Oxbow Farm

Getting Great Family Photos When Kids are Screaming, Snotty-Nosed or Moody

“You were excited to see pumpkins ALL morning and now that we’re at the pumpkin patch, you suddenly hate pumpkins! WTF?” Typical two year olds. haha If this happens to you at your photo shoot, don’t worry. Parents and us family photographers know this phenomena well. These days I’m really not phased by anything kids throw my way. Kids can cry, scream, run away (ok, the running away is the toughest) and hide behind their parents the entire time and I still always get something usable. No, realistically, we’re not going to end up with the same abundant collection of images as if you’re kids were smiling little angels that day BUT we always get something and by something…I mean a handful.

In the history of the Happy Film Company there have been a few photo shoots that were so tricky and sucky because of bad lighting, bad attitudes or bad luck that we only ended up with a couple photos that were good enough to pass my high standards test. In these situations, we offered the families a redo photo shoot. So yes, this happens BUT 95% of the time your kids can have total meltdowns and we still get a ton of good photos.

There’s a sneaky art to getting good photos out of a shitty photo shoot experience.
It’s all about:
A) snapping the photos when the kids grabbing a breath in between screams
B) patiently charming the children until the open up or relax…even just a little bit
C) Stepping back and becoming an undercover photographer, like a sniper in the distance so parents can sooth and play without camera pressure
D) shooting so quickly that screams look like smiles or laughs lol
E) embracing the chaos and taking the best meltdown photos in history; capturing all the snotty noses and crossed arm scowls —- fine you’re gonna be like that? then we’re gonna get it all on camera! ha!

So parents, never fear. I got your back and you’re photos are gonna be beautiful.
And photographer friends, keep practicing and never let a rough shoot get you down. It’s about finding the little openings of light shining through in the storm and catching them quickly. Families will appreciate your positive eye and quick reflexes! ;)

Let me know if you have any questions.

Photographer: Chamonix
Activity: Pumpkin Patch Mini Sessions
Location: Oxbow Farm in the Snoqualmie Valley (my homeland)

Photographing Kids in Action without Looking Through the Viewfinder

Standing still and taking family portraits is hella boring.
Racing through a field with giggly little boys is hella fun.

I was at the pumpkin patch last weekend and I wanted action photos. The boys took off and I went with them, camera held down low by my knees (I had no idea what the lens was focusing on), clicking, hoping that this playful moment would be captured beautifully…not blurry…please don’t be blurry!!

The first photo shoot I ever did at the Happy Film Company was on a beach in Maui, HI. The kids were in bathing suits running around and splashing in the water. I held my camera inches above the water, praying the salty liquid would not attack and ruin my equipment.

Through shoots like this, I learned how to work quickly, dangerously and keep up with kids. The camera had to become a part of my body; I had to learn what it was pointing at even without looking through it.

This is a super useful skill to practice — take pictures without looking through the viewfinder; lift the camera above your head, hold it out to the side, run with it down by your feet. It’s mental math; you’ll end up subconsciously calculating the angle of the camera and the light and this will free you up to move around more and interact face to face (not hiding behind the camera). It’s a lot of trial and error. At first, most of your photos will be ugly and useless. Keep practicing. You’re training muscle memory here.

Chamonix :)

Photographer: Chamonix
Location: Oxbow Farm, Snoqualmie Valley
Activity: Pumpkin Patch