Photographing the story of June growing up has been a goal of mine and will continue throughout her childhood. The magic of the first steps, first teeth, or even getting messy with food are all precious moments that are fleeting and go by so fast! The moments I have captured of June walking on the sidewalk for the first time, eating an orange, looking out the window, reading, trying to climb on the couch, are all beautiful memories that may seem mundane or unimportant to some- but trust me, years from now these things will be what I miss MOST. I know I will always remember these little things about her!
Because of this, my style has always been more lifestyle and documentarian. Capturing June's little personality and her little quirks is something that keeps my passion alive everyday. She helps me feel inspired in all areas of my photography and she has definitely helped me get creative with light, be quick with settings, and she has even inspired me to create my own light in areas of the home where it's dark.
A few times a month I get questions from people regarding what camera to buy if they just want to take photos of their kids or if they are a hobbyist. Although I normally don't try to help people with camera models (I encourage people to do their own research since I don't know what exactly all you will be using the camera for or your lighting situations at home) I can help you with tips! Scroll below to see 8 pointers!
Find the light
Light is absolutely EVERYTHING. You don't even need a pro camera to create stunning imagery if the light is right. Pay attention to what light does at certain times of day and how the light shines in your home. Harsh light coming into your windows isn't the best- but maybe on the other side of your home at another window it will be softer! Start paying attention to shadows and highlights on faces and aim for soft light. Direct light can be beautiful too if you know how to use it to tell a story!
Don't place your kids in a dark hallway or a space with bright red walls that can throw a colour cast on your child's face. Try to find a neutral space and always TURN OFF ambient lights to keep natural light looking it's best!
If you are shooting by a window it's a really cool thing to look for catch lights in their eyes as well! Gives the image something extra!
Buy a camera body 0nly
Kit lenses aren't always the best! Consider buying a 35 1.8 or a 50 1.8 separate from your camera!
The 1.8 setting is your aperture and a lower number basically lets more light in and will allow you to be more creative and artistic with blurred backgrounds!
This is touching on manual settings so if this matters to you, definitely dive into online tutorials to learn more!
Be patient and observe
Honestly, the beauty happens when you just wait. I follow June around the house most of the time and have a tea while I wait for perfect moments in the right light.
I am absolutely against forcing June to do something and set something up in my home which WILL frustrate her and I both- this takes away from who she is and prevents me from photographing her in the moment.
Just enjoy your kids, be patient, experiment, and it will be worth it!
Experiment with manual
I only shoot manual 100% of the time. I tell my camera EXACTLY what I want it to do and exactly how I want the image.
Shooting auto or AP is totally fine but I definitely challenge you guys to just try experimenting with manual! The storytelling you can create is limitless when you know what YOU want the camera to do. You can decide what you want in focus, how much of it you want in focus, how lit you want the image, how fast you want the shutter, etc.
Because kids move quick, I recommend having your shutter speed at 500 and your other settings (ISO and f stop) will depend on that!
You can do it!
Shoot down at their level
Try crouching down to their level and photograph an image so the camera is in line with their eyes. This makes the image feel like it's their own little world!
Also be creative with composition, angles, etc. Move around and see what the light does! Is it making their cute little shoulder blades stand out? Is the light making their eyes pop?
Set up a play area by a window
If your kids are always on the go and you just want them to sit still so you can grasp your settings, make a nice little play or craft area on the floor by a window- or even at a table by the window!
If they are busy in one spot for a while that will help you learn!
Bring out your camera at midday
If you are unsure what to look for with light, start bringing your camera out around 11 or noon! Why?
The sun is highest in the sky and there will be softer light through your windows at this time.
Don't get frustrated
Honestly, stop calling their name and getting them to look at the camera. They NEVER have to be looking at you- you are capturing their life and their quirks. That won't happen if you keep calling their name!
To capture who they are and the beauty of it, let the staged looks go. Unreal things can happen if you embrace real life!