Embracing your child’s personality in your photos

Have you ever seen those photos, you know the ones, a child, beautifully backlit, just looking serenely at the camera. Not actually smiling and posed, more like their name had just been called and they’d casually turned to see who was there. Well, I used to love these images. Who wouldn't?!

I figured it didn’t look too hard, so I tried to get a photo like that of my own daughter who was about 4 at the time. I didn’t always want that type of photo of her but sometimes when the light was just right I'd think, oooh this would be a good spot to try and get a nice portrait. Well that’s when I discovered some kids don’t really photograph like this. Sometimes, try as they might, the serene face looking at the camera just doesn’t come naturally. I also discovered that all my tricks wouldn’t work. I tried, “can you see a rainbow in the camera?” (this often resulted in some pretty comical expressions, mostly squinty leaning towards the camera) and finally, “just look at my lens!!!” In the end I just gave up, all it was doing was making her not enjoy having photos taken. I was getting frustrated and that wasn’t what it was meant to be about. So instead I decided to just observe her and take the photos that fit her personality. I found that actually a subject that doesn’t stop moving and who is always jumping off things, splashing in any water they can find and playing is actually a really awesome subject. I started to love the images that showed her personality, movement and fun loving nature.

As she got a little older I was able to capture some of those still portraits but I found they weren’t usually my favourites anyway. I think this is because, as beautiful as they were, they didn't represent her personality. They didn't speak to me. They didn't say anything about her and who she is. And she is pretty freaking awesome!