Tips for Photographing Your Child Candidly

Recently I have been transferring the pictures on my iPhone over to my computer in an effort to free up space on my cell and organize/pare down the images. My end goal is to finally make a picture book of Charlie's first and possibly second year of life. I have lots of photos of him that I love in which he is just being himself, snacking on something, jumping on the couch, playing quietly in his room, and so on. I thought it would be fun to share some of the pretty basic rules I follow that allow me to capture Charlie simply and candidly, even if it is most of the time with my phone. Here are some tips for photographing your little one without the common plea "say cheese!"

Open all of your curtains and blinds - let that light in! The very first thing I do in the morning is let in as much light as possible by opening any curtains or blinds. It's not easy to take a quick picture of your child if your home is cave-like. During the day I keep lights off (they can cast a strange color on your picture) and work with only the natural light pouring through the windows. 

Get them dressed in the morning. There have been times while browsing Instagram that I've thought to myself "does that child ever have clothes on?" Don't get me wrong, I love and have my fair share of toddler-in-diaper photos (there is one in this post!), but I find it helps to keep Charlie from looking too sloppy or unkempt when I get him dressed not too long after breakfast.  

Pull out your camera often and keep it nearby. The more you use your camera, the more familiar it will be to your child and therefore less of a distraction when you are trying to sneakily capture them doing something cute. A perfect example of this: Charlie doesn't even look up or notice when I am taking a picture of him with my phone because I do it so often (and shamefully have my phone on me at all times). However, when I take out my DSLR camera, he can get distracted with it pretty easily and it's harder to capture him in the moment. 

Let them do what they usually do. I try not to say “look at the camera” or “smile.” At the most I will frame my shot and quietly call Charlie’s name for a quick glance over at me. 

Semi-stage them in photogenic places. This is something I think I do more subconsciously than consciously, but I thought it worth mentioning. If you are going to set your kids up at a coloring station, place them by the window light, or in that cozy corner that always photographs well. 

Charlie Lately no. 2

Charlie is growing up before our very eyes and we want to freeze him exactly how he is right now (minus the recent bought of sleepless nights and skipped naps). It has been a while since I've written down all that he is doing and it had also been a while since I unloaded pictures from my camera. So here are some cute little peaks of him playing in blankets and laying on pillows - his favorite thing!  

 

There is a lot I want to remember about him right now, so this is a rather extensive list. If you're not a grandparent reading, feel free to skip : )
 

Charlie, Age 22 months

  • He asks us to sing for nap time and bed time
     
  • Points out ovals and circles all around town (he knows all of his shapes! he'll see the moon and say "half-circle!")
     
  • Loves flowers and insists on smelling and holding one when he sees it
     
  • Calls carrots “honey” for some reason (my theory is that honey rhymes with bunny and bunnies eat carrots, as he sees in one of his books)
     
  • Opens the refrigerator and looks for things he wants to eat
     
  • Climbs up into his highchair on his own (has been doing this for several months)
     
  • Loves watching Curious George
     
  • His favorite book is “My ABC of God Loves Me” and he even asks us to read it to him in the middle of the night
     
  • Tries counting and often recites numbers in correct order; he counts objects, “one ball, two balls!”
     
  • Sings most of the ABC song correctly
     
  • Asks to go visit our next door neighbors Robert and Virginia (he says “Robert” and “Ginia”)
     
  • Loves playing in the courtyard, digging in the dirt, kicking a ball, but mostly just finding acorns and dropping them through the grate of the storm drain
     
  • He gets his shoes out of his room and asks to go outside
     
  • Sleeps really deeply during his naps which means I can finally let him fall asleep in the car and transfer him to his crib successfully
     
  • Is talking so much I can’t even keep up with a list of all he says
     
  • Is putting words together, such as “Mommy’s shoes," “Daddy’s coffee,” "Found it!," and "Where are you?"
     
  • Often asks for his Grammie and Pop Pop and his Nona and Papa. He’ll say their names and then ask to “see them?” Breaks my heart!
     
  • Holds out his hand for ours and says “hand” and then leads us wherever it is he is wanting to go
     
  • Enjoys eating tomatoes, eggs, yogurt, and pickles & enjoys drinking smoothies and coconut water

Charlie in Central Park

In early October, Charlie and I tagged along with Michael on a work trip to NYC. My friend Courtney met up with us there to hang out with Charlie and me. She took some pictures of us during a couple different walks through Central Park, which was a real blessing since we don't often get many pictures together. 

It was Charlie's first time riding a carousel. He wanted to go on it again so badly. I did, too.


Don't his jeans make him look so grown up? 

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These pictures of him in the swing are some of my favorites I've taken in a long time. 

I Thought The Day Would Never Come

Charlie has been consistently sleeping through the night for about one week now (cue the hallelujah chorus). He falls asleep around 7:30 p.m. and wakes up for the day between 6:45 and 7:30 a.m. I have nothing to attribute this to; all I can say is that it's an answer to prayer.

While caring for a newborn, it is expected that mothers will be up during the night at least a couple of times. But Charlie's night-wakings carried on and on, no matter what new method I tried. Everything I did was by the book...we have a bedtime routine for him, he falls asleep on his own, he doesn't nap too much or too little during the day, he eats a ton of food...but still, even up until two weeks ago, I was up with him in the middle of the night at least once. I never thought that I would experience that for 17 months. There was a point, I think around 4 months ago, where I just let go. I stopped trying to fix it and stopped thinking "maybe tonight he'll sleep through!" 

But the day has finally come! Or perhaps I should say the night. Getting to sleep for eight straight hours feels like bliss! Pure bliss.

A big thank you to my husband for never telling me I look tired, for bearing with my sleep-deprived crankiness, and for praying constantly that our child would finally sleep all night.