How I document the childhood of our children
Updated: Feb 3
In this post I will tell you what kind of photos I like to take of our children and why.
As a new mum I felt almost obliged to take at least 87 photos a day of our daughter when she was born - to the greatest pleasure of the grandparents, needless to say. They have been always kind enough to comment on each photo of our daughter's smile / daily outfit / funny face with an "oh, isn't she beautiful?". Then her littler brother has arrived and what kind of terrible mother would I have been if I wouldn't have taken sibling photos of these two. I'm not going to lie, it was pure joy to photograph them with my iPhone and go through the photos every evening when they were finally asleep.
Long story short, I did the same what other parents did: I took photos of my children.
I still love it but my approach to it has changed in the past years. When they were little I mainly photographed THEM and I had basically ONLY them in the photo. Cute baby in her cot. Cute baby in her pram. Cute baby in her car seat. Cute baby holds a raffle. Cute baby tastes mashed apple the first time. Cute baby in the soft play. You know that very well.
But what I realised after a while though, is that there is nothing really special about these photos - except that they are taken of OUR children. I know what you think now, this fact should be enough to make a photo special, but I realised that every single mum takes the very similar, (so not so special) photos of their children.
So I started to document their childhood instead of taking snapshots of them and overshare those photos with a hashtag #mybeautifulchild on social media. But what does that mean? How do I document their childhood?
When I take photos of those precious offsprings of ours, I'm not only looking for WHAT is happening but also of HOW and WHERE is it happening. I photograph the environment. The details. The before and after. The emotions. The small things which characterise our children and their personalities.
Time flies by too quick, they say, and how true. You might think you will remember all the small little things your child likes and does now but you won't. There will be new small things coming very soon which make the old ones fade away.
What can you document?
Your everyday life: your lazy Sunday mornings / the afternoon walks after school / baking with the kids / building animal farm with them / going on a trip on the weekend
Your holiday: how you prepared / your journey / the environment / everything what is different
A celebration: how you prepared / decoration / details / food / smiles & laughters / presents
Now if you have found something you like to preserve the memories of, just grab your phone or camera and start documenting. So easy it is! Below you find a few tips how to approach a documentary style and get rid of the idea of photographing for social media.
My TOP 5 tips to keep in mind when documenting something happening in your life:
Tip nr.1: Don't photograph for the sake of sharing. When you take photos of your family or any family event to document it, don't do it because you want to share those images with the world. Do it for yourself and for your family. Do it for your kids who will go happily through these photos to remember their childhood at some day.
Tip nr.2 : Don't thrive for perfection. Life is not perfect so neither your photos should be. Blurry photo is fine. Dirty clothes are fine. Messy hair is fine. Forget Instagram perfect images. Be honest and true.
Tip nr. 3: Aim for less posing. Be an observer. Capture how your kids focus on their activity, how they move, they laugh, they behave. Don't stop them asking "look at me and smile". Boooooring.
Tip nr. 4: Try to be in the photo. Use the timer on your phone or ask someone to take a photo while you are with the kids. A selfie is great but an image of you reading the favourite book to your child is priceless. Don't forget: your kids want to see photos of you & how you looked; not just themselves.
Tip nr. 5: Don't overthink it. Take photos of small things which are typical right now. Everything is worth to document in your life!
+1 Tip: don't store these photos on your phone forever: get them printed. I highly recommend to use FreePrints Photobook for prints and photo books. I've been creating a photo book every single month for almost 2 years now with this app and the kids absolutely love the monthly books! The quality of the prints / books is ok for family use - but I would never deliver them for clients.
As a photo says more then 1000 words, here are my images of when I picked up Sammy from nursery. I pick him up every day after lunch and we go home. Our walk home looks usually the same every day but funnily it changes after every half term. There is nothing major about our journey, but it's ours and I'm sure it's different to other families' school runs. I will write a caption to these photos to tell you why I did that shoot, what I wanted to document, what I wanted to remember. Because I want to remember these moments. Every details of them. Very soon we will have another routine, another game we play on our way home but I still want to remember these precious journeys with my little ones. Before they will be too old to be picked up - which will happen in a blink of an eye, we all know that very well.
I hope you will enjoy the images.