Technique Thursday – Interview with A Beautiful Life Photo — How to Photograph Kids

Amy Grace of A Beautiful Life Photo is one of my favorites and she has a way with children.

From Amy:

“being around this mother and daughter felt like listening to the most beautiful music in your car, windows rolled down, hope and spring in the air. talking to them seemed almost more important than taking their photos. i could have watched them be tuned in to the special channel of each other all night. but we only had about half an hour, right after work, before dinner and bedtime. greta is a very old friend of my little brother, who passed away early this year. i needed to meet her incredible baby girl when we were home this summer. as he had told me, so accurately, she just sparkled. these are people i want to keep in my life. this little girl is someone very special. i told her this, shook my head, and smiled the whole time she told me about her world, which is a very magical one, full of best friends and big words and books and pets and love and imagination. full of hope. full of promise.
if every family was as full and generous and kind as this little one, the world would be a better place. but it is already, with them in it. they made it feel that simple.

shot on my d700 and sigma 50 1.4”

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“i think the most important ingredient in getting kids and families to be authentic is to be authentic yourself. kids so often have the uncanny ability to detect what is real and what is not, so try to be kind, make them feel comfortable, show an interest in who they are.

i talk to them, ask them lots of questions, really listen to their answers. kids love to share the things they love, so give them an opportunity for show and tell. this extends to all members of a family. capturing the quiet, the love, the intimacy, the comfort, the crazy…this is who we all are with our families.

it may feel strange to have a stranger in the mix, with a camera in front of her face, so i do everything i can to show that i understand the anxiety, feel it myself even, and then try to talk us all through it. people skills, real connection…it’s tangible, and it shows. a session should start before it starts. a conversation over the telephone or when i arrive, a brief questionnaire asking a family what they really want to remember about who they are right now, can really illuminate what is important.

when someone is in front of my camera, or in front of me in any way, i want them to be themselves. we all want to feel that, and we all deserve it.

i think so many parents have preconceived ideas about what having pictures taken means. i like to say, why would we want pictures of what someone else’s family looks like? when i photograph my own kids, i want to capture their quirks, the stillness in them, the real joy. convincing parents of the benefit of a real family portrait can be the first step in achieving natural images. i would never tell people to pretend to like each other, but i do ask them to show the love they really feel. i have said to a mother, “i know you may feel uncomfortable by yourself, you may think you aren’t photogenic, but just look at your kids, and the expression on your face will be something you want to remember.”

love photographs beautifully.”

what’s your secret for capturing kids?




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