Last Sunday, I photographed the Dannenfelser family. I have been photographing them from the start of my business and I couldn't be more grateful for their friendship and support. Photographing them is easy because we just have a good time together. I love seeing families return for yearly portraits. I love seeing the children grow and talk to the parents about the ups and downs of parenthood. The relationship that started when so many of you trusted me to capture your moments at the start of my business has continued and I am forever grateful that your return to me year after year.
Photographing Children: Getting the best out of our session
I love working with children. I believe that every bit of who they are has the potential to shine through into my lens. The best part is, I get to be there to push down that button and capture it. It’s true that some kids are more open to being photographed than others. Some need more time to warm up or less interaction from me. Maybe a little walk without saying anything or the chance to swing on the tire swing with out my camera up ready to shoot. While others come running out of the car “cheese” smile ready and are happy skipping from one place to the next during our session.
No matter what kind of child I get during our session, I try to find something in each of them. Something that shines from within. A look that captures their true essence. Where they are right now, in this stage, at this age. It’s not always a smile. Sometimes their mood dictates how they appear outwardly. But I’m okay with that and I’d prefer to capture a child in that way rather than ask them to say “cheese “ knowing the expression they give me will be fake.
I also know that there are certain expectations from parents of their children. Everyone wants that family picture where each family member is smiling and looks great. I want that for my clients too and I’d venture to say, I get it for my clients 99% of the time. I’d also venture to say that I’m very good at reading children. I have a pretty good idea of what they might need from me to get the very best out of the time we have together. Maybe it’s saying nothing, maybe it’s race to with me or their sibling to the top of the hill or maybe it’s a joke or acting silly. Whatever it might be that they need from me, I will do my best to give it to them.
If you’ve had a session with me, you might have noticed some things I direct the kids to do while I’m shooting. Depending on the mood of your child and/or the receptiveness to my camera and me will determine what I ask them to do.
Everything I do has a reason behind it and here are just a few examples.
1. Close your Eyes
I often ask children to close their eyes. Not just to close their eyes but to close them, take a deep breath while keeping them closed, until I say open. It might take us a few times to get it but usually after the third time, you can visibly see the child relax. The shoulders relax, the facial muscles relax and with each breath they become more and more comfortable. Then when I gently say, “open your eyes” they have a soft expression that I quickly capture. I’ll do this when I am working with a child independently. This works on every child from the very shy to the very rambunctious and outgoing!
I might ask your child to JUMP. This does a few things for your child and for me. 1. It’s fun and it’s a great way to break the ice. 2. It gets the child thinking about something other the camera that’s being shoved in their face. 3. It gets that child that either won’t smile or won’t stop with the “cheese” smile to have a true happy expression on their face.
3. Look at your Sister or Brother
If you have multiple children, we will definitely be getting sibling shots. We will most likely start with the siblings on a blanket or sitting on a bench. At this point they will be used to how the session is going and will most likely be ready to get a few pictures so they can move on to the next fun thing! I will start with them looking at me, smiling, etc. Then I will ask them to look at each other, maybe even make a funny face at each other. Most of the time, just them looking at each other will get them giggling and then when you add the funny face, it’s all belly laughs from there! Meanwhile, I’m clicking away capturing it all!
4. Fake Laugh
You might have heard me ask to have you fake laugh. Most people think I’m crazy and that it’s totally ridiculous. But you know what, it works!!! I do this during headshot sessions or portraits with families and older kids. Once I ask you to start your “fake laugh”, I chime in with one (and it’s obnoxious) and before you know it we’re all LAUGHING!
If you are interested in booking a session for your family or for your children, please contact me. I am currently booking my annual forest sessions to be held on Saturday, November 5. These sessions can be holiday themed and are perfect for those holiday cards! To find out more information and to book your session, please visit the sign here:
See you on the other side of my lens!
Hilary's Private Farm Location