Oh the pains of being my relative… All my 3-year old niece wanted to do was go visit Aunt Kim at her “Stu’yo” and hug & kiss her way right to the lollypops… she had her plan all figured out! Little did she know that her mom had different plans. The cute dress, the fun tights… she should have seen it coming! Well, she had fun jumping and dancing around under the studio lights, and we got a ton of great photos of her, but occasionally she would remember that the photo shoot was a deviation from her sugary plan, and the pouts would come out! I have to say though, it doesn’t take a smile to make a great photo… this was one of my favorites!
Don't worry, she left with a lollypop in each hand!
I love photographing kids! People ask me how I can do it all day, every day, but I love it! Kids are unpredictable, funny, expressive, and just fun… what’s not to enjoy about capturing all of that?!? Over the five years I’ve been a child photographer in Cleveland and DC, I’ve developed a style that seems to work for me, the kids, and the parents. For me, photographing kids, especially toddlers, is as much about my interactions with the kids, as it is about my photographic technique… After all, if the kid doesn’t like me, he/she is not going to relax and let their guard down enough to enable me to capture portraits that truly represent who they are. That’s my goal… to produce a photograph that captures the essence of the subject. If he is serious, then let’s see that. If she’s a performer, I want to show that… Pensive, thoughtful, sweet, coy, mischievous, goofy… whatever the personality is, I want to show it! So how do I go about doing that…?
First of all, I want the kids to not feel intimidated by the large camera I’m holding. I want them to be interacting with me during our photo session. I begin by allowing them to warm up to me, and getting to know them. Are they shy? Do they like peek-a-boo? Will they start crying if I make a scary face? Once I get a feel for what makes them tick, we can start taking the pictures. If we’re in the studio, I need to work with them to keep them where the lights will reach… Playing games, distracting them, sometimes (often) making a fool of myself!! When we’re outside for a natural light, on-location session, the photo shoot has a whole different feel. This is my favorite type of shoot for toddlers because they can go where they want! I follow them wherever they go, and they feel free to explore, climb, play and have fun. Outside, we can get the most variety and the most natural expressions in the portraits, and often with the least amount of hesitation from the kids. The at-home photo session is another great option for toddlers– they are most comfortable in their own environment, and often have so much fun showing off all of their toys, blankies, and favorite places.
Wherever we take the pictures, one thing always stays the same… that is my approach. I always want to make sure the kids have fun. Having photos taken should not be like going to the dentist for a kid! They should have a great experience so they’re excited next year when it’s time for their anual portraits. I work to become their friend. To learn about who they are. I litterally get down on their level (mentally and physically). Doing this not only yields better images, but allows the kids to feel comfortable, which to me makes all the difference.
Toddlers are so much fun!
For the fourth year, I got the treat of spending an afternoon taking outdoor family photos with Mr. R and Miss E (and their parents, of course)! These kids are definitely some of my favorite people around! They are so cute, and so sweet– and always excited to play and take pictures! Taking advantage of the extraordinary beauty of the autumn leaves, we explored areas of Chagrin were every turn provided a new picturesque backdrop! You just need to watch out for Mr. Water Snake, right guys?!?
So much fun playing in the leaves!
Miss E treated me to an original song she composed for me. I think it should be #1!!!
August was a great month– filled with weddings, lots of pregnancy and newborn sessions, and tons of family photos, both in the studio and outdoors with natural light! Here is a slideshow featuring a little bit of every photo session from August 2009. Can’t wait to see what September brings…!