How Photographing Children Taught Me to Play as an Adult

"Ewww" that was my reaction when someone handed me a baby 6 years ago. I thought kids were annoying and I was WAY too busy building businesses to sit around and play. Zoom forward 6 years and now all I want to do is go on the swings, make animal noises and throw dance parties. I can hang out with kids ALL day and often, they're the only people I feel like I can be myself around without fear of being judged or pressured or whatever sh*t comes with adulthood. What happened? Well, one day I did the math and realized starting a Seattle family portrait photography business would be a profitable idea. So I took my positive personality and camera skills and I created the Happy Film Company. At first, playing with kids was awkward but as long as I was hiding behind my camera I felt okay. Overtime though, I got better at the kid thing and eventually I felt like an expert and playing with kids. Then one morning I woke up and realized, hey, I actually love playing with kids! All this playtime rekindled my childlike spirit and I feel happier than ever. And just to be clear, I'm not talking about perfect parenting and child psychology...I'm talking about one human that's 29 years old making silly faces with another human who is 2 years old. Keepin' it simple. I'm 100% down to make those same silly faces with other 30 year olds but unfortunately they're a tougher crowd...it's much harder to get them to play.

I don't have kids of my own but I do live with my 2yr old niece, so I'm a very hands-on auntie. We crawl around the kitchen like tigers and we blow bubbles in our water. When I'm on photo shoots, I'm always whispering to kids, asking them what they want to do and usually they say something like "throw rocks". Some parents freak out and think that throwing rocks on a photo shoot is totally inappropriate but I guess those aren't the families that come to the Happy Film Company...I've weeded them out over time I guess. haha My favorite photos are usually taken in those moments when the adults step back and let the kids decide what's important. Like seriously, in 50 years are we going to be tearing up over that photo where you all stood together and smiled...or over the photo of you guys team-working-it to throw a giant rock into the river? 

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If you need help remembering how to play...not just "playing with your kids" to make them happy, but actually playing because you're having fun too (like you'd want to keep going even if your kid stopped), then please send me an email today and let's schedule a photo shoot. It's a magic way to break up your routine and set aside some time to play together -- plus you don't have to come up with any playful ideas yourself because I'll tell you what to do (pick her up and swing her around, throw her in the air, chase him, tickle them, play peek a boo etc...). For one hour, you'll have no other responsibilities, nowhere else to go, nothing else to do...we'll all just hang out and see if the kids help us remember how to have fun. My secret hope (not so secret anymore of course after this blog post) is that the photos we take that day will remind you guys to keep having fun, even when the camera isn't there. The photos are there to stir up good times, both when they're taken and when they're looked at later.

-- Chamonix

Other Resources
Learning to Play with Your Kids By Vicki Glembocki from Parents Magazine