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How to Take Fun Pictures of Your Kids
to Create Amazing Books, Cards and Keepsakes

Jane Hanstein Cunniffe
Contact Info

Table of Contents

2 • TAKING PICTURES: Things you need to know

For the expanded Table of Contents and Introduction click here.

Glossary of Terms
Inspiration, Influences & Acknowledgments
  It's as easy as

This book is based on a simple premise: If you take 50 pictures of your kid, one of them is bound to be good.

The digital camera is revolutionizing the way we take pictures.
Now everyday folks can take amazing pictures of their kids without spending a fortune. This book will show you how to take a good photograph, and then inspire you take your pictures a step further. These aren’t the words of a big-time professional photographer, but a mother with two little kids, a digital camera, and too much time on her hands.

You’ll find great ideas for what to do with your pictures once you've taken them. Turn your photographs into books for your kids. Make a fun and educational counting book, create a high-tech scrapbook, or invent a new family tradition.

The ability to take dozens of pictures at no extra charge gives this next generation of parents a massive advantage when it comes to taking pictures of their children.



         A simple overview
1. Get a digital camera. It doesn’t have to be top of the line. You don’t need lots of megapixels, but a digital camera is a necessity if you want to take a slew of pictures without worrying about cost. Thus far, most of mine were taken using a camera with just 1.3 megapixels [an antique by current standards].
2. Keep your camera with you. That way when something noteworthy or amusing happens, you’ll be ready.
3. Take lots of pictures.
4. As soon as you have access to a computer after taking the pictures, it is best to download your shots. This frees your camera up for more photo ops.
5.  Save the best shots [and either delete or file the rejects].
6. Crop and edit a few that do justice to your beautiful child.

From  Eli Counts Too.
By the time we reached the number ten,
Eli was ready for a nap.

Minimize the clutter and other pointers: When possible, use a simple setting. Unless you have PhotoShop and can digitally remove the toys from under the couch, try to pick up the non-essential objects around your subject.

atural light works best:
I have yet to take a good picture using a flash. Ideally, you shoot the kids in a room with plenty of daylight or better still, outdoors.

ropping is key:
You have the luxury of cropping into an image while still maintaining a clear picture [especially using a camera with more megapixels]. Also, keep in mind that you can enlarge a particularly charming section of a picture, thereby cutting out clutter that may have been out of your control.

From  No Train for Henry!



Avoid infant carriers: In general, strollers and car seats don’t do anything for the composition of a picture. Of course, there are many exceptions to the rule. In many of my books, in fact, they seem to be surgically attached to the stroller. But how else, in ALPHaTRUCKS! a.k.a Trucks to Eli, was I to get a toddler to pose safely with an 18-wheeler.

Setting up a shot vs. capturing the moment: Both methods work well. Be creative, pick a theme, embark on a random series of photos with your little bundle. When you aren’t paying to develop the pictures, sky really is the limit. The only caveat is if you plan on printing a lot of the pictures, the paper and ink can be costly.

What to do when Junior won’t smile: When taking pictures starts to seem like a chore, try to put the camera away for a few days. They don’t have to love every minute, but in general, it should be a good time. That said, don’t worry if they aren’t always smiling – some of these will turn out to be your most endearing photos.


Holiday Cards, Get Well Cards, Invitations, and more.
There are endless possibilities. From taking a picture of your little one holding a sign that says "Happy Birthday, Nana!" to starting a ritual of taking a family portrait out on the front yard every year on Ground Hog’s Day. Or this fall take your baby to a pumpkin patch, put on his orange cap, and even asleep in his infant carrier, it may be just the ticket for your Halloween Party Invite.

Making a counting book for your child is as easy as 1-2-3.
In Henry’s case, that meant one Buddha, two policemen and three taxicabs. Making educational and creative books for your kids can be wonderful for the whole family. It also gives your child every possible advantage, building his or her self-esteem and providing an interactive way to learn numbers and letters.
There are all sorts of books you can make with your kids. Books about colors and books about holidays, books about boys who like dinosaurs and books about telling time. All of which will bring your child into the creative process in a positive and almost enlightened way. And perhaps best of all, making the books can help maintain a mother or father’s sanity. At least they did mine.

Happy New Year!
Pictures preserve and create memories.
In a sense, taking more creative pictures makes for more creative memories. If you take your picture-taking a step further and create fun and educational books for your kids, you have a great confidence-building learning resource in the short term. And long term, an irresistible and unique keepsake to share with your children, give to their grandparents and even pass on to their grandchildren.


The last page of Henry's Book of Clichés.

About the Author

Jane Hanstein Cunniffe became a mother at 39, interrupting a career as an advertising copywriter. Staying home isn’t always easy, so she took lots of pictures of her kids. One thing lead to another. First it was Henry Counts, then Henry’s Delicious Alphabet. When her second son Eli was born, he too was the subject of a few thousand pictures and several books. Now she spends part of her time encouraging other parents to do the same. – Jane Hanstein Cunniffe’s Web site features eight children’s books, including Henry's Book of Clichés, 2nd Born, No Train for Henry! and ALPHaTRUCKS! a.k.a Trucks to Eli. You'll also find a few greeting cards.

THE WORLD ACCORDING TO HENRY – Two sets of boxed cards available in museum stores and gift shops internationally. [teNeues Publishing Co.]


ADVERTISING COPYWRITER [1986 to present] • Started as a receptionist and worked her way up to VP Associate Creative Director at big and small NYC ad agencies writing copy for print, TV, radio and the Internet for BellSouth DSL, Lipitor, CBS, Citibank, Chase Manhattan Bank, Hertz, IBM, Alka-Seltzer Plus, Pfaltzgraff, Steinway Piano, Sheraton Hotels, WNBC and Fuji Videotape. [Resume and Portfolio available upon request.]

THE APPLE STORE – Made on a Mac Series speaker in New York City at the Apple Store SoHo on January 12, 2003 [and in Miami, FL on February 6]. Appearance listed in the KIDS section of New York Magazine.

MARTHA STEWART BABYSpring 2003 • Profile of Jane Hanstein Cunniffe and the books she makes for and with her kids.

HERE IS NEW YORK: a Democracy of Photographs – [Scalo. 864 pages. $49.95] • Contributed two photographs to this comprehensive record of the events of 9/11.

14th STREET Y PHOTOGRAPHY EXHIBIT – "Hold your Horses! and other Clichés" • June 2, 2002 • One-woman show listed in Time Out New York and The New York Times

SMILING GOAT ADVERTISING – Photographs, Posters and Brochures for the 14th Street Y, Battery Park City Parenting and Family Center, Gani Nursery School, and Big City Kitchen.

FREELANCE Cartoonist and Illustrator


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