Autumn is such a wonderful time of year. Last year my grandson Benny was not old enough to to carve pumpkins or as he says PUMPINS (insert giggle). This post is for all the grandparents out there who would love to capture these moments with all the love they hold in their hearts. We spent our young adult lives with our children cutting the pumpkin, gutting it out and then cleaning it up. Most of the time it was US (Mother’s) who did all the dirty work and that is why no one would see us in the photos with the children. There are the daddy’s and siblings but no mommies.
It was my own fault 29 years ago because I wanted to be the super mom who did all the details so that the children and Honeyman would have great memories. I am not complaining honestly, I would not have had it any other way. As a parent over 25 years ago everything was taken from birds eye level focused on quick pics to not miss anything. I was in my twenties and a full time mommy so my brain was focusing on every detail from beginning to end all at once. I was not a photographer then either, I did not have formal training and education in photography. I only knew that I wanted to be the best I could be in giving my girls and Honeyman a great experience. This has changed in only one way now, I want to be in the portraits with my grandson. I want him to look back and see that his Mummayyy was right beside him. So how am I approaching things differently you ask?
Simple here are my top must do’s for capturing the moments without disturbing the action of the little.
1. Get down on their level. As a parent I always tried to come down to my girls leave, never or almost never having them look up to me. It was important for them to talk to me face to face. While I am tall I am not a giant. I want my grand-son to see me the same way at his eye level and approachable.I often will find myself laying on the floor with camera in my face tracking his every move. If he/she is standing, as uncomfortable as it is at times for us get on your knees. I recommend having a garden pad in your grandparent pack so that you can protect your knees, they are important after all. We all need healthy knees to run with our grand babies.
2. Talk with them the whole time that you are photographing them, it is the action and interaction that will keep their attention on you as well. Ask him/her what they are doing as they are scooping out the GUTS of the pumpkin. They will tell you and show you. It will be natural and establish a timeline in your story.
3. Don’t be afraid to get up close and edit portions of the other people out for that one on one feel that you want. As you can see Papa has his mid-portion still in the frame. I did that on purpose it lends to the story which I will create a book for Benny or a wall series for my home.
4. And if there is a parent or another grandparent in the room helping you do not be afraid to communicate before hand that you would love to have some shots of you in the frame adding the emotion of the story. It is better than regretting later down the line that you are not present in the portraits. And to the Mommies and Daddies, please help the grandparents out by taking the camera and being their eyes so that they can add the experience to their hearts you will be thankful to have those moments as well. Following their movements will close out the memory.
It is as much for us as it is for them. Heritage is important it shows them where they came from, the lineage alive. Keeping these prints, books and wall portraits to give to them one day is preserving the very thing that museums curate – history. The difference is that it is your history and theirs which you’re passing down. It is the one thing that I feel we owe both our ancestors and our future. I will forever invest in the very thing that ties the past to the present and will one day provide the future of my family lineage with the evidence that I was once here with him. To me that means everything and worth its weight in gold or should I say pumpkins (giggling again). I hope this was of some help to you. Until the next time please enjoy these portraits of my special day with my grandson.