Photographer’s child syndrome anyone? I know you know the pain, because it’s not limited to professional photographers.
Our kids love having their photo taken… the first 18 times. But the next eleventy billion shots? Not so much!
Sidewalk chalk photos are the antidote to photographer’s child syndrome. Big call? Read on…
We love photo sessions where we bring some fun to it in the form of a creative project. Then the focus for the kids is the project rather than the photos.
Obviously the photos are our focus… but the project is a smokescreen, so shhh…
Confetti photos are a great example – the kids are so busy having fun with the confetti, they don’t really mind you taking the photos.
In fact, they tend to expect it, because they want to see themselves doing it.
Related: How to Take Confetti Photos
Another fun idea we’ve been seeing everywhere is sidewalk chalk photos. And when we stumbled across the chalk photos of blogger Samantha Johnson recently, we just knew we had to convince her to collab on a post so we could bring it to our own audience!
And much to our delight, she said yes! We didn’t even need to go to Plan B, which was the promise of Tim Tams all the way from Australia.
They’re a uniquely Aussie thing and trust me, you want them. You shoulda played it cool Mrs J!
Samantha is a US Marine Corps spouse and blogger, who works at home raising her three babies – Lucy (6), Amelia (4) and Austin (2).
With a traveling husband, and three energetic kiddos, she’s up for anything that keeps everyone busy and happy!
As a stay at home mom she sometimes find it’s hard keep all their creative minds flowing, and she initially began chalk art just as a means to get her kids outside more.
Soon she was pulling out the chalk daily and would ask the kids what they dreamed to be that day.
Samantha told us “indulging in a creative outlet is so much fun for not only kids, but for parents too. It became a ritual and such a fun thing for us to collaborate on. I realised I loved creating the scenes, and my childrens’ creative spirits flourished!”.
Use a wide angle lens such as 24-35mm so that you can easily include the whole scene.
You may need to get up on a stool or a small step ladder, but the wider your lens the better as the higher up you need to get, the riskier the task becomes!
Related: What Lens Should I Use?
You want to get both your kids and the chalk drawings in focus, so shoot no wider than around f/4.
Use a shutter speed of minimum 1/200 to freeze any small movements of the kids, and use ISO to balance. Given you’re outdoors, you should have more than enough light to shoot at least that shutter speed and a relatively low ISO.
Related: Introduction to Manual Mode
Once you frame your chalk photo, focus on your child as he/she will be closer to you than the drawing.
If you focus on the drawing, you might find your child is ever so slightly out of focus.
Related: Master your Focus
Search for a spot that is big enough to fill the frame without including other distractions such as the edge of your house, pot plants, fences, garden edging.
Give it a sweep to remove any stones and noticeable dirt.
Related: Clear the Clutter
Make sure the area you choose is in soft light, which you can recognise by the absence of strong shadows.
Soft light is even and gentle and will render the colours of your chalk photos bright and sharp.
I probably don’t need to tell you that a chalk photos project requires those giant sidewalk chalk pieces.
Old school blackboard chalk simply isn’t up to the task.
And for something different… have you heard of sidewalk chalk paint?
Related: Sidewalk Chalk Paint
Maybe you don’t have mad drawing skills?
Samantha says the best part about sidewalk chalk photos is you don’t have to be an incredible artist, and her kids just appreciate her alongside them, creating fun memories.
Look online for inspiration for your drawings, and let your skills guide you when choosing what to draw. If your drawing skills are minimal, it’s better to create a simple scene well, than to mess up something more complicated (that’s not fun!).
The kids don’t expect Picasso, so why put that pressure on yourself?
Have fun with your chalk photos… the only true limit is your collective imaginations!
Note: All images owned and copyrighted to Samantha Kate Johnson.
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