With just a couple of weeks to go until our children return to school (inshallah), I thought it would be helpful to put together a 'summer holiday shot list' for you so that you can give some time over the next few weeks to creating a memory bank of 'Summer 2020'.
I'm sure this is a summer that we all want to remember, in our own special way, right?
1) Lazy mornings
Capture them in their pyjamas - slow breakfasting - lazing - getting up late (or early, if you have early risers!). Take a documentary style approach rather than expecting your children to pose or do something specific for you. For instance my own children hate nothing more than for a camera to be pointed in their face; so go 'wide' with your photos so that you can incorporate your home into your image as well as them.
2) Water play
The hose, water guns, water table, paddling pools.....yes the water in the UAE is super hot in the afternoons so get outside with your camera in the morning and capture the water + morning light! Lean into the harsh sunlight, embrace the strong shadows and see if you can capture interesting angles of your children whilst they play. If you're worried about your camera getting wet from the spray, wrap it in a towel with the lens popping through.
Or, if your budget allows then invest in a Go Pro and waterproof case as one of your 'summer holiday essentials' and experiment with underwater photography. I can guarantee that will keep you occupied every time you set foot into a swimming pool this summer!
Whether it's on the trampoline, jumping in the pool, or making puddles, focus your attention on getting some action shots! If you are using a DSLR, remember that with action shots your shutter speed will need to be fast (I would say over 1/500 seconds) to freeze movement. If you're using a phone camera, definitely opt for the 'burst mode' so that you can capture the jump at it's peak.
4) Ice cream
Summer holidays, all about the ice cream breaks, right? Get close; get side on, use the sunlight; focus in on their little hands holding the ice cream. What I mean is, don't just opt for the standard 'child sitting eating an ice cream'. Get a bit more creative than that by changing your perspective, moving yourself around, consciously trying to capture a variety of images from one scene.
5) Long evening shadows
Do we get this in the UAE? I think so!! Head out towards sunset on your bikes, scooters or just for a walk, capture their shadows and the warm glow of the sunset light. Remember to pop your camera outside a good ten minutes beforehand to let it defog.
6) Friends together
Summer holidays = time with friends (whilst being mindful of social distancing measures), so capturing friendships should most definitely be on your shot list! Being the nominated photographer for your play date / catch ups will 100% improve your photography skills. Remember that if you are posting images on social media to check with your friends that is OK with them for you to do so. I would never post images of anyone else's child without their consent.
7) Cooking / baking / dinner time... together
During 'lockdown' in April we made a point of gathering around the table together for breakfast, lunch and early dinner. It was so wonderful and one of the things I will 'miss' about that strange period of time. If this is also a common occurrence in your house....make a point to capture it! It is also possible with you in the photo too, just by setting up your camera and timer in a good spot.
8) Your children's hobbies
Have you got arty children? Musical children? Sporty children? Avid readers?
Use the time when they are focused on an activity that they love to capture them being exactly this; arty, creative, sporty, quiet, focused.
9) You in the photo
I'm sure you knew I would add "you" into this list at some point! Find that self timer on your camera and put it on! Jump into the photo; set up the camera especially; have a vision in mind; and see what comes of it. For example in this image, my intention was to capture me plaiting my daughter's hair after a bath. I happened to sneak in for a kiss at just the right moment and that was a stronger image than the plaiting one. It's simple to capture; you just need to make the time to do it.
10) Things that make you HAPPY
Back in March I started a Facebook group called "100 Days of Happy" - with one simple aim: to capture and share one thing that made us 'happy' that day. It was so beautiful to be part of, it made us all so mindful as we went through our day. Considering which parts of that day brought happiness and why; and then sharing it with others which in turn spread energy throughout the group.
So, your shot list should for sure include this 'happiness element'!
I hope you have found this useful - if you need a few more ideas then next week I shall be sharing a personal creative exercise for you to do related to this shot list concept.