Three Sisters in the Studio

As I continue to update my blog, I’m loving going through the sessions from last year that haven’t gotten posted yet. I’ve known the two youngest girls in this family for a couple of years now, and it’s been fun to watch them grow. I can easily remember the youngest sister as a baby in a stroller, all bundled up in the wintertime with just her big, blue eyes showing. So when I got a call about doing a photo session with all three girls, I was excited to do it. They were a great group to have in my studio and the pictures and loved to pose – which is fantastic for any photographer. The pictures turned out beautifully and I still can’t get over the beautiful eyes on these three.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

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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.

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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.

Growing Family | Halifax NS Photography

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This super-sweet family came to me in part to get family pictures done and in part to get maternity pictures done of their beautiful mamma.  The two little girls were wonderful to work with and had no problem posing, playing and smiling and their new puppy even got in on the action a little. Since these pictures were taken, their adorable new addition has arrived, and with a fun and growing family like this, I’m sure there’s lots of fun to be had at their house.

Sweet Little Sisters | Halifax NS Children’s Photographer

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little sisters

One of the fun parts of being a photographer is being able to watch little ones as they and their families grow.  I’ve been photographing the girls in this family since the oldest was a baby and it’s been wonderful to help chronicle their little lives as they grow up.  Although they definitely have they’re own personalities (big sister was all about posing and loved being in front of the camera, while little sister took some time – and some well-placed bribes to warm up), they’re both sweet and were great to photograph.  I’m looking forward to see how they’ve changed when I’m back to photograph them again.

Capturing the Moment

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One of the things I love about being a photographer is catching a moment that beautifully shows people as they really are.  It means going beyond the “Everyone!  Look here and say, ‘Cheese!'” moments and looking for a way to capture the feeling and the personality of those I photograph.  This was one of those times.  Our family picnicked at the park with this family.  The kids could barely eat, they were so excited to play together.  Then, in the middle of it all, this boy came over for a quiet moment with his dad.  I turned, saw it and snapped the picture as quickly as I could. I love the relaxed pose: dad’s hand on his son’s shoulder, the boy leaning into dad, and the quiet connection it shows.  Other people there don’t even remember when this took place.  But it did.  And I’m glad I caught it.

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

Family Photo Out Takes

Sometimes, people think that, because I’m a photographer, I easily get beautiful photos of my children and our family.  To debunk this wild myth, I thought I’d post a few outtakes from our impromptu family picture session done before Christmas.  I wanted a Christmas card picture and everyone was home one Saturday morning, so I set up the camera, set us up, and clicked away with my remote.  Keep in mind I’m at the back and can’t see what’s going on in the picture.  And keep an eye on my youngest on my husband’s lap.  He is a large part of the reason my life is full of laughter. (I added the final picture so you could see that, even at it’s best, things aren’t always perfect.)
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Chubby Cheeks and Smiles – Pt. 2

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mother in striped tank top in field lifting young toddler over her head

black and white picture of little boy holding a broken daisy looking sad.

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So I promised a little bit ago that I would do a second part to my first Chubby Cheeks and Smiles post.  This was one of those cases where I had an awful lot of cute pictures and it was really hard to choose just a few to put up.  And, although there are not quite as many giant smiles from this little man this time around, I like how these pictures show other sides of him: how much he loves his momma, some of his little mannerisms, and a little bit more of who he is.  I love what you can capture in a photograph.

Family Pictures at the Park

 

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There’s a gorgeous park not too far from my home.  When this family asked me to do fall pictures for them, I thought this would be a great setting.  The fall backdrop was fantastic, the girls were loving the camera, and the pictures turned out beautifully – even if it was a little chilly.

New Friends and Faces | Halifax NS Children’s Photographer

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mom and daughter

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When visiting with family at the end of the summer, I had the opportunity to meet these little ones.  Happily, their mom and dad didn’t mind me pulling out my camera after dinner and following them around.  I’m kind of a sucker lately for black and white, and I love how these pictures look in monotones.

Cute Kids, Candy and a Bunch of Balloons

large collageI have a wonderful friend who I will someday hire as the stylist for my photo sessions.  The pictures above are an example of why.  She came to me one day and said she’d love to do a candy-themed photo session with her kids that involved lots of fun and color and balloons.  One giant lollipop, a red petitskirt, some candy-striped leggings and a bag of balloons later, and we were good to go.  This was one photo session where the kids were completely on board.

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