Tips and Tricks with Gayle Vehar

Gayle is back for a second day, yay! If you missed her post yesterday on shooting in manual, be sure to check it out HERE. Gayle will also be judging our “Nix the Auto” Photo Contest so be sure to enter!


Tips and Tricks to Get Better Photos

By Gayle Vehar

Okay, so we all want better photos. As much as I love my digital SLR and using manual mode on my camera, most of these tricks aren’t limited to those with “big fancy” cameras–these little tricks can be used by ANY camera! So, let’s dive in!

1. Turn off your flash! It is almost impossible to use on-camera flash and get a beautiful photograph. That super harsh direct light fired directly at your subject just isn’t flattering! I refer to it as the Flash of Death. If possible (and it is if you have a DSLR) turn off the flash and look for areas of beautiful natural light wherever you are. When indoors, that beautiful light can be found near glass doors or windows. When outside, that light can be found almost anywhere. I don’t mean NEVER use your on-camera flash–by all means don’t miss your daughter’s birthday or first dance recital over it. However, if you learn to turn off your flash and find the pockets of beautiful light, it will improve your photos 100%!!


2. Not all photos need to have your child looking at the camera and smiling. When I first started taking photos (okay–I sometimes still do it), I was constantly telling my children to “Look at me and smile!” We aren’t always smiling in real life and often when someone tells us to smile we present them with a fake (for the camera) smile. Don’t get me wrong–I still want smiles sometimes, but I have learned that capturing my subjects when they are not looking or even smiling is way more precious. It is then that they are fully themselves.


3. Fill your viewfinder with your subject. If you follow just ONE rule, have it be this one. If the subject is my son, then I fill the viewfinder with him, but if the subject is just his expression or his feet then I fill my viewfinder with that. If my subject is my blossoming tree then I need the tree to fill my viewfinder. But if my subject is just the beautiful blossoms on the tree then I need to fill my viewfinder with beautiful blossoms!

4. Practice everyday! I know this sounds CRAZY. I mean WHO could take a picture everyday, right?!?! I honestly think the fastest way to get better at taking photos is to do it everyday and share with others the pictures you are taking. It is also the fastest way to improve your manual mode skills. If you aren’t taking photos everyday (or at the very least many times a week) you won’t remember what to do when you pull your camera out or improve your skills.


I’d love to have you come visit me over at Mom and Camera! I wish you the best in your quest for better photos!


Big, huge thank you must go out to Gayle!! She has a such a gift and we are very thankful that she shared it with us here at Lil Blue Boo. We feel so lucky that she took the time to write these posts for our readers. Be sure to follow along at Mom & Camera for more amazing tips and check out her store where you can purchase some of her incredible prints!



  1. the monkeys' mama says

    i'm loving these tips and tricks but i'm also loving being inspired by her awesome photography–it's fodder for my entry ideas!

  2. kirsty says

    This series has been a great help to me already. At one stage I was learning to use manual but it got too hard and I went back to auto. Now I have to start all over again learning, but I managed to take a bunch of lovely manual photos yesterday!