/ / PHOTOGRAPHING OUR CHILDREN: BRIGHTON BOYS

PHOTOGRAPHING OUR CHILDREN: BRIGHTON BOYS

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So, at the moment I’m writing my BlogOn presentation on how to shoot your children – or rather, how we can learn a few things and be photographing our children better.  I’m so caught up over what to actually say in my 45 minute session, and so I decided to try some experiments of my own to see if I could prove the methods that I use myself to photograph our boys.  In our family, Beans is only just three and he’ll do anything I need for a photo as he doesn’t yet have PCS [Photographer’s Child Syndrome].  The other two though….ahhh.  Sometimes it’s hard, hard work – for everyone.

I used to think that the photos I wanted were of big, smiling faces of my boys, all stood together, facing the camera, eyes piercing through the canvas on the wall.  In truth, sometimes I’d still like that – like a birthday portrait perhaps so that I can see every teeny detail of their faces as they grow, but mainly, it won’t work – for them or me.  I’ve painfully discovered that this is because when I take these kind of photos, they tell me nothing and show me nothing about my child and who they are right in that moment. .

So I tried a little experiment.  I shot a series of photos,  1-4 below. We were out at the beach in Brighton visiting their Aunty Ginny and Uncle Garth, and we’d been filling our bellies to bursting point at The Woods Burger Bar [this place is A-mazing, I had the biggest milkshake and most outrageously indulgent chicken waffle burger that I couldn’t eat all of there].  On the way back I decided to get a photo of them that I needed for a campaign I was working on.  If you saw our Instagram here, they gave me a sweet photo that I could use for that purpose, but it wasn’t anything that would invoke a memory in a few years – or even months.  The kind of photos which make me smile are those that I give little to no direction for.

Photographing our Boys:

Photo 1:  Boys, can you stand here and here, mommy needs a photo of you. I want you to stand here, and you to stand here. You don’t have to look at me.

Photo 2: Yotie, can you think of something funny?  Wait, who farted? Was it you? [sorry people, farts are very funny to all three of my boys – and their dad too, sadly…and, well, their Granny and Grandad too.  I’m the only one who finds them disgusting.]

Photo 3: Gav tells Jensen he loves his collection of beach treasure and asks where he found the mermaid purse.  On his face I can see a little twinkle in his eye and a sense of pride that daddy loves what he’s done.

Photo 4: I tell Yotie that he can leap into the sea, but it’s his choice – and he’ll be super soggy [again] walking home.  He’s trying to work out whether I mean it, and whether he probably can get away with riding in Hero’s pushchair back to Uncle Garth’s house…then he leaps anyway, shoes and all *sob*.

If I’d asked Jens to leap into the water, or asked Yotie about a mermaid purse, the photos would have been pretty different, haha. But that’s what’s so fantastic about being able to take photographs of your own children – they’re yours; you know them inside and out, what makes them tick, what makes them laugh, the best times to avoid meltdowns – and when to call it a day.  Use your insider knowledge to your advantage – it’s no good keeping your little one up all day because you’re desperate for golden hour photos in a field 45 minutes away if they’re going to fall asleep on the car journey, be woken up and get cranky.

Brighton Beach

Here’s the photo after I asked Yotie to look my way and try a little happiness [read: think of farting]…

…and here’s the photo of Jensen, who’s engaged with looking at the mermaid’s purse he spotted on the shore – and below that, Yotie when I’ve said that he can jump into the sea if he truly wants to [he always wants to].  See the difference?  THOSE are my boys.  The boys in the photos above here are empty, and so are the photos.

Brighton Beach Brighton Beach photographing our children

Think about what’s going to bring a smile to your little ones’ faces – and use it to your advantage.

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