Summer Children's Sessions

July 13, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

Summer family portrait season is in full swing now. The beach is king for family and children's sessions, but I make house calls too, and shoot lots of other places too. I’ve been having fun and coming away with some great pix lately, but it’s not always as smooth as the pictures look.

Portraits of little ones around two years are perhaps the most challenging sessions. Make no mistake, it’s hard work for everyone, not just the photographer. Sometimes parents are stressed- how will the kids behave? They have high expectations, and sometimes preconceived ideas on what's going to happen, and what the session will be like. Kids have the hardest job- they just want to have fun and can bore easily. You might think you're in control, but the reality is the kids will have their own ideas about when they'd like to smile, and if they're going to sit still. Speed is key, and remembering you can’t change a two year olds mind in most cases. You’ve just got to let them be kids.

I try not to control the situation too much. Take measure of what the kids are feeling like, and try to work kids slowly into some pictures. We’re going to get some great stuff- they just might not be what you expected, or may not happen right away. Improvisation is going to be a big part of the photo session.

Case in point: I once arrived at a family shoot where the father wanted the background to be his 150 year old apple tree orchard, at just after midday in late spring. Surveying the gnarled, leafless trees, I suggested a few with a shady greener backdrop with a tumbled down stone wall in addition to the orchard. Guess which one made the wall portrait?

Here are a few points for making things stress free on your next session: 

Leave lots of time. You may not need it, but don't schedule anything right after or before the pictures. You'll need time to relax for your pictures.

Dress comfortably. You dressed junior in a stiff starched shirt with a bowtie? Don't be surprised if that tie is gone in the first thirty seconds of the session.

Kids are like partly cloudy weather. Smiley faces can appear or disappear quickly. Don't worry, just breathe and wait for the sun to poke through again.

Expect the unexpected! Sessions with kids are a journey of discovery- what you get may not be as planned, but it's always a unique glimpse of a moment in time- one you'll always remember with the pictures.


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