Mamatography Workshop: Review & Giveaway

*This giveaway is now closed.*

Have you ever wanted to know how to take professional-looking pictures of your child(ren) without paying the price of a professional photographer? I know I have!

Shari Henson, a professional photographer from Texas, has created the perfect solution for us…the Mamatography Workshop!

I have to tell you that when I first got Shari’s e-mail, I was a little confused because I thought it had something to do with mamograms (go ahead…feel free to laugh and make fun at my expense). Nope:  Mama+Photography=Mamatography!

She offers online video workshops on various elements of photography specifically for parents! Right now she has 5 different videos (each about 5-10 minutes in length) on indoor lighting, outdoor lighting, and composition. And my favorite thing about it is the “Forum” where you can ask specific questions for Shari or other moms/dads! I REALLY liked the discussion on how to get kids to smile when taking pictures. Shari gave some wonderful suggestions I had never thought of.

I have spent a lot of time researching how best to use my digital SLR camera. I’ve read through my manual (which is one of the most beneficial things I’ve) and read blogs on photography tips. But the Mamatography Workshop is, by far, the easiest way to go about learning about the basics of photography. Shari shares tips that I had never even thought of!

You don’t have to have a special camera or any extra equipment to get great pictures. None of Shari’s tips are specific to any one camera (though I have some questions I might ask in the forum), so it is all applicable no matter what type of camera you have!

You might be asking yourself, “What’s the catch?” Well, there is a one-time $39.99 fee for complete access to the videos and forums on the Mamatography website.

If you’re interested, however, we’ll be giving away one full-access pass to the Mamatography Workshop website. Just leave a comment with your e-mail address and the most useful tip you have for taking pictures of your child(ren)!
Want to enter a second time? Tell others about this giveaway and leave another comment!
A winner will be randomly selected on Friday, February 18 at 10am (CST).


  1. Hmm, not much of a photographer, but using natural light has always been a favorite of mine. The outside pics are always the best ones! Thanks for the contest!

  2. Love it!
    My best success (there's not much) is to take pics with items that my boys like to play with… i.e. sports balls!! And, they're better outside…. Although I'd love help because I am longing to take GOOD frame-worthy pictures of my kids!! :-)
    [email protected]

  3. My kids are by far to distracted outdoors (although for candids it's nice) but for indoors I let as much natural light through the windows as possible and I love up close pics of them.

  4. I love taking pictures when they don't know that I am…catching them in the act so to speak! I also taking outside pictures with the sunlight.

  5. daisyryan.adkins(at)gmail(dot)com

    One of my tips: Don't try to force a child to pose or smile. If they aren't interested, nobody will have fun, and the pictures will show it. Just let them do their own thing and snap away. And along the same lines, know when to give up and try again later. It should be fun! :) (For everyone.)

  6. Snap a bunch of pictures, use natural light so it catches the light in their eyes, and make sure the focus point is on the face!

  7. I realize that getting my 19 month to sit still is probably not going to happen so I've tried to focus on details instead. A cute shot of his feet or his hands doing something can sometimes tell the story as well as the complete body shot. lindsay.parker.williams(at)gmail(dot)com

  8. I find that practice makes perfect; therefore, you have to take a lot of pictures to get the one good one.

  9. Candid when they are playing or just having a good time. If I am trying to get a good portrait with them, I take lots and get on their level. One thing that always makes my son(6) smile a real smile (not the fake) is to say "boogers". Somehow, with a boy, that works every time!

    [email protected]

  10. [email protected]

    I have more than one top tip :-/

    The first is to take pictures from close-up!

    The second is to be aware of the background of your shot… is there a tree growing out of the top of a head, or is the trash can visible in the background? Simplify the background!

    The third is to snap snap snap away, take as many pictures as you can. The more pictures you take, the more likely that you'll end up with a perfect shot (or more!)!

    The fourth is to turn off your flash! Use natural light if at all humanly possible.

    I would adore winning this, I'm a mama and an aspiring photographer!!

  11. I'd love to win this…

    My best tip has been to take lots & lots & lots of pictures. Then just keep the good ones.

    ali_webitems (at) hotmail dot com

  12. Ooo I'd really LOVE this. The best way to get my kids to smile genuinely is to take them somewhere they love, the playground, the beach etc. and catch them in action!

  13. Thanks for sharing—this sounds right up my alley.
    As far as a 'tip', I think the best advice I've learned (and am learning) is to know when to say ENOUGH. If the kids are not wanting more pictures, then its time to put the camera away, enjoy the moment, and bring it back out again when there are lots more natural unrehearsed smiles to go around… Brigette [email protected]

  14. Thanks! My best photos are often ones I take of my kids when they do not realize they are being photographed. My burning question is how do I keep both of my children in the same frame long enough to take a shot of them together smiling and looking into the lens?

  15. Wow,
    Um, my tip—-get CLOSE. The eyes take the cake but fill a photo with the subject and forget the backgrounds.
    universitybabe at

  16. I like to take photos where my daughter is off to the side rather than centered in the shot. Somehow it just looks more interesting to me.

  17. Awesome prize! I'd say my favorite tip is being goofy so there are more laughs to photograph, works on my 4!

    jenn dot mrsdjm at gmail dot com

  18. I think the most useful tip I've gotten to date is to make sure you get on the child's level and your not constantly standing up to take pictures!

  19. How fun! Thanks for the opportunity. I don't have any new tips to add… getting down on the kids' level, and watching your background is the best I've got. :o) lauriesibley (at) gmail (dot) com

  20. Wow, I could really use this! I struggle trying to get good pictures of my kids. Outdoor lighting seems to work the best for me.

  21. What a GREAT idea!! I love taking photos and consider myself a pretty avid photographer. I have always wondered how to make those little 'tweaks' to enhance the pics I take of my 2 kids. My tip would be get down to their level. If you're taking pics of little ones, crouch on the ground so you're at the same height as your child :D

  22. What worked for us has been to take pictures about 30 minutes after naptime! It gives her time to wake up and cheer up, but our kiddo doesn't get too tired while we're snapping photos.

    ellelfowler at gmail dot com

  23. My best tip is to take pictures in early morning natural light. I bundle my son up and stick him outside to play while I take pics of him in the early morning!

  24. Everything I thought of is already posted (plus a couple of other great ideas I'm going to start using) but I think the biggest thing is to get down on the ground so you're on their level.
    Thanks for the chance to win!

  25. My secret is to put a kid sticker on the front of my camera. I change it frequnetly as well. But it gets my daughter to look AT the camera!
    I would love this! I love taking pics

  26. The best thing I've come up with to get my kids to smile is to them then not to smile and be serious and after a couple seconds I will say "OK smile" and they usually think that is so funny I get good, natural smiles. This looks like a great website!

    zebrachicy at yahoo dot com

  27. I really need this workshop, so I don't have any grand tip to offer, except, do it fast and let them do their thing–don't get frustrated if they don't stand a certain way or do a certain thing: years from now those spontaneous pics will surely be family favorites.

    [email protected]

  28. What a great idea! I make sure my two aren't tired and hungry. Getting my little ones to say 'cheese' to get them to smile seems to work well at the moment – hope that continues! (My email address is on my blog site, accessible from my name.)

  29. Blowing bubbles while you take pictures always gets kids excited! For the little ones, it makes them smile which lights up their face, and for a little older kiddo, they can dance and run and play with the bubbles, which usually brings a smile and an energy to a photograph.

  30. I think my best hint is just to take lots of pictures! If there are 1000 pictures I'm more likely to find one good one. :)

  31. We enlist the help of our beagle who is well trained to howl on command. That almost always gets a smile (or at least a cute face as she tries to howl too!)

  32. My tips are getting down to their level and taking lots of pictures. I also love taking pictures at the beach.

    yarelism at aol dot com

  33. One of the best tips I have gotten is to just keep clickin', especially with candid shots. With most cameras being digital, this is so good, because you can delete the bad ones and keep the jewels. I've gotten some amazing pictures of my boys just because I kept clickin.

    Thanks for your blog! I'm loving it!

  34. Believe it or not, I've taken some of the best pictures of our baby girl with my iPhone – I take a ton of them and choose the best to send on for family/friends/print. We took all of her monthly 'birthday' pictures in front of a window here at home – the natural light was great! To get her to focus, I'd put a sticker on the back of the camera/phone for her to look/study/smile at.
    ckd22aziz (at) gmail (dot) com

  35. Take LOTS and LOTS of pictures! Hopefully 1 in 100 will turn out! Thanks for the giveaway!

  36. Using natural light. Using mini m&m's in the tubes is great. You can shake it to get their attention, then reward them to keep their interest. Get down on their level or shoot up at them. Love all these other suggestions here too.

  37. DanielleCorrelle @

    My useful tip to just click click click. I might take a hundred pictures and have five really great ones. I'm happy with that. :o)

  38. dawn.e.steed @

    My most useful tip is that I usually shoot in P mode, which helps get correct light absorption but lets me control other aspects with a fast shutter speed to minimize blurred pictures. Even if my son is in-motion, the photos usually capture that and are fun to show how he moves and plays.

  39. dawn.e.steed @

    (Sorry if this is a duplicate entry – but my browser errored out, and it doesn't appear that it went through the 1st time, so I'm trying again)

    My most useful tip is to NOT shoot in auto. After playing around with many settings and learning my camera better, I like to shoot in P mode best, which helps me absorb proper lighting while also allowing me to set a faster shutter speed so that I can capture in-motion play-time shots of my son without blur or exposure flubs!

  40. I want to win! I want to win! My favorite tip is switching my camera to shoot multiple frames per second. It's the only way to catch a good shot.

  41. My tip is that I take pictures in the morning in our living room where the sun is streaming in the windows so I don't need to use the flash. I love the natural light.

    weedm74 at gmail dot com

  42. My tip is to keep taking pictures until you get one you like! Sorry I have been whining about missing good pictures so my husband bought me a Canon 2Ti for Christmas. I would really love to win the giveaway for Mamatography.

    [email protected]

  43. I absolutely LOVE all things that involve pictures!!! Pictures are definitely what I spend the most money on outside of the basic usual stuff and that's even including the specials I look for. I haven't sent to school for it or even read my manual so I'm just learning "hands on" and get ideas from other pics I see so this would be a wonderful thing to win! The tip I think a lot of people should try and probably don't realize is stop trying to get your subject to pose in every pic. With digital cameras you can snap away. Keep your camera with you all the time. You never know when you might miss a great pic. I take pics of my kids eating, sleeping, playing, etc. Some of my favorite pics are ones that I was basically just playing around and snapping pics. I even let my 5 yr old snap some and he has gotten some great shots! [email protected]

  44. I emailed some of my fellow pic loving friends about this giveaway. And I think I'm going to email to the ones who aren't into pics too. Maybe if they win, they will become more interested in photography. [email protected]

  45. what a wonderful idea for a photographer to do. my best pics are captured and candid pics. so, my tip is: always know where your camera is b/c you'll need to run and grab it in a blink in order to "catch" the moment. this is especially true for grandparent pics with the boys. i take them when one or two are near them playing/talking and ask the others to gather and just start snapping.

  46. Would LOVE to win this. I wish I knew more about photography to get better pics of my little guy (and one on the way)! Don't have great tips, except take lots of photos…some will be good! :o)


  47. I would love to have this opportunity! May have to put it on my "wishlist"~that is if I don't get drawn! My photo tip would be a good camera with fast shutter speed (is that what you call it?) My old camera never got the pic before they stop smiling and turned their head…annoying!
    [email protected]

  48. I think the best pictures are when I get down on the floor at their level to take them.

    ghochhalter (at)

  49. What a great idea! The only tip I have is to actually keep the camera out where I can see it (but little hands can't touch it). Whenever it's put away somewhere out of sight I forget to take photos!

  50. I always make sure that I have a camera with me, some of my favorite photos of my kiddos have been when I wasn't PLANNING on taking photos. If I have a camera in my purse, I can just pull it out and snap a few photos!
    [email protected]

  51. I like taking shots from different angles, but I always think the pictures look better when you get down on their level with them and they also look great when using natural light!

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