As our kids grow, we don't want to forget to photograph their snuggles! I know I love to capture their smiles and that glimmer in their eyes. But what about a softer side? I was going through some photos and found this photo of Sawyer snuggling her baby. She carried that baby doll around everywhere (until she was replaced by Minnie Mouse). But when she was sad, upset, or recovering from a tantrum, she'd snuggle with her doll. I might have forgotten had I not taken the time to photograph their snuggles together - Sawyer and her baby. As I looked at this photo I was also reminded of a photo recipe in Me Ra Koh's book Your Child in Pictures. The recipe in her book is about capturing the "Objects of Affection" since what your child snuggles varies from child to child along with the stage he or she is in. Sawyer's object of affection has changed several times and she's only 2.5 years old! Talk about a fickle girl!
Does your child have a favorite object to cuddle up with? Use this recipe to help you photograph their snuggles!
SET UP: Having the camera out and ready will help you capture this spontaneous moment. Pay attention to when and why your child snuggles with her baby the most. For Sawyer, it was after a tantrum, just before nap time or after her brother told her no (which happens 100 times a day). Since I couldn't pin point the exact moment it would happen, I made sure I had my camera out on the table. If you have to dig out on the camera bag, you'll for sure miss out on trying to photograph their snuggles.
CAMERA SETTINGS: Since you don't always have control of when and where the snuggles will happen, you may not have them sitting by the brightest window in your house. In the image above, I selected an ISO of 1250 to allow in lots of light. For your aperture, having that blurry background will help the moment shine. Shooting wide open will help you capture that emotion. Finally you'll want a shutter speed that is fast enough to capture the moment. For toddlers, I suggest not going below 1/250.
COMPOSITION: Here is where you have more creative freedom to tell the story of your child snuggling her baby. I decided a vertical image where Sawyer and her baby filled the frame would have the most impact. There is nothing else to distract from the moment. I also decided to be on the side where I see the baby doll more than I see Sawyer's face. But I loved how the way she holds her baby was center stage. There is also the detail of the way she's leaning into her baby and that she still has her pacifier in to really tell the story of Sawyer at this stage.
Sawyer now snuggles Minnie Mouse, or the Easter Ducky a friend recently gave her. She also does not have a pacifier outside of bed time (I know, I know, it's time to break that habit). But by looking at this image, I'm reminded of Sawyer 6 months ago, how she has changed and how she is still the same little girl.
Now it's your turn. Photograph their snuggles! Then share with me your results on my Facebook page! I love to see what you were inspired to capture.
P.S. Struggling to get the settings right or frustrated that auto mode did not capture the moment as you had imagined? Sign up for my May 2nd Photography Workshop and learn how to capture these ever fleeting moments of our children's lives. Click here to learn more and register. Seats are limited.