Episode 26: Meg Calton on Taking Photos for Moms

business Jul 27, 2021
Meg Calton Knows Taking Photos for Moms

Meg Calton is a mom photographer who loves to teach other moms how to use their cameras to take photos of their kids.

Things Meg mentioned in the episode:

When we recorded we didn't know which team won the NBA Championship.  Meg was pulling for the Suns, but the Milwaukee Bucks were the champions.

Ira Glass quote on taste:

“Nobody tells this to people who are beginners, I wish someone told me. All of us who do creative work, we get into it because we have good taste. But there is this gap. For the first couple years you make stuff, it’s just not that good. It’s trying to be good, it has potential, but it’s not. But your taste, the thing that got you into the game, is still killer. And your taste is why your work disappoints you. A lot of people never get past this phase, they quit. Most people I know who do interesting, creative work went through years of this. We know our work doesn’t have this special thing that we want it to have. We all go through this. And if you are just starting out or you are still in this phase, you gotta know its normal and the most important thing you can do is do a lot of work. Put yourself on a deadline so that every week you will finish one story. It is only by going through a volume of work that you will close that gap, and your work will be as good as your ambitions. And I took longer to figure out how to do this than anyone I’ve ever met. It’s gonna take awhile. It’s normal to take awhile. You’ve just gotta fight your way through.”

Learn more about printing your photos into Chatbooks

Order your own set of Cheat Sheets (and don't forget to use discount code THISMOM)

Sign-up for your own copy of 3 Simple Things for taking better pictures of your kids

Connect with Meg on FacebookInstagram, YouTube channel, or her website  

Meg's favorite gadgets are her long iPhone charging cords and her loopy case (try discount code: foundya10)

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This is a transcript of the This Mom Knows Podcast - Episode - 26

Jennifer Uren
Meg Calton is a mompreneur in Arizona. She has four kids and she's the genius behind Snap Happy Mom. She bought her first nice camera so she could take great photos of her kids. But like so many of us was overwhelmed with all the settings. So she decided to master her camera and now she teaches other moms how to do the same. Taking pictures is one of my very favorite things. So I'm excited for today's conversation. Welcome, Meg.

Meg Calton
Thanks, Jenn, happy to be here.

Jennifer Uren
Well, well, let's just start with some general get to know your questions. That covered a lot in the bio. But why don't you tell us you know, where you grew up? Maybe how long you've been doing photography? Things that you enjoy doing with your family for fun? Some general things like that.

Meg Calton
So I actually grew up in Wisconsin - which I found out Jenn lives very close to where I lived - and we now live in Arizona, which is a very different climate than Wisconsin. I have my husband and four kids and they go boy, girl, boy, girl, we...let's see, we like to do lots of things. But we, I especially have a lot of readers. My, my kids got that for me. We are a creative family. And we love to read and do art and play games and those type of things. We're also Suns fans, and by the time this posts we'll know if the Suns won or lost the championship game. I don't know yet. Um, so yeah, so I got my first camera in college. And I got it and I had thought that it would magically take amazing pictures. And when I was in college - this was before the first iPhone was released, so I didn't have a smartphone, I had a flip phone that did have a camera but it was like one megapixel type camera - and I had always been interested in photography and knew that I needed a nice camera to do that. But I was somewhat frustrated when I actually had a camera and it did not do what I expected it to do. And so I eventually learned and figured it out. And now I teach moms how to take better pictures of their own kids. Because although we have smartphones, a lot of people still want the power that a DSLR camera can give you and there are many things that it can do that a smartphone cannot. And so I teach moms how to take better pictures of their kids.

Jennifer Uren
That's great. So when you got that first camera - I'm suspecting that you're younger than me - and so your first SLR was probably an actually a digital SLR and not a film one. Is that correct?

Meg Calton
My first digital? Yes, my first camera was a DSLR. However, I have shot film. And that's actually funny that you mention that because I when I teach my classes, there's some lingo that is actually like a pullover term from from the film age. And when I always say if you're older than me, you know what this means. But if you're younger, you've probably never heard of this word. So I have shot film, but I was right kind of on the verge of digital cameras were just getting really amazing. And I did not shoot film for very long.

Jennifer Uren
Okay, yeah, that's why cuz my first SLR was film. So I'm like digital - it changes everything!

Meg Calton
Now most everyone only realizes, only uses the term DSLR because they don't realize than an SLR did exist before digital.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. And where would you develop film anyway? I mean, like, that's...

Meg Calton
I don't even know!

Jennifer Uren
Right. So you got it and your impression was "I have this tool, it will do these great things," as opposed to "I've got this tool that I need to learn how to use in order to do these great things."

Meg Calton
I would agree with that. I think most people expect that. And..

Jennifer Uren
I think so.

Meg Calton
...that's why I have a market is that we believe that the tool is the thing that takes the pictures. And in reality, the photographer is the one taking the pictures. And that person, a good photographer could take great pictures with any kind of camera. And you have to put in some effort to learn the tool that you're choosing to use. I actually knew this question was coming and so I have this quote that I love from Ira Glass. And it talks about that people who are creative, people who get into creative work, they get into it because they have a good eye because they have good taste. But when they first get started their work is never as good as their taste. And there's this gap. That's what the quote is it says there is a gap between between what you want the work to look like and between what actually happens. And too many people stop when they see that gap. And they're like, "Nope, it's not as good as I want it to be must be an issue and I'm done." And instead, like you have to spend the time and the effort to produce work to allow your skill set to rise to where your taste is because your taste is so good. Like your work has potential. But the pictures you're taking, when they're not good it means you need to practice and take more pictures to get to the point when like your skill set catches up with what you can envision in your head. Yeah, and I'm sure you could post that quote in the show notes. But it's so good, because it just talks about, like, if you're starting taking pictures and you're not happy with them, that's fine. In fact, that's completely normal, to not be able to work your camera, and it just is, as you get better your, your skills slowly catch up, and then you can finally kind of execute what your ideas are. But that doesn't happen unless you put in a little bit of effort.

Jennifer Uren
Right? Right. And that's true with so many things, right? We like you think I'm gonna run a marathon. But no, you've got to, you've got to get your skill and ability up to the point where you can do it. And it doesn't happen overnight with any of these things. So that's a, that's a really good reminder.

Meg Calton
It's totally normal to be a beginner. And too many people are like, that's too hard. I'm not going to do it, when you just have to put in some consistent small effort, and then you'll get there.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, and sometimes you don't even realize you've transitioned from beginner to intermediate. It just, it's when you look back and you go, oh, wow, look, look how things have changed. That that you really discover that. So that...

Meg Calton
And I think your taste also expands and evolves, and you start to recognize where you want to be better in your pictures. And so maybe at first, you're just like, I'm just trying to get a not blurry picture.

Jennifer Uren
Right.

Meg Calton
I just want one picture that, that my child is looking and it's not blurry. And as you get better, you're like, Oh, I could have used the light differently in this way. And oh, I could have composed the camera and the picture in this way, and it wouldn't have been as distracting or would have been even stronger, if they were facing to the left instead of straight on like, your, your taste will improve as you practice. And I think that's true with almost all creative work.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yes, that's great. So it seems like a lot of times people will say, "Oh, you have a nice camera, you take the pictures," that doesn't matter, like we talked about, it's not the tool. It's it's using it properly. So how did you eventually learn to use it and understand all of the settings because there's a lot of combinations of things.

Meg Calton
There, there are. Um, so I got my first camera during college, and I used it on auto when I used it, because I could not understand all of the different pieces that went into manual mode. And I think that's very true for most people, at least in my experience as an educator, that it feels like a firehose of information when you try and learn all those at once. Because I remember because my uncle tried to teach me and I was like, I'm completely overwhelmed and I am going back to auto. And I think you just have to hear things several times and in several different ways. And you have to recognize that you can improve one thing at a time, I think that's one of the best ways to learn is kind of taking your own little "before" and "afters" of change, take a picture change one thing, how did that change your image? Like, how, how did that affect your image so that you can really submit them into your brain. I did a lot of research myself, blogs were just kind of barely starting then. And I've read a lot of like really tech, techie, male oriented photography blogs. I took a single photography class in college, like photo 101. And I'm mostly self taught. But now that I'm a photography educator, I am starting to create the classes and the, the tools that I wish were around when I was learning, because I remember how hard it is to remember what aperture does and how it affects the light. And what the heck is ISO and why is depth of field important. Like I remember all those things, how hard it was to learn them. And so now I've created some products and courses trying to fill the gap that I wish had been around when I was learning.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, that's excellent. Because they I'm always like, is the big number, a smaller circle or a bigger circle, you know, like

Meg Calton
There are some things that are just not intuitive about photography. But the other trick is there's no right and wrong in photography, there really isn't. It's all subjective. And it all just, it can all shift. There's no like, here's the recipe that you start with. And it will work in every situation, you always are kind of shifting and decide like if you if you change where you're standing, you might have to adjust your settings, because you do have to get to know them. But I think that as you practice and give yourself permission to take a lot of subpar photos that it becomes second nature eventually.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. And that's a really good point the practicing because we we globally, pull out our cameras at special occasions, important events, and then we're frustrated because we didn't get the pictures we wanted and but we're not practicing. We're not getting ready for taking the pictures that we want. So I think that's a really good, good reminder that it does take some practice and not just, you know, in real life at the moment that we don't want to miss.

Meg Calton
That's actually something that I recommend is, is like sitting on the couch with your camera and let your kids play. And just sit there and take pictures without ever asking them to look or without ever like saying, "say cheese", like just practice and see if you can adjust your settings. If you point in one direction or change and point in the other direction, like practice without the pressure of getting the moment, or take your kids, your kids to you know, the park, I have mostly young kids and so like, let them play at the park without ever like asking them to pose and just see if you can get faster at changing settings on the fly. Because now I don't even look at like my camera buttons, I can change them. But that has taken practice. And that's something that you can practice. I actually have even told people like take a doll or an apple and go put it on the fence and go put it on the chair and go put it in different situations. And just allow yourself the grace of you're gonna take some subpar photos. And eventually, you'll get better and better. And it's less about luck and more about planning.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, that's great. So, so now that we've talked about getting to know your camera, let's talk a little bit about taking picture of kids. So I am I'm very fortunate. I'm one of the few, well, not one of the few - I don't think it was as common. My mom and dad -pictures were important. And they took pictures of everything from us baking cakes to the big significant moments. And this was back when you had to pay for not only film and developing but flashbulbs. So it was it was a commitment to take pictures. But we have digital. So we have them our phones, there's no barrier to taking pictures anymore. What do you recommend that we as moms try to make sure that we document what are those moments that are that are important and free for us to do?

Meg Calton
Well, you mentioned milestones and I think that's the gimme. Everyone is like, "Oh, this is their second birthday, I'm gonna take a second birthday picture." And so those ones are, in a sense, easy to do. And I think most people are already doing those. But I would say that you also take pictures of your routines of your habits of the things that you love about your kids that also only you can really be witness to. Because I'm also a professional photographer, like I take family pictures for people, but there are, and I want people to pay a photographer and take those pictures. But I also know that life through a mom's eyes, she can always invite a photographer into her home to kind of witness those moments with her. Like, if you're talking sleepy Saturday, pancake makings like that something you can can document that you would probably not invite a photographer in or what is your child's favorite stuffed animal and do they call it a certain way at night and go in there after their sleep and get a picture of those moments that you love and of the things that make you feel something because I think too often now that it's so easy to take smartphone pictures, I think too often we're just like, hey, smile at the camera and smile at the camera over and over and over. And we forget the beauty of just an unposed moment or without the subject even looking at the camera have them you know, reading a book to their sibling or smiling or hugging with with their their family members. Like I think we forget that photography can make you feel something. And that's what I would recommend going and trying to make sure you capture is the moments that you don't want to forget and, and that matter just to you. It doesn't have to matter to anyone else. Like those routines and those habits and those things about your kids like their signature smile. Go capture those things.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, yeah, I had a friend recently post a picture on Facebook and she said, "I wish I could freeze time and keep him seven forever." And it was a great picture of her and her son and I said, "You just did you took a picture." And I think that's that's so easy. Wait, yeah, those moments we don't want to forget. Take a picture.

Meg Calton
Yeah, and you can use it for lots of things that you maybe need to declutter your house. You can take a picture of those things and declutter them.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yes, absolutely. So how long in to owning your camera was it before you decided that, you know, you wanted to turn this professional and, and start, you know, make this a business - be a photographer.

Meg Calton
So I had my camera for a couple years that I kind of spent learning it and getting really confident so that I could use my camera quickly and without fiddling with settings without trying to just be lucky about getting good pictures. And then I started shooting for, for my friends and my family members, like when my sister was getting married, or when. And so we started to I started taking pictures for them and realized that I could have a business and as a, as a service provider as a photographer. And as I started doing that, it was really funny, because with my friends, they would come and I'd take pictures. And at the end, they would say, "Can you teach me how to use my camera because I don't even use it. It's just sitting in the laundry room in the box." And I realized that there was this gap of a lot of people at the time because remember smartphones were not good yet, bought cameras, but then got frustrated very quickly. And so all of my friends, all the people I was shooting for were also asking me to teach them how to use their cameras. And that's when I saw this a gap that I could fill, and something that I was really passionate about helping moms learn how to use their cameras, because I wanted them to be able to get those moments that only they can take pictures of.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. So were you a mom, when you started to do that? Or did you start doing photography? And then you became a mom?

Meg Calton
So I was a photographer before I was a mom.

Jennifer Uren
Okay.

Meg Calton
Barely. And then, after my daughter was born, I started my business, which is called Snap Happy Mom.

Jennifer Uren
Okay. And side note, if I could go back and do anything over again, in fact, I had even mapped out a business one time, it's, it's your business, I would do what you are doing.

Meg Calton
That's awesome. It's a good, it's a good business, because there is no lack of market. Every mom wants good pictures. Right, right. And actually, and I think this is fair for your listeners is it's okay to shoot on auto as long as you need to. And if you're not ready to learn how just wait, that's fine. But when your pictures start to, when your taste outweighs what your pictures can give you, when you're starting to say, "I wish my camera would do this", or "I wish the flash wouldn't automatically pop up", or "it didn't capture it the way that I envisioned it." That's when you know that you're ready to invest that, that time and energy and possibly money and actually learning it because it will all go over your head if you're not like invested in learning. And but when you're ready, that there's a world of creativity available to you for learning how to use your camera and taking good pictures.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. And that's a good point. Because it can it takes a little bit to get comfortable holding a camera like that. And then adding the features and other things. So that's a great point. Just get comfortable holding it.

Meg Calton
Yeah, don't be sad about shooting an auto if if the question is getting the picture in auto or fiddling with your settings and possibly missing it, shoot in auto, that's fine. But dedicate some other time to learning that isn't the pressure of missing the cake shot or whatever it is.

Jennifer Uren
Yes. So as you grew your business as you added children, to your family, what was the hardest part of balancing, you know, being mom and an entrepreneur?

Meg Calton
I'd say the hardest part is still recognizing that balance doesn't really exist. At least for me. It's recognizing that even if I find kind of a good routine for a little while that then a nap gets dropped or then school starts, stops, or starts or whatever it is. Just that recognizing that it's always going to be a juggle that it's not that that route, that balance isn't in the course of like a day or even maybe a week that balance is always kind of filling Like you're being pulled from one thing to the other thing, and just trying to be at peace with that, trying to be a good mom when I'm in mom mode and trying to be productive, and when I'm in work mode and just being at peace with the fact that it's going to be hard.

Jennifer Uren
Yes.

Meg Calton
I also think it choose your hard. Like, I want to be working, I want to be using my creative brain and doing this, and it's something I love. And I think I would also be choosing a different heart If I chose not to work. And so,

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yeah, that's a great one. And then so what have you done to, I mean, you've made peace with it, but what have you done to make it easier to to balance as best you can those two demands on who you are so that they're not in conflict?

Meg Calton
Well, they are in conflict a lot in my house, because I have four children in different stages. And I think, I think recognizing that I cannot do it all has been a really big thing for me. That I have to let go of certain things that maybe my house cleanliness bar is slightly lower, that I have given up on random habits are random, like, we gardened for a couple summers, and I'm like, "Nope, I don't have to garden. Only I can be the mom to my kids, but anybody else can garden." Um, just recognizing that I needed to let go of certain things. And also that I have to be disciplined when I'm trying to work, that I can't fritter away my time. And that's something that I still have to I'm not good at it yet. Yeah, still working on "Okay, what am I gonna do and only do that", and certainly there are some, you know, apps that can lock you out of social media that are helpful and more airplane mode or all different things. But it's a conscious it has to be a conscious choice to just focus.

Jennifer Uren
Well, and it can be hard sometimes to transition on a dime. To go from I was this now I got to focus on work. And so that's a challenge. I think one of the best pieces of advice that a friend gave me another mom friend was that instead of looking at things, big picture, look at things in seasons, like your gardening. "This year, we will not garden next year, we can revisit it." And to when when I was starting to break it down into those smaller seasons, it was less frustrating, because it's I could say, "Okay, well, for the summer, we have no naps. And in the fall, we're going to institute a quiet time." You know, we're something where it's always changing. But I think that's one of the fallacies of life anyway is we think that there's normal, and there isn't, there's just life. And it comes with it's always changing. So yes..

Meg Calton
I totally agree. And, and that's what I was trying to say about like, just recognizing that, that balance is always going to be shifting, that it's not like I finally figured it out. It's more like I'm just making it through this season in this way. And then it will start over again, as the seasons change.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yes, that's that is good perspective. And good advice. I was gonna ask you when you added in education, and courses and products, but it sounds like you did that pretty early on in your business. Is that correct?

Meg Calton
So that, um, so my photography business, I didn't really have a name, maybe I just use my own name as my photography business. But when I was ready, I wanted to start a blog, like right when blogging was brand new. I was like, This is cool. And I needed a creative outlet at the time because I had a small baby. And I was like, I need something that is mine. And I knew I wanted to start a blog. And I started to put these pieces together that How long had people been asking me? How do you use your camera? How do I do that? Can you show me how can we meet at the park and take pictures together so you can teach me how to move these dials? And I recognized this need and this gap because at the time, all of the blogs that were out there about photography were very techie, male oriented. And I wanted something that had examples that was for moms, that the example wasn't when you're taking a picture of the night skyline in New York, but it was like if you're trying to get a blurry or a sharp picture of your kid playing baseball, and so like I recognized a need and I was like I'm ready to fill that need. I could do that. And so I did start as a kind of a lifestyle blog/photography, education. And I'm not really a blogger anymore. I'm much more of a photography educator.

Jennifer Uren
Okay. That's great. So speaking of education, for the mom who's listening, who let's say she just has a phone, but she's not confident taking pictures, what are some basic principles maybe that she can keep in mind so she can start to practice taking pictures and get comfortable doing it with her kids?

Meg Calton
I would say the very first thing is to pay attention to where the light is because that will make the biggest difference in your images, is where are you like with the camera in relationship to the light in relationship to your subject because of the light is behind them, that's called backlighting. And that has a different look than if the light is on the front of their face, or if it's on the side of their face. And depending how strong the light is that super strong light might also create really distracting ugly shadows. Or maybe it's a good time of day, and it has the definition you want. And so paying attention to the light, and where you choose to put your subject, and choose to kind of point your camera that will make the biggest difference no matter what type of camera you have, because you just like you don't have to take, uh, you know, so often, I think we're just kind of lazy in a way where we just say, "oh, we're standing here, let's just take a picture here." Whereas taking 30 more seconds to say, "hey, let me look around me." And notice that that place has really even shade instead of those strange spotty shade from the leaves on their face. Or if we just twist 90 degrees, this picture will be better, I think that alone could make the biggest difference in most of your pictures.

Jennifer Uren
Okay, that's, that's good advice. That's really good. And the lazy part is good. Because a lot of times I'm like, Well, I'm sitting here, so I'll take it from here. But you're right, if I just would move, I'd have a better picture.

Meg Calton
And I think also, um, with where you hold your camera, that can also be so often, I noticed, especially with young kids, we are standing taking a picture that kind of points down at them on the floor. And that's not a super flattering angle, especially for small children that are already small already, because it messes with all their proportions. And so like, the smaller the child is, the lower you probably need to be like when I shoot kids, I'm, you know, laying on the floor kneeling, squatting all the time, because I'm trying to get their eye level. And that totally changes what the background is going to look like. And it keeps your pictures interesting. Instead of all, all them kind of being the same of your phone, and adults hand shooting down at your kids. And it's the same angle on all of your camera roll.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, and you're probably actually capturing what your mind remembers of that child in that moment more so that way than if you take it from standing up, even though we see it from up above. I think somehow, it doesn't always translate what we see with our eyes. And that's part of the the art of camera, you know,

Meg Calton
For sure, it's more, it's usually a much more inviting picture, if you are at that the subjects eye level.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah, those are great, two great principles. So the lighting and the perspective, the level of taking the picture. So the beauty of digital is that we can take a lot of pictures, in order to end up with that perfect one. Unlike back in the days of film where you're like, "I only have 36 pictures for this weekend, you know, I gotta use them well." But it is really easy to take the picture to take all those pictures, and then do nothing with them. And before long, we have hundreds and 1000s of pictures on our phone. Do you have any quick tips on editing, purging, organizing pictures, so that we can use what we have?

Meg Calton
Yeah, um, I would like to preface this by saying that it's even worse when you're a photographer and you take lots more pictures. Um, but I think having a couple things in place, I think when you put your cap, sorry, when you put your photos on your computer, having a file structure. Don't just drop them all you're on your desktop, and it says you know your child's name. And now it's got five years worth of pictures. Have a yearly folder with monthly folders if you need to. And write, you know, the date and basic facts, you know, beach day with cousins, or whatever it is so that you can find those pictures later. On your phone, I highly recommend culling your pictures as often as you can, in the sense of if you took six pictures trying to get a smile, figure out which one that smile is and delete the rest. Or if you took a burst mode picture on your phone, you know, go pick the one you want. And if it's not good enough to be the one you want, you definitely shouldn't be keeping that picture. So cull often. And if that means every night, you got to spend 10 minutes in bed culling, especially like on a vacation or something, that's worth doing so that you're not overwhelmed later. That said, I'm not great at doing that consistently. But I try. And I think it's worth trying. There's a couple of really good products that can help you get your pictures off of your camera or off of your phone like chatbooks will automatically print your pictures and that's really useful to kind of get them at least off, off your device and into your kids hands because too often they don't even see the cute pictures of themselves. But I think just trying to I think it's totally fine to practice and take lots of pictures, but one of the necessary steps is also learning from what you took, and going back through them to see what made them better, so that you actually learned from that and not just shot a bunch.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, that's good. I did work as a professional organizer years ago. And I would often say sentiment grows stronger with time. And the longer we wait to throw out the school picture, that or the painting they drew, or whatever the harder it is to get rid of it. Because if they drew a picture today, I can throw it away today, because they can do another one tomorrow. But if I have 40 of these, and they're now 35 years old, I can't throw any of them away because they'll never do it again. And I think it's the same with the pictures, if we can cull them and get rid of them closer to the moment, it's a whole lot easier to let go then if we wait until their wedding day, and go, I've got to figure this all out. So...

Meg Calton
That's a really good point. I had not thought about it that way. But I totally agree that it's easier in the moment to be like, Oh, that one is the perfect, you know, that one exemplifies how happy they were that day or today and to let the others go. So, that's a good point.

Jennifer Uren
Yeah. Well, I know you've got some great resources on your website, including some cheat sheet cards, which I ordered, and they're phenomenal. So if you, if you want to get started with a phone, you've got to order her her cheat sheet cards, because they will help you with the settings and understanding all of it. So why don't you tell us you know what moms can find at your website, what some of your resources are there.

Meg Calton
So my website is SnapHappyMom.com. And I have some blog posts with free tips and tutorials. And then I also have a shop page that has some courses that I'm working on. So it has some courses - I'm also working on some more courses. Because I've grown as a course creator, and I'm ready to do some more all encompassing courses, maybe is the better word and the more advanced courses. And then I also have my cheat sheets, which is probably my biggest seller. And for the video, these are like three by four inch plastic cheat sheets, they're on like plastic the way like gift cards would be and they're on a ring. And they've got all these super handy charts and images that say, "Oh, this goes this way. And that goes this way. And here's how you get more light. And here's how you get less light. Or here's how you make it sharper or brighter or more blurry in the background." Because those things are honestly hard to remember, like I vividly remember struggling through that. And so this is the resource that I wish it existed when I was learning how to use my camera, and they come with like a carabiner that you can hook on to your camera bag and have with you, I actually also have two sets. And I actually have them in two colors, I have this bright happy set. And then if you are anti pink or just prefer a more classic look, I have a marble set as well, which is the same content between the two colors. But then there's a technical set, which is the DSLR camera set. And that has all of those technical things and they're not brand specific. So I where needed. I mention, this is the word Nikon uses, this is the word Canon uses. But the the foundations are the same no matter what type of camera you're using. And then I also have a lighting and composition set. Because any kind of camera, you can take better pictures just by paying attention to that lighting, the perspective, the composition, how to work with kids, and encourage them to to smile or have authentic reactions. And so they're meant to go hand in hand as like a technical, a technical product that helps you as well as an artistic or creative product that helps you because you kind of need both. You can know your camera inside out and still take rather boring pictures if you can't think about the light and where you want to be shooting from.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yes. And they are they're excellent. They're very well done. So I really do encourage people to get them.

Meg Calton
They've helped out a lot of people.

Jennifer Uren
Oh, good, good. Well, our time is running short. And there's one question I ask every guest and it's a little more fun because I'm a gadget girl I like the right tools and tricks and all those things, but what is your favorite time saving gadget or maybe it's even a photography related gadget?

Meg Calton
So I've been thinking about this since you gave me this prompt and I had a lot of ideas but my two top things that I think apply to the listeners are buy yourself some 10 foot iPhone charging cables because all the time you're going to lay in bed and maybe you need to lay in bed and cull that day's pictures. And you can do that with a really long charging cord that you can't with the lame three foot charging cord that Apple sent you. Or for Android they also come in long sizes as well. And then the other thing is that I have a loopy case on my phone and so it's a plastic case and it comes with this silicone silicone loop on the back. And it's called a loopy. And let me tell you, I used to drop my phone all the time. And I almost never drop my phone now that I had this case, like, I will never buy another case. It comes in tons of fun colors and loops and stuff. But literally, when I got my new phone, I did not open it until my loopy case came in the mail, because I was like, "I know, I will drop it!" without this handy dandy super soft like loop that keeps it on your fingers. And if you're trying to carry something, you can flip it around to the back. And it is like I will I will never have another phone case. So I feel like that is the type of recommendation you want. For something phone related.

Jennifer Uren
Yes, yes. Oh, well make How can people connect with you?

Meg Calton
So my website is SnapHappyMom.com. And I'm on social media as SnapHappyMeg. And I'm also working on a YouTube channel that hopefully will be a little bit more up and running by the time this posts so you can find me on YouTube, too.

Jennifer Uren
Excellent. And you have a discount code and an opt-in offer you want to make.

Meg Calton
I do so if you order my cheat sheets, there's a coupon code that Jenn will post on the show notes. And I it's set up as it's called THISMOM. Sorry, that right?

Jennifer Uren
Yep, THISMOM

Meg Calton
I forgot for a second. And so that has a percentage off the cheat sheet cards that you can get on my website. I also have an opt in just a PDF that you can sign up for. And there's a link and it's just like a seven or eight page PDF that talks about some really basic things that you can do to take a better picture of your kids every single time. So I talked a little bit more about how to use that light and about composition and just any kind of camera, how to start taking some of those first steps to taking better pictures.

Jennifer Uren
Excellent. Well, thank you so much for your time for being with us today. And I look forward to to people sending in their pictures and how they've, they've improved.

I'd love to see that.

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