Anyone that is familiar with my work at all knows one thing…I love to shoot ONE subject.

That’s it.

One. One subject. One child. One Boy.

I have shot my fair share of landscapes…of flowers…of buildings…of babies…of sunsets…of friends and relatives…and I love all of those images. Honestly, I really, really love them. I am delighted to give gifts and to make others happy through images. It continually challenges me and pushes me in different ways, and I am sincerely grateful for that push.

Those images, however, are not where my Creative Heart truly lies; where my Mommy Heart lies. I really and truly love to shoot one subject.

Over the course of my photography journey, I have had so many people ask me legitimate questions, such as: Doesn’t he ever get tired of having his picture taken? How can you come up with new ideas? How do you keep from burning out? What do you do if you are in a rut?

I wish I had one perfect answer for all of those questions, but, unfortunately, I do not. I will, however, share with you a few ideas that have helped both of us along the way.

1. Let go

I have to admit that my son has a lot more energy than I have…a lot more enthusiasm and zest for life…a lot more imagination. Any idea that I would even attempt to envision looks tired and boring compared to his. If you see an image of mine that has energy and imagination—guaranteed it was his idea. For example, my idea was to take a picture of him eating his favorite candy…

photo of boy eating reeses pieces by Jan Tyler

His idea was to throw the candy and make it bounce across the table…

picture of kid throwing candy by Jan Tyler

My idea was for him to hold an orange. His idea was to peel the orange and throw the little pieces of orange peel at my face…

collage of photos of boy with oranges by Jan Tyler

I’m sure you can guess which images have the most energy and capture the most natural expressions, the most authentic smiles, and the most fun and laughter. So, let go. Let your child lead. You may have a bit of a mess to clean up, but it will definitely be worth it…and they will enjoy that time you spent together so much more.

2. Create a series

This is a wonderful way to document events, places, or periods in your child’s life. I have completed several different “chapters” in this great photography project of ours. We have done a series on his favorite candies…

photo of a boy with his favorite candy by Jan Tyler

We have done a series on his favorite food, fruit…

boy who loves fruite by Jan Tyler

child enjoying fruit by Jan Tyler

We have done a toy series…

black and white photos of a boy playing with his toys by Jan Tyler

kid and his favorite toys by Jan Tyler

…and a water series…

water photos by Jan Tyler

Using a series is such a wonderful way to show change over time. What is so important today will be a memory soon enough.

3. Use a new lens

It is so amazing how the exact same type of image can take on an entirely different look with a new lens.  These are both basic portraits. One is taken with a 50mm, the other with a Lensbaby.

portrait of boy with a 50mm lens by Jan Tyler

portrait of boy with a Lensbaby lens by Jan Tyler

Change your vision with a different lens.

4. Say something

Have a message in your work. Use your art to make a change. What would you like to tell others?

boy holding peace sign by Jan Tyler


boy running to the top of a hill with sunflare by Jan Tyler

race to the top…as it should be

boy dressed as a cowboy by Jan Tyler


boy dressing up by Jan Tyler

we are all the same

love yourself by Jan Tyler

love yourself

boy holding heart by Jan Tyler

show your love
…what a wonderful world this would be…

5. Be inspired

Inspiration is everywhere…you just need to look for it. Be inspired by color, music, art, light…

on location photos by Jan Tyler

Be inspired by life…

beautiful photos by Jan Tyler

And when all else fails, ask for a kiss. You are guaranteed to receive a different, wonderful reaction each time!

mother and son photos by Jan Tyler