Who out there is living their best quarantine life?  It seems like we have been hunkering down for months compared to just a few weeks.  It’s not like me to have this break in photography.  I must admit it’s much needed, however I miss the excitement I get from working and photographing Houston‘s beautiful faces! Since I can’t see you, I thought I would give you some fun photography tips on how to create your own little “mini session” with your kids.  You don’t need much; your cell phone camera, a bright window or light source and if you want to get wild, slap your fancy camera on M (Manual Mode) and I’ll give you some camera settings to follow.

Last week in between getting caught up on the remaining photography sessions I have to edit and my new role as “home-school teacher” I was able to photograph my bear of a teen William eating cereal.  Yes, CEREAL!  It’s that easy and I have to say his personality was perfect for this photography project.  My kids live for cereal, every morning they fill up on the most sugary cereal possible to start their day.  I choose my battles as a parent, this is one of them.  William is my drama kid, everything is so over the top and can sometimes turn into a Shakespeare play!  That morning I just observed and sat with my camera in hand.  I wanted to play with the lighting in my kitchen.  I love dramatic lighting so I started shooting with my light source behind William.  Then I rotated around and shot with the light to his side.  Photographing with a side light gives a nice soft glow to your subject and helps avoid squinty eyes or blown out faces.  I love how shadows add depth to a picture, side light will give you that!

(camera settings F2 1/800 ISO1000)

After annoying him from this direction I moved around and did some shots with side light!  I have to say I love these more.  I like the “moody light” I get on his face.  This is a good time to play around with depth in your photography.  I put some potted plants that he had done a day before in the shot to add a little something extra.  Shoot level, go above, get close, go far away, every angel and detail tells a story!!

Let your kids have fun, I could tell I was getting on William’s nerves.  This was going on 5 minutes worth of pictures, he was fading fast.  So I was joking around and telling him to eat that cereal like its the last bowl of cereal on the planet, love the cereal and be playful….this is what I got from all 3 prompts!  I was cracking up!! It’s as simple as talking to build additional layers to a story you are trying to tell.  In this case my kid is a total HAM!

(F2 1/1000 ISO1000)

We have a dog that begs, and yes she will even beg for cereal, it’s pathetic and adorable all at the same time.  I was excited Molly made her way to William to beg, so typical and happy I photographed that moment!

And that right there after 6 minutes of cereal eating is a wrap!  Can you tell by that look he’s giving me?  Ahhh, teens, nothing beats that F’ off look and William has truly perfected it!

Once I was done annoying William I saw Ryder looking  lonely.  Then I noticed the way he was sitting so “comfortably” while watching TV.  This kid is a human pretzel, I doubt he has all the required ligaments and tendons the human body needs. I mean who watches TV like this?!  Again, it had to be captured.  Something simple, took 2 minutes and I have a fun little reminder of Ryder’s contortion abilities!

(F2 1/160 ISO 1000)

Then there was Molly, the only other girl in the house. She’s a little trickier to shoot, about 1 out of 10 shots usually turns out with her.  Molly won’t sit still for nothing, but she will freeze if you are holding meat, that’s for sure!

(F1.4 1/125 ISO 800)

That’s a wrap folks, this entire “session” took 10 minutes, maybe a little shorter and I LOVE what I was able to capture.  It will all go nicely in my Quarantine Family Album I’m making. This is a tiny glimpse into my life and it took no time at all to document!  Turning brief moments of the day into a story is so easy.  We do it constantly and don’t even realize it.  Here are some suggestions in creating fun little “mini sessions” at home.

  • Snack Time!  Documenting your child’s favorite snack is always a treat!
  • Nap Time!  Are you stealth enough?  I use to do this, all the time.  It’s easier for newborns, a sound machines help with this one.
  • Waking up!  If you can’t get them sleeping, get them waking up.  It’s just as fun, I love that hatching stage of the morning.
  • Arts & Crafts! Take this time to create, finger paint or go a little more elaborate and use some props like paint brushes, easel and canvas.
  • Tummy Time! This doesn’t last very long so tummy time is a fun milestone to capture.
  • Cooking!  Open the windows in your kitchen, let all the natural light in and bake something yummy!
  • Puzzles or Legos!  This is a good one for the busier kids.  Sometimes giving them something to build and create keeps them still long enough to capture a few creative shots.  Challenge a task, ask if they can build a space ship or castle!
  • Play time with a pet!  This has the potential for some fun videos too!

Keep in mind the best time to shoot outdoors is either early morning or late evening.   Or if you have a space around your home that is shaded during the day that works great too.  Try to avoid direct sunlight, you’ll reduce the chance of harsh shadows.  A good tip is to prepare for your “mini session” during your child’s nap time.  Getting your camera and setup ready ahead of time helps you focus on your baby having fun while reducing your stress.  My best advice is to have fun with this!  Take advantage to play with camera settings or mess around with wild filters.  The sky is the limit, just create!  If you have any questions please feel free to contact me!  Stay safe!