Here’s the thing about photographing kids: You gotta let ’em be themselves.
They don’t want to be posed. They don’t want to sit still. They don’t know you and probably don’t like you. They really want this to be over as soon as possible so that they can go back to whatever it was that they were doing before mommy put them into the car and drove them down to the park against their will so that they could get their picture taken by this strange man with the huge camera and the big flashy thing.
So don’t fight it. Just go with it. And the funny thing is that if you do, most of the time they will go with you.
Take Connor, for instance. I’m not so sure that when he and his mom Mindy pulled up at World’s Fair Park that afternoon that he was all that keen on doing a photo shoot. He was probably much more interested in just playing. But as we walked over to the park, Connor and I started to talk. He told me about himself and his day and the new firetruck that he had gotten.
And as he relates his story, I ask him to sit on the steps. Click, click. Then we go over to the bench. Hey Connor, sit up here and put your arm on the side. Click, click. Hey, let’s go over to the playground for a few minutes. Click, click, click. Ooh, let’s go check out the railroad tracks. Click, click. Would you like to play in the fountain? Click, click.
With every shot, he opened up more and more and started giving me these wonderfully animated experssions. Every “pose” was a different look — some serious, some laughing, some smiles. But every one a gem. I’m telling you, I think he’s got what it takes to be an actor, because when he turns it on, it’s on.
Here’s a look at what Connor and I were able to get — together.