Have you ever watched your kids play together and suddenly wished you had a camera? Watching my daughters play ballerina in the backyard, or catching that special moment between a little girl and her dog, makes me wish I had a camera in my hands at all times. In the past few years I’ve gotten better at capturing those special moments, and keeping a good photo record of my growing family.
If you think you’re going to miss something, keep your camera open
I don’t know about you, but when I’m out with my kids, by the time I see them doing something I want to photograph, it’s too late. I have to reach into my purse, find my phone, unlock the home screen, find my camera app, and open up the camera. By then, the moment I wanted to capture has passed.
I’ve discovered that if I really want to capture something, I need to keep my phone out and my camera open. Often I’ll just put my camera on Burst Mode and let it take a bunch of photographs in a row. That way I don’t have to worry about the best shot; instead, I’ll get 50 photos and can choose the one that truly captures the moment.
Don’t let the kids know when you’re taking pictures
Both of my girls are little hams; as soon as they see the camera turn on, they start posing and making goofy grins. Don’t get me wrong — I love their goofy grins. However, sometimes I like taking pictures of their other facial expressions as well. To do that, I need to make sure they don’t know when I’ve got the camera ready.
Take a few photos and let the rest be memories
Earlier this year, artist Chris Ware drew a New Yorker cover showing a bunch of parents at their kids’ school play. No surprise, every parent was watching — and recording — the play through an iPhone or tablet. I used to do that, and I used to be the person who had the camera out at all times.
Now, when I go to school plays and other events, I strategize. I take a few photos — or use Burst Mode to take 50 photos in a few seconds — and then turn the camera off and put it away. That way, I have the photo record of the event and I am able to be fully present, giving my children my full attention as they perform.
Get a professional photo done each year
Even if you are the most talented iPhone photographer you know, there’s still something to be said for getting a yearly professional photo done. A professional photographer is going to know how to balance and light the shot, and how to make each family member look his or her best. A good photographer will also naturally brush out blemishes, shadows, and other details that might distract from your picture.
A lot of people choose to schedule their family photos around holidays, and photographers often offer special deals for special occasions. For me, Christmas is always too busy to get in that family photo shoot, so I like to take Easter family pictures instead. We take themed pictures — like giving my two girls each a set of bunny ears — but we also take some standard family portraits as well.
Here’s one more benefit of getting a professional photo done: high-quality photo printing is usually part of the package. Whenever I get my iPhone photos printed at the local print shop, I’m always a little disappointed at the quality; they’re never quite as vivid as they are on my phone. A professional photographer, on the other hand, knows how to make the print photos look superb.
Those are my tips to help capture the special memories. Have a few more to add? Leave them in the comments!