#EverydayLight is a guest series by Chelsea Ahlgrim Photography with the purpose of helping mommas capture better photos of their family’s memories at home. Be sure to check out the Introduction here and Part Two. You can also follow along on Instagram and post your own images using the #EverydayLight hashtag!
Welcome back! Today we’re going to talk about the first three things you can start doing TODAY to take better pictures of your kids at home! Okay, grab a cup of coffee, and have a seat. We won’t even be pulling out your camera today. First I want to talk a little bit about changing the way you think about taking photos- things that may have held you back from trying previously. Let’s get started!
1. Love the One You’re With– We’re talking cameras, folks. We’re not trying to reinvent the wheel here, so let’s just establish that when it comes to shooting in your own home, gear isn’t much of a factor. You will want something with the option to turn the flash on and off, and preferably something with the option to change something called ISO (we’ll talk more about this technical aspect later.)
I started falling in love with photography when using a small point-and-shoot camera from Walmart (An earlier version of this one, to be more specific). I then used a Nikon D3000 for nearly five years before upgrading to my current full frame camera (don’t worry about terminology here. Just know that “full frame” basically equals a professional grade machine). Don’t let your gear- or lack thereof- hold you back! So let’s all breathe a sigh of relief- I won’t be asking you to spend your kid’s college fund for a big fancy camera! (the first few images below were taken with a point and shoot)
2. Let It Go- The idea that you have in your head of the perfect portrait of your children? Hair combed, clean, unwrinkled clothes, sitting in a beautiful chair, eyes on you, smiling on command… Not gonna happen. I mean, yeah maybe. But since this series is all about documenting our REAL lives, let’s stick with the assumption that your house is like mine: It’s nearly noon; crumbs on floors, smudges on windows, toys scattered, breakfast still on the table, dishes still in the sink, kids covered in yogurt, sitting in the middle of the mess, still wearing jammies. Or it’s bath time: water covering every surface, tub ring, WAY too many bath toys, clothes discarded, cracked tile. Or it’s bedtime: beds unmade, messy rooms, naked babies, freshly bathed, a million books by the bed, and the kids are nowhere near ready to go to sleep. THIS is your life. THIS is beautiful. It doesn’t matter that your kitchen needs updating or your laundry is piled on the couch. There are more important things that will be happening in the pictures you take- things that make all that mess make sense- it’s there because you’re too busy embracing the chaos and loving your life.
3. Lead The Way– Part of being a good photographer is knowing when to give guidance. Sometimes it means moving your children into a room with better lighting and letting them continue to play, and sometimes it means giving your child a quiet activity so you can get him to sit still. And very often it means sitting back, watching the chaos unfold before your eyes, and photographing every second of it.
Making play time into photo time has become my jam. Try to remember to remain engaged when appropriate- don’t completely fade into the background. Encourage them to keep doing what they’re doing! Here are a few ideas to encourage activity without staging a photo shoot and times when you want to be sure to have your camera handy:
- Art time
- Pretend play and dress up
- Books they can read themselves
- Food to chop/ stir/ frost/ assemble
- Dirt digging (deep breath… embrace the mess…)
- Bath time
- Meal time (breakfast is my favorite)
- Bed time
- Homework/ school time
These don’t require a lot of set-up, and your kids are probably going to be doing them throughout the day anyway! You know those times where you see your kids playing happily and you stop and think, “I just wish I could freeze this moment….,”? You can do that. With your camera. You just have to get past your fear of inferior equipment or the mess in your house or having no time to shoot. YOU can take charge of your family’s memories. And it’s easier than you think!
I hope you enjoyed our first three tips for taking beautiful photos of your everyday life. You didn’t even have to take out your camera this week! I hope you’ll join us next week for the next set of tips!