Bluebird Chic ambassador Emily Ockwig of Everbranch Photography shares her best tips for photographing children at rest.
In my house, we play hard. We love to run and explore, but one of my favorite activities to photograph are the downtimes. Those quiet, lazy moments of rest and recharging. There’s something so beautiful about being able to soak in all of the details.
Here a few of my tips for capturing your kids resting!
1. Make their location work.
My kids don’t often nap anymore, but when they DO, I have no say in when or where it happens. Work around their spot. Open blinds, turn off overhead lights and move around to get the shot you’re looking for.
2. Think about the story you want to tell.
Want to capture their million stuffed animals? Maybe you want to remember how they curl up in a tiny ball. Perhaps they sprawl. Are they hard to wake up? Are you documenting their perfect little eyelashes or their tiny toes?
All of those are completely different shots. To get their nighttime entourage, I’d sneak in after bedtime. If I want to capture the details I don’t want to forget, I’ll wait until they crash for a nap on the sofa or sprawl across my bed.
3. Rest doesn’t mean sleeping.
We rest often, lounging in the morning watching cartoons, we chill on the couch watching a movie before bed. These still moments usually allow for more intentional shooting, as long as I stay out of their way.
4. Invest in some good reading lights.
My kids have grown to love their reading lights, and I love them, too. They provide direct, targeted light exactly where I want it, and I can adjust it based on where I angle it. I love the quiet photos of them reading stories at bedtime, and the still, sleepy moments of 30 minutes later when they’re sound asleep. I love the Jansjo from IKEA. I have them clipped by both of my kids’ beds.
I also like to experiment with lanterns, flashlights, and projectors to add fun light to bedtime.
5. Move your body.
My favorite rest photos are the ones from awkward angles. I love the stories that overhead shots tell. I use a small stool and my 20 mm 1.4 for those. I also love playing with the shadows and using artificial light to isolate my subject in the frame. Play around with scale. Step closer, take a few steps back. Use the doorway for some framing. Get in the closet!
Emily is a “mostly stay at home” wife and mom to two ridiculously wonderful kids, a part-time professional photographer and a “nap-time” Etsy store owner selling typography and photography prints of things that make her smile. Emily loves taking pictures and brings her camera everywhere. She says “I am so, so thankful that people trust these memories, their tiny toes, their little smiles, in my hands.” To see Emily’s work visit her site Everbranch Photography.