Photographing Your Own Children
Every once in a while an opportunity will arrive and you just know, this is something I never want to forget. If you have children, those moments should be coming at you almost every day. For me, photographs play a huge role in helping me to remember, or even remember to remember, these special moments from yesterday or even a decade ago.
One recent opportunity was unmistakable; it was the evening after we celebrated birthday number 4 with our oldest. To set the stage, for months my head had been ringing nothing but the theme song from "Fireman Sam" sung in almost perfect pitch from a nasally 3-year-old. (Yes, it's always allergy season in Texas.) Firemen have been his obsession for the last 8 months, and you can't imagine his joy when my amazing wife executes the perfect fireman themed birthday party for him.
Just before leaving for the party, my father-in-law scores a genuine fire coat, captain helmet, and working fire extinguisher to add some flair to his birthday celebration. Throughout the day, he had thought that these articles were merely display props, but just before bedtime, we asked him if he wanted to play dress-up. Beneath his timid exterior, there appeared before us one excited 4-year old already dressed in his fireman jammies.
As he suited up, I set up for the shot.
So here are my quick tips for photographing your own children:
Have a plan.
5-minutes before bedtime is not the best time for your plan - but if the occassion presents itself, proceed, quickly.
Be able to execute your plan in 2 minutes or less.
Set-up as much as possible before ever introducing your child to the scene.
STICK to your exit strategy, ESPECIALLY when things are still going well. Trust me on this last one; it will buy you insurance and save you push-back for the next time a photo op arrives. And yeah, it was quite hard not being able to keep shooting this when all I really wanted to do was go out and rent a smoke machine to kick it up a notch.
It may just be a kid in a fireman coat to you, but to me it will always remind me of an irreplaceable moment when time stood still for him and WE experienced sincere joy.
Can you get that same nostalgia from a snap floating on your iPhone, buried on Facebook beneath the latest dog-barking-the-alphabet video, or even a crisp digital wallpaper on your computer screen? I would argue, no. I did not intent for this post to be a commercial about printing your images, but seriously, print those important ones. They will mean all that much more to you.
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