lifestyle family portraits in Charlotte NC

Family Lifestyle Portrait in Charlotte NC

I made this image in my home studio in Charlotte. I lit with 2 shoot-through umbrellas with my Nikon SB28dx speedlights.  This is a good example of the flexibility of a simple, portable speedlight setup.  This light kit is easily transported to clients’ locations, and is super helpful for kids, families and baby portraits.  When I’m not using big windows for natural light, you can bet I’ve got the SB28s rigged up.

For post-processing on this image, I ran my custom Curvy Cross Process and tweaked it slightly to bring out some magenta and highlight the eyes.  I think photos of children are MUCH better with lots of color!


I take a lot of photos of kids and families. When you have milestones and events to celebrate, you’ll likely want an experienced professional photographer to document the event. That’s what Vision Photos is for. But what about daily life? Everyone still loves to take snapshots of the cool stuff kids get into; they grow up so fast, you practically need photographs to remember last week!

I field a lot of questions from people always wanting to know how they can get better photos with their point-and-shoot cameras in everyday situations. Here are three things I’ve found myself telling people over and over. To illustrate, I’ve included some recent images from our portrait sessions in Charlotte, NC.
(All images are © Kilby/

1. Use your flash.

Modern cameras are capable of adjusting flash output to keep from overexposing your image. I’ve found that using fill flash in snapshots is crucial… even in daylight situations. Fill flash eliminates harsh shadows, and underexposed faces that you’ll often get when taking pictures outside. Set the flash on your camera to “On”, not “Auto”. Then experiment with a combination of photographs with and without flash and in frontlit and backlit situations. It won’t take long to figure out how your camera interprets scenes, and how you can take better pictures.

Girl Outside in Front of Trees

2. Fill frame with subject.

Most of the time the reason you’re shooting photos of your kids is to see your kids. So fill the camera’s viewfinder with an adorable face or two, and your snapshots will become dynamic, emotional images. Take a look at the “Pink Hoodie” photo below, and imagine how much LESS of an impact those beautiful eyes would have if they were far away.

Baby in Pink Hoodie

3. Don’t force pose.

Take photos while kids are playing or doing something they love. On shoots that we book, we love to let kids be kids. We try to incorporate toys, hobbies and playgrounds so that kids won’t feel like they’re being forced into something lame. Take advantage of the energy and excitement that naturally buzzes around children to create meaningful images. You’ll find photos of pure joy much more enjoyable to look at than pictures of sad and stiff little tikes being forced to sit still.

Asian Child Laughing

Feb 212011

In November we had the opportunity to travel to Mexico to visit Back2Back Ministries. We traveled with our friends Michael and Jami McDowell and Trevor Bayne to the city of Monterrey where we were able to love on some orphans for a few days. I’m sure you’ve heard that Trevor just scored himself a Daytona 500 win this weekend. Well, what you should also know is that this kid has a heart to serve people, and as T. Bayne would say, “Don’t TALK about it. BE about it.” He’s about it.

Congratulations, Trevor. Enjoy the win, and keep living your faith buddy.

Check out more photos from the trip if you’d like… They’re here.

Outer Banks Wedding Photo

Eric + Robin 2010

Eric and Robin are friends from my hometown, and when they asked me to shoot their wedding near Cape Hatteras I was stoked! The weather couldn’t have been better back in September when they tied the knot on the beach. We had the bluest sky ever, a nice breeze, and (of course) the Atlantic Ocean as a backdrop. These are a few of the shots from the day that I liked.

Outer Banks Wedding Photo

Bride pauses before she walks to the beach.

Outer Banks Wedding Photo

Newlyweds with dunes and sea oats.

Outer Banks Wedding Photo

Bride, groom, board, bouquet.

A year already?

 Portrait  Comments Off
Nov 182010

My friends Jake and Nicole have given me the opportunity to follow their journey into parenthood. I initially photographed the couple during Nicole’s pregnancy. Later, I photographed baby Wes *very* soon after he was born and then again at 6 months. No matter how many kids and families I get to shoot photos with, I am always – ALWAYS – amazed at how quickly children grow up. I can’t believe I just shot one year old portraits for my little buddy, Wes. Happy birthday, little man! And thank you to “The Jakes” for letting me have a part in your adventure.

Black & White Portrait of Mother, Father and Baby

Celebrating one year!

Black & White Portrait of 1 Year Old in Vest

Finally got a grin from the serious fella.

Sisters in Family Portrait

Left and Right Coast

We took advantage of ridiculously awesome fall weather here in the Charlotte area, and set up another outdoor photo session. This is one of many we’ve booked this fall. Two sisters separated by just about every mile across this country got together for a visit, and requested this photoshoot to document the occasion. It is so awesome to be able to capture moments like these in peoples’ lives.


Have a look! We posted some new work in our Portrait Gallery. There are a couple of new photos from a family portrait session on the Outer Banks last month. We’re able to shoot pretty much anywhere in North Carolina with enough notice. If you’d like to schedule a family photo session hit the contact page, and choose your preferred method of communication. You can also get in touch with Vision Photos photographers on our facebook page.


Model. Ice Box. Brick Wall.

That’s everything you need for a rad shot just before the sun goes all the way down. I set up an informal photo practice session in Charlotte with some friends who wanted to try out new gear. I figured I could help them make better use of their photographic equipment, and maybe shoot a few pics in the process. Well, here’s one that works so well because it’s just a simple photo of a pensive and elegant model.

If you’re a model (or want to be) in North Carolina, let me know if you’d like to build your portfolio with some fashion and lifestyle photos.

Model poses next to ice box

ElisaBeth and an ice box at sunset

Critiques are welcome; use the comment form.

Aug 152010

Here’s an outtake image from a shoot last week in the Outer Banks. We were in the middle of a portrait session in Nags Head, and had to take advantage of a little shade to touch up some makeup. Doesn’t matter if the photographer gets all grimy during a shoot, but we have to keep the models cool and clean!

Outtake Image

Touching up makeup during a family portrait session in Nags Head, NC

Jul 082010

Family Portrait in Fort Mill, SC

Family picture day is serious business.

We’ve updated the portrait gallery. This gallery includes recent couples photos, engagements, kids, models, and wedding related photos. Check it out! Feedback is welcome.

© 2012 Vision Photos Suffusion theme by Sayontan Sinha