Cayton Photography Journal: Family pictures

How To Photograph Your Children

children-running-in-the-streetChildren’s photography is both challenging and enjoyable. What makes it challenging is that children aren’t happy all the time, never take instruction well and are hardly ever concerned about their personal appearance. (Think food on the face, boogers or mud.)What makes children’s photography so enjoyable is that it demands you slow down and live in the present moment. You have to be interested in your child (they insist on this) you have to cater to them (they also insist on this) and you must be open to the possibilities and the story that your child is telling right there in front of you. Here are three practical tips to train your eye and your heart so that you will make better (and yes even really great) pictures of your children.child-sitting-at-a-school-deskTip #1 Slow Down (way down) Children live in the present moment. When a child is happy? She is happy. When a child is sad? She is sad. If you’re taking photographing a child, it’s important to remember to slow down your speed of thinking and moving in order to be in step with your child. It’s a zen thing. And, get this, it really works when if you’re the parent. You know your child’s moods better than anyone. You know when they’re tired, playful or bored. Slowing down and 'knowing' your child is your ace in the hole when it comes to getting great pictures of your children.portrait-of-a-girlTip #2 Get On Their Level A real effort must be made to get on their level. If you’re photographing with a portrait lens or a wide angle, a great way to do this is to drop down to one knee. Another great way to do this is to increase the space between you and your camera and the child, typically with a longer lens. Really good pictures of your children can be achieved both at eye level with them or by using a longer lens. boy-sleddingTip #3 Talk To Them, Not At Them This is one mistake I see more than any others by parents. It’s tempting to tell your child to sit for a picture  i.e. "Go over there by your grandma and smile." Now that may be an important picture for Grandmother, but let’s just change the wording and the dynamic for a second. What if you said, “Do you want to play a board game with Grandma? I will make a “special treat” and a take a couple of photographs while you play. How does that sound?” I guarantee the change in wording and tone will improve your photographs. Try it and see.child-holding-snow-sled And if you like this? Then you might also like our new meet-up group called Colorado Springs Family Photo Club, it's a both a Facebook page here and free newsletter here with monthly tips and tricks by me and Cathy, special offers and occasional meet-ups. CLICK HERE to sign up for our newsletter and happy shooting!  — Sean

Cayton Photography Journal: Family pictures

Mother’s Day mini-session at Baby Cotton Bottoms

Last week I photographed the first ever Mother's Day mini-session at Baby Cotton Bottoms. Moms signed up for a short 20-minute session, played with their children and got pictures that speak for themselves. I love the idea of photographing children as they grow up. That's why I'm going to be doing more of these and I've created the Colorado Springs Family Photo Club so that you will know when and where you can sign up for the next session. I'm also doing a get together once a month that is free for members. I will show you how to use your cameras and take great pictures of your kids. And I'm going to schedule some fun and creative shoots "on location" and you can bring your cameras and your kids too. Sound fun? I think it's going to be a blast. My next mini-session is just for Dads. To find out where and when CLICK HERE to sign up for my newsletter! — Cathymother-and-child-colorado-springs-family-photographmother-and-child-colorado-springs-family-photographmother-and-child-colorado-springs-family-photographmother-and-child-colorado-springs-family-photographmother-and-child-colorado-springs-family-photographmother-and-child-colorado-springs-family-photographmother-and-child-colorado-springs-family-photographmother-and-child-colorado-springs-family-photographmother-and-child-colorado-springs-family-photograph

Cayton Photography Journal: Family pictures

Free & Easy Spring Break Vacation

This year our Spring Break vacation was split into two weeks, with one school on break one week and the other school on break the following week. Because of that we decided to go on a budget-friendly vacation to the San Luis Valley. We promised ourselves that we weren't going to spend more than $300 on our travel plans. It was a great trip and I can't recommend it enough. On the weekend in between each Spring Break we packed up the van and headed to the San Luis Valley. Our first stop was the Sand Dunes National Park and Reserve. We arrived late in the afternoon and found that admission this time of year is free. So we jumped out of the car, took off our shoes and watched a spectacular sunset over the dunes while we played in the sand. That night we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express in Alamosa and got all of the sand off with a dip in their heated pool. The next day we enjoyed their continental breakfast and then headed to the Monte Vista National Wildlife Refuge. When we arrived we took out our cameras and binoculars and watched the thousands of Sandhill Cranes fly overhead as they made their regular pit stop at the refuge before heading north for the summer. It was great fun and the kids enjoyed it thoroughly.budget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-coloradoOne of the best pieces of advice when roadtripping with kids is to take a cooler with lunchmakings. You can save an amazing amount of money when you don't have to eat out every meal. After spending a couple hours with the birds, we headed south to the small town of Manassa. It's the birthplace of Jack Dempsey, AKA the Manassa Mauler. Dempsey was the world heavyweight champion from 1919 to 1926 and was a cultural icon. We're not boxing fans, but we enjoyed lunch in the public park dedicated in his honor and became friends with Copper, the local dog who hangs around the sleepy Main Street barking at passing cars. Before heading back to the hotel, we made our way east to San Luis, the oldest town in Colorado. It's also home to the Shrine of The Stations Cross, a dramatic chapel built on the hill above the town. As you walk to the top of the hill, there are fifteen bronze sculptures telling the story of Christ's passion and resurrection. It was a full day, to be sure, filled with adventure. But before collapsing in our beds at the hotel, we stopped at the San Luis Valley Brewing Company in downtown Alamosa for dinner. The beer was fantastic and so was the dinner. The next day we returned home, but not before splurging on a dip in the Sand Dunes Swimming Pool, a gorgeous hot springs that's been in the valley since the 1930's. It was a grand trip, a great way to spend a long weekend away from the city, and in a very Colorado-esque location. We all promised ourselves a return trip to the valley soon. — Seanbudget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-coloradobudget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-coloradobudget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-coloradobudget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-coloradobudget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-coloradobudget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-coloradobudget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-coloradobudget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-colorado​​​budget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-coloradobudget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-coloradobudget-friendly-spring-break-vacation-colorado


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