Charlotte NC Family Photographer | Joyful Children's Photography » Abbe McCracken is a Charlotte, NC professional portrait photographer specializing in joyful children's photography, family photography, newborn photography. Located in Matthews.

My Shoot Along Journey

In January I began participating in Shoot Along, a 52-week project for parents who simply want to take better pictures of their children. For me, participating is a great way to hone my skills and more importantly, make sure I photograph my own family too (the struggle IS real). Every week participants receive instruction on a new concept or skill to practice, along with editing videos and other photography tips. Shoot Along is a great way to invigorate your creativity, whether you are new to photography or a seasoned pro. I love the inspiration. While I haven’t exactly completed all of these assignments on time – or even in the appropriate weekly order – I am caught up and so grateful for the accountability. Here’s my progress for the first 17 weeks of Shoot Along 2016. Two-thirds to go and I can’t wait to capture it all.

Week 1 – Rule of Thirds

Young boy playing legos at home

Week 2 – Reflecting Light

Photograph featuring three generations of ladies

I used a reflector to capture this multi-generational picture. That’s my mom, grandmother and daughter … so really four generations were present 😉

black and white, low light image of siblings at home watching a movie; embracing the grain

In the image above, the light is reflecting onto the kids from the television. This room was otherwise completely dark. I shot this at a really high ISO of 25,600 pushing my camera’s low light capabilities as much as I could. You’ll notice a lot of grain in this picture which is totally normal for such a high ISO. This is the reason for the photography term “embracing the grain” which is exactly what I did.

Week 3 – Aperture/Controlling Focus

young girl contemplating her next snowball fight move

Week 4 – Shutter Speed/Reducing Blur

image of a snowball fight, surprise attack

Week 5 – ISO

Black and white image of a girl and dog running before dark

Week 6 – Perfect Exposure/Focus

Young girl sitting on the floor at home studying

Week 7 – Details Black and white portrait of a tween girl, focus on the dark eyelashes and gorgeous hair blowing in the wind

Kate has the most gorgeous eyelashes and freckles. Details.

Week 8 – Symmetry

School boy pretending to walk a tight rope between Charlotte Mecklenburg school buses.

Week 9 – Pattern

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Patterns are everywhere in our world. Just look around. I found mine on the baseball field … maybe because we spend a lot of time staring through this fence.

Week 10 – White Balance

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Colors change in every different lighting scenario you encounter. I prefer natural light which is why I challenged myself to work with the artificial lighting in our kitchen this week.

Week 11 – Faces

Black and white profile portrait of a young tween girl ready for her Charlotte Junior Cotillion dance

Week 12 – Contrasting Subjects

gorgeous yellow peony in full bloom

This is my neighbor’s gorgeous yellow peony. I love the light vs. dark contrast. I took this picture yesterday … a mere 5 weeks late, but well worth the wait 😉

Week 13 – Candids

cousins on the beach at Isle of Palms, South Carolina

Youth baseball. Lensbaby image with sharp focal point on the catcher

Week 14 – Horizons


Youth baseball at South Charlotte Recreation Association, image of a young boy waiting in the dugout Image of older siblings doing homework at the South Charlotte baseball fields

Week 15 – Low Light

In- home lifestyle moment of a tween girl finishing homework before school

The picture above was another late addition to my set. Kate had some homework to finish before school yesterday and as I walked by, I thought there’s my low light shot.

Week 16 – Low Depth of Field

Portrait of a tween girl with a Fuji Instax Mini 90 black and white portrait of a tween girl with a Fuji Instax Mini 90

Week 17 – Foreground Framing

Black and white portrait of a tween girl studying in her room


Thank you for taking time to view my Shoot Along progress. You can see more of my personal photography favorites in my Personal Portfolio.


Abbe McCracken is an award-winning photographer serving Charlotte, NC and the surrounding areas of Matthews, Ballantyne, Weddington and beyond. She specializes in joyful family and children’s photography. Abbe is a member of the National Association of Professional Child Photographers and is the 2015 winner of Charlotte Smarty Pants’ Best Family Photographer, Hulafrog South Charlotte’s Most Loved Family Photographer and Charlotte Parent Readers’ Favorite Family Photographer.