Just looking at the beautiful little boy above, you would never dream he had a very rough start. In fact, he was two months old before he was able to come home to be with his family. And I had the privilege earlier this week of helping document some of his awesome preciousness!
Seeing little Joel so strong and healthy just made me happy all over! I had been one of thousands of friends and even strangers who were praying for his complete recovery, for him to be able to come home. I myself was the recipient of that kind of outpouring of love and prayer just a few years ago and know how his family has been blessed by every act and word of encouragement.
You may know that I am not, nor do I plan to be, a baby photographer! The only baby "prop" I have is a white furry rug! These photos were taken just to provide his mom with some special photos before he gets much bigger! But what I learned is, regardless of the subject's age or the session location, most photography challenges remain the same!
We photographers definitely want good light! Since I am primarily an outdoor, natural light photographer, I was not equipped with extra lighting gear for an indoor session. I would be shooting manual and was hoping I would be able to find sufficient light sources without using artificial lighting. Fortunately, this home had wide windows allowing lots of softly diffused outdoor light to enter our setting. If you are a parent trying to get better photos of your children, consider letting them play in front of open doorways or non-covered windows where there is light but not harsh, direct sunlight. Get down on their level (let them remain stationary while you move around to find the best light) and take a few pictures (without flash!). Try to get the catchlights in their eyes. Some of my favorite pictures of my grandkids have been just inside my front door.
And, of course, any photographer wants to make the clients feel comfortable! Baby Joel (picture #4) let me know when he had had enough!! We knew he needed his mommy for a while before he could join us in getting more pictures! I've experienced the same thing with non-baby subjects! No, they don't cry, but they do communicate through body language that they would rather be doing something else! Many adults are uncomfortable having their photo taken--in fact, I have always been one of those people myself. If you are planning a family session, there is likely one person in your family who dreads the thought of pictures! I can certainly remember some very "unpleasant" Madison family beach pictures due to someone not acting very positive (without identifying specific people)!
Taking pictures can be fun, even for dads or teenaged sons! I like to think of the photography session as a time to get to know my clients and help them feel relaxed. If our priority is on connections and natural interactions and having a good time, rather than on looking perfect, we will likely be pleasantly surprised with the results: beautiful smiles, laughter, obvious joy. So, if you are planning a family session, emphasize the FUN you are going to have instead of making family members feel like they're going to a modeling session!