Anyone that knows me knows that I love to capture a moment. If you are a family member or friend you’ve posed for me countless times and most likely have received a framed print or another photo gift in the course of our relationship.
I am a firm believer in capturing candid and everyday moments. While I appreciate a posed photo as much as the next person my goal when taking pictures of my toddler is to capture these fleeting moments that make up his childhood because we all know it goes too fast.
Here are a few of my favorite tips in capturing candid childhood photos.
My favorite photos of my son are ones I’ve snapped midplay. I am enjoying a moment just as much as he is, I take a quick picture and am right back to playing. I do not (always) sit there and beg for a smile or do my crazy make a smile happen dance. I am just enjoying my time with him. Most times, the photo happens so fast he doesn’t even realize I’ve taken a picture. Your child most likely acts differently when they know the camera is out. Any parent who has scheduled family photos can attest to this. Try getting your camera out discreetly. As much as a prize-winning smile of my son fills my heart, it’s the simple moments that I never want to forget.
Utilize natural light when you are able to. Turn off any artificial light source. Open the windows. Play near an open doorway or a large window. Head outside. Avoid flash when you are able to as well.
When composing your photo try a new perspective
Instead of trying to capture your child putting together a puzzle or playing in the sand and getting a big grin why not try a bird’s eye view? Also, think about the whole photo. Try to rid the photo frame of any distractions. I’m not saying you need to clear out your entire living room (ours also serves as the playroom, so that’s never happening) but just pay attention to your surroundings. Do you know you want to capture your child playing with the trains? Move the vacuum out of the background before you get on their level. If it doesn’t add to the story you are trying to tell it doesn’t need to be there.
Capture the details
Never want to forget the little fat dimples in their fingers? Take a photo cropped in tight of them holding their favorite toy and let those dimples be the star of the show. Feet seem to be doubling in size every couple of weeks, and you can’t ever remember when they were tiny? Capture them once in a while to remember them perfectly at that time in their life. We don’t often forget to get our camera out in the big, momentous times in our little one’s lives but I encourage you to capture the small moments and details as well.
Tell a story
When capturing photos of your child think of the photo you are trying to tell. Be patient and wait for the story to unfold naturally. Don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t and don’t force it. Maybe you got your child all dressed up to go play in the snow. You bundled them up, grabbed your camera and waited for a glorious first snow of the season photo. Only to be met by them trying to peel everything off, tears when you tried to keep them from freezing, and you returning back inside 2 minutes later. It happens. And if you want to really capture an authentic childhood, hopefully, you took a picture of it.