"Sometimes", said Pooh, "The smallest things take up the most room in your heart"
AA MILNE. WINNIE THE POOH
The little people in my life are growing. As much as I long to keep them small, they just keep on getting bigger. Little hands are learning to hold pens and tie shoelaces, their little feet have long since moved from tripping and toddling, to running, jumping, hopping and dancing. Daytime naps are a thing of the past and I'm sure before long, those raggedy old comfort blankets will disappear too.
But how will we recall the littlest of details in years to come? I'm sure we all have plenty of photographs of family holidays, the first day of school and of excited faces on Christmas morning, but how often do we remember to document the little things.
For me, the every day details are what I love most about photographing my children. I love how my son drives his toy car along garden walls on the school run and how my daughter still likes to play with the ears of her Piglet comfort blanket when she's tired. These are the things I love to capture in a photograph.
So, with this in mind, I thought I'd share a few simple tips to capture the details of your own little people:
Keep the camera close to hand. This may seem obvious, but if you have your camera tucked away in a drawer somewhere, you will simply forget to use it. Instead, put it out where you will see it every day - perhaps on a bookshelf or mantlepiece. You want it someplace where it is easy to grab; to take that quick, in the moment snapshot of your day.
Zoom in a little. Next time you are sitting in Starbucks and whip out your phone for a quick piccie of your little love enjoying a babychino, try to zoom in a little further. Take a photograph of the chocolate sprinkles on their chubby little cheeks, or how about a photograph of the way those little fingers, tightly grip the tiny cup. These hands won't stay so little for long!
Plan your shot. Not too much, but enough to get the best out of your photography. For example, if my children are going to be doing a craft activity at the dining room table, and I know I'll want to take a few photographs, I'll move the pile of ironing out of the background first. Likewise, if you want to photograph your child helping prepare the dinner, make sure there isn't a sink full of dirty pots and pans behind them. Taking a few minutes to look at the background can really help make a difference to the final shot.
Be natural.... and quick! I love the natural looking photographs of my children, so while I may set up an activity for them, I don't want to end up with a posed looking photograph. Last year, I knew I wanted to photograph my daughter writing her own Christmas cards; I set the table for her, with cards, pens and a list of names. I then stepped back and let her do her own thing. She wasn't asked to smile for the camera, she wasn't asked to "Say cheese", she was simply allowed to become engrossed in the activity, while I took a few photographs to remind us of this particular milestone in her young life.
Vary your angles. Don't just shoot straight on. Children view the world very differently to we do, so try getting down to their level, or take a picture looking over their shoulder. Different angels often make for more interesting photographs.
Relax. These photographs don't need to be hung on walls or made into Christmas cards. They don't need to be perfect. They just need to remind you of a time when the small people in your lives were even smaller.