Through the Lens: Capturing Motherhood

Professional photographer and author, Shawni Eyre Pothier shares her tips for capturing the wonder with your very own camera.

1) Turn off the flash and find Find optimal lighting. The flash distorts pictures and doesn’t give the beautiful depth in faces we as mothers want to capture in our children. Because we’re turning off the flash, we need to get the lighting just right. Pretty much every house has a place where the lighting is pretty. North facing windows are my favorite. A porch creates amazing light as the sun reflects off the pavement and lights up faces beautifully. When I first started into photography I used to make up a little “studio” in my garage. Great light there.

2) Get closer and try new angles. The closer we get, the more we see. Try getting so close you only capture half of the face. Get close-up and take pictures of toes, fingers, just a smile. You’ll be so happy with the results.

3) Always have a camera ready. My big camera is too big to carry around all the time, but I ALWAYS have a point-and-shoot in my purse that I can pull out when I have an opportune moment. It also videotapes which I love so I can capture things on the go. You don’t need a bunch of fancy equipment. Sure, having a big camera with all the bells and whistles is great, and certainly it can take wonderful pictures. But I think some people go out and buy new equipment before they’re really ready for it. I guess the advice would be to completely outgrow what you have before you upgrade. Trying to learn to see things…lighting, expressions, etc. can be done from any camera.

4) Catch emotion: You don’t always have to have your subject looking at you and smiling. Some of my favorite pictures are where the subjects are looking at each other or looking away.

5) Capture the little moments: Pictures should be more than just the birthdays and graduations. I think it’s important for moms to remember to capture little things about their kids whether it’s an artistic picture or not. I love the one I’m attaching because it epitomized Lucy at that time in her life. With her bedroom around her and her morning smile and her blanket there beside her that she HAS to have to sleep with every night. I want so much to remember all those little things. So I take pictures of them. I wish I had pictures of things like that from when I was growing up.

Shawni Eyre Pothier is the mother of five children.

She recently co-wrote “A Mother’s Book of Secrets: Keys to Making Motherhood Memorable, Meaningful, and Magnificent” with her mother Linda Eyre.

The book is available from Deseret Book.

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