10 Moments I Would Have Missed Without a DSLR Camera

I bought my first DSLR shortly after I found out I was pregnant. On a whim, I chose Canon. I read it was easier for beginners and I was familiar with the brand. I wanted to be able to take photos during my pregnancy and pictures of my baby after she was born. Little did I know I’d get hooked. Completely in love with photography, specifically photographs of my family.

You know I’m all about making beautiful memories and capturing that. Well, 5 years and 3 Canons later, I also didn’t expect for some of the moments I’ve captured to have such an impact on my life. While there are countless moments that wouldn’t have been the same without my DSLR, I’m narrowing it down to 10 today.

Here are 10 moments I may have missed without my DSLR camera.


Are there any moments you’re thankful to have had your camera for?  I’d love to hear them!

On the air, Jennifer Borget is a freelance news reporter and anchor. Off the air, she’s a wife and mother documenting her life in extraordinary ways, and inspiring others to do the same. She shares it all on her award-winning blog.

All images courtesy of the author

  • The Natural Beauty of My Pregnancies


    Growing a human being is not easy, and I felt so lucky to have the experience. Watching my belly grow, and noticing the changes from week to week was such a joy. My self confidence may waiver every other time, but when I’m pregnant I feel beautiful. I loved my maternity shoots, and had them professionally taken twice during each pregnancy. But somehow that wasn’t enough. I set up my DSLR camera and took my own maternity photos during various stages of my pregnancy. Some of them had more of a lifestyle edge, and others I made to look like they were taken in a studio. In the end I had so many pictures for my baby books, and I satisfied my obsession with belly photos, without breaking the bank.

    Quick Tip: Get in those photos, mama.  Even if it means taking them yourself!

    Bottom Line: I needed the high ISO capabilities of my DSLR to capture this image in the dim light of my bedroom. I also used my camera's wireless remote capabilities to take the picture myself.

  • Cherished Milestones


    From the birth of each of my children, to their first smiles, yawns, new teeth, tummy time, sitting up, trying new foods, learning to crawl and walk… The list goes on. So many moments I would have missed without my DSLR camera. It’s true, the same could be said if I didn’t have my phone with me for some of these special moments. But when I look back and compare each batch of photos, while I treasure both, one set easily outshines the other. So many of these moments required me to have a good lens for low-light capability, a fast shutter speed and continuous shooting modes for my baby on the move so I can freeze them in the action. There’s no question that a lot of these pictures I would have missed, or would have been lacking the same quality without my camera.

    Quick Tip: Don’t give up, and keep snapping. Eventually you’ll find your groovy and capture a keeper.

    Bottom Line: Without the fast shutter speed of my Canon, I wouldn't have been able to freeze the detail of my son's giddy smile, and the sharpness in his hair, all while pushing him in the swing myself with one hand, and snapping the pictures with the other. I also was able to shoot with the f-stop wide open to blur out the distracting background and focus on my little boy.

  • Fleeting Sibling Love


    Some of my absolute favorite pictures are the ones I get of my two babies together. Apart, it’s pretty easy to get a shot. Together? A totally different ballgame. I quickly learned getting pictures of the two of them together would be more than twice as hard. A photo where they’re both looking, and being sweet, and not grimacing or wiggling isn’t easy to do. And the ones I get on my phone rarely turn out. The ones that do aren’t nice enough to hang on the wall, and sibling pictures are some of the first ones I go to print.

    Quick Tip: Be patient with your kiddos.  And embrace those candid moments.

    Bottom Line: Without the high shutter speeds of my DSLR, My wiggly toddler would have been a blurry mess in this shot. I cranked up the ISO since my bedroom wasn't extremely bright, and then I was able to up the shutter speed to freeze both of my babies in this shot.

  • Tiny Newborn Details


    They’re never going to be this small again. Capturing these details was all about good lighting and a good lens. My daughter’s tiny ears, my son’s tiny lips and feet. These sweet little pieces of them wouldn’t have been remembered quite the same without these tools.

    Quick Tip: Position yourself near a window so the best light will cast on your baby.

    Bottom Line: My 100mm f 2.8/L Macro lens let me get the tiniest of details on my newborn. I wanted to focus on eyes, nose and mouth in this photo, so I got close, and set the focus to his nose. Without my DSLR I wouldn't have achieved an image this sharp and vibrant.

  • Charm in the Dark


    So much of my best photography is taken in the daylight. But do you know how many sweet moments happen at night? Bath time, bedtime, movies in the dark. So many beautiful memories I want to remember without a huge flash getting in the way and ruining the scene. These are pictures I just can’t take with my phone. I mean, I can try, but they can’t hold a candle to the beauty I can preserve with my camera. I want to remember the nights my daughter and I snuggle up to watch a new Disney flick. Or the times when my children are cuddling together with a book.

    Quick Tip: Whenever possible, avoid the pop-up flash. The available light source will capture the natural mood and essence of the moment.

    Bottom Line: While my husband snapped photos on his phone, I brought out the big guns. My pictures came out and his... A blurry mess. I really needed the high ISO capabilities of my camera for these sharp Halloween pictures after dark. I only had porch light for this photo so I upped my ISO, opened my aperture, and lowered my shutter speed as much as I could before getting motion blur.

  • Split-Second Splash


    My kids both love the water. We’ve had most of Lil’ J’s birthday parties at the pool, and we basically live in the water over the summer. We have a neighborhood pool, a slew of splash pads through Austin, and pools to enjoy at the gym. Typically I’m not a fan of bringing any kind of camera to the pool. But there are some moments when I can’t resist. The photographer who took pictures at Lil’ J’s first birthday party got a shot of her and I together that froze the moment perfectly. I held my daughter in my arms and spun around, while we spun in the water shooting up at us. Her lens froze the tiny droplets all around us in place. Now every summer I make it a point to bring my big girl camera and get at least one shot of my kids having a blast in the water. Of course it winds up turning into a “let’s try that again” approach and I wind up bringing it a few times, but the exciting pictures rarely disappoint.

    Quick Tip: A higher shutter speed will freeze motion.

    Bottom Line: Without a question I needed a DSLR to crank that shutter speed way up to get the water droplets splashing. In wide open sun my ISO was pretty low, and aperture was set to about 3.0 to focus on the subjects in the picture, and blur out the distracting background.

  • A Chance to Help Friends


    I’ve had a lot of practice photographing my own kids and family, but I had no idea the moments I’d help others save for their families. A lot of photographers start their career that way I think. They learn on their own little subjects then branch out and take photos for others, eventually honing in on their style and sometimes making a full-blown business out of it. While I don’t make a job out of taking pictures of other people, I feel so fortunate to have helped some of my friends who want to get in the picture with their families. I even traded family photos with my photographer one year so we could easily both get in the photos with our families. Selfies can be fun, but they aren’t necessarily something you want to hang on the wall.

    Quick Tip: Back up your photos every month. Trust me on this.

    Bottom Line: I needed my DSLR to capture the depth in this photo. That window is the only light coming into the room, so I used my 50 1.4 lens with the f-stop wide open to focus on the family. You can see the baby toys in the image, but the focus is on the proud mom and dad.

  • An Angelic Smile to Grace the Cover of a Book


    Though I haven’t made a career taking photos of other people, some exciting opportunities have come about from photographing my own kids. One evening I was practicing taking pictures of my daughter and experimenting with backlight. I had just upgraded to the EF 50mm  f/1.4 USM lens and I was seeing what it could do.  Little did I know a publisher would come across that photo years later, and license it for a textbook. Even if I never made another dime off any of my photos, I love the history I’m saving for my family.

    Quick Tip: A great time to take outdoor photos is during “golden hour.” The time just after sunrise and just before sunset. Colors are most vibrant and rich and the sunlight isn’t as harsh.

    Bottom Line: Do you see those toys on the ground behind her? Exactly. By using my Canon and lens with a low aperture setting I was able to focus on my cheerful little girl and blur out the distracting background. 

  • A Big Celebration


     I go crazy at holidays, birthday parties, and vacations. As diligent as I am about backing up my phone photos and deleting them to conserve space, it’s no match for my celebration photo frenzies. And when my child is blowing out their candles, or diving into their cake, I don’t chance missing the beauty moment without my DSLR.

    Quick Tip: Have a spare camera battery and keep an extra charged at all times.

    Bottom Line: When I was taking these photos for his party invites, homeboy was going crazy over these balloons. Shaking them and jumping all around. I’d get him to look at me and focus for a minute before he'd go crazy again. I needed the fast shutter speed to freeze his glee. Same thing during his party while he was attacking his cake. Can't catch pieces of frosting flying without a good camera.

    Are there any moments you’re thankful to have had your camera for?  I’d love to hear them!

  • Pride in Displaying My Photos at Home


    I don’t know what it is, but it’s hard for me to get excited about hanging paintings and random artwork that I don’t have a connection to around my home. I love looking at pictures of my kids around the house. They’re my favorite little muses, and it’s even more exciting for me knowing that many of the pictures hanging up are photos I took myself. Displayed grandly in my playroom is a collage of some of my favorite photos of my kids. As my husband and I stuck it on my wall I was so proud of the fact that a camera purchase I took a chance on five years ago had become a beautiful tool to make a beautiful photo legacy we can all enjoy for years to come.

    Quick Tip: Don’t pressure yourself to take immaculate photos right out of the gate, or even after several years. Read the manual and enjoy all of your “outtakes” along the way. I have HUNDREDS of those and cherish them all.

    Bottom Line: The high megapixels in my DSLR made blowing up this photo for my living room a piece of cake. There was no stretching or distortion needed to print a huge photo, and it's just as vibrant, sharp and gorgeous as it looked on the back of my camera. But even bigger to admire from afar.