Unbridled Authenticity | child portraits
I just love photographing children! Well of course I do, since that is what I specialize in. No, I mean I really looooove photographing children! I don't think you understand the amount of joy it brings me. There is no way anyone could spend time with babies or children and not have fun. Ok, maybe that is not exactly true. How about this? If it is your intention to hang out with children, it's difficult not to have fun. Better? I have a child, several nieces and nephews, so I do understand. But my job is to hang out with babies and children and it is absolutely awesome for me!
One of my favorite things is the way that children can be so oblivious to you and what you're doing. No matter what's going on, they will always be themselves. They won't pretend to be anyone else. So whatever they say or do, you know that they are telling you or showing you the truth. The best thing is their truth does not come with any malice or ill-will. My son used to make observations all of the time and had those observations come from an adult, they would have been downright insulting. Sometimes the filter is good to have, but other times you have to wonder...would communication be better if people actually said what they meant? Just a thought.
Anyway, throughout my years as a child photographer, I have gotten a chance to photograph children being children. I try not to restrict the really little ones. Besides depending on their age, they are usually not that great with following directions. The best thing is to just try to keep them occupied and capture them just being themselves. Sometimes you will get some surprising images. Take this one for instance.
I'm not exactly sure what set this off, but she started screaming as she walked through the water. Don't worry, she wasn't angry or anything. I think she was just excited. Often times when little people get really excited they scream because they may be lacking the vocabulary to truly express their excitement. This reaction was priceless and makes me laugh when I view this image. The image below, she is actually sending me a kiss. Yes, it is a dramatic kiss, but a kiss none the less. I just love how she totally went for it and was not shy in the least, nor was she worried about looking silly.
This image is a great example of being able to tell when children are unsure and uncomfortable. His mom wanted him on the rock next to the frog, but he wasn't too sure or too happy about it. It was hilarious to see his expression and the stiffness of his arms. He sat just like that until his mom picked him up off the rock. To me, his face say "I am so not liking it up here and don't know what to do. Please get me down...now."
Here, he was just being playful with a leaf. During the entire session, he'd be serious for a bit, then he might break a smile, then get serious again. I knew he wasn't totally comfortable with me and that's fine. Because I understood his body language I never got too close to him. I always play with the children from a distance and if they want to come closer, then I let them. I try not to go to them first because I want the to trust me and allow me to work without getting upset and needing their parent to rescue them from the stranger. So far I haven't had any children run away screaming or constantly clinging to their parent's leg, so that's a good thing.
This little girl right here is a character. She was in the zone when I was photographing her. Just check out the expression on her face. She was totally giving face while posing with reindeer antlers on. I don't know about you, but I thought she made that whole look work.
This is just a small sample of some of the genuineness that I get from the children I photograph They usually have me cracking up before it's all over. And the thing about it is that I never really know what I'm going to get during a session. Each child is different. They are little people, some with rather large personalities. I capture those personalities so that those memories will live on. Don't you want me to capture those memories for you?
Keywords: child photography, children, children's photography, family, fun, melanin, photography, portraits
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