I love photographing children. The amount of joy and hope and expectation in their little eyes and personalities is so darn infectious. They remind me how wonderful it is to be alive and that each moment can and should be enjoyed. They brighten the mood of the grumpiest among us — and that seems like a magical super power.
As a mom with growing (too fast) children I get the absolute urgency to bottle that up, to capture it for you to always have to look back on. And I’m not one to shy away from a challenge — in fact as a photographer I quite like challenges.
When a mom inevitably comes to a session exasperated after the mess of getting everyone dressed (I know how stressful that is!) and looking nice and says to me, “Well, good luck!” I smile and am ready to get. that. done.
In your day to day life, mamas, as you’re trying to bottle up those perfectly silly faces, and beautiful play, and unique personality, let me share a few recommendations:
01. The best camera you have is the one you have on you.
Whether it’s your iPhone or your newly purchased camera— get to know it and USE IT! They are all just tools. The more you know the ins and outs of your equipment the faster you can react and capture images that you love and desire.
02. Seek the light.
If you’re setting out to capture your child, why not play in the place that has lovely light? Whether that’s the living room floor, the kitchen table in front of a sliding glass door, or heading outside to the playground or park.
Shooting with great light will always produce better results (if you’ve tried to capture your kid in a school auditorium, night time routine, etc you’ll know this to be true!)
03. Let them play.
As you interact, or even take a step back and watch your child play, those personalities will be drawn out. That determination to build a sand castle or the joy of running away from a crashing wave.
04. Interact with your subject(s).
You mamas probably know that telling a child to smile at the camera is, well, pointless and ineffective for the most part.
I love getting creative by playing a game or asking them a question – Playing “Telephone” (whispering in an ear and passing down the ‘news’), peek-a-boo, or asking them: “What’s your favorite xxxx?” “If you could be any animal, what would it be?”
05. Make sure you enjoy the process.
The minute that asks become demands, or a child senses frustration, they will probably CHECK OUT. When I started my photography journey, I just always kept a camera within reach. If someone inspired me I grabbed it and used it.
Don’t be afraid to document the process (a child’s hands full of finger paint, their small little hands creating) as well as the smile on the face. It gives you as photographer more options and takes the pressure off the child for “a smiling photo.” Have fun, be creative, smile and enjoy the fact that you’re creating and keeping these memories for years to come.
If you’re taking photos and trying this out, tag me (@melaniereyesphotography)! I want to see!
The original version of this article was first published on the author’s blog. Click here to read it!