“Taylor! Taylor! Taylor, look at Mommy. Taylor, say Cheese! Smile! Taylor! TAAAYYYLLOOOR!”
I want to pat this woman gently on the back and clue her to the fact that this photo is not happening. Ok, maybe I’d really rather shake her about the shoulders and say “For the love of all that is holy! Let the kid play!!!”
It’s easy to judge but we’ve all been there. Maybe she wanted to send a photo of Taylor in his new outfit so Grandma would know it was appreciated. Perhaps Daddy was out of town for work and Mommy wanted to send a photo to let him know he was missed. While we have genuine reasons for wanting to capture every beautiful moment of our children’s lives, we are bombarding them with photo ops instead of allowing them to live their lives.
I am among the guilty. Liam advised me one day to stop taking pictures of him. I said “please, I just want one good one.” He replied “take a picture in your brain.” My son forced me to learn photography manners. I now try to remember to ask him before taking a picture. I choose my moments more carefully, hoping if I’m not capturing his every move, he’ll let me photograph a few of the important ones.
This week, I happened upon a cool trick for taking photos of your kids without begging them to say “cheese.” I came across a blog for making galaxy slime. Yes, I learned a photo trick by way of slime.
The slime looked so fun, I couldn’t wait to give it a try. The blogger remarked that she likes to present activities in a beautiful way, in this case spiraling the slime on top of a mirror. Cleaning out a closet this week, I noticed a mirror I forgot I had. It seemed kismet to give it a try. (Side note, I believe she used a child safe mirror. I did not. If you give this a try, and use a regular mirror, keep close watch).
I did my best to form the slime into a pleasing pattern, but slime is not the easiest of substances to work with. I prepared the mirror with slime and took it outside, grabbing my camera in case this was one of those priceless moments. While taking a picture of the slime, Liam happened to walk by, looking to see what I was doing.
What I inadvertanly discovered, is that I could photograph the boys without photographing them, aiming at the mirror instead. At no point did I need to call their names or encourage them to smile. I simply watched their genuine reactions in the mirror as they happened.
After the fact, I wished I had cleaned the mirror better, as their were streaks and bits of dirt on it, infiltrating an otherwise beautiful scene (I cleaned most up with Photo Shop). But I did capture a few great moments including this one. Now I’m saving the trick for when I really need it.