Obviously I’d love to take photos of you and your family – and I hope one day I will! – but with all the will in the world, I can’t be with you 24/7 to capture all the lovely little things that happen day to day. (Although a few people have said they’d love it if I could be! 😉 )
But that doesn’t mean you can’t capture some of those special moments for yourself and to help you I have a couple of tips I’ve picked up in my years of photographing children that I want to share.
Use what you have and use it often
If you have a camera, great, use it! It won’t do you any good in it’s bag or pouch, up on a shelf, waiting for your next day trip or your next holiday. Keep it handy and I promise you’ll soon find you have hundreds of photos of your children being their awesome selves. Now that we live in a digital age you can afford to take as many photos as you like and then simply cull the ones that are blurry or that you don’t like without any cost to yourself.
Photography is like anything else, you have to make it a habit. You have to do it often enough that you’ll find yourself reaching for the camera without realising it.
If you don’t have a camera, you don’t get away that easily. These days just about every phone has a camera and with very little technical know how you can make sure your phone backs them up to a cloud or to Google photos or…wherever it is they go…so that you can delete your gallery every month or so and capture photos every day without clogging up your phone. This means, now more than ever, there’s no need to miss those moments.
You know the ones I mean. The time they dressed themselves in your clothes or the time they found your make up bag and decided to ‘decorate’ themselves. These aren’t necessarily the pictures you’ll frame but they are worth having and keeping for the future.
That said? Take a little time every month or every Autumn, and look through the photos you have and pick your favourites. Get them printed, either as individual photos or in a photobook – both of these are relatively inexpensive these days. Digital photos are fantastic things but there’s nothing quite like being able to look through an album or pull out a photobook to share with friends or with your children in years to come.
Make time to take photos
By this I mean, when your children are playing in the garden or dressing up, stop what you’re doing and watch them. Joining in is even better 😉 but by watching them not only are you getting to enjoy watching their play, you will be able to take the photos of them trying all the princess dresses on or building a tower of bricks as big as they are and not just the end result.
Photos of grinning children next to the tower they built are always lovely but you’ll get even more special photos when you take pictures while they build it. Shots of them concentrating, with their tongue poking out, while trying to put a block on the top of the pile with a gentle hand that Indiana Jones would be proud of.
If your children like dancing, stick on some music and have an impromptu disco. No better time to get natural photos than when your children are bouncing around and unaware you even have the camera out.
Set yourself a goal
Maybe taking photos every day or every week just isn’t something you can feasibly do or feel comfortable doing. And that’s totally ok! But set yourself a goal, try to take a photo of your children at a certain time or a certain place at least once every year.
My family has been visiting the Highlands of Scotland for as long as I can remember and when we had the girls I wanted to mark their visits there. So, along with all the other photos I try to take when we’re on holiday, if nothing else…I take a photo of my daughters in front of the door to the cottage we stay in.
They’re not the best shots I’ll ever take, but I love them all the same.
Have someone take photos for you
I know that kind of goes against the idea of you capturing moments for yourselves but, as I’ve said elsewhere in this blog, if you’re the one who takes the photos…you’re never in them yourself.
That could be your partner or your friend. It could be me! 🙂
But make sure photos get taken with you in them, even if you have to take them yourself.
Trust me, you’re going to be as important a part of your children’s memories as anything else they do.
Probably the most important part of all.