Finding the Life (January)

I am not a perfectionist when it comes to cleaning my house. I am not a perfectionist when it comes to cooking. My van is a disaster. My glasses have been scratched for two months and I still have not gone to the optical shop to get them fixed. 

So, why then do I feel the need for my photography projects to be perfect? I have no idea. When I decided to do this Day in the Life (also called Finding the Life) project a couple of weeks ago I knew it wouldn’t be perfect because I have to be mom, cook, pet caretaker and photographer all at the same time. Still, when it came to the day I had planned to document my day, I mentally berated myself for not charging my camera battery the night before and missing photos of my son getting off the bus. I also scolded myself for not reading the rules about taking one photo each hour of the day. I had decided I’d scrap those photos and start the project over again but as I looked through the images I realized they aren’t perfect but they do accurately represent most of my days. In fact, these dark photos without pretty light reflect my days during winter.

This day was a little more busy than most of my days, actually. For one, it was pay day and we needed groceries so the shopping trip was something we don’t always do. My son, usually not interested in organized sports came home a couple months ago and announced he’d like to try basketball, so we had his first basketball game, an activity that isn’t normally a part of our day.

Nap time is always part of our day but photographing it is next to impossible because my room, where my toddler naps, is literally as dark as a cave. In addition, Miss G likes to nap right up against me, not always the best position to photograph her sleeping. I used my cellphone to illuminate her while pushing the shutter with the other hand and hoping she ended up being in focus.

So I didn’t capture every moment or follow all the rules but there is always next month. Plus, perfection is not nearly as important as simply making sure our even mundane moments are documented because those are the moments when real life unfolds.

Be sure to visit  Ashley ‘s blog to follow the days of other photographers in the blog circle.

My mornings start off with a toddler sprawled in my bed and not in the toddler bed where she is supposed to be.

My mornings start off with a toddler sprawled in my bed and not in the toddler bed where she is supposed to be.

December 10 on 10

This is the last 10 on 10 blog circle for 2016, which doesn’t even seem possible!

My life has been all over the place the last month and I missed last month so I just thought I’d share some of my favorite images from the past couple of months.

Please continue to follow the circle by visiting Tricia Bovey.

Tuesday photography tips for moms: Get on their level | Athens, PA photographer

Every other Tuesday I will be offering practical photography tips for  moms who don’t consider themselves a photographer but still want to visually record the everyday lives of their children. These are merely tips or suggestions, not rules to follow. You should record your photographic memories for you in your own way and hopefully these suggestions will help give you ideas on how to do that.

For more photography tips see my What to Capture series. Other articles in the Tuesday Photography Tips for moms can be found in the Tips link at the top of the page or by clicking HERE.

This week my photography tips for moms (and dads for that matter) is to “get on their level.” In other words, when you photograph your child try to take less photos looking down on them, unless it is for an artistic reason. We’ve all done it – snapped a cellphone photo from our level and our child’s head looks huge and their feet small. This perspective can be used artistically but when used all the time it isn’t visually interesting ad doesn’t accurately portray your child for you future memories.

The looking down angle is great if you want to convey how small your child is in the big world or in comparison to the size of something or someone, for example, but it isn’t great when you miss out on a great expression your child has or an interesting activity your child is involved in.

 

My challenge to you is when you start to photograph your child as they are engaged in play or an activity, kneel or sit down or even lay down so your eye level is close to your child’s. Not only will this create a more compelling image that will bring viewers of your image into your child’s world,  it will also literally bring you into your child’s world. You will not only be on your child’s level with photography as a goal but with personal interaction being a result. 

Have you ever imagined what it is like for a child who has to always look up to see his or her parents? Not only is it probably bad for their spine alignment (don’t quote me on that, of course, instead ask your chiropractor) it creates an emotional distance between child and parent. Children are often delighted when Mom or Dad kneels down and looks them in the eye and actually converses with them instead of talking at them. 

In relation to photography, an image which creates eye contact with the viewer helps the viewer to see more of the subject’s true personality and see not only a pretty face but also, maybe, a little of the child’s soul.

I’m not a fan of asking a child to look at a camera because I find that causes them to either fake a smile or put on a show and not reveal their true selves. I catch most of my eye-contact photos when the child looks toward me or someone behind me.

Even if the child isn’t looking right into the camera, being down at the child’s level can create layers within your photograph that tell a story about what activity your child was engaged in.

Photographs taken from above, looking down, or from above, even looking up, have their place as well, so I’m not saying never take them (especially since I do all the time). We will discuss how different angles and perspectives in photographs tell a story in future posts. 

 

If you have any questions or comments,  feel free to comment below, contact me via the contact page or email me at lisahoweler@gmail.com.


Lisa R. Howeler is a wife and mom living in a small town located in northern Pennsylvania, less than a mile from the New York State border. She is a photographer, writer, chocolate lover, and one of those Jesus freaks your mama warned you about. Find her online at http://www.lisahoweler.com; www.instagram.com/lisahoweler; and Facebook, www.facebook.com/lisahoweler.