How to Help Kids and Parents Act Natural and Have Fun During a Seattle Family Photo Shoot

How do we get those photos of families playing, looking so natural and genuinely having fun? It's probably 1% photography & posing skills and 99% human psychology. Why do kids get shy with a photographer? They don't know you! Why do parents get awkward? They feel like they're supposed to be doing something and they aren't sure what it is exactly and they're worried if they're doing it right. So obviously, the solutions become simple. When photographing kids, give them their space, talk to them and ask them questions and play. Take an interest in what they want to do until they trust you and feel comfortable. Often the kids that the most shy at the beginning of the photo shoot have the biggest personalities and by the end of the shoot they're posing like Beyonce and hammin' it up for the camera. If you don't know the kids, ask the parents how they are at home and usually you'll hear about a huge playful attitude that just needs time to come out. And then when you're dealing with parents, help them relax by giving simple clear instructions so they know without a shadow of a doubt what they should be doing. And just so you know, "Go play with your kids for a few minutes. I'm not going to say anything for a while but when I want you to do something different, I'll let you know." is totally legit direction giving. If you tell them that you aren't going to talk for a little while so they can just play with their kids, then they feel free to just do anything they want and they aren't wondering what you're thinking or expecting. See? At all times kids and parents must feel safe by knowing a) exactly what's going on b) exactly what they're supposed to be doing (even if it's just hanging around) and c)  they can take their own sweet time to feel comfortable and they aren't being pressured. Obviously, there's a ton more to say on this topic but this a general overview of my mindset going into the family photo shoots we do at the Happy Film Company. This Seattle family photo shoot I did with the Frick family at Bybee Blueberry farm in North Bend was a perfect example of this photography approach. The first half of the shoot, I told the parents to just go have fun picking berries with their kids and I just let the kids wander around picking berries - I took photos from far away and just asked them little questions like "Can I see inside your bucket?" After 30 minutes, I told the parents "Let's start taking some portraits. Stand over here yadda yadda..." and by now the kids were more comfortable with me so I was able to start playing with them - games like peekaboo, silly faces, ran as fast as you can at my camera etc... and those shy kids were suddenly lovin' the camera and within a few minutes, mom and dad were joining in the fun, throwing kids in the air, racing around and having tickle fights. Everybody is playful inside, you just have to help them feel safe and give them permission to interact freely with each other. If you have questions about this topic or anything else related to happy family portrait photography or videography, feel free to send them to me at hello@thehappyfilmcompany.com Happy shooting! ~ Chamonix Thank you so much Frick family for another beautiful family shoot - what a treat to spend a Saturday morning in the sunshine beneath Mt. Si with your joyful kids. Thanks for coming back to the Happy Film Company again and again. I look forward to our next shoot together :) x Chamonix

Photographer: Chamonix
Location:  Bybee Blueberry farm (North Bend)

Photographing Kids While They're Playing with their Favorite Toys

Baby Asher loves ropes and pipes and hoses so he was in heaven the moment we discovered a pile of hose at the end of the dock at Kirkland Marina Park. The Lee family had a 15 minute mini session and we spend the first part of their Seattle family photo shoot walking down the pier and cuddling but eventually those magically hoses appeared and he was infatuated. I love when kids find something they love so intensely during a photo shoot because we get to watch them disappear into their own little world for a moment. They forget about the camera, nobody is telling them what to do and all that matters is that special cool thing. During these moments I like to snap my camera like crazy, hoping to catch a little something sparkly in their eyes. Plus, I love knowing that these photos are going to be a fun memory and story for parents to tell. "When you were a little baby you LOVED hoses and pipes!" haha And it's also just fun to see how different children are - they all love something different. So if your little one has something they love, let's think about a cool place to go where we can let them explore and enjoy it. All the best photographs happen this way - letting the kids guide the show and get lost in their infatuations. Thank you so much Lee family for another cute Seattle family photo shoot. We hope we get to photograph Asher & his hoses for years to come! - Chamonix & tHFC Ladies

Photographer: Chamonix
Location: Kirkland Marina Park Docks
Adventure: Summer Mini Sessions

Kid-Free Family Photo Shoots - How We Help Adult Couples Have Fun and Relax

What do we do during a Seattle maternity portrait session when there are no kids to play with? Photo shoots with kids and dogs are relatively easy because we can just focus on them and the awkward or camera shy adults don't feel like they're under the microscope. But when the only child around is still inside the belly, then the spotlight is on mom and dad. Never fear! The Happy Film Company is here with years of experience photographing weddings, couples, women's boudoir and headshots. We know how to help adults relax in front of the camera and what's more, we actually know how to have just on adult-only shoots. Without the kids, we don't have to worry about diaper bags or pouty lips. We can still make goofy faces and skip down the street but we can also whisper dirty secrets in each other's ears that force a little giggle or blush. We can also get all artsy-fartsy and cover more ground (because we don't have little legs trying to keep up) and find really cool locations and funky backgrounds. We can experiment with creative poses (sometimes kids limit the poses we can do because they're so squirmy. We can recreate your wedding photos like the Karlson's did during their maternity photo shoot at Kirkland Marina Park. This is a photo they're going to recreate for the rest of their lives and as kids join the family, they'll just find their spot in the photo too! Oh and when it's just adults, we can actually have an interested conversation (without little hands pulling on our shirts) and get to know each other better as people, which helps us all feel more relaxed which results in better photos. So whether you're dating, a family of two, almost a family of three or desperate for a babysitter so you can go on a photography session datenight, the three of us are going to have a fun time taking photos. You can book the same family photography session that we sell on our website as the "Family Photo Shoot" for couples and maternity shoots. If you have any questions, shoot em over to hello@thehappyfilmcompany.com. Thanks so much Karlson family of 2+1 for such a laid-back morning shoot this summer! Can't wait to see you again soon for the = 3 photo shoot! :) - Chamonix

Photographer: Chamonix
Location: Kirkland Marina Park
Adventure: Maternity