Behind the Camera and Dreaming

A wife, mother, writer, photographer, creative child of God who tends to wear her heart on her sleeve. Here you will find a collection of memories, a journal through motherhood, and hopefully a little inspiration along the way.

Stephanie is a winner of Top 25 Photographer Moms - 2013

Do you have any good tips for teaching children about photography?

I cannot wait to teach my children about photography. Even at just under two years old, my son walks around with my iPhone saying "cheeese". Though, I don't usually have my clients to say "cheese" I must say it to him subconsciously. (It IS one of his favorite foods.)

Speaking of the iPhone, it (or your preferred smart phone) is a great place to start when teaching your children about photography. After all, it's what most of us are using to capture the everyday moments anyway. So, hand over that old smart you have just sitting in your desk drawer and show them the ropes.
Once they’ve got the how-to’s down, teach them about perspective. Have them look at the world through the camera. Take them outside or into their room. Play a game of “I spy” and have them find objects not looking away from the phone. Give them objects up high, down low, close to them and far away. Then, have them capture those objects from their perspective. Later when looking through the photos with them, ask questions like “did you take a picture of the top, bottom, front or back?” For older kids you could even ask how they would change it to get a photo they would like better/is more visually appealing. Later, or as they get older and more camera savvy, you can teach them about isolating a single subject or group of subjects from the background as part of the game.

For kids who are older and able read well, give them a camera or smart phone send them on a scavenger hunt in your yard or neighborhood. Items on the list could include things like a yellow flower, a black mail box, a white truck, then to add the emotional connection photography brings by put things on the list like: one thing that makes you smile, something that was a gift, or a person you look up to. If it’s your child you are teaching, then you’ll know what things trigger emotion in them so add those to the list too in a creative way!

While completing these tasks, when they are ready the questions will come about the technicalities of the camera. When you are looking through the photos they've taken, show them the camera settings that would give them a little more light, or a better focus. Even though you are their teacher, if they decide photography is their thing too, remember their style and perspective may be different from yours. Always let them be creative and show them what stands out about their work!

Where is your favorite place to take photographs?

This is tough because any place can be beautiful if it evokes emotion or has a special memory attached to it. Your timing, lighting, and ability to narrow in on the locations best aspects are what's key.

That being said, if I had to choose, we live in a lush historic neighborhood, with old homes, cracked sidewalks and great big trees. So, for me just stepping out and exploring a little can lead to some pretty sweet spots. My favorite right now, is just a little piece of sidewalk a few blocks from our house where the sunlight pours through the trees just before sunset, making a sparkling back drop!

What's a creative tip for taking good photographs of children?

Use a fast shutter speed and let them be kids!

For my own child, I like to put him a natural situation. We are going to do whatever it is and mommy just brought her camera along. Interacting with him as a normally would is key.

For clients, I like to learn their favorite songs, foods, and maybe a pets name or favorite cartoon. Then, if I'm having trouble getting a smile I can break out some "Twinkle Twinkle little hamburger" and surely I'll get a look if not a smile.