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Expert Insights with Lifestyle Photographer Becca DuVal

January 27, 2013

by Michelle LaRowe
Editor in Chief

Anyone who has tried to capture a photo of their infant or toddler knows what a challenge that can be; never mind trying to get one decent family photo, which can prove to be both an all-day and very frustrating affair. So I reached out to Becca DuVal, a lifestyle photographer who makes capturing kids and families look easy, and picked her brain about what makes a good photo and what tips work best for capturing kids on go. Here’s what she had to share.

eNannySource: What makes a great family photo?

Becca DuVal: I would describe the perfect family photo with one word: genuine. Each person’s personality should shine through – what they’re wearing, how they’re posed, how they’re interacting with the rest of the subjects. You want to look back at these photos years from now and see it as a true representation of how your family was at this point in time.

eNannySource: How can you get kids to cooperate during a photo shoot?

Becca DuVal: Sorry moms – toss out that stash of candy! I’ve never known a bribe to work. Even if the kid is cooperative, the best shot I get out of a promise of a sleepover or dinner at a favorite restaurant is the pained, over-enthusiastic smiles. If you’ve tried it at home, you know exactly the type I mean!

My “secret” is to keep things light and have fun with it. Let the kids do the directing. You want to spin in your pretty dress now? Fantastic! Is it time to play with your action figures in the mud? That’s ok too! If a photo session feels like playtime, kids last much longer and fill the time with real genuine smiles.

Meltdown-mode anyway? Distract, distract, distract. It works with my toddler screaming in the grocery store aisles (Singing broccoli!? Whoever saw such a thing?) and it will work with even the most fussy of children in front of the camera (start perfecting those ridiculous animal impersonations now!)

eNannySource: What’s your best tips for moms and nannies trying to capture the perfect shot?

Becca DuVal: It’s great to go into a photo session with a “perfect shot” in mind. But if your kids are anything like mine, they won’t always cooperate with your Pinterest-inspired vision. Get creative and work with what you’ve got! My favorite photos are almost always “Plan B”s.

eNannySource: What’s the best background for family photos?

Becca DuVal: There is no one-size-fits-all approach to family photos. Your setting should be a representation of your family – are you country folk? Beach bums? City slickers? Pick accordingly!

If your options are limited – don’t stress! I’ve taken fantastic photos feet from a dumpster. Just be aware of your background, and find a perspective that offers the fewest distractions. (Sand dunes are prettier than that stranger’s tan lines. And a tree scape makes a better background than all those cars in the parking lot.)

eNannySource: Is it easier to capture indoor or outdoor photos?

Becca DuVal: Outdoors! Natural light (from the sun) is always more flattering than artificial light. Pop outside, turn off your flash, keep your subjects’ backs to the sun and snap away!

eNannSource: Any other words of wisdom you’d like to share?

Becca DuVal: Don’t forget to get in the photo, too! Maybe your hair appointment isn’t until next week, or your favorite outfit is in the wash – but I promise the kids won’t care when they’re grown and flipping through albums in search of memories with you in them.

Becca DuVal is a lifestyle photographer in Richmond, Virginia. She shares her love of natural-light photography with local families between playtime with her toddler and date nights with her husband. Follow her personal and professional journey on her Facebook page and find more helpful photography tips on her blog. To learn more about Becca visit www.beccaduvalphotography.com


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