There is a photograph in everything. We just have to see it. Feel it. And of course
make it work. All too often we read how photographs capture essence, capture real life, capture this and that. It’s something that we strive for, but often find so hard to achieve. Let’s discuss ways to help you achieve that. Giving things life and making them breathe in a photograph, can often be what makes or breaks it. Look at your desk for example. It might seem very un-photogenic. But there is so much there to see, such as lines, forms, shapes, color, shadows, and reflections to name a few. And then there is the connection between you and your desk. Your body language. How your subject connects with their environment can form the basis of a story in one frame. And sometimes using parts of the environment or forms and shapes is all that is needed to tell the story for us! Such as using photographing shadows instead of the actual people. Yielding the best results can often come from…honest human connection.
exercise your imagination!
Taking photographs of children makes you a parent, a child care worker, a teacher, and a photographer; sometimes all at once. But more then anything it makes you a dreamer. Children have imaginations larger then life – and if we could find a way to tap into that, even just glimpse it, we can come up with some fantastic child like memories. And for me, this is one of the most important elements of photographing children. It comes from you seizing the moment and taking the children on a photographic journey that they will never forget. Something fun, something crazy, something inspired and something that puts a smile on their face for years to come.
Its about finding the Neverland within us and pulling their imagination into our camera’s. It’s just about having fun. Create, be imaginative. You don’t need much to have creative fun, so don’t be fooled into thinking that you need amazing props or toys. Sure it helps, however you can do just about anything with a piece of newspaper for example. Kids love make believe. They will play with a broken pipe and turn it into hours of adventure. That is the kind of fun that promotes imagination and captures so beautifully on card! Have real KID fun with your subjects and capture it all!! Don’t forget to lose yourself in the moment as well…really enjoy it! If you’re having fun, then your subjects are sure to be having fun too! It might seem like such an obvious thing but loosening up and really having fun will yield better results. Attitudes are contagious!
We, the photographers, affect the result of the mood – of the moment. We really can and do affect the outcome of our photographs. Our mood, our warmth, our being there lends itself to how others will react. Don’t be fooled for a moment that we have tricked them into thinking we are not there.
Learning to see.
In the connections chapter, there is a mention of how there is a photo in everything. And just because there is, I thought Id mention it again and again. As photographers we can all take a photo of a child, standing there, center frame, smiling. Easy. The moment you decide not to take a shot in the standard way is the moment you actually start to ‘see’ and ‘look’ through your viewfinder. To really draw out the subject, and really bring interest into the photograph, its about trying to take it in a different way. Get creative! You could even place the subject to the side of the frame instead of the center, and you would be off to a great start.
Getting the kid to come out of the kid!
By thinking outside the box and helping children to go on an imaginative journey and play ‘with’ you, we can set ourselves up to capture some great moments. Go on a magical adventure, a wild romp through the forest, or a quiet hunt for butterflies. Whatever it is, have fun. Yes, I’ll say it again, go have fun!
Cheeky Cheeky is that smile that kids give you when they have just taken the last cookie. Kids have a habit of wanting to do loads of cheeky cheeky imaginative things, and sometimes with a little bit of coaching on our part they will come up with some crazy ideas that will make any camera jump with excitement. A good place to start might be in the yard, with the hose, with the pet. There are certain things in every household that children are simply NOT allowed to touch. Or do. Like jump on the table, eat candy or play with moms jewelry.
Every day in child care centers staff come up with wonderful ideas to entertain, educate and relax children. Ideas like the ones they use can really help to promote imitation, creativity and exploration in all of us! However, they don’t then have the task of capturing it all perfectly with a camera. Being cheeky cheeky with our
subjects and capturing it all at the same time can be quite a tricky thing!
* Get down on the child’s level.
* Put the camera down!! Pick it up every so often – but put it down to have fun
* Shoot from the Hip!
* Even if you have the camera at your face, make it seem like you are more interested in what they are doing and are there to have fun with them.
* YEP! There is a creative and unusual photograph in everything- we just have to find it! 😉
Practice on your own children, or a family or friends child if possible. Set up an activity where you have used your imagination and input to create. An idea that makes you feel like you’re a kid again. Aim it directly at the subject’s age group, directly for your subject. Then once it’s set up, really play and really have fun. Put the camera down, and in between the fun just pick up your camera here or there to capture it. Have fun with your activity and subject. If you’re really having fun it will show in your photos!
Whether you are a scrap-booker, a photo enthusiast or a professional your own flare will always show through your photographs. Whether your realize it or not.
Its all about what you love. There are certain parts of photography that we keep going back to, or keep doing because we enjoy it. There are those photographers around us that we look up to – and there is usually something key or similar about their styles. Our own style is something that will change and grow as time moves on. Almost like “collecting styles”. It’s these collections that really make us our own photographer, because if we do it for the rip-roaring time we are going to have then we are simply following our own path. It’s all about finding a style we love, and developing it. And if it’s not a *love* then it’s not really a style. Meanwhile, we will always be trying new things on the side. As those new things develop, some will become uninteresting and some will interest and inspire us. We can add the parts we love into the style we already have… Build and grow. At the end of it we have a whole new style all over again. Simply put, finding one style is like chasing our tail. If we must pin point it, it’s simply what we love, and what gets us to pick up our camera and push the button – that is where our style lays…today. Being a photographer is about being a life long student. Have you ever seen a photograph and thought – “Wow that’s fantastic, I *wish I could take* a photo like that – I want to go out and try to capture a similar mood or feel!” – That is inspiration. So don’t be afraid to study others and be inspired by them. After all, all artists study other artists, and photographers alike. Be sure to get inspiration from many avenues, on and offline.