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8 Tips for Capturing Childhood in Photos

Updated: Apr 2, 2020

So much has changed in the last week. I think back to last week when many thought coronavirus was just media hype and that taking any precautions at that time seemed extreme. Here we are a week later and so many people find themselves suddenly home with their kids trying to balance work and homeschooling.

Family Lifestyle Photo Session

There are so many uncertainties for so many people. It’s scary. I've been trying to figure out the best course of action for my business. I had a plan to start working more on marketing and the less fun parts of being a business owner. Those plans just seem...inappropriate at this time. So I’m trying to figure out other ways that I can serve you and ways I can help take your mind off of what's going on "out there."

One way I thought I could do that is sharing some tips for capturing childhood while you're spending more time together home as a family. I know the reason for you being in this situation is less than ideal, but this is a great opportunity to capture some of your kids' childhood yourself, whether it be on your phone or the camera you got for Christmas that’s maybe still in the box!

I encourage you to try take at least 1 image a day, if not 3-5 images a day from different activities or parts of the day using the following tips.

Family Lifestyle Photo Session

1. Turn off artificial lights and open the shades.

Different light sources have different temperatures that give off different colors. By shutting off all your lights, you will just be using sunlight, giving a nice even white balance (or color tone) to your photos. If your house is too dark to take photos with only natural light, try moving your subject closer to window.

2. Try having the light hit your subject from different directions.

Now that you’ve got your light source, get creative and place your subject at different angles to the light. You can have the light (the window) directly behind them for back lighting, you can have them at an angle to the light for side light, and you can have them directly facing the light for front light. Different lighting gives a different feel to the image. Experiment!

3. Try different and maybe unusual angles.

While we’re experimenting, consider experimenting with angles too! After you set up for a shot, before you snap that photo, ask yourself if you’re at a “snapshot” angle. What I mean by that is if something were happening and you were like “Oh my gosh, cuuute!” and you wanted to capture it, you just grab your phone (or camera) and snap a quick photo to capture the moment. I’m encouraging you here to try avoid taking photos that just look like a snapshot. Get up higher, get lower, move to one side, try another side. In fact, try take a photo of the same thing from 5 different angles or perspectives. See what you come up with.

Family In-Home Photo Session

4. Get at the same eye level.

Especially for real little kiddos, get down at their eye level instead of shooting from above. This kind of relates to number 3, but I thought it deserved its own number because I think this alone can take a photo from that snapshot look, to portrait.

5. Don't obsess over the mess.

Your home doesn't have to be Instagram worthy and perfectly tidy. I plan to write a more in-depth post about this later, but please don’t fret over how messy the living room is or that you don’t have all white or shiplap walls. The fact that there’s dishes in the sink does not take away from the memory of your kiddo standing on a step stool helping roll cookie dough. These are your memories with your family and it’s your story you’re capturing. You and your family are unique and if you’ve got dark blue walls, well gosh darn it, capture it to the best of your ability and look back at the memories in those photos with fondness. Because let’s be real, there will come a day that your kid isn't going to want to bake cookies with you anymore.

6. Let your kids be kids.

So this might be hard, especially if you are a control freak and have this idea in your head of you want to capture and your kid isn’t cooperating. Trust me when I say you just gotta let your kids be kids. That is how you’re going to get the best and most authentic photos. I’m not saying don’t try whatever idea you’ve got—please do! But if your kid doesn’t want to cooperate, don’t try to force it on them. It’s not going to work the way you want it and just cause everyone to get frustrated. Instead, try to creatively capture the things your kid wants to do, which leads me to…

Family Photo Session

7. Ask your kiddo if they have an idea for a photo they’d like to take and let them style themselves!

Kids can have some pretty fun ideas for a photo they’d like. This also gets them involved in the creative process and feel like they have a say, which makes it more fun for them!

8. Look for connections.

If you have more than one kiddo, or your spouse is home with you or you have a pet, be sure to always be looking for connections that are naturally happening throughout the day and capture those. Whether it’s siblings playing a board game together, potty training, reading together, tickle wars, cuddling on the couch--whatever it is, capture it, because someday these moments will be a distant memory.

No one knows how long this social distancing thing (or physical distancing as my friend calls it, and I like that better) will last, but however long it lasts, hopefully you're taking in all these extra moments you're getting with your kiddo and hopefully this little "project" will help bring some joy to your days. Whenever you decide your project is done, I hope you'll go back through your photos, pick your favorites, and get them printed!

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