I'd like to share a few images and words about a recent children portrait session. When someone calls me inquiring about a portrait and tells me they have two children I am of course, thrilled. In this particular case, I discover that the children I will be photographing are 2 and 5 year old boys. Oh boy is right! I know that means I'll be in for a few things: some high energy moments, most likely some intermittent tears, a little rough housing and hopefully a lot of giggling. Fast forward to the day of the session: I am usually working in a client's home and I feel that the benefits of doing this far outnumber the challenges. (I'll address these benefits further in future posts). In most cases I am a stranger entering their home and there is some mystery surrounding that for the children. The look I sometimes get is one I interpret to inquire, "Who is this lady with all of this stuff and what the heck is she going to do with that big camera?" The next few hours involve my helping them to see that I am there to play a little, take some photos, play a little more, take some breaks, take some more photos... Then they wonder if I am moving in.During this particular portrait session mom had the idea of taking a band photo, since she and her two boys liked playing instruments together. I loved the idea and was certainly up for a super fun collaboration. To say that the energy was high while I was taking these images would be an extreme understatement. Let's just say that my voice was almost gone after shouting in what I am sure was a perfect superstar voice, "Rock On!" with the rest of the band members. The challenge was getting all the band members express their energy at the same time, or close to it. After a break, a little snack and some high intensity little boy wrestling, we were ready to move on from our band photo and do something different. I was in between moving my lighting equipment and saw some really great light in another room. Mom was changing the boys' shirts and they looked so cute shirtless... so I asked if it was ok if we do a few images without their shirts. I then ended up having one of those "magical moments". The 5 year old was surprisingly peaceful and attentive and really focused on working with me. Those moments don't always happen but when they do it is quite amazing. In this particular scenario mom was just outside the room peering in so as not to disturb the moment, which was very helpful. These moments never last long and I do what I can in that amount of time. In my dreams I could photograph them in that angelic state for hours. Nevertheless, I am thankful to have those little gems and I know mom loved the results. Here is one of our favorites... I typically work without an assistant on children portrait sessions and part of the reason is that magical moments are much more likely to happen when the child and I are interacting without a lot of distraction. If I have the opportunity to photograph a child one on one, a parent is just outside the room peering in, or just sitting quietly on the periphery. This approach is not a sure recipe for success by any means as some children are more attentive when their parents are right there next to them. Connecting with the child one on one, however, helps increase the chances of having a "magical moment" and thus, more intriguing imagery. After the 5 year old was so attentive I decided to press my luck and see if I might be able to have the same connection with the 2 year old. I honestly had no idea if he'd be up for it but I thought it was certainly worth an attempt. I am glad I tried as I think he looks like a little cherub. When I post an image on my website I don't have the chance to share the stories behind my children portrait sessions and I think it's fun to share a little bit about the experience... The best part is when one of the kids asks as I pack up my gear and head out the front door, "Hey, where are you going?"