I'm not one to brag or anything, but my two little nieces are way cuter than yours. In between Kyler (4) having the sweetest round face and Finley's (3) piercing blue eyes, I just can't help myself to photograph every moment I have with them. If you haven't noticed yet, their pictures are everywhere on this site, and because this is my site and I can do what I want, here are some more.
So, when I received a text from my Sister-in-law asking if I could take pictures of Kyler for her upcoming 5th birthday party invitations, I immediately replied "YES" followed by an infinite amount of exclamation points.
I was so excited. I had everything planned out. The location, the types of images I wanted to get, which poses I would have Kyler do, and which lenses I would use. I even read up on Pinterest and other photography blogs on how to successfully capture children portraits. I thought it would be cute to incorporate balloons into the shoot and I knew exactly how I wanted Kyler to handle them. I was more ready for this session than anything I ever photographed before. However,There was one major over site that I completely missed, small children are just f*cking unpredictable.
On the day of the shoot, Kyler wanted to do everything else except sit in one spot and smile for a camera. She wanted to run with the balloons trailing behind her, spin around in circles, and jump around as she sang her favorite songs from Moana. I was expecting to take cute up close portraits so I was ready with a high F Stop (f/1.8) and a relatively low shutter speed. Thrown off my game, I just started snapping pictures rather than taking a second to adjust my settings to fit the situation. This made the majority of the images to come out blurry and out of focus. Luckily, once in a while she would stand still just enough for me to capture that adorable smile.
Her flighty nature to not listen to my requests was beginning to cause me to stress and, evidently, cause Kyler to tired out and not want to be outside and do anything photo related. Her Mother and I could sense we were on the verge of a meltdown if we didn't get some food into that tiny body. To be honest, I was craving a beverage of the alcoholic sorts myself. So ,we decided to break for lunch and take the girls to one of our favorite food places. While at lunch, I instinctively fell back into my normal routine of candidly photographing the girls as they naturally play ed and goofed off.
I began to get images that I instantly loved. It wasn't until I threw aside all of the expectations that I had to capture the perfect picture. It, unfairly,put this pressure on Kyler to be the best. Once I had stopped caring all of that stress between us deteriorated. We were now free to just be Aunt and Niece and go about business as usual. I let go and was then able to capture some wonderful natural images of a playful and charming soon to be 5 year old.
So, the lesson I learned is children are not always going to do exactly what you want, and that's ok. This will allow you to be creative in how you get the images you wish to capture. You have to be ready to think on your feet and be willing to be flexible. Be ready to have fun because if you are having a good time they will pick up on that and you will get natural smiles and joyful expressions. Let them be kids!