Hellllooo. Heeeeeelllloo. Helllllllooooo. Yes, I’m still here! If you follow me on Instagram, you’ll see I’m still kicking and shooting. I haven’t shared on the blog in a while, but this Virginia mini session has me thinking about the importance of play. Let me share my thoughts– which includes advice about capturing kids!
First, I am NOT a playful person by nature. My oldest daughter is 9, and it’s taken me YEARS to learn to play. I’m a great player now, but when my daughter was young, she would want to play make believe, and I was awkward and uncomfortable…. when I would give in to play at all.
Balance this awkwardness with my life’s biggest wish. When I’m 80, I don’t care about cars or houses or statuses. When I’m 80, I want a house full of giggles. Not chuckles, smirks, or laughter. I want giggles.
So, I’ve worked on play. I’m fairly serious and no where in the realm of funny. I often find sarcasm rude or at least in bad taste. So, I had to figure out what works for me…. and, what I found helped me out as a photographer.
First, my nature loves the quiet, skeptical and watchful nature of children when we first meet. I think many people immediately try to get kids to smile, and it’s the wrong move. First, this is the perfect time to get a photo of everyone looking at the camera. The child will watch you like a hawk and be still.
Secondly, giving the child time to warm up to you and come to you is much more comfortable for everyone. We’ve had to wrangle our kids who try to run or hide from too aggressive photographers.
Not smiling is okay!
Slowly, children warm up. I like to bring activities to foster warmth. My go-to suggestions are noisy toys (great way to get kids to look at you), books, songs, and bubbles.
Anyone who’s been at a wedding with kids and me knows my go-to “bee” game. I make a buzzing noise, circle my arm, and the bee “bites” me causing a huge scene of me being hurt. Kids. Love. It. I don’t know what it is about slap-slick humor and kids, but they love to see you get hurt!
I also love to have parents play with kids- tickling, throwing up in the air, chasing, etc.
So, if you’re trying to get into or develop your family photography, I highly recommend snapping the more stoic photo right at the beginning of your session. Then, allow the child to warm up to you. Finally, seek out the giggles. Children’s giggles are fleeting and the most glorious sound in the world.
I have a few mini sessions open this Sunday and next Sunday. If you want to grab one, check out this link for all the information.