By Tamara Lackey
For every family experiencing those once-in-a-lifetime moments - from trick-or-treat excitement to a chilly day spent snuggled up on the couch - professional photographer and best-selling author Tamara Lackey offers parents a handful of simple tips and tricks to help them capture their children beautifully using only a point-and-shoot digital camera.
Follow Lackey's top 10 tips for transforming photos of your children and family from good to great:
1. Children should mirror parents as they interact - turn it into a game by getting children to sit, stand and pose like their parent.
2. Say anything but CHEESE! Use silly expressions to get children genuinely laughing and smiling and eliminate that pre-conditioned "cheese" smile.
3. Try photographing children in new locations, whether it's a different room in the house or a new scenic location near home. By picking a new venue for a photo shoot, parents can bring new life into photographs.
4. Consider how location fits a child's personality. If a child is full of energy and active, a shoot in a bustling downtown would work, while a shy or reserved child may prefer a park or quiet setting.
5. Consider how location fits a child's life stage. If a child is in the middle of potty training, an open field without any bathroom nearby is probably not a good idea!
6. Keep snapping photos. Don't put the camera down after you snap the first shot - many times the best photographs are taken in the seconds after the "big smile" moment.
7. Remember to photograph the little "fine art" scenes of life - not just the children, but their scattered shoes on the floor, a bunched up wet towel, their overflowing book bag. These things may drive parents nuts now, but they'll be fondly remembered over time.
8. Turn off the flash and use natural light as much as possible for more natural-looking imagery.
9. Use a simple monopod to steady shots when shooting at soccer games and indoor, poorly-lit school plays. This will make a dramatic difference in minimizing motion blur!
10. Parents should show they are having fun. Kids can tell when adults are getting stressed out about trying to get the perfect shot. If parents loosen up then children loosen up, too.
Tamara Lackey is an award-winning professional photographer and best-selling author with nearly a decade of experience. Her collection of instructional and edutainment resources include the best-selling book, "The Art of Children's Portrait Photography," acclaimed instructional DVD, "Inside Contemporary Children's Photography," and the "Tamara Lackey Style Book" and DVD. For more information on Tamara Lackey's work and her products, visit www.TamaraLackey.com or follow Tamara on Twitter @TamaraLackey.