There are many reasons why parents do milestone sessions for their baby (like this session we did for Siena, who is 8 months old). The most obvious is that their child is growing like crazy and they want to forever preserve those changes in photographs. And there are many photographers who offer these types of sessions. They can be quick or elaborate. Cheap or expensive. But what sets my milestone sessions apart is the fact that my clients walk away with beautiful museum-quality prints in the end...
Rachel is 2 years old. She seems so much older and mature, and I guess that is why she is able to start modeling at such an early age. Rachel's Mom is also a photographer (she specializes in weddings), and as we talked, it became clear that what I do (the whole Studio photography thing) isn't as easy to replicate as I thought (because, hey, it's kinda easy for me). Even though I don't have any super-complicated equipment or setups, just having a dedicated space, a good light source, and the extensive experience with Studio portraits makes a big difference!
I have a feeling that when people think of Studio photography, they think that kids need to sit still and be perfectly behaved in order for us to capture any images worth keeping. Well, I am here to tell you that when kids run around, don't listen, and generally act a little crazypants, we get some of the best photographs. It's true. And it's also 100% accurate to say that expecting kids to sit still at this very young age is both unrealistic and a little crazy to begin with, which is why I certainly don't do it.
One of the most important factors to looking good on camera is being able to feel comfortable when someone is taking your photograph.Now, that is certainly easier said than done, because I know firsthand the terror and anxiety that comes with someone pointing a camera in my direction. And when you're a tween girl, or a Mom to a tween girl, you probably hear all sorts of things about photographers, modeling, and the uncomfortable situations that might result. I certainly get surprised when I hear some of the questions parents ask, because I come from a background of photographing families, babies, and kids.
It's easy to figure WHY you would want photos of your newborn baby. These first few weeks of a baby's life are so completely and utterly new. You want to make sure to remember them, through the haze of doctor's appointments and all-night feedings. And often the iPhone photos don't really come close to capturing how you see your baby during that time…
A photoshoot isn't entirely about the photographs that are captured. The experience of being photographed is actually a huge part of it. It's something I want the kids I work with to remember. I want them to not only enjoy our time together, but also get a sense of what it's like to be pampered, looked after, and feel a bit like a celebrity.
And it all starts with the hair styling.
Hair styling might seem like a trivial thing, especially for kids, who probably have pretty cute hair to begin with.. but it makes some of the biggest difference I've seen in photos by far. It's that extra bit of polish, and the ability to put in loose curls or waves, which provides movement and shine. But there's something else too. The feeling of getting ready. Of being taken care of. And of enhancing the beauty that's already there.
And it's important, when working with a 9-year old, that the photographs reflect who they are, too. So they get to wear their favorite clothes. They get to jump, and spin, and try on literally all the different pairs of glasses they own. And they get to have FUN. Because enjoying the experience of being in a photography Studio is something they will remember, too.
What happens if, on the day of the photo session, your child is not really behaving like herself? What if she's moody and sensitive and wants nothing to do with being photographed?
Well, I still try to get good photos anyway.. and very often, it all works out just fine. Not having a time limit for my Studio sessions helps with that. We can usually wait it out, let her calm down and get used to the new surroundings. But hey, sometimes, everything fails, nothing works, and the child is having none of it.
And you know what? That's totally fine.
Because I have a 100% Satisfaction Guarantee for every session. So if everything goes wrong and we can't get any good shots, you will get a full refund or a complimentary reshoot.
Because kids are unpredictable and because it's more important to me that they enjoy the experience (that their smiles are real) then to force them to look at the camera. I also don't want parents to worry. So it's okay if your kids is all of a sudden not behaving, or has developed an incredible shyness, or is starting to develop signs of an oncoming sickness. It's my job to work with each and every child, based on their needs and mood. And hey, if it doesn't work out, you're totally covered.
And for the sake of full disclosure, Henley (who is 3 years old) and pictured below with her younger sister Brighton (1 year old), was having an off day during the photo session. But we had moments of calm, happy times which translated into some great photos!