Do you remember those family photo sessions where you placed your hand on mom’s shoulder while standing next to her? Or what about those studio photos as a kid where your profile magically appears like a ghost floating next to your head! Like a bad 80’s hair-do, it was a sign of the times. Thankfully, children’s photography has come a long way since our own childhood memories in front of the camera. It’s professional photographers like San Francisco based Nancy Nguyen-Wong of Bug and Bean Photography that blend modern artistry, a family dynamic, natural light and comfortable surroundings to create stunning photographs and cherished memories to last a lifetime.
Project Nursery had the opportunity to get to know Nancy and we jumped at the chance to ask her for tips on how to get the most out of a photography session whether professional or in my case – completely amateur. Nancy is a mom of four busy kiddos all under the age of 9 (check out her darling blog post here as proof!). Inspired by her love of children and armed with a gorgeous portfolio of family, baby and maternity photos, Nancy certainly knows all about capturing that perfect moment on film!
Children can be unpredictable so it is important to be flexible, patient and reasonable. Successful photo sessions happen when opportunity meets preparedness. Here are some helpful tips for preparing for a professional photo session:
- Have an idea of where you would like the session to take place. If it is in your home, clear any unnecessary clutter from the area you will be shooting.
- Plan your session time when your child is generally in the happiest mood. This tends to be in the morning after a nice breakfast. Avoid scheduling your session close to your child’s nap or eating time.
- Communicate with your photographer about style preference or important images you would like to have captured. Photo sessions should be a collaboration between the client and photographer, trusting the photographers experience and creative eye.
- Clean faces, noses and nails are always appreciated. Avoid fussing with the baby during the session.
- Clothing selection can play an important role in the overall look of your final portraits. Clothing selection should reflect your families personal style and should be cohesive and flattering to your features. Kid’s clothing should be comfortable and fit properly. Color selection can set the mood for an image. Something to consider is where you will be shooting and whether it is seasonally appropriate. I love bold colors, patterns, textures and dressing in children in layers. When in doubt, have a few outfits prepared prior to the photo session and consult with your photographer!
- Make sure you have eaten a proper meal before the session, both baby and parents!
- Relax! Have fun and be prepared to play it by ear! The best photos are often the ones caught in between shots when you are least aware of the camera.
- Go into the session with a positive attitude and open mind.
- Give your child some time to warm up. Do not force your child to pose or smile. Instead, try to make it fun by playing a little game, singing a song or giving a little snuggle or tickle.
- Pack snacks and take a break if necessary.
- Patience is a virtue!
Tips for photographing your own children:
- Turn off your flash and take advantage of the beautiful tones and contrast natural light photography can yield.
- Be mindful when shooting. In this digital age, its easy to just click away. Slow down and take a moment to frame your image. Pay attention to your surroundings and the composition of the image.
- Experiment with different angles and perspectives.
- Keep your camera handy and shoot often! Document your child’s many moods and developmental stages.
WIN IT! Calling ALL San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles and NYC parents! (Sorry this contest is limited to these three cities, Nancy wishes she could be everywhere!) Win a 45 minute photography session with Nancy of Bug and Bean Photography and a 10 page 5×5 album (A $500 value!). Enter by visiting Bug and Bean Photography’s new site and letting us know who you would like photographed and how you envision your professional photography session. Contest ends Friday, March 12th, 2010 at 11:59pm PST.
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CONTEST CLOSED – Congrats Sara Olsher!