I have a simple hypothesis.
“Parents often condition their kids to begrudge photography”.
Have you ever found yourself in the following scenario?
Your photography sensor goes off inside you and you must get a picture. Either your kids are doing something adorable or you’re having a great time at some memorable event.
You grab the camera, eager to capture the amazing images already playing around in your head.
Your kids aren’t doing exactly what the images in your head portray…
Let’s direct them instead!
“Suzy! Suzy!” Several pitches and cheerful calls later you have her brief attention.
“Look over here!” “Turn around!” “Stand like this!”
“Stand a little closer to your brother!”
The orders are innocent. And I’ve repeated this scene in real life a million times. But here’s what happens:
Kids don’t like orders.
And as the parent, we likely already give a lot of orders throughout the day. The camera begins to be associated with more rules and commands, and it often times interrupts the flow of what was already a great shot before we got all involved in trying to create perfection. Is it any wonder that some kids despair when they see the camera coming out of the bag?
But how do you achieve the pictures you have in mind without coaching?
1. Drop the instructions and let things happen naturally.
Not only can we capture some meaningful imagery when we step back, but we also condition our kids to not mind the camera being present–when it’s not just a tool that comes with commands or interruptions. How wonderful if they hardly knew it was even there!
2. Learn to be okay with photos not looking at the camera.
Often times the strongest storytelling images are a result of something happening and catching an uninterrupted moment. Do we remember to look for those or do we often barge in with the perfect photo concept to execute?
3. Quietly integrate the camera into your activities.
Not every picture needs to have a person in it! By beginning to focus on some of the small details of an activity together, you can quietly integrate the camera into a setting without drawing attention before turning the camera on your kids. The more natural the camera presence becomes, the less inhibited our subjects will be.
4. Join in the fun and let your real life INTERACTION bring the REACTION that you are hoping for.
Rather than asking for smiles, use the opportunity to be playful. Making your interaction something the kids eagerly anticipate and enjoy will bring authentic smiles, laughter, and emotion. Most importantly, we begin conditioning our kids to have a more positive response to the camera.
Brooke is a lifestyle photographer in Northern Utah and creator of the Brooke Snow Online Photography Courses. She thrives in efficiency and the pursuit of an authentic life. Much of her creative energy is spent entertaining the adventures of her 2 yr old son who teaches her to see the world for its wonder. Visit Brooke at http://blog.brookesnow.com/