Who can relate to this: My son does cute things all the time - silly faces, cute yoga positions, the most beautiful smiles and expressions, but whenever I get the camera or phone to capture one of this moments - It's gone! He knows exactly what I am trying to do and will make my life really hard if I try to push him into doing it again.
If you relate, I guess you are left wondering "how on earth am I going to capture some beautiful natural photographs of them?"
Well, kids come to this world with a simple task: "Let's say NO to anything and everything my parents want too much" and it's our job to accept it and play along. Well, easy said then done and I'm definitely not a specialist in the education subject, but I'm a photographer (and a mother) with plenty of experience photographing children of all ages and I'm here to show you some tricks while showing you a full session with a toddler of almost 3 year old I photographed this week.
FIRST THINGS FIRST
You should prepare in advance and save at least 2 hours for this activity/task/challenge however you want to call it. But if you want to register some beautiful moments yourself, you will need to be patient to get them.
Like everything in your life with your child, photographing should be fun and a play moment. Do not get too serious about it or they will find it boring, or get shy and scared, or just will want to make your life difficult. So whatever it takes, just play with them. Get into their universe, use the things/activities they like to do in your favour and be "camera ready".
We know our little ones better than anyone. And we also know all the cute things they do and what triggers them into do it. For exemple this little girl loves ballet and she is learning it. So we went to her ballet world, put some music on and her mom and I started to dance and ask her to teach us the right movements. She would then just jump, throw herself on the sofa and floor - nothing we asked for. So instead of insisting, I started to do the same things with her. She found it hilarious and eventually she would do some ballet poses and I was ready to shoot. It takes a while and a lot of effort, but when we get that moment, it is priceless. BE PATIENT and wait for the moment to come naturally.
In this image, I positioned her on the top of the dining table (a fun and interesting place to be, so she got interested) and her mum just played peekaboo. Silly and simple things they do all the time, but cute, meaningful and natural moment to capture.
Having someone to help you distracting and playing with them is much better. And of course, understanding a little bit of light, angles and composition, to position the kids and yourself in the right place will make the whole difference in your photo. I'll make a new post about it very soon :)
A photo session (either with a professional photographer on your own with your kids), should be a quality time together. A moment for you to enjoy your little one and have fun with them. Take the most of it and be present in the moment. Do not stress too much. Do not do it thinking you need to take good pictures. Do it with love and be open to whatever comes out of it. The pictures will show the truth in the moment. Full of emotion :)
DO NOT BE AFRAID OF THE MESS
Yes, eventually it will become messy. But where is the fun otherwise? So be prepare to let it go. It will take about an hour tidying up, but a whole life to treasure these moments and memories you are creating together.
In order to be creative, we need to let go of fear of looking silly or worrying about mess, and most importantly: we need to access our inner child. We all have one - we've been there. Think: what would make your child to have fun? What "craziness" would be fun to do with your child?
Following the shooting with this little princess, her mum told me they love cooking and paint together. So we took advantage of this and created a VERY fun afternoon for her, saying "Nina: you can paint this whole area in white, you can and should get dirty, its all fine! let's have fun." So she did: (before you panic, It's all washable paint!)
We did the same with baking. We gave her the ingredients - flour and cocoa (some chocolates for her to eat during the process just to make it even more interesting), and we were talking and interacting to her all the time. I asked her what would possibly happen if she blew the flour for example. So she did. It became messy but totally worth it:
I can only imagine Nina looking to those images when she gets older. Knowing her childhood was full of love, fun and happiness.
I always encourage parents to be present in the pictures too, so it will be even more precious for the kids to treasure them in the future. But just knowing they were doing all of this fun things with their parents, should be enough to make them proud and happy of the childhood they had.
Are you registering moments like this?
Remember, a professional photographer will be able to tell your family or child's story adding colours, angles, light to emphasise the emotion of the moment, capturing that beautiful and true moment and transforming into art.
But you should choose a photographer that has a style that speaks to you and most importantly, that will respect your personalities. So if you ever decide to hire a professional, make sure you have seen their portfolio and have chat enough with them to understand their views and style of work.
If you have any questions about how to get the most of your photo session or anything else I can help you capturing meaningful moments of your family, please leave in the comments below or get in touch on my website, email or instagram :) I love chatting!