What's Stopping You?

24th January 2017
In: Blog
What's Stopping You?

We all have worries about different events, particularly when families and children are involved. One in particular seems to be a portrait photo shoot. Mis-behaving children, awkward feeling teenagers (and parents), Mums that see themselves as 'not photogenic', to name a few.
I am pretty good in the worrying stakes if I'm honest, but have learned along the way that worries are normally concerns about the unknown. So if I tell you what happens, the unknown disappears…right? I can't guarantee all your concerns will simply disappear after reading this, but it will answer quite a few.

I've divided up this subject into two posts…for the first let's start with some common family concerns…

I'm Worried My Children Won't Behave.

Will they be good, will they play up? It's a very common parental concern.
Let's get this out there first. I'm a family man, a Dad to my own three children, and have seen pretty much everything from them a some point, so I doubt very much that I haven't already experienced what you may be concerned about here.
But let me tell you this...In the five years I have been photographing families, I can honestly say the number of children that have genuinely mis-behaved is zero. Yes, zero.

I firmly believe that this is in part due to the fact my family photo sessions are outdoors, allowing them freedom to run, play, and just be children. It's also partly down to the relaxed connection I develop with the young ones'. I encourage parents not to 'coach' their children (no forced smiles here please!), only to let me talk, chat, and cajole the best shots out of the situation (natural expressions are best!) After all, your children are who they are, and it's why you love them, so why change them for an hour in front of a camera? There's no need. Turn up, relax and let me take the lead.

These young lads are perfect examples of the great behaviour I typically see at family portrait sessions. They're having fun...no need to mis-behave.

Toddlers don't play ball…

I won't lie. Toddlers tend to be very single minded. Not easily persuaded, and certainly not ones for following the directions of a photographer. The answer? Let them be a toddler, and let me follow them about capturing some candid shots. Where I can involve Mum and Dad, or siblings, I will. Keeping things natural and unhurried all the way through the session.
I'll be honest here, I have had two issues in the past when very young children haven't co-operated, but given their young age, and coupled with the fact they had either just woken up from a nap, or hadn't had their usual one, so it was perfectly understandable. Solution: We rescheduled the sessions. Simple.

Letting toddlers be themselves and explore, give the best photo opportunities.

Awkward Feeling Teenagers (and Grown-ups too)

Although girls tend to be better than boys in this category, those teenage years are a whirlwind of emotions for young adolescences. Not every teenager feels this way, but to feel embarrassed and awkward in a situation like a photo shoot is perfectly normal. This shouldn't stop anyone from having their photo taken.
My approach in this situation is very much the same as for everyone else. Easy and relaxed.
It's a case of making anyone in front of the lens feel relaxed. I usually start by telling anyone feeling awkward about being photographed that I understand exactly how they feel, because I do. The shared feelings means we have a common ground, from there it's usually very easy to coax the best out a previously reluctant portrait star.

Communicating that I understand their shyness, and reassuring them that I'll keep things easy and natural, helps
the more reserved subjects feel more relaxed in front of the camera.

Coming Next...

I'll be dedicating my next post entirely to the biggest portrait shoot concern, so keep an eye out for that, or alternatively, sign-up to my VIP mailing list to receive the link to the post as soon as it's published, so you don't miss out. You can sign up further on in this post.

Before I Finish

If you have any questions or worries, I'm always available for a chat, there's no obligation for a booking, I am, after all, here to help. Talking of which. I thought I'd leave this testimonial from a valued client, that sums up why I think I can help you achieve the portrait experience you want, and deserve.

"I have used Martin's services twice now, and had no hesitation in choosing to take our family portrait photographs for the second time. My only concern was how my young children would behave during the session, and whether I would get the photographs I wanted, but I shouldn't have worried. Martin was very patient and understanding throughout the session, which never felt business like or rushed. It was like going for a walk in the woods with a friend with a camera. He was able to get, dare I say it, angelic compositions of all three of my children and during the process made me feel relaxed and unjudged by my attempts to tame my wonderful little beasts.
Feel no pressure. Martin is professional and has a natural ability with young families, a real family man with a wonderful sense of humour, and a warm, approachable demeanour. Turn up, go with the flow and feel reassured that you are in safe hands. You will need to locate lots of wall space as you will find it a struggle to pick your favourite prints, they will all become your favourite!"

Emma Lissamore

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