THIS IS A GUEST POST COURTESY OF BRITTANY INGRAM
Hello friends, Brittany here! I’m so ecstatic to be able to share my story and some tips for photographing your own children. Lucky for you guys, you can’t see what a blubbering mess I am writing this article about my littles and going through all of the photos from our adventures. I promise it’s not a pretty sight!
I know I can speak for a lot of Mom-Tographers (and Dad-Tographers) when I say my inspiration for ever picking up a camera was my children. I mean cats and food are great, don’t get me wrong, but having tiny little unpredictable humans running around definitely keeps you inspired! What I didn’t realize is that photographers children usually suffer from what you call “Photographers Child Syndrome”. I found that when I first started taking photos of my children that we, myself and my children, were getting very frustrated during the process and the outcome was almost always a disaster. It was absolutely defeating and made me feel like a failure.
Then, one day at the beach, I watched my youngest bury herself in the sand for what seemed like the 87th time. I watched her giggle and squint in concentration every single time like it was the first time. I slowly snuck my camera out without saying anything or drawing any attention to myself and started snapping. I looked at the back of my camera and found myself smiling so big that I could literally feel wrinkles forming on my ridiculously giddy face. I felt like I was 2 years old burying myself in the sand.
This was it! These were the moments that I wanted to capture. Something sparked in me that day. A fire that is still burning because of these tiny unpredictable humans. From that day forward photographing my children has been as easy and therapeutic as breathing. I know what your thinking, this lady is crazy, but I assure you if you slow down and soak in the small moments you will be amazed. When that fire was lit in my creative soul I stopped striving for perfection. “What? Shouldn’t I always strive for perfection?” Of course! You should always work towards being a better you than the day before but by perfection I mean the perfect moment, the perfect outfit, the perfect light and the perfect smile. Its just not practical with children! Instead, I have found inspiration in all of the imperfect day to day moments. Messy Faces, dirty hands, less than favorable lighting conditions and honestly just kids being, well, kids.
Now here in the PNW, where I live, it rains a lot! So shooting indoors has become a great love of mine and using natural light to its full glorious potential. I don’t live in a mansion or have that great of decor skills but I do have a few very amazing windows in an average, chaotic and messy house that is lived in and loved by us. You do not, I repeat, do not need to live in a mansion to take beautiful and emotive photos of your everyday moments. You just need to be able to read light and let it inspire you. Using natural light can be a learning process because unlike studio light, natural light changes often as would your settings. Learning to embrace all types of light though will allow you to create so many different moods and emotions through your work. So be patient with learning and let the creativity flow. It’s not always about perfection. Especially when it comes to photos that are just for you. Don’t be afraid to break boundaries and create. Don’t be afraid to raise your ISO to exponential numbers because you are afraid of grain. Don’t be afraid to photograph tears, chaos and anger because those are all parts of our life, too.
Nobody on this earth knows your children better than you and nobody can tell their story better than you. I truly hope that by sharing this with all of you that I can inspire you to create something different, something raw, something real and to embrace the chaos of our everyday moments.