My absolute favorite type of photography is candid. I think shooting weddings taught me that. It never fails that at the end of a long wedding day, my favorite pictures are the in between moments I captured. I think it’s because of how authentic everything looks. And in a world where there isn’t much authenticity left, it leaves me wanting more. Candid pictures are the straight up real moments of our lives, and people connect so much more with the real in the end. So, if I’m going to spend buckets of time taking pictures of my kids, I’m going to get the raw, authentic, real. That way when I’m old and grey, I can look back at pictures, and literally feel my emotions from 40+ years ago when my baby was a baby. If you, too, want the real, keep reading.
First things first…you have to let kids be kids. If you’re not willing to let them get dirty or make a little mess, I’m sorry.. but your photos are going to feel a little static.
Be prepared! Take your camera everywhere with you. You never know when a unique moment that articulates your kids personality may present itself. BUT, don’t forget to stay present in the moment. I know for some of us it can be as easy as getting lost behind your phone, to get lost behind our cameras.
If your kid is giving you static smiles, try telling them a joke, or acting like you’re not going to take the picture they’re anticipating and wait for that candid moment to strike. If they’re telling you a dramatic story, or off in the corner playing, keep an eye on them and wait for that perfect moment. If you have multiple kids, or your kids friends are over, or they’re interacting with a parent or grandparent, their dogs, or whomever… watch them! They likely don’t even know that you’re there, and their most true self will emerge.
If you change your way of shooting to a very candid style of photography, you’re likely to have less tantrums, because NO MOM I DON’T WANT TO SMILE ANYMORE. You’ll probably get a lot more natural laughter or smiles on camera, and you might even see some personality emerge. Plus, you get to be way more creative in a candid photo than in a posed one.
After a while of looking for candid moments, and you’ll soon start to notice that you’re seeing little moments even when you don’t have your camera in your hand. You see life differently than everyone else, and that is a blessing.
Remember to be patient. If you miss the shot this time, there’s always next time. Don’t force it, or you’ll force your kids into running from the camera.
YOU need to get in the frame. Set up a tripod. Ask your husband to grab a shot. Do whatever you need to do, but get in the shot every now and again. After all, they will want to remember you, too.
Ultimately, remember that you’re creating this art for yourself, and for your children. Who cares what anyone else thinks! If you have to crank your ISO up as high as it will go to get a candid shot in your home, DO IT. I did this in the NICU. And although they are not my favorite examples of my work, they are my memories of my son, and nothing can take that away from me or him, not even a bad photography setup. Haha!
Here’s to making candid memories!