Be Prepared! Lawn Mower Fun in the Back Yard

Even though we are SO thankful for the rain, it was nice to have a dry day yesterday so we could catch up on some neglected house hold chores.  First on the list: mow the back yard!!

story-board-1resizedI love these pictures so much!  I love Luke’s excitement around the lawn mower, I love the colors, and I love the scale of Luke in comparison…I love that can hardly reach the handles!!!

I knew right when Chris said he wanted to mow the law that I wanted to document him and Luke together in the backyard.  And I knew that I wouldn’t have this opportunity again…Luke was SO excited… so I had to have a strategy.  And it was a really simple strategy that made all the difference.  You wanna know what it was?  Simple:  Be Prepared!!!! So much of photography is just being ready for what’s going to happen next.  Your camera is smart…it can make good decisions about exposure and white balance and all that good stuff.  What it can’t do is decide what moments are worth capturing.  You do that!  And you can do it better when you have thought things through ahead of time.  Here’s what worked for me:

1.  Be ready to go!  The first moments are the most sincere and authentic.  I didn’t want to be hunting for my equipment while Luke was discovering the lawn mower.  I wanted to be ready when he was!

2.  Be ready to move around.  I wanted to get as many different perspectives as possible…I wanted the birds eye view, I wanted the Luke eye view, I wanted a perfectly square image with Luke, daddy, and the lawn mower and I wanted images that just hinted at Chris’ presence.  I moved up, down, around, to the left, to the right…if Luke would have maintainted interest just a little longer, I would have been on my stomach on the grass with the lawn mower coming towards me.  I wanted to capture every angle to see what would strike me later.

3. Be thoughtful:  I tried to think ahead of time about the “father-son” connections I wanted to capture…I wanted the tenderness and I wanted the “let’s get down to work-ness”I tried to think about what kind of connections Chris and Luke might make so I could easily recognize them when they happened.

4.  Be willing to give it up.  One thing I’ve found in photographing my own children is that the kids have to take the lead.  I need and want to have a vision for the kinds of images I’m looking for, but more often than not, I need to just let go of what I am expecting to get and be willing to let them take the lead.  After all, I want to capture what happens, I don’t want to interfere or direct the experience.  About 5 minutes into the lawn mowing experience, Luke said “Too loud, mommy! Too loud!”  From then on, he sat contently on the patio chair and watch Chris as he finished mowing the lawn.  That’s life!  And those kind of unexpected twist make for some really great pictures:

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Simple!  Be ready with a plan and then be ready to let it all go!  That’s my strategy.  Try it!  And send me your pictures!  I LOVE seeing them!

Sara

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