I love to photograph young children. They’re challenging subjects to capture well with a camera, but boy are they fun! I’m not a fan of formal, ‘plastic’ posing when it comes to kids, but that’s just my own preference. Kids are naturally free spirits with an amazing energy about them; they just exude life and excitement! Catching that spirit with a camera is my goal, but it isn’t always easy. I prefer to do children’s sessions on location, whether it’s at their home or another familiar place. If they’re comfortable in their surroundings and have some freedom to explore, they hardly notice the strange lady with the big, scary camera and just get on with doing what they do best, being kids.
Let them play! Give them the opportunity to be themsleves and they’ll reward you with some great expressions! Of course this requires more effort on my part and typically means getting down (and often dirty!) to catch them at their level. Anyone who has ever cared for a toddler knows they’re super charged and don’t sit still for more than a few seconds at a time. It can be quite a workout doing a full session with little ones. I’ll run, crawl, roll around, and lie on the ground to photograph them from their perspective. I’ve even been known to wade into a lake to get the just right shot.
Once in a while a child is just so shy, they make every effort to hide from the camera. In a situation like that, I’ll ask mom or dad or even an older sibling to play with them while I step back a bit. It usually doesn’t take long for them to forget about the camera. The key is to be ready to snap away and always expect the unexpected. Those wonderful surprise moments when they discover a cool bug or suddenly peek out from hiding behind a tree are often the best shots!