I can't tell you how many times I've heard potential clients say that their number one concern with getting their photos taken is that their kids are young and unpredictable. I'll be honest, when I was a new photographer it was my biggest concern as well! I wanted more than anything to capture that "perfect" photo for my clients and, well..... babies and toddlers just don't cooperate (though sometimes us adults aren't all sunshine and rainbows either...just say'n). Kids cry, pout, wrestle, refuse to look at the camera. Who wants that much reality in a family photo!?!
Ok, it sounds funny to me now. My belief about my role as a photographer has evolved right along with my experience and my own changing family life. I have two kids now and understand better that capturing THEM being THEM is exactly what I SHOULD be doing. They are not perfect little robots with clean faces that enjoy making eye contact with a camera lens. They are fussy and impatient and silly and weird - they are "perfectly imperfect" as my sister would say. Really, aren't we all? We adults know how to put it on for the camera - but that doesn't make for the best photo either. I would rather get one authentic image of my family - in all our unglamorous glory - than a dozen perfectly posed, vacant-eyed ones.
So along that note I wanted to nominate a previous family into my "Hall of Fame". The Chocron's, who braved the unknown by scheduling photos with their one year old last year and came ready to roll with the punches.
First I must point out - our Momma, Luisa, is SPOT ON with her outfit choices every year. Not to withhold credit from Jason, but I'm just guessing the pink fedora wasn't his idea. The neutral gray punctuated with the pink is perfection. The added statement necklace gives Mom the spotlight - which is what we always want. Imagine this photo without it, that one accessory truly balances the image and brings the eye up to Mom's face.
During our session little Charlee kept us all on our toes. She was busy and had very little interest in sitting and smiling at me. She was investigating and playing and RUNNING. Mom and Dad and even little/big sis knew the score - and they all let Charlee set the tone. They just kept smiling and playing and loving on each other. They didn't put any undue pressure on themselves or me for that illusive "perfect" shot. They understood that the images we captured were going to perfectly represent their family, just as it was in this moment. The result - authentic, joyful, beautiful images.
So the moral of the story, get the photos done - revel in your family just as they are right now. Capture the chaos, the mess, the love. It's all part of your story.