Alicia and Jeremy Brown created the blog, Write You On My Heart, to help parents everywhere learn how easy it can be to take beautiful, natural photos of their children, even if the only camera available is a smartphone. Write You On My Heart is full of practical iPhone photography tutorials and inspirational tips for making picture time more connecting and fun.
At our house, we have lots of kids, and we take lots of pictures of them. Over the years, we’ve figured out ways to keep things fun and lighthearted during picture time. Sometimes we watch quietly and document what is happening, but other times we get involved and invite our kids to play with us while we take pictures of them.
We’ve found that the best way to capture natural expression in our photos is to make plenty of space for play in our family life together. Here are some of the things we do to create that space:
1. Make time. Hungry, tired, hurried kids are typically not very open to being photographed. We try to make picture times happen when everyone involved is rested and fed.
2. Watch moments unfold. We love to photograph moments when our children are immersed in play, lost in their imaginations. This is a beautiful way to capture the interests and personality of our children without asking them to look or even interact with us as the pictures are taken.
3. Ask a question. One of the easiest ways to bring up natural expression is to invite a child to share a story or answer a question about something that interests him. Once he has something else to focus on and get excited about, the camera is quickly forgotten.
4. Be playful. At our house, we have some fun picture time games we like to play together. One of our favorites is Try To Make Me Laugh. The game is just like it sounds. Invite your child to be silly, make funny sounds, and tell jokes to get you to smile and laugh. Let yourself be carried away in the fun with your child.
5. Invite ideas. Instead of feeling like you have to come up with your own plans for every picture, occasionally ask your child what kind of picture she thinks would be fun to try. Your kids have some of the best ideas ever, and they love it when you ask for their opinion.
When we play with our children as we photograph them, we are deepening trust, learning to better see them as individuals, and helping them feel honored, respected and loved.