Sharing with you today this unbelievably cute little guy who decided he wouldn’t even say one word to me. The strong and silent type. The contemplative type. In fact, it took him up until the very end of our time together to flash me a grin. Anyone relate? Any photographer out there deal with littles who just aren’t that into you? Any parents out there filled with dread when your little one just WILL. NOT. DO. THE. THINGS?
But they are my favorite
Contrary to what one might think, these are my favorite kind of toddlers. Yes. The slightly obstinate, slightly shy, slightly, completely uninterested kind. Here’s why. In my quest to document the authentic…you know, that word photographer’s constantly throw around, there is no better way to catch those “authentic” moments than when we let the kids be exactly who they are without interfering. Letting them be their true selves. And this little trick I play…leaving them to toddle about uninterrupted always leads to them finding me quite interesting. Usually they creep on over to show me a rock they’ve found…sometimes they throw rocks at my ankles to get my attention…and then…are you ready? They smile. Giggle. Laugh. They WANT to engage with me. They know I’m not a scary stranger (who…currently…would be masked at your session), but a fun lady who lets them play unencumbered.
Parents did you read that? You can let them play. Wander (Safely). Just be. My sessions are unpressured. An atmosphere without expectation. If you know and appreciate my art, you’ll see the moments are not old fashioned portrait photography. Of course you know the photos I’m talking about. JC Pennys…awkard smiles and double exposures. Sometimes pet cats are involved (which btw pet cats are always encouraged). My moments are genuine and captured almost secretly. The best images don’t happen in the first fifteen minutes. The best images come last. When everyone’s guard is down and they’re relaxed. Consequently the kids…they’ll completely relax and engage when they know it’s safe. It’s the Wildling Photography guarantee.
You Want Me To What
Letting the kids play and explore also let’s me catch those steamy parent moments. Get a load of these two…I would very seriously frame them and put them on my wall! There is peace in knowing your child is safe and finding joy. There is something about watching your child explore and be free that every parent can’t help but take pride in. Their discoveries bring genuine smiles to their faces which…get this…brings genuine smiles to your little one. And isn’t this what it’s about? Documenting the truth? The way you are, right in this moment?
Parents…let go of all expectations for the kids. I promise it will all unfold in the best possible way. Let them play. Let them get dirty (don’t put them in Great Grandma’s unwashable hand crocheted christening gown. Seriously.) I won’t ask them to pose or do anything crazy other than finding a flower for mom. Or the best rock to throw into the pond. Try not to get frustrated with them or ask them for too much. They will feed off of your frustration and get upset too. And you didn’t come for photos where everyone is unhappy…you came to me to capture your joy and togetherness. Let them go barefoot. Heck let them go shirtless. Who doesn’t love a good baby belly?
You will leave thinking “OMG she didn’t get anything good there’s no way any of us looked reasonable I bet I had 6 chins and my kid was crying and threw a rock that hit their sister in the arm and she lost it and dad was frustrated and hiding and these will just be the worst.” I promise you. Come as you are. Be chill. Be together. Treat this like a snuggly Saturday morning on vacation where there’s nowhere to go. No one to pass judgment. And I promise you…your photos will take you right back to this very moment every time you look back at them.
I share some extra special moments from other families and my own here and here.