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.
It’s a bittersweet day and it is every year – the last day of school. The kids are excited to have endless days in the pool but are sad that they won’t see their friends for 7 hours every day.
I know there’s mothers out there that look forward to this day. They dream about this day and all the adventures that they can have with their kids. I am not that mom. Perhaps its the stage of my children – when they’re older it might be a different story.
Either way, I’m hear to say that you can love your kids dearly and still dread all of them being home at the same time for any stretch of time. I enjoy the schedule that school provides for our family. I like that they don’t expect screen time. I like that they fight less with each other. I like that they come home from school and know that they have chores that have to be completed. I like the school year. And even though being in the “trenches” of motherhood during the summer isn’t grand – it does have some perks.
My favorite perk – absolutely no obligations. Without any obligations, I’m able to take our crew to Idaho for extended amounts of time which is my very favorite part of summer. In fact if you ask my kids, it’s their favorite part of summer as well. We measure summer based on when we’re going to Idaho. My other favorite part – no laundry! The kids live in swimsuits which makes laundry day a breeze!
I use Savage seamless paper rolls for my backgrounds, they last forever (most of mine are more than 7 years old). I have a couple 107 inch wide rolls but they’re too big to fit in my small office space. Most of mine are 53″.
I use two studio lights; an Alien Bee B800 and a B400. The B800 is used with an umbrella or a soft box and the B400 is used without an umbrella bounced off the wall (it just helps with the shadows.)
I set this up for the first day of school, Halloween, Thanksgiving, birthdays and any other special occasion that warrants a photo shoot (which I always take advantage of). Not to mention we always seem to get a couple visitors when the backdrop is set up – photo fun for all!
It all fits nicely in the office closet making it quick and easy to set up whenever the moment strikes – or weekly when I’m doing a photo project of my baby!