Photography Geek. If that term existed in the dictionary, you’d see a photo of me next to it.
I get a rush when there is something different about a shoot — be it a new location, a different style of photography, a new piece of equipment, a new prop or a different kind of subject. But what happens when it is a shoot that is somewhat familiar?
I’d say 75-85% of my client shoots are lifestyle shoots of families and kids. Of those, most have kids under 6. (If you’re curious, the other 15-25% of my shoots are events, like parties and weddings, and corporate photography.)
Yesterday afternoon’s East Bay lifestyle photography was of a family who had two kids, ages 2 and 4. So how did I approach this session?
With an open mind and “new eyes”.
Just like every person is different and every family is unique, I strive to capture a gallery-worth of images that show the personalities of my subjects and the uniqueness of the group. I may give suggestions on what to do, if they run out of ideas, or tell them what areas will look nice in photos (this is mostly based on the light). Outside of that, I am capturing their interactions and reactions. That’s what make the photos meaningful to people. It’s not just about capturing “a pretty picture”.
Photography Tip: Go into every photoshoot with “new eyes”, whether there are familiar aspects of the shoot or not. Challenge yourself by not repeating anything you’ve done before. And don’t treat anything as “ordinary”. Sometimes they are the mundane activities or the small details that create fantastic images!
Monkey, Elmo, Balloons and Bugs
A typical way to shoot people skipping rocks is taking it straight on. I did that too, but then decided to just focus on the reflection.
For extra fun, I flipped the image upside-down.
There’s something really cool about seeing kids’ expressions when they are doing everyday activities. Sometimes they give insight into their stage in life or how they are feeling.
In this case, 2-year old Olivia was drinking out of a water bottle that her mom held. The calmness in her eyes as she drank exemplifies her comfort and trust in her mom.
The Little Things
I absolutely adore seeing how kids enjoy the little things, like when they find a colorful Fall leaf fascinating or throwing a rock exciting.
For Olivia and Christian, it was this TINY up and down slope. They ran up and down for what seemed to be a hundred times, and every time, they were smiling and sometimes even squealing with joy!
I especially like this image because it shows how Christian is older (and faster) than his sister, so he is way ahead of her.
Couple Shoot Challenge
I found out Gabrielle and Leonard didn’t have a successful engagement shoot (by a different photographer, I swear), so I saw that as an exciting challenge! The only caveat was we had roughly 10 minutes without the kids, so there wasn’t much time to find the perfect location or set up my couple to be in the right mindset.
This is a matter of opinion, but I don’t think a Couple Shoot needs to be overly romantic. Not every shot needs to be of the couple lip-locking or the man kissing the woman’s neck, which I’ve seen done over and over again that it makes me cringe because most of the time, the couple looks awkward doing it. (To the Wedding Photographers who do this at every wedding and engagement shoot, I am sorry. This is just my opinion. As long as your clients are happy, then go for it.)
In my opinion, I think the couple should do what they feel is natural. Maybe that’s just sitting quietly together or even playing a silly game. Showing affection can be something subtle, like the way they lean into each other or the simple act of holding hands.