Photo Tips, Tutorials, & Community

Welcome to Mom and Pop Photo School for Parents, a friendly online community dedicated to beautiful, stress-free family photography.  The blog is where we post cool stuff to help parents enjoy their own creative photo journey.  Check out our self-paced courses and get free access to The Lab when you purchase.


Good Morning Texas Giveaway!

Win a 101 Set worth $99

Hello DFW! I am thrilled to be connecting with so many of you this morning. I hope you'll take a look around our website to get a feel for the fantastic courses and community that students love. See what our students say here.

Self-Paced Courses
Our 101 Set is our most popular choice for parents (and grandparents). It teaches you the most helpful techniques for getting beautiful photos of your family, any  day of the year, with whatever camera you have. When you purchase the Set, you can download the PDF and get started right away. The courses are self-paced, and you'll have 24/7 access to The Lab, where you can ask questions and see other students' photos. 



Face-toFace Classes in and Around Dallas
Sign up for one of my real live classes! Here's the link to the Events listing. More events are being added in the coming weeks, so keep in touch.

Eventbrite logo


Discount Thursday and Friday
For all you Texans who don't happen to win our giveaway, we're offering 20% off the 101 Set! Just enter the code goodmorning at checkout. 

Tonight we'll choose three lucky winners of the 101 Set. To enter, just leave a comment on this blog post below the giveaway box and then click +1 under Enter to Win tab below to register your entry. We will announce the winners tomorrow (Friday morning) here on the blog. Good luck to everybody!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Posted in All Things Photo


Winter Photos

Making the Most of Clouds and Ice

Ice is Nice
We live in Texas, where white Christmases are less common than blue moons.  We don't get a lot of snow, but we do get ice.  And while ice isn't fluffy and white, it sure is sparkly.  I love how it turns branches and grasses into glistening, glowing versions of themselves.  Everything is super still, as though nature has been stopped in time, like it's taking this opportunity to be still and reflect.  Makes you just want to crawl in a hole and hibernate.  Or go exploring with your camera!

One Kid In, One Kid Out
Here are some of my favorite winter pictures with ice.  This was a rare occasion when one of my kids was actually cooperating, willing to hop in the car at a moment's notice and walk around a greenbelt area of our neighborhood in the cold.  It didn't last for long (we Texans don't have much endurance below freezing), but I love these few icy shots we got.  What you don't see here is my other daughter stomping around behind me in her Harry Potter cape, grumpy because I made her come in the car with us and cold because Harry Potter capes are great looking, but not so warm.


Winter Neutrals...or Not
During winter, when the sky is grey and the grasses and trees are more brown than green, you really have two great color palette options for pictures.  You can go for clothing that blends in (whites, greys, browns), which makes for lovely monochromatic images.  Or you can choose a single bright coat or scarf (or umbrella or sled) that really pops.  Of course, the third option is taking whatever your kids happen to have on or be willing to wear and just going with it!

Soft Portrait Lighting
If you've read my photography courses for parents, you know how helpful a cloudy sky can be in creating flattering portrait lighting.  It softens the shadows, so you don't have those harsh dark spots underneath the eyes, nose, and chin.  

A Great Time to Practice
I encourage you to embrace the blustery days wherever you live and experiment with the light and the wintery surroundings, even if you can't wrangle any kids to actually be in your shots.  Remember, practicing with your camera by yourself can really help you prepare for the moments with kids you really want to capture.

Posted in Seasonal & Holiday Photos


Win the 101 Set!



Know a mom with a camera who loves to learn? Mom and Pop Photo courses are super flexible for busy schedules, and they come with lots of support.

Enter win a FREE {101 Set} here:

Or, through Monday, December 2nd, buy one, get one FREE.  Makes a great grandma gift (and one for you too)!


How to Back Up Your Camera Phone Pictures

Automation Makes it Easy!

phone w images greyWe had a sad day in The Lab last month when one of our students lost all her digital photos.  I don't want this to happen to anybody else, ever!  (Especially not to me.)  So I'm teaming up with Lauren from to put out a series of posts on how to protect your photos, from phones to DSLRs. 

This first post will focus on photos from camera-phones (iPhone and Android), and next time we'll tackle the camera-camera (DSLR or compact).  Take it away, Lauren!

Another scary story...

My friend Jen called me the other day and said her phone was stolen. She was in a complete state of panic. All her pictures from the last few months were on there, including her son's birthday pictures. She had lost track of time and didn't sync her phone as with her computer as often as she should. She knew there was another easier way, but she didn't know exactly how all that worked.

Protect your preshies!

Do you take a lot of pictures with your phone? What would happened if your phone was lost or stolen?  I don't know about you, but the thought of losing the photos from my phone is absolutely devastating.

Posted in Tips & Tutorials


Editing Family Photos, Part 1 (of many)

Why we think our pictures need to be so flippin' perfect.

mom-taking-picture-childPicture this...every day, the average American mom (or dad) sees a couple thousand media images, most of them professionally retouched to look: happy! vibrant!! exciting!!! (not to mention tanned and toned). Then one day this real-life mom takes out her camera and starts snapping away, actually getting some great shots of her real-life family. But when she looks at those awesome pictures on the back of her camera, you can almost hear her disappointment (whaah-whaaaah).

Why don’t her pictures look as snappy and poppy as she expects them to? Here’s my theory. [...]

Posted in Photo Editing


Preserving those Sweet Moments

How Lindsay got Hooked

You know how sometimes a blessing just lands in your lap? That’s how I met Lindsay, our new blog contributor, except luckily it was her baby Caprice whom I ended up carrying around. It was the last night at BlissDom (my first blogger conference), and after I admired this glowing baby, her mama entrusted me with her for over an hour. Man, I made a lot of friends that night!

Since then, Lindsay started taking Mom and Pop Photo courses and has soaked up every bit of them. Her photos are gorgeous! She’s been very active in The Lab, sharing and encouraging other students. Lindsay has her own blog which focuses on family life and crafting. And now she’s offered to share her new passion for photography (and her mad writing skills) here on the Mom and Pop Photo blog.

I hope her story will inspire you to pick up your camera and play! Lindsay has also been busy studying the art and technique of photo editing, so stay tuned for future posts from her about editing for beginners. Without further adieu...

Lindsay-Selfie-webHeeeeere's Lindsay...

Hi everyone! I'm Lindsay with Two Bobbins Later, and I'm here to write about my photography journey, and (hopefully) inspire you as you head down your own photography path!

I got interested in photography in 2010 after my wedding. We hired a professional photographer for the first time in our lives and when we got the images back a month or so later they took my breath away. Not only were the memories captured forever but the feelings were captured too. Every time I look at those images it is as if I am back in that moment, that's how clearly and beautifully our day was captured.

Posted in Featured Students, Inspiration


Fourth of July Photos with "Independence"

Photographing Kids with their Own Ideas

Mom-and-Pop-Photo-Fourth-July 01-wHas anybody out there experienced this? You get your kids all dressed up or you find the perfect spot for a photo shoot, and then they proceed to do anything and everything but what you want them to do? With the Fourth of July approaching, I think it’s a great time to talk about children’s “in-dee-PEN-dence” (as claimed by Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer) and how it can actually enhance our family photos, instead of just frustrating us.

This patriotic photo shoot with my little friend Avery is a good (and relatively easy) example of taking my photo cues from a 3 year-old. I didn’t do much planning at all. I had never taken pictures at this location before.  On my way out the door, I just barely remembered to grab a little flag from a box of party supplies in my garage. Without any fixed ideas in my head, it was actually easier to just see what Avery wanted to do, and play around with that.

Posted in Tips & Tutorials, Seasonal & Holiday Photos


Easy Photography Using Natural Light

The Best Kind of Mother's Day Present

Easy-Natural-Lighting-Portrait 02-cropIt's been ages since I've gotten any really good pictures of my kids. So when my daughter happened to be in a good mood, wearing my favorite dress of hers, and showing me something in the alley which (who knew?) is kind of a cool photo spot...I knew this was my chance. I tried to play it cool, though. I hung out with her for a bit, listening to her theory of whatever it was she was showing me (I have no recollection whatsoever). Then, when I felt like I had paid her sufficient attention, I said, "Hang on!" and I ran in to get my camera.

Posted in Tips & Tutorials


Mom's Guide is Here!

Just in time for Mother's Day

I am very happy to present Mom and Pop Photo's first Guide.  It's a handy little collection of lessons and tutorials that's short enough to read in a sitting (or two).  Moms, this is the kind of thing you may need to send a hint about to your honey.  :-)  It's easy for him to buy, and it will help you create great family photos all year long.  Oh, and when you order the Mom's Guide, you get $15 off our 101 Set of courses!  Find more details here:

Moms Guide to Great Photos

Posted in Courses & Groups, Tips & Tutorials


Family Photos, Step-by-Step

Spring Sale on our Portrait Photography Courses

This week only!  30% off all of our photo courses for parents (and grandparents, and teens :-).  Learn more about our courses here.


Posted in Seasonal & Holiday Photos, All Things Photo


Photography Classes for...Teens?!

Photo Courses for Everyone, Really.

Let's say "farewell" to the cold by highlighting these gorgeous winter portraits by Rebekah, a Mom and Pop Photo student with a great eye (and some darling nieces and nephews).

mom-and-pop-photo-student-bekahBekah is an inspiring, 13 year old Mom and Pop Photo Student. She received the Mom and Pop course as a Christmas gift from her mother and has been snapping photos since she was just 11! While most of our students photograph their children, Bekah's subjects are mostly her eldest sister's little ones. Bekah lives in Nebraska and is continuing to inspire fellow students everyday with her creative eye!

How would you describe your pictures before Mom and Pop?
They were grainy, always very grainy, and I had a hard time figuring out lighting and what to do when I came across a difficult lighting situation.


See more photos below...

Posted in Featured Students


Organizing My Family Photos

It's Time.

Houston, we have a problem. Apparently, I've ignored the overflowing photo folders one day too long, and now my Bridge (the Adobe program I use for searching and previewing all my images) is refusing to work. I'm pretty sure that Bridge is just mad at me for letting it get so messy and full. It's like a closet that I just kept stuffing, and now the door is popping off.

Time for a little spring cleaning!

For the past two weeks, my husband and I have been giving away and selling all sorts of things. We've gotten...

Posted in Tips & Tutorials


Photography Classes that Work!

Meet Heather, Our Featured Student

Mom-and-Pop-Photo-School-Student-HeatherHeather is a Mom and Pop Photo School student who has really made the most of our photography courses. Her family photos have gone from so-so to SO BEAUTIFUL. While most of our students use the courses mainly to photograph their own children, Heather has found her creative calling and is launching her own photography business! Heather lives in Virginia Beach and has a darling chunk of a baby boy who's perfect for photo practice. :-)

Here's a little bit about how our 101 Set has helped Heather get great results.

Heather says: I purchased this set over a year ago and learned SO much with it!! Seriously, my photos improved so much, and at the time all I wanted was to get great photos of my son. It was just after that, I made the decision to take photography to the next level.

When you purchase the 101 Set, you will get access to "The Lab" which is the forum for students to learn from one another. In there, you will see my before and after albums...CRAZY difference! 


See more of Heather's photos...

Posted in Featured Students


Holiday Cards

Better Late than Never!

Well, it's nearing the end of January...time for me to send out my holiday cards! If you think I'm just 4 or 5 weeks late, that's nothing. It's been about 5 years since we sent out a card, all the while enjoying the kindness of friends and family who have continued to send us theirs.  In the spirit of a cobbler with barefoot children, I've been the photographer who doesn't send any photos (I'm working on an apology letter to my grandmother who has been so very patient).

Promptness has never been a sticking point for me, so I think that most years it's my desire to have an outstanding holiday card (read: pride and perfectionism...sigh) that get in the way of my sending them out (and probably get in the way of other fun things too). While not having "the perfect" holiday card is definitely a champagne problem, not sending anything at all feels like a lost opportunity to stay connected with loved ones, something I value deeply.


Note:  I did not put my business watermark on my personal holiday cards.  That's just for web posting.  :-)

. . .

Posted in Seasonal & Holiday Photos


Photography Blog is Back in Business!

Building a Website is Surprisingly Hard

I feel like I have finally recovered from the daunting challenge of completely re-building the Mom and Pop Photo website. Of course, I didn't actually build it. I am sane enough to hire experts to do most of the work.  But just planning, drawing mock-ups, and checking for errors is a monster of a job.  


I suppose I am making my excuses for not publishing anything on the blog for many months (in case anyone at all was waiting ;-). I honestly did not anticipate being so wrapped up in the whole process. But the site is mostly done now, and although it's not perfect, I hope it better helps people to see what we're offering and decide if our photography courses are a good fit for them.

. . .

Posted in All Things Photo

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