The Inner Image: Taking The Best Family Pictures

Do you find that family outings are not visually captured as well as you’d like them to be? If you’re an amateur photographer, or you like a selfie or two with your kids, taking a good family photo is a fine art. After all, people have dedicated their entire lives to the endeavor of the perfect photograph. And while you don’t need to be Robert Capa, are there any fundamentals you can take on board to ensure that you don’t, at the very least, have your thumb over the lens?

Get The Focus Locked

Either you need to have the steadiest of arms, or you can go for the simpler option and get a tripod. You might consider this to be a bit bulky, but when you’re looking at capturing the perfect family photo, what have all the great portraits got in common? The camera has focus, and the subjects are still. So, making sure that the focus on the camera is locked, either by using the back button focus or manual focus, it will take a lot of the guesswork out of it.

Getting Action Shots

It all depends on the subject, but it’s much easier when you’ve got kids that are more than willing to mess around for the camera. You can get an abundance of action shots, but don’t feel that you’ve got to be static in these situations. In fact, if you’re looking to get various types of family photos, not just the still portraits, you may want to go a bit left-field and get a drone. On there is a list of the best selfie drones, which adds another angle to your experience. And, if you want to get those really fantastic aerial shots of you and the family running on a massive beach, a drone is the best way to do it.

Get The Light Right

One of the most difficult tasks for any photographer is to get the light right because we can’t control it. And if you can’t drag piles of lighting equipment around with you, the simplest approach is to choose the right time to take these photos. Lighting is such an expansive topic, but the golden rule when getting a family portrait is that you get light into the subject’s eyes.

Undertake Your Own Education

Who are your favorite photographers? Do you admire anyone at all? For any budding photographer, getting into the work of one specific artist, whether it’s Pulitzer prize winner Kevin Carter or Vivian Maier, finding the right people to inspire your work and to go beyond the usual family portraits means you can create some amazing photographs that remain true to the subject. Your own education can begin right now, and sites like show some of the most common photography terms, so this can get you started.

We can all take a photograph, but the greatest photographs take the subject and show them in an honest and human light. When taking pictures of your family, you may know them inside out, but you can always benefit from learning how to get the camera to reveal their inner self.

This post is a collaborative effort by St. Louis Dad.

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Surprise Mom with a Mother’s Day Canvas Pop!

Mother’s Day is just around the corner and now is the perfect time to get the perfect gift ordered and shipped so it arrives just in time for mom. Every year my kids make their mom a card. We get out the glue, glitter, construction paper, scissors and more and craft together a beautiful card. This year though we are planning something different. So instead of doing the personalized card we usually do this year we are going for something a little more thoughtful, something a little more sentimental, something different, and something that will last a lifetime, this year we are getting canvas prints!


This year the kids and I are going to go through hundreds of photos and find the best ones to send over to CanvasPop to print off several beautiful canvas prints! Sorting through wonderful memories that we have all created together is the perfect excuse to print off those precious moments for mom to hang on the wall. With two kids and myself we decided to go with three different canvas prints to surprise mom this year on her special day. Unique and made just for her these prints will look fantastic on our wall and will definitely last a lifetime.

While sifting through thousands of photos we even came across some that would be perfect for those other moms in our life. Aunts, grandmas, and those other motherly figures should get a chance to feel special this Mother’s Day as well. Sending over a few photos to CanvasPop could not be any easier. Just upload and make some selections and there ya go!


So what are you waiting for? Head on over to CanvasPop and start digging through those selfies and candid photos to find the perfect canvas print to have printed for that special mom in your life. Save yourself the time and headache from getting crafty and making a big mess that either you or mom will have to clean up anyways. Spend that extra time going through those old photos. You may even find something that you totally forgot about like I usually do. My kids love going through pictures of old memories. It is something that we can spend hours doing and really enjoying the time spent together.

Click here and get started today!!!

If you need more inspiration for Mother’s Day, check out this Mother’s Day ideas page at CanvasPop and save with an exclusive Mother’s Day code!

St. Louis Dad partnered with CanvasPop for this post. Check out for more awesome canvas prints!

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2016 a Year in St. Louis Dad Photos


Looking back at 2016 I would have to say that our family rocked it. We made a lot of fun memories and had a great time in the process. We had a lot of fun going to different events, spending time together with only our little family and also all of the times we spent with our much larger extended family. There were a lot of laughs and many tears, but all in all the Williams family rocked St. Louis this year and we plan on continuing rocking it for 2017.

So as I was going through my photos from the past year and I thought it would be nice to share these 15 favorite Instagram pictures from 2016. Enjoy!

Photo #1

This past year we had many opportunities to check out several Disney shows in downtown St. Louis. It was so awesome seeing our kids faces light up when the shows began!

Photo #2

2016 was also the first year that I have presented at a couple major conferences. It was so cool being able to share my knowledge with others within the education and technology fields.

#METC16 slide deck for Meet The Google Admin Console #gafe #certified

A photo posted by Richie Williams (@dadstl) on

Photo #3

The Cottleville St. Patrick’s Day Parade is a yearly favorite event to check out. This year it was rainy, much like the year before but we still had a lot of fun.

Cottleville St. Patrick’s Day Parade! #stpatricksday #parade #pinchme

A photo posted by Richie Williams (@dadstl) on

Photo #4

 And right after St. Patty’s Day there’s Easter! Going to Eckert’s this year for their egg-hunt was a rainy day blast. The kids had so much fun that day.

Can’t wait to do some egg hunting with these two kiddos. #egghunt #easter

A photo posted by Richie Williams (@dadstl) on

Photo #5

One of the very few dates my wife and I actually had in 2016. The day together was made even better by spending it with my beautiful wife.

Go Cards! #stlcards #cardinals

A photo posted by Richie Williams (@dadstl) on

Photo #6

Spending time together with our family was a high priority for us in 2016.

Just some of my favorite people. #family (photo credit to manranda)

A photo posted by Richie Williams (@dadstl) on

Photo #7

My little guy even went all out this summer jumping into the water like a professional.

Stuntman Alex #swimming #kids #4th

A video posted by Richie Williams (@dadstl) on

Photo #8

A float trip without kids? That was definitely a highlight of the year. Except the storm that followed, that was a little intense.

Had a blast floating this weekend with some awesome people! #floating #blackriver #gopro

A photo posted by Richie Williams (@dadstl) on

Photo #9

My baby girl started Kindergarten this year!

First day of school treat! She says she’s ready to go back tomorrow! #kindergartenrockstar

A photo posted by Richie Williams (@dadstl) on

Photo #10

Apple picking at Eckert’s was also one of the kids favorite things we did in 2016. 

Apple picking at #Eckerts! They are mighty tasty!

A photo posted by Richie Williams (@dadstl) on

Photo #11

Tigger is still a popular sidekick. Even though she thought about putting him away, he was back the next day in her arms!

Photo #12

Summer isn’t over until you can jump in some muddy puddles! 

Family reunion fun! #muddypuddles

A video posted by Richie Williams (@dadstl) on

Photo #13

Dad’s a Halloween hot dog! The kids said that I made them too hungry and can’t wear this costume anymore.

Trick or treat! Smell our feet! #halloween #extrastinky #hotdog #supergirl #candy #parenttax

A photo posted by Richie Williams (@dadstl) on

Photo #14

We will take any picture we can get, even if it’s ruined by a tongue. 

Happy Thanksgiving from the Williams family!

A photo posted by Richie Williams (@dadstl) on

Photo #15

This past year has been amazing. My kids are growing up with two parents that love them beyond words can describe and I myself have never been so lucky to have three incredible people in my life. Our new family tradition is posted below, going to Waffle House Christmas morning. There was a bit of a wait but it didn’t take too much time before we were shoveling hash browns and waffles down our gullets.

Christmas breakfast at #wafflehouse this morning with my awesome family! #hashbrowns

A photo posted by Richie Williams (@dadstl) on

Thank you for sticking around this past year reading St. Louis Dad. Here’s to 2017 and all the memories it will bring with it!

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Make Your Walls Pop with this CanvasPop Giveaway!

IMG_1571 CanvasPop reached out a few weeks ago asking if I would be interested in reviewing one of their awesome printed canvas and also host a giveaway for St. Louis Dad’s readers to have a chance to win their own CanvasPop printed canvas. How cool is that!!! Read through my review to learn how you can enter to win!

So the canvas that I had printed arrived the other day and it looks fantastic. The size was 16×24 and was much larger than I expected. The printing was done from a photo taken while we were on vacation down in Arkansas. It’s of my daughter Abby and her PawPaw, my awesome father-in-law. The picture wasn’t posed or anything like that, it was one of those “say cheese” moments and we captured it perfectly. My wife edited the original photo to be black and white and with how it turned out I just knew that this was the picture that needed to be on our wall.

My daughter can be really shy at times. She loves her Mammaw and PawPaw a lot but she can get a little silly when it comes to giving hugs and kisses to them. She may turn her head and be all shy about it. The fact that this picture shows off her smile with her PawPaw really makes this print very special to me. It makes me so happy to see the joy in my father-in-law’s face when his grandchildren are around. So instead of keeping this awesome CanvasPop for myself, I gave it to him. He was impressed with how great it looked and already had plans for hanging it with some other family photos. It will look great hanging on his and Mammaw’s wall, and it will put a smile on my face whenever I see it hanging over there.

IMG_1573It’s so cool that CanvasPop can take a photo you took and turn it into an amazing canvas print. I was a little worried that the quality might be lost when printed but it is just as clear on canvas as it is on the computer screen. The canvas was packaged nicely and had a really cute sticker on the box saying that it was Made With Love. Which I am sure is the case, and I wish I could save the sticker, it’s just so cool (I’m weird and like to collect stickers). To compare to say Walgreen’s same day poster pickup would be a travesty. This canvas print is significantly higher quality than a Walgreen’s print. If you’re going to get a picture printed, go all out and go for one of CanvasPop’s awesome offerings.

Now, how about that giveaway? All I need you to do is visit this link or click the image below to see how you can enter to win. There are even more ways to enter by following St. Louis Dad and CanvasPop on Twitter, Instagram, and Facebook. Just click and enter! The contest starts now (November 13th) and will end next Friday, November 20th at midnight!

canvaspopgiveaway provided St. Louis Dad with this sample product, and giveaway as compensation in exchange for an honest review. Please visit for more info!

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