Lesson Summary

December daylight disappears early
Do not be afraid to re-arrange furniture.
The back of couches do not make good backgrounds.
It won’t always go as you think. That’s OK.
Just go with it. It'll make things easier.
An honest smile is worth a plan gone kaput.
Taking pictures as you prepare and finished posed pics, can get you some neat candids.
Continue taking pics after the key shot can help tell the story.
"Stinky Feet" is a game enjoyed by baby and Mommy.
Babies look adorable in hats.
You don't always need to go for a smile; sometimes the "angry face" is cute too
Babies can get fussy and take a while to change outfits...more patience = less crying.
If you let people get engrossed in what they are doing, they are much less likely to notice the camera, and more likely to show their natural selves.
Careful not to frame the picture in such a way that wrists and ankles are cropped off…it looks weird.
The subject you plan on taking pictures of (in this case the flowers), may not be the only subject out there…keep an eye out for other potential subjects and you might be pleasantly surprised.
Action shots are more fun than stills
Cats can be expressive with their whole body.
When a cat is about to pounce it will freeze for a couple seconds, this is a good time to take the shot.
Add a baby, and most people are willing to get their pictures taken – some will even ask you to take their picture.

If you want enough contrast in a black and white photo, make sure you have really good light.
Babies change constantly. You can take a few pictures each week and the baby will look very different each time.

You never know who is going to be important to you later in your life, more pictures now, mean more pictures to look back on about later.

There is point when people are drinking that they look very relaxed and happy. It’s doesn’t always last long, so get the picture while you can.

People don’t have to be looking at you to make a good picture.
At sporting events make sure you’re not blocking people (they get angry).
The more a person cares about the sport, the more animated the reaction is likely to will be.
Sitting at the end of a row gives you more room to move around to get the shot.

Babies like phones

Babies really like iPhones

Having extra phones on hand help draw babies attention to where you want it.

Sun in a baby’s face makes for squinty photos.
Know where the sun will be so you can plan for times outdoors when the sun won’t be directly on someone’s face.

When you switch from auto focus to manual focus you’re not as likely to get as many pictures in focus (at least a first), take extra shots and continue to adjust.

Capturing speedy kittens in low light is not easy (any suggestions I would love to hear).
If the subject slows down enough, even with the light low, it is possible to get a capture.
Yellow brown is a really horrible background color (was the couch color Charlie was on – one of the reasons the photo is now B&W).

While not as clean as pics taken from a digital SLR, iPod pics are better than my old Point and Shoot.
Having an iPod that fits you can carry with you where ever you go means more opportunities for pictures.
BeFunkyFx is my new favorite app for iPod (since I’ve only had the iPod for two weeks, this may not mean as much as it would say in…a year. J)
Editing can make a huge difference.
Sometimes less detail (especially when it comes to close shot of a tired face) can be a good thing.
The changing the tone of a picture using a filter can have a drastic impact on the end result.
Pay attention to what is in the background. Weird items (such as a random cup) clutter up an otherwise nifty picture.
Babies are cute with props bigger than they are.
Sometimes you just need to give up the camera so you can enjoy the moment. (Thank hubby for stepping in during the egg hunt to take pictures!)
The first week of April Byers' Choice usually has an egg hunt. Good to know since this will make the location much busier than normal.
Even though a picture can often say it all, knowing the background of a picture can help make it even more speical.
When dealing with a scene of inanimate objects, different depths of field can give the subject more feeling. For example, focusing on a face right behind another, can give the impression that a subject is peeking out (or being sneaky)from behind the other object that is not in focus.
Getting people consent up front for use of their pictures makes blogging easier.
I am weak when it comes to most things Star Wars.
Be careful of random people who appear in the frame which can off-set a picture.
Help can come from those you least expect it; keep your ears and your heart open.
When working with people, make sure you have enough depth of field so that if your focus is a little off, you can still get faces (especially the eyes) in focus.
Props help with all ages…at the very least, if the prop doesn’t work, it’ll give you something to talk about during the shoot.
Props are a great way to engage kids. Bubbles and big colorful stuffed animals help.
Take many breaks…especially if it is hot out. A kid’s smile is directly related to their attention span. New fun = new smiles.
If the pictures are taken in bright sunlight you may need to add filler light later when editing. (Anyone have suggestions for taking photos in bright sunlight without getting too many shadows?)
A longer lens allows for more room between you and the children...and allows for the subject to stay in focus while blurring the background nicely.
If you struggle with manual focus with a moving object, you can switch to auto focus once to get an approximate starting point on something about the same distance away , then switch back to manual focus.
Bring your camera bag (or whatever you use to protect your camera) even if there is only 20% change of rain.
With air shows and reenactments a longer lens works better…so you can close ups even when you are far away. 
If your goal is to take photos during a baseball game, consider getting seats in front of those you want
If you only have one camera, there may be times when you have to choose between family (up close) and players (far away). Knowing when family is likely to interact more (7th inning stretch) will help you know when you’ll get more shots with each lens.
Knowing how the sport is played helps know where the next shot will be. For example, if you know the play is at second it can help to have your settings already focused on the second base, since action shots require you to act fast you might not have time to set up if you wait until the move it made.
If you don’t know all the setting for you camera yet, switch your setting to Shutter priority (Tv) as you can set your shutter speed and let your camera adjust the aperture for you.
1”3 works as a good setting to put the shutter speed at (that what these fireworks were captured at).
If the fireworks are being shot all over it helps to follow the little dot that shots off and snap the picture right before you think it’ll burst (that way the shutter will be open as the firework blooms.
Loud kids on bikes scare animals into hiding
If you can see them clearly, the deer can see you clearly…and will run.
Watch the trees and brush for sudden bits of movement of only a few branches…if there is little wind it’s likely something furry/feathered is there you can take a picture of.
The viewfinder doesn’t always show the entire picture. If you are using a backdrop (in my case a fuzzy blanket) give yourself a couple extra inches on either side of the frame. Otherwise you might have corners of your picture with no backdrop (which can be a pain to edit out).
The closer you get to water, the more bugs you find. When the bugs show up, the photos will be brief. It’s OK to move to the next shot where you won’t get eaten up alive.

Lush parks mean animals of all shapes and sizes…which also means poo of all shapes and sizes. Watch where you step, kneel, and set up shots.
Anything can be special through the eyes of a little one.

New discoveries make great photo stories.

Shooting in RAW is very useful if you want to adjust the white balance later. Changing the lighting from daylight to shade is a good way to add warmth without an extra filter.