Cut the "Cheeses"

How often do you find yourself gathering your kids to huddle together and look at the camera and say “cheese”? Can you picture yourself begging them to listen or even yelling at them to get in line? Are they miserable looking - did their smile disappear? Does this interrupt the moment and feel forced?  It does for me. 

Is there a better way to document the childhood of our kids? YES! I am excited to share some ideas and a link to my e-course all about encouraging kids to play.

Here's the challenge I have for you. Don’t ask for eye contact or the cheese smile.  When you have the urge to pull out your camera, go ahead….but take a moment. Observe what they are doing and look for a moment of strong emotion or action and take that picture. This new kind of image (not the cheese smile) will elicit a happy memory in 1, 5, 15 years. Your child might even think it's a cool picture and ask for more! It will remind you of what your child liked doing, what your neighborhood looked like, how they moved their body, what silly faces they made, where you went to play, how they played, learned and had fun.

Here are some ideas (and picture examples) of how to capture your child playing rather than “cheesing”.

A few tips:

  • Eye contact is not needed
  • Use body language to elicit emotion
  • Include the environment to provide story telling
  • Minimize distractions in the background (other people, cars, etc.)
  • Move around to capture different angles. Get really low or shoot from above the scene. 

I am offering a photography e-course through Clickin Moms all about capturing children PLAYING. It is called Permission to Play and will be available May 1 for $25 (price increase after May 11th) and is packed full of information. A 100 page PDF, 4 videos of me shooting my kids, and editing videos. 

PERMISSION to PLAY e-course

 - swinging at the park or on a tree branch  -  walking with a grandparent hand in hand  - riding a bike through your neighborhood  - eating favorite foods or treats

- swinging at the park or on a tree branch

-  walking with a grandparent hand in hand

- riding a bike through your neighborhood

- eating favorite foods or treats

 - balancing with out-stretched arms  - climbing a tree  - splashing in the tub, puddles, lake or beach  - spinning in a dress or on playground equipment

- balancing with out-stretched arms

- climbing a tree

- splashing in the tub, puddles, lake or beach

- spinning in a dress or on playground equipment

 - running with legs in mid air  - creating art with paint or chalk  - squirting a hose for fun or at a sibling  - flying a kite

- running with legs in mid air

- creating art with paint or chalk

- squirting a hose for fun or at a sibling

- flying a kite