Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Making of a Portrait

I get asked occasionally what the most difficult thing is to photograph. Without a doubt, the hardest thing to photograph is my own children! As I do every year, I took Christmas portraits to go on our family Christmas card. Through this experience, I decided that it was time to publicly admit that my adorable children are NOT perfect angels when it comes time for photos. Yes, they could be worse and yes we even had some fun but making a portrait of my own children is rarely as simple as sitting them down and asking them to smile. It honestly is exhausting. :)

So, why am I publicly admitting that my children have photographer's child syndrome? (This is what those of us in the field like to call it.) I'm showing you my "blooper" photos to hopefully make you smile but I'm also showing you that sometimes to get a good portrait, you have to relax and just go with the flow. This year, I met tons of wonderful families and photographed lots of little bitty kids. I saw all kinds of parenting styles from mellow to apathetic to almost freaking out. I try to reassure parents that when their young children are not initially wanting to cooperate, that this is a normal part of the portrait process. Often times, I think that they really don't believe me. :)

So, I would like you to meet my children and see what I am used to dealing with when I get out the camera. Please believe me when I say, "Don't worry about what your children are doing. It is very normal. Let me work with them for a little bit and let's see what happens." They may start out shy like my daughter or wild and crazy like my son. But, give me enough time and we will get that one picture that every parent wants. :)

My son, who is very sweet and very smart, loves to have the attention of a photo session but really CANNOT sit still. If I only showed you this photo, you'd never believe me. :)

My daughter is a little quiet and usually looks at the camera very skeptically like she has never seen a camera before. She takes a little time to warm up but usually comes around. Once she warms up completely, she has more trouble sitting still than her brother. She still looks a little shy in this photo but I love it because this is her. :)

I have lots of little tricks that I use to make kids smile. Most of them no longer work on my children because they have seen them a few too many times. So, what do I do to get them to cooperate? It's somewhat simple. I just make sure that I am having fun. I don't put pressure on them to be perfect, to sit perfect and to smile perfect. I want them to be themselves and to have a good time. The mood that I set for them makes the portrait what it is.

It took a little time to get the photos that I wanted for the card but in the end, I always win. This is our family holiday card for this year. (Thank you, Ron, for snapping the family photo.)

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!

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