*Author and House of Rose Contributor, Jessica – One July Living.
My first born is the classic photographer’s kid… she had a camera in her face almost every day from the moment that gummy smile won over my heart. But as she grew older and developed an opinion of her own, she decided she wanted absolutely nothing to do with my lens. Go figure!
First I tried trickery… “Hey Penelope, I have a cool toy!” (click). She caught on pretty quick. Next, I moved on to the tried and true method of bribery. That one worked for awhile, but paying your kid for smiles and eye contact with sweets and new toys was not exactly a trend that I wanted to encourage.
The verdict? My kid was camera shy. There was no getting around it. Her personality is strong yet delicate. She doesn’t like her little bubble to be intruded upon. She wants to take on the world, her way. And someday, that quality is going to take her far. But as a mom wanting to keep a photo journal of this beautiful little girl’s growth, I was a little sad that she outright “turned off” (and usually completely away!) the moment my camera came out of the bag.
If you have a kid that loves having their picture taken – you are a one lucky parent! But I know, just like my delicate little lady, there are just as many kids who cower away from our photo memories. If you’re one of those parents… never fear, tips are here.
- Embrace the chaos awesomeness of your reality
- Immerse yourself in their world
- Take in the entire scene
- Resort to pictures of them sleeping
I setup beautiful pictures all the time… the perfect location, gorgeous light, hair perfectly coiffed, clothes carefully selected, freshly cleaned face, a beautiful authentic smile… the dream shot. And YES, you should have those. I’m not saying you shouldn’t.
I have and treasure the dream shots of my own family. But there is something VERY special about authenticity and capturing a moment that takes you back to a time and place in your life. Dirty faces, tangled hair, and yes – even camera shyness.
While I’m playing with my little one, I’ll often keep my camera on my hip. It’s important that they feel like this is not a photo session. Truly take the time to play with them and enjoy the moment. Kids are smart… they know a trick when they see one!
In these situations, I take my camera out with ZERO expectations. I’m not trying to capture the “dream shot”. I’m simply looking for moments. Moments where I’m down at eye level with her and looking at the world through her eyes. It may not be a smiling face, but I am documenting both her life as well as my life as a mother. The playtime. The discovery. The authenticity of this phase… yes, even the camera shy phase.
Take this picture for example… what do you see?
A maxi dress with random legs, and a chopped off crop of a little head? Sure. But what do I see? I see a day that I spent laying beside my girl in the grass while she independently blew bubbles on a warm March day. And it’s perfect to me.
My favorite genre of photography is portraits – I see so much beauty in people and want their face to be front and center. But when it comes to camera shyness, we need to look at it as an opportunity to expand your creativity and try new things. Step back. I mean physically, step WAAAAAY back. Take away the threat of the lens in their face. At first, I didn’t appreciate these images because I want to see the twinkle in her eye and the dimple on her cheek. But when I look back at them I have a whole new found appreciation for this idea of “taking in the scene” because it is my view as a mother… constantly watching from both close and afar. Taking it all in, keeping them safe, and watching them grow.
I’m only kind of kidding here. Obviously, if they don’t know you’re taking a picture the problem is solved! But I also believe that every parent should have a picture of their baby, no matter how old, resting peacefully in dreamland.
My next guest post will be a step-by-step tutorial of how to take gorgeous pictures of your kids all snug as a bug.
See you next time!
This is post number 7 in a series of posts on how to take better pictures written by Jessica from One July Living. To check out the previous posts see below:
- 3 Steps To Better Pictures Without Changing A Single Camera Setting
- Introduction to Manual Mode: Discover Light in a Whole New Way
- Understanding Aperture: Getting Some of That Buttery Goodness
- Rule of Thirds
- Tips for Indoor Photography
- Introduction to White Balance
Make sure and PIN this to your photography board for future reference…you know…so when you bust out your camera and completely forget what Jessica just taught us. For that time.