“Oh you must have SO many amazing pictures of your kids!” Many photographer cringe when people tell us that…and most of us will answer, “ummm, some??” To be honest, not many. Why not?
Reasons photographers don’t photograph their own children
10. Mom is SO not funny. This is a fact. Your kids will laugh their ass off at something idiotic their friends say…but heaven forbid mom crack a joke…they ain’t gonna laugh. They’ve seen that squeaky chicken 4 million times, and it’s lost its luster.
9. I consider taking pictures work. It’s my job…and when I don’t have a session scheduled, the camera rarely comes out. Sad, but true! Ironically, the majority of my kids pictures can all be found at the beginning of a clients memory card (stand here while mommy tests the light). I used to be so good at documenting their every-day lives…I need to get back to that NOW!
8. I have a lot of patience…trust me, when working with children, it’s kind of a job requirement. However, patience is not necessarily a virtue I extend to my own brood. I sometimes only take 3 pictures before I’m ready to scream my head off at one of them. A clients child can call me every name in the book and spit in my face, and I will STILL put a smile (although forced) on my face and continue on. Meanwhile, when one of my three kids so much as gives me an eye roll, I’m ready to throw down some punches.
7. I don’t have a good theme or idea for a session. This is something I used to struggle with…I felt I had to have something spectacular set up (a unique background and a crap load of props) in order to photograph my own kids. Not sure if this is my own issue, or if all photographers feel the need to ‘WOW’ everyone with their creative genius…
6. Double duty…you are now the photographer AND the parent, and doing both (especially with multiple children), can be tricky. In the past, I’ve dragged my husband out to ‘assist me’…but more often than not, he’s worse than the kids. A few months back I told him to stand behind me and help get the kids to laugh…he proceeded to tickle my butt with a stick. Mommy was not amused. A few minutes later the kiddos were getting restless, and I turned around to ask Kor if he could help me out…and found him texting his buddy. Gee, thanks dear.
Tips for photographer who want to shoot their kids (pun intended).
5. Be spontanious. I had my kids home with me all day on a rainy saturday. Around 3:30pm, the clouds parted and the sun came out…overcome with giddiness at the pretty light, and guilt over never taking their portrait…I raced up to their closets and started pulling together outfits that A) matched and B) were not already in the dirty clothes pile (only one pair of jeans came from the dirty pile, promise!) Now, getting them away from the wii game and into these outfits was another story…Point being…us photographers are SO lucky to be able to pull together a photo shoot whenever the mood strikes. If you see beautiful evening light, or notice that your crabby toddler is in a great mood~pounce on it! How awesome that we don’t have to wait until our ‘scheduled session time’ to capture these moments!
4. Proper use of the 2 big motivators: Bribery and Fear. For this session I used the Target $1 aisle as my bribe. I used the “I’m going to call daddy and tell him you’re being naughty” as the fear (daddy doesn’t mess around…and they know it).
3. For a normal session (with kids who don’t know me well), I am usually able to get all the nice ‘posed’ portraits in the beginning (while they’re still interested in me and my entertainment), then I let the clients play around and capture the ‘fun stuff’ afterward. However, I find for my own monsters, I need to do the ADD method (I don’t know if I’m allowed to coin that phrase…but if so, I call dibs). The ADD method involves jumping from one thing to the next, moving to new locations, swapping out group shots for individual, playing little games, then another attempt at a posed shot, etc. Basically, just keep moving…at a frantic speed.
2. Don’t let your kids see the back of your camera screen. It makes everything take that much longer, and my newly minted ADD method will not work. Instead, tell them at the beginning that they get to see everything on the big computer as soon as you get home. I rarely offer to show anyone (clients or my kids) the back of my camera…maybe it goes back to my film days when it wasn’t an option…or maybe I’m just mean.
1. Flattery will get you everywhere. When we work with clients, we are constantly reassuring them that they are doing a good job…and that they look beautiful. I always forget to do this with my own kids. I need to remind myself to amp up the compliments…thinking them in my head doesn’t help anyone! When I start telling them how awesome they are and what a great job they’re doing, I can see their eyes light up with confidence. Case in point: I clearly remember telling my middle son Riley, “dang kid, when did your teeth get so big?”. What I should have said, “Wow, Riley, your smile is perfect, I love it!”. Pretend these kids are strangers, and that you didn’t spend years wiping their bottoms…trust me, it works!
My crew: Lucy is 10, Riley is 7 and Brady is 4~the look I was going for was ‘tree farm’…but I was too unorganized to drive all the way to an actual tree farm, so we snuck onto our neighbors property (pretty sure they’re cool with it?) for this first set of images. Also~I was feeling a weird editing vibe during these, and used Florabella’s ‘pandora’ action on most of these shots.
Riley was the hardest to photograph this time around…I struggle with him!
“seriously mom, are you done yet?”
That was the end of my ‘tree farm’ extravaganza. At the time I didn’t feel like I got anything amazing….looking at it again with mommy goggles on, I do love them! HOWEVER…sometimes fate intervenes. And sometimes fate comes in the form of one beautiful Channing Tatum. As I mentioned earlier, Korey was out of town last weekend, so I had a date with Mr. Magic Mike. I accidentally reserved my Redbox in the next town over (does anyone else do that? I’m always screwing up my reservations). I was irritated that I had to drive out of my way…but in my valiant effort to watch my boyfriend in action, I drove past an old white barn door. I slammed on the breaks and made the kids get out again. Thanks Chan-chan, for your divine intervention…and your amazing dance skills…no one can rock an umbrella like you.
Of course, there were plenty of shenanigans happening…which I know the kids (and myself) will look back on and smile.
I told them to hog-pile (don’t judge, I was running out of ideas, and steam)!
These last 2 are totally blurry, but I still like em!