You bought the fancy DSLR, worked hard to master shooting in manual, all so you could capture your life beautifully right? So why does it sit on your desk or in your bag, while real life happens around you outside of your house? Are you afraid you’ll break your expensive gear (valid fear!! I hear you!) or are you afraid of the stares of a few strangers? Or is it a bit of both? Here’s a few tips to help you overcome your fears and start shooting life outside your home!
1. This camera was crazy $$$ expensive! I can’t take it anywhere because it might be stolen/broken/lost!
Well, yes. But with a bit of caution and common sense- you shouldn’t fear taking your gear out and actually USING it. I’d rather take my chances (small as they are) that nothing will happen to my gear and I’ll have captured some awesome shots of my kids doing our everyday activities. (Or if you don’t have kids- you’ll have shots of market trips/tourist explorations etc.)
Insure your equipment. If you’re in business- it goes without saying, seriously, you should have your gear insured. If you’re a hobbyist- check your homeowner’s insurance policy to see what’s covered, and add extra coverage for your equipment if you need it!
Use common sense. Don’t leave your camera unattended. Leave it around your neck, or in your bag, and your bag on you. Period.
Don’t expose your camera to conditions that are unsafe. I don’t have underwater housing for my DSLR- so when I head to the pool with my kids, I take my underwater safe point and shoot.
2. Don’t shoot bad behavior.
If your kids are misbehaving, put the camera down. Nothing will bring on the stares (of frustration and judgement)- if you are standing there shooting a meltdown or your kid throwing things instead of disciplining. I am not above shooting tantrums, at home. I will shoot mild pouting in public, but if it’s an outburst and there’s any kind of misbehavior that is potentially damaging to a business or public place- you better believe my camera is not out.
In this shot- all the kids had been running around crazy like they had never been out in public before- I didn’t shoot that. We corrected behavior and then once they were calm, I asked them to pose for this shot. There was no way I wanted to condone their craziness by shooting it while everyone watched.
3. Ignore the stares.
For starters, so long as they aren’t staring because your kid is being a heathen- chances are they are just noticing what cute kids you have. Or admiring you for having guts to take pictures in public. But I actually can almost guarantee that they aren’t really paying that much attention to you. Think about it, when you’re in the grocery store with all your kids- how much attention are you giving other kids in the store (the ones that aren’t melting down that is- and then we all know we’re just glad it’s not our kids for once!)
After I shot this picture of my son riding on the bottom of the grocery cart (and had to lay down in the aisle to get it), I had an elderly man staring at me, I flashed him a smile and he very sweetly said; “Sure looks like they’re having fun! Wish I could ride under there!” See, I thought he was going to be a Judgy McJudgerson and he wasn’t!
4. Go early.
I plan most outings where I intend to shoot a few frames as early in the day as I can. The grocery store is way less crowded when it opens at 9, getting lunch at 11 is much less crazy than 12:30. Less people equals less intimidation/stares too! Your kids are probably in better moods early in the day too! Explore the library- there’s hardly ever a crowd in ours!
5. Shoot a few shots and be done!
Unless you’re planning to shoot a whole day in the life series, think through the kind of shots you’re looking for before you go. Plan them out a bit and then shoot them first so you can put your camera away and enjoy the outing. Plus if your kids are anything like mine, the beginning of an outing is always the most mellow part- give them too much time and they usually melt down!
I knew before we even went to the zoo that I wanted a shot of my kids in front of the seal or polar bear tank, it was one of my must take shots. When we visited this part of the zoo, I was able to take the shot I imagined and then put the camera away and enjoy the moment! After all, you also want to remember the experience of life and your kids would love it if you weren’t always behind the camera right? Get the shot and be done!
I hope these tips help you get out there and shoot your life! Use your fancy camera and your hard-earned skills and document your life!