I had the great pleasure of photographing a wedding with Kristin of Karmalized Photography recently. As we drove to the venue we got to talking about children’s photography and she said something that really struck me as both funny and poignant: “I won’t put your baby in a bucket.”
This seems to be the trend in newborn photography: buckets, nests, hammocks and other props. It’s baby as art. I think we can thank Anne Geddes for that. Don’t get me wrong. When done correctly, these props can be used beautifully and make wonderful artwork. But it’s not my thing. I’m a storyteller. I’ll pose your baby and use cute hats (because I can’t resist the cute hats) and possibly use the occasional stocking.
But the images I’m waiting to capture can’t be posed. The images that touch my heart, and hopefully yours, are the ones that just happen. My favorite part of a session is when a child gets fussy because I know this will turn into an opportunity to make beautiful images. When children get fussy, parents come in and save the day. They know how to best comfort their little one. Whether it’s just seeing mom’s face or feeling dad’s touch, children melt into their parents’ arms and are calm. And that’s when the magic moments happen — when life is just happening and not being forced. Those are the moments I live to document.
The same goes for older children. Sure, we all want pictures of our kids sitting and looking straight into the camera. But the best pictures come when kids are just kids. Whether they are running around like wacky balls of energy or sitting and gazing at the world without a care, those are the images that define our lives — and those are the images I love making. They are the pictures that tell the true stories of family, life and love. They are the pictures bring a lifetime of memories.
This last image I’ll share with you is of my own kiddo. This was one of the few times when I tried to pose her. But she wanted nothing to do with the grass I wanted her to sit in. So we wandered around for a bit until she sat on the stairs. Again I tried to pose her but she had a mind of her own. And this turned out to be one of my favorite pictures of her. It’s proof that when you let children be children, the images capture more than just how cute they look, but how amazing they are inside and out.