Recently I went to Blissdom (a conference for Bloggers) and pretty much went to every Photography session that I could and what I learned is one of those things that is obvious but it escaped me.
When I take pictures of my kids I generally have a predefined picture in my head of what I want them to do and how I want the picture to look. Here I wanted to have nice scenery behind them at Easter last year. Hmm, did the scenery matter…no, it’s a perk but they are the subject and it’s a pretty boring picture.
But you know what, they are kids, they don’t have anything holding them back, they are perfect and picture perfect. Seriously, before the age 10 kids see themselves in a picture and they say “it’s me”; once they start walking/running, they’ll run around naked with no worries. They are uninhibited.
Some of my best pictures where not planned, I was able to stop and see the kids for that moment what they are – perfect and I tried to capture that moment.
Here, Em was sitting and picking off the heads of my flowers, not something I’m happy about, but she loved doing it – I grabbed my camera and said “What do you think you’re doing!” and snapped the picture…notice no remorse in the eyes, she’s pretty happy with herself.
I also realized, that taking pictures is like getting the kids to eat veggies, they are against it unless you let them think it is their idea and/or get them involved. Here, I told Em to run through the cotton fields – running is easy for a kid and you capture the joy in the picture of what they feel with the wind rushing over them.
Want them to look at the camera, ask a question…it can be that simple. This is probably one of my favorite pictures of LilMan; his blue eyes in front of my Hydrangeas, his face flush from running around and chocolate milk on his shirt – that’s him.
Sometimes you don’t need them to look in the camera cause you capture something else – here is LilMan in my Grandparent’s soy bean fields – he is so small – how must he see the world…
I Love this picture of Ben and LilMan! This is LilMan’s first fish. They both have a proud and happy look on their face, Ben looking at LilMan and LilMan at the fish.
My Mom took this picture with an inexpensive point and click (you don’t have to have an expensive camera). Here Grandpa and Em aren’t even looking at the camera but you can see the admiration and protection that Grandpa has for Em. And Em adores Grandpa and wanted to wear her hat like Grandpa.
Look at these pictures; is the posed picture on the left better than the non posed (note: I took about 20 pictures hoping that one of them would have the bell out of Em’s mouth and both of them would look at the camera at the same time – didn’t happen, despite the coaching)…
- Use Bubbles or Balloons
- Turn off all lights and only use natural light
- Don’t use flash that points directly at the person (if you use flash at all, get an external flash that can point up)
- Take pictures on the sidewalk/driveway to reflect the light (grass absorbs the light)
Bottom line: Go with the flow. Even though the Santa picture didn’t show them looking at the camera and smiling…it does represent what they are like at this age and the non posed pictures are just way more interesting because it shows their character and the attitude at that age