As mamas, the act of picking up our camera to capture memories with our littles ones is equally exciting and daunting. It’s exciting because we know that the pictures we take will be cherished forever. But it is also daunting because we want to photograph everything. If you’re like me, you feel the pressure to photograph every little thing your child does and sometimes feel guilty when you didn’t get a photo of them doing something particularly adorable.
Read more: 9 Tutorials on Photographing Kids
While there are so many photos that we dream of taking, there are really seven main photos every mom should take. It may be helpful to think of these as categories, or themes. Having this list handy may help you learn when to pick up your camera and, alternatively, when it’s okay to set it down.
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- No.01Current Interests
The things that our children are interested in changes as they grow. When they are little, they are fascinated with their fingers and when they grow they become fascinated with particular toys or activities. Whether it is photographing your child reading their favorite story or building yet another castle with their favorite set of blocks, be sure to photograph what your child is currently interested in.
Oh how angelic they look while they sleep, right? There is something so peaceful and innocent about a sleeping child, that makes you forget all about the tantrum they had in the Target aisle the hour before. Being careful not to wake your child, try and get a couple snapshots of them sleeping. I find it easiest to get photos like this towards the end of nap time, as they are slowly waking up.
- No.03Being Mischevious
I know, I know. This is a surprising one. And I am not saying you need to run and grab your camera every time they are naughty, as you don’t want to encourage them. However, being mischievous is a part of childhood and sometimes it makes for the sweetest of photos. Whether they are sneaking a cookie from the cookie jar, have gotten into your lipstick and have it smeared on their face, or are pulling the puppy’s tail, be sure to remember that these are photographable moments that you will want to remember down the road.
- No.04Photos With You
This one is hard for many mamas, as the thought of getting in the camera is intimidating. But pictures of you with your children are so important. While they may not be the most important to you, they will be cherished by your children once they are older. So do it for them. Take photos of you doing normal everyday things like cuddling, reading stories, feeding, or playing.
My favorite way to take portraits of me and my daughter is by setting up a tripod with my Nikon D750 and using a remote to trigger the shutter. It allows us to have natural moments because we aren’t being photographed by a person who can distract us, but instead have a camera simply set up.
- No.05Genuine Laughter
While photos of our children looking right at the camera are lovely, be sure to focus on those candid images that contain true emotion. Make it your goal to capture genuine laughter.
One of the easiest ways for me to encourage laughter is by putting a shutter hugger on my camera and play with it, while photographing. I make the bunny go upside down, make them give kisses on noses, and do silly things to encourage laughter.
- No.06Important Milestones
I think milestones are one of the most natural times we remember to pick up our camera. Think of the milestones you hope to photograph and make a list for yourself. This could include little things like your little one discovering their toes for the first time or big things like learning to ride a bike.
- No.07First Events
This is a little different than the milestones category, as it’s more about your children experiencing something new instead of learning something new. First events could be first holidays, first plane rides, or first days at school. Think of the bigger picture with this one and make a list of “firsts” that you hope to photograph. Remember, it’s okay to only take one photo and then live in the moment too!
For me, I get a little overwhelmed thinking about all the photos I hope to take of my little one. Making small lists and thinking in terms of categories or themes really helps me organize my wish list and get the photos I really want. When photographing your children, be sure to keep it fun and remember that less is more. If your little one is showing signs of frustration being in front of the camera, be sure to set your camera down and try again another time. Respecting their feelings will help encourage cooperation the next time you want to pick up your camera.