Last week I shared my favorite iPhone photos along with some beach and vacation photo tips from our long weekend in Montauk.

This week I thought it would be fun to share my DSLR photos from the one morning I took it out.

It was a gorgeous day, our last morning, and the kids were up at 6.30am while Keith was sick and still sleeping so I had to get them out of the house stat. I sort of had it in my mind that I was going to challenge myself to go DSLR free the whole trip but obviously brought my camera just in case... and the gorgeous early morning light gave me good reason to break my challenge!

Here are my 12 favorite shots along with some more tips:

1) For sibling photos, limit their movement!


I'm always getting asked for advice about sibling photos and readily admit that it is challenging. Where there is the natural opportunity to limit their movement so they stay together, go for it!

Here the chained beach chairs were perfect. I lifted each kid onto a stack of chairs, gave them a hastily grabbed breakfast snack and then had plenty of opportunity to photograph them together.

2) Put the sun behind your subject.


Probably my favorite of the set, I love how the morning light tumbles down the sand dune and catches the sand running through Liam's fingers.

3) Happiness doesn't have to equal a fake smile.


I'm pretty sure Liam was in mid sentence here, telling me some amazing Superhero fact. I love how happy he looks.

4) Black and white is a great option when you have direct sunlight.


Generally it's best to avoid direct sunlight if possible, but sometimes, especially in black and white, it can be quite dramatic.

5) Shoot from above.


I often recommend that you shoot from your child's level, but shooting from above pointing down, especially when they are crouched near or sitting on the ground can create interesting angles and compositions also.

6) Some photos are for laughing over and showing your kids when they are older.


As I mentioned last week, Jack, it turns out, hates the sand right now. This photo is to show him one day how he refused to play in the sand.

7) Sometimes the horizon can be way way off center (and it doesn't have to be straight).


When Jack no longer was happy sitting on a stack of beach chairs I had to carry him in one arm and my not particularly light camera in the other. As a result, even the horizons that I intended to be straight were all a little off kilter. I fixed many of them but I decided I liked this one slightly off. It's part of the memory of these moments and an aesthetic choice too.

8) Sometimes the horizon should be straight.


The classic sky, sea and sand trifecta. Allow yourself a little room in the shot to crop the photo with the exact proportions of sea and sand that you want.

9) An empty beach gives you some particularly good opportunities to vary the distance between you and your subject.


This is a good "partial body" portrait as opposed to a "head shot" or a "full body" portrait. I also like that the ocean fills so much of the background.

10) Action can convey emotion.


This is one of my favorites too. I just love how free Liam was running around on the beach.

11) The horizon doesn't have to be in the frame at all.


12) Wait for natural eye contact.


Nothing is likely to get Liam NOT looking at me faster than asking him to. He regularly announces that he does not like having his picture taken! The trick is not to draw attention to the picture taking and interact as though the camera isn't there.

In conclusion - a DSLR will allow you to really explore and cover a subject in depth. Your iPhone camera covers breadth of moments and events that you won't always want to carry your DSLR for. Together they are the perfect combination!

Want help picking out a DSLR? Check out my recent blog post on Mom365 with the five questions you should ask yourself when buying a DSLR.