4 Lighting Tips to Guarantee Fab Pictures {A Guest Post by @marriedlife}

Krista writes about her family and life adventures at Welcome to Married Life. Most days you can find photos and stories of her daily life and funny things her sons have done. She loves to take pictures and is working towards being a professional photographer… when the babies give her time to breath! You can also find her at @marriedlife on twitter.

Can I tell you a little secret? You can take good photos!

I know we mom’s get a bad rap for thinking we can take good photos just because we bought a fancy camera. And lots and lots of my photos are not good. But I get some great ones every now and then that make it all worthwhile.

The secret is in the light.

I know that kids move fast and often you just have to make do with what you can get. But if you can put your kids in a place where there is good light you’ve just increased the odds you will get great pictures!

Lighting tips for capturing fab photos::

1. Stay out of the direct sun – Direct light creates harsh shadows and unless you’re going for an artsy look that’s usually not what you want. Plus, the brighter the light, the more your kids will squint. Look for shade at the side of a building or under trees.

Indirect light on a cloudy day

2. Put the light behind you (the photographer) – Once you’re in the shade or it’s an overcast day figure out which way the most light is coming from. Now put yourself between the light and the subject. Just make sure you don’t create a shadow yourself!

Looking toward the light

3. Make use of doorways – I’ve seen this suggested so many times, but in my house it doesn’t work because we have a covered porch. However, usually this will make your background darker and if your child is looking out towards the light you’ll get great highlights.

4. Know your light – This applies to all pictures, not just kids. I love to take pictures at sunset. There’s a reason photographers call this the magic hour. The light is very indirect and usually has a wonderful warm glow to it. You can find the same thing at sunrise, but if you live north where I do that means getting up way earlier than I want to most mornings! Usually you will have limited time so scope out your surroundings early and make the best use of your time for taking the pictures.

Above all else, strive to take pictures in natural light. Take your kids outside or to the brightest room in your house. Bring their toys and let them play on your bed if it gets good indirect light. Whatever you do, avoid using the flash as much as possible (or learn to use it as fill light).

Under a window

All of these photos were spur of the moment, other than the last one. I was in good light so they turned out well.

Now, go forth and practice! The more you shoot, the better you’ll get!

Cleaning Up! {Week Three Messy Photo Contest Winner}

Based on some of your Photo Contest entries, I am certain that most of you moms out there have had to scrub and scrub your babies (and big guys) clean more than once. Am I right?

I wasn’t joking when I said that I keep wipes everywhere. They are handy for any one of my kids to grab, at any time, to get themselves cleaned up. Johnson’s Hand & Face Wipes smell good and feel good, no matter how hard you have to scrub. And, boy… do my kids have to scrub!

In fact, just the other day, Josh came to me with his hands and face covered in an inky mess. Not only did he get himself clean with our Hand & Face Wipes, but he only used one wipe. Just one. These little boogers (the wipes, not my kids) are effective and affordable!

Before I announce this week’s winner, I want to remind you of your last chance to enter Johnson’s Messy Photo Contest. As long as you haven’t won during any previous week, you can enter this week by sending me a picture of your child/ren in a messy situation.   You get an extra day this week, but don’t delay… Be sure you get your messy photo entries in to me before 11pm (pst) on Sunday, March 7th. Not only will the winning photo this week earn the entrant a spot as a finalist, but this fabulous prize package becomes theirs!

(See additional information and complete rules HERE.)

And, now I’d like to show you top three messiest photos this last week ::

But, what you all are waiting for ::

The winning photo for Week Three, and the third finalist in Johnson’s Messy Photo Contest:

Check out all of our entries these last three weeks ::


Johnson’s Knows Messy! {Week Two Messy Photo Contest Winner}

I can not tell you how much fun I am having looking over all of your fabulous entries for Johnson’s Messy Photo Contest as they come in! Y’all have some messy kiddos!!

Sometimes a bath is all that will rid my kids of their mess. But, I know that if I gave my kids a bath every single time they got all messy, they would be in the tub all the time! So, what do you do when the mess just doesn’t warrant a bath? Or, when you’re out and about?

I always have wet wipes handy. I keep them in every room of my house and even in my car. They’re packed in the diaper bag, and yes – even in my purse. Johnson’s Hand & Face Wipes are perfect for… well, tiny hands and faces, of course!

These handy little wipes were designed to gently and effectively wipe away over 95% of dirt & germs… anywhere, anytime. Made with Johnson’s No More Tears Formula, these wipes are as gentle to baby’s eyes as pure water. They smell good, too!

Now, I thought you’d like to see some of the messy kids who have been bringing smiles to my face these past few weeks…


And, of course, I couldn’t announce the winner this week without first showing you my Top Three Picks:

And, without further ado…

The winning photo for Week Two, and the second finalist in Johnson’s Messy Photo Contest:

Be sure you get your entries in for Week Three!
You wouldn’t want to miss out on this prize pack, now would you?

See additional information and complete rules HERE.

Kids are Messy! {Week One Messy Photo Contest Winner}

My kiddos have gotten themselves in some pretty messy situations. Take, for example, Ethan. Just the other day he pulled a carton of Mango Tango smoothie out of the fridge and shook it all in one feel swoop. Well, that proved to be a very bad decision, because juice spewed from the container all over him AND the fridge! I thought it was funny and grabbed my camera. I was so glad that he thought it was funny, too!

Based on some of the entries you’ve sent me for Johnson’s Messy Photo Contest, your kiddos are messy, too! Take a look…


As promised a winning photo for this last week has been chosen at random from all eligible entries. But, first, here are the top three messiest  photos.

Now, without further ado…

The winning photo for Week One, and the very first finalist in Johnson’s Messy Photo Contest:

Be sure you get your entries in for Week Two! See additional information and complete rules HERE.

Johnson’s Messy Photo Contest {Enter to win weekly prizes and a grand prize of $1,000}

Mud, paint, ice cream, spaghetti sauce, and a plethora of other gooey items have found their way on to my kiddos’ hands, faces and other places on their little bodies. If your kiddos are anything like mine – and I’m sure they are – you have lots of stories to tell about them getting themselves, and each other, in to a big mess.

And, I’m sure you have the pictures to prove it!

Well, I am very excited to announce that I have partnered with Johnson’s Baby to bring you Johnson’s Messy Photo Contest where you can submit photos of your children’s “germiest” moments for a chance to win weekly prizes and a grand prize of $1,000 plus a Johnson’s gift bag with Hand & Face Wipes!

Here’s how it will work::

Each week, for four full weeks, you can email me one picture of any or all of your kiddos in a messy situation. Each eligible photo will be uploaded to the Messy Photo Flickr Stream, and at the end of each week I will randomly select one winner, from all eligible entries received, and display the winning picture here on From Dates to Diapers.

Weekly winners will receive a Johnson’s Hand & Face Wipes package, consisting of a Timi & Leslie Diaper (a leather diaper bag valued at $500), as well as Hand and Face Wipes.

See additional information and complete rules HERE.

There’s more!

In addition to entering the photo contest, you can help me spread the word for a chance to win a $25 gift card and Hand and Face Wipes! All you have to do is write a post, add the contest button to your page, leave a Facebook update with a link to the contest, OR send out a tweet (see below). Let me know, here in the comments, that you’ve helped spread the word (be sure to include a link) and I will randomly choose a winner each week.

Button code: <a href=”http://www.fromdatestodiapers.com/johnsons-messy-photo-contest”><img src=”http://i127.photobucket.com/albums/p159/youngmommy99/messyphotocontest.jpg” width=”150″ height=”250″ border=”0″ alt=”Messy Photo Contest Button”></a>

Sample Facebook status update: Do you have a photo of your kiddo in a messy situation? Well, enter it into Johnson’s Messy Photo Contest at From Dates to Diapers for a chance to win a grand prize of $1,000! http://bit.ly/MessyPhotoContest

Sample Tweet: Kids are messy! Enter a picture of your messy kiddos in the Messy Photo Contest for a chance to win $1,000! http://bit.ly/MessyPhotoContest