• Vallentiny Photography

Photographing Children

Updated: Jul 20, 2018

We love to photograph children. We get lots of practice with having 7 grandchildren, and 1 great grandchild. I used to have a picture in my head of how everything would go, I had everything set up, even to how I was going to arrange the children, or so you thought. You think you are in control, but you really aren't.

Parents match their childrens clothing, fix their hair, clean their mouths and noses, and they are squeaky clean and looking so cute. Until someone falls down, or sees an ant crawling on the ground, or the parental favorite, "she's touching me", "get away from me", "I'm not sitting next to "her". The trouble with children (I know right?). As a photographer, I have come to understand that children don't always want to smile on demand, or look cute on demand. They do not perform on our timeline. They want to play, they want to run and jump, they want to hit each other with stick swords, and be wild and unruly. Aren't they adorable? They are full of energy and winning smiles, and giggles, until you get that camera in front of their face, then they turn into the grinch. We bribe them for a smile, offer Scooby snacks :) or to please look this way or that. We sing silly songs, make crazy noises, ... but sometimes the best we get is the back of their head as they are running away, or a side shot/blurred shot/half shot, or the famous cheesy-smile-showing-every-tooth-in-their-head-while-their-eyes-are-crossed shot. Or better yet, the fake smile, (you know the one). My favorite is, "are we done yet"? I tell myself, "Don't sweat it, just let them have some fun, and don't worry about that perfect shot".

Just like Elsa, I Let it Go! After all, I dont have to take these little darlings home with me. All I really want is one almost smile, or something that resembles a pose. It doesnt always happen. Some days it doesn't even come close. Little ones have a window of time, I've discovered, and we cannot cross their time line. Sometimes the best we can do is just keep shooting, I figure they have to look at me eventually. Sometimes the best shots are the ones where they are being the most uncooperative. And because, well, you never know what you're going to get with children. And sometimes, as you are looking through your 150 to 300 shots, mostly blurs, and backs of heads, you find that one... where just for a moment, the birds were singing, the sun was shining, and there it is...that smile, that face...perfection!!

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