Insider tips from a professional ‘momarazzi’

IMG_4907By Kate Garland

Last winter my husband accepted a job offer in the Hudson Valley. More money, closer to family, and his closing argument that won me over: “You can quit your job and stay home with the baby.”

B-0004I liked my job, I really did. But racing home on lunch breaks to simultaneously pump and feed the baby all while shoveling lunch in my mouth was starting to stress me out. Needless to say, I handed in my notice and we quickly packed up our waterfront condo in Florida and moved to New York.

Like most of you, from the moment my daughter was born, the camera came out and was never put back down. Her birth made me want to document every little moment of her life, a way to freeze time with each photo. Overnight I had transformed into the “momarazzi.”

Ever since I took my first photography class in college an unidentified amount of time ago (Hint: digital cameras didn’t exist yet) I’ve always owned professional photography equipment and people have always told me I should take photos for a living. Only now that I had all of this wonderful time on my hands, did I start to experiment with different lenses and editing software. I fell in love all over again, and I quickly discovered there was a lot I would need to learn. I enrolled in classes with some of the best photographers on the East coast (lucky for me most of them reside in Manhattan which was a short jaunt from my new home)

Look for the light

Photography in its basic form is light and shadow, pure and simple. Learning to appreciate how light falls on your subject is a photographer’s most important lesson. You don’t need elaborate landscapes or fancy styling, although I do adore both of those. You just need beautiful light, which is around us everywhere, and you don’t even need a camera to practice seeing light.

[Read more: Say cheese! Expert tips for getting the best photos of your children]

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3 simple tips

While you are out and about, here are three simple tips for photographing your kids in the Hudson Valley this summer:

  1. Move in closer
  2. Focus on eyes
  3. Shoot at sunset 

Lucky for you, the Hudson Valley is a photographer’s paradise. The changing seasons provide picturesque backdrops — from wintry wonderlands and snow-kissed mountains to fresh vibrant green colors in spring to brilliant red and orange fall foliage. The scenery is awe-inspiring, rolling mountains, cascading creeks and little historic towns with steeple-filled skylines. Each photo is unique with its own personality. I encourage you to grab your camera and explore the streets of your own town this summer!

Play tourist

Think to yourself, if visitors were in the area for the first time, where would you take them? Approach a day in your town the same way you would a city that you visited on vacation. Check out tourist guides, the web, and visitor’s centers for hidden gems. Photograph something in your town that you never knew existed!

[Read more: How to take the perfect family holiday portrait]

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Attend an event

We all know that the Hudson Valley has a festival for everything from pumpkins to beer to country music. Really, I think I have seen a celebration for every fruit and vegetable. Bring your camera along to capture photographs of your family, scenery and the location! 

Visit a park

Easy enough right? Pack a blanket and picnic lunch and head to a park.  Photograph the sunlight filtering through the trees or your littles flying down a slide!

Summer reading

And if you are up for some summer reading, pick up the manual that came with your camera and really study how to use all of the settings, you’ll be shooting like a pro in no time!

Kate Garland is a photographer and blogger living in Warwick with her husband, their toddler, and two dogs. She specializes in lifestyle photography … and drinking copious amounts of coffee. Find her at kennedygracephotography.com.

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