I set him in the grass so I could grab my plate of food and when I turned around this perfect ray of light escaped over the fence to illuminate the back yard. The sun dropped quickly, but for just a moment, it highlighted his body so warmly as he sat there enjoying a warm bottle. I like that his little wispy hairs on the top of his head are accentuated and that his little hands carefully hold his bottle and his favorite blanket. His little legs are relaxed, yet his toes are curled. And he was perfectly content – until he realized I wasn’t right next to him!
Nikon D750 | Lens 24-120 | F 4.0 | Shutter 1/800 | ISO 1000
Photography is a very personal journey and everyone tends to have their own style. I have always liked photographing eyes, because the eyes always tell a story. A story of happiness, or exhaustion or even worry. Some eyes are dark and others have an amazing ability to catch and reflect light. To me, there is something captivating and inviting about a close up photo of someone where you see their eyes. Because of this, I’m usually trying to get my subject to look at the camera. But as I continue to study it out, I’m realizing all that I’m missing out on by only photographing eyes. I’m missing some of the details.
An article I read suggested pushing the picture outside the frame of the camera and not showing the whole subject. I believe I’ve done this in the past, but I always make sure the head is in the picture. I’m working on turning that upside down. Sometimes it’s okay to not capture the eyes or the smile. (Although it took everything in me to not pull back and get the smile he was flashing across the yard at Bennett as he prepared to run the football at him!)
This picture shows the details of Hunter as he was playing one afternoon after school. The Puma shoes he wears that were passed down from a cousin. The graphic nike socks that he wears every single day since he got them in his stocking. His black watch that he got last year for Christmas and I’m still surprised he hasn’t lost it. And the football in his hand. I’m starting to wonder if I’d recognize him without him carrying a football. These details tell a story about Hunter, without showing all of him.
I think this way of photography works – obviously it might get old if you consistently don’t show any faces. But there is something about not having a face in the photo to automatically draw attention to. The details might always be there but they’re not always noticed when there’s a handsome face smiling back at you. It’s something to think about as you frame the shot.
On the lengthy list of things I want to work on and improve on this year, photography is one of them.
I know my camera well and I’ve been shooting in manual mode since my first DSLR 12 years ago. I know my studio lights well and I’ve got a plethora of backdrops.
And even with all that knowledge I feel as though I’m missing something, perhaps the emotion of the photograph. You can’t hear that my child is giggling like crazy, so how can I convey that more fully in a picture. How do I frame it differently? How do I compose it differently? How do I see it differently? I go in and out of photography ruts. Sometimes I love it, I feel it and I see “it”. And other times its a chore. I see a great moment and I pick up the camera and I can’t seem to capture it. It’s flat. It’s boring. I’m just documenting time.
I’m not much of a post-processing (editing) person. I know you can take any photo and manipulate it to pop or to add drama. But I want the emotion to pop. I don’t need 500 close up pictures of my kids where their eyes sparkle (although I hate to pass up the opportunity) but I want my pictures to tell stories. Stories that my kids will love to see years from now. I’ve done it a little bit in my “Childhood moments” pictures, but I want more pictures like those. Less staged beauty, more real life. More moments.
So I’m on a mission. I am going to attempt to capture life differently with my camera. I’m reading blogs and photo websites to find the inspiration. I have the technical side down but I need to focus in a new way. You may never see a difference, but I hope to see it and more importantly I hope to feel it.
We had a special weekend: My mom is here visiting us (which is always a treat) and Hunter was baptized on Saturday surrounded by friends and family.
For his birthday (in September), we went out and bought a suit and when he put it on he was suddenly a little man. I had glimpses of a future missionary. We went to the Mesa temple on a Saturday afternoon for a photo shoot and we had so much fun.
Hunter is not a spotlight kid and he doesn’t love being in front of the camera – especially when he’s the only one in the shot. But he knows how much my mama heart loves to photograph him and he was the most willing participant for his baptism photo shoot. No complaining. No whining. Just smiles and a little awkwardness typical of any 8 year model! He’s looking more and more like his father. Lucky guy!
The whole shoot was strikingly familiar to Hallie’s baptism photos. Same location. Different 8-year-old. I’m sure I’ll be back there to shoot another in 2.5 years.
Shortly after Briggs was born my sister-in-law took some pictures of our new family of 7. They ended up getting lost in a sea of pictures and I’m just barely seeing them for the first time. I love them. Many capture the craziness that comes with 5 kids. Some capture the love everyone has for this little one and for each other. Others capture the personality each child has.
We took them at my sister-in-law’s home so the kids were comfortable and relaxed. Although excited to be seeing their cousins. We weren’t stressing over hair or clothing. It’s just our family on a Sunday afternoon (which means they showered that morning and we indeed did their hair at some point that day!)
There’s plenty more to sort through but here’s a couple I’m loving so far.