Improve Your Photos with A Beautiful Mess


I like to take a lot of photographs of my daughter. Like lots of moms, I want to capture the everyday moments as well as the big occasions, and that’s easier than ever to do because most of us have camera phones and Facebook and Instagram with us all the time.

What I’m less good at — and I imagine a lot of moms are the same way — is taking pictures of me and my husband and our everyday life together.

That’s why I was really excited when a copy of A Beautiful Mess Photo Idea Book by Elsie Larson and Emma Chapman landed in my mail box. This book has 95 inspiring, fun, totally doable ideas for how to take pictures, what to take pictures of, backdrop and styling tips and more.

This beautiful book can be a little intimidating, but you need to remember your selfies and candid shots probably won’t look as great as theirs right out of the gate.

beautiful mess
Sample pages; there’s even yarn in here!

But this is a book chock-full of ideas and things to try, ways to play with your camera (or your camera phone) and document your daily life in ways you might not have thought of but that your kids and grandkids will love to see.

Each challenge or idea is presented on a two-page spread with one or more examples of the idea or technique. It makes it easy to see what they like in a particular pose and how you might re-create it for yourself.

The ideas are divided into general categories:

  • capture your favorite people
  • add backdrops and props
  • use beautiful lighting
  • get creative
  • get inspired
  • capture yourself
  • challenge yourself
  • show off your photos

The tips cover a wide range of ideas and techniques such as how to take cute photos with your friends, take a shadow portrait, take wide photos, photograph a collection, hold the camera at arm’s length to take a self portrait, wear a costume in a photo and make a range of craft and decor items using your photos including gift wrap, wreaths, pillows and journals.

You can flip to any page in this book and be inspired by a fun idea. Challenge yourself to complete as many of the ideas as you can in 30 days, or open the book once a week and try to master that technique through the week.

Either way, this is a book that needs to be used. Look through it and let it inspire you but also take action, and take photos.

pictures beautiful mess
A collage of recent photos. I take lots of pictures at the park!

This book inspired me to try out the timer function on my camera. I’m still not great at it but it’s fun to play.

This is a great book for moms and others who want to bring more fun to their photos or who need help figuring out what to take pictures of to document their daily lives.

Be sure to check out the ladies at their blog, A Beautiful Mess, which is full of crafts, fashion, decor and vintage flair.

Do you take pictures of things other than your kids?

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