My oldest child (okay all of my children) was very shy as a toddler and preschooler. He always made sure I was nearby before playing at the playground, and he stayed pretty close by, making sure I was watching him. Of course, this was very convenient when out and about because I never had to worry about him just running off. Once he was comfortable in a situation, he was a little more chatty and showed off his fun and clever personality. This was his true self, the side I wanted everyone to see, the one I wanted to document because it was who I knew him to be. However, as soon as someone else came to photograph our family, he would clam up, cling to me, and his sweet smile would hardly be seen.
So, if your child is shy around other people, I completely understand. I understand your desire to capture their big grins and their entire personality. Often parents who are considering a family session ask about mini-sessions because their child does not have the attention span or are very shy and just will not last an hour. I want to give you another perspective – family photo sessions are ideal for shy kids.
There is no rush or pressure to make your child do anything.
We are not in a hurry, there is plenty of time to capture that smile. So let her take her time, stay in daddy’s arms and keep her comfortable. The goal is not to only document her smile, but your story, the dynamics in your family, and her clinging to her father is a big part of her story right now.
I begin family sessions using a long lens.
This may sound intimidating because it is the biggest lens in my bag, however, using my 135mm lens means that to get all of your family into the frame I have to back up. I start by giving you guidance into how to stand and hug onto your family, coach you how to interact for your photos and then I give your family space to warm up and get used to the process. This gives your child time to warm up too. I am there, but I am not close. I am also not making her look at me, she can stay focused on mom, dad and baby brother. You might be surprised with a little smile even peeking out at this point.
Next, we let her explore the park.
After we have gotten several pictures of you all snuggled up, I suggest we go and explore the park. If she’s ready, she can lead the way, or she can stay in daddy’s arms. I am not concerned if, at this point, she is still not wanting out of your arms, and you should not be either. Your job is to keep loving on your family no matter what, mine is to show her I am trust worthy and that we are just having fun at a park together.
This is where the location comes into play. Each location I suggest for your session offers variety and options for exploration and play, they also photograph beautifully.
As you play together as a family she will begin to loosen up.
As we reach the river to throw rocks, or find a space for your to twirl and dance together, or as we find a field to find treasures, our time together is no longer just about the lady holding the camera. You are just playing as a family. Do not worry. This is not a documentary style session, I will still guide you and direct you so that your images have a sense of candid feel, yet they show your family off beautifully. I just help you in a way that allows your child to feel comfortable and like they have some freedom and choices. Your session will feel more like a fun time at the park than “family photos.”
She does not need to stand on her own for a “portrait.”
I know that you want that nice portrait of each of your children. Just like we can capture a portrait of your baby who may not be able to sit on his own yet, in your arms, I can capture your daughter as she is in your arms. During this session, this girl’s dad set her on his shoulders as he was throwing rocks in the river. However, you would never know from these images that he’s holding onto her legs and bouncing her up and down making her smile.
In the end, how the session goes is in your hands.
That may sound like a lot of pressure right there. But what I mean is, whether your child is shy or outgoing, the way you respond to your child will impact the session. So trust in the process, trust in your photographer, and focus on loving your family. The last thing you want is for a moment to unfold with her big, beautiful smile, and you are frowning in the background because you think things are going poorly.
The less you stress and the more you smile and love on your children, the more comfortable your children will feel. I promise you are getting beautiful photos of your family that shows what stage you are in, right now. You want to document your child’s truth, and them being a little shy is theirs right now.
In a few years you will look back and remember how it took her time to warm up, the way she wrapped her arms around your neck when she was nervous, and that smile that only daddy could bring out. You will look back and be so glad you took the time to have a family photo session to capture all of those details.
Now is the time to book your family photo session.
A family photo session is ideal for shy kids. I take the time to earn your child’s trust, we make it fun, and let the kids have a say in the adventure of family photos. So, click the button below, select your session date, pay the deposit and I will provide you with all of the information you will need for having your family photos taken.