Every time I decide to make images of my daughter, I have to work on creating a bond between us. Hana is very familiar with my camera. She always want to hold it herself and looking through the viewfinder and pretending to take picture of something. Sometimes, it makes a heartache, because you never know if she ever fumble while handling your hard earned possession. Then again, I never even care if she ever drop it. She’s much more pricey than anything else.
We were out on the beach celebrating my birthday, and she was just finishing her cake. There’s smudges on her chin.
Speaking of creating a bond, there’s always a few things that I will make sure when taking her out and try to make her believe we were just having fun while I work fast on my camera.
Setting the camera to easiest mode will make your life easier. I don’t mind about the manual mode I’ve been practicing ever since. As for me, taking this kind of photo don’t need a lot of technical jargon to start with. Just knowing where the light directions are and the quality of background is good enough. Besides, the lesser you have to think of executing your photo, the better the outcome will be.
Whenever I’m taking her out to be photographed, I will make sure the camera stay ‘glued’ to my hand, be it the compact camera or the bulky dSLR. I want to act fast, so I’ll just hold the dSLR along the way. She’s already 3 years old, and she don’t need anyone to guide her to walk, run, climb, jump (add all sorts of chaos your children can do). She will do it herself, and you are going to take care of yourself and get the job done. I never let it hanging on my shoulder, or my neck, or keep it in my pocket. That also explains why I am not a fan of vertical grip.
She’s my daughter, not a model. So I never direct her to do all sorts of pose. The least I ever asked was asking her to look to the camera. She can pose, but never under my instruction. Children doing things they think is cute, or to make you smile or laugh. They want that sort of attention and building a connection with you. That’s why they are the boss. You never mess with the boss. If they’re playing while you’re photographing them, NEVER YELL or tell them to stop. Once you do that, you can kiss the session goodbye!
They are cute already, but sure you want them to look better. Dress them. Put on an extra prop. Get a costume. Cute costume. Funny costume. Make a theme. As long as it doesn’t make them look like Britney Spears, you’re alright.
Reward them for their tolerance. Sure, you are not going to spoil ’em with goods and gifts, but at least show some appreciation. Thank you is the word. Then say more, like “You’re doing great just now”, “That was fun!”, etc up to your imagination, but NEVER promise them a thing, even you’re capable of delivering it. First, children remember what you said. Second, what? you gonna spoil your child by promising things? If you promise them a better future, yes, you can, but to promise them a material (toys, for example) will make them think for every thing they do, they will get something in return.
Photographing children is fun itself. Loose yourself, have fun with them, and don’t forget to take the picture. They’re too cute to resist sometimes you forgot you’re there as a photographer.