A Day Out at The Spa! (A Lesson on How to Get the Photo Story!)


I love going to the spa with my girlfriends…it is such a fun place to catch up and share all the latest stories about our lives!


The Story.

Your photos should tell most of the story.

The Composition and the Story. This means who you are trying to shoot (a baby, a teen or a thing) and why. What are they doing that is so perfectly cute and worth remembering? It also means how they are sitting or standing or just the environment they are in.


When you tell a story you have to set the background for your reader. When taking a photo you need to pay attention to the background and sometime you need to spend more time doing this than you think. Also, with every good story there is usually a problem that the main character must overcome; a conflict is defined then the resolution to that conflict is shown. This brings satisfaction to the reader. So when you are telling the story with your camera it is good to look for something that your child might be trying to do or maybe a resolution to a conflict or challenge.  I love the shot above of my three sons; it doesn’t show conflict but it shows a relationship and that big brother is taking the little guys on a journey.

Maybe you will get a shot that shows something funny that your kids are doing that shows a slice of childhood or their creativity…the challenge is: childhood. It could be a sporting event that they are trying to win, a baseball to hit, a football to catch, a gymnast skill to achieve etc. This isn’t true for every photo but it will help you think more creatively when you get behind the camera. Who is your main character? What does he like or dislike? What is her personality? What are they trying to do? These are all things that you would answer if you were telling a story so why not answer the same things when you take a good photo. Think of it as if you are illustrating a book about your child’s life. Do your current photos tell stories about your child? Or are they simply documenting what they look like or that you attended an event.


Once you determine what you are shooting you will be able to determine how much time you will need to get the photo. Is a magic moment about to happen or are you just trying to get a good everyday shot of your bundle of joy? Are you headed to the birthday party or the ball field or are you out in your front yard when one of your kids gets into their batman costume and gets on their bike? If it is a split second magic moment you may have to stay on the ‘green box’ auto button on your camera. But if you have at least 30 seconds to think about what you are doing (and if you are a mom you can do a lot in 30 seconds!) you can move to the ‘M’ setting and get that bring-a-tear-to-your-eye photo…blurring the background and paying a little more attention to the details of the moment. I generally keep my camera on stand-by so I am ready when my kids go out in the yard or start doing something that I think will tell a story. This means that the battery needs to be changed and there needs to be room on a memory card. I keep it ready just like I charge my phone every night, I pay attention to my camera. For this shot above I did have to use the program setting as I didn’t have time to adjust my camera: Spiderman and Superman were about to leap to another part of the house! I choose the P setting because the basic auto always uses a flash indoors and I didn’t want the flash.

If you do have time to arrange and ‘fix’ the child….wipe his nose and face and turn the dirty T-shirt backwards or inside out (good tip I learned), go ahead and do that now. You have time to set your camera if you have time to do that. If you are working on a TPA (Teen Photo Attempt) I’m sorry, I feel your pain. Just don’t start arguing with your teen…I have more on that later!

This first step is to think about your composition and the story you are trying to tell. Try to get past your normal routine mug shots and reach for the storytelling shots of your kids. You will be  pro at this in no time and,  have fun at the spa!


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