04 Jun How To Prepare An Age Appropriate Childhood Session!
One of my favourite memories from childhood was twirling around on a windy day and pretending to fly. I would shut my eyes and float. It felt so real. It was my special secret power that no one knew about but me. We all have memories that feel like they take us back in time. This is why photography is so powerful, it holds on to time for us and allows us to visit back whenever we’d like. Childhood sessions have grown to be one of my favourite styles of photography. It’s a time when it’s ok to be playful, imaginative and fancy-free.
When I have the opportunity to photograph a childhood session I always do a little research first. I chat with parents beforehand and discuss the session. Firstly, I find out the ages of the children I’ll be photographing; boy or girl and if they have any specific interests like gymnastics, dance or superheroes. I keep a note on my iPhone so I can refer back to it during the session. For example, Jamie does karate : can you show me a few karate moves? It usually helps kids feel more at ease and have a bit of fun. I’ll take a few photographs and show them the back of the camera. They usually have a good laugh at themselves and I make sure to photograph that too! During the session, I chat with the kids while walking between locations and if they’re really shy, I can always mention some of their favourite things or something they’re really good at to help them feel confident.
It’s great to know their interests because I have collected an array of props over the years for childhood sessions. It helps me plan the session and bring along age appropriate props. This session in particular, I asked if Emma had anything she was really interested in. She absolutely loves princesses, reading her books and has many, many stuffed animals. This was some great insight into what props I should bring to the session. It’s amazing how clients, of all ages, will relax when you introduce a prop into the photo shoot. It’s almost like they feel the attention is no longer focused on them. I knew that if I brought a few pretty details to this session they would be in the right ballpark for the shoot. I usually bring a fairly large bag of hats, blankets, and accessories. I always shoot a few of my set ups and ask the kids if they’d like to dig through the bag and find anything that they think might look cool. This makes them feel like they are a part of the creative process, and they are! They really enjoy seeing their ideas come to life. I also ask them if there are a few poses they’d like to try that I haven’t done already. It’s surprising how much fun that can be!
As far as wardrobe goes, I leave that up to the parents. I recommend choosing outfits that are not matching but complimentary. I love bright bold colours, hats, mixing patterns, boots and bare feet. I also send parents a few links to stylish children’s stores to inspire the look.