Cuddles, tickles, kisses, dancing, running, lifts in the air. Leave plenty of room for the family to adlib and be themselves. Repeat. Shoot, shoot, shoot. Session done. Boom!
So how does one “leave room for a family to be themselves”? You can’t just place a family in front of a camera and say “pretend I’m not here and just be yourselves”, and then expect magic to happen. We’re shooting real, everyday families here, not actors. Guidance is needed to a certain extent. For me, I feel like after 7 years of doing this, I’ve found my own special way of garnering genuine expressions. It’s actually as simple as having a conversation. Getting to know you. Having a laugh. Creating a welcoming and relaxing environment where you feel able to “let your guard down”.
But it’s not that simple is it? Because not everyone is able to loosen up quickly during their photo session. Some take a bit longer. Some families aren’t naturally touchy feely, and that’s ok. I find that I am able to read a family fairly well and quickly so that I can bring an energy to the session that helps them to create the magic between them. It’s a mixture of knowing what angle to shoot from to get the expressions shot with gorgeous light and figuring out what conversation or sometimes “game” is going to work well for you at that moment.
I’ll let a recent client explain further…
“I’ve followed Kate’s work for some time and I loved her ability to capture natural emotions in her shots. I was also hesitant at the same time at making the investment for my own family pictures because our family aren’t publicly affectionate. My kids and partner hate taking photos. We’ve tried with other photographers and have ended up with the awkward family photos where clearly we tried too hard. All I could think was how could she capture something that I felt, didn’t exist with us?
I highlighted this to Kate several times and she was confident we could get some great shots. I figured why not, we could only try right?
On the day of our shoot, the kids took some time to warm up but by the end, they were best friends with Kate! When I got a sneak peek of the photos, I felt so overwhelmed. These were exactly what I was looking for and I was surprised that Kate was able to capture affection that only usually happens behind closed doors.”