August 27, 2012

:no stress photography [with children]:

photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.
-dorothea lange

daily as a mother i reach out and try to stop the hands of time. i freeze frame special moments, speaking internally, begging my soul to remember. i grab my camera and snap the every day real moments. the ones with chocolate smeared all over faces from breakfast pancakes. the ones with dirty hands and feet from hours of play outside. the ones with grumpy faces from tired tiny hearts. i love these photos and treasure them always.

i needed new family photos desperately. it seems an impossible task with three little ones, five, three and 6 months old. so i decided to just go for updated photographs of the children. last minute i called my sister-in-law and told her to dress her kids for pictures. might as well do all the grandkids on my husbands side while we are at it. we had an impromptu photoshoot and this is what i learned.

a little effort goes a long way

i wanted a little pop of color in the setting. i took fabric scraps of all sizes and quickly sewed them to a piece of twine with a zig-zag stitch. if you don't sew you could just tie the scraps in knots for the same effect. i covered a small children's table with two large pieces of fabric and topped them with the mason jars. my darling husband grabbed a handful of twigs and placed them in the jars while i added a twine bow. my kiddos are totally obsessed with spiders right now and their papa has a vintage book on spiders that made for the perfect accent and enticed the children to the table.

start small

i started the session with the two oldest girls, a.k.a. the most compliant. they loved sitting on the old stool and rocking chair and didn't mind a bit when i told them to share a few secrets. after a few shots of them i added the next little peanut, and the next and the next until we had all five babies posed.

take what you get

with the group shot we mostly got solemn faces and blank stares. it was late afternoon, the children were ready to play and doing their best to oblige our efforts of memory capturing. they were not all looking at the camera and they definitely were not all smiling. this is just fine with me because this is who they are at five, four, three, two and six months.

let them be themselves

my little guy loves cars and to think that he would put his cars down to come pose nice for a picture is just silly. it's not going to happen without tears. so i welcomed his cars and we talked about them and after a few minutes he leaned over and gave me that smile that melts my heart and will send me into full fledged mommy dearest when he is sixteen.

ask for help

what you cannot see from these photographs are my husband and sister-in-law holding the fabric banner in the background and my mother-in-law holding baby girl and rounding up the other little ones. they helped direct and redirect the children and invited smiles and silliness. i would not have been able to do this without them.

have fun

i thought up this little scene and worked with excitement to have it play out as i desired. it was a lot of fun and we have precious pictures to boot.

what are you best tips to no stress photography?

*linking up with carissa for miscellany monday and ruth the better mom


  1. Your tips are great for getting better pictures of the family.

    I tell the little ones we're going to do certain pictures first, then we are going to do more silly, fun, active ones. Generally, that gets them sitting or standing reasonably still.

    The last time we did a family photo shoot (my daughter and I coordinated and did the shooting), we took lots of pictures in the downtime between the traditional photos. Those casual, unposed moments were some of our favorite, when the family was unguarded, being themselves, and often being goofy. It made for some of our favorite shots.

    While the standard portraits are always nice, I love the more freeform ones like you have here that really let the kids personality shine. Those are the moments we remember, after all: that grin, those cheeks, the seriousness, etc. All so precious.

  2. Great idea to use scraps of fabric as a backdrop! I like the way you have captured natural smiles and expressions. I find that I always get the best pictures when the children don't even realize you are taking their picture.

  3. Great ideas. You make me want to grab my camera and start photographing again!

  4. Forget grabbing MY camera... Melissa, you make me wanna grab YOU and bring ya'll down here... to do a photo session of our family! ;)lol


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