“This is one of my favorite sessions with my own daughter, my most difficult subject.”
Heather’s Photography Tip:
Like many photographers, I started out photographing my own daughter. She was my main subject in the beginning, and my most unwilling, difficult one at that.
I wanted to create beautiful images of her so badly, to capture the brilliant blue in her eyes, the highlights in her hair, the beauty I see every day, but it wasn’t happening.
I got frustrated. I got mad. I drove her and my husband crazy trying to capture the perfect image…until I let go.
Now my friends often tell me it’s impossible for me to take a bad picture of my daughter. I have to laugh at that, because I have plenty, I assure you.
My photographer friends exclaim how their children are impossible to photograph, and I know the feeling. I studied light, posing, camera settings, anything and everything to be able to pull off a session with my kid.
It wasn’t until I let go of the idea of a perfect image that everything kind of clicked. The thing that needed to change was ME.
So, as an experiment, I took my daughter to a local park and I just let her play. I didn’t try to pose her. I didn’t try to get her attention. I took a lot of deep breaths to calm myself down, stood back, and followed her around, capturing whatever I could.
One of my favorite images from that session is the back of her head. No kidding, I love it.
So I started trying to go into each session in a very calm state of mind. I listen to music that makes me feel good, I breathe, sometimes I dance. I talk myself out of going for that “perfect” image.
I call it my zen zone. It has changed the way I photograph newborns, babies and children, and I’m now certain they can feel the difference.
The moment I get wrapped up in wanting a shot more than my subject wants to give it to me is the moment they unravel.
This particular session with my daughter was no different. I listened to music on the way. My expectations were null and void. I followed her around with very little instruction.
I stood back, I got up close, circled around her, got up and got down to get as many different looks and angles as I could.
I did this at 30-something weeks pregnant too so there were times I was laying on my side in the dirt, but I often leave a session wet and dirty. That’s how I know I gave it my all, while staying in the zen zone.
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