In any children’s portraiture or family photography session, my aim is to produce a range of images for parents, from individual portraits to family groups and interactions between family members. But I also aim to create a mix of types of images too and within that different aspects of your child’s personality at this particular juncture in their childhood. The headshot or head-and-shoulder portrait is always part of this mix where sometimes your child will be engaging with me and sometimes not but where I aim to give very little if any direction at all.
Here are two portraits of Maddie taken in very different locations that demonstrate this hands-off approach. One was shot early in the morning on Hampstead Heath, the other back at home at the family’s house in Highgate.
When children are set free into wide open spaces, particularly beautiful natural ones like Hampstead’s wonderful Heath, the first thing they are pretty much guaranteed to do is to start running. The energy and delight that is unleashed is a joy to witness and I love to capture lots of action shots and play for the family records. Equally, over a morning’s session, there are quieter moments I will capture, as in the first photograph here where Maddie has run out of steam and paused after a game of hide-and-seek to get her breath back. She had been running around with her brother and spotted me quite a distance away and ran to me, stopping at the gate, flinging one arm down in front of it, and the other across her face. A completely natural, spontaneous and uninhibited moment.
The second image here was shot back at home with Maddie lying on her bed and is an example of how an ability to capture very relaxed portraits where a child is aware of you and the camera, is almost 99% dependent on your ability to engage them in something else completely unrelated – in this case a deep discussion about writing stories, one of Maddie’s favourite things to do.
On a purely aesthetic level I love the composition of these two images: the shapes and framing that Maddie’s hands have created, but I also love the way that in both pictures her physical stance and the expression in her eyes are working perfectly together to get across this little girl’s free-spirited, carefree and confident personality.
If you’d like some relaxed and natural professional photographs taken of your children or the family this Summer, please get in touch. I’d love to hear from you.
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