How sweet are these brothers? They are two of four! I have a feeling these two have a lifetime of memories ahead. Big brother was so proud to be with his little brother. And then he just looked at me and made these images happen. I’d say, he’s a natural. Not a “normal” two-year old session, that’s for sure.
Still catching up on sessions from last fall/early winter. These ADORABLE sisters were my last outdoor session for the year. We got an “almost” warm day in December to squeeze a downtown St. Charles session in.
Sometimes kids just show up ready to make the perfect images with you. This is SO RARE! But this adorable little girl did just that. These images of her sitting down were the first photos of the session. She just sat there and looked right at me and posed all on her own. This again is NOT NORMAL. Most kids need lots of encouragement and I use all my tricks to get great images. Even then, it’s not always as successful as you might want it to be. This is why I take LOTS of pictures. ((Even my own kids are not amazing at photo shoots, just so you know.))
Big sister was not as thrilled that day to have her picture taken. We bribed, played games, you name it. She just wasn’t feeling it. When all my tricks fail I back off. This can be tricky because your client might feel like you aren’t engaging or solving the problem of the situation. In reality, I feel like the child needs a break from being the center of attention, so I pretend I am busy doing other things (or taking pictures of someone else) and let the difficult child do their thing. With the equipment I have, I am able to stay far off and still get photos of the child who thinks I’m not paying attention them. Does this make sense? Basically I “sneak” pictures. In the spread below, she was walking down the sidewalk with some attitude. I also just focused in on her cute boots. I even got her being naughty and going around the corner to get away from us.
Finally, don’t be afraid to get a photo without a “smile”. My style and aim is to capture “personality” over a posed smile when it comes to children and families. This is something you have to work hard at overcoming if you are used to “say cheese”. I also like to take crying photos, because, well babies cry a lot. It’s real.
What are your biggest challenges photographing children? -Resa
I have been playing with photography for years. My parents always had a camera around, and they now have thousands of photos. As a child I loved looking through my parents photo albums. There were some standard photos of people smiling, but there seemed to be a lot of “real life” photos. People singing, cooking, cleaning, playing, sleeping… Those are the ones that always kept my attention.
As a family photographer, I try to do this with my clients. It’s sometimes difficult in such a short time period, to capture a story of a family. This sweet family is always so much fun to photograph. They have so much love between them, and now with a new sister, even more joy.
The better you know a client, and the more comfortable they feel with you, the easier it might be to get the emotion you want out of a session. With this family, we had worked together before and were very comfortable together. I did bring along some props that I thought would engage the children.
When they arrived at the location I was all set up and ready for them. After we met in the parking lot and adjusted some clothing, we got right to it, playing! Sometimes parents are concerned the children are “messing things up” but I try to assure them it’s fine. I let them explore the toys and props and actually try to get some shots right away.
Here’s what I share with my clients: (I wrote this with some tips from another photographer, whom I can’t remember, sorry I can’t give you proper credit.)
Some things to note about your session:
- I’ll start by introducing myself to everyone and getting to know the participants a little better. This will help everyone get comfortable, and I’ll get a feel for each person’s personality a little bit.
- I keep things relaxed. Sometimes kids need some time to warm up. So I’ll just go with the flow and we’ll start with whomever is the most ready. (That said, often the best photos are taken towards the middle of the session when every one is relaxed and warmed up.)
- I’ll take A LOT of pictures (the benefit of digital photography).
- If you have small kids, it’s a good idea to bring a non-messy snack, and/or favorite soothing item. There tends to be a lot of moving and pausing during photo shoots.
- Small kids are usually not used to being the constant center of attention for such a focused period of time. It’s a good idea to arrive well rested and fed, and know they may be tired or cranky when the shoot is over.
- Don’t worry about cranky kids, crying babies, spit up, etc. I do this a lot. It comes with the territory. No need to apologize.
- My photography style, which you hopefully already know, captures people in a natural state. I’m not a portrait photographer, although we will do some posing. Feel free to be yourselves, and relax. Everyone doesn’t need to smile or be looking the same way all the time.
- You don’t have to be the director! I’ll take charge of the shoot, so you can sit back and enjoy your time in the spot light.
- I’ll be watching what happens in the lens, so please be sure you keep an eye on your children.
- If you want any special props in the photos feel free to bring them along.
- If there are any specific poses you want (or know you don’t want) please let me know. You can send me links to images, or just describe them to me. I’ll do my best to accommodate you.
- The screen on camera’s is not the best view of your photos, so I won’t be using it to show you the images I capture. I will do my best to send you 1 or 2 images in the week following your shoot as a sneak peek if you would like.
- No gum chewing please.
- With the exception of shirtless kids, or naked babies, I will not shoot anyone dressed (or undressed) inappropriately.
I began professionally photographing clients over five years ago. What started out as a nearly life long hobby, turned professional the day the first client paid for my service. (Or maybe the second or fifth client?) Since then I have had the privilege of quite a few return clients year after year. I am so grateful for them and the friends they have referred to me.
My tip for getting return clients?
Clients are attracted not only to the photos they receive, but also the experience they have with you when they are in front of the lens.
1: BE YOURSELF & BE RELAXED
It’s easy to get caught up in the technical aspects of photography, because there are A LOT of them. The more familiar and practiced you are with your camera and photography in general, the less consuming this part can be. My shoots go downhill (sometimes fast) if I am having equipment or technical problems. So try to nail those out before your paying sessions start. Posing also proves challenging for may new photographers. My advice is to have a game plan. When I started I even wrote it down. I had a list of shots I wanted to get (or the client wanted) in the order I wanted to get them. Sometimes you have to get creative depending on setting or people issues, but this will really help you feel like you have a handle on the session.
Let your personality shine. If you are very reserved, this might be more challenging for you and you might need to dig deep. Sometimes I have to jump around. Sometimes just being silly with little kids will help them warm up. With all children (who can speak) I spend a lot of time asking questions. I also do my best to explain to them when we are doing so they are not so freaked out in front of the camera. For older kids this usually helps take the performance pressure off of them.
2: MAKE THE EXPERIENCE ENJOYABLE
Being prepared with a plan for your session will really help with this. Be sure you have scoped out your location in advance and have a plan on where you want to stage your photos. If it’s a public place, I always check the city website to see if there will be any events happening at the time of our session.
When I look at photos of my own family, I don’t just see what’s printed on the paper, I remember the experience. I remember the mood, the weather, the smells, the laughter (and the sometimes fighting). So what I’m really seeing is the whole experience. Your clients do the same thing when they look at the photos you deliver. If they had a good time, felt cared for, had fun, etc.. those feels come back when they see their images. I’m always reminded of this when a client falls in love with an image that didn’t stand out to me. Instantly I realize they are having an emotional connection to that image. A connection I may or may not even understand.
This was the third year in a row I have photographed this family (others here and here). The first year a few of the boys were not so interested in having their photo taken. They were skeptical of me and what was going to happen. This year I am excited to share, even the most unwilling participant smiled and even talked to me! Yay! Patience and time are the best methods for clients like that I think. I anticipate next year’s photo experience being even better.
I had so much fun with these three girls during our session in a beautiful St. Louis park. No only were they super photogenic, they were so much fun to play with.
It’s truly such a privilege to photography families.
(Check out the sneak peek photos from this session here.)
How adorable are these three sisters. Since my house is full of boys, it was such a joy to spend time with a troop of girls. We met at one of my favorite St. Louis parks and even had a visit from a deer who must have wanted her picture taken too. More photo images, and tips on posing sisters coming soon.
A few months ago I got to create these images of two adorable siblings. Sister was not so thrilled with having her photos taken, but we got a few without too many tears. Big Brother was a trooper and totally great in front of the camera.
Taken in the client’s home using natural window light.
How to utilize natural light indoors during cold weather: 1- find the brightest set of windows in the house. (windows act as a great diffuser as long as the light is blasting through) 2- play with the position of your subject. In these photos, i had the clients perpendicular to the windows and I mainly kept my back towards the light source. Because of this, one side of their faces is a little darker than the other. If you don’t like that, turn the subject more straight on with the window.
I love this video tutorial from Photography Concentrate on how to use window light: