One perk to being friends with a photographer is you could at any time find yourself subject to a random session, “just because.” I really adore my friends youngest- she’s got such a kind free and pure spirit. We knew we’d have to work on her terms because she’s after all two years old, and will self destruct at any moment in time. Know whats hard to bounce back from? A stage 5 toddler melt down. You know, when the kid goes limp, lays there, thrashes, and snot comes out of every hole in their head?
I am a Family and Children’s photographer and I know deep in my heart, below all this camera gear, that I can produce images of this small Tasmanian devil, but feelings of worry, fear, uncertainty are completely natural and normal given the subjects!
It was a chilly Phoenix, AZ morning, and we made-do with the harsh 7:30am light we had available in some high grass with minimal shade. I picked the time, and the place. I wanted to see what I could do with the light. Baby girl – she was having an off morning; I mean any toddler would if they were cold and just woke up. I just tried my best to make friends with her. When she showed signs of boredom, we tried to consume her attention with something else. Above left is the result of momma playing “peek!” on a bridge. Baby girl sure enjoyed those laughs. You can see her eye squinting our of happiness mid belly laugh. I may be unique in this, but i absolutely love her fly-away hairs and how they capture the morning light. It must a mom thing: Seeing a child so esthetically “unperfected” yet appear in my mom-goggle eyes as “adorable as hell.”
And I’m not sure why, but just capturing the childlike essence and unaltered soft nature of a child not looking at the camera is something to capture. The young features, the features that say, “i’m still your baby momma,” they’re all so overlooked when we are in the hustle and bustle of the day to day. We let her pick up rocks and as she peered down i’d snap some of her lashes We let her play with the reeds around her, and dig with sticks! Never be afraid of getting your fingers dirty when it comes to the little ones.
And then of course, there’s always snuggles with the one who can create the comfort; who can make the strange lady with the camera go away. a good zoomed in shot, a shot over mom or dads shoulder — those always bring out genuine feelings in the child’s eyes and body language.
When shooting with toddlers: be scared (but don’t show it!!) It will help you think on your feet, always changing and checking your settings, sweating your face off while asking if they can find you a new rock, or stick, or whatever – while squatting in high grass in the morning sun. you’ll get a work out, and you’ll probably leave with a confident session turn out.
I have to admit, I took a chance with the light. Its why some are in black in white. I really was battling some green casts. But with that said, I leave you this:
“If you’re not scared then you’re not taking a chance. If you’re not taking a chance then what the hell are you doing anyway?”
Hay have you heard? I’m moving to Oceanside, CA in July and I’m already looking forward to sessions out there! Get in touch with me to schedule your family portraits this fall season!