Friday, February 26, 2016

5 Photos You Should Be Taking of Your Kids (But Might Not Be)

I just ordered my 2015 photo books. It took me a little while but x3 kids, it’s a little slower going than it used to. These books are their absolute favorite books. Absolute.

Why wouldn’t they be? Each book is 12 months of them, full of personalized pictures and funny tidbits of their lives. These are my favorite books too.

As I was making the books, I noticed that there are a few kinds of photos that I try to consistently include:

1. Shoes: I like to take pictures of their shoes for a number of reasons. The first is obvious, kids’ feet grow rapidly. Their shoes demonstrate that measurable growth. The other reason is because those shoes demonstrate their taste. My first grader is, and has been, a Croc man, we have Croc photos out the wazoo.

These shoes tell a story too. These pink shoes that walked the Great Wall. The photo below that is the first time we had three sets of kids shoes at our house.

Another favorite shoe picture: Have someone stand in their daddy’s shoes. It’s perfect for Father’s Day.
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2. School work and Art work – I keep very little of the kids’ school or art work. Work gets displayed on a magnetic boards for a little while. Then, if it’s something extra special, I’ll file it in their file boxes. But more often than not, I just toss it. I try to photograph things before I toss them and not just art work but school work too. Some day their phonetic spelling and wonky math will be a funny memory.

Tip: I try and photograph all of the school and art work against a white poster board, that way when I make a year-end collage everything looks consistent.

3. Funny sayings: This isn’t a photograph per se but it’s one of my favorite things to include in the book. In the captions or in the blurb section I write about what each child accomplished that month, what they were into and any funny mispronunciation or sayings. Some day we might forget that my littlest said “happy b-dirthday” or that my daughter thought that the Daisy Scout song went “a circle has no arms.”

4. Their environment – My tendency is to get tight shots of my kid’s faces, eliminating the clutter and chaos around them. But you want wide shots that show them in their natural element.

This is my oldest doing Legos in a quiet spot in a hotel room in China to escape his new little brother.
If you look closely, you can see not just Legos but the Ninja turtle pillow case we hauled with us to ensure sweet dreams.

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Photos that show a lot of “home” are especially meaningful to me now that we’ve moved.  These are the stairs in our old house (I miss you hardwood floors!). There’s the obvious mess, but a discerning eye will see the half eaten apple and Scotch tape on the truck – the MOs of two little culprits.

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5. Photos with you in it. – This is the hardest for most people. I too prefer being behind the camera, not in front of it. But you being in photos too is a big deal. Get in the shot.

PS – I’ve bought photo books through a lot of different sources: Shutterfly, Costco, MyPublisher, Mixbooks and Chatbooks. My favorite by far is MixBook. They’re pricier than Costco but the quality is better. They run a 40 - 50% off coupon code several times a year so snag that before you purchase.

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