Sssh, don't tell anyone, especially your children, but here are a few tips to having a fun and successful children's photo-shoot here in Normandy...
The key is to..."relax and enjoy" it really is as simple as that. If you, the parents, become stressed because you're worried that your children aren't 'behaving' or 'doing as they're told' then we'll win the battle but lose the war, so to speak. And you'll end up with a set of photos full of 'cheesy' grins and we don't want that do we ?
To achieve these relaxed, natural smiles all I need is for your children to have fun and enjoy themselves. I'll encourage them to play, to run and to move around lots.
What I'm trying to do is to allow their characters to shine through and that may mean asking them to be silly or even a little cheeky, that's absolutely fine. Let's discover what makes them unique.
Some are quieter than others and of course may be shy to begin with but that's fine too. I assess how they are and adapt to their needs. I don't stand over them, I come down to their level often sitting of even lying down to chat with them and take photos.
Of course there are others who are more confident from the outset who are ready to dance or jump and for these one's I'll be active too and keep them moving.
Mostly I try and find shade to take photos where the sunlight is less harsh. There are some little ones whose eyes are really quite sensitive, especially those with pale and blue eyes and we'll adapt for them changing position is it's uncomfortable.
I find that some little ones are more relaxed when Mum and Dad aren't watching intently over my shoulder so don't be surprised if I politely ask you just to step back a few metres and chat amongst yourselves
I don't always take photos with children looking at the camera and I don't always ask them to smile, in fact sometimes the opposite. I love the dreamily pensive look such as this one which makes you wonder what thoughts are going through her young mind.
I encourage little ones to bring along a favourite toy or other items from activities they like so that if they are feeling a little unsure we can focus on 'bunny' and draw attention away from them to help them feel more comfortable. These items can also be developed into a theme for the photo session if you'd like, such as a picnic or seaside.
I have quite a few accessories such as these pretty flowers for girls' hair, plenty of hats for both boys and girls but you add your own too. Discovering and letting the children choose from all the items can really relax them as they feel in control and it just becomes 'playtime' as I discreetly photograph them as they're enjoying themselves.
Of course I will take group photos of the siblings together for you. These are often the ones where the children have the tendency to 'grin' as they have instinctively done practically since birth when anyone points a camera at them so we'll do our best to bring out the natural smiles with a few tricks that I have.
Here's another idea - Bubbles. these can be used to relax little one's and whether the photos are chosen or not playing with bubbles can act as a break in the photography for those who need one.
I'll try and find a location where we can find more than one background such as moving on from the green garden to these cornfields (depending on the season of course) so it varies the backgrounds for your photos and varies the place for the little ones, such as moving from the pretty beach huts to the edge of the sea with a little paddling (if Mum and Dad are in agreement of course) I love bare little feet ♥
I hope that these ideas help. Please feel free to get in touch if you'd like any further advice or are interested in booking a children's photo-shoot here in Normandy.