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Photographing Children – Know When to Leave your Camera at Home

Photographing Children - Know When to Leave your Camera at HomeFunny concept for a website on photography, but sometimes, you have to stop taking pictures. My kids have been in front of the camera since the moment they sprung from my tummy. I think my daughter might actually think it’s a part of my face. But for those who are just starting to explore a lifestyle of photographing their children, and even for those in my position, sometimes you just need to give them a break. This will give you better photos because they won’t just run away from that black box which mom is pointing at me again.

You may have heard it said before (usually by folks who don’t ‘get’ what it is we do) that taking too many pictures prevents us from savouring the beautiful moments in life because we’re always looking at them through the viewfinder. I absolutely disagree. If there is a beautiful moment and I miss documenting it, it actually ruins the experience for me. But you have to get to the point where you can take photos and still be engrossed in the moment. This comes with time and practice. My camera is now just an extension of my eye and I can even shoot in manual without much thinking. And I often break the sacred law and just shoot in auto when I don’t want to spend time thinking about aperture and actually miss experiencing the precious and rare moment where my kids are reading a book together.

Photographing Children - Know When to Leave your Camera at HomeFor those whose children are used to our photographing antics and the lengths we go to capture ‘the moment’, the camera can actually be fun for them. My eldest loves thinking of things to do for me to photograph. And I find that for every few shots he makes up, he’ll let me tell him what to do for one so it’s a total win-win.

When do I know that it’s ok to leave my camera at home? When we’re going somewhere I’ve already photographed a million times, when I know I’m not in a particularly good or patient mood, when I know that the kids need the whole me engrossed in their games and not the me with a camera. In our obsession to photograph their every breath, we can often become selfish and ignore their needs or desires.

Photographing in schools, I’ve come across many a child who is petrified of my camera. Once, I had a mom even tell me that the boy’s father was a photographer. Figures. Poor kid probably had it uptohere with picture taking and he really was truly frightened. Don’t you ever see it on the playground? Or sometimes I experience it with parents during a session with their children. Screaming, manipulating, bribery, threats to force them to take a picture.

Sometimes, you just have to know when to give them a break and leave your camera at home.

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Elizabeth Halford

Elizabeth Halford is a photographer and advertising creative producer in Orlando, FL. She wrote her first article for dPS in 2010. Her most popular one racked up over 100k shares!

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