This post is part of a two-part series written in collaboration with incredible Essex newborn photographer Helen Carpenter Photography – you can read 5 things to photograph your young kids doing this lockdown over on her blog!
2021 is already feeling like a re-run of 2020. You do the same things, have the same arguments, re-set the router AGAIN because everyone is moaning about the internet… I have two teenage girls who are really feeling this lockdown, much more than last year.
Photographer’s Child Syndrome is a real thing… my two teenagers are both very good at avoiding the camera. In spite of having lots of practice, they like to act up when I get my camera out! This portrait of my two took me AN HOUR – they were not going to co-operate without me gaining a few grey hairs and a couple more wrinkles along the way! Here are some ideas of how to capture some memories with your own older children – so you will have some happy moments from Lockdown 3 to look back on.
I’m often asked what the best camera is to use at home. In all honesty, the very best camera is the one that you have nearby. Whether it’s a phone or a DSLR – whatever you have available is the best to grab when the moment hits!
1. Your pets! Nothing helps tweens and teens sit still better than a dog. Photograph your kids with their pets or ask your children to create their own portraits of your pets. My daft dog is the perfect distraction for my two, but whether you have a dog, a cat, a snake or a goldfish – it’s lovely to preserve images of your children with their petsIf you’re photographing a dog, then it’s best to get them to look at the camera and perk their ears up so they look happy. Calling their name will most likely get them running toward you, instead of sitting still, so that’s not a great idea. Instead, try making a squeaking noise, or meowing like a cat, making kissy noises, clicking your tongue – anything that will grab their attention and get them interested! Hopefully your teen will have the same response, too!!
2. In the kitchen. Is your child a budding Jamie Oliver? or maybe just has the temper of Gordon Ramsay! Get them baking, cooking, mixing and experimenting, You’ll get some great photographs, and maybe even a cake out of it to eat at the end!My 14 year old loves her Tilly Ramsay cookery book. There is everything from snacks to complete meals in it, and it’s easy to follow for even the most distracted teens and tweens.Our favourite to cook is pancakes – works for breakfast, brunch, or any time of the day, and you can have them with healthy fruit or with tonnes of chocolate spread – guaranteed to cheer up the most grumpy of hormonal teenagers!
3. Photograph them when they aren’t aware of you. Those moments when they are engrossed in a book or a film, doing their schoolwork online, are what you will love to look back on. While we aren’t having huge adventures in far away places right now, we are still living our lives and that’s what photographs are all about – capturing lives.
4. Family photographs are so important… I think that being apart from loved ones over the last year has made us all appreciate the importance of family more than ever. Take a group shot of your household or bubble by using the timer feature on your camera, and then you can send it to all the family you can’t be with right now.I had some family photographs of my lovely lot taken between lockdowns in November last year. I’m so pleased that I did (I booked a photographer that I really admire to do them!) and I’ve now got them framed and on the wall at home.If you would like to book for studio or outdoor family portraits with me, you can find out more about family portraits on my website.
5. Get outside and explore nearby. Getting a teenager off their screen and into the great outdoors may feel like a mammoth task, but once you are all out in the fresh air you will all enjoy it. You may even have to bribe your older children to get them away from TikTok, YouTube or Netflix… or you can “accidentally” break the wifi so they don’t have anything better to do! are getting lighter now, and there have been some really beautiful sunsets recently which is a great time of day to take your camera out. If your children are reluctant, then how about a silhouette of them against a stunning sunset? It’s so important right now for us to see the beauty in the world.