"Adults are just outdated children." –Dr. Seuss
Yes indeed, sometimes they are. Remember what it was like to be a kid? We all can remember being young. No responsibilities, impressing others was not an issue, we could act silly all day long, and it was cute. This is exactly the feeling and essence I embrace when I am working with kids.
I adore taking photos of kids because they are genuine. They will not hold back any emotion from me and I am able to take photos that completely express their personalities as a little one who does not have a care in the world. In my working space, kids are allowed to be kids. They are encouraged to jump, run, laugh and be as silly as possible. There are a couple reasons for this. One, who doesn’t want to act like this in front of their parents and watch them cringe? Also, I get to photograph their smiles, their curls bouncing and they are being themselves, one hundred percent. They are by far the best photos. They are real, they are unique and you will see something in the child that their parent sees in them every single day, and now, the parent can look at that moment forever.
I usually ask the parents questions about the child before the photo shoot. Some good things to know are: what is their favorite activity? If it is basketball, you better have a ball around! If they like to read books with their parent, why not bring a chair or a blanket to the shoot so they can read while you capture a moment that they will always remember. These little details can really make a child, and their parents feel comfortable.
When you are working with kids, they run the show. When you book the photo shoot make sure you allow enough time for snacks, potty breaks, an occasional meltdown, and most importantly, time to connect with the child and the parent. Let the photo shoot happen naturally. It may take a little while to understand and see the little quirks the child is offering, but you have to let it come to you, be patient, and it will.
So, we are outdated children. I am not ready to accept that, but so often this is true. I cannot tell you how important it is to talk with the parents and let them know what the plan is for the photo shoot. Details of this discussion should include, location, the amount of time they are paying for, and most importantly, (this may be a hard one) that they, for just now, have to let their kids be kids. Treats are encouraged, laughing is required. It can be very frustrating for parents, believe me I know the feeling of wanting to get the perfect shot and two of my kids are beautifully styled and posed while the other one is complaining about her shirt scratching her. It happens. Depending on the age of the child you can ask the parents to stay back a ways from where you and the child are shooting, or the child may want the parent within their eyesight. Leave a moment or two in the beginning of your shoot to feel that energy out. Always encourage the child during the photo shoot, keep them engaged, and let the parents know that their baby is doing a fabulous job.
Kids are so much fun to photograph, absolutely my favorite people to work with. They remind us that everyday can feel like a Friday, you can just be yourself, exploring is a necessity, and sometimes it just feels good to throw your head back and laugh!