I should know better…..
I got caught up in that cute hat and broke my rules when photographing children.
Rule #1. Ask permission
I didn’t ask my son’s permission to take his picture, which I almost always do when photographing other people’s children, and I haven’t yet had one child say no. I just thought I would go ahead and get my backdrop ready and he would LOVE to have his picture taken in his new hat, what four and a half year old child wouldn’t? Well, this is what it looks like when you don’t ask permission, and he still allows you to take ONE picture!Rule #2. Never say “Say Cheese” or “Smile”.
When a child is relaxed and having fun, that is when you will be able to capture the best images. I knew my time was limited, and it slipped. I asked him to “smile”. And while the image is ok, I know the smile is not natural, and is not reflective of his true personality. He was trying his best to humor me and get it over with.
Still not quite happy with the images, I scrambled to find something he would be more interested in. Scooter to the rescue!
He thought it especially funny to try and run over my toes.But it didn’t last long……And suddenly he remembered that he said only ONE picture!Rule #3. Get them off their own turf.
I have had much more success photographing children in my home studio versus their own home. At my studio they don’t have the comfort of running to their room, or going downstairs to play with their favorite toy. They may be a little uncomfortable at first, but I usually get their full attention and we have a great time. This session was on his turf, and while this not a happy face, this is one of my son’s “looks”, and one of my favorite images from our session. There is a certain Frank Sinatra feel to it although I don’t quite hear him singing “My Way”.Nearing the end of our session we got talking about something he likes (a silly character named Pingu), and he relaxed and started to open up a little.
1. I will always ask permission to take someone’s picture, regardless of age or relation. It is the right thing to do.
2. I promise never (wow that’s a long time) to say “Say Cheese” or “Smile” again. The results are almost never (there’s that word again) what you want them to be.
3. While not always conducive, I will try to capture images of my own family in relatively unfamiliar territory. This can be as simple as the backyard, playground, and anywhere other than my studio.
As for the hat, I have not given up and will try again soon, with permission. ;)