If you’ve been following me for a while or lately on instagram, you know I’ve been chatting a lot (like a lot a lot) about our children having their own special magic! Actually, I truly believe that childhood is in itself magical! If you have the patience and the heart to let it be free and wild and to sit back and look for it, you can find it all around you. Today, I wanted to share with you my favorite little tricks to capture that magic in camera and also use it to tell their story! YES, pals, one of my most favorite parts of shooting little ones is that every moment in their lives actually tells a story! It’s so amazing and it’s why that magic is so dear to my heart. Childhood is precious and making sure we document that story is so important, which is why I wanted to share my 10 tips with you today!
These are really easy peasy things that I do around my own home to capture that special every day magic and tell that story that sometimes can be missed if you aren’t tuned in and looking for it! These are simple everyday moments that can pass by with a twirl of a dress, or a wink of an eye if you aren’t paying attention; but it can also be created or cultivated too! So if you are mama like me who believes in real moments and the magic they carry, here’s 10 tricks to help you capture them and document them so you can keep them forever!
- Keep Your Camera Out and Ready! This one seems like a no brainer but actually for me, it’s kind of hard to do. I always forget to leave my camera out where I can access it, or worse I forget to bring it with me when we go out. I can’t even begin to tell you about all the missed opportunities and stories I have had where I’ve said to myself or to Tuck, “oh man, if only I had brought my camera because this is an amazing moment!”. Leave your camera in a place where you can grab it quickly and pack it with you in your bag when you go places (yes even to the grocery store and Target.) Childhood magic doesn’t stop just because you are in the grocery store, trust me! I know we all have cell phones and the cameras in those things are pretty darn amazing; however, there is nothing like having your real camera on hand and being able to craft and create an image with your own camera where you can control the settings!
- SHOOT ALL THE MOMENTS: Most magical moments happen in the in-between when we aren’t celebrating a big day or a big event! It’s in those simple, every day moments when we are going about our usual day that the real childhood magic exists and can live. It’s during those quiet hours when our children can play and pretending that you find the beauty and the true realness, and those are the moments that you will want to savor for years to come. Those are the stories that they will want to hear year after year after year. Capture those and you will be in heaven!
- BE AN OBSERVER: Sit back and let the play happen around you! Don’t try to direct the action or get involved, just let your children play and let them be swept up in the moment! Don’t worry about the mess or their clothes, or the details if you can! Just let them go to town (safely) and just sit back and enjoy their laughter and imagination, through your lens! It’s amazing what happens and the images that come from this are always some of my favorites!
- BECOME A WILLING PARTICIPANT & HAVE AN ADVENTURE: Sometimes I will engage and play along and this stirs up the crazy even more! With my camera in hand and at the ready, I will play monster, dragon or anything else I can dream up or my little one at the time can dream up and we create a game together! I will engage in play for as long as I can and then when I find an opportunity that I love or seems fit, I snap a few images along the way! The whole point is to have an adventure together! Some days, I even take my Linc on a special adventure. Taking him outside and somewhere where we can explore together creates it own special kind of magic itself, almost like lost boy magic! This gives you that little kid, big world feel and also creates special memories attached to those images as well.
- BE WILLING TO CHANGE DIRECTION: I know at home with Linc, some of my favorite images have come from when we have been doing one activity, switched gear’s and then put on some dance music and just gone to town! Sometimes, when you can change direction and put on some tunes, blow some bubbles or surprise your little ones it brings them to a place of delight and fun and that’s always a great start for magic! So don’t be afraid to be like Taylor and Shake it off, or up rather!
- EMBRACE THE CLUTTER: We are moms and we are making memories and raising little ones, so guess what… our homes aren’t perfect and that’s OK! Embrace the toys, the laundry, the dishes or whatever else might not be perfect in the shot. It all tells the story of your life right now in the moment. There are ways that you can minimize and crop and as you shoot around your home, and you will learn to position around it the more you shoot. But, to be completely honest, I love including those kinds of details in my images because that is our life. That is where we are right now in our story and to leave it out just wouldn’t be telling it truthfully. So be honest with your life and embrace the clutter, even shoot those little details!
- USE THE LIGHT YOU HAVE: Learning to use light and shaping the light is one of a photographers greatest assets. Light can make an image very moody and dramatic; or it can make an image feel happy, light and upbeat! Light can convey emotion perfectly and make you feel all sorts of feels. Learning to read the light in your home and using it well can tell such a powerful story. Likewise, understanding the light outside has the same effect. Knowing the different times of day in which you prefer to shoot will drastically change your images and help you to capture your own special kind of magic with your own unique style.
- SAY YES!!!! This one might be hard (and it is for me sometimes) but I’ve learned having a little boy who loves to get dirty sometimes I just need to say yes!! In a world where it’s easy to say no because of the mess and the clean up or because we might run late (the excuses could run on forever) sometimes it’s just nice to say YES. What happens when you do actually say yes?! Magic! Magic happens for everyone, especially you as the mama. Let the kids do it. Let them get dirty, let them spend a little extra time, let them run through the water and be ready with your camera. I promise, you won’t regret it. And that clean-up, have you camera on hand for that too!
- TALK WITH THEM: Talk with your little ones while you are playing and shooting them! Have a conversation or ask them to tell you a story! It’s OK if your little one isn’t smiling all the time. It’s ok if they are looking away or in the middle of a conversation. When you ask children thoughtful questions and truly listen, you can capture some of the most wonderfully beautiful and real expressions. You can capture THEIR expressions, the kind that only you get to see as their mama.
- PRACTICE DAILY: This is the best piece of advice I can give you! Practice really does make perfect but not perfect in the sense of immaculate. Perfect in the sense of perfectly imperfect and wonderfully magical. One thing I do when I find myself shooting personal projects or shooting daily shoots like this is to download the images at night and see what I’ve uncovered. It’s a beautiful gift to myself and it helps me understand where I want to grow. It also helps remind me of how incredibly lucky and blessed I am.
You don’t have to be a master of the camera to capture your children’s unique personality or magic! You just have to be willing to get down on their level and play a little bit! So try these out today… grab your camera and start shooting! There’s no right way or perfect way. There’s just your way that works for your unique little one! When you shoot to tell their story, magic just follows and I will tell you, it’s the best feeling in the world.
So go, start shooting friend! I can’t wait to see what you uncover!