Growing up if you asked me what the one thing I really wanted to be in life was, I would always say, a mom. I always dreamed of becoming a mother and I had beautiful visions of how I would interact with my children and how life would just be rainbows and butterflies and all things sweet and nice. Yup, that’s right, I always pictured myself being a mama to girls.
Low and behold that was not my story after all. I am the very proud mama to 3 little boys. They rock my world, they make me feel alive and they are the best things that have ever happened to me. Yes sure, I always thought I would be a mother to little girls, but instead I got exactly what I needed. These boys have taught me so many life lessons and some of the biggest ones was to have fun, be patient and go with the flow.
Read more: 5 Tips for Photographing Boys
Many of the lessons the boys have taught me in life, have also taught me how to capture their lives with my camera. I have put together a little list for you all, a list that I hope will help you find fun and memorable ways to capture that essence of your boys.
No.01Always be camera ready
People often ask if I just walk around with my camera around my neck 100% of the time. The truth is 50% of the time, yes. Yes I am that crazy camera toting mama that is always ready for that spontaneous moment to arise.
See the thing about boys is boys are wild (at least mine are) they are spontaneous and they never give me a warning when they are about to do something hilarious. They are also fast. I don’t have time to run and unpack my camera and come back to capture that moment. I need to be ready when that moment strikes.
When we go anywhere, I pack my camera in my purse. When we are at home, my camera is always out on the kitchen counter. Our kitchen is the center of our home where all things seem to happen. If we go in the backyard, my camera is around my neck.
No.02Keep a Light Journal
This tip kind of goes with the 1st tip. Along with being ready to capture that moment your boys are making, you have to know exactly what settings to use in the environment you are shooting in. Nothing sucks more when you see that perfect moment of your boys snuggling together or loving on each other and you snap only to find your settings were totally off and you blew out the whole scene.
No amount of RAW editing will fix that for you. I have done this so many times in the past, it broke my heart. Since then, I have kept a light journal. I watch the light in my home throughout the different seasons. I have jotted down which settings work best for each situation.
I know that the light in my front window is bright but also pretty cool because of the front porch reflection. I know that I need to keep my white balance at around 5800 – 6000 Kelvin to keep the skin tones warm. I know that I can usually shoot anywhere in my home around 2.8 aperture but I need to watch my ISO. Depending on the time of day, my ISO changes frequently.
No.03Be that fun mom!
If you want to really capture the joy and wonder of boyhood, you need to immerse yourself in their play. Get on the ground roll around with them, play their game, all the while snap those smiles and giggles and dirty feet. When I want to capture those action shots, I really need to be part of the action.
Most of my trampoline shots are captured when I’m on the trampoline. Kids love to show off their talents, so I will often have a jump off with them. I’ll do a cool move and then they can’t wait to one up me. That is when my camera comes out.
If your boys are into super hero’s, be the villain. Run after them (with camera in hand of course), chase them with an evil laugh, they are sure to turn around and give you their smile.
I often say that children of photographers really do have magical childhoods. We as photographers love to capture those beautiful moments and sometimes we need to give our kiddos the ideas in the first place. Being random and spontaneous brings the boys so much joy.
– A trip to the splash pad
– Put the sprinkler under the trampoline
– Create a water balloon war zone
– Bring home a bubble machine
– Make a mud pit for them
– Bring home a box of donuts for no reason at all
– Ice cream for breakfast
– Make a bubble bath in your pool
These are all fun spontaneous moments that are sure to bring many candid moments for you to capture.
No.05Embrace the chaos
Boys are loud, and messy and full of insane ideas. Sometimes you just need to let go of the clean house, let go of what society thinks is the norm and just embrace those moments of boyhood. They are only little for a short period of time, don’t always waste that time on making the house look perfect.
Don’t sacrifice taking a picture because of the clutter. You can always just push it outside of the frame. Let them get messy. Don’t stop them from painting their face, the picture will be worth all the clean up afterwards, I promise. Always take the picture. Later on you will cherish those moments captured.
No.06Quietly Observe them
Watch them play, listen to them play, take note of their cute sayings. If you have a long lens you can capture them playing in their own little world without disrupting them. Sometimes these quiet moments are the best moments to really capture their true selves.
No.07Capture the details
Dirty feet, those long lashes that little boys always seem to blessed with, scrapes on the knees, dirt under the fingernails, messy spaghetti faces. These little details all scream boyhood! They also tell a story of your little boy’s life.
No.08Don’t forget the mundane
Although we do these things day in and day out, it is always a good reminder to capture those mundane tasks. How they brush their teeth by themselves, when they put their shoes on backwards, the giant mess they make in the bath, when they are potty training, even eating breakfast can tell a story.
No.09Make it a date
If you have more than one boy, take each of them on a one on one date with you. Don’t forget your camera. Children crave one on one attention and they will be so happy and thrilled that you are spending special time with them, they will most likely be more than willing to spare a few moments with you to capture some beautiful portraits of them. This is almost always how I capture my portraits of my boys.
When all else fails, I’m not opposed to a little candy motivation. Also known as a bribe. If your kiddo is doing something pretty adorable but you missed the moment on camera you would be surprised what my boys would do for a gummy worm. I don’t like resorting to this often so I choose the candy motivations wisely.