There’s a famous saying that most people have heard. Never work with children and animals. Well, despite a harrowing experience with a cat portrait once, I don’t really abide by that in the studio. We have been photographing children for years and we like to think that we do it rather well.
I always think that the key is to make kids (and parents of course) feel relaxed and how you do this varies from age to age and child to child. Some kids get out of the car just bursting with things to tell you and some are a little more shy and need a little coaxing to get the best possible photographs. When we meet them, we always try to do so at their level and get them chatting about things that they like – the happier they feel with us in the studio, the better the finished images will be.
And yes, if it means playing about, singing nursery rhymes and generally acting the idiot then yep, we’ll go there. In fact, if my neighbours could hear into the studio then I’m pretty sure they would have called some sort of psychiatric services for us. On the flip side of the coin, if it means taking everything slightly slower and quieter then we can do that too.
In a normal family portrait, we usually start with you and the kids together to get them feeling comfy and understanding the process. They still have their Mum or Dad for moral support. Pretty soon they will be happy and relaxed and up for the total photo-shoot.
So bring it on kids – shout silly words, sing kids songs and do the actions, make silly dances. And if mums and dad’s want to join in, just feel free to check your dignity at the door and the more the merrier as far as I’m concerned!