He who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, wakes.
— CJ JUNG
I started doing personal photography project in 2014 when I decided to take 52 pictures of my boy, Khaled, once a week for 52 weeks. It was hard, but I managed to finish the project. This year I have already started the 52 photos a week again and recently a 365 project. I am enjoying every single moment of it. Honestly, some days I will be in a complete rut, but I need to exercise my creative muscles daily in order to be better than yesterday. We learned by doing, picking up the camera and experimenting a lot. I would like to stress that whatever camera you have is the best, just remember that it’s not the camera that creates the image, it’s your eyes.
So these are some of the tips that I have used over and over again that I would like to share with you.
This is the most important aspect if you want to capture great photos. I use mostly natural light, so finding good light is the first step. Experiment with lights in the morning or during the harsh midday, you might surprise yourself. To me, I like the early morning light and in the evening, the golden light which is warm and full of magic. I keep a small “light journal” notebook where I record the light in my house, what is it like and which space gets the most amazing light.
35mm 1.4 | 1/50 | ISO250 | Manual Mode | Nikon D700
Become a better observer
One thing that I learned a lot is through observing my small little boy. He is so fast and so curious of everything. I mainly look for the actual candid moment. The ones when they are not looking at the camera, that’s the one that I seek the most. It feels more real. Have your camera ready with all the normal setting so that when the moment comes, you will not miss that moment. I am not a fan of posed photos. What I want to create is something that is natural and it’s just a matter of waiting for the right moment. Don’t underestimate the small moments, the ones where your kids are just being a kid. I feel most happy when I looked back at them and I know that once he’s all grown up, he will appreciate all those cute and funny moments I took of him.
35mm 1.4 | 1/250 | ISO1000 | Manual Mode | Nikon D700
Some days are hard
Some days, my boy won’t even let me take photos of him and I have to respect that. He will try to touch my lens and be very cranky. That’s when I stop and take a 5-minute break. Trust me, you cannot force a kid. They know what they want. Sometimes, all they want is just a cuddle or a kiss and it’s all good. Or you can even ask one of your other children to join and play with him. I found this to be very helpful, I will get help from one of my daughters and asks her simply to play with him. This usually makes him forget that I am holding my big camera and he will not be very upset.
35mm 1.4 | 1/320 | ISO1600 | Manual Mode | Nikon D700
Don’t hit that DELETE button
One important thing that I learned for the past seven years of my photography journey is never to delete the pictures that I have taken unless I have transferred them to my external harddisk and have it viewed on my Mac, because you will never know with the right composition and editing technique especially in black and white, you may get a nice image of your child. This is Khaled with his pouty lips showing me his dirty hands and not being too happy about it.
35mm 1.4 | 1/5000 | ISO200 | Manual Mode | Nikon D700
One step at a time
Don’t be so hard on yourself if you can’t nail the photos. As one of my friend on Instagram perfectly says is “Perfect means nothing, who decides? The heart speaks!” At the end of the day, pat yourself on the back for doing a great job capturing the joyous moment of your children’s childhood! They will thank you for it.
35mm 1.4 | 1/2000 | ISO250 | Manual Mode | Nikon D700