Does it ever take your breath away how quickly your kids are growing and changing? It’s just amazing to see them turning into little people right before my eyes. Both exciting and a little heartbreaking. I’ll admit that I’m a bit obsessed with photographing my kids often so I can look back and remember them as they were. I do that mostly through a 52 week lifestyle project where I take pictures of them doing our normal day to day things. But every so often I like to have more of a formal portrait. It’s been a while since I attempted one with my 3 year old so I packed up my stuff, M&M’s for bribery, and hoped for the best.
I live in the middle of a sprawling metropolis so nature type locations are tricky to find. I often work with a very small area and hope to give the illusion of a pretty outdoor location. This particular spot is one I’ve eyed for a while. It’s very near my house and is part of a soccer field behind a school. It’s one of the rare places around here that isn’t fenced off and the entire back wall is covered in gorgeous ivy. I thought it would make such a lovely and simple background for a fall shot.
We went out at about 4 pm, an hour before sunset. I put the baby in a stroller, packed a few props and one outfit change, along with my camera and marched across the grass. I tend to get a lot of stares when I shoot, especially when my kids act like I’m torturing them by asking them to hold something, or stand still.
There is a joke among photographer’s that they can’t photograph their own children. I’m sure most mothers can relate to that, not just photographers. My ornery child is no exception. I tried so hard to get her to stand on my cheapie picnic basket but she refused. I tried bribery, then a stern voice, and finally what got her to slightly cooperate was peanuts, of all things!
I’ve learned that if you don’t get the shot in the first 10 minutes, it’s probably not going to happen. Little kids especially just don’t have the patience. And if you get all worked up and they get all worked up, I can guarantee you aren’t going to get any images you want to frame. Sometimes it’s just best to simply give up and try again tomorrow. Luckily the peanuts worked! She sat still for a whole of 3 minutes and then was off and running. But I got the shot I was after! Then as the gorgeous sunlight fell I chased her around doing my typical lifestyle thing. I love when children are being themselves. It takes practice but all of my favorite shots were candid moments.
I’m glad I got these picture for another reason also. A few days later she cut her own hair and it looks awful!
Sheesh….3 year olds……