I know why ‘they’ say to never work with children and animals…they’re unpredictable, unruly and to a large extent uncontrollable. Well, then with my kid’s photographer’s hat on I must be a fool as that’s all part of the fun, and a huge part of the attraction for me.
I tend to allow 1-2 hours for a kids shoot knowing full well it can take some time for them to relax into it, ideally to the point at which they’ve forgotten the camera is even there…and that’s when you get the gems…the really natural shots, the characterful expressions that their parents recognise as uniquely their little cutie and what is widely understood to be ‘the money shot’!
You’ll see plenty of these money shots as you peruse the galleries of any decent kids photographer’s websites but what you won’t see is the road to that particular shot, which I promise you will be littered with the debris of discarded images…eyes half closed, streaming noses, and pouty “I’m just not doing it” faces to name a few. However, in amongst that collection of ‘unusables’ that will never make it into the esteemed gallery , you sometimes get a few semi-precious gems that will just make you laugh out loud, and for me those are just as valuable. Sure, they might not be a Van Gogh masterpiece you want to hang over the mantelpiece but they’re an endearing reminder of how your little one actually was on a day to day basis, which we all too easily forget. To illustrate this point I thought I’d share with you some of my ‘debris’ in pursuit of a picture I wanted for my website.
You may recognise this headline photo from my Little Cuties Investment page. I wanted an engaging shot that allowed for the panoramic crop I needed to fit the space but none of my existing images quite fit the bill so I thought, hey, I’ve got my very own little cutie right here – I’ll just grab a quick picture of her!
She’s nearly 8 months old and is busily attempting to crawl so I got down to her level while she was busting out some aeroplane-style moves…arms and legs a-flapping with full on sound effects in case there was any doubting the effort she was putting into it. I lost track how long I was down there (long enough to realise my stomach muscles are no match for hers) but felt I probably had something useable… and there it was – eyes wide open, both in focus with lovely catchlights from the window and little smiley lips…’the money shot’…and off I went to update my website!
At the time, I was so focused on the shot I was trying to get I didn’t really LOOK at the other shots I had…and I mean REALLY LOOK. But once I did, I realised how much I actually love these pictures. In fairness, with some of them, you may well think that’s a face only a mother can love, but that’s the point, isnt’ it? I love everything about her , her crazy static hair and her toothless grin that any Octogenarian gurner would covet. I want to remember all these faces, not just the super-pretty ones so in celebration of her uniqueness I’m going to order myself one of these fabulous new Mosaic displays from my favourite framers Ultimat and display it proudly in my lounge, to bring me joy (and her embarrassment) for many years to come!