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.