When I arrive at a photo session, I know that the first moments can be critical. Even the most outgoing kids can be really shy at first. My 8 year old is (and has always been) a total social butterfly and cannot turn her mouth off 95% of the time. But, that 5% is when she is around new people. She becomes super quiet and guarded. It doesn’t typically take more than a few minutes before she is hanging off of them and laughing loudly.
I am used to the first minutes being slow and quiet and tend to take a few minutes to establish a connection with my little clients before picking up my camera. The last thing I want to do is scare them and spend the next 10-15 minutes trying to get them to unbury their face from Daddy’s chest.
I almost always start with some very simple family poses so that little ones can see that their parents are comfortable around me. This is also part of why I always tell parents to come dressed to be in pictures even if the photo session is just for a child. That process of having their picture taken in mommy or daddy’s arms tends to help a lot with cautious children.
Even after lots of quiet time (with no camera in hand), this sweet little, girl became frightened whenever I got more than about 5-6 feet from her. I usually stick with my 35mm or 24-70mm lens for indoor sessions, but I was so glad that I brought my beast with me (70-200mm) and that this home was very open. From across the room, I was able to capture stunning moments and even sweet smiles with perfect eye contact. Being that far away normally makes it difficult to keep a child’s attention, but this sweetheart was keeping a very close eye on me.