I’ve been in love with candid photography since I first started my journey years ago. I adore capturing candid moments with my girls on a daily basis, and I base most of my client work on these genuine moments as well. I find the authenticity of these captures so invaluable, as it provides a glance into the beauty that is our daily lives. These moments are downright real, and they help viewers connect with a photograph on a whole new level. Read more: 7 Tips for Capturing Genuine Emotion in Children
Here are some tips and tricks I’ve learned over the years when it comes to capturing these priceless memories that make up childhood.
1. Let kids be kids
This sounds so simple but just sit back and just watch kids be kids. Let them play, let them learn. They want to head to the chicken coop and chase chickens? Go for it! They find a mud puddle at the tulip farm and are just dying to jump in it? Smile through the mess and and embrace the core of childhood.
2. Watch for interactions
Some of my favorite candid captures of my girls are those in which their interacting with one another, their friends, or even our animals. There is something so innocent and joyful about watching children interact with one another or the animal world, and they almost always seem to forget that I’m there documenting it.
3. Go out of your (photography) comfort zone
One thing I’ve personally struggled with is the low light in our home which is surrounded by dense forest. I would shy away from any photos inside my home which led to so many lost moments. But even in my days of using a crop frame camera I finally decided to just crank that ISO and not worry about the grain, or what people thought of the results. I document for my children, so they can look back and remember those moments I would’ve otherwise shied away from capturing.
I’m not going to lie – I cringe a little when a child gives me a posed, stiff smile. If that happens, I tell a joke or a story to attempt to capture a true expression whether that be my kiddo or a clients. I also love to sneak out my camera while my girls tell me a dramatic story from their day, it’s led to some of my favorite portraits.
5. Be prepared
Take your camera everywhere, and be prepared to feel uncomfortable at first. I’m now on my second 365 project, so this is pretty easy for me these days but I have to say that the first time I took my camera into a movie theater, store, or event I felt mortified! I now realize that most folks don’t really care, and in fact if anything it’s started some interesting conversations about DSLR’s or photography.
6. Be present
My first year or two documenting my kids I took hundreds of photos in a single outing. I’ve now realized that being in the moment is in fact more important, and that taking a few mindful shots during those moments (i.e. waiting for the right light, emotion, or composition) rather than endless shots gives me the most genuine, joyful memories and will leave my kids with a memory of my face not just with a camera in front of it. This may be my favorite tip of all as I’ve never wanted to get lost behind the camera.
Get in the frame
Finally, get in the frame! Set up a self timer and a tripod and just be with your kid. Some of my most treasured photographs are from doing this.
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