How to Take Creative and Joyful Photos of Your Children
Children fill our lives with joy, spontaneity, and moments worth capturing. As photographer Kirstin Prentice said in a recent interview, "One thing that amazes me about my own children and all children is that they find joy in the simplest of things, are always willing to try new things and rarely give up." This kind of outlook on life is not only refreshing, but also worth sharing with others through photography.
Photographing the energy and pure joy of children can be quite a challenge, especially if you're a busy parent. Though the notion of taking such creative pictures might seem unattainable, there are small things you can do every day to capture the honesty of childhood without exhausting yourself. The secret of creative and joyful photos of children lies in communication, details, observation and spontaneity. Here are ways to incorporate these elements into your daily routine.
Let them interact with nature
Nature is endlessly fascinating to children, especially if they’re just beginning to discover it. Backyards, playgrounds, and beaches are ideal for striking photographs because of the many different natural elements they contain. Encourage your little models to find details they love; even a seashell could exhilarate them and provide you with both a golden moment and a joyful photo. Make sure you always keep an eye on children as they have a brilliant ability to find almost anything worthy of their attention and time. Let this encourage you to pay more attention to the little things. If pure beings like children consider them precious, so should you as both a fellow human being and an admirer of art.
If you can’t visit any of the aforementioned locations on any given day, go for a simple walk with your children or give them something they can observe and admire at home. Having a picnic anywhere, even indoors, would also provide you with a chance to bond with your children and have a pleasant photo shoot. A picnic could even serve as a reward for successfully working on a chore or for finishing homework. Such interactions will create the most beautiful photographs which you’ll be proud to own and which they’ll be grateful to have when they grow up.
When I was in school, a fellow student mentioned how important it was to include spontaneous photos in any portfolio. Pure moments in which no one is trying to look a certain way are the ones that make up our lives. After all, we don’t think of poses or forced smiles when we’re spending time alone - life consists of unfiltered and honest moments. Photographing that as honestly as we can will allow us to embrace all kinds of natural beauty.
Children are professionals at spontaneity. Encourage this innate talent by inviting their friends over, observing them while they play with their favorite things, or playing a song they love. Exciting moments inspire children and give them a chance to reveal their truest, happiest selves. Furthermore, they get so involved in the process of enjoying life that they completely forget their surroundings. Use these moments of felicitous oblivion to capture spontaneity at it’s finest. You won’t regret it.
Be a part of the picture!
In your child’s eyes, you are an endless comfort. It shouldn’t be surprising, then, that photographs featuring both of you will be soothing and heartwarming. Taking a few minutes to set the timer, get the focus right, and pose with your little one will provide you with results you'll cherish forever. You could even create a personal project out of such simple images: taking a photo with your child every week to keep track of their development and your growing bond. No matter what you decide to do, be sure that your child will thank you for your hard work, both daily and artistic, in the future.
Cherish the details
When I look through my childhood photographs, I find the detailed snapshots most fascinating. Though there are many lovely images of me smiling at the camera, I strongly cherish the tiny memories my parents deemed worthy of photographing: a soft curl during golden hour, the rabbit I owned at the age of six, my hands holding a precious (but tattered) stuffed toy. Had these details not been photographed, my mind wouldn't have documented them so clearly; and though I cannot recollect certain details because I was so young at the time, seeing them fills me with pure gratitude. Knowing that my parents noticed and captured these treasures fills me with the same joy I felt during my carefree childhood days. As parents and family photographers, the desire to provide children with photographs that'll comfort them in the future is reason enough to sharpen our observation skills.
So cherish the details. Go out with children and observe their worlds, ones that they so lovingly craft and thrive in. Find what makes them fill the air with gleeful laughter. Absorb the unfiltered present moment with them. Let their delightful perspective teach you how to accept life in its rawest form. When you find these things, don't just photograph them. Let them teach you how to ground yourself the same way children do and enjoy the pure joy of being truly, honestly, and beautifully alive.
About the Author: Taya Iv is an admirer of books, nature, and photography; She spends her life loving (and writing about) all three. She hopes to inspire others to find beauty in everything - including themselves - and to make the most of what they have.