Kids Will Be Kids
For many years, I was a first grade teacher. For everything I despised about teaching (assessment and state accountability mostly), there was an overpowering feeling that gave fuel to my soul. I loved seeing lightbulbs go off in six-year-old heads. I adored getting hugs from crying kids after their problems had been solved. I relished when kids got cheeky and stubborn.
As a family photographer in Tokyo, I get to enjoy the same qualities of children that I grew to love in the classroom. Much of the experience I gained in education is transferable to photography, especially when it comes to family photography.
Photographing families with little ones is not easy. You have an incredibly small time frame to capture as many shots as possible before the kiddos get cranky and your shoot goes seemingly south. Parents and photographers alike know that this wee window of photographic opportunity could be last anywhere from five to fifty minutes.
But, just because kids are getting cheeky and stubborn doesn't mean that you have to pack up your kit bag and send your subjects back to the house to soothe their wounds with juice boxes and animal crackers.
My Advice To Photographers
After a time of capturing those classic family portraits, stretch it. Don't scurry away because of a bit of whining. If a kid wonders out of frame, pan over and snap them with the flower that has stolen their attention. Is the kid pouting or taking the mick? Ask them to step forward and allow them to become the center of attention for a moment. Is the kid exhausted and laying in the grass? The composition gods have just given you a stunner not to be missed.
When kids get cranky, your shoot isn't over. The opportunity has not been lost. In fact, the odds of getting that framable shot have just gone through the roof. Allowing children to bugger off after some time of artificial posing will not only yield some excellent shots for a photographer, it will give the children the chance to be themselves. Capturing those moments, the times that families are relaxed and relating to the world the way they desire, is not only essential to a family shoot, it is capturing the true essence of the family.
Thank you Cabalunas for a wonderful portrait session! You are an awesome family.
Award winning photographer based in Tokyo, Japan. Specializing in portrait photography, he shoots a variety of portrait, editorial, and event and commercial photography assignments. Andy is a husband, father, and lover of fried food.