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HOW TO BE A “NANNYOGRAPHER”

(A note from Nickey: I “met” Brooke on Instagram and I am so glad I did! Her heart for the nanny industry is infectious and her blog posts are always super on point. I am so honored that she took the time to write a guest post for Colors Are Magic and that she is able to let her creative side shine! Enjoy.)

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**Make sure to read through until the end. There is a special photo challenge I have created to go along with this article!**

One of the unofficial duties of being a nanny is taking photos of our nanny kids. Actually, some parents even write this into the contract and make it an official nanny duty. Parents want to see what their kids are up to all day! And, nannies love to capture the moments they share with their sweet nanny kids. It’s a win-win. Though, sometimes it can feel like a chore — especially if a parent is demanding photos to an excessive level. Or maybe the parent simply doesn’t even acknowledge and appreciate the effort the nanny goes through to capture and text them these photos. This can leave a nanny feeling discouraged and unmotivated to continue taking photos each day.

This happened to me once with a nanny family and it devastated me. I lost my passion for photography while I was working for them. They didn’t appreciate the photos I took of their kids — they never thanked me. I mean maybe they didn’t realize that the photo I sent them took a total of 15 minutes to perfect — between capturing the image and then editing in several photo apps, the photo only looked that awesome because I spent a lot of time on it. A little thank you would have been nice.

While discouraged and unmotivated, I came to the revelation that I enjoyed taking photos for myself, not them. Photography was something I was passionate about and I refused to let them take that away from me. So, I continued taking creative photos of their kids — not for them, but for myself.

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With social communities like instagram being such a focal point in our lives, it’s hard not to be inspired by the creativity that surrounds us. Some of my favorite photos and all of the photos I’m going to share in this article, were taken with my iPhone. You don’t need a fancy camera to get an awesome photo. Plus, anyone can learn a few basic techniques to immediately enhance the quality of their photos. I want to inspire the inner photographer in everyone, so…let’s get creative, shall we?

*Note: You should have a social media clause in your contract. It is imperative you have permission from your employers before posting any photos of your nanny kids online.*

FIND THE LIGHT: The first and most vital part of taking a good photo is the lighting. Natural, even lighting is most ideal. Cloudy days or shaded areas are great. This reduces shadows and harsh lighting. Even when taking a photo with your cell phone, test out the lighting! Play around and try taking the photo from different directions until you find the brightest, cleanest, and most even light. You can even put your phone on selfie mode and simply spin around slowly in a full circle — this will show you how the light changes based on the direction your camera is pointed. How does the light change on your face as you turn? Which lighting is most flattering? Or maybe you’re going for a more dramatic feel and want to capture some shadows — play around until you find the look you want. When inside, find the room that has the best natural light and open the blinds. The reason lighting is so important is because, if you don’t have good lighting, it’s hard to salvage the photo. There’s only so much you can do in editing programs and the best photos need the least amount of editing.

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2. COMPOSITION/CONTENT: Next, it’s important to get creative with how you shoot the photo! Don’t be afraid to mess up — no one is going to know and you learn from the process. By trying different angles and compositions, you develop and eye for what works and what doesn’t work. Using an interesting camera angle is one of the best ways to add dramatic effect to a photo. Try leaving some negative space — that’s a very popular style these days due to the trend in minimalist designs. Try off-centering a subject, but still keep in mind the rule of thirds! Another popular angle is aerial shots. This can be standing above your nanny kids and getting a photo of them or you can do a flat lay, which involves creating a beautiful display of items (i.e., diaper bag, sunglasses, a succulent, etc.) and taking an aerial shot of the items. My favorite types of photos to capture are ones where the kids are candid and in their element. I often stand back and observe my nanny kids while quickly snapping several photos from different angles/compositions. It’s always very rewarding because the kids are so engaged in play, they don’t even realize I’m taking their picture.

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3. EDITING: Okay, this last step is very important! Of course, you have to have executed steps 1 and 2 correctly in order for this last step to work properly. First rule in editing: NEVER edit in Instagram. I NEVER use an Instagram filter. Ever. The most you will see me use is a little bit of Lux — I’m talking no more than 15%. My favorite photo editing apps are: A Color Story, VSCO, and Afterlight. My favorite of those three is A Color Story. For word overlays, I use WordSwag. In terms of editing tips, take look at the tones in other photos you admire, and try to recreate them in your own photos by playing around in the apps. Try different filters and even if they seem too harsh, try taking the opacity down a bit — again, trial and error. I personally like bright and airy photos, so after selecting a filter (or not selecting one), I almost always do the following to my photos: increase brightness, add a little contrast, add a little clarity, and make the temperature a little cooler.

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At the end of the day, your photos won’t change if you don’t change. So change it up! Be inspired and get creative. Practice and don’t be afraid to take chances. Being a nanny is hard and sometimes I feel it stifles my adult creative side. Sure, I’m creative when it comes to the activities I do with the kids, but that’s a different kind of creativity and it’s job related. Taking creative photos of my nanny kids doesn’t feel job related because the photos aren’t for the parents — they are for me. Of course I love texting the photos to the parents, especially when they genuinely appreciate them, but because I’m taking the photos for myself, it’s something I get to look forward to each day. It’s also a way to challenge myself — I forces me to notice the beauty in the ordinary things. I get so excited when I’m successful — on those days, I get to leave work with another little masterpiece. I get to leave work feeling extra accomplished and fulfilled. I get to leave work knowing, despite the chaos of taking care of 3 kids, I managed to find time to exercise my creativity by being mindful of the moment.

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Now that we’ve gone over the three simple steps to increase the quality and creativity in your photos, let’s do an Instagram Challenge! I’ve created a 10 day #Nannyographer Photo Challenge so everyone can practice stepping outside of the box and being intentional with their photos. Make sure to hashtag #nannyographer on your daily photos, tag/follow @nannycounsel and @_colorsaremagic_, and tag 2 friends in the challenge feed to have your photos featured, as well as win a prize! Please see the Instagram post for official rules and details.

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Brooke Weglarz is a professional nanny of 10+ years with a Master’s Degree in Clinical Psychology. She is a passionate nanny advocate and the creator of nannycounsel.com, an advice blog for nannies and parents. Her goal is to help foster fair and harmonious relationships between families and nannies. She resides in Nashville and in her spare time is a lifestyle portrait photographer. You can also find her on instagram @nannycounsel.

4 Comments
  1. I really like these photos. I think it’s a great idea! We may be getting a nanny soon with the new little one on the way! Glad I found your blog :)

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    • Yay! I am glad you found it too! Getting a nanny for the first time is huge :) Let me know if you have any questions about hiring the perfect nanny for your family. :) x

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  2. Beautiful images! I love that you just capture the moment.

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