I'm often asked how I manage to capture images of children that look natural, relaxed and altogether calm. Parents are often terrified that their little darlings will behave like, well children, in front of the camera. The funny thing is children, just like grown ups, tend to act a little silly in front of the camera, suddenly being asked to act natural is the hardest thing in the world! They can't remember how to smile or what their face does when they aren't thinking about it! It's very amusing yet at the same time perhaps a little frustrating. Every child today knows that a camera takes pictures, and whats more they know they can instantly see the picture. I have lost count of how many times I've had to stop and show a playback. I certainly don't take it too seriously, you can't when your working with children, you have to play the game and make them feel as relaxed as possible so they eventually give you that 'look' your after.
Now my two little gems have certainly had a fair amount of time in front of my camera. They have cameras of their own and are no stranger to taking hundreds of snap shot (thank goodness for the digital age). But they too have days when they make me work for the perfect shot. Without a doubt it's the 'lets have one together' shot that causes the most problems. Here is one such attempt from last summer, I promised I would post this glimps into what actually happens in front of my camera. In the end I opted for the top middle image, but the real magic of this image is in the shots that proceeded and followed it.
The entire experience has its value. One image on its own, taken out of context can come to mean and represent something very different from the reality of the situation it was taken in. Some of the worlds more famous photographs have taught us that, but perhaps there is a little 'truth' for us all when we look at the bigger picture. As a photographer I'm after that 'one shot', but as a mother I want to remember the experience, the way my children interact with each other, the way their personalities play out through these images.
Photographing children is twofold and the key, like with all good photography, is in knowing who your audience is. These shots won't make it into my portfolio but they will make it onto the walls of my home!