Ever wondered how Dionne from @littlenuggets shoots those hands down incredible pics of her girls Sierra and Maddie?
You know the ones... they're those "oh my god are her children just perfectly behaved and insanely photogenic or is she doing something we don't know about" kind of shots! Well we were starting to get a bit sus on her too...so this week we invited Dionne to give us the low down on all of her tips, tricks and secrets!
Plus, what's a tell-all feature blog without some bloopers to prove that just like the rest of us - some days she has a tough time getting "the shot" too!
With school holidays and Easter just around the corner, it’s time to start de-tagging all the kids’ mufti clothes (RYB, of course) and start getting the wear out of them that you’ll never get during the school term. Here at Little Nuggets, we’re no different and I’ve been furiously planning outfits and shooting locations/playdates in my head since Drop 1 landed!
If you’re anything like me, you are way too invested in your kids’ outfits, and are genuinely concerned that one day your Mother’s Day card will be drawn with stick figure kids next to a lens labelled ”Mummy”. But do keep telling yourself - as I do - that when they’re older they will appreciate the meticulous referencing of what they wore, on what date, and against which backdrop; and therefore will never commit the cardinal social media sin of repeating outfits. Ever.
I’m often asked how I manage to get the girls to take so many photos for me. And how much debt I’m in from bribing them. In all seriousness, the absolute truth is that we always make sure that it’s about fun first, photos second. In my experience fun doesn’t have to mean plying them with copious amounts of sugar (which I’m pretty sure we’ve quit about 73 times now, and counting); or coercing them with a promise of the newest, or latest, or biggest present at Toys ‘R’Us if they take good pictures (unfortunately their father is not Richard Branson). Fun for the girls is as easy as a skate with Mum and Dad (or a laugh at our stacks, as it were), or to push them so high on the swing that their feet kiss the clouds, or to let them pick the movie for family movie night (apparently ‘Beverly Hills Chihuahua’ is the best movie ever!). It’s imperative the kids always associate your passion and interests as being a fun activity for them too; especially if it involves them. Because, let’s face it, you kinda need them; right?
Location, location, location! As with real estate, location and surroundings make a big difference to the story you’re selling. We’re lucky to be surrounded by nature reserves and parklands in our leafy suburbia; so you will often see the girls go bush in our posts. But if you’re near the beach, on a farm, or live in a concrete jungle; these are all our favourite places to shoot as well! What I look for is shaded areas (large trees and buildings throw great shadows to shoot in), and avoid facing the girls in the sun’s direction or else they’ll scream bloody murder, and try to convince me that their eyes are falling out! Also remember that your photos will be reduced to a square, 8x10, or 10x8 post, so the backdrop doesn’t have to be the scale of Niagara Falls! Sometimes the smallest tuft of long grass or a block coloured wall on the side of a building is enough to get the shot.
Then there’s that taboo issue of editing. A lot of people will ghost you (like ‘that guy’ whose name and image you hand-carved into your burn book) when the topic comes up, or when you ask for tips; but don’t take it personally. Just like kids come in all shapes and sizes, posts come in all filters and edits. Have a play around with different apps and edits to find a style that tells YOUR story. Generally, for me, I like to adjust the brightness and sharpness of my photos as I find Instagram dulls and blurs the photos, ever so slightly. I also like to add a slight vignette to my posts so the image pops that little bit more. Some apps you might like to experiment with are Afterlight, VSCO and ColorStory; but the adjustments available on Instagram are actually quite good if you like to keep it simple.
And finally, there will be those days where nothing you try will work. The sun will be too bright, the rain too hypothermia-inducing, the kids too feral, the location too dangerous or too at risk of being caught trespassing (oops!); and you’ll feel like the worst mum in the world for putting your kids through it. And the worst photo-taker in the world for not being able to get at least one shot. My advice is, put the camera away – but don’t delete the pictures you’ve taken – and enjoy the day with your kids. Teach them that there is life to be lived, and joy to be felt when things don’t work out exactly how you had hoped. Then in the quiet moments after you’ve lovingly tucked them into bed (and cleaned the toothpaste smears off the mirrors, and ferried a month’s supply of water to them because apparently they’re thirsty); go through your camera roll again with fresh eyes … you may surprise yourself with that one ok-if-I-crop-and-edit-and-sharpen-and-put-a-witty-caption-shot hiding in there somewhere!
And just as promised, here's some of my favourite bloopers of the girls in all their yawny-squinty-funny-faced glory!!
-By Dionne Lewis (@littlenuggets)
Don't follow Dionne and the girls yet? We better fix that asap! Click here to check out their insane pics and follow them in all of their photogenic glory!!