Wait, you didn't know that we have beautiful deserted beaches right here within driving distance of NYC?!

Well, we don't.

Here is a photo taken from the same point, 2 seconds later.

As those of you who have taken the Photosanity workshop know, background clutter is a pet peeve of mine. Eliminating it is a quick and easy way to improve your photos.

The first step to eliminating background clutter is to start noticing it. As a parent without any photography training, most likely you are completely focused on your child or children when you are photographing them - as you should be. But that's how you may not notice background clutter until you're back at the computer looking through your photos, and even then, you might not notice it, but rather feel a general frustration with how your photos are coming out.

Don't worry, eliminating background clutter from your photos doesn't mean you have to eliminate it from your life!

Sometimes, as in the example here, it's simply a question of how you frame your photo.

Do this now

Today's mini-assignment will increase your awareness of background clutter in your photos and get you started on eliminating it:

  1. Look back over the last 50-100 photos that you have taken, looking specifically at background clutter. How many of your photos have background clutter? Could it have been avoided by framing your photo differently, cropping, or moving some of it out of the way?
  2. As you take photos this week, look out for background clutter and see if you can eliminate it.
  3. If you're afraid of missing the moment, a good strategy is to take a photo first so you capture the moment, then look and see if you can improve on it by getting rid of some background clutter.
  4. Background clutter isn't always bad - if it adds to the context and the story you are telling, then it's good! You could argue that the second photo here is more of a true representation of the moment... but the first photo is how I want to remember it!
  5. Choose your best clutter free photo and share it on the Photosanity facebook page.

If you're interested in joining hundreds of parents just like you in an easy and fun journey towards photosanity, sign up to get FREE updates and access to my FREE video lesson and pdf guide with my Top 5 tips on taking better photos of your kids.

nyc baby, child and family photographer, former architect & mom alethea cheng fitzpatrick is based in brooklyn. her company, nestingNYC, specializes in baby photography as interior design & interior design for babies. she also teaches an online photography workshop for parents. find out more about The Photosanity Workshop or send her an e-mail!