the reed life photography (brace yourself)

let me preface that is post by saying that i am NOT a professional photographer.
clearly, friends.
i love taking pictures of people and emotions and sometimes things.
i love learning about how to better do that.
but i am not aspiring to do this for a living at this point.
i just feel like i need to say that because i know there are real amazing artists/photographers that may or may not read this blog occasionally and i am not pretending to know everything about all of this.
but i am a professional mommy.
i don't claim to know everything about that either.
but i do have a bit of experience, that is fresh in my mind, about photographing your own rowdy, squirley, sometimes naughty, sometimes nice babies and kids.
and i have been getting a bunch of questions about my pictures and how i take them, lately.
so this is what i've learned....so far.
i'll probably learn more tomorrow.

i have a DSLR camera.
a cannon rebel from costco 2 years ago ( i think i have told you about that)
it was a gift so i don't know how much it was...you'll have to google it. ha.
i use the kit lens and i also got a pretty 50mm lens for it too that is way nicer, but i can mostly only use it outside because it is not a very wide angle (meaning it seems super zoomed in all the time and so everything looks close up unless i back way up, but you can only back up so much inside.)
i love using this whole set up.
i love shooting in manual, which i sorta taught myself to do, but then really solidified my (limited) understanding when i went to Joy's class (you know my amazing wildflowers photography friend. swoon. she is amazing).
shooting in manual gets way better pictures than not shooting in manual, but it also takes thought.
for me, lots of thought....after all i'm not Joy Prouty here, people.

so, with all that being said, i have learned what works for me as a mom.

when i want to think of a great little photo shoot in my mind and make it happen, i get out my camera, set up some fun props, get some bribes snacks ready, make sure my kids aren't wearing lame stuff and make it fun!
my camera is perfect for that!
i try to be super nice and give lots of treats(notice many of my shoots involve the treat) as i think about aperture and f-stop and a buncha other things that only half make sense to me.
then i upload them to my computer and doctor them all up in picnik.
it is creative and lovely.
it scratches two itches of mine at once.
one to stare at my kids.
and two to make something of beauty.
here are some examples.

you can see that there is almost always some kinda of activity going on too.
i am not really searching for three perfect smiles, all at the same time from my kids.
i am looking for them.
who they are.
their personalities.
and for my kids that usually involves action.
and i love that.
i love them.
i take lots of pictures.
and then just keep the ones that jump out at me and say, "this is it! your kid is captured here!"
if i was a professional, i'd probably want to try to take fewer photos for sanity sake, but since i'm not, i just take a bunch and erase later, and am just sorta fine with that.

NOW, lately i have learned that my iphone takes pretty great photos too.
a different kind of photo.
and the convenience of it meets a different need.
i take hundreds of photos with my phone.
the kind of photos that are of things that are already happening.
not situations and set ups that i'm creating, but the real life stuff.
some may argue that these are the only ones worth taking,
but i am realizing that i really enjoy both.
photos that are created and photos that are documenting.
and i really feel freed not to lug around my big nice camera if i look at things this way.
if i'm at the park and ella wants me to take a picture of her sliding down the slide, honestly that nice fancy camera is not needed for that, in my opinion.
and if i am at the park with my kids, i would rather be engaging with them than thinking about how to adjust the numbers on my camera.
are you with me here?
so, for now, i leave my camera at home unless i have a plan.
and let me tell you, my iphone pictures are some of my favorite ever!
here are some examples:

see what i mean?
different, but just as good for different reasons.
as you can see this is less of a photography post and more of a parenting post.
do you want to be a good parent?
make sure you stay balanced.
don't get all obsessive. relax.
i'll try to take my own advice too, ok?

my iphone photography apps are:

camera + pro (good on phone editing)
instagram (good filters)
dramatic B&W
diptic (to make collages)

i just play around with all of these.
then i have an app that loads the my pictures from my phone right to my web albums on picasa.
the app is called "web albums" and the icon looks like a rainbow sunflower.

there you go.
waaaaaay too many words about that, but i hope it is helpful to any of you who were interested.
and i hope i have freed some of you from your giant cameras every minute and inspired you to look at photographing and documenting your family and kids in a little different way.

one thing i really want to do in the near future is make a list (100 things) of beautiful things i want to remember and photograph them.
that will give me some ideas to start from, i think.
(and maybe a feeling of capturing all the beauty around me?)
i'll let you know how that idea turns out.



  1. Love the pictures! IT helps that your models are so adorable :)

  2. Great tips Shauna- thanks for sharing. I absolutely love the pic of Ella reading Peter Pan...her face is so lit up- perfect! You are doing an amazing job of capturing beauty in life!

  3. Perfect! Thanks so much! Makes me want to get out my camera and start shooting! I'm doing a "1,000 Gifts" journal right now...makes me think it might be fun to photograph some of these "thankful" moments...hmmm...

  4. i love allll of your pictures!!! i am jealous, actually. :) no, i have really enjoyed your blog and have been truly inspired in so many ways.

  5. Your photos are beautiful! I love this post! Thanks!

  6. I adore your photos, your posts, your words, YOU!

  7. love that 100 idea. do that for me so i can just copy your list. :)

  8. Thanks for the suggestion for the Web Albums app- always inconvenient to do it the old skool way and actually plug in to the computer to upload photos, and then onto a site to show people and print. I got all set up, I really appreciate the info. Love your blog =)

  9. hey girl!
    where are you staying for blog sugar?
    katy and i were talking and we would love to meet you at some point! we are staying at the ayres hotel.
    can't wait this weekend is so close! :)

  10. thanks for sharing, i came accross your blog from meg's blog, i absolutely love the photos!