Czech Republic Family Session
This family session occurred in my home country, the Czech Republic, when visiting last summer. It was a beautiful warm evening, our site a beautiful open grassy location.
No matter where I shoot, whether here in the North Carolina or in Europe, it happens every time. It takes a little time to break the ice and for the family to get fully comfortable. I see it over and over again.
Part of my pre-session consultation is to ensure my clients that unless they are professional models, they will probably feel a little awkward at first in front of the camera. It is completely normal to feel awkward and not know what to do.
First, we chat a little before I even get my camera out of the bag. During this chat, I always, always include the children. I get down on their level. I gauge how approachable they are. Some warm up very quickly, and others may take a moment. It’s important to not rush this phase or push too hard. It’s like a little dance. I let myself be guided by the child in which direction I should go and how fast.
Next, when we start shooting, I give some guidance and a lot of praise, particularly to the parents, who can often be a bit more self-conscious. Letting myself be silly and encouraging them to do the same lets their guards go down very quickly, as well.
Another important aspect I always mention to parents beforehand is that, despite the initial possible awkwardness, they should approach the session like a play date and a fun evening with their loved ones. They need to put their best foot forward during the session. Children are very receptive to our own adult behavior and if they see parents “into it” and having fun, they will likely do the same, and vice versa.
I shot this session with the Nikon 70-200 mm, 2.8 mostly at the focal length of 200 mm, which allowed plenty of space between me and the family. I gave a few simple instructions and they did the rest. They became quickly more and more playful and sure looked like their play date was a success.