Now what I am about to talk about is getting sorted out little by little in the real world through a new thing called “Lifestyle sessions”, and thank goodness! Ok, maybe is not so new to some, but it definitely is really new to most people.
Remember the old school way to go and get your picture taken as a kid??? I know I remember mine, and thank goodness I left those particular photos back home in Guatemala so I don’t have to hurt your eyes with them! But hey, I will throw you one of my great great grandmother when she was 14 years old just for the heck of it!
Yep this is her, and I know that she wouldn’t be too proud of me showing her like this. Let’s just say this is a bad photo of her!
Ok or how about the school photos parents drool over not exactly because it’s great quality photo, but because its subject isn’t other than their little ray of sun shine!? Well that brings me to the next victim on the wall of shame… my beloved husband (I was sneaky enough to leave all of my embarrassing photos back in Guat-town!)
Here it is, none other than one of my in law’s rays of sunshine!
Isn’t he a cutie! But the photo itself is not amazing, he is amazing but the photo is meh! But I bet when my in laws saw it they thought it was the greatest photo!
The problem with these photos, is that they set a standard in portraiture for some people. I’ve noticed with some clients they kind of expect and want a very traditional posed photo, which is ok but I tend to go for the more candid real thing. This is specially true with younger kids, ugh! Some little ones are really good at sitting or standing and smiling when you ask them too, but let’s be real most kids hate that!!! Some kids even get angry when you start “pushing” them to pose. And then once they start feeling pushed it all goes down the drain and the parents feel either:
2. Upset that they’re spending pretty penny and their kids are not behaving
3. Frustrated that they won’t get the “perfect” photo
So what IS the perfect photo anyway? Well it depends on your expectations. I don’t know about you, but I know that the coolest most endearing photos of my family, my husband, my son and even mine are those where we are being ourselves. Photos where we feel so comfortable that we can feel free to be silly and enjoy the company of those around us without feeling stiff or awkward. Real smiles, real emotions, real beauty! And this is the purpose of “Lifestyle photography”! I am a wedding photographer in Tucson, but I have done my share of portrait sessions that are Lifestyle either at the client’s house (this location is great for really young kiddos) or at a park. The sessions usually go really well and the kids always end up breaking out of their shell and then I get some great photos. That is my thing, the real thing. Sadly, sometimes the parents start showing their frustration and try to get their kids to sit straight and pose for the perfect photo. Sure, those photos are cute because your kid is the subject! But I’m telling you, the photos are even better when you look at a picture and you can be taken back to that day and remember not the crying and the near epilepsy tantrums before/during/or after the photo, but the real fun they had while that specific photo was taken.
Check the photo to the right for example. This little guy was really not into posing for the camera, and that’s ok. I always try to reassure the parents that it is ok, and that they’ll get some beautiful photos. That we need to let the kids be and do their thing. I will never forget the day, and only day, when I took my son to a very well known store with a “photo studio”. I was basically dragged by my SILs who wanted some studio photos of all the grandkids as a Christmas present for my PIL. Well needless to say the photos were mediocre and well I’ll leave it there 🙂 The kids cried, fussed, screamed, tried to run away each at different times. It was horrible, I felt a level of anxiety I had never felt before lol. My son wasn’t smiling and for some reason is like a foot an a half away from the other cousins lol. Bad experience! So why put your children into this traumatic situation?
Lifestyle sessions give you a great chance of actually having fun as a family and getting some awesome real nice photos! Your lifestyle photographer was the experience to connect best with your little ones and let them be who they really are which is the most important thing to remember! Perhaps these are not the traditional for some people, but let me tell you these kids actually enjoyed the session! The moments when they broke down and cry were the moments when we tried to do the conventional “do this, do that”.
Please know that if your child starts fussing during a session it usually means he/she is not having fun! You will not get the best of the time and money you are spending and most likely the time you and the photog spend trying to have them do something in specific is just cutting off the time in which your kids could actually be enjoying themselves and in return you getting some awesome photos!
I highly recommend that if you know of any Lifestyle photographers in you area you give them I try. Check out their work and compare prices, and please always go for the photog whose portfolio provokes some time of emotion in your heart. Like I said I do 90% weddings, but I have seen some amazing Lifestyle photographers who specialize in children and family portraits all over the country!
So the whole purpose of this post is that you know that if you really want to get the best out of your portrait session, you need to relax and trust your photographer. If you relax, you’re kids will feel comfortable enough around this new dude or chick with a camera. If you trust them, your child will trust them. IF you let them be who they really are, yes, their goofy silly selves, you will definitely get the most out of your session. These sessions are totally worth the time, money and effort you put into so give it a try. I know the big name store studios offer some pretty deceiving deals, but be brave to break out of your own shell. The shell that our parents built with the portraits they raised us doing because that is all they knew. I know my mom meant the best when she took me to those types of cheesy studios, but really… yuk! lol.
I promise you that everybody will be better off if you just smile and join your kiddos in the fun. Kids will be kids and they’re bound to react against feeling restricted so like I said, smile and relax!
So what is that 1 thing you need to know? You cannot expect your kids to behave a certain way if aren’t all comfortable as a family. Children hate to disappoint their parents! They really do want to please you, however their primary concern is to have fun and that should be your main focus as well. I promise it’ll be worth it! Strive to remember real moments, not the stressful posed ones! ♥♥
Note: If you absolutely want the typical staged posed photos, ask your preferred photographer about mini sessions available, those are usually the best for kiddos who are a bit active.