Mom & Me at home: A selfie photo tutorial

It’s only 1 week until Mother’s Day!

I’d normally be delivering Mom & Me galleries at this time of year…but…you know…

FIRST – let me just say that my heart goes out to each and every person that’s been affected by this global pandemic (so, essentially everyone!).

True – we probably haven’t all been affected the same way. While some have lost their jobs, others are now working from home or home schooling. Perhaps some have even witnessed loved ones fall ill.

Regardless of the situation, we’ve likely all experienced some sadness/grief and a disruption to our lives.

In an effort to bring a bit of normalcy back to mine (and perhaps distract myself from the weight of it all!) I’m trying to focus on what I love.

I love taking photos and I love serving you!

As a little Mother’s Day Gift for you, I put together a quick tutorial so that you can take your own Mom & Me photos at home, using the camera on your phone!

A couple things to note:

  • This was a spur of the moment thing – otherwise I might have done my hair, makeup…and put on cute clothes!
  • My daughter is 6 years old – you will need to modify these instructions a bit depending on the age(s) of your child(ren)
  • The phone I’m using is an iPhone XR – check your phone manual and/or capabilities & alter for your needs
  • I didn’t edit these photos – maybe I’ll save editing for another tutorial!

the spot

Choose a photo spot

  • Find a spot in your house that has good natural light.
  • Basically, that means nice and bright without direct sunlight streaming in.
  • Turn off all other lights.
  • The less cluttered your background is, the better.
  • I would have preferred to shoot against a plain white wall but our house is pretty dark.
  • The best lighting is found in our front entranceway, with the stairs as a background.

Setup your camera/phone & do a test shot

  • Place your phone on a chair or something in front of you.
  • Prop it against a book or other heavy object. (Tripods are handy but not necessary.)
  • It’s best to have your phone at eye level or slightly higher (not below you).
  • Make sure it is close enough so that you can touch the screen (unless you have a remote).
  • With the screen facing you, set up the self-timer. Start with 10 sec. and switch to 3 if you like that better.
  • PRO TIPS – turn off the flash, turn off HDR, turn off the Live setting (if you have this)

Grab your child/children & shoot away!

  • Getting them to smile will be different depending on the age – so use your creativity with this!
  • You can try saying “cheeeese” or
  • Ask them a question about something that makes them smile.
  • Tell them a joke (or have them tell you one).
  • Tell them a secret (or ask them to tell you one).
  • Tickle them.
  • Ask them to make a funny face.
  • Take a million pictures!! (You can always go back & delete.)
  • Have fun and good luck!!

Show me your pics!

I’d love to see your Mom & Me photos!! And I’d love to know what tricks & tactics you tried to make your kids smile. 🙂

Tag me on Instagram @katedanielphotography 

And don’t forget the outtakes – lol! They are the best. In fact, I think all of mine here are considered outtakes.

Kate Daniel is a Calgary, Alberta based natural light, lifestyle photographer focusing on family, children and baby photos.

Simple, real, natural – your life, my lens.

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Meet Kate:

Wanna know a secret? I never set out to be an entrepreneur.


In fact, I didn't even consider that, one day, I would run my own business. I just knew that I had a gift and wanted to use it to help others.


Who knew that I'd actually end up helping other like-minded creative women with their business and branding photos?!


Brand - Lifestyle - Family Photos


Let's work together to meet your photo needs!


3 things about me:

Can't Live without:

Me time

Let's order in:


Go-To Latte:

Flat white

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Kate Daniel Photography

Calgary’s go-to brand photographer for creative and ambitious women entrepreneurs. Authentic social media & website photos - serving Calgary, Alberta & beyond!