My adventure with photography began in the beginning of 2014. I had a camera before, in fact, I had a camera all my life, but I was using it like most people do- in more or less automatic mode. That was the time when I was a full-time mom for almost 3 years then. Before that, I used to work as an architect and left that creative and demanding job when I got pregnant the first time. I was happy I became a mom and was focused on my kids only but felt that I missed doing something creative.
Photography came out to be a perfect solution. It all started with an online album with kids photos that I just fell in love with and suddenly felt like it was something I will be good at. I started learning photography and editing, read all the books I had on photography, finally read my camera’s manual, watched editing tutorials online and started taking photos myself. I was experimenting a lot trying to find a style that would fit my soul and I think I found it after a couple of months.
I started putting my favorite photos online so I could view those on different screens, see my improvements and show my work to my family. It took a couple of months before other people started getting interested in my photos. I’m very happy if someone says that was inspired by my photo or when people contact me to say they like my work. It’s very rewarding.
If you want to take your kids photos you will need some better equipment. But you don’t have to spend a fortune on it at once. Most of my photos were taken with a APS-C sensor camera. I started with a 50 mm 1.4 and took a long time before I saved money to buy something more sophisticated. The most important thing is that you will need a fast lens to get that nice separation between the subject and the background. Right now I use a 50mm 1.4 for indoors and 85mm 1.4 for outdoors.
The Right Light
The best kind of light for children portraits is natural light. For the most magical portraits, I choose late evening or early morning (some kids, like mine, get up before sunrise) when the sun is low above the horizon. I choose to have the sun in front of me or on the side but try to avoid that haze coming from sun shining through the lens as it may lower the quality of your picture. I try to find a spot where I can stand in the shadow of some tree or building and my kids are in full sun and also like when the background is rather dark. That way I get that nice rim of light around them visible especially in their hair. I also like to look for light leaks like in the forest where you have a shadowed area with just spots of light.
But don’t get narrowed only to magical hour.You can take photos all day and even during the night. Every kind of weather is good for photography. In the autumn I try to capture them with the rain and fog in the background, winter is for snow and Christmas lights and fun with candles, my kids love to blow the candles.
Choosing a Location
Choose a place where your children feel good and safe. This way, you can focus on taking pictures and your kids will act naturally. Like somewhere near the house, your garden or a place where you take your kids for a walk. Choosing a place that requires a very long walk of a very long drive is not a good idea when your kids are very young. By the time you’ll get there the kid will be tired and if not they won’t act naturally and relaxed. Of course, you can take photos away from home but make it a family trip which can be fun for everyone and not just for taking photos.
Ask for Help
It is nice to have someone like your partner or someone your kids trust and are comfortable with, helping you. I take most of my pictures when we spend the weekends at my parent’s house, so my mom helps with it. She makes the boys laugh, draws their attention away from the camera and even holds their toys. It is a lot easier if you have someone that can assist or help you during the photo shoot.
Keep it simple. Try to avoid big letters, cartoon characters and very colorful T-shirts. It is not that easy as my older son wants his clothes to have fire trucks on them but I try to look for clothes he would like and I can work around with. However, it doesn’t mean that you only have to put gray or beige clothes on them. Just look for something not too distracting. But don’t worry about it too much. With a basic knowledge of Photoshop you can easily remove small drawings, emblems or stains (kids tend to get dirty).
Using some props from time to time may be nice but make it something your kids like and play with everyday, like a favorite teddy bear or a fire truck 😉 You can’t make them play with something they don’t like and won’t make them wear something they don’t feel good.
If you want your kids to be happy and relaxed on the photos you have to be happy and relaxed too. Trying too hard, putting special clothes or costumes, choosing special locations, forcing certain poses puts a lot of frustration on both sides and won’t lead into a good photo. Let the kids do what they like and just be there for them, observe them, play with them and finally you will find the right time to take your camera and get a few shots. And if not, there will always be tomorrow and the day after tomorrow. When you take photos of your kids, you have your models always there and if you take photos of them very often, they will get used to it and they won’t pay too much attention to that. It will also give you a chance to practice and think what works or not.
I was born in Poland in 1983. Since I was a child I liked drawing and painting and decided to become an architect. In 2007, I got married with my high school love. I used to work as an architect and was very passionate about it. When our dream of becoming parents came true I left work to be with my son. When I was at home with my sons I took up photography and it became my greatest passion. In my photos, I try to capture childhood memories in a magical way, the times of freedom, joy and discovering the world.
Photography was in my family forever. My parents used to take photos of my brother and I with a Zenith camera and develop those themselves changing our bathroom into a darkroom. When we moved out to start out own families our parents gave us those albums filled with childhood memories. I knew that I will someday do the same thing if I became a mother. And I create those for my kids: one album for one year of their lives. I hope someday they will take those albums with them to keep those memories.