Lane Cove Local and award winning photographer Kylie Dunlop loved growing up in Lane Cove and visiting local areas. She is so glad some of her memories were captured on film (particularly her tween years). Kylie reflects on why it is important to keep taking photos of your kids.
It was my birthday, I was in Year 6 and was turning 12 years old. I was ready for my party with some of my closest friends. It was a simple party held down at Berry Island and we played games like pass-the-parcel, pin-the-tail-on-the-donkey and musical statues. Mum even made a chocolate cake with hundreds and thousands on top. The sun was shining (a rare event on my birthday as it always rained). The things I remember about that party are the chocolate cake and that all my family were there. I remember playing on the old fort that used to be there and one of my friends bumping her head and my brother having to take her home. But I also remember every single friend that was there. Why? Because we took photos.
These photos I am talking about I have just pulled out of my cupboard and spent the morning looking through. I was not flicking through the photos on my phone – I have been holding the photos in my hands. They felt gritty to touch, they smelt a bit musty, and they are a bit faded. But the most important thing to me is that they are there. In my hands.
Fast forward 30 years. Today I own Kylie Dunlop Photography in Lane Cove and I absolutely 110% love what I do. I take photos of people’s families every week so that their memories, can be proudly displayed in their homes and on their family walls. Family members and friends can see their very own captured moments in time when they walk into their homes and pass their family pictures hanging proudly in the hallway.
I do believe though just because our kids are losing teeth, getting taller than us, have got braces, a few pimples or all of a sudden may need to shave – doesn’t mean that we need to stop taking photos to put on our walls of our most precious things in our worlds – our families. In January just past our family photos were taken – Sam has braces on his teeth, Billy had just lost a tooth and Sophia would not take her dummy out of her mouth. Do you know what the best thing about those photos? They have been taken, the memories have been captured and I am in the photos – even though I wanted to lose 5 kilos! (but Mums being in photos is a whole different Blog post for another day).
In my business, lately, I have noticed two things about our changing world and photography.
- Firstly, a common age we stop taking photos with a Professional Photographer is around the time our kids start going to school and losing their first teeth. Why do we do this? I am not sure but it is definitely an observation I have made over the past 8 years I have been in business and obviously something I would like to change.
- Secondly, Tweens and Teenagers love taking “Selfies” for all to see. This is also a common age kids kids start doubting themselves due to peer pressure, social media and their own thoughts. This starts around the age of 10, 11 or 12 (commonly known as Tweens).
What can we do? I think through photographing our kids at all ages (but especially Tweens) in a controlled environment we can show them that they are indeed beautiful and that they are doing just fine.
Tweens are not quite teenagers but they are no longer little kids. Tweens are more worldly and interested in everything around them – fashion, sports and music to name just a few. They are keen to try new things but still need to know that Mum and Dad are watching from a distance. They are finding out who they are – but they are still full of innocence. They are now Seniors in Primary School so feel important for being in charge but maybe a little nervous about High School starting next year or the year after. They love to talk and tell you about what is going on in their world. More than anything else they love to be listened to, encouraged and told that they are beautiful.
Tweens and teenagers in my eyes are not dorky, awkward, full of braces or pimply. They are amazing, unique, ambitious individual ready to take on the world, but they still need a little guidance or hand-holding for the bumps along the way.
So what is one way we can help our Tweens and Teenagers through this changing time? Photograph them with a group of their closest friends together. Just hanging out. We love doing this. We also take individual shots of them so they all feel special and good about themselves. We let them choose where to have their photos taken. Either at the park, down the beach or at Luna Park. We let them be silly or serious. We keep them safe in a controlled environment. We let them choose their clothes. We let them laugh. We let them look at the photos on the back of the camera so they can see just how good they are all looking. We let them feel empowered by believing they are in charge. We celebrate them. Sounds good doesn’t it? Well it is.
Who knows? Perhaps in 30 years time, your kids will be sitting at their kitchen table looking at old printed photos that have survived the test of time. They will remember that very day they had their party to celebrate finishing up at Primary School or their birthday. And they too might remember (like I do of my Year 6 party) every single person who was at that party – because the photos were taken and printed. And how will they know? Because they will be holding those photos right there in their hands.
If you would like to help your teen capture a special time, please contact us for a booking.
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