Family Photography

The Importance of Family Photos for Everyday Life

May 7, 2021

I believe there’s such a deep importance of family photos for everyday life, to celebrate the little things and normal days just as much as we do the special ones. Mamas, parents, and soon-to-be parents… I know you know the feeling of wanting to remember every sweet moment and milestone. Your little one crawls for […]

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I'm a photographer, educator and weekly podcaster. I left teaching in a First Grade classroom to build a thriving photography business, and inspire and teach other like-minded women how to build, scale, and create a photo business. I am so excited to meet you!


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I believe there’s such a deep importance of family photos for everyday life, to celebrate the little things and normal days just as much as we do the special ones. Mamas, parents, and soon-to-be parents… I know you know the feeling of wanting to remember every sweet moment and milestone. Your little one crawls for the first time, or you catch your two youngest playing so sweetly together. As parents, we think we’ll remember these incredible moments forever because they seem so special at the time.

Oftentimes, we take a mental snapshot and hope to hang onto it, but over time and years passing, so many of those memories fade. Trust me, I’m guilty of it, too (and I’m a photographer!).

As much as we intend to remember every little precious and new thing, it’s just a part of human nature and our literal brains that we can’t keep ahold of each memory. That’s why I think family photos of everyday life are so important to capture. We all THINK we’ll remember baby’s first meal or the time your toddler finished a puzzle independently, but it’s impossible to remember each and every detail five or ten or more years down the road.

Making a habit of taking photos throughout your weeks is such a special thing. When your kids go off to college or get married and start families of their own, you’ll be so incredibly glad you have these images to look back on together. It’s a celebration of childhood, of family development, and of the ordinary days that make life extraordinary.

The importance of family photos for everyday life

So let’s talk about how to make family photos for everyday life a part of your routine, so you can keep these memories forever and make them a part of your family legacy.

Don’t be perfectionistic about it.

I know we’d all love to have albums upon albums of our families with everyone looking at the camera, everyone smiling, and everyone participating. But you know as well as I do that that’s just not real life.

Taking family photos for everyday life isn’t about getting the perfect picture. It’s about just getting the picture. It’s about freeze-framing this moment in time, right here, right now… regardless of whether or not your hair is done or your toddler wants to smile and say “cheese!”

Start by simply picking up your phone a few times throughout your regular days and just snapping a few photos. While you don’t have to get 100 jaw-dropping photos a week, there are a few simple ways to elevate simple, everyday photos to look slightly more polished.

(Aka, these pointers can take them from “that’s staying in the cloud” to “wow, that’s a framer!”)

  • Take photos in natural lighting, but not direct sunlight. Overhead lighting can create harsh lines and angles, so always try to get photos during the day when the light is bright, but not shining directly on everyone’s faces.
  • Try to eliminate clutter or a lot of background objects. Plain walls and simple backdrops are your friend (like a simple corner of your kitchen where the kids are playing, the front porch, or shooting from an angle in kids’ rooms that shows more of a bare wall than a wall of toys and shelves).
  • Candid is beautiful. Don’t always try to get everyone to look and smile. The simple nature of play or conversation or rest or genuine laughter can make for beautiful images.

Ask someone else to take the shot sometimes.

Mamas especially have a hard time making the cut in family pictures because we’re so often the ones behind the cameras! Ask dad or a grandparent or babysitter to snap a shot every once in a while to make sure YOU make it into some of those treasured memories. 

Another great idea is investing in an affordable tripod. I know this sounds a little bit extra, but I promise it’s worth it to get more photos of the WHOLE family (including you)! And it’s a whole lot easier than trying to balance a phone or camera on a stack of books and hoping it doesn’t fall over while you run to make it into the frame. 

Finally, learn to use your fancy camera if you have one.

I hear all the time from mamas and women I know who say, “So-and-so got me a nice camera for my birthday/Christmas, but I can’t figure out how to shoot in manual!” If that’s you, I have a feeling you’d be much more inclined to snap some gorgeous and raw everyday photos of your family if you knew how to use that DSLR camera sitting on your closet shelf.

No shame! It literally took me watching, like, 100 YouTube tutorials to finally learn how to use my own 10 years ago… And here I am now with my own photography and photo education business! Anyone can learn it, pinky promise.

Just start playing around with the different settings and testing. There are also great resources online to get started. Plus, if you want to learn how to use your fancy camera in just one day, stay tuned for my Photo 101 workshop that I host a few times a year in Roseville, CA (right outside of Sacramento)! 

Learn more and sign up for the next one coming up on [date] here. They’re such a fun time, and it’s important to me that the class stays small so I can teach everything I know, you can ask all your questions, and you’re able to practice on real models both inside and outside. And I always make sure there’s tons of yummy food and snacks! We have the best time!


Ready to finally learn how to use your nice camera?

Join me at my in-person Photo 101 workshop to learn how to shoot in manual, practice on real models, and kickstart your new creative outlet!

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I’m Jillian Goulding, a photographer and educator raising babies and building my life in Sacramento, CA.

Over the years, I’ve transformed my side hustle into a thriving photography business that has taken me and my camera to the beaches of San Francisco Bay, the pages of People Magazine, and the screens of Extra TV.

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