Can I just share with you one of my heartfelt desires? Not the one where I wish I were a Broadway star. There’s another one – the desire to be a photographer. To have that eye. To be able to capture a moment and then frame that moment and have everyone “oooh” and “aahh”. You wouldn’t have to even call me a photographer. I’ll just be that mom who takes really great pictures.

The good ...
McKinney Online
McKinney Online
and the not so good ...
McKinney Online
McKinney Online

Yeah, not so much. Every once in awhile I pull out my husband’s nice Nikon and give it a whirl, thinking I will immortalize my offspring in magazine spread-worthy photos. I’ll even try to “fix” them up – cropping, coloring layering and whatever else those doggone programs will do. I still end up with blurry pictures, dark photos, weird looking kids and frustration a mile long.

Enter Mary Phillips, one of those moms: a talented professional photographer with the heart of a teacher, right here in McKinney.

Mary was kind enough to meet with me and offer a crash course in photography. I brought Sutton, our six-month-old, with me in hopes she would model for us. After a few minutes visiting, Mary took my husband’s Nikon in and, and began explaining some basics: shutter speed, F Stop, ISO ...

“There really is so much. We could talk about it all day, which I would love ...” she said.

Mary gave it some thought and said, “You know, if I were to share a few tips for moms, this is what I would love them to remember:

1. Sit back and wait for the right moment – don’t force it. Let your kids be themselves and honor that in your pictures on your wall.

2. Find the sweet spot in your house. Good pictures are all about the lighting. If you can find a place in your home that you know will have good light, it’ll be easy to catch some great pictures. Typically north- or south-facing windows work best. The key is indirect lighting. Think covered porches, shaded spots.

3. Aim for a neutral background and “light” in the eyes. I think this was my personal favorite tip. I had never thought about finding the “light” reflected in the eyes. It will translate into great natural photographs.

I’ve been practicing. And although I’ll never be Annie Liebowitz, Jeremy Cowart or Mary Phillips, I might just end up with some precious photos of my three favorite subjects.


About the author: Simri Davis lives to read and loves to live in McKinney with her husband and three children.


(This story is reprinted from the August 2011 issue of McKinney Magazine)