Best Laid Plans

Photographing families with small children can be a challenge all its own.  You can plan all you want, devise group poses, and choose the perfect location, but if those kids don’t want to sit still, those plans won’t do you a bit of good. So you have to decide- how am I going to make my client happy?

Now, I am not a big fan of formal studio portraits. Yes, I do them, but for the most part, I would much rather do an environmental portrait in a natural setting.  This holds especially true when photographing children. Why?  Well, mainly because it gives me options. If the kids refuse to sit still, I can find other ways to capture them, and the family, where they don’t HAVE to sit still.

Here on Long Island, this is particularly easy.  Everyone goes to the beach, at least a little, so it makes a great place to go for portraits. I can pose people on the beach, by the lighthouse,  or on the boardwalk. There are a variety of possibilities.

This particular session was for a good friend of mine. They hadn’t had a good family portrait since they started having kids, and one of the reasons why, according to his wife, was that they were always afraid the kids wouldn’t sit still. She was right! But at the same time, that didn’t mean we couldn’t get some meaningful portraits!

Almost immediately, the kids were off an running. I decided the 7-month old would go first- he wasn’t walking yet, so he was getting a formal portrait.  I sat him down and got a nice shot or two. Then I had the kids pose around the parents for a formal group shot. The problem was, between the 7 month old eating sand, and the 3 year old and 7 year old distractions, no one looked right at me! So it became much more casual looking, and as I kept working with them, we just went with it and got some great group shots.

After that, it was time to go down by the water.  The kids love playing in the water, and I just let it all happen in front of me and got some great interactive shots with the kids and their parents. I love using the wet sand for reflections and other added interest, and I wasn’t disappointed. And I have a happy client to show for it, so it was win-win all around!


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