Psst.. I'm spilling my best secret to photographing kids..

All of my beach photography sessions lately have got me thinking and pushing my own boundaries.  It occurred to me that I have a legit secret to photographing kids that might help you take pictures of your own kids that will make you swoon.

Here it is, my secret to photographing children, especially on the beach or in the backyard in the summertime or playing in their bedroom any day of the week. 

It’s pretty simple:  Don’t try. 

Say what?!  I know, to all of the overachievers out there (myself included) that sounds like absolute blasphemy.  But I swear to you, when I am not trying to make it all perfect, when I can let go and let my gut lead the way, when I am not preoccupied with capturing the perfect photograph, that’s when the magic happens.

So, this is my one-stop advice column for photographing your kids this summer.

Don’t try so hard.

Observe them.  What are they doing right now that you wish you could bottle right up?  Let them do that.  Try to refrain from interfering.   Be a fly on the wall.  Be patient.  Blend into the background and anticipate those quirky, thoughtful, lovable moments.

And just let it happen.  Let go of perfection: the perfect light, the perfect composition, the perfect smile, the perfect Pinterest boards.  Just shoot pictures from the heart and I promise you, in 15 years, you’ll be so happy you have these photos of your kids being exactly who they are today.

Here's a few favorite photographs from 2 beach sessions this month.  Many break the rules with composition and lighting, but sometimes the moment and the expressions are all that matter.  

Stony Lake / Lake Michigan:

kids bike photograph
lake michigan kids photography
lake michigan kids photography
lake michigan kids photography

Malibu, California:

malibu kids beach photography
malibu kids beach photography
malibu kids beach photography
malibu beach dance photograph

Oh, and the best part is that when kids are in their happy place, sometimes they’ll just look up at you with the best smile or glance and you might still get those perfect beach portraits...

Without even trying.

malibu children's portrait
malibu beach portrait