I used to be huge into photography. I owned a nice Canon, took classes, and even developed my film in a dark room (ahh, the bad old days of photography ...). But then digital cameras came along, and although ostensibly this should make taking pics easier, it seemed to make it harder. Let's face it, those digital cameras are complex. Just like the brain, I can use about 1 percent of my camera. So I lost interest in taking pictures. But I should really look into it again because these new SLR cameras are amazing. It doesn't take much to take some fantastic photos of your loved ones, surroundings, pets, and milestone events. In this episode of The Karen Walron Show, Karen shows CafeMom member Amanda you don't have to be Anne Geddes to get some great pics of the youngin's.

Amanda was sent out on "assignment" to take pictures of her two young sons and then brought them back for Karen to critique. For an amateur, Amanda's photos are fantastic. Her sons are super-photogenic, so that helps. But Amanda has a good eye.

Here are some tips Karen gave for helping Amanda and anyone else capture some of those special moments while your kids are growing up:

Get the right lighting. Karen says that natural daylight is always the best light to take pics in, and 30-45 minutes before sunset is called the "golden" time to take photos because the golden light at that time makes everyone look like a supermodel.

Zoom in. It's always best to have the subject fill the frame as much as possible, so zoom in close. (Even if it's a bad skin day, Karen? Hmmm ...) Zoom can be a great way to capture kids because you don't even have to tell them you're photographing them and can get some natural, spontaneous shots.

White balance. Yes, this is one of those techie things, but it's worth knowing. Your camera can adjust to the lighting of the environment, so that indoor shots aren't too yellow, outdoor shots too blue, etc. All you need to do is find those little pics that depict what your environment looks like -- day, night, rain, etc. -- and select the right one. C'mon, it's not that hard.

Rule of thirds. This is the rule that basically says that the eye finds things more pleasing when the composition of a photo is slightly "off." So instead of taking a photo dead-on with the subject directly in the middle of the shot, have it slightly askew.

There's a lot more tips in this video and Karen says them better than I can, so check it out. Framed pics of the kids will not only look great in your home, but can make perfect holiday gifts for the fam.

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Image via YouTube