Capturing Childhood in Motion | Washington, DC Documentary Family Photographer

A big challenge in photographing children, especially toddlers, is how fast they move!  One benefit of documentary photography is being able to embrace that quintessential part of childhood and incorporate it into photographs - there's no need to beg - er, request- your children to sit still for a portrait.  In fact, building that movement into childhood photographs is what makes these images so honest and meaningful months and years from now.

A few months ago, I participated in a creativity exercise with Clickin Moms, that focused on capturing movement.  I was honored to be chosen among some amazing photographers for the feature post. The image I submitted was one of personal work (you may recognize the DC metro if you're local :-) ) and not my usual family subjects and since wrapping up the challenge, I've tried to creatively capture movement in my family images as well, especially of my active son.  He's growing and changing so fast that I want to document the sometimes wild and crazy, inherently "kid" things he does.

In the exercise, Sarah highlights three ways to capture movement in photography: suspension, motion blur, and visual flow.  Here's my take on the three.

1. Suspended Movement. This is my favorite to shoot, especially with children.  Freezing a moment of action to savor a point in time and capture details we wouldn't otherwise be able to see.  Facial expressions are particularly fun for these shots, but I also just love marveling at the awesome ways our bodies move.

Washington, DC Documentary Family Photographer
Northern Virginia Documentary Family Photographer

2. Motion blur.  I love the way using motion blur adds to the storytelling dimension of photography.  The dynamic between what's static and what's in motion can say or imply so much about what's happening.  I've been trying to capture more moments in my pregnancy this time around and I love including my son in these pictures. For these two images, I chose to highlight the energy of my young son against the sometimes stillness (or exhaustion! :-) ) of pregnancy and parenting.

Alexandria, VA Documentary Family Photographer
Northern Virginia Documentary Family Photographer

3. Visual flow.  Visual flow happens when the eye is naturally drawn through an image, such as with lines, curves, or color.  I love using lines to frame an image.  Thankfully, kids often repeat their actions when they're having fun, so the challenge of finding a unique composition and waiting for the right moment is often rewarded (with a little patience :-) ).

Northern Virginia Family Photography
Capturing kids in motion | Northern Virginia Family Photography

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