School is back in session, fall is in the air, and families are busy with all of the activities that come along with this time of year. We get fall family photos done and we purchase the obligatory school pictures, but what about all of the real life moments happening in our day to day? Sometimes life gets so busy that we forget to pull our phone or cameras out to document those candid moments. Well friends, documentary photography happens to be my jam and I want to share with you some tips to make documenting your own kids a breeze.

 Toddler hugging dinosaur in Southern Oregon home

FOCUS ON WHAT THEY LOVE

Every kid seems to have a favorite toy or an obsession with an animal or character. These are the things that seem so normal right now, but when we're looking back on memories 10-20 years down the road, how special would it be to remember how their eyes lit up when they talked about dinosaurs, or how they would drag that teddy bear around everywhere you went and the little patches of fur were starting to rub off. Next time you see your child playing with one of these items take the time to document it. 

 jumping toddler on trampoline southern Oregon photographer

ACTIONS AND REACTIONS

Follow the action. When you see your child having fun, running, jumping, swinging, these are great moments to capture. Usually when a kid is being active like this you will also capture some great reactions to the action. The photo below was taken shortly after the one above, she was giggly from all of the jumping and I was able to catch her silly personality and her carefree spirit. 

 giggling toddler on trampoline in medford Oregon home
 toddler feet in pajamas on trampoline southern Oregon family photographer

THE DETAILS MATTER

We often times don't think about the little things that we will want to remember such as our children's hands and little toes, their freckles, or their chunky little rolls. It is equally important to get close up shots of these details. Make it more interesting by capturing them doing something. In this photo above I wanted to remember her long toes that are a trait she shares with her Daddy. Instead of just snapping a photo of her feet doing nothing I focused on her feet jumping on the trampoline. There are many ways you can do this, get creative and apply it to your life!

 Toddler boy holding balloon in Ashland Oregon home

YOUR HOUSE DOESN'T HAVE TO BE PERFECT

That's right I said it, you can take photos of your children in your home, even when it's messy! If we waited to take photos of our kids playing in their everyday environment only when the house was clean it would never happen. On social media people share their perfectly curated content, but this is not real life. Don't be ashamed of having a home that's lived in, be proud of it. A house that is well lived in means happy kids. If the clutter is bothering you push it to the side, you only need a small section of the house to make a photograph. In this photo the little boy was already playing with the balloon, I wanted to show his playroom because it's a big part of his life so I instructed him to stand there with his balloon. Think of how cool it would be to have photos of ourselves as kids, playing in the home we grew up in. We get the opportunity to give our children this gift with the technology that we now have.

 Little girl on trampoline medford Oregon 

GET CONNECTED

As much as I love taking photos of children doing things and being silly, I also love a good connection with the camera. This can be a challenge especially with toddlers who are always on the go. One important thing to remember is to not push them into looking at the camera for a photo. Instead ask them to look "inside" your camera for the [insert silly thing here, I say rainbow]. Whenever I say this the child looks intently right into my lens and I get the shot that I wanted. Another way to get them connected is to talk to them. Put the camera down for a few seconds while you start off the conversation and once you have them engaged pull the camera back up and get the shot. The results will be different every time you photograph your kids, that's the beauty of capturing candid moments!