This week on "The Adventures of a Family Photographer" we get to take a look into what it is like to be a Family and Children's Photographer! When your co-workers are toddlers and elementary school aged children, it means you never know what is going to happen. You have to be able to think on your feet, and when things don't go according to all your careful planning, you have to be able to improvise and keep it FUN! This was just the case during the 'H' Family Photo Shoot.
No Matter how many times I ask this question, the answer remains along the same lines ... "When is the last time you and your husband had a portrait done?" (awkward side glance, pursed lips) "Uummmmm ... At our Wedding ...????" The actual wording might change, but this is pretty accurate for about 90% of my families. Which makes it all the more important to me to make sure I take a few minutes (while the kids run amok) and get some photos of mom and dad, NOT being mom and dad! Years may have passed, appearance may have begun to change, but put Mom and Dad in that first pose and you can see their beginning all over again.
I love love love Birthdays. I have been known to declare myself a birthday week, and sometimes even a birthday month! This makes me extra blessed that I get to share these special days with my mini clients. Planning 1st Birthday sessions are fun for me because I get to be creative with my decor, make special pieces and build sets with my favorite props. For this birthday session with little Hank, I got to see him explore my Favorite Pumpkin patch, Borchard Farms in Salinas.
How Many Photos do you take of your kids in a day?? If you are anything like me, the answer is a TON! Do you have to beg them to sit still? How long does it take you to get them to look at the camera? Do you have a child like I do, that lets you take one photo then turns around and runs away?!? If you answered yes to any of these questions, this blog post is for you!! Check out these Tips!
First, Get down on their level!
Most of us tend to take photos from our 'vantage point.' I am 5'3", not terribly tall, but how boring would it be to have all of my photos taken from 5 feet off the ground. This is especially true if you are taking photos of young children, who are shorter than you. Let's switch things up, and instead of photographing your child looking down at them, Have a Seat! Or take a knee! 2 things happen when you change your view. The first is that you get to see the world from your child's perspective. The trees look huge, and the little things, you never would have noticed, on the ground have a better chance of catching your attention! The second, is that you become more relatable! I use this practice everyday for work. The children I photograph are more open and willing to communicate with me if I put myself in their world. And I can hold their attention longer!
Second, Let them Chatter!
With you, with each other, with a toy, it doesn't matter! Talking about things they like, and things they are good at, or having them tell you stories, is an amazing DISTRACTION! (and as parents we know how handy a distraction can be) This works very well with pre-school aged children. They get so excited to tell you about the bike they are learning to ride, or their favorite princess, that they forget they are in the middle of a photoshoot! When you engage them in something they love or something they are interested in, you will also see more genuine smiles. And boys LOVE to tell me jokes! They can crack themselves up for a solid 10 minutes on fart jokes alone! Use that to your advantage!!
Third, Get out and PLAY!
It is so hard for little ones to sit still! You know this from the Doctor's office, the line at the grocery store, and church! This need to fidget gets even worse when little ones are nervous or anxious. The first thing to remember is to make sure you are calm. Kids will sense your mood and will feed off that energy, so we start with a deep breath. Now, I know you are saying ... "Wait, Sheryl, you have lots of portraits of kids sitting or posed. What's the deal?" I will share with you my magic method. Ready .... Break it up! Let me explain. We start by checking out our environment, when we find a cool spot we stop for a portrait. Then we might see how many smooth stones we can fit into one hand, counting as we go (all the while taking pictures) and once we have saved our favorite rock in our pocket, (yes, I might tell you child that they can take home rocks or a stick, sorry!) I have earned another posed Portrait. Then we see how fast we can run! (toward the camera) and when we have completed a couple rounds of racing, we pause for another posed photo. When you mix in the Portraits with the fun candid shots, they will be much more willing to work with you.
OR ... bring a chicken to your photo shoot!
But if you don't have any chickens handy, maybe these ideas can help you out! And, I would love to hear how these work out for you! Are you ready to get out from behind the camera and Join those precious little ones?! I am ready and happy to help you with that! Request more information here!
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While we sit here in the middle of one of the biggest storms we Californians have seen in many years, I stare out the window and WISH it was already Summer again!! I am a huge fan of warm nights, bare feet, and golden sunsets, just not the 4:30pm ones! So while mother nature does her thing, I thought we should take a look back at the adorable Jensen's playing in the warm weather at the beach!