Throughout our Capturing Childhood series we’ve focused on documenting priceless family moments but most of our tips have been about the people. Today I want to stop and consider the details.
With Mother’s Day this weekend, I encourage you to stop and consider the objects that you will want to remember from your childrens’ playtime. Someday in the future you won’t have toys littering the living room floor and piling on coffee tables. Rather than simply “capturing the mess” (which has its benefits too!), why not capture the truly special and loved favorites with their own portrait session?
My older daughter has had a precious bear since she was 18 months old. We’ve watched him grow real over the years as he loses his fluff, his overalls become faded and worn. A few years ago I decided to capture his portrait. Not just my daughter holding him, but an actual portrait of our loved Corduroy. I know my mom has my beloved Raggedy Annie hiding in a shoebox in her closet and while I know Corduroy will always be kept, I wanted him to be documented now, in today’s moment.
I feel the same way about my younger daughter’s princess castle. This has been her absolute favorite toy since Santa brought it a year and a half ago. I finally took my own advice and had a little session with it to illustrate my tips for you and I know these photos will be some of my favorites to look back on in the years to come.
I hope you can find a few moments this Mother’s Day weekend to indulge in a little photo session for your own memories!
Capturing portraits of favorite toys:
1. Prepping the toy: For an interactive toy like my daughter’s Fold and Go Princess Castle, I could have just set it up on my own and taken the shot but I really wanted to capture how she plays with it. I brought the toy and her favorite princesses to a sunny corner of our house and got my camera ready. I invited her to come and play and asked her to show me where the princesses like to hang out.
2. Remember the subject: Your focus with this session is to capture the toy first, your child second. After you get a full body shot like the one above, don’t be afraid to try again and crop out your child’s head. A photo without a face pulls the focus directly onto the tiny fingers interacting with their beloved plaything. I was super excited to capture this shot that included her toes, too.
3. Capture the toy alone: Once your child has it set the way they like it, capture a few shots of just the toy. My daughter’s favorite princess is Tiana right now, as witnessed by the fact that she is placed in the position of honor on the throne at the door. I was sure to capture a full shot of the castle and a close up detail shot of just Tiana. These shots would make adorable personalized bedroom prints! As a mom, I love knowing that this is how my daughter wanted them positioned for the photo.
4. Include your child in the decisions: Once my daughter saw that I was taking pictures of her toy, she started to direct me, “Take a picture of this and that.” Finally she called out, “Take a picture of ME with my castle!” She positioned herself on her tummy and posed like this all herself. I love that this shot shows how small she is relative to her favorite toy right now.
Bonus Tip: Almost all of these shots were taken with me laying on the floor on my tummy. Get down LOW to get at eye level with the toys, not the child. This required my chin on the floor in most cases. It’s not a coincidence that my daughter posed like she did in the photo above, she’s mimicking my own position!
Find your own portrait-worthy favorites:
Tiffany Dahle is the hostess behind Peanut Blossom where she shares her belief that strong families start with strong and happy mothers. She encourages you to develop everyday possibilities for stretching your creativity while doing what you do to keep that household running!
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