Photography Tips From The Pros – Dawn Schaefer

children photography tips

Everybody, meet Dawn. Dawn is sweet, she is super lovely, and she has a graphics design background, which I totally covet. She loves typography and I love quotes, so we totally get a long =) Oh, and we love photography.

Meet Dawn

single_profileHi there! I’m Dawn, the lifestyle and portrait photographer behind peek photography + design, here in the Seattle area. I photograph children and families to capture the special connection that only they have. Life moves fast… so fast that we often forget the little things our kids do that make us smile. I love that I can provide families with a memory on paper – something they can look back on years from now and remember exactly what point they were at in their lives.

When I’m not behind the camera, I’m busy designing stationery and obsessing over typography. I’m a pizza and coffee addict (but not together!) and love all things mid century modern – I swear one day I will own an Eichler home. I have a wild three year old son, an *extremely* patient husband and a tiny yorkie who thinks he can take down every big dog in the neighborhood.

Favourite Photograph

This is my all time favorite image of my son. The lines of the bridge leading your eye to him, the limited color palette, his curious little crouch, peeking through the pillars to watch the cars passing below – all of it so simple and perfect, like hitting the pause button for a split second.


He loved running up and back about a hundred times over this pedestrian bridge in the Seattle Arboretum. I knew eventually he would tire out and being the curious creature he is, stop and take a look at what’s going on below. All I did was sit back and wait at one end of the bridge, ready to shoot. I already had the image in my mind, I just needed to wait it out. I kept the shutter speed fairly high (1/1000) since he’s a fast mover, and shot in burst mode so I would have a few shots to choose from to get the best one. This was shot with my 85mm at f/2.0, with an ISO of 400.

Best Photography Tip

Get in close!! While portraits can be striking beautiful and intimate, detailed lifestyle images can be just as – and possibly more – beautiful. Think about the little details you love about your child, things you don’t want to forget, but one day might. The way he plays for hours on end with his train set. The way she sets up her tea set perfectly for her stuffed animals. The way he fiddles with the spoon in his bowl of cereal every morning.


Don’t direct them – just be patient, be quiet and observe with your camera. Get in close for images that capture the essence of them just being themselves. You don’t always need to have a smiling face beaming back at you in every shot (and its nice not getting frustrated trying to get them to look at the camera to get that “perfect” image). Its the little details that tell the story of their childhood.

How This Image Was Made

I shot this image with natural light using my Canon Mark III and my 24-70mm lens at f/2.8. I kept the aperture at a low setting to focus specifically on that little finger moving the train and gently blur the surrounding areas. Shutter speed was 1/320 and my ISO was bumped up to 1250 since it was an overcast day and the natural light was a bit sparse.

Where To Find Dawn

Website  /  Facebook

Want to be Featured?

Are you a children photographer who have some great photography tips to offer and want to share your knowledge? Email me at amy.lee (@) and we can have you featured =)

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Sunshine Dawn -

Loved doing this! Thank you, Amy 🙂

Jodie Heliker Rodriguez -

Thank you for the advice. Now, I just need to invest in a camera that allows me to change those settings. 🙂