They say never to work with kids and animals, I disagree, I love working with kids (and the odd animal when the opportunity arrises) If I had a pound for every time a client says to me that I have the patience of a saint with their kids I would be a very rich lady, the reality of it is, is that your kids probably have more patience with me than they do with you.... the hardest and most difficult child I have ever photographed is my own, my two year old Florence certainly makes being a mumtographer difficult.
So wether you are using the camera on your phone or a sassy DSLR, here are a few hints and tips for getting natural, fun images that you can look back on and treasure.
Im not going to get all technical about lighting and composition etc, this post is just designed to give you mums and dads a few tips.
1 - MAKE IT FUN!
If I have learnt anything on my journey as a photographer, it is that kids just love to have a fun session, if they like dressing up, then dress up with them, if they like to dance, then dance with them, if they want to paint and get messy, then get the craft box out and get stuck in.
Get out with them, take some dressing up outfits and let them run wild..... and simply just snap away... throw the rule book out, these are your memories, anything goes!
2 - ENGAGE WITH THEM
How many times have you asked your child to smile for the camera and ended up with a forced smile with squinty eyes (don't get me wrong, there is nothing wrong with this, these are your memories after all)
Sometimes just engaging and asking simple questions will get you natural results, for instance, with boys, I always ask them if they have a girlfriend, this always results in a coy smile, usually followed closely with "I have three" this get a natural flow of conversation going. I ask about their friends, their school, favourite cartoons, all the while I am taking in everything they tell me whilst snapping away at their reactions.
With girls, particularly the younger ones, I always ask who they prefer Elsa or Anna? again, this allows me to get a flow of conversation going.. ask them how their day in school was, what they are hoping to get for Christmas/Birthdays.. again, you can capture natural those natural expressions.
Ask them if they can see your eye through the lens of your camera, this makes them look directly into the lens, creating a image with connection.
Always try to get down to the same level as them, if it means laying on the floor having a chat with them, then do just that, this gives you more of a personal connection with them and they will feel like you really are listening.
4 - EMBRACE THE LIGHT
If like me, you are a lover of natural light, then look for the pockets of light in your home, observe your home through the day and find where the light falls best at certain times, then use this spot of light to sit and chat, try and put some toys down there to encourage them towards the area. Natural light can be super effective in getting images that have a moody feel about them.
Experiment with those areas of light in your home.. again there are no rules,
To bring out the light in their eyes, have them face the window, perhaps laying on the bed on their tummy, look at their eyes when taking the picture, do they twinkle, if not, then move away, it could be that you are blocking the light source from the window, take a few steps either side of your child and see if that helps.
5 - EVERYDAY MOMENT'S
Capturing those every day moments is so very important, I literally have my camera nearby every day, if I don't have my big camera, I always have my phone and pretty much capture everything that happens, the first hair cut, my eldest reading when she didn't know I was watching her... sneak about the house when they are going about their everyday lives, remain unobtrusive and snap away... peek around the door when you hear them getting along with their siblings, or when you hear them having a good old belly laugh.
Play with the bubbles in the bath... make everything FUN
6 - SIBLING LOVE
If you have more than one child you will know how much hard work it is to get an image of them together right? one is always pulling a funny face, or one is always snarling at the other.... ok... so get them to play a game, they have to lay on the floor and look at each other without laughing, you can guarantee that this results in fits of giggles... boom.. job done, a smiley happy image.
With two or more kids you can get them to have a pile on, or ask them silly questions.. (my fave to ask is "who does the loudest trumps in the house") I don't know what it is with kids and toilet humour, but they seem to love it.
7 - NEWBORNS
So you have seen a picture on Pinterest of a baby looking all squishy, head in their hands and you just love it.... I can't reiterate this enough, please, please don't attempt it, these types of images have been taken by professional photographers who have invested time and money into Newborn training to be able to do these types of images, they are in fact composite images, meaning they are separate images, stitched together using photoshop..
A less risky and more safer way is to lay them down, wrap them up and take some images of feet, hands, get mum or dad to hold them and capture those emotions, with siblings get them on the bed (staying close by) and capture the love between them. you can purchase little cards to capture the important milestones.
8 - EDIT, ENJOY & PRINT THEM
There are plenty of free editing apps available, VSCO is one of my favourites, Instagram have some great filters on them, or if you want to get the big guns out, there is Photoshop or Lightroom..
So you now have a hard drive or phone full of images, just sitting there doing nothing... what if the hard drive fails, or the phone breaks?.. all those memories disappeared forever.. it costs pennies to get them printed off in a supermarket, I can't reiterate enough how important investing in prints really is... in years to come, your future will thank you.
I hope I have been able to give you a few pointers though this blog? I would love to see you experiment and see what you come up with, please do post them to the Facebook page
If none of the above works.. you bring out the sweets and bribe them!!!!
Much Love, Karen xxxxxx