All About the Boys | Halifax Nova Scotia Children’s Photographer

My husband calls me the Mac of photographers.  This isn’t because I’m so high tech, but because I’m all about simplicity in my pictures.  While I do occasionally have stylized photo shoots or make use of a well-placed prop, for everyday sessions I prefer keeping things simple.  I like to keep my studio portraits clean and uncomplicated for a couple of reasons.  First, I believe that it makes the photograph a little more timeless.  If my backdrops are plain, then one isn’t as likely to think, “Oh yeah – that’s when every one wanted barnboard for backdrops.”  The other reason is that there are no distractions to take away from my subjects and their personalities.  Take the boys in these pictures for example:  The pictures are all about them and their expressions.  While they’re handsome enough to look great no matter what, the simple background really helps them shine.

brothers formal portrait

pre-teen boy halifax nova scotia photographer

tween boy posing ideas

little boy blue halifax NS photographer

all boy

happy kids sitting together

brotherly love web

These boys were fantastic to photograph.  They settled right in, gave me lots to work with, and got along beautifully.  In fact, I had so many great pictures of them that I had a hard time picking just the ones I did.  Their faces and expressions pop in these pictures, and the pictures are all about them.

 

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How to Hopefully Take Great Pictures of Your Own Kids | Halifax Nova Scotia Children’s Photographer

Although I love candid pictures of my kids, sometimes I want a picture that’s a little more formal for the wall or hand out to grandparents.  However, that’s not always easy to do. Often, people think that when you’re a photographer, taking great pictures of your own kids comes naturally. This may give me a bit of an edge because I do it more often, but sometimes, being a photographer just makes taking pictures of your own kids worse.  See, I can be a perfectionist when it comes to posed pictures. I know what I’m after, and it’s very frustrating when I feel like my boys aren’t making it happen.  When I’m taking pictures of someone else’s children I can almost always get a nice, natural smile or expression, but if I so much as whisper “Picture Day” to my own, their memories of past experiences result in groans and gnashing of teeth the likes of which aren’t often witnessed in pre-apocalyptic times.

With all this in mind, here are some things I’ve learned that I thought I’d pass along:

 

 

cool preteen boy

1. Bribery works.  Period. Especially when you have a kid or two who would much rather be doing something else. Taking nice pictures of my kids is usually a once or twice a year thing and it’s worth it to me to make it worth it to them.  Tell them what’s expected of them, pick something that your children want and use it to your advantage.  For my kids, money talks, and so I pay my kids to be in pictures.  I don’t pay them a lot, mind you – usually just $2 or $3 – but if they complain it’s not enough, I just remind them that, as their mom, I could just MAKE them do it for free.

kid acting cool web

2.  Relax.  Once you’ve established what’s expected of your kids and what the reward is, relax.  If you’re constantly getting in their faces, fixing their hair, telling them to smile and getting frustrated when they don’t do it “right”, they’re going to get uptight, and feed off your frustration.  And when everyone is angry and/or crying, the pictures just aren’t as pretty.

 

happy child outside web

3.  Engage.  If you’re taking pictures of your own kids, don’t use “Say Cheese!”.  You’ll get a much better response if you talk or sing or tell jokes while you’re behind the camera. Once you see that look that’s your child at her best, snap it. And, if you need to pull in another family member or friend to stand behind you and make your kid giggle, then go for it.  In our family, few people can make my boys laugh for pictures like their brothers.

brothers laughing web

4. Let it go.  Some details are important, some aren’t – figure what hill is worth dying on.  For me, in the case of these pictures, sometimes it was about letting my 10-year-old pick out his own shirt.  Yes, I knew it wouldn’t match anything else that his siblings were wearing since it had giant neon stripes on it, but he was a lot happier about pictures wearing something he picked out. Sure, in 20 years his kids would make fun of him for his choice, but that just made it sweeter for me.

silly brothers web

5. Know when enough is enough.  I really wanted a great picture of all three of my boys smiling at me, but we’d been at it a while and the novelty had long since worn off.  I knew I already had great pictures of each of them individually and some of them together laughing.  They were tired, I was far from relaxed and we all wanted to be done and go home, so I decided to call it a day.  We never did get the last picture I wanted, but we did get this one.  I’d say that I definitely got my six bucks’ worth.

Sometimes They DO Get Along…

boys laughing togetherI have these three boys that I adore.  As with most brothers, there are times they fight so much that I’m certain the neighbors must think we’re harboring noisy terrorists.  But there are times when they get along.  This was one of those times.  In fact, at this point in our day, they were united against ME, being as silly as possible and having a great time with each other, rather than just posing for the original picture I wanted.  I did eventually get a shot of them all looking at the camera, but I’m pretty certain that I like this one more.  It’s of my boys at their best.  What mom wouldn’t love it?

This photo was submitted to the I Heart Faces photo challenge – www.iheartfaces.com

Red-Heads Ready for Pictures | Halifax, NS Children’s Photographer

little boy with big smile

laughing out loud

big grin

looking out window

brothers being silly

brothers sharing

I had a chance to do a mini-photo session with these two little men before Christmas.  Before they set out to play with my guys, they took some time to pose for some pictures for Mom.  With their matching shirts, their red hair and their ready smiles, the pictures couldn’t help but be cute.

The Friends They’ll Become

Sometimes, as moms, I think that God allows us a very tiny glimpse into the future with our kids – not so that we know what going to happen, but rather, so that we recognize the possibilities.  This was one such moment with my boys.  As they walked and held hands on this rainy day, and, as big brother stopped to show little brother something wholly engaging, I saw the friends they had the potential to become.  Would they fight?  Yup.  Would they yell?  They sure would.  But would they seek each other out for play and talking and worlds of imagination in between?  Yes.  Yes, I knew it could happen.  I Heart Faces’ contest theme this month is “Friends”.  I thought this picture fit the bill.

This photo was entered into the I Heart Faces photo challenge – www.iheartfaces.com

They’ll model…for a fee…

There’s a funny thing that I’ve noticed when I photograph someone else’s children.  If they aren’t totally cooperating or are downright against having their picture taken, I’ll patiently ride it out and eventually coax a smile out of them.  I don’t think I’ve had a session yet where we didn’t end up with a couple “happy” pictures.  With my boys, unfortunately, this isn’t always the case.  I’m afraid that, on occasion, my patience has been lacking and the stress for all of us has made happy pictures difficult from time to time.  So now, I’ll admit it:  I bribe them.  If I want family or individual pictures done, I offer compensation for their time and good attitudes.  Do I do this in every situation?  No.  Do I recommend this to everyone?  Not necessarily.  Has it worked up to this point? Ummm, yes.  And so, I’ll shall continue.  …at least where pictures are concerned…

You’ve Gotta Laugh

I can’t look at this picture of my boys without smiling.  It just so happened that they were all dressed up and looking so handsome all at the same time that I sat them down for an impromptu photo shoot.  Then I captured this fabulous moment – my intense oldest son looking bored and frustrated, my middle son, happy to go along with whatever, and my youngest – well, my youngest showing his emerging silly side.  It’s as if he’s saying, “Come on, guys – if we have to do this, we may as well make it fun.”  And he did.  After I took this shot, I was able to get some great pictures of all three of them smiling.  But this is still the one that makes me laugh.

This photo was entered into the I Heart Faces photo challenge – www.iheartfaces.com

Family Photo – The Out Take

I was almost done the photo shoot of my boys when we (I think it was a joint decision) decided that they should all stack on top of each other.  This is not an unusual thing for them to do, since they love to wrestle and dogpile on each other.  This time, however, my youngest apparently decided he had to save his biggest brother from certain death…or something.  And so, one of my favorite out takes ensued.

This photo was entered into the I Heart Faces photo challenge – www.iheartfaces.com

A Special Christmas Present

Some new friends of mine got an early Christmas present this year. They found out that the little guy they’d been fostering since birth had been cleared for them to adopt. What a great gift!  They were thrilled, and the day everything was finalized, I did a quick photo session as a gift to them.

Sticks and Snails and Puppy Dog Tails

…that’s what little boys are made of.  This definitely wasn’t my easiest photo shoot, but the pics speak for themselves.  I love these boys – each so different but so much fun.  They are definitely 3 little (but growing) blessings.

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