Life with children isn’t about dressing up them up in their best dress or a starched button-down shirt. So, chances are parents will regret having only photos of them smiling pretty for the camera. While portraits are lovely and have their place, if you are left only with pictures of children posing in neatly pressed clothes you will have no true record of who they were as children once they grow up – the afternoons spent at the playground, impromptu trips to get a treat, haircuts, playing games, making pancakes on Saturday mornings, and even the grumpy faces.
In some ways, capturing these everyday moments may be a challenge because you cannot control many of the factors that make a great photo, including the light, the activity, or how the children will react. On the other hand, capturing everyday moments makes some things easier since there is no need to coax a child into striking a pose or trying to get a natural looking smile out of them.
The more children get used to seeing a parent with a camera or the more fun they can have interacting with a photographer the greater the chance they will forget about the camera at all and relax enough to let you capture them as they really are.
Many parents like making a list of the everyday activities they want to capture with their camera while others choose to take their camera with them everywhere and take a photo or two daily. Either approach works well! While you will likely think of the fun things first, like going to the park or the movies and reading in bed, don’t overlook the mundane activities such as doing homework and getting haircuts as well.
When capturing the everyday be sure to take a least few photos of each event, including a wide angle shot to capture the scene and the child in relation to the setting, a shot that shows the child’s face clearly and captures her expression, and a shot of a detail or two.
While there will a lot you cannot control when taking photos of everyday activities, there are some things you may be to do to help make your images great. If children are doing an art project, set up the supplies where you have good light and request a table near a window when going out to eat. When you get to the park, look for a place with nice lighting and few people and have your camera ready when your children wander over. Similarly, if you are trying to capture a shot in a place that is normally crowded, such as a movie theater, try to arrive early when other people are not likely to be in your shot. You can also try going to places like the supermarket or museums early when they are less likely to be crowded and will have more room to maneuver around to get the shot you are hoping for!
There is a growing demand for images of everyday life capturing families as they really are. You may want to consider hiring a photographer for a full-day or even just a couple of hours to document how the whole family spends their time. If you are a professional photographer these types of sessions could make a great addition to the types of sessions you offer.
There are two lenses that work very well for capturing everyday life with children. A 35mm lens is a smaller lens that is easy to carry around in a purse or small camera bag. 35mm are very versatile because they allow the photographer to capture a lot of the setting when she steps back and can also be used to capture shots closer to the subject as well. If despite your best efforts the children you are trying to photograph seem distracted by you or the camera you can use a longer lens. A 70-200 mm lens allows you to step far away from your subject and still capture great shots. However, because this lenses is big, heavy, and expensive it is not be the right choice for everyone. An 85mm lens is a smaller, more affordable choice that can put some distance between you and the children you are photographing and doubles nicely as a portrait lens.
You will never regret capturing everyday moments of children. These are the images that will show who your children really are.
Jamie Davis Smith