As a mom I sometimes struggle pick up my camera (not my cellphone!) some days because I’m not quite sure what to photograph. But as a photographer I know and feel the importance of capturing and recording the everyday in our lives.
Here are some ideas for capturing your priceless moments.
1. Self portrait
Here’s the deal. No one cares if you have makeup on (except you). You need to document that you were there too. Do you really want your kids to look back at their childhood and wonder what you looked like back then? Place your camera on a tripod or table, set up a timer or use a remote, sit by a window and take some photos. You can act like a fool, be serious, or don’t even look at the camera. The important thing is that you are in the photo. My daughter thought the tripod and remote were cool and she was excited about being in some photos with mom.
2. Try something new
It’s easy to get comfortable with photography especially if you mainly shoot the same thing all the time. If all your photos of your kids look exactly the same but your kid is wearing a different shirt than you know it is time to try something new. Give yourself the freedom to make mistakes. Practice shooting in tricky light situations. Soot in low sight and full sun. These are valuable skills and will be invaluable when you are forced to shoot in them. Besides you may end up with some cool photos and capture moments you never would have otherwise.
3. Be an Observer
Step back and watch. Wait for a moment that you are not a participant in and photograph it. These moments add so much to a moment because you are truly capturing the moment. You aren’t directing or interfering in any way. When I found my son reading to his little sister one night before bed it touched my heart and I had to document it.
4. Play with editing styles
This is one of my favorite things to do. For the most part it is best as a professional to maintain a similar editing style, but when you try new thing you may discover something you really like. One thing I love doing to photos is flipping the horizontally. Sometimes it can give a photo a hole new feel.
5. Capture the Fun
The coolest aspect of photography is the ability to capture a moment that otherwise is gone forever. I love using my camera to not only capture moments but to create memories for later in life. When you kids are having a great time playing don’t waste time thinking about how that would make a great photo, take the photo. Don’t think about the making the photo perfect. The last thing you want is to lose the emotion and the moment because you are setting up the right shot.
(try this) Take some time to look back through family albums. What do you notice most? Which images are you most drawn to? Photograph the moments, details, and subjects that make you happy.
6. Don’t leave anyone out
I find that some children are easier to photograph than others. My Girls are always willing to get in front of the camera; my son on the other hand does not. Because of this I don’t have as many images of all of him as I would like. So instead of having him dress up and pose for photos I have him be himself. Allow him to silly faces for the camera. Once in a while I end up with something like this. He was behaving goofy, balancing a watch on his head.
After editing I and got this...
Be still my heart.
7. Get them together
One of the most difficult things is capturing your children together. It is crazy hard! With so many personality differences the dynamics of getting a group photo you may never want to do it. I want to encourage you to try your best. Documenting and capturing the relationships in your life is so powerful and emotional for not only you, but for the subjects you’re shooting. I love watching my daughter pour over albums saying “Look Mommy! That’s you and me! There’s Grandma! Make a list of the relationships that are most significant in your family’s life now and make an effort to document them. Most likely these relationships will change over time so don’t put off taking a family photo.
(Here is a tip) If you can't get everyone to look at the camera for a portrait, have them take a walk, or do an activity. When my kids have had enough with looking at the camera I have them do an activity instead. This always works.
8. Playing with friends
Your kid’s friendships are important. Have you ever looked at an old photo of you and a childhood friend? How did it make you feel to see that photo? You may not always think of taking out the camera when your kids have a friend over but you won’t regret it.
9. Make color work for you
Color plays a huge role in photography. The decision to either include or convert an image to black and white is a personal and creative decision. Often I think to myself “this light is just perfect for a conversion,” but when it comes time to process it I don't like the image when I convert it to black and white. The color is often part of the story and without it something feels missing. There are other times when stripping an image of color allows you to see it without any distraction. Choosing to process in color or black and white is a personal decision; I suggest playing around with the color of an image and see what you are attracted to.
10 find a new angle
Telling a story from many different angles is an extremely captivating way to share an experience. Try shooting from above, below, the side, and from over their shoulder. When I take a trip to the zoo with my kids my favorite lens is my Sigma 35mm 4.1 art. This lens allows me to get super close to the scene and still capture the story.