Jacobs – Guest Post
Allison Jacobs is an Orange County photographer dedicated to shooting her everyday ordinary life as it unfolds in Southern California. Allison loves seeing life through the lens of her camera while photographing food, people, and those moments that she doesn’t want to forget in her son’s life.
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  • Trisha
    December 7, 2012 at 2:00 PM

    Great tips. Honestly I find the pics I try least to stage always end up the nicest.

    • December 7, 2012 at 6:32 PM

      I agree Trisha! It seems like when I sit back just a little bit I can capture those real life moments that are important to me. :D

  • Kathleen
    December 7, 2012 at 5:31 PM

    Great tips and reminders to live by! I am always in search of good light. I am trying to leave my camera out more in a safe spot so that the 2 year old can’t get his hands on it. :)

    • December 7, 2012 at 6:35 PM

      Thanks Kathleen! Yes, finding somewhere that is safe from a 2 year old but easy for you to get to is key! So glad to hear you have a spot that might be out of their reach but still allows you to capture those everyday moments!

  • Tracy
    December 13, 2012 at 8:01 AM

    These are great!! A reminder for all of us to take those pictures even if it’s not “perfect” in our house.

    • December 17, 2012 at 2:53 PM

      Definitely a great reminder :)

  • Tonia
    January 9, 2013 at 8:55 AM

    I would love to know what type of camera you use and what your setting were I have the light but can never get my setting right I have a mark II . Thank you very much

    • January 12, 2013 at 12:29 AM

      Hi Tonia! I also use the Canon 5d Mark ii. In the 1st image of the portrait my settings were, ISO 320, 1/160, f/2.5. In the 2nd image of jumping on the bed, my settings were, ISO 400, 1/200, f/2.0. In the 3rd images, my settings were, ISO 100, 1/3200, f/1.6. I hope that helps! I am happy to answer any other questions too. :D

      • Tonia
        January 12, 2013 at 12:35 AM

        Thank you Allison for taking the time to answer I have the mark ii also but am having alot of trouble getting my setting right outside is great no problems but inside i have so much trouble . I also have the canon t2i and can shoot with it no problem on manual …. Need to do alot more shooting and learning . I am self taught and have lot more to learn . My facebook is https://www.facebook.com/twhitephotography2013.
        Thank you !!

        • January 12, 2013 at 1:24 PM

          Yes, I find inside more challenging too. I have learned that using either custom white balance or Kelvin for white balance really helps my images SOOC when I am shooting inside (or shooting where there is lots of natural light like by a window). I found that practicing what worked best in different areas of my home helped a lot! You will get it! :D

  • Cat
    July 29, 2013 at 1:31 AM

    Hi there – Thanks for the tips! I was wondering how you categorize/catalog your everyday pictures? I love capturing street art and random things I see in the city but do you have any suggestions on how to group these images into some type of story?

  • Melissa
    January 9, 2014 at 10:49 PM

    What sort of bag do you carry your camera in? Just wondering what is convenient enough that you would carry it everywhere with you! I recently received a camera backpack but am disappointed at how large it is! Thanks!

    • January 15, 2014 at 11:27 PM

      Hi Melissa! For a while (like when I wrote this post last year), I was carrying a Ketti bag which was light enough for every day but also would hold my wallet, keys, phone, etc. But, lately I have been using an Ona camera insert. It fits inside a hobo style purse I have and protects the camera. To be honest, there are some days I just carry my camera in my purse mixed in with everything else! I know it is better to keep it protected but I don’t always take the time.

  • Phoebe
    July 3, 2016 at 1:42 AM

    What lens do you have on when you take it out with you in your purse/bag?

  • July 5, 2016 at 2:25 PM

    Hi Phebe! The lens I carry depends on where I am going and what I am shooting. Since I only have prime lenses, I have to make that choice before I go. I don’t typically take more than one lens.

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