Ironically, as a photographer, I always feel awkward in front of a camera. I guess that's one of the reasons why I moved behind the lens. I therefore fully understand that it feels very unnatural to have a camera pointed at you. But, rest assured, my aim is to make a photo session with me feel as relaxed as possible. I know what angles, lighting and poses work well for the photos, yet I hardly make you feel like you are posing. I'd rather you feel like your session with me is a chance to have some quality family time together, rather than it feeling like a photoshoot. Here's how I make sure we get that perfect shot.
Do I need to pose?
During photo sessions, I often hear people mention they are not photogenic, or would like constant instructions on what to do in front of the camera so that they 'look good'. To be honest, I don't believe in either. Everyone is beautiful in photos if they can be their natural selves and in order to achieve this, you don't need to continuously pose for a photo. I might ask you to turn around in favour of where the light is coming from, or to tilt your head a certain way. But more often than not, you won't even realise I am taking a photo.
“Everyone is beautiful in photos if they can be their natural selves and in order to achieve this, you don't need to continuously pose for a photo.”
These are 5 ways how I get the perfect shot:
1. DOING A 360
I generally start my sessions with some photos of you sitting down. I ask my families to find a spot on my rug, or on a nearby bench or step, and get nice and close. With young kids, I don't expect them to sit still for too long. I therefore start with a few shots of you all looking at the camera, just to make sure we capture that before the kids get too antsy. Then, if they want to walk around a bit, that's totally fine! I sometimes ask them to cuddle mum and dad from behind, tickle them, or wrap their arms around the parents' shoulders. Or to hold hands with mum or dad and twirl around. While you are enjoying some sweet moments together, I will do a 360 loop around you to take photos from each angle and focusing on how the light hits your surroundings. This allows us to get a variety of photos in less than 10 minutes.
2. nice and close together
During a photo session, I like to concentrate on connection. This is shown by sitting close together, holding hands and facing each other. The most direction I give is tied into this. I might get you to sit closer together, wrap your arms around each other or look at each other. Snuggling up creates a natural feel of warmth and this radiates into the photos I take. It doesn't feel forced, but it makes you feel the love when viewing the snapshots of your session.
3. FROM WIDE TO CLOSE ANGLES
I like to take a selection of both wide angle photos and close-ups. You might therefore notice me taking a few steps back and then coming in closer to capture some sweet details. I'll ask you to concentrate on each other, feeling relaxed and having fun together. While you're doing this, I'll be able to take a range of photos that look and feel different, yet are all able to be captured in the same spot. That's how we can maximise your session and capture as many memories as we can in the time we have together.
4. FUN PROMPTS THAT AREN'T FORCEd
I like to think of my photo session as being unforced, relaxed and enjoyable. As I mentioned before, I do however understand that it takes a while to warm up to the notion of having a camera pointed at you. I therefore often use a range of prompts while taking your photo. These also work great with children during a family photo session. Some of these include:
- Asking kids to tickle their parents (or vice versa)
- Having kids whisper something funny in their parent's ears (or vice versa)
- Holding hands and walking, dancing or twirling
- Giving each other an eskimo kiss
- With two or more kids: challenging them to a 'hug contest' ("who can give mum and dad the biggest hug?")
I generally finish off my sessions with photos that show movement. Whether that's walking, dancing or twirling, everything works! With walking photos, I will ask you to walk slowly and I might need you to walk back and forth a few times. Don't worry about looking at the camera, just interact with each other and make it fun. This will create natural smiles which I personally think look the best.