April 10, 2014
“Say cheese.”…”Look at the camera.”…”Put your dress down.”…”Sit like this.”…
As a photographer of littles, I’ve heard all of these….heck, as a mother of four, I’ve even said a few of these. It’s not a bad thing, it’s a natural thing. For us. It seems to be our reflex as parents to have a photograph that says “Look, we’re a happy family.” hanging on our wall…and I agree, that’s a beautiful thing. However, there is one thing that I have learned as a Mom and as a Photographer; Smiles can be fake. Smiles can give the “appearance” of happiness, when in reality, all that child wants to be doing is twirling in her dress, squeezing their Mom’s neck (aka “hugging”), running, or a number of other things. Happiness is NOT sitting still in one place until that lady with the thing in her face that’s looking at me says I can move…who is she, anyway?? ha! For myself, I know that I was trained early on by the studio photographers *cough*Olan Mills*cough* to sit still, say cheese, and stand juuuust so… until instructed otherwise. They were definitely portraiture pioneers, but yaaaaawn. Let’s just say that our annual visit wasn’t a fun & memorable experience.
That’s what it’s all about. It’s about the experience. Through that experience of everyone having a fun time, living life, and enjoying the moments is where you find the little treasures of genuine smiles, joyful laughter, and glances of adoration. Finding a photographer that fits your style is important, but even if they have you fill out their questionnaire, be sure to chat with them on the phone or meet them for coffee before your session, as finding a photographer that fits your personality is just as important. It’s important to choose a photographer who is professional and who cherishes their clients, but also able to let their hair down and truly bring out the best in your session.
As photographers are the key component in having the ability to bring out the best in you and your family, parents obviously play an important role regarding the way their children perceive the photo session. It’s helpful when parents have prepped their children by letting them know how much fun it will be and that there will be someone there to hang out with them and take their pictures, too. I found it helpful, as a mom, to let me children know that I had already talked with the person and that he/she is really nice and fun. This makes the photographer less of a stranger and more as someone who they trust. Trust is a big one for me…as much as I love chatting with the parents, creating a connection with the littles (and not so littles) is vital. For the littles, I get down to their level and introduce myself. I make sure they know I’m someone who is here to have fun with them, not to dictate to them. Children are active. I have yet to meet a still child. In fact, when my children are “still”, I know it’s time to check their temperature. Oh, and if you happen to know a “still” child, and especially if he/she belongs to you, please refrain from letting me know….as it’s not nice to brag. 😉 Your photographer should be able to find treasures in the in-between moments. When going from one portrait pose to the next, allowing the children to play and be goofy is a beautiful thing…finding that photographer who is able to find the joy in those moments and to capture a few frames of them, is golden.
So, when you’re looking for a photographer and are trying to sift through all the options (yes, there are a lot out there), keep in mind that although it’s important to find a photographer that suits your style, it’s just as important to find one that suits your personality…because after all, there are no “still” kids, and the real beauty is in the in-between moments! Oh, and yes, I realize you may have that one child who will NOT go with the flow no mater what….and for that I just have one thing to say, “I am not above bribery.”
Just a few “in-between” moments turned timeless treasures:
A huge “Thank You” to all the families who I have had the pleasure of capturing all your in-between moments. Your trust means the world to me! xx~Cat