FAQ: photography edition, part III!


Getting YOU in the Photo

let’s talk about getting photos with everyone in them! because those are so important and special to me. i also wanted to talk about the importance of getting YOU in them! (talking to you mamas who are often the picture-takers…) i think sometimes we’re so focused on taking a picture of the kids, or dealing with other things happening at the same time around us, that you aren’t in any of the shots and it’s a bummer when you look back.

growing up, my dad took such incredible and raw footage of my siblings and me on his ginormous video camera and regular camera all the time! it’s amazing to have, and i’m so grateful, but he and my mom (and especially my mom) are rarely in any of the footage and as i’m older now and look back on it, i wish we had better documentation of all of us together.  so for me, it’s been a big priority to try to grab that family shot as often as we can.

here are a few tips we’ve found helpful for doing so, since all the family photos you see here were taken by strangers while we were out traveling.

(ps. see this post all about our camera equipment, and this post all about getting the candid shot while making it fun, especially when taking photos of little ones.)


1. Strangers Are Friends

the first thing is to not be shy and just ask the stranger to take the photo for you. what we do, is we offer to trade and take a photo for them with their own group, which works out well for both parties! i usually try to find the stranger nearby who has a camera of their own (usually means they might know a thing or two about getting a good photo) or even the teenager in the group! these younger kids are so savvy when it comes to taking photos and they always get such a wonderful shot!  (this photo of our family on the pier in bermuda is a great example of this. we asked a younger teenage boy who had a camera of his own around his neck to snap this photo, and he knelt down and really worked the camera and to get the sunburst into several shots! he was the nicest and i am so thankful!)


2. Make It Easy

the other thing that makes group photos feel a little easier, is to make it easy for the stranger about to take your group photo. i have my family in place, and i frame the photo as well before i ask them to take it. this way, when they come over, all they need to do is press click! this is another good time to put your camera on the burst setting, so they get at least 3-4 photos and chances are better that one will have everyone’s eyes open!

3. Zoom Out

another good tip is to zoom further out than you usually would, since you can always crop in later. this way, chances are better that if they do move the camera around, someones head or feet won’t be cut out of the frame.


4. Prop It Up

if you aren’t as interested in the family or group shot, but still want to get in more photos with your little ones (which i fully support!), you can always simply prop your camera or phone up! most all cameras and phones have a timer mode on them as well these days, and i have taken so many photos with the kiddos (when i’ve been out and josh hasn’t been with us) all thanks to the camera timer. sometimes it makes the moment extra fun or silly because we are propping my phone up on a bag on the sidewalk and all squeezing down low together to get into the frame, and the kids think it’s the silliest. but always fun! I’m always glad i took the moment to do that whenever i did, too.

i love looking back at the photos with all of us in them! and i’m always so happy we asked someone to snap one, even if sometimes i’m feeling so shy and silly, because they really make for some of the best pictures we have together.

a few more posts coming your way when it comes to your photography questions! i hope these have been helpful so far! if you missed them, HERE is the post about josh and me being self-taught and what equipment we use, and HERE is a post all about making photos fun for kids and getting the candid shot.

  1. I’m loving the posts… Specially this one. All of our pictures are either my husband with Dylan or vice versa. We need more family pics. Xx – Fernanda


  2. Thanks for sharing these great tips! You’re right; it is so special to be in these family photos. I find that I’m almost always behind the camera! Hoping that some of these tips will help us get more family shots including me. :)

  3. brittany

    So important to remember to get in the picture! You guys have met some super talented strangers!

    xo, brittany
    newborn baby must haves on my blog today!

  4. Hannah

    I’ve been trying to master the skill of using a tripod but half the time it gets blown away along with my camera haha!


  5. Lacy Arthur

    Naomi! Thank you! Spot on. I appreciate you answering my question! Here’s to utilizing your tips and actually being a part of the photos!!

    Lacy from http://www.positivelylacy.com

  6. Marissa

    I would love it if you posted the camera settings like aperture/fstop/ mode you were on for that specific picture. For a newbie like me trying to figure out what shutter speed to use for which moment and lighting has been so much trial and error! Would love to reference off some of your beautiful photography. Thanks Naomi!

  7. Suzanne

    How do you get your little ones to look at the camera when it’s a stranger holding it? My kids will smile at me or my husband but also frown at strangers and it’s not like you can ask the stranger to make silly faces or noises to get your kids to laugh. Any tips??

  8. Carly

    We have been trying to get more and more family pictures lately too. My parents were the same way, always taking pictures but never in them and I want to be in them. I want my kids to see how we change and grow with them.

    Great tips!

    A tripod has worked well for us as long as we’re in a private setting. It always seems like asking a stranger in a public setting is such a hit and miss for us.

    Happy Wednesday!
    Carly from http://www.AModernMomBlog.com

  9. Kinga

    Glad you spoke about this and gave us so many tips! As I think about it now I wish I would have more pictures with my parents on them, I would keep it in mind for the future! :)


  10. Phoebe

    Really? I’m really supposed to believe a stranger all took these and you didn’t use a tripod? Such crap.

    • josh

      Haha! Uhhhh….yeah! You’re really accusing Naomi of lying about it?? That’s so weird.

  11. I forget more often than not to take pictures of my fiance and myself at all. I’m always a little disappointed when we get home from a trip without them too! I really do need to remember that strangers are often perfectly happy to take photos for a few seconds.

  12. Gabriella

    It’s incredible to see just how many photos there are with all of you in them. I read your blog, and of course these photos are part of your posts, but it never occurred to me that there are so many family photos that you get to hold onto (next to the tens of thousands you have of your kids, I assume).
    Such a good motivation to ask other people to take your photo! I so so regret not doing that when my husband and I went to Africa this year. We were on a road trip for the better part of three weeks, and have tons of photos and video, but only about two (face palming hard over here) of the two of us. And neither of those two is frame-worthy… Definitely need to remember this for any next outings/trips :)

  13. Jessica

    ah! I’m cooking dinner right now and don’t have time to read, but I cannot wait to read this!!! I need help with this so bad. our family pictures always turn out disastrous!


  14. Megan B

    Now I want to buy a camera and start taking more pictures of my kids and family adventures. :)

  15. Gwen

    Thanks so much! Absolutely love looking at your photos and growing family. The question I have is more like what to do when none of my kids like to take photos and husband just gets annoyed every time I ask to stop and take a photo. your kids always liked taking photos? Thanks Gwen

  16. Jeri

    Great tips, thanks!

  17. Jennifer

    Perfectly said! Beautiful little family!

  18. Kylie

    I love this, my mom is very anti being in front of the camera and my dad isn’t as bad but still doesn’t like it. So I really only have photos of them from big events: my birth, my college graduation, and my wedding. I want to do better with my family so when I have kids and when I’m old, we have those pictures to look back on. Your kids will be so grateful you took this time to take family photos.

    Kylie <3 | livingwhimsicaldreams.blogspot.com

  19. Amazing tips! Thanks for sharing.

  20. Petunia

    Why do you stand on your toes in photos?

  21. magali

    oh thanks for the great tips! I love photos! And I always ask my husband to make pictures “à la taza” ;) lol

  22. Amanda

    Thank you for these three amazing posts! I’ve always admired your photos, you capture really incredible moments. These tips are super helpful and I’m going to be putting them into practice. Thank you!

  23. Kat

    Beautiful photos and great ideas!! Thank you for sharing! If you don’t mind sharing how you process (really, how do you store so many photos!) from both phones and camera that would be AWESOME!! Thank you again? I’m learning so much from these posts :)

  24. I love all of these tips and suggestions! we’ve become master’s of the self timer, but having someone else take it makes it so much easier!


  25. Elisiane Mecham

    Your family is so beautiful!!!! And the pictures are amazing!!!! Thank you for the tips!!! xxx

  26. Sierra

    Loving these tips! We do a lot of these too and finding someone who also has a camera and knows how to take a picture is like hitting the jackpot! That young guy got such an amazing pic of you all with the sunburst. Sierra~Beautifully Candid

  27. Chloe

    Naomi, how do you frame the picture yourself beforehand? Do you use a tripod?

    Fun, helpful tips!
    Thank you!

    • josh

      Hi Chloe. Good question. We haven’t ever traveled with a tripod. This tip about strangers makes sense for when you do not have a tripod. Naomi will stand in the spot where she would like them to stand and zoom out so everyone is in the frame. That is the main thing to do. You’d be surprised how often people ask if there is anything you want in the shot or in the background. If they do, try finding something large to suggest like a building or landmark. This helps as a reminder to keep the camera up high.

  28. farnaz

    hi i really loved the tips:D , but i hope you would have talked about taking couple photos as well.

  29. Joana

    Hi Taza, I would like to know how you store the photos in folders, to hace them organize and get easy to look for, Thank you!!

  30. Khayfer

    Love your tips! But I’m a bit confused on how you get pictures with your kids when is just you Naomi… I’d like to be in the frame with my three kids too, but as it is my arms are too short and I can’t selfie all 4 of us in the frame haha… So you don’t use a tripod? I guess what I’m asking is for a picture of your set up for taking pictures when you’re alone with the kids. Love your family <3

  31. halle

    Such beautiful settings for your photos

  32. Megan

    I have LOVED all of your photography posts. Thank you. If you do any more, I’d love to hear about how you keep your photos organized, saved, backed up, etc. I also shoot in raw and the photos are so huge. Do you keep originals and the edited version? Thanks!!

  33. Debbie

    Do you use any Lightroom Presets? If so, what are they