Documenting Your Child's Space / by Andrea Moffatt

 My oldest son right before bedtime last summer. Instead of filling the frame with him, I backed up and included his treasures. (Shot with the Nikon D800)

My oldest son right before bedtime last summer. Instead of filling the frame with him, I backed up and included his treasures. (Shot with the Nikon D800)

Welcome back to the Tell Your Little Story series! So far in this series, we've covered the importance of perspective and setting. Then we saw how capturing your everyday clutter could one day be a precious artifact. And speaking of clutter... one of my favorite places to photograph my kids is in their bedroom. Why? 

Why NOT? Their bedrooms are like an extension of them. What they read, play with, hang on their walls, set out on their shelves... all tell a story about who they are now and who they are becoming. As you read the rest of this article, don't forget about older children and teens. It is at every stage of your son's and daughter's childhood that you will find satisfaction in this process.

The following pictures were all taken with my iphone 5s, unless otherwise noted. If these tips are helpful, read more about my Mom's Story Phone Photography class held in Greensburg, PA. 

 

Try some of these suggestions when photographing your child's space:

Shoot in natural light where possible. It's a much more pleasing light than an overhead orangey artificial light.

 

 
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Be thoughtful about what you document. Instead of just standing in the doorway and shooting the entire space, look around and determine what parts of the room tell the most about your child. Consider the walls, the surfaces, how they leave their bed in the day, what they are reading, what toys they were last playing with, what's sticking out from under their bed.

 

 

Look for evidence of growth or hints that your child still has one foot in two different stages. For example, their social studies text book on a My Little Pony bedspread. Or their most beloved stuffed animal in front of a teen idol poster. I didn't know if I'd find evidence of this when I did this exercise. To my surprise, I found plenty!

 

 



When shooting wall hangings or flat surfaces, you always want your camera or phone to be parallel with the surface. When shooting the wall, don't tilt your phone towards it, hold it perfectly vertical. When shooting a surface, either shoot from above, keeping your phone perfectly horizontal and parallel with the surface or get down where the objects are and shoot across them (camera is perpendicular to the surface). This will allow you to eliminate wonky lines and distortion.

 

 
 Shot at night with the Nikon D800. Your DSLR will perform better in low light,  if you know how to use it!

Shot at night with the Nikon D800. Your DSLR will perform better in low light, if you know how to use it!

In all of the above suggestions, your child doesn't even have to be home to make those photos. But if he or she will let you, try a wide shot of the room with your child in the frame. No looking at the camera or posing- just them. Doing homework, playing, reading, or listening to music... surrounded by their created world.