» Family Photographer Mary Schannen serving Dallas Texas and surrounding areas.

Ice Cream Time

Life is so important to document.  From the big events to the small little moments.  Children grow up so fast.  The little things that make them unique as a child, their childhood behaviors, their appearance,  their emotions – all will change.


Lifestyle photography is my favorite.  Just documenting moments – as is.  Creating storytelling images in a way that is artistic and compelling.  That would be a major difference between a ‘snapshot’ of a moment and a ‘photograph’.


Often as I’m shooting – the subject will stop what they are doing, look at me and ‘smile’.   That’s fine every now and then, but my intent is to capture the candid, real moments.  I’m usually telling the subjects to pretend I’m not there.  Of course these kids needed no such instruction being that I’m their mom (and ‘2nd mom’ to the other two as they call me).   One thing about shooting kids vs. adults, they don’t judge and they are usually a little more comfortable being themselves when the camera is shooting.   Many people do not understand – why is this photographer shooting these  kids eating ice cream in a diner, or their messy playroom with their pj’s on, or playing on their devices?   Just tell the story.   That’s what kids do.


My son and two of his friends.  We just went to ‘Jumpstreet’, a place that’s name describes it perfectly.  Lots of trampoline type jumping, tumbling for kids – they are pretty worn out.  The idea of getting ice cream afterwards is of course to them a GREAT idea – (ice cream for most kids is of course a GREAT idea at ANY time).  I used this 10 minute ‘moment’ to document the experience through photographs.


I knew I wanted to photograph this ‘event’  so I placed the kids at a table where I wanted them – good light,  a place where I could move around them to get different angles,  not too cluttered, a ‘prettier’ table vs. the rest of the diner.  Now, if the diner was crowded, I would not have been able to snag this table, and honestly – I may not have taken so many images of the ‘one’ event.  You do have to do a bit of ‘staging’ as part of the process sometimes.  I moved items off the table that were not necessary – Ice Cream cones can be pretty messy, so a napkin at least was a must.    These images are certainly not the best, but that’s  not the point.   The idea is to tell the story via imagery , document the now.


Notice the angles, pull backs, close ups, shallow dof , focusing on the details – ice cream around the mouths, ice cream dripping from the cones, the intent expressions , concentration on the ‘best’ way to eat the ice cream (at least that’s how my son does it- ha), the fun, the little girl’s earrings, glasses – All elements of storytelling photography to keep in mind while shooting.  And then the processing after to add that photographer’s touch.  (I don’t use actions and am certainly willing to share any of my editing process if anyone was interested.)


I’m posting my thought process behind these images.


Overview front shot – show the whole story.




Intense stare at ice cream – side angle




Different angles, details, little girl’s earring, ice cream dripping on little boy’s hand – quiet kids, quiet times, enjoying ….




Another pull back – different angle




Notice the ice cream on his mouth – another intense stare, carefully working on that cone.




Happy Girl /quiet girl – from different angles-





Little girl looking down – Ray Ban peeping through her back lit hair, quiet, simple, Just part of the story.







Here is a straight out of camera shot – As you can see, I ‘softened’ the colors and a little less contrast in my editing – the diner was not the prettiest, and the kids were dressed in colors that I would not normally recommend for a ‘photo shoot’, so I played a little with the individual colors.   My son LOVES orange but the camera does not love orange, so I ‘soften’ it a little.   The little girl’s clothing was made a bit more pastel – (or girly).   I try to keep skin tones as natural as possible – but I have no problem isolating the colors in an image to make it more pleasing to the eye.   I like playing with ice cream colors, the colors of her nail polish, walls, everything except skin.  I didn’t go overboard with changing too much in this shoot – just ‘softened’.   Processing is such an important element that separates a ‘snap shot’ from a ‘photograph’.

And – of course – when in doubt with colors or light – BW conversion is your best friend.  🙂  For the pull backs – all the colors were too busy for my taste, so a BW conversion certainly helped with that.







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