a duck hunt in the park!


canon sent us their new canon SL1 camera to borrow for a few weeks and experiment with around the city. we took it with us (with our 50 mm lens) on an afternoon walk in central park to explore and see the ducks! neither josh or i claim to be great photographers, and we’re both learning as we go, but we’ve been using our own canon rebel camera the last few years to document our life together with photographs and film and it is one of our favorite things.  looking back at all our photos from over the years and being reminded of the memories we have made together as a family, it’s priceless.

readers often ask us what camera and settings we are using (you can find some of this on our FAQ page), but we have teamed up with canon to share a few tips we have learned over the past few years to share with you over the next few weeks! again, we aren’t professional photographers at all, but hopefully this will be helpful to some of you!

auto settings on dslrs are pretty great these days but learning to shoot manual a few years ago really changed our images. shooting manual allows us full control over our settings, like how much light we’re letting into the camera (the aperture) as well as control how much of the person or subject is in focus (depth of field). since it can be hard to get that perfect shot with a fast moving toddler like eleanor, it’s been helpful to really get to know our settings by heart so we can really capture the candid moment over fiddling around with the camera.

we prefer to find shade or take photos in the morning or a few hours before the sun sets to avoid the harsh midday sun and shadows.  the light is more flattering around these times of day when we aren’t in direct sunlight! during this outing in the late afternoon, we were losing light pretty quickly as the sun was setting, so we used a lower aperture setting and a faster shutter speed.  it’s also fun to really get down to the kids levels when we’re composing the shot… it’s always a whole lot more interesting to see what’s going on from their perspective.  ;)

more photos below!

canon3canon6canon4canon2canon11 canon13canon7canon12

^^^baby on the move!^^^


^^^in addition to ducks, we happened upon the cutest little raccoon!^^^


^^^you know, sisterly love. ;)^^^



what tips or tricks have you found helpful when taking your camera out? anything you’re willing to share? ;)

canon-red-logo-lovetaza*this post is sponsored by canon. as always, thank you for reading our blog, and thanks for supporting our sponsors!


  1. bahahah it looks like e is trying to give him a wedgie

  2. jemma

    I got a DSLR for Christmas and although I love it I’m struggling with the settings, hopefully a few more months and I’ll be a pro!

  3. Bea

    I’ve got a reflex, and I’m going to a class to learn how to use it in the best way!!!!
    I started love taking photos!
    Buon weekend da un’Italia piovosa!!! ;)

  4. I agree! I love shooting manual. It took a lot of practice with the 50mm lens to get the focus right, but now I love the way my pictures turn out. I also discovered back button focus and al- servo focusing through some online tutorials- they really help me get great shots of my quick toddler.

  5. Oh, wonderful tips and photos! I think this is the push I need to learn more about my camera’s manual settings. Thanks! :-)

    Danielle @ A Writer in Love

  6. Oooo this is exciting! I love your family photos so much I’m so glad to get some tips. I’m still in the phase where I can do manual, but more often than not I’m fiddling far too much and miss a lot of great candids. practice practice practice! i’m becoming a bit too guilty of leaning on my phone camera too often…

    i’m also still working with my kit lens, but I’m really hoping to try and expand my skills beyond it. is the 50mm a good starter add-on lens or is there another you would recommend?

    Great post! Hoping to get more tips! :)


  7. Great tips! And great photos!

    Juliette Laura

  8. Yun

    the one you hug your daughter is just way too cute, so close and real, thats how beautiful photos are, it caught the best moment for us. Love the way you present the articles for the sponsors, not in a commercial way and truly honest!


  9. thanks for the tips! looks SO green in central park! I live in jersey city and haven’t been to central park yet this spring, but the parks in our neighborhood are all SO lush right now too :)

  10. JM

    Much like you I take photographs mainly for my own enjoyment and to capture moments not because I in any way consider myself a professional. But this post was really useful as I would consider myself a beginner when it comes to the more technical aspects of photography. I think when I next have some money saved up (no idea when that will be, money’s tight :) ) I will invest in a good camera, it is worth it to get these beautiful shots. And after reading your post it might just be a Canon. Thanks for the info!


  11. ALittaM

    Ooooh, how’s the new Canon camera? I’ve heard it’s really small and light… perfect for small feminine hands that cannot hold a proper DSLR for long, just like myself.

    How do you manage to shoot everything with a 50 mm? I find it too “close” to the actual subject.

    • TAZA

      i really prefer my 50 mm lens and i’ve just gotten so used to it, i know when i need to step back to allow more into the shot, etc. i pretty much only use that lens these days. occasionally i wish i had a wider shot but i just make my 50mm lens work.

      the new canon is definitely smaller and more light weight. i really preferred its size to my regular canon rebel body.

  12. hanna

    The park looks wonderful. Great photo tips! Hanna

  13. rachel

    Summer goal- learn to shoot in manual.
    Your family could not be any more beautiful. These shoots are sweet and perfect.

  14. Samons chubby little baby legs are to die for. My third boy is almost two and those baby rolls are fading fast :( And I’m always envious of your photos, maybe I oughta step up and use a real camera now and then lol, these iPhone photos are convenient but surely not as nice as they could be!

    Lynden Laundry

  15. Candice

    Please please share where your shoes, pants (they look so cute and comfy)’and your jacket are from!! I read daily and love all your outfits but don’t usually comment asking where your clothes are from though but this outfit I just adorrreee

  16. I’m so excited about this series! I’d love to learn more about photography, but haven’t had the time to sit down and study it. Little tips are the perfect format.

  17. I am reading “Understanding Exposure” by Bryan Peterson right now and it is packed full of valuable information for shooting in manual!

  18. Rosie

    I shoot on a Canon 600d, and also use the 50mm 1.8 lens. Did you notice a big difference between your Rebel and the new one you were lent to try out?

    Personally I don’t really tend to use the aperture settings to fiddle light levels too much, unless I’m shooting in super low light and need all the help I can get! I tend to just keep my aperture no. fairly low (3 or below) because I know I like a v. creamy, blurry background, and then adjust the ISO/shutterspeed to allow in more or less light!

    Learning to shoot fully in manual has been one of the best things I’ve accomplished in the past year! It’s made a world of difference to my photographs!


  19. Great tips – I’m just learning to shoot manual right now! And adorable pictures… Samson looks like he’s going to be a quick one!

  20. Alia

    That wedgie picture is priceless!!! E is so cute riding on that wheely-board thing :)

  21. Carie

    Gorgeous photos! I’m a Nikon fan myself but the same tips apply. If you’ve got the processing software to do it the shooting in RAW is really great because it’s so much easier to tidy up a few wonky settings later with

  22. Gorgeous photos! I really need to practice my photo taking :)

  23. Katie

    Great tips! Time of day definitely makes a huge difference- I”ve noticed that! (and been frustrated by that, too haha) Cute photos :)


  24. olya

    i completely agree on shooting manual. makes such a difference, doesn’t it? Manual focusing is another favorite of mine, but my eyes play tricks way too often, i end up with 2/3rds of non-usable exposures. :)


  25. Abby

    Oh the sweetness of your little kiddos is too much. I’m a Nikon girl, but always thought if I could go back I would probably go with Canon bc of the difference in the lens prices, for that reason only :-)


  26. J.

    Even though I have the 5D I’ve definitely been interested in this new body and how others like it. It’s so tiny lol. I think my biggest advice for people is to skip the kit and buy just the body and the 50mm at first (or even the 35, I love love love my 35mm lens). And like you said to just really learn your camera and get out of auto. It frustrates me when I see people who spend so much money on a camera just sitting in auto.

    I also agree with a previous commenter that if you have the editing software to do so, shoot in RAW! Your photos may come out dull when you originally open them on the computer and look different than on your camera but with RAW you have so much more control over your photo and if you make a mistake, it’s a lot easier to save than a JPEG. Also the reason they do look different is because the in camera preview is essentially rendered as a JPEG even if you shoot in RAW.

    Another tip would be to learn the exposure triangle (ISO, Aperture, and Shutter Speed). I generally set my aperture first because I like a shallow depth of field. I then set my ISO according to the lighting around me. Indoors it’s usually at around 800, sunny light at 100, and shade around 320-400. Then I use my shutter speed to then get the right exposure. When shooting my 2 year old I always shoot at at least 1/250!

    It’s all trial and error I think when it comes to learning. But once you have a general understanding of the exposure triangle and reading your meter things become a lot easier.

    Ok long comment was long, I’m done! :P


  27. Toni

    arg. That jacket is killing me. Can you please let us know where you got it???

  28. Sonya

    I really appreciate these tips. Lighting is important. Do you think you might do more tips but show us what settings you use to get such clear shots. Just a few manual settings. I try and fiddle with manual but Im just no good right now. Thanks!

  29. Jaclyn

    aww what great pictures! and a great day in the park :)
    love the camera!! is it heavy? we are hessitant of buying a SLR type camera because of the weight and bulkiness

    • TAZA

      it’s actually the smallest most compact and lightweight slr i have held! i kept getting nervous i would drop it just because it is much smaller than my usual canon rebel so i wasn’t used to that! i really enjoyed holding it. :)

  30. A.

    Yes! Please share where the cute leggings and sweater are from! :) Great photos.

  31. Aw, life’s simple pleasures!

  32. Ana

    I’ve started shooting in manual recently. It’s been hard sometimes and I’ve missed a few good shots because I didn’t have the right setting on, but I’ll get there!

  33. kendall

    thanks for sharing your tips! so helpful :)

  34. Rachael

    Family walks are my absolute favorite thing. It’s true, the best things in life are free!

    What brand is your stroller?! Does anyone know? I’m in the market for a double &this one looks pretty amazing. Thank you!


  35. Thanks for sharing! we’ve had a very similar experience, developing our photographing skills while blogging. It’s the greatest.

  36. I took my very first photography class last night, so this post was very timely :-) I feel like I am in way over my head, with learning how to use my camera, but I’m excited to practice and learn more.

    Beautiful pictures of your beautiful family :-)

  37. Karen

    What a great, informative post! I learned to shoot in manual mode a few years ago and it has made all the difference for my photography. Another tip: for portraits, use a shallow depth of field (larger aperture, which means a smaller number, such as 2.8). It will make your subject really pop!


  38. loulou

    is there such a things as ‘too cute’? If so, add the first picture to whatever falls withing that category!

  39. lindsay

    Thank you for the camera tips! Lighting always seems to be my problem (along with the fast moving toddler situation).

    Also, I was wondering where you got your comfy pants that you’re wearing in this post!? I keep searching for some great legging type pants that aren’t so sheer/see through!

    • TAZA

      thank you, from zara.

  40. Jocelyn

    I’m loving this post! I’ve been following your blog for ever and every day I get more curious at how you achieve such light bright pictures without the harsh shadows and too bold of colours, I can’t seem to manage it but that’s the look I’m dying to get with my photos! I can’t wait to hear what else you have to share! <3

  41. Kelly

    Your littles are adorable, and I agree, late afternoon is the best light!

    Sparkles and Shoes

  42. barb

    i <3 your sweat pants? what brand is it???? thanks :)

    • TAZA

      thanks! from zara.

    • TAZA

      thank you, i do edit my photos (lift colors a bit) in photoshop cs6.

  43. Pippa

    Samson and e are just so cute!
    You dress them both so well!
    P xx

  44. Morgan

    I shoot with a Canon rebel for our blog. But these photos are making me want an updated camera so badly!! Gorgeous photos as always!!
    XO from San Francisco

  45. Cintya

    loved this post,
    thanks for the tips!

  46. Amanda

    Her shoes are Melissa!

    Get your own at Shop601.com!!

    Use code “LOVETAZA” for 10% off your order!

  47. Krista

    Your husband should really put the safety leash around his wrist especially if he’s only holding it with one hand! A friend of mine was doing the same and tripped. The pram ended up in the road (luckily there was no cars!).

  48. Jessica

    Where is your sweater from?!!

    • TAZA

      it’s gryphon nyc.

  49. That top picture is the CUTEST! They are so darling, I just can’t stand it!
    Still trying to figure out my Nikon. Due to give birth to my second any day now and could really use some tips. Thanks!

  50. Janice

    OMGAD those baby moccasins!!

  51. Ana Luiza

    Hello! I live in Brasil and I have to say that I check your blog every single day. I can’t tell you why I like it so so so much, but, well, what can I do? I really love it here.

    There’s something I”m willing to ask for a long time, I wish you could answer me, if possible. What’s the brand of your baby stroller? I really wish to know…

    Thanks! God bless you!

    Beijos, Ana Luiza

  52. flor

    taza- where did you get that lovely sweater? you always look so fab! thanks for the tips!

    • TAZA

      thanks! it’s gryphon and i found it marked down on gilt but i saw it on shop bop a few weeks ago as well.

  53. taty

    Uhh feeding ducks. Bliss (well, especially for my dog most of the time as she is dedicated to eat everything I am TRYING to give to the ducks :) ).

    Every time I see your pictures I realize that my NON reflex camera isn’t just doing it the right way…

    Any tips on the right camera?
    There is always that ongoing discussion if you should go for canon or nikon?

    Keep up the happiness!
    Love it!


  54. Shannon

    These pictures are so great! Thanks for all the great photography tips, I can’t wait to read the rest over the next few weeks! Shooting in manual is definitely something that I need to work on!


  55. Tilly

    Your family is so beautiful! E and S are so cute! Your blog is amazing, I love reading your posts and looking at your cute pictures :) xo

  56. Amanda

    Ok I just cant get enough of the little ones, fringed leather booties! PLEASE tell me where you got those!

  57. Marie

    I’ve always used the auto mode of my dslr cos I’m too lazy to learn the manual mode. Haha. I really need to start learning the manual mode, your photos always turn out so beautiful and stunning. Love the lighting of them.


  58. You inspired me a little while back to get my big camera out. I had been mostly relying on my iPhone.

    I have been having fun with it but now I want to try some manual shots as well.

    I am not at all a professional photographer, but I have learned a lot working as a lifestyle model and actor. I have worked with a lot of different photographers and you pick up some things.

    What I try to do when taking pictures of my children is just find an angle or space that is not too cluttered and use natural light. I never use a flash. Then I take a lot of shots. Usually out of the handful will be one that is great

    I think everyone has their own eye too. I can sort of tell the shots by you and the shots by your husband. Same with over on James’ blog. I can tell what shots are by Aubry.

    I am having fun developing what my own eye is.

    Ok, enough for now.

    xoxo From San Francisco, jen

    ps here are some shots I did with my Nikon D40 at my daughter’s 5k

  59. The last photo is brilliant!

    I’m still getting to grips with my Canon but hoping to get there soon so I can use the manual setting more. x

  60. Emily

    I’m not sure that you’ll actually reply to my message but I am dying to know where you got your kiddos slippers at?! They are so cute and look comfyer than other baby shoes I see.

    I hope you get this! My daughter would look super cute in those moccasin slippers!

    Thank you–love your blog!

    • TAZA

      hello! they are freshly picked moccasins!

  61. Sinead

    I definitely appreciate the tips – photography can be so tricky at times!

  62. Fabulous, just wonderful!
    I know exactly what you mean about dslrs; they capture amazing photos and memories which last forever. I have never tried a Canon dslr as I currently own a Nikon D3100 which I’m obsessed with … but I have heard nothing but great things about Canon’s dslr range!
    These photos are great, I love the coat/jacket/cardigan you’re wearing!
    Have an amazing Memorial Day Weekend!
    Lots of love from Britain,
    Kate xo


  63. Jenna

    Manual totally changed the way my pictures looked. You can have great composition all you want, but without adjusting your setting the pictures will turn out just mediocre. I also love my 50mm lens! That will also take your pictures to the next level!


  64. irene wibowo

    wonderful! :)

    Irene Wibowo

  65. Dorota

    please tell me where did you buy your children shoes ? :)

    • TAZA

      hi! they are freshly picked moccasins!

  66. The picture of you three hugging is priceless :)
    I have always admired your pictures and the ability to get 100 perfect ones when you have kids means you rock manual settings, which I wish Santa learned me on Christmas night every year ;)
    I really hope Canon or any other big photography brand makes your family their main “model”, ‘coz you deserve it fully.

  67. I love how E is staring at S crawling! you can see love in her face…lovely!

  68. Thanks for the lovely tips, i have only used my Canon DSLR on automatic mode :P… and once again! Cant stand those two cute little babies of yours!
    They are so adorable and you take the best pictures of them

    Greetings from Malaysia

  69. Lo

    I love the kiddos shoes! Where did you purchase them? and where can I find them online?


  70. mitzi

    great tips! i have a t3i and also a 50mm lens but i seem to be stuck in “Tv” and haven’t really figured out how to get out of that mode with a fast moving toddler.
    were you ever stuck there too?

    great pictures of your family by the way, i always say it’s part camera AND photographer that makes a good pictures…not everyone with a camera has an eye for it.

  71. laura

    Is there a particular online course (or blog) that you could recommend as user friendly and easy, to learn more about manual mode for a D-SLR?

  72. tilly

    Hi Naomi!
    Your family is so precious. I just love reading through your blog posts and looking at your gorgeous photos! I recently saw some amazing photos of you and your family on Tim Coulsons blog. They were so gorgeous! Your family is perfect! XO Tilly

  73. this makes me want to grab my rebel and head outside! its so encouraging to know i’m not the only one who started out completely lost and frustrated when it comes to manual ;) these pictures are adorbs, as per usual!

  74. Jenny

    Naomi do you have an online class/book that you took or recommend? I have the same equipment as you but would love to learn how to shoot manual as you said!

  75. Melanie

    Hehe.. what’s going on with Josh’s rolled up cuffs??

  76. Katie

    I love your sweatpants! Please tell me who makes them.

  77. Mun

    Such precious captures!

  78. Mónica

    This weekend I’ve released my Cannon SLR camera that also pictures has been great. I love the pictures so familiar. Kisses and Happy Mondays.

  79. Lonka

    you are so beautiful and this kids are just freat!

  80. That first photo is priceless! I just got my hands on a Canon DSLR a few months back and am still learning to master it. Hopefully I’ll be able to take shots as beautiful as yours soon.

  81. I learned to shoot using a film camera in Rome. Needless to say, when I came home to rural Florida, the subjects were less glamorous and needed more thought to make them pop. Also, shooting on a digital camera changes how you do things. It’s good and bad, I’m still trying to figure it out.

    I like shooting in AV mode (aperture priority, I think?) if I’m not going to have a lot of time to adjust the metering.

    My particular problem at present is getting high resolution photos. When I want to enlarge them or zoom in, they’re all pixelated. Any thoughts?

  82. Vanessa

    I absolutely adore your blog – each post is so great and you seem so effortless and happy throughout (though I’m sure it takes incredible effort!).
    My favorite new trick is to always leave my camera turned “on” – it will automatically put itself to sleep when I’m not using it but keeping it on allows for much quicker ability to grab shots of my kiddos at play when the moment arises.
    Also, for readers who don’t use a full frame camera, I find that the 40mm is a really great lens (similar results to a 50mm but gives you that extra bit of frame so you don’t have to be so far back from your subject). It’s especially nice with kids because I can still be within arm’s reach when snapping shots :)

  83. Pingback: Happenings - All(most) Natural

  84. Alyssa

    I am looking to buy a nice camera because I am taking a photography class this fall. What would you say is a good starter camera? I would love your input!!