Daily Archives: August 16, 2010

The Psychology of Your Photography Session

You’ve finally reserved a date with the greatest child photographer in your area and you’ve waited weeks for the date to finally arrive. You’ve shopped for days for those perfectly coordinating outfits for your little munchkins. You’ve carefully protected your children for the last two weeks ensuring that they don’t trip or fall anywhere–lest they have a scraped knee or scratch for their very special photography session. You want everything to go perfectly and now you’re completely…totally…S.T.R.E.S.S.E.D!

You’re fearful that the first thing they’ll do in their new outfits is jump into a mud puddle. You’re worried you’ll be late…or what if it rains?? And as you hear your children engaging in World War III over a sock in the other room, you think, “they’ll never pose for a picture together”.

Relax. Here are a few tips that will help your photography session go smoothly.

1. Tell your children what to expect: I tell all of my clients that my sessions are relaxed and casual. I tell them to tell their children that I’m coming over to play and take pictures and that they can expect to sing silly songs and engage in tickle-fights.

2. Make sure Dad is on-board: If Dad is not looking forward to your photography session (he might be missing a morning of golf with the guys after all) the kids won’t be looking forward to it either. Having everyone’s enthusiasm for your session makes things go much more smoothly.

3. Remember that kids are kids: Child photographers have experience working with all ages of children and many different personalities. They won’t be phased by a minor meltdown or a typical power-struggle. As parents, we all feel a responsibility to make sure our child’s behavior is acceptable. Your photography session is probably not a great time enforce strict discipline on negative behavior, however, it is a great time to encourage and praise good behavior.

4. Take a step back: Allow your photographer to connect and interact with your child and if it’s appropriate, step far enough away that you won’t be a distraction to your child. Kids often feel as though they’re performing for Mom and Dad at a session and this can be stressful to them. When Mom and Dad take a step back, I often see the child’s natural side appear. This makes for wonderful and truly genuine portraits of your children.

5. Prepare: Allay your fears by thinking ahead. Bring along a change of clothes if your worried you child will get dirty. Bring snacks that won’t stain such as water, green grapes, and fruit snacks.

6. Relax and stay positive: If you’re stressed, your children will sense it. For some children, this becomes an opportunity for them to push buttons. If you think there’s no way your children will pose for a photograph together, they probably won’t, but if you remain optimistic and encouraging, it probably will. I’ve found in many cases that subtle direction, like saying “whisper a silly secret to your sister” or “let’s go sit on that bench” goes further than a direct request like “come sit next to your baby brother for a picture”.

Enjoy your photography session and have fun with your family. The results will be evident in the images that grace your walls for years to come!

Working With A Pro Photographer To Capture Baby’s First Year

The first year is such a whirlwind of diapers, feeding, sleeping, and strolling (repeat the above several times per day). All the while, baby is growing and changing from a precious little bundle to a small human learning to crawl, sit and stand on her own. As each day flies by, you don’t want to miss capturing the small moments and big milestones…but what ages should you make sure to capture? Which milestones should you watch for? Just as importantly, when should you bring in a professional photographer to help you document baby’s first years?

That’s right. I said help. Why? Because I think that every family should have a camera that’s as nice as you can afford and one that you know how to work. The point is to make sure you have a camera loaded and ready to go at all times. A professional photographer won’t be there everyday so I’ll give you some ideas on what to capture and when to call in a pro. Got your camera? Great, let’s go.

Welcome Baby

These are the first days of baby’s life and you are overwhelmed with deep emotions. If you haven’t already, hire a professional photographer now, ideally before baby hits 10 days old. Photographing a newborn is not as easy as a pro photographer makes it look. I mean, how many ways do you know to photograph a sleeping newborn while keeping the images interesting and heartwarming? Pro photographers who specialize in babies and newborns have spent countless hours creating images that will tug at your heart using different ways to pose your baby that best show all the soft sweetness of a newborn, capturing the deep emotions running through mom and dad with baby propped in their arms and demonstrating the relationships between mom and baby, dad and baby and mom and dad. Newborn photography is fine art photography and a practiced eye makes all the difference.

In the Hospital

Does this mean you should keep your camera in its bag? Not at all. The moment baby is born, start snapping away (within reason, of course). Here are some ideas:

– mommy staring at her new bundle in the hospital holding baby in her arms,

– baby sleeping in the hospital bassinet (really close up and further away with the hospital sign on the end),

– daddy holding his new bundle,

– kisses from mommy and daddy,

– holding baby’s tiny hands and tiny feet,

– mommy sleeping with baby,

– mommy’s and baby’s and daddy’s wrist bands and,

– the newly grown family (don’t be afraid to ask the nursing staff to take this one).

Coming Home

You’re home now and exhausted. When you do have a lucid moment, keep some of these ideas for photos in mind (you still have your camera ready and loaded, yes?):

– a photo of baby in your favorite baby outfit or in outfits from your family and friends – snap a photo and include it in their thank you card,

– a photo of baby surrounded by his/her new stuffed animals,

– baby’s nursery – capture all the details including the changing table, the cribs, the mobile, the rocking chair and anything else you find extra special,

– baby sleeping with mommy and/or daddy nose-to-nose,

– mommy nursing baby,

– baby bottles filled with milk,

– the stacks of diapers next to the changing table,

– baby in her car seat and stroller,

– baby with grandparents, aunts, uncles, friends.

These are just some photos that will bring back memories of those first few weeks and months with baby – wonderful images to keep in your scrapbooks.

Milestones and Moments

Baby just raised her head and pushed up on her arms – this is a milestone you don’t want to miss documenting. If you aren’t already in a First Year baby plan with a professional photographer whose work you love, now is the time to start. Not only has baby gained strength in her neck and arms, she is gaining significant weight. A professional photographer will not only catch the milestone but those pudgy baby rolls that explicitly define her adorable baby-ness as well. Baby is probably somewhere between 2 ½ to 4 months old at this point.

Now that baby can push up on her arms and lift her head, her world has just expanded. Some ideas for photos:

– baby’s big happy smiles,

– baby reaching for the animals on her mobile,

– baby capturing and chewing on her favorite toy,

– baby looking over daddy’s shoulder,

– baby reaching for mommy while making funny faces.

The next time you’ll want to have baby photographed by a professional? When he is sitting on his own and/or crawling. This usually occurs some time between 7 to 9 months old. This is another major milestone you’ll want to have documented professionally. But until then, don’t forget these ideas to photograph as baby learns to sit up on his own:

– put your camera on rapid fire and capture a series of photos as baby attempts to sit up but will often just roll over at first,

– baby in ready position on his hands and knees,

– baby’s frustration and triumph written on his face,

– baby banging on her baby drums,

– daddy playing peek-a-boo with baby,

– baby holding his own bottle,

– mommy showing baby how to clap,

– daddy reading to baby (and baby “reading” to daddy),

– mommy singing a lullaby as she rocks baby to sleep.

And now for the big one – standing and cruising or walking. And yea, make sure you have an appointment with your pro photographer to capture this momentous occasion usually around 11 to 13 months old. Until then, here are a few more shots to keep in mind:

– baby is quite good (and pretty fast) at crawling. Get on your hands and knees and snap photos of baby crawling right up to you,

– baby is climbing, so capture a series of photos of her climbing up onto the couch from start to finish. Don’t forget to come in really close to get her expressions of concentration and eventual triumph,

– baby with favorite large stuffed animal,

– blow bubbles and snap photos of her as she tries to catch them,

– big bear hugs from mommy and daddy as baby takes his first steps.