Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Kids and Cameras

I photographed my first two-year old last weekend, a little girl belonging to some good friends of mine. I had done some portraits of other children - both older and younger - but not a two year old! I'm sure every age has its challenges, but after this humbling experience (one that I oddly enough aspire to have again), I can easily imagine this age to be among the most challenging. I planned the shoot for an open grassy clearing protected by large shade trees in an area adjacent to the C&O Canal. The idea was to be able to shoot in all directions to best capture the fast moving subject. I used the dappled light that filtered through the trees to create interest in the background and the bright sky beyond to create the catch light in the eyes (and in some cases a blown-out, highly illuminated background). The location was a good one, resulting in some very nice images. Above all else, I was happy that I didn't suggest a "studio" session, which I'm certain would have failed miserably. To start, there was no way that she was going to sit still! Then there was her general feeling about the camera being pointed in her direction. When she wasn't hiding from me, she was vividly scowling in my direction - I was told that she summed up my performance a few days after the shoot when she told daddy, "I no say cheese, Mark scary". I was, however, (somewhat) comforted by the fact that she also thinks the evil electric eels in the Little Mermaid are "nice". Anyway - two year olds - whew. Here are a few of my favorites.

More of the set here.

One last thought as I reflect on the experience - to some degree or other everyone wants to see children smiling for the camera - seems natural enough to want to think so. The following, however, is the image that dad says is her "classic shy" way. Maybe then in some way this capture will remind them more of how she was as a little girl - that's the goal I'm guessing - and then at least I don't need to worry so much about not getting a smile sent my way.

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