When I set out to capture children I never know what is going to happen. Sometimes they spend the entire time running away from me (ie toddlers). I've had kids that have woken up from a nap and just aren't in the mood to do this photography thing (and I don't blame them!). I have had every kind of scenario that you can imagine. Boogers, clothes falling off, anger, tears, and lots of laughter.
When Emily (mom) pulled up she was clearly exasperated. The reason I am sharing that she was so upset is to set the stage for the idea that you don't have to be having the perfect day to have your portraits taken. She and the kids had a series of unfortunate events including clothing issues and a fight. She said she almost didn't come. But when you look at these portraits you would never know it.
I asked Emily to go around the corner and just let me hang out with and talk to them alone. We started playing games. I asked them to come play on the tractor in the field with me. To run around. Lucas wanted to pick up his little sister. Even though it might be something a mom usually might not want to let her kids do I let them go for it. They are some of her favorite portraits of them together.
This is not the first time I have asked a parent to hide around the corner or take a walk and let me just hang out with the kids. I think sometimes it's good for everyone since kids often feel the pressure to smile like mom wants them to. Or often there is a lot of direction for what to do from both parents and myself. So much so that the child doesn't know who to listen to. At times like that I tend to whisper something in the ear of the child and ask them to come with me. I tell the parents we have a secret and are going to go surprise them with a portrait that I will show them later. Then I walk the kids just out of earshot. I think it's just a really nice tension reliever. A way to let them know that I see what's happening and I understand they might feel pressured or overwhelmed.
My goal is to make sure your child always has fun during our session. I don't want them to dread having portraits taken. It should be fun! They should get to act like a kid still. Those tend to be the portraits that the people that hire me really want to see. They want to see smiles, but also genuine interactions, real life, sweet moments.
After awhile everyone was having so much fun that we grabbed mom and did a couple portraits with her too. You can see the love.
In dreams - Jen