Children change daily.As a mother, I know those mornings when the children seem to have grown and changed overnight. To honour this extraordinary time of life, I believe we need to photograph more than just pretty pictures. It is not luck, but preparation that will improve the photographs you take of your child. Confidence with and knowledge of your camera is essential. You don’t need a fancy camera to take beautiful pictures; you simply need to understand the camera you have (and add in some patience, understanding and love for your little subject). When you understand how to control your camera, it is easier make purposeful choices each time you take pictures. Couple that with letting go of false expectations of perfection from both your subjects and your camera, real beauty can emerge. This type of mindful shooting will not only minimize the amount of time spent sorting through your images, but also improve the shots you actually take. My goal for this series is to inspire you to go beyond merely contemplating how you might take a pretty picture of your child and to explore the more elusive aim of capturing meaningful photographs of your own children. This can be achieved with contemplation, preparation, and a lot of patience and smiles. Kids (especially your own) can be your toughest customer, so it’s vital to be fun and spontaneous, yet always respectful, observant, and thoughtful of the photographs you are creating.
Mindfulness.I’d like to share a story with you. I was watching my girl take a million and one photos on her camera recently and when I asked her why, she didn’t have a clear answer. I started a conversation about the purpose of a photograph, the thought behind it and what makes us push the shutter button at that precise moment. It made me think….have you thought about the purpose of the photographs you take? While mindfulness in photography is second nature to me now, I remember the early years of a thousand shutter clicks and hoping I had “the one”. If you’re stuck there, I challenge you to stop. Think about what you’re trying to achieve – the point of the photograph…and just shoot that. Relying on the “spray-and-pray” method of shooting, parents (and too many portrait photographers who work with children) often take hundreds of images at once hoping they’ll chance on a good one. I hear the talk, “Hey, it’s digital, snap as many images at one time as you can. Fill up that memory card, it’s not like it costs anything.” Although this approach may not cost money in terms of buying and developing film, it will cost you lots of precious time – time that could be spent elsewhere. (I wrote a blog post some time ago about what happens when your memory cards are full here: https://www.saltmama.com.au/help-ive-got-thousand-photos-phone-no-space/) Personally, I feel that with the assimilation of smart phones, social media and snap chat filters into our daily lives, it’s as if the emphasis of a person’s photograph is no longer on the authentic moment captured, but on what filter was chosen and many “likes” it might receive. Our children are so open to the wonders of daily life and are so fully engaged in every experience that they make such fascinating subjects – just as they are. No one knows your child as well as you. Remember, you’re not only documenting the universal moments of childhood, but also the uniqueness of your individual child.