One of the main reasons I started up on this photography lark was to try and capture those fleeting moments of my children’s childhoods. Here are are some of the techniques I use to try and help snap those moments.

1. Take your camera everywhere with you. And by that, I mean everywhere. To the shops, on the train, on the school run; everywhere!

Here’s Miles on a visit to his grandmother’s house. When I couldn’t find him, I grabbed my camera and looked around the house knowing that he would have found something interesting to do, eventually finding him by the pond, dipping for newts. The light was so perfect as he trawled through the muddy water.

2. Include your little people in your photographic projects. Ella and Miles know all about fences and benches, and sometimes even like to join in, although Miles can be a little indecisive at times! It’s a fun thing to do together as a family. You could always give them a camera of their own if you really want to encourage them. Ella loves to take pictures on her iPod touch using Instagram.

rainy hbm with umbrella monster!

While caught in the rain, I bought Miles this monster umbrella, so we had to do a bench shot with it! It took us a while to make the monster look as menacing as possible.

3. Try using black and white for a “time machine” effect. It’s amazing how it can make people look much younger or older. With children, sometimes you get a glimpse of their younger selves, or a sense of what they will look like when they grow up.

the girl in Pienza

I took this picture of Ella while in Pienza, Italy. She looks much older than her years in this picture, and I could suddenly imagine her as a teenager.

4. Photograph the little details. The things they make, their hands, the things they treasure. They will always have stories to tell about them when they are older.

cat's cradle

Here is a picture of Ella and her best friend, making cat’s cradles. It’s something they have enjoyed doing together for the last few years, but I know it will be something they will grow out of. I hope they will cherish the memory of this moment when they are older.

5. Keep your distance. Shoot from far away, or creep up on them. It doesn’t matter if their faces aren’t in the picture; often their gestures or their silhouettes are all that’s necessary to capture the mood.


I caught this while on holiday in Italy. Ella was catching her breath after diving into the pool all afternoon. I love to imagine what she was thinking as she looked at the view.

6. Don’t be afraid to direct them. I often ask my children to stand in magical light, or to pose for me. Lindsey sometimes asks children to look at the dinosaur in the camera; I like to ask Ella and Miles to pretend they know a secret for that wistful look.

wish flower

While Ella was blowing this dandelion, I asked her to make the most epic but secret wish she could (she loves the word epic, so I knew I was onto a winner there). I love the mood her look added to the picture.

7. If all else fails, try a jump shot!


With this picture I was supposed to be practising colour palettes and the rule of thirds. But when we got to the location, Miles looked at me and said he wasn’t going to pose for me because he was too cold. So I asked him to jump!

Most of all, enjoy yourself! Do you use any of these tricks? What are your secrets? Let us know in the comments.

kirstin of fleeting moments.