It’s amazing how time flies when you’re raising children. What did we do with all our spare time before kids came along? I vaguely remember spending whole days lying around reading books (how indulgent!), whereas now they all seem to blur into one and suddenly my oldest is nearly 7! I feel like I’m going to blink and when my eyes open again my babies will be all grown up and moving out of home.
So how can we best capture snippets of these precious times, not only to look back on ourselves, but for them to show their own children one day? And how can we strike that balance between living in the moment and not watching all our children’s ‘firsts’ from behind a camera?
Here are some ideas below to get you started, but my best advice is don’t try to do it all, just pick one or two ideas that you really love, otherwise you could find yourself getting a little obsessive.
Top tips for capturing photographic family memories;
Taking a photo of your child on their first day of school is traditional, but why not take one on the first day every year? (Or better still get all the family to take a photo once a year on the same day to keep an amazing record like Diego Goldberg
did - Ed
- Maybe a yearly family photo –Christmas day is good because everyone is usually in their glad rags!
- A photo of your child on their birthday every year – blowing out the candles on the cake is always an iconic shot.
- What about a photo of you with your children every year on your birthday – Mums are often the ones taking the photos and miss out being in them themselves…I swear my kids are going to look back and wonder where I was all their lives! In fact I might institute this one myself…
- If your child has a group of close friends it can make a lovely yearly shot. I have three really good girlfriends with children the same age (above photo). Since they were two we’ve taken a group shot on my daughters birthday. It’s become a bit of a tradition now that we all look forward to. It’s such a great way to capture their little personalities emerging.
- Or maybe you notice a theme emerging with your child? My four year old has been obsessed with dressing up since she was little. I have endless photos of her in her crazy outfits that I think would make a great collage or display!
- Re-creating old shots – I adore this idea and would love to do with my own brother. If your children are a little older this would be such a fun project to do.
Here are some top tips to getting the best family photos:
- Choose a plain simple backdrop if possible, and keep it consistent every year…this really helps it look like a series. You can’t beat a shot in front of a wall, it keeps the background simple and the focus on your child.
- Good light. If at all possible do it outside…in a large shady area. Nothing looks worse than harsh bright sun, or a child squinting into it. If you have to do it inside choose a light spot near a big window or doors.
- Let your child be themselves. Forced, posed photos don’t really show your child’s personality. If they have a favourite t shirt that they insist on living in then it’ll be great to look back and remember that. If they love dressing up let them wear their favourite costume for the photo. With my daughter and her friends we just get them to stand against the wall and go for it…they usually start hugging or pulling faces. Even if one of them is grumpy and has a face like thunder it’s all part of it, something you’ll look back on fondly one day (maybe!).
- Make a folder on your desktop and keep adding the photos every year. That way they’re nice and handy when you see that cheap canvas deal one one of those daily deal sites!
- And lastly – relax. It doesn’t matter if you take the photo on the second day of school, or if you skip one Christmas. I love getting cheesy santa shots of my kids every year, until one year my eldest girl flat out refused. Now it’s a great talking point – the year that Mila wouldn’t go near Santa. It’s all part of the story. Looking back on my daughters photo with her group of friends we thought it would have been nice to have them standing in the same order every year…but actually it’s hard enough getting them all lined up on that wall, trying to get them in order could be disaster! So just roll with it, and capture life as it is, because one day you’ll look back fondly and wonder where all the years have gone.
Submitted by: Michelle Sokolich
Michelle is obsessed with capturing memories and has an unhealthy penchant for organising things. Luckily she has a very patient husband and three gorgeous children that provide endless inspiration. With twelve years experience in TV she lives and breathes photography and film-making and has been known to get choked up when editing family movies for clients. You can find out more about Michelle and her work at www.memento.net.nz
Edited by: Ben De Haan