Being barefoot in the backyard, running through the grass is just one thing that shouts, "SUMMER!" to me. The weather is hot and its good to get outside and soak up the sun from head to toe. I've been doing my fair share of that while documenting days for my clients. Last week, I had a particularly great Summer Mini Session. It was the epitome of what makes this particular series of sessions perfect for this time of year. These photos are so summery and are filled with glowy sunlight, sweet smiles, and lots of play! There were a few key elements that made this session so successful.
Photo sessions can pretty much happen anytime, anywhere. Over the years, I've had to shoot in a lot of different situations and I feel confident now that no matter the challenges I can pretty much make anything work. However there are two factors that greatly impact the ease and success of a session:
- Time of day
For this Summer Mini they chose to have their session in the evening. The closer you have your session to sunset, the better the light! The late evening light is why the photos have a "glow." Everyone is well lit and there aren't harsh shadows on the face. The warm colored sunshine peeking from behind the trees highlights the scene.
When I say that location matters what I really mean is how comfortable are the kids in that particular environment? Because background doesn't matter a whole lot. Through the camera lens, almost anything can be disguised and altered to be better. But the camera cannot change someone's mood. These parents know their child is in their element, relaxed and happy at home. There, surrounded by what is familiar, their kid can play and be natural.
The most successful part of this session came from the parents themselves. With a little guidance from me, the session was structured around play. Experience has taught me that when children are unsure of what they should do or feel boxed in by expectations the photo session can get challenging. But by framing their actions and the expectations through the familiar lens of play , they know exactly what to do. Acting really silly and putting stuff on your head works similarly. Pretty tough to be scared of someone with a stuffed pink bunny on their head! By engaging with their child in different forms of play we were able to capture genuine expressions and a variety of candid moments. From races and swings to bubbles and playing with favorite toys, we captured not only moments of indecent play but also sweet moments of interaction.
In addition, it was the parents' sustained encouragement that kept their child interested and participating without being so stifling as to keep only one activity on the table. I believe that by allowing children to choose how they participate in a photo shoot there will be better cooperation