Oct 16, 2008

Playtime: Child and Mom photo shoot

This darling three-year-old boy and his mom wanted some pictures together and some portraits for the little guy's fourth birthday coming up soon! We decided to stay close to home and got some fabulous pictures just 5 minutes from their home on the Alpharetta Greenway and the little park by the YMCA. I had such a hard time picking which photos to post, they turned out so well! I love the ones of the little guy on the slide: the depth of field is great, the color is beautiful, and the expression is priceless. But I'm also really charmed by the last image. (Jeans look so good in black and white.) His mom told him to "Hug your Thomas!" (He's a big Thomas the Tank Engine fan.) Snap! snap! we got it.

There's a trick to getting a young child to smile for the camera, especially after the novelty of picture-taking has worn off (which in the case of most children is about 5 minutes into the shoot). Here are some of my tried-and-true methods. First of all, know the child's name. I make sure to memorize all of my clients' and models' names before the shoot. Second, explain to adults and other children there that it is your job to make the child smile, not theirs. When I do posed shots, I have to tell parents and siblings not to look down at the baby (or toddler) when I am trying to get their attention. It's so hard for them not to look, but it really works. If you are doing portraits of a child alone, you can ask the parent to help you catch the child's attention, but they need to stand directly behind the camera so that the child's eyes are directed towards the lens. Also, choose a location that has play equipment or something the child can explore while you are shooting. Bring a toy, a rattle, puppet, or other attention-getter to wave in front of the child or let him or her play with while you shoot. Play peek-a-boo. Make funny faces, sounds, and expressions. And most of all, have fun! Children love to play, so make the photo shoot a playtime and you'll have the same problem I do: too many cute pictures to choose from!

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