The joys of being a photographer and, even more so, a family portrait photographer, trying to do a shoot with your own kids. Anyone else feel me? I’m sure there must be others. Today I decided to have a bit of fun and do a portrait shoot with my own children. Heck – it’s only been two years since the last one. Now that I’m a Central Coast photographer, of course it had to be a beach photoshoot. Boy had I forgotten why I’ve let it go for so long. I’ve decided that portrait photographers must never enjoy doing a photo shoot with their own kids.
Sure, it sounds fun, but the reality is similar to the reasons we don’t teach our own kids in school or coach them in sports. Let my story tell you why and show you that – kids are bound to be testing to the photographer behind the camera lens. Even when it’s their own parent back there! As we headed to the beach everything was sunshine, smiles, and giggles – such a happy little family. Then we hit the sand. Oh boy did Mr Four not want a bar of that sand. His smile is gone and is quickly replaced with frown. Time to bring out the big guns from both mum AND dad. “Now come on buddy, if you just sit down with your big brother and give mummy a nice big smile, we’ll get you a Kinder Surprise. Your fave!”No thanks. He doesn’t want that. “I want a monster truck. A biiiiig one” Mum and Dad look at each other communicating with our eyes – twitching, rolling you name it. Right – we’re going to have to admit defeat in this one. Family portraits only happen every couple of years for us, let him pull those heart strings.
Off he goes then, happy with himself sitting down as he’s asked. On his way down though he flicks sand on Mr Thirteen so now we’re switching, four is happy and thirteen is covered in sand and cranky. I’m trying to keep my cool telling him just to brush it off – the sun is heading down and we still haven’t started taking our professional photos.
SNAP. I get our first shot and it’s a good one. So, I get a little cocky ‘ok, let’s move over along the water’s edge to get some water photography – don’t get wet though!’ Now what I didn’t say was ‘also don’t get wet crossing the stream to get to the water’s edge’. Silly me. Miss Six is the first one to jump into the stream followed by her two brothers. Beautiful big splashes now up her perfect mustard linen dress. Now there’s sand AND water and I’m keen to get out of here before we end up SWIMMING in their clothes ‘back up to the stairs guys, let’s go to the coast walk and rocks’.
What do you normally wear on rocks that you might not on sand? Shoes. Yep – so now everyone is cranky because our feet hurt but I am NOT missing at least two shots up here. With the force of pulling two teeth, I manage to capture the beauty of the coastline in the background with my smiling kids front and center. Back down to the beach we go, mum, dad and three wet, soggy, sandy kids. “RUNNING RACE” I call. It’s a strategic move and I’m happy to report, it works. Spirits are high again and just in time for the golden hour warm lighting – the perfect way to finish our shoot.
My kids, your kids or the neighbours kids – they’re all just kids and if I can manage to get these beautiful snaps of my own kids amongst the chaos, then I’ll happily go with the flow with your children too.