If a toddler hikes in the forest, but no one is around to photograph it… Did it really happen?
I love documenting all our family’s outdoor adventures. Photography provides a simple way to capture our experiences, chronicle our son’s growth, and gives us a way to look back through our memories and enjoy them over and over again.
Also, *confession* I have a bit of a looter mentality, and I collect treasures like a greedy magpie and photos, for me, are treasures. When I snag a perfect photo of my son exploring a cave or climbing over a log, it’s like a new deposit right into my pirate booty. Ah, the satisfaction! Taking pictures throughout a hike also helps me remember to slow down, to enjoy every bend in the trail, to take time to explore and not try to hurry my toddler past that stick or this rock to get to our destination.
Sadly, neither my husband nor I are trained photographers, and honestly I don’t even particularly enjoy photography! But getting those photo gems makes me want to hone my skills so I can really capture those memories. Fortunately, our TMM team member Rachel Bell is here to help us out. Rachel is a lifestyle, documentary photographer who excels at taking un-constructed, candid photos and capturing not only the subjects and environment, but also the emotions of the moment. She has provided us with several tips on how to photograph our real-life, special memories of our kids, and now we are sharing them with you!
- The biggest tip I can give anyone trying to capture the everyday, is to embrace the mess. To truly capture a moment is to capture everything that surrounds it – mess included! If my child has mud on their clothes or mud on their face, I capture it. In fact for me, it is the imperfections that make a picture perfect.
- Whilst photographing my kids I talk to them about what they are doing in order to distract them from looking at me with the camera. For example, if I am trying to capture them making a mud pie, I ask them questions like “what’s the ingredients?” or “what colour is it?” so the focus is taken off the camera.
- Mums and dads get in the frame! As parents it’s so important for us to be in the frame with our kids! Whether it be using a self timer or asking your partner or a friend or even another child to take the picture, make sure you include yourself in those memories! Your kids will thank you for it later.
- Don’t forget the details… detail shots are just as important for memories as the people. Whether it be taking a picture of your kids boots covered in mud, or a half eaten sandwich that’s been dropped in the sand, these all tell a story and will almost certainly spark conversation with your kids when they are older!
- The in-between moments are the best moments! Let your kids take the lead. Get stuck into whatever they are doing and take the shots when they are not looking…. that’s often the best time to capture expression and the true enjoyment of what they are doing.
- If you want to capture your kids looking at the camera, call their name when they least expect it and snap that picture the second they look around.
- Don’t be afraid to capture the unhappy moments….. that’s life! Our adventures don’t always go smoothly and in order to document life, the unhappy moments are just as important. They are part of your story…..
Meet Team Member Emily Christensen: Emily is a full-time working mama and wife raised in the Ouachita Mountains and currently navigating life in northern Missouri as she finishes up her PhD in chemistry. Over the years, adventure has become a part of her lifestyle, leading her and her husband Rocky into outdoor activities like hiking, scuba diving, camping, kayaking, fly fishing, and now parenting—their biggest adventure yet! Now Emily is applying her adventurous spirit into getting her family outside no matter the season to instill that same love of nature and exploration in their two-year-old son, and connecting with other families to inspire them to do the same. Find them on Instagram @hiking.home
About Rachel: Rachel is a Toronto based lifestyle, documentary photographer, adventurer, cake-baker and, most importantly, a mum of two. She has an innate passion for outdoor activities, enjoys new experiences and doesn’t shy away from a challenge.
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