I post A LOT of photos of my kids here, and am often told how photogenic they are. I would like to say, “Yes, my kids are perfect little models when it comes to a camera being shoved in their face.” But I would be lying, and I committed to have this place be one of honesty!
But although my kids are not little photo icons, I have learned some tricks along the way to being able to capture photos that I personally love and adore. I am not going into technical camera advise here. I took these photos of my son in ten minutes time at 3 in the afternoon. There is no golden evening sunlight shining in or beautiful beach surrounding our backdrop. We were at the bottom of our apartment stairs, in fact, listening to make sure big sister didn’t wake up and wonder where we went.
But oftentimes as moms, our favorite photos are not the “perfect” ones, but the genuine. And here are a few things I try to incorporate whenever taking mine…
1. Capture them being… them!
I cannot emphasize this point enough. We can all fall into the “social media” trap of wanting that perfect, Facebook “liked” smile. You know, the big happy, but not cheesy mind you, smile that shows just how perfect our little one truly is.
But ten years from now, will it be the perfect smile that steals your heart?
Since he first entered this world, Pierce shows exactly what he feels on his face. He is so expressive that complete strangers comment on it. Even before he could talk you knew exactly what he was thinking.
The above photo is his inquisitive face, the one that is now accompanied with a “Huh?” And I absolutely adore it with all my heart! It may not gain too much Instagram attention, but I know that it will be one I will forever cherish, because it is a direct glimpse into who he is: Mr. Expressive.
2. Stay Quiet.
I often try to be somewhat transparent with my lens. To quietly capture my children simply doing life. And these are the photos that mean so much to me. The ones I cherish a million times more than any posed grin.
He was talking to his little dog here. His favorite dog that has been patched and sewed and moved across country, and yet is still here with us. If I had asked him to smile here I would have completely missed out on this precious moment between them. Instead, I have a memory I will look back at ten years from now and find my heart spilling out right over again.
3. Point them towards an activity.
Perhaps your kids are perfect angels who will simply sit and grin for minutes on end while you capture the perfect pose. But if they are anything like mine, this statement alone will cause you to break out in evil laughter. Kids are pure sugar. So use this sweetness to your advantage.
It was 3 in the afternoon and I knew that any photos taken in direct sunlight would have turned out awful. So instead of desperately trying to fight ugly shadows on his face, I pointed out the shady hall and asked him if he wanted to run from one end of the building to the next. Of course he happily agreed! Pierce runs so fast it is crazy scary. I have to literally sprint to catch him. In addition, he lives in a shirt and underwear these days! I love how this photo will always remind me of his carefree, pure sugar approach towards life. And all without desperately trying for the “cheese.”
4. Wait for it
If there’s one thing I learned about motherhood, it’s that kids do things on their own terms. But the second thing I have learned is they love your attention. They are forever looking for your approval, praise. And so, they will look up to you, and often they will smile too.
I didn’t ask him to smile here. I simply engaged him in a little conversation, my camera ready to hit my face in a instant. And the instant happened. I asked him something he found quite entertaining. And I snapped. But this snap is so much better to me than if he would have simply obliged my request and gave me a “cheese.” Because that smile would not have been genuine. But this grin–this grin takes me straight into his happy little soul. And this grin is what gives my life meaning.
The next time you take out your own camera or iphone to snap a photo of your own little cutie patotie, I encourage you to try one or four of these tips! See what a difference it makes in your photo. Not a difference in how social media approved it may be, but in the way you look at it.
And then let me know all about it!! 🙂