The other day, in a fantastic post in her Photographing Your Children column over at 5 Minutes for Special Needs, Melody reminded me of something I have been trying to work on, but continue to mess up — relinquishing control and keeping my photography sessions FUN, for my children and for me.
“Relinquish control. Face facts…the child is really in control. If he isn’t happy, no one is. Snap images on the go without limiting your child’s activities. In other words, rearrange yourself, not your child. Follow his movements.”
While photographing baby Olivia is as easy as it was to photograph Jackson when he was a baby, (my babies LOVE to laugh and interact with the camera,) photographing Jackson now as a rambunctious six year old can sometimes be a bit more stressful.
Some days he insists I get my camera to take shots of him and we have a great time together.
But other times, I have a shot in mind and my perfectionist nature clashes with his impatient, high energy behavior, and I find myself getting grumpy during a photography session.
Especially if I am photographing him with a post or a goal in mind, my obsession with getting the “perfect shot” ruins our time together. I can feel it happening — and yet sometimes I feel powerless to stop it.
I end up trying to “control” Jackson and the direction of our “shoot,” instead of letting my son be who he is.
While I was scanning through my photos after reading Melody’s post, this series of photos stood out.
I remembered how the photo session started.
I had a bunch of Lijit stickers from BlogHer sitting next to my computer. Jackson grabbed them and started pasting them on his face and on his baby sister.
I thought it was a fun idea – and I could use the shots in the Lijit post Susan was writing – so I grabbed the camera.
We had a ton of fun — I even got out some Lijit t-shirts for the kids.
But in the middle of it all, my voice deepened with tension a few times as Jackson’s exuberance for life and fun tipped over the top and he got a bit too silly and a bit too crazy with Olivia.
As I tried to get him to “behave,” the fun meter dropped a bit.
I lost my focus. Instead of trying to record the story of my children and their incredible interactions, I began trying to get a “perfect shot.”
Fortunately, with a baby and a six year old, the photo sessions can’t last too long anyway and I stopped clicking and we took the stickers away from Olivia before she ate them all.
But I knew I had failed a bit. I had soured our beautiful time together.
Perhaps Jackson didn’t even notice. He is used to being reprimanded for bouncing off the walls and nearly killing his sister! But I resolved once again, not to let my perfectionism hurt my kids.
I want to capture the stories of my children’s lives – the craziness, the intensity and the fun!
And, I want to make sure that we enjoyed the stories together as they unfolded, one laugh at a time.
Relinquishing my control instinct when I am behind the camera will make me not only a better photographer, more importantly, it will make me a better mom!