1. Focus on capturing the eyes
They say the eyes are the windows to our soul and in photography there is no better way to capture authentic emotion through your photo than to capture your subject's eyes. I took this photo of my daughter when she was curled up in our bed not feeling well watching a show on her iPad. The room was dark, but the light from her iPad was all the photo needed to capture her eyes beautifully.
2. Give them something to do or think about
Because I mostly take photos of my girls capturing truly authentic emotion can be tricky with kids. Often when you pull out the camera they may shy away or even act up. A trick I use to get more natural photos of my girls is to give them something to do or to think about. In this photo my daughter was tasked with collecting pinecones for an art project we were going to do. When kids are busy doing a fun task you can always get great authentic images.
3. Don't say "cheese"
This is an important one. When creating authentic true images you don't want your subjects to be posed or worse, giving you that "cheese" smile. I always want the most natural smiles of my girls and sometimes that means just having patience. I will often have my camera out and ready for quite awhile waiting for that perfect moment. Sometimes I will snap pictures here and there until they eventually forget I even have my camera in hand and then BAM!, a beautiful natural moment like this one appears!
4. Sit back and observe
Sitting back and just observing is always a great way to capture your subject in the most real and honest way. Snapping that photo when they don't even know they are being watched. I captured this one of my dad at Starbucks checking his phone, with his coffee in reach. This picture captures my dad perfectly.
5. Capture the little details
Sometimes when I am waiting for the perfect moment to capture my subject I will focus in on capturing the little details around us first. This gives my subject time to get used to the camera being out and me time to get me settings just right. As an added bonus I am capturing all those little moments like this one of my daughters feet peeking out from under the blanket, which made such a sweet and honest image.
6. Shoot between the poses
This is a great tip especially when you are wanting to capture something specific. After school my daughter often retreats to her room for some quiet play or reads to our cat Wilson on her bed. I wanted to capture those moments for a memory keeping project I was working on and after taking a few shots she collapsed on her bed saying she was so tired. I snapped this last photo which caught her emotion beautifully and then left her to cuddle up with Wilson for a bit.
7. Anticipate the shot
This is a tip that works great when photographing people close to you. I know my girls and they love to dance. If they hear music they will breakout in dance almost instantly. So when I heard music coming from my daughter's room I just knew there would be dancing going on. I grabbed my camera and caught this joyful dance move in action.
Capturing true authentic emotion in your photography can take a good image to a great image. Photography has this amazing ability to let emotion shine through the image, it is just up to you to time it right and capture it.
Happy documenting my friends!